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Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014
Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are reinvesting the so-called buddy comedy with the concept that, sometimes, friendship is not enough.

It seems like the best of all worlds: getting to travel, professionally, staying at some of the most scenic and inviting destinations along the Italian Riviera. Better still, you get to sample gourmet cuisine every step of the way, from entrees rich in Mediterranean tradition to piles of freshly caught and prepared seafood. The weather is magnificent, the populace beyond friendly, and the views awe-inspiring.


The only problem? You’re saddled with someone as a traveling companion whose a rival at best, a friend in frustrating terms only, and since you’re pushing 50, that so-called “midlife crisis” has turned into nothing more than mere angry aging.


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Monday, Aug 18, 2014
If Cook and Burgess are setting us up for a continuing series of mutant monster superhero takedowns, this movie is a decent start.

Splatter is often the sad step-child of horror. When done correctly, or within context, it’s beloved if bloody. Very bloody. It can even be used to bring a bit of humor into your otherwise aggressive arterial spray (isn’t that right, Sam Raimi and Lloyd Kaufman?). Septic Man falls into the former category, taking a surprisingly serious tone over something that should be salacious and scatological.


Indeed, the movie revolves around a sanitation worker who gets trapped in a toxic underground sewer and suddenly transforms into a hideous combination of feces and filth. There’s also a subtext of possible pandemic, maybe-imaginary creatures, good vs. evil, hero vs. villain, and perhaps the most idealized view of virulence ever put on film.


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Friday, Aug 15, 2014
What The Expendables 3 lacks is the kind of exuberant pizzazz which made these particular performers ripe for rediscovery in the first place.

By now it should be abundantly clear that Sylvester Stallone “gets” action. He understands the dynamic involved in a major league blowout stunt spectacle. He’s a wizard when it comes to staging, acts each carefully choreographed beat with the necessary amount of machismo and, when given the opportunity (and the MPAA rating) is not shy to showcase enough splatter to make a million gorehounds happy.


Granted, for this third installment in the exceedingly goofy Expendables franchise, Sly isn’t sitting behind the lens. His handpicked protégé, in this case, Red Hill director Patrick Hughes, is, however, and the results constantly remind the viewer of the iconic ‘80s b-pictures that made the cast nostalgia laced currency. While not fully invested in the direct to video past, there’s enough low rent ridiculousness here to make even the most cynical action fan smile.


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Friday, Aug 8, 2014
Not only is Into the Storm mindless and mediocre, it's disrespectful, as well.

There’s always something unsettling about a disaster film. It’s not the notion of nature (or man) creating chaos, and thus calamity, for all the members of our unsuspecting society. It’s not the death, though that’s a horrific given. It’s not even the idea that what we are seeing could be the extinction of the entire human race.


No, the really nasty bit is the concept of survival, the “what if?” after the planet freezes, the tidal wave hits, or the nuclear holocaust ends. As they often say, those who are killed will be the lucky ones. Those left behind face the nightmare of rebuilding and reconsideration, recognizing that, while they made it, many, many more did not.


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Friday, Aug 8, 2014
What happens when you substitute bombast for fun and bloat for finesse? This.

When you have an idea as inherently goofy as adolescent amphibians morphed into martial arts trained vigilantes, it doesn’t help to take said material too seriously. Gravitas adds nothing except questions, queries the innately oddball concepts can’t answer.


That’s one of the many problems with the laughable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Instead of going cartoony, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman have decided to apply the Transformers technique to this material, substituting bombast for fun and bloat for finesse.


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