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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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Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014
What makes James Gunn's scruffier and un-spandex'd band of reluctant heroes so appealing is how they approximate the good-hearted rogues on the raggedy charm of space westerns like Whedon’s own "Firefly".

There’s a lot to appreciate—and maybe even love—about Guardians of the Galaxy. The oozing and eager-to-please sprawl of Gen-X references, from Mom’s ‘70s pop music mixtape to hero Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, surfer-dude sly) romancing the green-skinned assassin babe Gamora (Zoe Saldana) by referencing the “legend” of Footloose. Banter threaded slyly through the action instead of airdropped in by executive committee looking for humor beats. A talking raccoon skilled in jail-breaks and bomb-making. David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”. A genocidal villain thwarted by a dance-off. The two-hour running time, practically unheard-of brevity for modern blockbusters. Howard the Duck.


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Friday, Aug 1, 2014
Unless you count a last act catfight between two babes that are basically disintegrating into pools of genetic stew right before our very eyes, there's not much to recommend Cabin Fever: Patient Zero.

There’s a good reason why the prequel is considered one of the worst movie moves, no matter the genre or franchise. Indeed, the original film is supposed to set things up, provide the necessary narrative foundation and origin impetus for us to become invested in any continuing saga. Going back to rewrite that is not only disingenuous, but antithetical to what you accomplished the first time around. However, in some very rare cases, going back to before the beginning is a necessity, especially when no one really successfully explained what was going on in the first place.


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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Rob Reiner fuels this old hat hokum with below-grade over-earnestness.

Linda Ellerbee remains a media radical. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, she was part of a the highly acclaimed NBC news show, Weekend, before headlining the cult phenomenon, Overnight. In 1986, she published an amazing memoir of her time in the spotlight. Entitled And So It Goes, it covered… what, wait? That’s not what we are talking about here? No?


Oh, it’s the new movie, And So It Goes, starring Oscar winners Michael Douglas, Diane Keaton, from a script by As Good As It Get‘s co-writer, Mark Andrus, and directed by former quality filmmaker Rob Reiner. Damn. TV back then was so much more scintillating. Ellerbee’s story is a billion times more interesting than this tired RomCom trope featuring aging adults of divergent backgrounds coming together over a kid.


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