Once You Get The Stink On You…["The Hunt" Review]

Those old enough to remember the McMartin trial, the most expensive criminal prosecution in Los Angeles history (at the time), will understand the reality of Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. Members of the McMartin family, falsely accused of sexually abusing students in their daycare, spent years in prison until finally exonerated. The Hunt transplants the American moral panic to a small Danish town, exploring in maddening detail how a few mistaken words from a child can turn a community upside down. Mads Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a soft spoken kindergarten teacher in his early 40′s, still recovering from a traumatic divorce. Students...

Good Luck Going To Sea World Ever Again [Blackfish Review]

The documentary Blackfish, which takes its title from the Canadian Aboriginal term for orcas, chronicles the 2010 tragic death of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau by the troubled killer whale Tilikum. I remember the official story being that Tilikum, distracted by Dawn’s ponytail, pulled her underwater until she drawned but I didn’t follow the situation through to the end. It turns out that Sea World’s official account of the tragedy may not exactly be true. In fact, it’s a complete spin job blaming “trainer error” to make sure water park customers still see the orcas as safe, cuddly creatures worth...

Video Review – The Conjuring

Based on the true story of a movie studio trying to make a buck, The Conjuring is one of the best made stupid movies I’ve ever seen.     BATMAN SCALE OF FILM...

Fruitvale Station: A Profile Of Human Tragedy

I tossed and turned in bed all Saturday night wrestling with Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station in my head. Perhaps I should recommend it for that alone. Isn’t that what art is supposed to do? I don’t remember losing any sleep over Pain & Gain. This is a very difficult movie to review because it’s impossible to seperate it from the real life incident it fictionalizes. That seems to be the intention of the filmmakers as Fruitvale Station opens with actual cell phone video footage of the event and closes with Oscar Grant III’s daughter Tatiana at a rally for her father in 2013. For those unaware, in the early...

Way, Way Back To The 80s

Everything about Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s The Way, Way Back wants to be set in the 80s. From the “vintage” cars, to the clothing, to the location, to Sam Rockwell’s exceptional mining of Bill Murray’s wise man-child mystique, we’re half expecting a boat race to solve the plot complication. That’s fine with me because I happen to have a warm feeling for coming-of-age summer flicks from the Reagan Administration and The Way, Way Back doesn’t require a nostalgic whimsy to be enjoyed. 14-year-old Duncan, played with the right amount of pathetic by Liam James, is stuck in hell – a family...

World War Z: A Strong Reminder Of How Great 28 Days Later Is [Movie Review]

I haven’t read Max Brooks’ novel but I assume it had something the cinematic version doesn’t; an ending. Oh and a story. It probably has one of those too. The film adaptation, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster has neither. What it does have is a few well constructed sequences of a mayhem, one or two nifty effects shots and a whole lot of unfocused meandering. If that’s enough to satiate your entertainment appetite then World War Z could be your movie. If you’re interested in character depth or competent plotting then I suggest you watch 28 Days Later again and save the price of admission. The...

What Hell Hath Paris Wrought? “The Bling Ring” Review

Years ago, I was privy to a certain network screening of a new “reality” show that thankfully never made it to air. The production only reached the pilot stage on the promise that Paris Hilton would occasionally guest star as an auxiliary personality, showing up just enough to warrant her presence in the marketing campaign. While the rest of the cast struggled to find even a vague semblance of believability, Hilton was a composed veteran. The caricature she’d created was so polished that everyone around her seemed laughable by comparison. In their defense, the premise, situations and relationships were absurd to begin...

Video Review – Man Of Steel

Underwhelmed by Man of Steel like I was? Go to IHOP, Carl’s Jr or KFC instead. Buy a Gillette razor. Join the National Guard. Eat some Twizzlers. Do some laundry with Tide. The possibilities are endless!

A Stoner Comedy As Envisioned By The Book Of Revelation

What is there to say about a movie that features both a coked-up Michael Sera and a thousand foot demon with a swinging appendage the size of the Eiffel Tower except two points for audacity. This Is The End is a drug-fueled, man-child bromance as envisioned by John of Patmos and the head of the product placement department at Sony Pictures. An eschatological romp that, unlike the Left Behind series, has the presence of mind to take the evangelical holocaust of nonbelievers with its tongue planted firmly in cheek. Jay Bachurel is back in town to smoke weed, play video games and eat at Carl’s Jr with his childhood friend Seth Rogen....

Now You See Me? Eh, Not So Much

Now You See Me is pretty decent until the end. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 2.5 stars and a rating of 46%. I’ll give it this, it’s entertaining. I enjoyed myself while recognizing the entire time how bad it is. The tricks, as extravagant as they are, feel cheap in the way they propel forward a story we have to guess at. The subplot (that I can’t tell you about) is never actually explained so I felt a little cheated by the reveal. Four magicians are given tarot card invitations to enter into something like a secret pact. They don’t know who chose them, but they do know why – because they’re awesome. They spend a year preparing and...

Modern “Manhattan”

As a conflicted admirer of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, I feel compelled to begin this review admitting the obvious influence. Not because I delight in making the reference, but because I think director/writer Noah Baumbach and writer/star Greta Gerwig intend to remind us of it. How can they not? It’s shot in black and white, follows the lives of intellectuals (or a close proximity thereof) in New York and mirrors Allen’s classic so closely it’s as if they intended it as fan fiction. Frances Ha is certainly Manhattan‘s inferior when it comes to the visual palate, not that it’s trying to match it per se....

“Much Ado About Nothing” Sadly An Appropriate Title – See What I Did There?

Parties at Joss Whedon’s place must be an absolute pleasure. Intelligent, pretty people bantering about, dressed in finely tailored suits and gowns, drinking fine wine and basking in the serenity (no pun intended) of a glorious evening. The film Much Ado About Nothing however, based on the classic Shakespeare comedy and shot over a 12 day period at Whedon’s house, is a little more like your friend mangling a report about what a great time he had. You should’ve been there. There’s been much ado about Whedon modernizing the play and right off the bat we’re shown Benedick leaving Beatrice alone in bed. The...

Video Review – After Earth

A film directed by M. Night Shyamalan based on a story by Will Smith. It’s about as good as that sounds.

Review – Before Midnight [Re Post]

The best film I’ve seen this year. I don’t expect a better one.

Video Review – The Hangover 3

Mean. Lazy. Boring.

Video Review – Star Trek Into Darkness

Lexington P. Monoclesworth leads the crew of the Starship Enterprise into darkness…for a while. Another solid summer blockbuster, what gives? Either I’m going soft (ahem) or this year is starting off rather pleasantly. Spoiler Alert 2/3rds in but marked...

Video Review – The Great Gatsby

Not the turd-fest the trailer makes it out to be…but still not very good. Catsby? What Catsby!?!?