Review: 'The Rover' Takes Too Long to Travel Too Short of a Distance

The Rover

As post-apocalyptic thrillers go, The Rover falls more in line with The Road than The Road Warrior. David Michôd’s follow-up to the intense crime drama, Animal Kingdom, is wrought with melancholic atmosphere and low on action-heavy narrative. More low simmer than slow-burn, its drama and action take too many stale side streets and not enough free-flowing highways. As its name implies, The Rover is a road movie, and Michôd creates his end-of-the-world scenario with all the dirt, flies, and gas-guzzlers you would expect in a film from Down Under. This is one road picture that despite heavy performances from Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, has difficulty going anywhere but headlong towards its end credits.

 Posted June 20 in Indies, Review | Comments

Review: 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' Worthy Sequel to the Original

How Train Your Dragon 2

Did you think DreamWorks Animation would fumble the ball with How to Train Your Dragon 2? The first movie was a smash success, arguably the best animated film of 2010 over Pixar's praised Toy Story 3. At the very least, it was an extremely close race for supremacy, and loads of anticipation fell in the sequel's court as soon as it was announced. The time has come, and though the sequel couldn't possibly have brought the surprise or wow factor of its predecessor, it brings so much more that makes up for it. There's laughs, thrills, and heart of all shapes and sizes. It doesn't rest on just being a kiddie-pleaser and instead brings top-notch storytelling together with impeccable animation that only seems to be getting better and better.

 Posted June 13 in Animation, Review | Comments

Review: Lord & Miller's Hysterical '22 Jump Street' Still in on the Joke

22 Jump Street

The 21 Jump Street big-screen reboot shouldn't have worked. In the film, the leads, newly graduated officers played by Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, are told the police department has run out of ideas. Rebranding a once-popular idea was all the creativity the department could muster. That was a message for us, that everyone involved was in on the joke. Even Johnny Depp stopped by to be in on it. Against the odds, 21 Jump Street worked. What does Hollywood do with an idea that works? They do the same thing, naturally. Thankfully, the same team (chiefly co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller) is back and still in on the joke. 22 Jump Street becomes the Jump Street movie to end all Jump Street movies. Maybe.

 Posted June 12 in Review | Comments

Review: Atmosphere, Suspense Line Jim Mickle's Intense 'Cold in July'

Cold in July

A strange noise in the middle of the night awakens a young couple. The husband, Richard Dane, goes to the closet, opens it, and quietly begins to load his gun. He begins searching the house, walking down the dark hallway towards the living room. Suddenly, a beam from a flashlight shines against the far wall, a light that is coming from within the house. Richard freezes, unable to take in a breath. Panicked. This is the first of many moments that generate a veritable intensity throughout Cold in July, powerful adaptation of the Joe R. Lonsdale crime-thriller novel from We Are What We Are director Jim Mickle. Read more below!

 Posted June 6 in Indies, Review | Comments

Review: Smart, Surprising 'Edge of Tomorrow' Kicks All the Right Ass

Edge of Tomorrow

The name of the movie is Edge of Tomorrow, but the name of the novel that inspired it is All You Need is Kill, definitely a harder hitting title than the safer, more user friendly name Warner Bros. came up with. Oddly enough, the movie's title is more appropriate for the story it tells, but Edge of Tomorrow still lives up to its source material's title, matching it bullet-for-bullet and generally kicking just as much ass. It's a non-stop jolt of summer blockbuster-sized entertainment, made all the more so by an expected charismatic turn from Tom Cruise. Altering and adjusting the novel in all the right ways, Edge of Tomorrow's marriage of story and eye-popping visuals makes it the one to beat for the remainder of the season. Read on!

 Posted June 6 in Review, SciFi | Comments

Review: 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' is Better Than You Think

A Million Ways to Die in the West

The latest victim of false expectations and unbridled vitriol is A Million Ways to Die in the West, the latest comedic effort from writer, director and star Seth MacFarlane. In 2012, the "Family Guy" creator made his directorial debut, along with his first major film role voicing the titular raunchy teddy bear in Ted. But now MacFarlane takes the lead front and center, with no visual effects to hide his face, and he's getting pummeled with bad reviews harder than the giant ice block that crushes a townsman in this Old West comedy. However, the film is not abysmal, has plenty of big laughs, and is deserving of much more praise.

 Posted May 30 in Review | Comments

Review: 'Maleficent' Presents an Unforgettable Lead But Little Else


Maleficent is the new black. I make that statement referring to the Mistress of All Evil character Disney originated in the 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, now getting her own feature length, live-action film with a misunderstood backstory. The character is one for the ages and packed with a performance to match. Angeline Jolie commits to the role, flashing 90% teeth and 200% cheekbone. The character of Maleficent is great, and the film is a digital effects-laden extravaganza, the kind of fantasy epic that has "movie event of the Summer" written all over it. Unfortunately, a less-than-epic story makes for a much lesser film as a whole, never quite living up to the greatness of this classic Disney character or that performance. Read on!

 Posted May 30 in Review | Comments

Cannes 2014: 'Goodbye to Language 3D' is Goodbye to Godard's Sanity

Cannes 2014 - Goodbye to Language 3D

There was a film at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival that is so bad, so poorly made, so terrible, that it doesn't belong on any screen. It belongs in the trash. The filmmaking is amateur, there is no narrative, the imagery (and cinematography) is ugly, there is no coherent message or idea or vision behind it despite claims to the contrary, and it can't be called cinema; it can hardly be called a "film". It just so happens this film is directed by Jean-Luc Godard, a once-great French filmmaker who has lost his sanity at age 83. Is it art? No. Is it experimental cinema? Nope. The film is, both literally and figuratively, a piece of shit - and I'll explain why.

 Posted May 28 in Cannes 14, Review | Comments

Cannes 2014: Photos That Inspire in Wim Wenders' 'Salt of the Earth'

The Salt of the Earth

We live on a remarkably beautiful planet, filled with diverse man-made and natural creations, spanning all corners of the world. From lush rain forests to massive deserts to extraordinary mountain ranges to epic landscapes of every kind. In the documentary The Salt of the Earth, filmmaker Wim Wenders connects with legendary photographer Sebastião Salgado, and explores the world with him by telling the story of his life, growing up in Brazil, eventually photographing the atrocities of humanity as well as the remarkable splendor of this world. Take a deep breath, sit back, and let this man's incredible images and story wow you.

 Posted May 27 in Cannes 14, Docs, Review | Comments

Review: 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Secures Future of the Series

X-Men: Days of Future Past

The past of the X-Men franchise is a rocky road to success. The rough patches mostly came around the middle. While stumbles like X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine made audiences cringe at the thought of another mutant adventure, most of the series has been solid. X-Men: Days of Future Past marks yet another achievement, continuing the high marks left behind by recent entries X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. An intriguing story development mixed with sporadic bouts of top quality action is pretty much all we ask for in a summer blockbuster. Thanks to returning director Bryan Singer back behind the wheel, X-Men: Days of Future Past delivers, safely securing the franchise's future. For now.

 Posted May 23 in Marvel, Review | Comments

Cannes 2014: Xavier Dolan's Excellent 'Mommy' is Cinema at its Best

Xavier Dolan's Mommy

This is the film I was waiting to see at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The one that is not only phenomenal in every way, but pushes the form, challenging audiences and cinema as we know it. Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan has returned to Cannes with his fifth feature, titled Mommy, a remarkably entertaining and ravishing work of art about raising a wild teen with ADHD in a fictional Canada. It's breathtaking, beautiful, stimulating and actually takes advantage of the art of visuals and the format of cinema in a remarkable way. Mommy is the masterpiece of Cannes 2014 that I was waiting to fall in love with. Dolan has done it again.

 Posted May 22 in Cannes 14, Review | Comments

Cannes 2014: Hazanavicius' 'The Search' is Better Than Critics Claim

The Search

Every May, I fly all the way across the Atlantic to Cannes Film Festival just to watch good films. Films that are interesting, invigorating, exciting, entertaining, moving, no matter what they may be or who may have directed them, as along as they are good. Even those that are stories we may have seen before in other films, it doesn't matter, I'm not here to see failed experiments, I'm here to watch well-made, well-meaning movies. Ever since The Artist won the Best Picture Oscar in 2011, critics have been unnecessarily hating on director Michel Hazanavicius. I believe he's a great filmmaker and his latest, The Search, is another solid film.

 Posted May 21 in Cannes 14, Review | Comments

Cannes 2014: Zhang Yimou's Tender, Moving New Film 'Coming Home'

Coming Home

What if you returned home to your loved one, a wife, a husband, any significant other, after years apart and they didn't recognize you? That is the idea behind Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou's latest film, Coming Home, based on Geling Yan's novel The Criminal Lu Yanshi, which opened in China a few weeks ago and just premiered out-of-competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. This is a beautiful, tender, moving film about love and dedication and patience, and will leave you with tears in your eyes, as long as you still have a beating heart inside your chest. It may be a simple story, but it's such a special, sincere film made with care.

 Posted May 20 in Cannes 14, Review | Comments

Cannes 2014: Tatum & Carell Are Outstanding in Miller's 'Foxcatcher'


It's a breath of fresh air in the cinema when a film premieres that is very hard to compare to any other films. It represents something entirely unique, in the story, the characters, the subtle decisions made throughout, and while it may be categorized as a sports drama, it is so much more. Foxcatcher is the third feature film from Bennett Miller, and it is his best work yet, showing that he continues to improve as he continues to make more films. Following his last two Best Picture-nominated films, Capote and Moneyball, Miller tells another based-on-real-life story that resonates as poignantly today as it did when the events first occurred.

 Posted May 19 in Cannes 14, Review | Comments



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