Movie Reviews

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies’ Is All Filler And No Killer

Film: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch
Directed by: Peter Jackson

The big finale to Peter Jackson’s second Middle Earth trilogy is finally here, for better or worse. Jackson took a 300-page children’s book and the appendices left by the Tolkien estate to cultivate a new adventure, and for the most part, two-thirds of the trilogy made for some enjoyable celluloid. Alas though, sequences that induce giddy joy like the barrel riding scene in Desolation of Smaug are all but gone in what is the worst film of the two trilogies. …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Top Five’ Is The Funniest Film of 2014

Film: Top Five
Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson
Directed by: Chris Rock

Taking filmmaking cues from everyone who has previously captured NYC and relationships with unflinching honesty, Chris Rock has crafted one hell of a comedic feature with Top Five. It’s a story about love, both for others and yourself, as well as a satirical take on our society that will leave you in stitches for days.…

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Mule’ Is A Funny Tale About Emotional And Physical Incontinence

Film: The Mule
Starring: Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Hugo Weaving
Directed by: Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony

First time Australian feature film directors Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson (who also is the lead star), produce a lean, dark, sporadically funny, weird, and based on true events take on adolescent qualities in grown-up people. Growing up is hard to do and we all know that but in this, Mahony, Sampson, and co-writers Jaime Browne and Leigh Whannell (who also plays a role) envision a story where smuggling drugs through a certain body cavity can make you step up to the plate …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Big Hero 6′ Is A Thrilling And Hilarious Journey For All Ages

Film: Big Hero 6
Starring: Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit
Directed by: Don Hall, Chris Williams

Big Hero 6 may be the first comic book adaptation to succeed — because it offers a story unlike anything found in the original source material.

You do not need to know that Disney’s Big Hero 6 is adapted from a relatively unknown Marvel comic book property. In fact, knowing too much about the original series may change your opinion of the animated adaptation because it’s almost nothing like the comics that inspired the characters now being promoted all over the world. This is not …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Whiplash’ Is Likely The Best Film Of 2014

Film: Whiplash
Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons
Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Featuring two unforgettable performances and a script that is as close to perfection as you can find in cinema today, Whiplash is a surefire contender for best film of 2014.

There have been many films about music and various fictional individuals’ attempts at greatness, but never have the heartbreaking sacrifices and unnervingly tense moments that come with truly achieving something special been captured the way they are in Whiplash. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the film is as much an exercise in focused effort as the story …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Fury’ Offers A Haunting and Thrilling Vision Of World War II

Film: Fury
Starring: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman
Directed By: David Ayer

Fury is a violent film about bad men doing bad things in the heart of Nazi-occupied Germany at the tail end of World War II. It’s the complete opposite of a feel-good film, but it just might be one of the year’s best cinematic experiences.

The men who inhabit the tank known as Fury are not a group of people you would normally think to pair together. You have a fearless leader who’s seen it all, the war-worn young man clinging to the hope that God has good plans …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Frontera’ Finds Murder And Misunderstanding Near The US-Mexico Border

Film: Frontera
Starring: Ed Harris, Michael Pena
Direct by: Michael Berry

Frontera does not know what kind of movie it wants to be when it begins, but as the film’s first half unfolds things eventually settle into a thought provoking and ever-so-slightly political tale of murder near the US-Mexico border. Miguel (Michael Pena), a man determined to make a better life for his family, crosses into the US illegally in the dead of night with every intention of sending for his wife, Paulina, once he gets settled. Together with his traveling partner, the two cross the vast desert of southern …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Varsity Blood’ Fails In Almost Every Way

Film: Varsity Blood
Starring: Lexi Giovagnoli, Wesley Scott, Debbie Rochon
Directed by: Jake Helgren

High school set horror films have always been a hot commodity in Hollywood, but in recent years very few titles have been worth more than a scoff and laugh. Varsity Blood hopes to put this trend to an end with a truly unique killer, but the latest feature from writer/director Jake Helgren ultimately falls victim to the same problems that have plagued this sub-genre for the last three decades.

Living in a small town where the biggest event on any given fall week is the local …

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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′

Film: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Directed By: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets tangled in its own web in all the wrong places, but somehow finds its spider-sense in all the right ones. First off, I need to get something out of the way: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 just downright has too much going on. Too many villains without true purposes fleshed out, too many plot deviations, too many dub-step “drops,” or whatever kids call them these days, just too much. But, when Marc Webb and company slow things down, …

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MOVIE REVIEW: Machete Kills

Film: Machete Kills
Starring: Danny Trejo
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez

When Robert Rodriguez originally announced plans to turn his Grind House faux trailer for Machete into an actual film many wondered if the final product would ever see the light of day. It did, and it surprisingly turned out to be a fantastic exercise in exploitation and escapism riddled with callbacks to the heyday of b-moviemaking. Machete Kills was teased when the film was released, and again many wrote it off as a joke, but here we are a handful of years later and Rodriguez has again made the ridiculous …

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MOVIE REVIEW: Fruitvale Station

Film: Fruitvale Station
Starring: Michael B. Jordan
Directed by: Ryan Coogler

If there is one indie film poised to make a big splash when awards season picks up, it’s Sundance favorite Fruitvale Station. Based on the true story of a young black man shot by a police officer on New Year’s Eve, the film captures a type of situation our society finds itself dealing with all too often, and in doing so makes itself one of the most important films of 2013.

Michael B. Jordan stars as Oscar Grant, which is the actual name of the person whose life …

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MOVIE REVIEW: Iron Man 3

Movie: Iron Man 3
Director: Shane Black
Writers: Shane Black, Drew Pearce
Studio:Marvel Studios, DMG Entertainment

You can stop saying “Stark Knight Rises” now. This expression has been doing the rounds since the very first trailer landed for Iron Man 3, implying that Tony Stark’s third outing would be some kind of serious, redemptive meditation on Marvel’s original [cinematic] superhero and his attempts to adjust to a post-Avengers universe. Well, that isn’t quite the case. It should have been clear from the moment Shane Black was announced as co-writer and director but Iron Man 3 is nothing like any …