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Today:  01/22/2018

Review: 'Cook Off!' fails to rise to the occasion

Posted January 16,2018 - 03:01 PM

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Every decent cook knows that sometimes the souffle just refuses to rise. You can follow the directions perfectly and use the freshest ingredients, but every now and then the end result isn't what you were hoping it would be.

Such is the case for Cook Off! A film that literally sat on the proverbial shelf for 10 years, Cook Off! is way past its expiration date and it shows. After debuting at the U.S. Comedy Arts in Aspen, Colorado in 2007, the film wouldn't see the light of day until late last year in a very limited theatrical run.

Starring an ensemble cast featuring Melissa McCarthy and Diedrich Bader among others, the film is a mockumentary set in the world of competitive baking. A lot has changed in the last decade and I believe that many of the film's jokes suffered in the long...

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Review: 'Rise of Scar' continues Disney Junior's animation dominance

Posted January 09,2018 - 04:31 PM

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Disney has been pretty busy lately. You may have heard that they bought LucasFilm a few years ago, gaining the rights to new Star Wars films. That seems to be working out for them. More recently, they brokered a deal to acquire most of Fox's assets which would presumably include the rights to the original Star Wars film and outstanding Marvel properties, namely X-Men and Deadpool. Oh sure, they will also get Fantastic Four, but that property is cursed and not even Disney and Marvel can resuscitate it.

The point is that Disney has had its hands full these past years and yet, they continue to produce high-quality animation content across all of their properties. Case in point, The Lion Guard: The Rise of Scar. As the father of two young children, I have witnessed first-hand how Disney...

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Review: 'My Little Pony: The Movie' is a fan favorite

Posted January 09,2018 - 02:52 PM

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I'm just going to put this out there on front street. I don't get the My Little Pony craze. I would not identify with the group of grown men that call themselves "Bronies." But, I am a father to a six-year-old girl, so I can appreciate the power of their draw and accept their place in the popular culture hierarchy much like we blindly love Garbage Pail Kids or Pet Rocks as children.

I think I just dated myself a bit there, didn't I?

But, I don't have to understand it. All I need to do is to look at my daughter's face when she is watching them, or playing with her dolls, or wearing them on her clothes, etc. I think you get my point. I don't have an active distaste for My Little Pony like some do, but I just don't get as much out of them myself as I do from other shows that my kids...

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Review: 'Bullet Head' takes home best in show

Posted January 09,2018 - 12:02 PM

Bullethead

I will be completely honest. I didn't know a much about Bullet Head before I put it in for this review. I remember enjoying writer-director Paul Solet's debut Grace, but that film was a psychological horror and this one appeared to be more along the lines of a crime thriller.

The cast was quite impressive and I was looking forward to seeing Adrien Brody and John Malkovich trade barbs and match wits. Heck, I was even intrigued to see what Rory Culkin was up to these days. I am happy to say that while I was a bit surprised by the path that the film takes, it was an enjoyable ride that manages to pack a message into the tired criminal heist trope.

The story follows a crew of career criminals looking for that last/one big score and the inevitable unraveling of the heist's best-laid plans....

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Review: Don't accept this 'Friend Request'

Posted January 09,2018 - 09:57 AM

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I think horror films are starting to become pretty derivative in the last few years. Save for the odd Get Out or Split, the genre has gotten pretty stale over the years and it needs a good kick in the butt.

Sadly, Friend Request is not the film that will break the mold. In fact, it is a film that epitomizes what is wrong with the genre. Whether it's Lights Out or The Ring, most of Friend Request has been done before, and to much better effect.

The filmmakers are hoping that by including Facebook, or rather a knockoff that is just dissimilar enough to avoid a lawsuit (allegedly), you will simply dismiss that this horror film is just another in a long line of films that have tread the same subject matter. While there is probably a case to be made that our obsession with social media and...

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Oscars outlook hazy after big Golden Globes night for 'Three Billboards'

Posted January 08,2018 - 11:55 AM

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Typically, the Golden Globes is seen as the dress rehearsal for the Academy Awards. Given its early placement in the awards season, the Golden Globes has always been a leading indicator of Oscar success, but this year's ceremony was unlike any show that came before it.

With actors and actresses mostly donned in black on black garb in a show of support for the Time's Up movement that opposes the air of sexual harassment that has plagued Hollywood for decades and was blown open by the allegations against Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein. The movement also calls for more transparency into the system that has led to a massive inequality based on gender, race and sexual orientation.

Amid this backdrop, host Seth Meyers did an admirable job of navigating the treacherous waters with...

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Review: 'Love Beats Rhymes' transcends convention

Posted January 02,2018 - 03:23 PM

Lovebeats

At face value, you are supposed to watch a film with a tabula rasa, or a clean slate, unless, of course, it's a sequel. Of course, we don't live in vacuums and sometimes it is impossible not to let the outside world seep in. If you don't believe me, try to go back and watch a Kevin Spacey film without thinking about the recent allegations against him.

To a lesser extent, I found it hard to watch Azealia Banks play basically herself as an aspiring rapper without thinking of the bizarre oddities in her personal life since this film was completed. I can't say that I am the biggest fan of hers, but I do recall that she had gotten into several Twitter feuds and something about blood and feathers in her closet. So, it was difficult to watch Love Beats Rhymes without thinking about her...

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Review: Vince Vaughn is revelatory in 'Brawl in Cell Block 99'

Posted December 27,2017 - 12:24 PM

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Last night, I was flipping through the channels looking for something to catch my attention in the abyss of post-Christmas TV fodder and I landed on Smokey and the Bandit. I hadn't seen that film in decades and I was curious to see if it still held up. The short answer is that it really does despite several anachronisms that make us long for a simpler time.

Surprisingly, my six-year-old daughter was enthralled by the film and would have finished it with me had sleep not overcome her about halfway through. Watching that film filled me with a bit of nostalgia for the odd collection of films that came out of the 1970s. My Dad loves these films and I only wish that my parents would have stayed in town a day longer so that we could have shared Smokey and the Bandit again one more time.

...

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Review: Discovery scores a hit in 'Manhunt: Unabomber'

Posted December 27,2017 - 11:01 AM

Unabomber

As many of you know by now, I'm a sucker for true crime stories. Stories with a hint of mystery in them especially pique my interest and there are few stories more compelling than the hunt for the Unabomber.

The recent demand for true crime dramatizations such as The People v O.J. Simpson sent networks scrambling for the next big thing and the Discovery Channel scored a big one in Manhunt: Unabomber. The Unabomber story is another one that resonates with a big TV viewing audience as, like O.J., we were alive to witness the crimes and the fallout on live TV.

This sort of verità programming on the local news eventually spawned reality TV and now the circle is complete with dramatizations based on these sensational true crimes. Ted Kaczynski, aka The Unabomber, was a domestic terrorist...

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Review: 'Leatherface' is a bloody throwback

Posted December 19,2017 - 04:51 PM

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There is no debate, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most horrifying films ever captured on celluloid. Naturally, the 1974 film went on to spawn a litany of sequels of varied quality before ultimately the franchise became a joke of Tobe Hooper's original vision.

While Hooper wasn't directly involved with the production of Leatherface, you can see subtle flourishes of his style that other sequels lacked. After his death earlier this year, we will most likely never know how he felt about the film, but I would imagine that he would be happy to see his franchise find its way back to the true path.

Leatherface is a prequel that tries to tell the backstory that ends with one of horror's most iconic killers. As you would imagine, the character arc that ends with a man wearing a mask...

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