Today:  02/18/2019

Review: Willem Dafoe is maddeningly brilliant in 'At Eternity's Gate'

Posted February 12,2019 - 04:12 PM

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If there is a better marriage between actor and real-life subject than the one created between Willem Dafoe and Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity's End, then I can't think of it. The mercurial actor was born to play the depressed post-impressionist painter and he absolutely knocks it out of the park.

If there's a dark horse at the Oscars in a couple of weeks to capture the Best Actor statue, it would be Dafoe and his brilliant turn as the misunderstood painter. I should probably preface this review with an admission that I am a massive Van Gogh fan. When my wife and I visited Paris last year, we spent an entire day in the MusÃe d'Orsay enjoying the many works from Van Gogh and other master painters. We have a print of "The Church at Auvers" hanging in our kitchen.

We are big Van...

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Review: 'Norm of the North' sequel is on thin ice

Posted February 12,2019 - 02:50 PM


I have learned plenty since I first became a father seven years ago. As a movie aficionado, I have learned that kids really have no inherent taste in entertainment options and will watch some terrible things over and over again until you want to pull out all of your hair. But I digress.

The latest example of shameless child exploitation masquerading as a feature-length film is Norm of the North: Keys to the Kingdom. The sequel to the theatrically-released Norm of the North, Keys to the Kingdom continues the adventures of Norm as he acclimates to his position as King of the Polar Bears.

The first film was a critical and commercial flop, so the sudden appearance of a sequel was rather surprising. The direct-to-video film literally spawned out of nowhere with a whole new voice cast and...

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Review: 'Guardian of the Seas' is a beautifully shot military film

Posted February 04,2019 - 04:55 PM


Technology has improved every facet of our lives. Whether it's the ability to instantly communicate with anyone else in the world thanks to mobile phones or the computing technology that makes these smartphones more adept than early computers, it's clear that we wouldn't be where we are today without advancements in technology.

One aspect of technology advancement that many of us take for granted is military technology. Sure, we get some mixture of truth and science fiction on the big screen, but the military sector is one of the places where technology has truly revolutionized their industry. We now have remote battle options through unmanned drones and smart bombs that can literally hit anywhere with remarkable precision.

In fact, you could say that military technology is a scary...

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Review: 'All The Devil's Men' doesn't live up to its title

Posted February 04,2019 - 04:50 PM

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The best thing that this film has going for it is the title. All The Devil's Men is the sort of title befitting a big budget International spy thriller. While this film checks off some of those boxes, it is anything but big budget.

The problem with All The Devil's Men is mostly one of fatigue. We have seen this movie a dozen times over this year and it's only February. It seems that secondary titles are currently obsessed with CIA agents and rogue spies. Call it the Mission: Impossible effect if you will, but until those films stop making hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, we will be drowning from a glut of low-budget knockoffs.

All The Devil's Men follows a team of hardened military operatives who are recruited by the CIA for a black op to track down a...

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Review: 'Hunter Killer' is an explosive ride

Posted January 31,2019 - 04:59 PM

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There's a reason why submarine movies are a big hit. The tense, claustrophobic action is the basis of many nightmares. If you simply say the word "submarine," you can already start to feel the hull of the sub closing in on you.

There are great submarine movies (The Hunt For Red October, Das Boot) and there are terrible submarine movies (Ice Station Zebra), but there is always an abundance of sub movies. There's just something inherently cool and unknown about the danger underwater that draws us into the action.

Enter Hunter Killer in which an American submarine captain hunts for a U.S. sub in distress but uncovers a Russian coup. Now, he must lead a desperate plan to rescue the deposed Russian President and avoid World War 3.

While this film's plot is hardly anything...

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Review: 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' is a family favorite

Posted January 29,2019 - 04:56 PM

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I know, I know. You're sitting there reading the headline and thinking that I must have lost my marbles. I'm with you. When I sat down to watch this film, I was convinced that it would be the stinker that so many other critics claim it to be, but I was honestly surprised that I enjoyed The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

It probably helped that I didn't screen it in some stodgy film theater all by myself, but rather with my family in the comfort of our home. My son, 5, and my daughter, 7, were the perfect pint-sized companions to help me unlock my own enjoyment of the film. Perhaps it was the super low expectations or the look of sheer excitement on my children's faces, but I saw in them the unmistakable power of cinema over a film that I was sure would just be another dud.


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Review: 'Suspiria' will make your head explode

Posted January 29,2019 - 03:53 PM

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And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

The Luca Guadagnino remake/homage/love letter Suspiria will certainly draw rave reviews from the Dario Argento fanatics out there, but how does it hold up for the layperson? Well, I'm happy to say that while the film truly earns the Argento seal of trippiness, the film should play quite nicely for most horror aficionados out there.

Of course, Suspiria is not for everyone and with its two and a half hour run time, it will certainly test the patience of any horror buff, but we promise that the payoff is most definitely worth it. If you are a fan of Dario Argento, you will appreciate all of the subtle nods to the horror master. If you are too young to appreciate Dario Argento, first, shame on you, second, there is still plenty to like about ...

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Review: 'Slice' cuts you up with ghoulish goodness

Posted January 29,2019 - 02:19 PM


There are some films that you know from the first frame will be cinematic classics. Slice is not one of those, but it is one that will make you laugh and require numerous repeat viewings. Back in my day, we used to call these films "cult classics" and it's certainly worth a mention in the same breath as The Room and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Slice would be very comfortable playing to a packed house at midnight in an arthouse theater. It would be premature to anoint it a cult classic as those films earn that distinction through the test of time, but it has a head start on its competition.

The most dangerous job in Kingfisher is that of a pizza delivery driver. With ghosts, werewolves, and witches lurking about, anytime is the right time for an untimely end. After a string of...

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Review: 'Suburbia' holds up as a historical record

Posted January 28,2019 - 04:41 PM


I have to admit, I didn't get into punk music until the tail end of the musical revolution. Don't blame my musical tastes, blame my age. I was 13 when The Dead Milkmen's "Beelzebubba," but I was hooked.

I remember forcing my mom to take me and my junior high Pat Gruse to a local record shop (kids, ask your parents) to meet The Dead Milkmen. Again, I was 13 and little did I know what I was getting myself into. While my memories are foggy, I do remember that despite the long lines, the band was great and gave us a bunch of tchotchkes to anoint us into the family of punk.

While often misunderstood, the punk community was and continues to be a caring close-knit community, much akin to a family. In many ways, director Penelope Spheeris tried to capture this feeling in her feature-length...

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Review: 'Blood Brother' comes out guns ablazing

Posted January 28,2019 - 03:17 PM

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While Blood Brother might not the most exciting new release this week, I found it the most intriguing as yet another moral study in race relations close on the heels of the wonderful Blindspotting. While the earlier film took time to develop the characters and lead to a tense climax, Blood Brother preferred to take a more guns-first approach.

When childhood friends escalate their criminal rap sheets with an opportunistic crime, one of them is captured and sent away to prison. When he's released from prison, he starts to enact his revenge on those he felt conspired to send him away.

The story starts with promise as a gang of juvenile delinquents for lack of a better word get in over their heads when a golden opportunity literally lands in their laps. With most of the heavy...

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