Today:  01/23/2019

Review: 'American Renegades' falls short of the gold standard

Posted January 22,2019 - 04:33 PM

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The wife and I are big fans of a little TV show called Blindspot. Actually, our enjoyment of the show mostly stems in its ability to put our kids to sleep in like 10 seconds. That and the surly performances weekly from series star Sullivan Stapleton.

We weren't very familiar with Sullivan before the show started, but we've become big fans since. He's got a knack for playing the wounded FBI agent/military type down pat and it was only a matter of time before he took his talents to the big screen.

Well, American Renegades is a direct-to-video film, so there's not really the big screen per se, but it's a step in the right direction. Sullivan Stapleton plays the commander of a SEAL team in Sarajevo that discovers a fortune in Nazi gold is hidden at the bottom of a lake. Naturally, the...

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Review: The bizarro band is back together in 'Best F(r)iends'

Posted January 22,2019 - 03:34 PM

Best friends

The Room is by all reasonable accounts a terrible movie. And yet, it had reached a level of glory that few films ever reach, cult classic status. The type of film that plays non-stop at midnight showings at arthouse theaters across the country ad nauseum. It is the very definition of being so bad that it's actually fun to bask in its terribleness.

When they make a critically-lauded film about the dysfunction involved in making The Room, you know that you've officially landed on the cult classic list. That film, The Disaster Artist, shed new light on the enigma wrapped in a riddle that is Tommy Wiseau and most likely created a whole new breed of Tommy fans.

Not one to shy away from an opportunity to exploit this resurgence in popularity, Tommy and his main film cohort Greg Sestero...

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'Roma' and 'The Favourite' are showered with 10 Oscar noms each

Posted January 22,2019 - 02:26 PM


The Academy finally provided some clarity this morning. No, it did not finally name a new host after previously announced host Kevin Hart backed out due to some controversial tweets. What the Academy did do this morning was to announce the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards show.

With 10 nominations apiece, the early odds on favorites for Oscar glory are Roma and, um, The Favourite. Roma, the first Netflix film to earn a Best Picture nod, represents the new distribution model, while The Favourite is certainly more of a traditional film that has often won the day when the winners are announced.

Black Panther became the first comic book movie to receive a Best Picture nod, while Golden Globes upstart Bohemian Rhapsody only came away with five nominations. Beyond that, the...

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Review: 'After Darkness' sheds light on the human condition

Posted January 15,2019 - 03:47 PM

After dark

This week, there's a new movie starring some from Stranger Things. Natalia Dyer, who plays Nancy Wheeler in the incredibly popular Netflix show Stranger Things, transitions over the film side of the industry for this Sci-Fi slow-burner.

Did I mention Stranger Things?

From the marketing materials to the trailer, it's pretty clear that they want to make it known that Natalia Dyer is in Stranger Things. And I get it, the show is immensely popular and the highly anticipated third season is just around the corner this Summer, why wouldn't you want to highlight this fact? But sometimes, a little promotion goes a long way.

Besides, I'm not entirely convinced that the show's primary fanbase would get much enjoyment out of After Darkness. It's more of a Sci-Fi drama while Stranger Things...

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Review: 'Speed Kills' is latest Travolta flop

Posted January 15,2019 - 12:15 PM


What happened to John Travolta? Of course, this was the same thing we asked in the late 1980s when the Grease and Saturday Night Fever star was toiling away in cinematic bombs such as The Experts and Shout. Enter Quentin Tarantino and the rest is history.

Of course, it didn't take long for Travolta to waste away all of the goodwill from Pulp Fiction. I had thought that he hit rock bottom in last year's Gotti, but then I saw Speed Kills.

Based on the true story of Don Aronoff, a Miami speedboat icon, John Travolta stars as Ben Aronoff in a not so subtle nod to the fact that the filmmakers wouldn't even spend the money to properly attain the rights to Don's life story. Don, I mean Ben, is a big deal in the speedboat world and he's also rich which means that Travolta gets plenty of...

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Review: 'mid90s' is an intimate look at adolescence

Posted January 08,2019 - 04:30 PM


There was a period in my life when I was all about the skate culture. I was what you would call a poseur because I couldn't skateboard to save my life. There was a brief time when this culture permeated the youth scene and helped to shape the lives of those who happened to come of age between like 1988 and 1998.

Jonah Hill was born in 1983, so much like the protagonist in mid90s, he was 13 during the mid-1990s. Whether Jonah Hill was ever fully immersed in this culture at this time (he did grow up in L.A.) or if he simply observed it from the outside, he artfully creates a love letter to this truly unique American experience in his directorial debut.

mid90s follows Stevie as he comes of age in L.A. in the mid-1990s and finds his identity and friends through the local skate culture....

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Review: 'Hell Fest' kills off an interesting idea

Posted January 08,2019 - 03:36 PM

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When all of the big horror films hit theaters in October for Halloween, it means that we get a nice little January fright fest on home entertainment. If you're a fan of blood, guts, and gore, then this month will provide plenty. Unfortunately, they aren't all as satisfying as promised.

Next week's Halloween is the brass ring this month, but this week's Hell Fest is an appetizer that might provide just enough scares to get you into the spirit for next week's main event. I remember reading about a real event that happened here in Tennessee last October and I thought it must have been a poorly executed marketing gimmick for this film.

At one of these massive Halloween complexes that always spring up around here in October, someone was stabbed when a real knife was snuck into the complex....

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Review: 'Time Freak' proves that love is complicated

Posted January 08,2019 - 02:36 PM

Time freak

Love is equally the most wonderful and most painful emotion that humans can experience. It has the power to lift you up to be a better person and it can destroy you in a blink of an eye.

In Time Freak, a great young cast of upcoming A-listers struggle with the realities of life in love while adding the interesting complication of time travel. On the surface, the ability to travel back in time and fix all of the little problems of a relationship sounds like a good idea, but love is much more complicated than that.

The two stars of the film, Asa Butterfield and Sophie Turner, aren't quite household names yet, but they will be soon. If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, then you were early on the Sophie Turner train as she has slain (literally and metaphorically) the competition...

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Review: 'The Oath' frolics in holiday discord

Posted January 08,2019 - 12:05 PM

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It's been a hot minute since last we reviewed a movie. To be fair, the releases slow to a trickle between Christmas and New Year's and allow us all to catch our collective breath before the new year's new films start to unspool.

Interestingly, this week gives us a different sort of holiday film to cherish, The Oath. Thanksgiving films are seemingly few and far between, but they usually deliver more bang for their buck. See Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Pieces of April, Dutch, Home for the Holidays, etc.

There's just something about Thanksgiving that screams family dysfunction. While Christmas is more the holiday where everyone gets along for better or worse, there are no rules when it comes to Thanksgiving. It's the uncomfortable uncle of holidays and my family unabashedly...

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Review: 'Venom' is an enigma, but an enjoyable one

Posted December 18,2018 - 05:06 PM

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When you head over to Rotten Tomatoes and notice a huge discrepancy between the critics' score and the audience's score, then you know that you're most likely dealing with a comic book movie. While the rise of Marvel films has helped to stem the tide of such glaring differences of opinion, there's just something inherently polarizing about comic book films.

This disconnect is alive and well for Venom as it currently holds a 29% with the critics and a whopping 85% with audiences. That tells me that Venom is most likely a fun action film where you are expected to leave your brain at the door and enjoy the ride. And that's precisely what you get with Venom.

In this film, Venom, one of Spider-Man's biggest adversaries, is given an origin film that basically excises everything related to...

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