Today:  09/18/2018

Review: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' reaches for new heights

Posted September 18,2018 - 03:47 PM

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When it comes to franchise development, there really isn't much in the playbook when it comes to the fifth installment. Attack of the Clones gets most of its street cred by not being as terrible as The Phantom Menace. The Final Frontier is a place that no self-respecting Star Trek fan ever wants to experience again. And don't even get me started on Friday the 13th's "New Beginning."

The fact of the matter is that many franchises fizzle out before they even get to their fourth sequel, so at best, the fifth film is a hail mary to try and resuscitate a decaying corpse. Perhaps the lone exception up until now that I can think of on the top of my head is Fast Five. That franchise has defied all of the odds and the fifth installment introduced Dwayne Johnson to their cinematic universe and...

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Review: True crime takes center stage in 'American Murder Mystery'

Posted September 18,2018 - 11:53 AM

American murder

I admit it. I'm a sucker for true crime content. Whether it's news stories, TV specials or even podcasts, if there are grisly details out there about a true crime, I'm intrigued. Add in an unsolved element and I am completely hooked. I think it has to do with the inherent curiosity in all of us, but I gobble up this content not only to become more knowledgeable about the crime but convinced that I might, in some way, be able to help solve the mystery.

Enter An American Murder Mystery and you know that I'm interested.

Investigation Discovery (ID) is a television network that provides documentary-type narratives of true crimes. Basically, it's like crack to people like me. As an off-shoot of the Discovery channel, they do a great job of producing content that is both informative and...

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Review: Keanu goes through the motions in 'Siberia'

Posted September 18,2018 - 10:45 AM

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There is a trend with these late in life action heroes. At some point, actors like Liam Neeson continually churn out brain-dead action films of varying degrees of quality one after another until we finally push back. While I think The Commuer was Liam's wake up call, Keanu Reeves has yet to answer that particular ringing phone yet.

Ever since the release of John Wick in 2014, we have been enjoying a Keanu renaissance that has us dreaming of his Matrix days. While the John Wick sequel was also quite enjoyable, Keanu's success with other action films in the last five years has been mixed at best.

This is where Siberia comes in. The premise is enticing enough and the promise of seeing Keanu share the screen with Molly Ringwald has at least piqued our interests to the point that we dust...

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Review: 'Damsel' rescues itself from old western tropes

Posted September 17,2018 - 04:03 PM


If you simply picked up Damsel after looking at the box and thought you were getting just another western film, you would be pleasantly surprised. The film is anything but a typical western, but if you like westerns then you will appreciate the film's many efforts to flip the genre on its proverbial ear.

The Zellner brothers are best known for Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter a film that dramatizes the urban legend about a Japanese woman who came to the United States to search for the buried money from the film Fargo. Like their filmmaking brother peers, the Zellners like to dabble in the same absurdity of the Coens and this irreverence is on full display in Damsel.

Robert Pattinson stars as Samuel Alabaster, a rich pioneer who ventures out to the American frontier to save his personal ...

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Review: Universal owns Halloween with 'Classic Monsters' on Blu-ray

Posted September 13,2018 - 04:52 PM

Classic monsters

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe existed, or color TVs for that matter, Universal enjoyed a lucrative run with their "Classic Monsters" series of films. These films are the classics upon which an entire genre sprouted. If you are a fan of today's horror films, then you must pay an homage for the trailblazing films and filmmakers that led the way.

There's only one slight problem with that. In today's ever-increasing digital streaming world, finding these older classic films on services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime is next to impossible. That's because these streaming services tend to ignore anything created before 1980.

On one hand, I get it. Their user base is made up mostly of millennials and, quite frankly, most of them have no idea what "Rosebud" even means. And if they...

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Review: 'Hereditary' joins a growing list of new horror classics

Posted September 04,2018 - 04:48 PM

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Here's the thing. You are either going to love Hereditary or hate it. There really is no middle ground with this film. It doesn't take much sleuthing around the Internet to see that the film has been a hit with critics, but its praise has been more subdued with general audiences.

While I tend to find myself agreeing more with the average Joe than the film snob, I really enjoyed Hereditary. It is the latest example of a budding sub-genre of horror that is really hard to put a label on. It's one of those things that you know it when you see it, but it's really hard to explain to someone. I'm thinking of films like Get Out, The Witch and Green Room as movies that would be a part of this nouveau niche of horror. It's also no small coincidence that three of these films (with Hereditary) are...

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Review: The stars align in 'The Big Take'

Posted September 04,2018 - 03:36 PM

Big take

I will admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for films that pull back the curtain on the inner machinations of Hollywood. It's why I enjoy films like Hail, Caesar!, The Player and Get Shorty more than I should.

The Big Take is the latest in this long line of comedic thrillers that is right in my wheelhouse. While many will make comparisons to Pulp Fiction, especially with Tarantino regular Robert Forster in the cast, I found that the film was more a cross between the irreverence of The Big Lebowski and the slick style of 2 Days in the Valley.

A would-be producer comes up with an elaborate plan to blackmail a Hollywood star to secure financing for a film. When the star hires a private investigator to track down the blackmailer, things go off the rails when a case of mistaken...

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Review: 'Beast' is both beautiful and frightening

Posted September 04,2018 - 12:26 PM

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It's funny. When I became a parent, I started to see films about parental intervention in a new light. No longer was I automatically on the side of the child, but rather I began to appreciate where the parental unit was coming from.

That's not to say that I automatically agreed with them, but I could see their own misguided attempts at love and protection manifest themselves in whatever abusive action that the youth deemed to be restrictive. No longer was it simply, no parties while we're out of town is fascist, suddenly, I had to take a pause and consider that perhaps that party will get out of hand and serious harm could befall the young, innocent child, who was suddenly a surrogate for my own child.

Beast is not a film with a harsh palette of black and white, but rather the film...

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Check out this exclusive clip from The Big Take

Posted September 04,2018 - 11:31 AM

Big take

Every now and then, I'm taken aback by something that comes together as a result of working in this industry. This is one of those instances.

I'm a huge Dan Hedaya fan and I'm always blown away every time he pops up unexpectedly in films. When I was watching The Big Take for review, his appearance in the film coincided with a strong uptick in the story. I don't believe this to be a coincidence.

We were further fortunate when the opportunity presented itself to debut an exclusive clip from the film featuring Hedaya making some of his sweet private investigator moves.

I don't want to give away too much of my review before it posts online later today, but if you're a fan of this particular genre including films like The Big Lebowski and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, then you'll...

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Review: 'American Animals' will steal your funny bone

Posted August 28,2018 - 04:40 PM

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Let's face it. We have an unnatural preoccupation with heist films. Whether it's Ocean's Eleven, Heat or Point Break, we have a soft spot in our hearts for the all-American heist. There have been so many over the years that I'm surprised that the Oscars hasn't given them their own category yet.

Whether it's a more serious film like Heat or more comical like the Ocean's films, there's just something about them that pique our interest. American Animals falls more into the latter category, but there are certainly dramatic elements. The film is based on a true story and features segments where they talk to the real would-be heisters themselves, giving the film a real documentary feel at times.

American Animals follows a crew of young men who decide to strike it rich by stealing...

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