The French Connection (1971)

William Friedkin’s crime thriller The French Connection is a crackerjack of a movie. It’s the first R-rated flick to win the Oscar for Best Picture and it’s one of the finest films in the genre. Mostly noted for its critical and downright dazzling chase sequence, this outing is actually a layered exercise in moving a […]

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Death Wish (1974)

Like most exploitation films, the moral waters of Death Wish are muddy. It’s tempting to view this 1974 vigilante revenge picture as an emboldened NRA fantasy, but there’s a little more to it than that. Directed by Michael Winner, there’s certainly a case to be made for the “good guy with a gun” mentality of […]

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Underworld: Awakening (2012)

The fourth entry in the Underworld series is a breezy, hard-edged action horror picture that gets in and gets out in a mere 88 minutes. Underworld: Awakening is the slightest movie in the series. It’s also lean and mean, a striking and almost Nordic example of cinematic efficiency. It perhaps stands to reason that its […]

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Underworld: Evolution (2006)

As the second entry in the series, 2006’s Underworld: Evolution certainly marks a progression from the 2003 original. It takes the compelling backstory, with its meticulous mythology, and opens things up considerably with a more satisfying finished product. This is bloody, sexy B-movie stuff, the exact sort of motion picture required for this kind of […]

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Underworld (2003)

There’s a lot of walking and movement in Underworld, the 2003 action horror movie directed by Len Wiseman, and in a lot of ways that’s the best of what this outing brings to the table. Sure, there’s a story about vampires fighting werewolves and there’s a pretty impressive mythology backing the whole thing. But for […]

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Mean Girls (2004)

There’s a good mix of sour and sweet to be found in Mean Girls, the 2004 comedy from director Mark Waters. This is kind of an SNL film in a number of ways, with Lorne Michaels producing and Tina Fey penning the screenplay. It even features a horde of stars from the show, including Fey, […]

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Tammy (2014)

Directed by Ben Falcone, Tammy isn’t as bad as its reputation suggests and yet it still has trouble finding any footing. It contains an admirable working class quality in that it doesn’t rely on conventional standards to float its conventional road trip comedy clichés, but there’s still a lot of trouble in terms of cohesion […]

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42nd Street (1933)

Directed by Lloyd Bacon and featuring choreography by the great Busby Berkeley, 42nd Street is a scintillating backstage musical that builds to a tremendous set of production numbers for its last 20 minutes or so. Bacon’s picture was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1934 and features music by Harry Warren and Al Dubin.

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Tombstone (1993)

Directed by George P. Cosmatos from a screenplay by Kevin Jarre, Tombstone is one of those audacious westerns that shouldn’t be as good as it is but gets by on its sheer nerve. It’s narrated by Robert Mitchum, for one, and features a lot of images of moustachioed men walking to drum-heavy, clanking music. It’s […]

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The Equalizer (2014)

Denzel Washington plays hero in Antoine Fuqua’s satisfying 2014 yarn The Equalizer. The film is somewhat based on the TV series from the mid-1980s of the same name and it marks the second collaboration between the director and star, with the first being 2001’s Training Day. This time around, Washington’s character has a different take […]

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Dracula Untold (2014)

Dracula Untold is another CGI-soaked film that purports to tell the origin story of a character everyone already knows the origin of. In this case, it’s the titular Dracula. Bram Stoker’s novel is about as far from the mind as possible, with director Gary Shore making his feature film debut by weaving together a story […]

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The Boy Next Door (2015)

Angst-filled and silly, Rob Cohen’s The Boy Next Door is an attempted throwback to the erotic thrillers of the 1990s. It certainly has the plot, with an older woman seduced by a younger man only to fall victim to his frightening nature. Like Christian Grey of the unfortunate Fifty Shades of Grey universe, The Boy […]

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