fruitvalestation September 02

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Unfortunately, the subject matter of Fruitvale Station always seems timely. This 2013 motion picture is written and directed by Ryan Coogler and is based on the last day in the life of Oscar Grant III. Grant was shot by a BART police officer on January 1, 2009. He was unarmed and shot in the back while […]

brick mansions1 August 31

Brick Mansions (2014)

A remake of the 2004 French film District 13, Brick Mansions is a harmless but dull actioner. This 2014 motion picture is directed by Camille Delamarre and is noted for being Paul Walker’s last completed film before his death in November of 2013. He is a charismatic draw and brings a certain degree of integrity […]

notdead August 30

God’s Not Dead (2014)

A self-righteous, staggeringly unkind hunk of nonsense, God’s Not Dead comes from Pure Flix Entertainment and is directed by Harold Cronk. This 2014 film is a “Christian drama” that deals in the sort of broad claptrap touted in introductory apologetics settings. The entire point of the movie is to cheer for the home team, theoretically […]

thecall1 August 30

The Call (2013)

Directed by Brad Anderson, The Call has all the makings of a decent thriller until it stumbles headlong into the most formulaic climax imaginable and undoes all the goodwill from the previous hour. This 2013 picture was originally imagined as a television series by screenwriter Richard D’Ovidio. The idea was fine-tuned into a theatrical project […]

storm! August 29

X-Men (2000)

Bryan Singer has the duty of helming 2000’s X-Men, a comic book picture so steeped in anticipation and hype that it seemed almost destined to come up short. And yet the film managed to launch a franchise, arguably several franchises, and set in motion a trend toward comic book movies that hasn’t waned to this […]

haunted August 28

A Haunted House 2 (2014)

There are parts of good jokes to be found in A Haunted House 2 and there are some laughs, which makes it a marked improvement on its 2013 predecessor. This 2014 sequel is the brainchild of Marlon Wayans, who stars, writes and produces. Michael Tiddes is the director, as with the first picture, and Rick […]

seagal1 August 27

Shadow Man (2006)

Steven Seagal’s direct-to-video output continues with Shadow Man, an intensely convoluted 2006 effort directed by Michael Keusch. The picture inexplicably also features Imelda Staunton in an admittedly minor role and features some of the funniest scenes in the entire Seagal canon. Those looking for serious action thrills will be disappointed, but that comes with the […]

dhoom1 August 25

Dhoom (2004)

A rollicking good time, Dhoom is a 2004 guilty pleasure from India. It features lavish musical numbers, chase sequences edited with an overzealous flair that would make even Michael Bay turn his head and a buddy cop scenario that’s honestly quite entertaining. Sure, it’s stacked to the rafters with clichés. That’s kind of the point, […]

plaza August 24

The To Do List (2013)

Written and directed by Maggie Carey, The To Do List really should be funnier than it is. It has an amusing premise, but it never develops things past the first level and feels a little too cool for its own good. It also continues the sad trend of having actors in their late 20s playing […]

kickass2 August 23

Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

A blistering, surprisingly sharp bit of comic violence, Kick-Ass 2 is the sequel to the 2010 original. This outing is written and directed by Jeff Wadlow and based on the comic book of the same name by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. The British director Matthew Vaughn helmed Kick-Ass but shifted duties to production.

Townies August 22

Neighbors (2014)

The concept of adulthood sort of sits at the core of Neighbors, the 2014 comedy from director Nicholas Stoller. Unfortunately, this picture runs into the problems most modern comedies seem afflicted by and is a patchwork of pop culture references, bawdy humour, obsessive and unrealistic profanity, and a cruel edge.

sinbad2 August 22

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

A terrific fantasy adventure yarn, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is directed by Nathan H. Juran and features the concepts and animation of Ray Harryhausen. The 1958 picture is at least somewhat based on the stories of the heroic sailor with Persian or Arabic roots, but Juran’s version features all the flash and fun of […]

mars attacks! August 21

Mars Attacks! (1996)

Tim Burton helms the big budget bonanza Mars Attacks!, a science fiction comedy that’s a little too crowded for its own good. The 1996 motion picture is top-loaded with so many stars that it gets out of hand, plus its $100 million budget seems a little overzealous. Sometimes less is more, but Burton doesn’t exactly […]

seagal August 20

Mercenary for Justice (2006)

Directed by Don E. Fauntleroy, Mercenary for Justice has the honour of being one of the most needlessly intricate of all the Steven Seagal movies. That’s saying a lot. Seagal worked with Fauntleroy on Today You Die, which was apparently made at the same time as this 2006 direct-to-video release. It’s hard to argue that […]

jolie August 19

Maleficent (2014)

A tedious “reimagining” of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty placed in a live action world heavy on the CGI, Maleficent is a letdown. The 2014 picture is directed by Robert Stromberg and features a Linda Woolverton screenplay that flirts with meaning, but the packaging is so bland and the aesthetic is so lukewarm that it’s hard to […]

dorseys August 18

The Fabulous Dorseys (1947)

The scrappy story of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey is the subject of the 1947 picture The Fabulous Dorseys. Jimmy was a saxophonist and clarinetist, while his brother Tommy was a trombonist and trumpeter. Both went on to become bandleaders as well and they got their respective starts in numerous outfits that saw them play together. […]

nutty August 16

The Nutty Professor (1996)

Without Eddie Murphy, it’s impossible to imagine The Nutty Professor working as well as it does. The 1996 remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis vehicle is directed by Tom Shadyac and has a certain zany spirit, but it’s the performance(s) of its star that really sends it over the top. Murphy is enjoying himself almost […]

paul August 15

Need for Speed (2014)

Need for Speed is such an insufferable car movie that it actually takes the time to point out a cyclist blown aside by the protagonist’s dangerous driving. The camera jabs away at the poor two-wheeler like a laugh from Nelson Muntz. The film is based on the video game franchise and tries to develop a […]

jerrymaguire August 14

Jerry Maguire (1996)

While it’s kind of overcrowded and tends to drown in its own clichés, there’s still something special about Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. This is the sort of romantic picture that is quoted and remembered. It’s the sort of movie that offers iconic images and seems designed like an advertisement for its own great moments.

blackdawn1 August 13

Black Dawn (2005)

The weird thing about Black Dawn is that it’s somehow not terrible. This 2005 flick stars Steven Seagal and is actually the sequel to The Foreigner, a film that is surely one of the ponytailed one’s absolute worst efforts. Black Dawn has Seagal revise the role of Jonathan Cold, but that’s about all it has […]

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