Visitor Q (2001)

Takashi Miike is credited with seven or eight films in the year 2001, including the previously discussed The Happiness of the Katakuris. Family was the theme in that outing and it wound up being a vibrant and bizarre musical comedy. Family is also the theme of Visitor Q and it is again a tale of […]

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Jurassic World (2015)

There are precious few minutes of promise in Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, the long-awaited fourth outing in the Jurassic Park film series. But that promise quickly fades into a quagmire of ruin, turning this 2015 movie into a disappointing experience that stomps from the silly to the downright excruciating.

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Superman: The Movie (1978)

Richard Donner’s vision of the titular character in his 1978 film Superman: The Movie is one filled with hope and wonder. There are no devastated city blocks, no disseminated innocents fleeing collapsing towers. There is, rather, an almost pastoral pace with visions of Smallville’s boundless fields contrasted with the sky-high megaliths of Metropolis and the […]

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The Expendables 3 (2014)

Sylvester Stallone and all his brawny pals are back for another run with The Expendables 3, the 2014 follow-up to 2012’s The Expendables 2. The first Expendables picture emerged in 2010 when reunions and action team-ups were big business, but the franchise has managed to live on and looks to continue to do so. That’s […]

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Top Five (2014)

Chris Rock writes, directs and stars in 2014’s Top Five, a clever motion picture that involves real people having semi-real conversations about real subjects. Sometimes the dialogue is a little too on-the-nose, like the characters are doing bits, but most of the comedy works and the emotional tone generally feels authentic.

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Film Noir Friday: Raw Deal (1948)

Anthony Mann once again joins with cinematographer John Alton to turn up gritty noir gold with 1948’s Raw Deal. This is a tale that twists with a simmering relationship dynamic and an escaped convict yarn. Both strands dovetail neatly to explore the psyches of its lead characters, delving into a world where freedom is ephemeral […]

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Insurgent (2015)

Based on the trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth, the Divergent series rolls into the station with its second entry. 2015’s Insurgent picks up where 2014’s Divergent left off, only there’s a new director and the stakes seem a little higher. German director Robert Schwentke does the honours, helming the Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and […]

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Fudoh: The New Generation (1997)

Based on a manga by Hitoshi Tanimura, Takashi Miike’s Fudoh: The New Generation is a blood-soaked celebration of violent excess. The 1997 movie is kind of a precursor to Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale with its exploration of generational gaps and the sacrifices children make for their elders. These are certainly common themes in the taiyozoku films […]

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015)

As the sequel to 2009’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Andy Fickman’s Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 has been universally and predictably panned by critics. This 2015 comedy is no classic and has a tendency to play its one or two notes to death, but it’s also not nearly as dreadful as some might have you […]

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X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Brett Ratner steps in to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, the third film in the Marvel Comics superhero series. This 2006 outing follows 2003’s X2 and 2000’s X-Men, both of which were helmed by Bryan Singer. The screenplay is by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, based on a couple of ­X-Men comic book arcs.

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A Promise (2013)

Based on Stefan Zweig’s Journey into the Past, Patrice Leconte’s 2013 film A Promise is an unfortunate mess. The French filmmaker attempts to set the German novel in a decidedly English sensibility and winds up crafting a motion picture that is somehow both inert and on the nose. There are few threads of delicacy, which […]

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Film Noir Friday: T-Men (1947)

Anthony Mann’s T-Men is often cited as an example of the style of film noir, with John Alton’s brilliant cinematography and lighting highlighting the “semi-documentary” underpinnings of John C. Higgins’ screenplay. On its face, it’s tempting to define this 1947 outing as a cool procedural and in many ways that’s an apt descriptor. But it’s […]

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Cinderella (2015)

Disney’s live action update of Cinderella is so powdered in magic and fairy dust it might produce coughing fits. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this 2015 take on the 1960 animated feature and the Charles Perreault fairy tale is awash in whimsy and wonder. It looks the part, transporting the audience to a land of exquisite […]

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Poltergeist (2015)

It’s fair to call the 2015 version of Poltergeist an “efficient scare machine” because it is an entirely mechanical motion picture. This machine of a movie is a remake of the 1982 Tobe Hooper horror flick, so right off the bat some will say Gil Kenan is traipsing on sacred ground. Remakes aren’t necessarily bad, […]

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Enter the Dragon (1973)

When it comes to Bruce Lee pictures, most people swear by Enter the Dragon. The 1973 film is directed by Robert Clouse, with Lee helming the opening sequence and writing the screenplay along with Michael Allin. The first Chinese martial arts flick produced by a major Hollywood studio, Enter the Dragon is quintessential Lee in […]

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