While it’s a little heavy-handed at times, Andrew Lau and Andy Loo’s 2014 film Revenge of the Green Dragons is still a mostly interesting crime thriller. It runs as a potpourri of genres and often has time settling on what it wants to be, floating from a Hong Kong actioner to a New York crime […]Read more "Revenge of the Green Dragons (2014)"
One of the better Steven Seagal films of the last few years is 2014’s A Good Man, a picture that features director Keoni Waxman finally finding his groove and places the protagonist exactly where he needs to be. The flick is kind of a blend of everything Seagal has thrown at audiences over the last […]Read more "Seagalmania: A Good Man (2014)"
Known variously as Kong Island or King of Kong Island or even Eve, the Wild Woman, this 1968 exploitation film is a treat for fans of preposterous, moronic cinema. Roberto Mauri directs what is a gratingly stupid but somehow entertaining collection of stock footage, science fiction and jungle babe prancing and turns in about 90 […]Read more "Kong Island (1968)"
Jorge Gutierrez’s The Book of Life is a frustrating animated picture. It’s more visually inventive than most and it has a solid story at its core, but the plot takes too many turns and there’s an almost insufferable insistence on being “cool” that keeps it down. This is made all the more maddening by the […]Read more "The Book of Life (2014)"
Directed by Dean DeBlois, How to Train Your Dragon 2 returns to the well that delivered the 2010 original and wanders down the same roads. This 2014 film is as formulaic as many CGI animated features, complete with the musical cues and elegant moments of whimsy that reveal the creative art as a path to […]Read more "How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)"
Like most erotic thrillers, Addicted exists in a world of make-believe. The 2014 motion picture is based on the novel of the same name by the author Zane, whose other works have been turned into Cinemax programs. Addicted feels like one of those Cinemax programs, complete with monotonous camerawork and muggy but half-hearted erotica.Read more "Addicted (2014)"
Somewhere in the bizarre neo-noir that is Justin Steele’s 2014 film Gutshot Straight is Steven Seagal smoking a big cigar and carrying a drawling accent. He’s not the star of the show by any extent, but seeing him is interesting. It’s as though Seagal enjoyed playing a gangster in 2013’s Force of Execution but only had […]Read more "Seagalmania: Gutshot Straight (2014)"
There are a few things to get out of the way before digging into Daniel Barnz’s Cake. First, it’s long past time to do away the notion that a woman is “bold” for taking a role that requires her to “play ugly.” Going without makeup should no longer be viewed as some sort of brave […]Read more "Cake (2014)"
Director J. C. Chandor has run the gamut between the very busy Margin Call and the very solitary All Is Lost. The former was an exciting Wall Street thriller, while the latter featured Robert Redford and his boat. Chandor’s latest, 2014’s A Most Violent Year, is paced somewhere between the two. It’s a slow-burning crime […]Read more "A Most Violent Year (2014)"
Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper is a stunning example of the power of cinematic craftsmanship. The 2014 motion picture has become a political football for many Americans, with all manner of opportunists using it to make one point or another. But the film itself is more meditative than the vehemence suggests, with Eastwood constructing a restrained […]Read more "American Sniper (2014)"
Steven Seagal and director Keoni Waxman are together again with 2013’s Force of Execution, a direct-to-video release that’s unique in a lot of ways when compared to the star’s recent output. For one, he’s got a goatee. That may seem insignificant for the uninitiated, but this black scruff of hair does provide a touch of […]Read more "Seagalmania: Force of Execution (2013)"
By the time Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers, never the best of friends, signed on to deliver The Pink Panther Strikes Again, things between the director and star were a mess. This 1976 comedy was a hastily produced number, one that featured a “certifiable” Sellers (to use Edwards’ term) and one that the actor was […]Read more "The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)"
It’s tempting to consider Doug Liman’s banging and crashing Edge of Tomorrow as some sort of clever critique of the wholly repetitive nature of entertainment. The 2014 picture presents a sort of science fiction Groundhog Day and meshes it with the video game mentality of reappearing after death and getting just a touch deeper into […]Read more "Edge of Tomorrow (2014)"
It’s interesting to consider the similarities between director David Ayer’s two 2014 films. The Arnold Schwarzenegger-led Sabotage concerned a group of bellicose DEA agents, while the Brad Pitt-led Fury features a group of bellicose American soldiers fighting in Nazi Germany. Both films deal heavily with Alpha personalities, with men conducting themselves in “constant states of […]Read more "Fury (2014)"
Directed by Keoni Waxman, Maximum Conviction stars Steven Seagal and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. That fact alone is likely enough to send some readers staggering to locate what must, by all logic, be a masterwork of direct-to-career action. Unfortunately, this 2012 film comes up well short of its billing and is a tortuous, overflowing mess.Read more "Seagalmania: Maximum Conviction (2012)"
The Imitation Game is a movie about secrets. The 2014 film is directed by Morten Tyldum and tells the tale of Alan Turing, the computer scientist and cryptanalyst responsible for cracking the Nazis’ Enigma code. This major victory led to the Allies defeating the Nazis in World War II. It also led to the personal […]Read more "The Imitation Game (2014)"
Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, The Boxtrolls lacks the energy and flavour of previous Laika productions and feels a touch on the underwhelming side. This 2014 animated feature is the recent recipient of an Academy Award nomination and is an adaptation of Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters! novel.Read more "The Boxtrolls (2014)"
The film that caused a bit of a stir, The Interview is a disappointment on just about every level. Everyone knows about the “controversy” surrounding North Korea’s threat of “merciless” action and everyone knows the fallout, with theatres calling off screenings and Sony consequently pulling the 2014 comedy. It was eventually released online and in […]Read more "The Interview (2014)"
Directed by Chad Stahelski (and presumably David Leitch), John Wick is an unexpected action treat from 2014. The picture features a screenplay by Derek Kolstad and functions as a bit of a pot-stirrer in the often tired genre thanks to some dazzling fight scenes that would have John Woo salivating. There is a distinctive Hong […]Read more "John Wick (2014)"
After briefly pulling his wagon into theatres as the villainous Rogelio Torrez in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, Steven Seagal returns to the direct-to-video well with Born to Raise Hell. This 2010 offering wasn’t released in the United States until April of 2011 and it represents a bit of a slowdown in terms of productivity for its […]Read more "Seagalmania: Born to Raise Hell (2010)"