Jonathan Taylor Thomas makes for a grating protagonist in the 1998 Christmas comedy I’ll Be Home for Christmas. The film is directed by Arlene Sanford from a screenplay by Michael Allin, Tom Nursall and Harris Goldberg. It has the usual Walt Disney Pictures trappings of the era, including a wonky sense of what’s cool.Read more "I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)"
Those with an aversion to schmaltz should steer well clear of Fred Claus, a 2007 Christmas movie so loaded with unstable sweetness it’s nearly unbearable. On the other hand, there’s somewhat of a remarkable quality to the David Dobkin comedy that suggests magic in the David Fogelman and Jessie Nelson screenplay and several surprises from […]Read more "Fred Claus (2007)"
One of the more objectionable modern Christmas movies is the 2008 endeavour Four Christmases. This Yuletide rom-com is directed by Seth Gordon from a screenplay Matt R. Allen, Caleb Wilson, Jon Lucas, and Scott Moore. It is a vehicle for the homespun services of stars Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn and it has a lot […]Read more "Four Christmases (2008)"
As Christmas movies go, Christmas with the Kranks is almost doggedly awful. This 2004 comedy is based on the 2001 John Grisham novel Skipping Christmas, with a screenplay by Chris Columbus. Joe Roth directs without an ounce of anything artistic, while cinematographer Don Burgess utilizes a conventional style.Read more "Christmas with the Kranks (2004)"
Directed by John Murlowski from a screenplay by Jonathan Bond, Fred Mata and Dorrie Krum Raymond, Santa with Muscles has the honour of landing in the bottom rated movies over at IMDb and is often found on many a “worst movies” list. That assessment seems a little excessive, especially considering the context of such a […]Read more "Santa with Muscles (1996)"
A jumbled but entertaining effort, the 2016 incarnation of Ghostbusters luckily has enough juice in the proton pack to overcome the overblown trappings of Paul Feig’s approach. The director also wrote the screenplay with Katie Dippold, who wrote Feig’s The Heat in 2013.Read more "Ghostbusters (2016)"
A scrambled, desperate film, Suicide Squad is another entry in the DC extended universe and another advertisement for a franchise. Like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, this 2016 movie is a link in a longer chain. And like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad is pretty bad.Read more "Suicide Squad (2016)"
Robert Siodmak helms The Suspect, a twisting 1944 film noir with a sincere dose of London fog. This picture features a screenplay by Bertram Millhauser and Arthur T. Horman and is based the novel This Way Out by James Ronald. The great Paul Ivano is the cinematographer.Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Suspect (1944)"
As the follow-up to what might well be the ruler of all alien invasion films, Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence has a lot stacked against it. The 2016 sequel comes 20 years after its predecessor, but it sticks to a similar blueprint and draws on familiar faces to float the storyline. While Will Smith is nowhere […]Read more "Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)"
End of a Gun is at least the sixth Steven Seagal movie to see a 2016 release. Like Killing Salazar, it pairs the star with director Keoni Waxman. It also features a screenplay by Waxman and Chuck Hustmyre, with cinematography by Nathan Wilson. At first blush, it appears that all the elements are in place […]Read more "Seagalmania: End of a Gun (2016)"
Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is less a movie and more an advertisement for the extended universe it represents. The 2016 picture represents the way of things in the superhero realm, where each film is a link in the chain and a preview for the next coming attraction.Read more "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)"
Richard Wallace directs The Fallen Sparrow, a convoluted 1943 film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dorothy B. Hughes. The screenplay is by Warren Duff and the cinematography is by Nicholas Musuraca. The look of Wallace’s picture reveals an impressive espionage core, even if the film can’t live up to the […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Fallen Sparrow (1943)"
Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney, The Secret Life of Pets is pretty standard animated fare from Illumination Entertainment. Featuring a screenplay by Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, the 2016 animated feature runs a Toy Story template but with pets and other miscellaneous animals.Read more "The Secret Life of Pets (2016)"
Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book is a treat. The 2016 movie is another in what is becoming a long line of live-action remakes of Walt Disney classics, with this one based on the 1967 Wolfgang Reitherman animated film of the same name and on the eponymous Rudyard Kipling works.Read more "The Jungle Book (2016)"
Frank Tuttle’s This Gun for Hire is mostly known for a star-making turn by Alan Ladd, who plays a hitman named Philp Raven and who is cold as ice – except when it comes to kitties. The 1942 film noir is based on Graham Greene’s novel A Gun for Sale and features a screenplay by […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: This Gun for Hire (1942)"
Directed by David Yates from a screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, The Legend of Tarzan is yet another filmic incarnation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs character. This 2016 picture doesn’t bring much by way of novelty to the tale and seems torn from the superhero movie playbook, complete with copious CGI and gusty […]Read more "The Legend of Tarzan (2016)"
Based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is a tepid science fiction film from 2013. Director and screenwriter Gavin Hood doesn’t achieve any sense of wonder and the wobbly performances don’t help.Read more "Ender’s Game (2013)"
Rawson Marshall Thurber’s Central Intelligence is an entertaining trifle, a happy-go-lucky spy comedy that generates tremendous chemistry from its actors and doesn’t do too much heavy-lifting. The screenplay by Thurber, Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen isn’t revolutionary in the slightest, but it does contain just enough retro fluff to overcome its over-plotted tendencies.Read more "Central Intelligence (2016)"
Stuart Heisler helms 1942’s The Glass Key, which is based on the Dashiell Hammett novel of the same name and serves as the second film version of the book after a 1935 Frank Tuttle joint. Heisler’s picture features a screenplay by Jonathan Latimer and carves out a lot of the political subtext, but it still […]Read more "Film Noir Friday: The Glass Key (1942)"
When Jonathan Liebesman and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company took to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 2014 reboot of the franchise of the same name, expectations were low. But the project was fun in its own way, despite ringing seriousness. The sequel, 2016’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, is an improvement.Read more "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)"