Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

Vacation – Maybe a Staycation Would Have Been a Better Idea!

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Vacation, the 29-years later sequel to National Lampoon’s Vacation, is a rude, crass hard R-rated comedy that I really should have liked – but didn’t.

One of a handful of silent viewers in a full theater of howling people, I just found Vacation to be mean-spirited and, with a few exceptions, terribly unfunny.

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Southpaw – Jake Gyllenhaal Goes The Distance!

southpaw poster jake gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest film, Southpaw wants desperately to be the Rocky or maybe Rocky 5 for the current generation. For the most part the story of light heavyweight champ Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) mostly works. If you saw any boxing film in the last 30 years, you’ll see some of the well-worn plot turns coming a mile away, however it’s worth stepping into the ring for all the fine performances.

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Pixels – Hi-Tech 8-Bit Fun!

Pixels - Pac-Man

As someone who got really good at Galaga in the eighties – and had found Adam Sandler virtually intolerable in everything he did after Funny People – I was pleasantly surprised by how often I laughed at Pixels.

Even the premise – aliens misinterpret a message of simple greetings that included samples of arcade games as a declaration of war and sent real-life versions to conquer/destroy the Earth – had the cool feel of a vintage video game. Also, it was based on a terrific short film you can check out on YouTube.

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Ant-Man – Go small Or Go Home!

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014
Marvel’s Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..? Marvel 2014

Ant-Man will likely be the best superhero movie of the year. Following in the wake of the huge Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was a canny move for Marvel to go small – it enabled the Peyton Redd directed movie to cheerfully subvert superhero movies while being a terrific one itself.

As an Edgar Wright fan, I can tell you that his fingerprints are all over the movie – who else would’ve come up with the idea to spoof every movie fight on a moving train ever in such a crazy way? Am I right? But while Ant-Man may not have the unique flourishes Wright might have provided, it still strikes almost all the right notes to be the most loopily funny and purely entertaining Marvel movie not called Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Trainwreck – Funny Woman; Funny Movie!

Trainwreck - Amy & Nikki

Amy is a hardworking, hard drinking, hard playing woman. If she wasn’t a woman, she could be any of a thousand guys we’ve seen before in movies and on TV – that’s what makes Trainwreck so much fun.

Written by and starring Amy Schumer, and directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck carries the raunch-with-heart stamp that we know from Apatow’s past films – and Schumer’s insanely funny TV series, Inside Amy Schumer.

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Mr. Holmes: Life and Emotion vs. Facts and Truth!

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Sherlock Holmes is one of the most enduring characters in all of fiction. His ability to solve every problem (save for one, according to the Holmes canon) via a combination of knowledge and observation, and the logical extrapolations thereof, plus his acerbic no nonsense attitude make him far more intriguing than most fallible fictional characters and pretty much all other infallible ones.

So it is odd that Mr. Holmes, a film dealing with the character long after he’s retired to his country home and bees, should be so satisfying.

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Self/Less – The Frankenstein Path to Immortality!

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When the elderly, terminally ill Damian seeks to prolong his life by having his mind transferred into a healthy young body, things don’t quite go as expected.

For one thing, the healthy young body he now inhabits may have been given to him in a lab, but it wasn’t necessarily grown there…

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The Gallows – Paint-By-Numbers Horror Non-Thriller!

THE GALLOWS

In 1993, a high school production of a play called The Gallows failed to finish its premiere performance when the male lead was accidentally hanged on the stage gallows. Now, the same high school is about to try to perform the play again.

Recipe for disaster? Damn skippy!

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The Overnight: Their Kid’s Friends’ Parents!

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From personal experience, I see that when someone gets married and/or has kids, they wind up gaining a whole new set of friends – people that they might otherwise have never met, or even liked.

When Alex and Emily, a thirtysomething couple with a pre-school aged son, RJ, move from Seattle to Los, RJ makes friends with another boy at a park near their new home. They are approached by the other boy’s father, Kurt (Jason Scwartzman) and find themselves invited to dinner – pizza – that night. Even though they’re not sure what to make of Kurt, with his hipster style and unhipster demeanor, they accept.

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