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Movie Review: Non-Stop

March 1, 2014
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Movie Review: Non-Stop

Liam Neeson is Bill Marks, a U.S. Federal air marshal with the obligatory checkered past and a delightful host of vices. Midway through a trans-Atlantic flight he receives a text message from an untraceable number that claims in 20 minutes someone on the plane will die…unless a $150 million is deposited into a special...
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Movie Review: 3 Days to Kill

February 22, 2014
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Movie Review: 3 Days to Kill

3 Days to Kill makes a point of flashing Luc Besson’s name across the screen, even though he’s not the director. That distinction goes to McG, whose name really feels like it should inspire some kind of good joke, but if it’s out there, I haven’t heard it. Just like the Luc Besson connection...
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Movie Review: That Awkward Moment

February 1, 2014
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Movie Review: That Awkward Moment

Zac Effron is Jason, a 20-or-so  book-cover designer living in New York with his best friend and co-worker Daniel (The Spectacular Now‘s Miles Teller) and other best friend Mikey (Michael B. Jordan). Mikey discovers his wife canoodling with the lawyer who will eventually handle their divorce, and so he and Dan and Jason make...
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Movie Review: ‘Lone Survivor’

January 11, 2014
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Movie Review: ‘Lone Survivor’

Lone Survivor is a movie that does itself a few large disservices: Its title reveals too much; its trailer is much too long and plays like quick spot on an On Demand showcase; and it tugs and shoves and pulls in so many directions, that it ends up seeming unsure of both its strengths...
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Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

December 25, 2013
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Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I wasn’t holding out much hope for this one. Like anyone with a brain and a distinct fear of transforming from an adventurous roustabout into an office drone, I have a deep appreciation for the work of James Thurber (not to mention Danny Kaye, who starred in the original adaptation), and when the trailer...
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Movie Review: Homefront

November 23, 2013
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Movie Review: Homefront

Among Jason Statham movies, Homefront is right above the middle: It does what you’d expect, but it does it a bit better than what’s been done before. Statham is Statham, so he’s the secretive outsider with his own code of ethics, and everyone around him is obsessed with violating that code. It’s not much...
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Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

November 15, 2013
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Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

Director Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) isn’t exactly known for cranking out uplifting fare, and 12 Years a Slave is no exception. Despite its bleak subject matter, it’s a phenomenal film. He was the perfect director for bringing the disturbing subject matter to the screen. Slave is superbly directed and acted. It’s also very, very upsetting to watch. I’ve...
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Movie Review: Ender’s Game

November 2, 2013
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Movie Review: Ender’s Game

Before seeing the film, I had a study group session, and one of my buddies in our group mentioned that he had read several of the book’s in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series. He said the theme was empathy, and, outside of that and the hubbub surrounding Card’s controversial comments on same-sex marriage,...
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Movie Review: Machete Kills

October 12, 2013
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Movie Review: Machete Kills

Machete Kills plays like a late Roger-Moore era Bond film — and not just because there’s a lot of visual cues and ideas taken from Moonraker — the action and the humor are constantly fighting for dominance, and the humor, regardless of whether it’s appropriate or not, makes sense within the context of the...
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Movie Review: Insidious: Chapter 2

September 14, 2013
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Movie Review: Insidious: Chapter 2

This is a difficult one. On the one hand, the constant use of jump scares, which last for about two-thirds of the running time, feels like a cheat. The camera closes in on an actor, the music drops, and then, suddenly, WHAM, something appears, screams indecipherably, and a discordant note strikes. Repeat. And repeat,...
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Movie Review: Drinking Buddies

September 1, 2013
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Movie Review: Drinking Buddies

The poster declares the theme of the film to be “knowing when to say when,” which is as good a summation as any, and has just the right amount of vagueness for an indie film. In this case the “when” applies to, well, I’m not entirely sure — on the surface it’s when to...
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Notes From A Walkman Junkie: Thirty-Six Female Fell On Face

August 30, 2013
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Notes From A Walkman Junkie:  Thirty-Six Female Fell On Face

“Thirty-six female fell on face.” That was the last noted, and fairly well documented event in my life at the age of thirty-six. I am now thirty-eight and have been thinking quite a bit lately about loss and other fucked things. These thoughts have lead me to recall the not so pleasant details of...
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Movie Review: Closed Circuit

August 28, 2013
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Movie Review: Closed Circuit

There’s nothing horrendously wrong with Closed Circuit. It has intrigue, is well shot and cast, easy to follow, and has a light air of sophistication that all British thrillers seem to possess. The premise is interesting, and, to be fair, I’m the mother of all suckers for anything British — especially if it’s a...
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Movie Review: The World’s End

August 23, 2013
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Movie Review: The World’s End

Who else but Edgar Wright can draw so much pathos and emotion from almost nothing at all? “Nothing” in the sense that when his best films Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and now, The World’s End jerk you into seriousness, you’re surprised by how you care about the characters – before then it’s...
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Movie Review: Jobs

August 16, 2013
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Movie Review: Jobs

Why they didn’t go with the title jObs is anyone’s guess. At the end of the film, we see a comparison between the actors and the people they played, none of whom are credited. And despite spending two hours with these fellows, there aren’t many you could name. Cliched as it is to say,...
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Movie Review: Elysium

August 9, 2013
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Movie Review: Elysium

Elysium is director Neill Blomkamp’s follow up to District 9 (2009). Blomkamp showed immense promise when he extracted a politically savvy sci-fi thriller from a relatively modest $30 million budget. It was technically slick, and packed a punch with its political commentary about racism. Flash forward four years, and we’ve got more of the...
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Movie Review: The Way, Way Back

July 20, 2013
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Movie Review: The Way, Way Back

Bringing a coming of age story to the screen can be tricky business. As a filmmaker, you have to walk the line between being sweet or sappy. The Way, Way Back does so perfectly. Helmed by writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (The Descendants) the movie is a wonderful blend of humor and heart....
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Movie Review: The Conjuring

July 20, 2013
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Movie Review: The Conjuring

Lorraine and Ed Warren are probably the most well known paranormal investigators of all time. Their cases have inspired several films, including The Amityville Horror  (1979) and A Haunting in Connecticut (2009). Now comes The Conjuring, a film adaptation of their experiences at a farmhouse in Rhode Island in the early seventies. The Perron...
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Movie Review: The Lone Ranger

July 4, 2013
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Movie Review: The Lone Ranger

Late in the movie there’s a scene where a child is playing with a toy train set. As the little model ’rounds the corner, the boy pushes the accelerator, and the toy derails, crashing onto the floor.  The railroad owner, who’s lodging the boy, gives him a light talking-to, “Slow it down at the...
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