Back to Space-Con (Review)
Apr14

Back to Space-Con (Review)

BACK TO SPACE-CON (4/14/11; Documentary) Joe Ferrara II, Ernie Fosselius, Robert Napton, John Stanley, Gary Tomsic, Bob Wilkins SCR/DIR: Tom Wyrsch 1 hour 14 mins Affectionate doc caters to a very specialized audience: anyone who might have fond memories of attending any of the Space-Cons between 1975 and 1981, the Star Trek and Star Wars-themed conventions that were the precursor to mammoth pop culture gatherings Comic-Con and...

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Back-Up Plan, The (Review)
Apr23

Back-Up Plan, The (Review)

BACK-UP PLAN, THE (4/23/10; Comedy, Romance) Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Danneel Harris, Eric Christian Olsen, Anthony Anderson, Noureen DeWulf, Tom Bosley, Linda Lavin SCR: Kate Angelo DIR: Alan Poul MPAA: PG-13 for sexual content including references, some crude material and language. 1 hour 46 mins BOX: $33,737,302 Cliché-ridden comeback-of-sorts for Lopez is a fluffy and relatively safe vehicle about a Zoe, a woman who...

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Bad Lieutenant, The: Port of New Orleans (Review)
Nov20

Bad Lieutenant, The: Port of New Orleans (Review)

BAD LIEUTENANT, THE: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS (11/20/09; Drama, Suspense) Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, Eva Mendes, Fairuza Balk, Jennifer Coolidge, Vondie Curtis Hall, Shawn Hatosy, Denzel Whitaker, Xzibit SCR: Billy Finkelstein DIR: Werner Herzog MPAA: R for drug use and language throughout, some violence and sexuality. 2 hours 2 mins BOX: $5,908,682 Here’s one of the great cinematic puzzles of the 21st century: How can Nicolas Cage go...

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Bad Reputation – Review
Sep26

Bad Reputation – Review

Film critic Dennis Willis dives into the world of 70s punk and the indie rock scene of the 80s for a look at the new Joan Jett documentary, Bad Reputation. Jett’s a pioneer, a music and social icon, and a flat-out legend. But would you believe 23 labels turned her down — even after her tenure in the landmark all-girl rock band The Runaways? Bad Reputation deals head-on with the patriarchy of the rock scene, and the fact that Jett...

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Bad Teacher (Review)
Jun24

Bad Teacher (Review)

BAD TEACHER (6/24/11; Comedy) Cameron Diaz, Lucy Punch, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, Phyllis Smith, John Michael Higgins SCR: Gene Stupnitsky, Lee Eisenberg DIR: Jake Kasdan MPAA: Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use. 1 hour 32 mins BOX: $100,292,856 Diaz devours her best role in years as Elizabeth, a gold-digging, pot-smoking teacher dumped early by her nebbishy fiancée (and his shrewish mother), forcing...

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Review)
Mar23

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Review)

SPOILERS: At the end of this review, we’ll get into some superhero-sized spoilers but I’ll warn you before things get heavy. Let’s get this part out of the way early: despite featuring spandex-clad heroes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is no more family-friendly than Deadpool was. At least that film gleefully embraced its anarchy and absurdity. BvS might be selling toys in happy meals, but the movie itself is rife with...

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Battle of the Sexes (Review)
Sep21

Battle of the Sexes (Review)

Battle Of The Sexes tells the wild true life story of when reining feminist tennis legend Billie Jean King accepted a $100,000 Challenge from male chauvinist champ Bobby Riggs, an outrageous event that was carried on prime-time TV to an audience of 90 million viewers. It was the epitome of 1970s sports entertainment in which the splashiness of the event itself was bigger than the actual competition. But it was about so much more. As...

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Battle: Los Angeles (Review)
Mar11

Battle: Los Angeles (Review)

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (3/11/11; Sci-Fi, Action) Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Will Rothhaar, Bridget Moynahan, Jim Parrack, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Michael Peña, Lucas Till, Ne-Yo, Joey King, Aisha Tyler SCR: Christopher Bertolini DIR: Jonathan Liebesman MPAA: PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language. 1 hour 56 mins BOX: $83,441,876 This second of two concurrently-released...

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Beacon Point (Review)
Jun09

Beacon Point (Review)

Beacon Point is a surprising indie horror gem about a hike in the woods that goes bad. There are hidden revelations, an evil entity, gory murders and a fetching heroine. We’ve seen it all before, which is why Eric Blue’s film is refreshing in its ability to engage early and sidestep the obvious beats. A group of randomly-assembled hikers on the Appalachian Trail become lost. Zoe (Rae Olivier) has a very personal reason for the trip....

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Beastly (Review)
Mar04

Beastly (Review)

BEASTLY (3/04/11; Fantasy) Vanessa Hudgens, Alex Pettyfer, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Peter Krause SCR/DIR: Daniel Barnz MPAA: PG-13 for language including some crude comments, drug references and brief violence. 1 hour 35 mins BOX: $28,834,009 Kyle Kingson (Pettyfer) is a rich good-looking A-hole who enjoys mocking fellow high school students whom he considers “aggressively unattractive.” He...

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Beaver, The (Review)
May06

Beaver, The (Review)

BEAVER, THE (5/06/11; Drama) Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Riley Thomas Stewart, Zachary Booth, Cherry Jones SCR: Kyle Killen DIR: Jodie Foster MPAA: PG-13 for mature thematic material, some disturbing content, sexuality and language including a drug reference. 1 hour 31 mins It’s hard not to think about Gibson’s personal troubles when he floats across the screen in a swimming pool, fully dressed, with a...

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Best Worst Movie (Review)
Jun06

Best Worst Movie (Review)

BEST WORST MOVIE (6/04/10; Documentary) SCR/DIR: Michael Stephenson George Hardy, Michael Stephenson, Darren Ewing, Jason Steadman, Jason Wright MPAA: NR 1 hour 33 mins Clearly, the filmmakers, cast and crew who made Goblin (released in 1988 as Troll 2) had no idea they were inadvertently making Hollywood history. To be fair, it wasn’t always the most adored cult movie of all time. For a while, as the movie languished on video store...

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Big Fan (Review)
Oct23

Big Fan (Review)

BIG FAN (10/23/09; Drama) Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Gino Cafarelli, Matt Servitto, Jonathan Hamm SCR/DIR: Robert D. Siegel MPAA: R for language and some sexuality. 1 hour 26 mins BOX: $233,908 Parking garage attendant Paul (Oswald, in his first lead) is obsessed with the New York Giants. Every night, he calls a sports radio show taunting the team’s opponents, much to the amusement of the...

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Bitch Slap (Review)
Jan08

Bitch Slap (Review)

BITCH SLAP (1/08/10; Comedy, Action) Julia Voth, Erin Cummings, America Olivo, Michael Hurst, Lucy Lawless, Kevin Sorbo SCR: Eric Gruendemann, Rick Jacobson DIR: Rick Jacobson MPAA: R for brutal violence, strong sexual content and language throughout, and brief drug use. 1 hour 49 mins BOX: $17,365 According to Wikipedia, “Three girls, a down-and-out stripper named Trixie, a drug-running killer and ex-convict named Camero, and a...

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Black Mass (Review)
Sep23

Black Mass (Review)

Like the character it portrays, Black Mass avoids flash and grandeur and joins a long tradition of good-if-not-great gangster movies. American moviemakers have been making gangster movies since the beginning of movies — Raoul Walsh’s 1915 Regeneration may have been the first — and there’s never any shortage of gangster stories, true or fictional. But sometimes filmmakers try to say something important about America or...

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Blind Side, The (Review)
Nov20

Blind Side, The (Review)

BLIND SIDE, THE (11/20/09; Biopic) Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Kathy Bates SCR/DIR: John Lee Hancock MPAA: PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references. 2 hours 8 mins BOX: $252,736,267 Surprise box office hit provided Bullock with her Oscar-winning role as the real-life Texas socialite who reached out to an impoverished black kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Her...

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Blue Valentine (Review)
Dec29

Blue Valentine (Review)

BLUE VALENTINE (12/29/10; Drama) Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, John Doman, Maryann Plunkett SCR: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, Joey Curtis DIR: Derek Cianfrance MPAA: R for strong graphic sexual content, language and a beating. 2 hours BOX: $9,691,675 This searing low-budget drama is a difficult film to get warm and fuzzy about. It cuts so deep and frustrates on so many intimate levels, most of us would rather just...

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Bohemian Rhapsody – Review
Nov02

Bohemian Rhapsody – Review

The long-awaited Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody arrives with a lot of baggage – years spent in development, tumultuous debates about whether the tone of the film should be somber or celebratory, and director Bryan Singer, who was fired mid-production. Dennis Willis examines the film that emerges from all this drama and finds new things to dislike about it, while also admitting that as big screen entertainment goes, is a huge...

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Bone Tomahawk (Review)
Nov04

Bone Tomahawk (Review)

A debut feature by S. Craig Zahler, this feels like a potential cult favorite; it’s strange and disturbing, but also imaginative and surprising. It displays a rare, impressive amount of patience. Although it’s a long 132 minutes, the movie’s greatest strength is its pacing. No moment feels wasted, and every moment is an opportunity for greater richness of character, or to ponder the rights and wrongs of the...

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Boogie Woogie (Review)
Apr23

Boogie Woogie (Review)

BOOGIE WOOGIE (4/23/10; Comedy) Gillian Anderson, Alan Cumming, Heather Graham, Danny Huston, Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley, Charlotte Rampling, Amanda Seyfried, Stellan Skarsgård, Jamie Winstone SCR: Danny Moynihan, based on his novel DIR: Duncan Ward MPAA: R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout and some drug use. 1 hour 31 mins Who knew the modern art world was so swingin’? This satire finds an ensemble of...

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