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The Thing

Yes, another lackluster horror retread

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Mary Elizabeth Winstead headlines capably enough as a researcher with enough smarts and common sense to recognize the true potential of an unknown and constantly evolving thing discovered by a team of scientists in Antarctica in this John Carpenter rerun from Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.  

The Long Road to Fatherhood

Estevez and Sheen walk us back into the embrace of our families

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
“We don’t get over our fathers.” This comment, from Martin Sheen, came during a recent interview with the star of The Way, a new film written and directed by Sheen’s son Emilio Estevez, who was also presented and seated next to me. The father-son team was back home — Sheen is a Dayton native — as part of a bus tour promoting the film, and both men were more than willing to chat with me about El Camino de Santiago.  

The Big Year

High-profile cast can't overcome middling story

0 Comments · Saturday, October 15, 2011
Director David Frankel takes a story of single-minded pursuit and squeezes it into a convenient package — albeit one that doesn't feel as though it has all that much to do with the subject at hand. Inspired by Mark Obmascik's fascinating nonfiction book, The Big Year follows three avid birders trying to identify the most individual bird species in North America over the course of one calendar year.  

Senna

Legendary race-car driver gets documentary treatment

0 Comments · Saturday, October 15, 2011
Even if you couldn't give a damn about fast cars chasing their tails around a track, this British-made documentary about F1 racing legend Ayrton Senna is still undeniably gripping stuff. Senna skips t  

Footloose

Someone should have stopped Craig Brewer's remake

0 Comments · Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The barn door has completely blown off the hinges in this big twister of activity and touched down in the raging river far from home. But it is now time, in the aftermath of this storm of Hollywood remakes, for someone to evaluate the damage and take it upon themselves to slap another door up there — a better, stronger barrier to guarantee that there will be no more remakes for a season or two.  

Machine Gun Preacher

True story hampered by muted performance from Gerard Butler

0 Comments · Thursday, October 6, 2011
The story of Sam Childers is one of a bad man reformed, but it doesn’t exactly adhere to the typical arc. Apparently, Childers was a small-time biker-criminal, a snatch-and-grab guy who was in the game for the cash and the highs (both adrenaline and drug varieties), and he wasn’t afraid of things getting messy.   

Real Steel

Family-friendly robot-boxing story needs more grit

0 Comments · Thursday, October 6, 2011
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former journeyman boxer who attempts to regain his self-respect and that of the son (Dakota Goyo) he abandoned years ago through the sport of robot boxing (think Rock-Em, Sock-Em Robots for the virtual age). The cute, Rocky-meets-The Transformers vibe inadequately hides the fact that the story is loosely based on a piece from author Richard Matheson.  

Restless

Gus Van Sant delivers odd, arch teen romance

0 Comments · Thursday, October 6, 2011
At his best, Gus Van Sant strikes the core of human emotion, especially the disaffected (Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho) that most indie purveyors wouldn’t know anything about if it weren’t for his work. Yet Restless isn’t one of those films.   

Queen City Convert

'Ides of March' actor Max Minghella talks Cincinnati, Clooney and Gosling

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Max Minghella is no stranger to film sets. As the son of the late filmmaker Anthony Minghella, the now-26-year-old Max would watch as his dad worked with a bevy of capable actors and crew on such films as The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain — experiences that still inform his own approach as an actor today.   

The Ides of March

George Clooney's political thriller doesn't quite transcend genre

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Stephen Myers (Ryan Gosling) — the precociously successful political media consultant at the center of The Ides of March — knows how to handle his business. Sure, he might believe that the man he’s working for, Pennsylvania Gov. Mike Morris (George Clooney), is the best candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and the man who can do the most to make America better. But he’s also just fine with feeding a specious allegation about their opponent to the media, just so it will require time spent to fight it off.” If you’re looking for a starry-eyed idealist in The Ides of March, whose utopian dreams might be crushed by harsh reality, you best look elsewhere.  

Dream House

Daniel Craig and Jim Sheridan deliver Hitchcockian thrills

0 Comments · Friday, September 30, 2011
Daniel Craig, having shared time on screen with Harrison Ford this summer, now seems ready to follow even more closely in the rugged action star’s footsteps by imitating his mid-to-late-career shift into a surprising genre: family thriller/horror.   

What's Your Number?

0 Comments · Friday, September 30, 2011
Mark Mylod’s new romantic comedy is little more than a filmed advertisement for glossy women’s trend magazines. Remixing the publishing-driven, marriage-minded focus of 27 Dresses with casual femme raunch of Bridesmaids, What’s Your Number? ends up setting up another, more intriguing question for opening weekend box-office audiences: How many rote, mildly offensive romantic comedies have we been subjected to during our lifetimes?  

50/50

True-life dramedy contains real vulnerability

0 Comments · Thursday, September 29, 2011
Writer-director Will Reiser explores his own battle with cancer and the impact it had on his life. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, Reiser’s film alter-ego, and Seth Rogen schlumps along for the ride as Adam’s best friend who struggles to bolster his friend’s spirits and come to terms with the situation for himself.   

Abduction

Taylor Lautner does Matt Damon lite in lackluster thriller

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Taylor Lautner is in the hunt to prove that he can open or carry a new release on his own, and Abduction, an action-thriller directed by John Singleton, finds him in Jason Statham/Matt Damon lite land as a teenager with no idea who he really is and who is on the run from U.S. and foreign assassins and spies.   

Killer Elite

Cast can't save this piece of mundane overkill

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 28, 2011
First-time feature writer-director Gary McKendry wastes his cast's talents and action skills with a narrative that is supposed to be based on a true story but, in the end, the historical facts are little more than a MacGuffin leading this hit squad around on one deadeningly anonymous and pointless kill after another.