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Angels & Demons (Review)

Everyone takes Dan Brown way too seriously again

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tom Hanks (sans his greasy 'Da Vinci Code' mullet) is back as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, summoned by Vatican officials to help deal with a potential crisis. Though Dan Brown's 'Angels & Demons' book was written before 'Da Vinci,' a few knowing references here make it clear that the events in the movie post-date 'Da Vinci' and therefore the Church understands that Langdon knows his stuff. At its core, though, this is a movie about people racing around Rome trying to prevent an anti-matter explosion. Grade: C-.  

Wolverine (Review)

0 Comments · Thursday, April 30, 2009
'Wolverine' arrives at an interesting moment in the history of the comic-book blockbuster. 'The Dark Knight' raised the stakes with its quagmire of moral complexity, and the filmmakers here seem to be trying to learn some of its lessons. But after 107 minutes, it doesn't appear that they learned enough of them. Grade: C.   

Earth (Review)

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Without a clear identity, 'Earth' is often merely a reminder of things that IMAX documentaries have done better. It manages a few gripping moments, but it might actually be most fascinating watching the filmmakers at their risk-taking work during the closing credits. Grade C.  

17 Again (Review)

Another young star tries a familiar premise

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 15, 2009
You might wonder why it was necessary to add '17 Again' to Hollywood's long list of "body swap" comedies over the last 25 years, but I have a theory about such genre fare. At some point in the rise of every young would-be star, the movie industry needs to figure out if they've really got what it takes. Grade: C.  

Adventureland (Review)

Romance and nostalgia bloom on the midway

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Some will hear the first guitar blast during the opening moments and think nothing of it. For others, The Replacements' "Bastards of Young" is such a touchstone that writer/director Greg Mottola ('Superbad') might have you in the palm of his hand before you've seen a single frame of the actual movie. Grade: B.   

Monster Vs. Aliens (Review)

Wallows in genre pleasures and avoids a Pixar comparison

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Creature features, alien invasions, 3-D gimmickry: From start to finish, 'Monsters Vs. Aliens' celebrates some of the staples of the 1950s B movie. And in a way that's perfectly fitting, because maybe it's time to start giving the unapologetic genre picture some credit again. Grade: B.  

Depth Charge

The third (and possibly last) wave of theatrical 3-D is in full swing

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 25, 2009
As part of a major promotional push for its new computer-animated feature 'Monsters Vs. Aliens,' Paramount/DreamWorks served up a 3-D commercial during the Super Bowl, made possible by glasses given away at retail displays. As a result, we were able to see the future of theatrical 3-D ... only not in the way you might think.   

Coraline (Review)

Henry Selick's latest is a stop-motion wonder

1 Comments · Friday, February 6, 2009
If you embrace movies as works of art and not just as works of commerce, then here’s why you should embrace 'Coraline': Not a frame of it looks like it was crafted with a thought to who might actually want to buy a ticket. I mean that as a compliment, and not a backhanded one. In contemporary Hollywood, there's only one paradigm for selling any kind of feature animation, and that's selling it to families. Grade: B.  

Sundance Rewind

Funny films topped a funny year at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2009
From the bad economy to a Proposition 8 backlash, many reasons were offered as why this year's Sundance Film Festival would be less crowded, less frantic, less everything. Indeed, the vibe was just a bit different in Park City in 2009 compared to past years. Press screenings were noticeably less crowded throughout the festival, and even public screenings during the second half of the festival were more likely to feature empty seats. Maybe even the global warming thing was in play, as 2008's nonstop week of blizzards was replaced by glorious sunshine for nearly the duration.   

Gran Torino (Review)

Clint Eastwood bids a limp farewell to acting in a laughable film

8 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Clint Eastwood is not a gifted actor. Twenty years ago, that wouldn’t have been a particularly daring critical statement. The odd outlier like Tightrope notwithstanding, he was known primarily as a guy who could squint one-dimensionally while firing a gun or squint one-dimensionally while being punched by an orangutan.