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The Latest Movie Reviews
'The Drop' - This Amazing Movie Is Not Your Father's Crime Drama
Production: Acting: 
Cinematography: Score & Soundtrack: 
It's hard to believe it's been over a year since James Gandolfini died. Last fall, the star of "The Sopranos" hit the screen posthumously in the rom-com Enough Said. Now, audiences can see his final cinematic performance in The Drop, and it just may be the best film of his career. The Drop is about a...

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'At The Devil's Door' Tries Really Hard, But Just Doesn't Deliver Any Scares
Production: Scary Factor: 
A couple of years ago, writer/director Nicholas McCarthy made his feature film debut, a creepy little movie called The Pact. The Pact was a bit uneven, but showed a lot of potential. Now, audiences get to see what McCarthy does with his second movie, At the Devil's Door. At the Devil's Door is about a...

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'The Identical' Is A Bad Impersonation Of A Rock And Roll Movie
Production: Musical Numbers: 
Rock and roll movies are like shooting fish in a barrel. All that's required is a competent script, a charismatic cast, and a catchy soundtrack, and there's no end to the fun. When they're good, they're really good. When they're bad...they're The Identical. The Identical starts in the thirties with the...

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'As Above/So Below' Makes Up For Its Contrivances With Some Freaky Scares
Production: Cinematography: 
Scary Factor: 
Found footage movies are a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, for every Paranormal Activity there are a hundred Apollo 18s. The newest entry into the ever-growing catalog of faux-documentaries, the supernatural thriller As Above/So Below, takes the audience into the Catacombs of Paris on a terrifying treasure hunt. As...

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'The Calling' Has A Religious Serial Killer, And Endless Tropes
Production: Writing: 
In the most clear and obvious fashion, The Calling sets the scene for a mystery thriller centered around a string of serial murders. The small town motif is identified early on, having the main character of Hazel (Susan Sarandon from The Company You Keep) pick up her daily breakfast sandwich and coffee curbside...

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'The November Man' Is A Spy Thriller Without the Thrills
Production: Action Sequences: 
After more than a decade away from the action genre, former James Bond Pierce Brosnan makes his triumphant return in The November Man, a film he also helped produce. This half-cocked, undercooked spy thriller tries its best to leverage Brosnan's "cool guy with an AARP card" factor without exception or prejudice....

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'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' Is A Fitting Sequel That Also Stands On Its Own
Production: Directing: 
It's been almost ten years since comic book writer Frank Miller (300) teamed up with grindhouse film director Robert Rodriguez (Machete Kills) on the first Sin City movie. They decided that the time was right to go back to the old drawing board, and the resulting film is Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Like...

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'If I Stay' Is Heart-Wrenching, But Not Enough To Save The Movie From Mediocrity
Production: Score & Soundtrack: 
It's said that your life passes before your eyes in the moments before you die. So, what if you could look back upon the events of your life and make the decision as to whether or not you want to go towards the light of Heaven? That question is the main plot point of If I Stay. If I Stay stars Chloe Grace...

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'The Expendables 3' is Self-Aware, Goofy, and the Series' Best
Production: Acting: 
Action Sequences: 
The Expendables series has always kept its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, but even then it struggled to capitalize on what is an extremely lucrative concept. The first film was novel but utterly senseless, and felt more like a move out of desperation than a worthwhile action flick. The second one showed that...

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'The Giver' Wastes An Intriguing Premise On A Disappointing Third Act
Production: Writing: 
Cinematography: 
Lois Lowry's "The Giver" is a seminal work of Young Adult fiction. It's the type of novel that you either read in grade school or you pretend like you read it to avoid ridicule. This story is so beloved that, up until now, it has been deemed unfilmmable. Yet, in the right hands and with the right script, a "Giver"...

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'Into the Storm': Batten Down The Hatches And Let This One Pass By
Production: Special Effects: 
Action Sequences: 
In the case of heavy genre films, there are typically two schools of thought. On the one hand, some filmmakers believe that there will always be an audience for things like found footage films, slashers, or parodies. While others feel that once a film gets it so completely right, satisfying all desires of a particular...

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'Guardians of the Galaxy': Marvel's Crowd Pleasing Cosmic Adventure
Production: Writing: 
Action Sequences: 
After Thor: The Dark World burst onto the scene with its Dark Elves and Aether, you got the sense that Marvel Studios was building towards something bigger. Where the first set of Marvel films, commonly referred to as Phase One, built a world, this next chapter (Phase Two) seemed to be building a universe. Not...

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Also Playing in Theatres
'Magic In The Moonlight' - Woody Allen's Not-So-Romantic Comedy Is A Hit
'Lucy' Combines Solid Execution With A Weak Script
'A Most Wanted Man' - See It Just Because Of Philip Seymour Hoffman
'Land Ho!' Will Make You Want To Visit Iceland With Your Grandpa
'Sex Tape' Is A Clever Concept Masked By Moronic Execution
'The Purge: Anarchy' Ruins The Entire Purge Concept
'Boyhood' Is An Instant Timeless Classic
'Venus in Fur' - Roman Polanski Makes The Most Of Two Characters And A Room
'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' Delivers Plenty Of Ape Action
'Snowpiercer' is Smart Sci-Fi Executed Well
'Earth To Echo' Earns Its 'E.T.' Comparisons - But Not In A Good Way
'Deliver Us from Evil' - "True" Story That Is Heavy On Mystery, Light On Scares
Franchise Fatigue Sets In For 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'
'Third Person' Traps An Amazing Cast In A Mediocre Movie
'Jersey Boys' Makes The Audience Sing Along With Both The Comedy and The Tragedy
'Obvious Child' Is The Funniest Abortion Movie Ever Made
'The Rover' Lets Guy Pearce And Robert Pattinson Face Off...And Show Off
'How to Train Your Dragon 2' Delivers Another Magical Ride
'22 Jump Street' Continues To Serve Up The Action-Packed Laughs
'We Are the Best!' Will Put A Smile On The Face Of Even The Most Jaded Punk
'The Rover' Lets Guy Pearce And Robert Pattinson Face Off...And Show Off
'How to Train Your Dragon 2' Delivers Another Magical Ride
'22 Jump Street' Continues To Serve Up The Action-Packed Laughs
'We Are the Best!' Will Put A Smile On The Face Of Even The Most Jaded Punk
'The Signal' Makes Audiences Question Everything
'The Grand Seduction' Tickles The Audience's Funnybone While Tugging At Its Heartstrings
'The Fault In Our Stars' Is A Challenging Tearjerker With Real Characters
'Edge of Tomorrow' Is A Near-Perfect Summer Blockbuster
'Words And Pictures' Brings Out The Best In Clive Owen And Juliette Binoche
'Maleficent' Flips The Script On The 'Sleeping Beauty' Story
'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Is A First Class Reunion
'Godzilla' Ushers In The Summer Blockbusters With A ROOOAAARRR!!

Frame Of Mind

The Living GhostMost people think of zombies as, depending on their age, either the slow moving walkers of George Romero’s movies or the athletic sprinters of films like 28 Days Later.  The original cinematic zombies, however, were the voodoo zombies of films like White Zombie, Revolt of the Zombies, and I Walked with a Zombie, real people who were turned into the walking dead by witch doctors or Haitian priests.  In 1942, a film that introduced traditional zombies into the murder mystery genre was made called The Living Ghost.

Night Train to TerrorThe horror anthology movie has been a staple of the genre for as long as there has been a genre, finding its beginnings with films like Waxworks in the silent era.  The trend continues to this day, with successful franchises such as V/H/S and The ABCs of Death carrying the torch.  Anthology films may have hit their heyday in the seventies with classics like Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, and Vault of Horror, but their popularity carried over well into the eighties with movies such as Creepshow, Twilight Zone: The Movie, and countless others.  One of those countless others was 1985’s Night Train to Terror.

FrankIf you have not seen Frank, stop at the end of this paragraph and go see it.  Do not check IMDB, watch a trailer, or read any reviews or publicity materials for the film, just go see it.  The rest of this article will deal with a spoiler that is not really a spoiler, because just about all promotional materials for the film make it common knowledge.  But, Frank is the kind of movie where the surprise reveal of the identity of the title character is a key aspect of the effectiveness of the film.  So do not pass go, do not collect $200, just go watch Frank.  We’ll be right here.

The Wizard of GoreThe term “splatter cinema” was first coined by George Romero, but his films rarely fit the pure definition of the term.  Although there is plenty of gore in some of his films, Romero’s movies tend to have more substance than the average splatter flicks, movies which exist purely for blood and guts’ sake.  The true king of the splatter film is the Godfather of Gore himself, director Herschell Gordon Lewis.  Lewis’ filmography consists of dozens of films with titles like Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!, and The Gore Gore Girls, each one bloodier and more exploitive than the last.  The real crowning achievement of Lewis’ entrail-encrusted career, however, came in 1970 with his masterpiece The Wizard of Gore.

Wetlands PosterMeet Wetlands' Helen (Carla Juri). She is in her post-teen years, still lives at home, is quite pretty with her tomboy haircut that is juxtaposed with her liking for very short shirts. She is a tiny bit insecure, and extremely precocious; exhibiting a child-like sense in her very much young adult body. Helen is also extremely vulgar in everything that she does. Obsessed with sex, sexuality, and pushing the boundaries of appropriateness there is no end to what Helen will do. Or what those around her will be compelled to do by her influence. Helen is, in a word, amazing. Solely for the fact that she exhibits everything that is wrong for a girl of her age, and you instantly fall in love with her because of this fact.

Rich HillRich Hill, Missouri, is a small town of less than 1400 located about 90 minutes south of Kansas City.  The town’s citizens are a mixture of the working class and the poverty stricken, but they hold on to hope.  A new documentary, simply called Rich Hill, paints a picture of the town as seen through the eyes of three of its residents, all teenaged boys.

Student BodiesSlasher movies have always been based, at least a little, in comedy.  While early films like Halloween and Friday the 13th horrified audiences, the later entries into both franchises flirted with humor, recognizing the silliness of their premises.  Freddy Krueger, the antagonist of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, is as quick with a witty remark as he is with his razor glove.  In 1981, released just a few months before the legendary horror comedy Saturday the 14th, another comedy was made that satirized the slasher genre before the golden age had even gotten rolling, the aptly titled Student Bodies.

One Hour PhotoAs everyone has heard by now, Robin Williams died earlier this week at the age of 63.  A comedian first and foremost, the actor broke into Hollywood playing humorous roles in movies like Popeye and Mrs. Doubtfire, but quickly proved his meddle by taking on dramatic parts in such films as Dead Poets Society and What Dreams May Come, even winning an Oscar for his performance in Good Will Hunting.  Williams showed time and again that he was a versatile and talented actor, and he even got to prove his chops in the horror genre with a truly creepy performance in One Hour Photo.

Jimi: All Is By My SideJimi: All Is By My Side is a film with multiple problems serious enough that the couple of very good things it has going for it stand little chance of compensating. As written and directed by 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley, the narrative sets off down familiar musical biopic lane: musician discovered; gains success; deals with distractions and behaves badly; and that's it.. Perhaps because the production was denied the use of Hendrix's music by his estate (holding out for full control of the production), the story ends in mid-1967, with Jimi and his Experience trooping off to Monterey and international fame.

The Four Skulls of Jonathan DrakeThe curse is a classic trope of the horror movie, and it has been exploited thoroughly over the years.  Whether it’s a voodoo curse, like in Black Moon or Revolt of the Zombies, or a more vengeful curse, such as in Drag Me to Hell or Thinner, curses are powerful and mysterious, making them absolutely horrifying to the uninitiated masses.  In 1959, an interesting curse movie was released that has flown curiously under the radar, a little film called The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake.

 

Under the Electric Sky (2014)Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic dance music festival held in several different locations all over the world during the summer months.  The festival brings fans together into a musical circus-like atmosphere for three days of non-stop partying.  The largest of these gatherings is the one that takes place in Las Vegas, NV, and that is the one that is at the center of Under the Electric Sky.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep GordonIn Yiddish, the word “mensch” refers to “a person of integrity and honor.”  One would not think that it would be a term that could apply a showbiz manager, but it is the best description for Shep Gordon.  Even those who have never heard of Shep Gordon are probably familiar with his clients.  He’s one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful players, having represented musical heavyweights like Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, and Teddy Pendergrass.  His list of A-list friends is exponentially longer than his artist stable, and the guest lists to his famous parties read like a who’s-who of Hollywood.  And every one of these friends and acquaintances has nothing but good things to say about him.  He’s more than a mensch, he’s a Supermensch, hence the title of the intriguing documentary about his life and times, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.

The Horror ShowIn the modern horror world, few actors have been as prolific as Lance Henriksen.  After getting his start with small roles in big films like Dog Day Afternoon and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Henriksen transitioned into bigger roles in fright films like Damien: Omen II and The Visitor.  By the mid-eighties, he had found his niche, having scored bona-fide starring roles in classic films like Aliens, Near Dark, and Pumpkinhead.  In 1989, Henriksen closed out the eighties with the lesser known but completely enjoyable thriller The Horror Show.

LA Film Festival: 'Frank' (d. Lenny Abrahamson)A provincial young man dreams of writing songs. He is not very good at it. A chance encounter with a touring American band with an unpronounceable name leads to his stepping in for their sectioned keyboard player, travelling to Ireland to spend a year of musical experiments and recording and, through slightly underhand methods, getting the band booked at a big-time US festival. But at what cost? Is he a weasely manipulator, or just blindly self-serving? Is art compatible with commerce? Is genius born from mental distress? Is it in fact essentially unfathomable? And why does the band's leader/singer/guru Frank never take off that large cartoon head?

LA Film Festival: 'The Great Museum' ('Das groβe Museum') (d. Johannes Holzhausen)Behind the scenes of the great Künsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, as a close pan up Breughal's Tower of Babel at the end of Das groβe Museum suggests, there are a lot of people doing a lot of work. This is in fact the only moment akin to commentary in this hands-off documentary – without talking heads, voiceover, or music – unless one counts also the gentle puncturing of the traditional sanctity of such grand repositories of fine art scattered through the opening sections: an employee gliding through the narrow passageways of the office/library on a scooter to pick up a photocopy; a workman violating the parquet floor and echoing silence of an empty gallery with a pickaxe; the dusting of the groin of some giant marble Greek dude (it's Theseus).

William Eubank“I don’t know if they’re here, or have ever been here, but I definitely do believe in them.”  William Eubank, director of The Signal ponders the existence of aliens and UFOs.  It’s a fair question; The Signal is all about the possibility of extraterrestrial life on Earth, and Eubank’s first film, Love, was produced and scored by the rock band Angels & Airwaves, whose famous frontman, Tom Delonge, is an outspoken alien conspiracist.  Eubank speaks fondly of Delonge - “I’ve sat in his backyard many a time with night vision goggles, looking at the sky.  He’s a good dude.”

Watermark - Courtesy Entertainment OneWater is something we all take for granted.  We couldn’t exist without it, yet we only think about it when it’s running scarce.  We use it to cook, clean, work, and play, and we do it all on a daily basis.  Renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky has teamed up with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Payback) to pay tribute to the most overlooked and underappreciated of the Classical Elements in the documentary Watermark.

Finding Vivian Maier - Courtesy Sundance SelectsIn 2007, a young realtor named John Maloof was looking for pictures of different areas of Chicago for a book that he was compiling.  He bought a storage unit for $380 that contained thousands of negatives and a bunch of undeveloped rolls of film.  When he examined the negatives, he saw some of the most captivating street photography that had ever been taken.  He knew that he was onto something, so he snooped around the locker a bit more and found pieces of mail addressed to a woman named Vivian Maier.  Seeing that there was a story developing, he enlisted producer Charlie Siskel (“Tosh.0”) to help him tell it, and the resulting documentary is Finding Vivian Maier.

Movie News | Trailers | Events | Goodies

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Rebel Warriors PosterYou knew it was bound to happen, and it has officially. The character posters for the Rebel Warriors of The Hunger Games; Mockingjay Part 1 have been released. You've got Gale, Pollux, Messalla, Cressida, Boggs, and Castor all looking very serious, and very ready to battle.

Disney's Are you ready for your daily dose of adorableness?  Disney's "Feast" is here to help you on your way with brand-new images from the upcoming short film. Who knew an animated puppy could bring so much joy, and such a big smile to one's face.

"Feast" will release in theatres November 7, 2014, playing with Big Hero 6.  Until then, go ahead and fall in love with the adorable puppy, Winston.

AnnabelleI will admit, the trailer for Annabelle may not be terrifying to you. For me, it is, thanks to a debilitating fear of creepy dolls. Annabelle is one of the scariest dolls I have ever seen on film--I have The Conjuring to thank--and I have seen an incredible amount of movies. Regardless, the trailer for Annabelle will get your senses going, and your anticipation peaked for this sort-of prequel to The Conjuring.

Keanu Reeves in John WickEveryone who enjoys viewing the 'Sad Keanu' picture that is plastered all over the internet--you know the one, don't deny it--well, it is time to play homage to a new Keanu Reeves photo...that of him looking bad ass in the upcoming John Wick.

Reeves plays ex-hitman John Wick who must come out of retirement in order to battle gangsters. Yes, you read that correctly...gangsters vs. Keanu Reeves. Amazing.

ChefIt is a special treat when a movie like Chef is created. A film full of heart that brings out your emotions organically, without the need for gimmicks or special circumstance. Jon Favreau's Chef deserves the accolades it has received thus far since release in May and those that are sure to follow come awards season (fingers crossed).  Chef is being re-released in theatres for a special engagement begininning August 29, 2014. If you did not have a chance to catch this gem of a film before in theatres now is your chance--and do not pass it up.

Paul Rudd In Ant-ManIt has taken years for a movie version of Marvel's Ant-Man character to the screen. Some may say it is unnecessary; others are full of joy and anticipation.  Either way, the Ant-Man movie has started production in San Francisco, CA and a first-look photo of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man has been released.

Here he is, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.

Men, Women & ChildrenJason Reitman had a rough time of it last year when Labor Day did not sit well with audiences or critics. A far cry from his previous works that received rave reviews and awards aplenty, such as Up In The Air.  It is a new year and with that comes a new movie for Reitman to deliver to the masses--and hope that this time goes better than the last.  Reitman's latest is Men, Women & Children, yet another dramedy set around familial life, this time with the internet age taking center stage.

Kelly & Cal PosterShe may not exactly be a punk rocker any longer, but being a mother post-punk is tough for Juliette Lewis' Kelly in the trailer debut for Kelly & Cal from IFC Films.  Cal, 17, is having a tough time at life as well. Enter the unlikely friendship of these two different people and the way they will each make everything just a little easier to manage for one another.

Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket and Groot PosterFor those who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy you know the enjoyment there was to be had with Groot dancing. If you have not seen the film, then you're in luck as a clip of Groot dancing has been released. If the clip does not convince you to go see the movie read the review here and get yourself to the movies.

31The process of crowdfunding has been a touchy one among movie fans.  Established filmmakers like Zach Braff and Spike Lee have come under fire for wanting to raise money for their films through campaigns on Kickstarter, while the Veronica Mars movie obliterated its goal in a single day.  Now, another established director is turning to crowdsourcing for movie money: horror icon Rob Zombie.

Into The WoodsDisney is taking multiple stories from The Brothers Grimm fairytales and mashing them up into one intertwined story with Into The Woods.  This is of course nothing new for Disney, as they have been reimagining The Brothers Grimm stories for eons.  But it is a new twist on old stories, and with a cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski and Johnny Depp, to name a few, it is sure to be a star-studded musical outing. 

SpongeBob SquarePants Movie PosterHave you been forced to watched "SpongeBob Squarepants" with your niece, nephew, friend's child, or more than likely your own child over and over again?  Have you ever been able to figure out the plot or theme of an episode?  Me neither.  There is hope that the movie SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water will make more sense. Or are we asking far too much?  The time will come to decide in 2015 when the movie is released. Until then, I dare you to watch the trailer...

Groot, Guardians Of The GalaxyHave you ever wondered what Vin Diesel would sound like speaking Russian, Mandarin Chinese, or just plain old common Spanish?  Well, you are in luck as videos have been released where you can hear Diesel dubbing his lines for Guardians of the Galaxy in those three languages, and two more.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMBIt just so happens that two evenings ago I was in the company of children and they chose to watch Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.  Imagine my surprise when the first teaser trailer for Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb popped up in my inbox this morning--and I must admit I had no idea they were making a third film in the franchise.  There is more fun to be had this time around with all of the characters we remember from the other two films, and some new ones too. 

Forrest GumpIn case you have not had enough of a fix over the past 20 years of Forrest Gump playing on television you are in luck. Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are re-releasing the film in IMAX theatres to celebrate its 20th anniversary.  You will only have one-week to catch Forrest Gump on IMAX screens, starting September 5, 2014.  Make sure to bring a box of chocolates, and kleenex (Forrest Gump made me cry like a baby).

Hot Tub Time Machine 2To put a little spring in your step, and get your funny bone working, here is the brand-new red band trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine 2. You remember the hilarious original, right? It featured a hot tub, that was a time machine, and a band of misfit comedic actors who got taken back in time to the 80s. Yes, it was epic in all its ridiculousness, and now there is a new chapter of time travelin' hot tubbin' to be done.  Oh, the anticipation!

Scream FactoryScream Factory, the horror imprint of home video distributor Shout Factory which fans have lovingly dubbed “the Criterion of horror,” announced plans for ten new blu-ray titles during their Friday night Comic-Con panel.  Here are the newest members of the Scream Factory Family:

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