A horror movie has one job really: be scary. Beyond that, most flaws can be overlooked (at least temporarily). 'Oculus,' a horror movie ostensibly about a haunted mirror, has many flaws (not the least of which is that it's a horror movie about a haunted mirror; a tired premise if there ever was one), but it does one thing very, very well: be scary.
It's hell getting old. You're overworked, underpaid, get grey hairs, everything hurts, there's barely time for sex, you fall asleep on the couch watching 'Game of Thrones' and, unless you're George Clooney, you're just not cool anymore. You either hike up your pants and accept it, or you wage all out war. It's the latter that highlights the uproarious Seth Rogen and Zac Efron comedy 'Neighbors,' which just might be the funniest American movie since ... well, since Seth Rogen's last movie.
Seven years after the end of the television series, 'Veronica Mars' returns with a full-length feature film (thanks in part to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign), reuniting star Kristen Bell with all of those familiar faces for a brand new mystery that hits pretty close to home for the former teen detective -- this case hits right in the middle of her hometown, in fact, dragging her back from her new life in New York for one last job ... or is it? Both old school fans and newbies alike will find plenty to love in Rob Thomas' 'Veronica Mars' movie, which blends the series' particular brand of wry humor with an exciting new mystery, familiar faces, and some new blood.
There are some movies that feel personal because of the relationship the writer, director or actors have to the material. 'Chef' -- written, directed and starring Jon Favreau -- doesn't just feel personal, it feels like it's ripped directly from the pages of Favreau's subconscious diary. While it's a charming enough indie film about the connection between professional and personal passions that also serves as a fascinating look inside the psychology of a major Hollywood director.
“I forbid you from fighting in the Trojan War!”
It's something any father would say to his son, provided that the pair regularly traveled through time. In the case of 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman,' Sherman, the adopted tyke just old enough to start attending school and form his own personality, suits up for battle after he has “ran away” from his father – a Nobel Prize-winning polymath and dog.
Before anything else: the sex.
There is a sex scene in '300: Rise of an Empire' that is an all-timer. Put it right up there on the shelf next to 'Don't Look Now,' 'A History of Violence,' 'Blue is the Warmest Color,' '9 ½ Weeks' and any of the others that make those best-of lists. Actually, put next to that insanity in the pool from 'Showgirls' (you know, with the dolphin statue?), because there's a level of playful absurdity that changes it from a representation of love (or, more accurately, lust) to something of a Broadway choreographer's interpretation of a fight. Like a 'West Side Story' rumble, but with Eva Green moaning and bent over a table with maps and war figurines. A rise of an empire, indeed.
The opening shot of 'Non-Stop' has Liam Neeson pouring whiskey in a coffee cup and stirring it with a toothbrush. He then reaches out to a photo of a young girl to stroke it with his fingertips. After this the phone rings and the caller ID reads 555. In other words, three of the biggest movie cliches, all in about sixty seconds.
Wes Anderson has finally done it. He's gone and created his own country.
Zubrowka, the fictional town at the heart of 'The Grand Budapest Hotel,' is positioned on the farthest Eastern edge of Europe's great empire. It is a melange of stylistic flourishes and decorative signifiers from a make believe 20th Century - a memory of a memory, a fastidious, whimsical take on real horrors - a storybook samizdat that entices with madcap adventure then goes in for the kill with existential dread. It is an incredible place to visit.
Sometimes you have to wonder if writers are aware of just how much of their scripts inadvertently rip off or openly resemble other movies. For example, three writers are credited with ‘Pompeii’ – did it ever occur to any of them that their disaster film was ‘Titanic’ meets ‘Gladiator’ with a ‘Conan’ opening thrown in for good measure? Surely director Paul W.S. Anderson, the auteur responsible for the ‘Resident Evil’ film series, did, not that I imagine he cared.
The promise of '3 Days to Kill': If Kevin Costner can assassinate a laundry list of people in three days, he'll receive the antidote to his terminal illness. The reality of '3 Days to Kill': If Kevin Costner can assassinate an indeterminable amount of people over an indeterminable amount of time while juggling quality time with his estranged daughter, then he'll continue being given treatment to his terminal illness, which he has been receiving since the beginning of the movie. For those who thought 'Taken' needed more filler, this movie.