Movie Reviews - Page 2

SXSW Review: ‘Unfriended’

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by Matt Singer March 14, 2015 @ 1:04 PM
Universal
Unfriended wants to do for social media what The Ring did for VHS tapes — take a piece of everyday technology and turn it into an object of uncommon terror. A bunch of teenagers on Skype have their group call interrupted by an intruder who claims to be a dead classmate who killed herself after she was cyberbullied. The entire movie takes place on a computer screen as one of the girls in the group, Blaire (Shelley Hennig), browses the Internet, checks her Facebook, and chats with her friends about the anonymous assailant who abuses and threatens them and then starts picking them off one-by-one. What follows becomes an original gloss on a very unoriginal subgenre. Its very clever and creepy merging of movie and technology is nearly ruined by a stale horror clichés.

‘Cinderella’ Review: This Old Fairy Tale Still Has Some Magic

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by Matt Singer March 12, 2015 @ 7:22 AM
Walt Disney Pictures
The name “Disney” brings to mind images of fair princesses, charming princes, magical fairy tales, and simple happily ever afters. In recent years, though, Disney has begun rethinking their classic properties, and releasing more thematically complex versions of their famous films. Sleeping Beauty became Maleficent, which turned a wicked witch into a sympathetic anti-hero; a whole mess of fairy tales turned into Into the Woods, where happily ever after preceded a whole bunch of death and tragedy. The ranks of Disney Princesses grew to include women like Merida, the bow-slinging heroine of Brave, and Anna and Else from Frozen, who rescued each other from an prince, rather than the other way around. Every value and concept that Disney had established and reinforced through decades of repetition was seemingly up for reconsideration and revision.

‘It Follows’ Review: How a Sexually Transmitted Ghost Helps Revive the Horror Genre

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by Britt Hayes March 11, 2015 @ 8:39 AM
Radius-TWC
The last few years in horror have felt rather stale, but hot on the heels of watching the terrifying and refreshing 'The Babadook' at Fantastic Fest comes 'It Follows,' the sophomore effort from writer/director David Robert Mitchell. Similar to the lo-fi tone of his debut film, 'The Myth of the American Sleepover,' the comparisons end there for Mitchell's follow-up, which smartly and horrifically explores the politics of young adult sexuality.

‘Chappie’ Review: Highly Artificial, Limited Intelligence

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by Matt Singer March 5, 2015 @ 11:01 AM
Columbia
The technology in Neil Blomkamp’s movies is so fully realized and intricately detailed that it feels like another one of his characters. Now Blomkamp’s made Chappie, a film where that’s literally true in the form of a police robot given the gift of human consciousness. The result is one giant metaphor for itself; a story of the world’s first true artificial intelligence and how it is almost corrupted by violence, presented in a movie where any semblance of serious consideration of what it means to be alive is drowned out by gunfire, explosions, and macho posing.

‘The Lazarus Effect’ Review: This Resurrection Horror Thriller Should Have Stayed Dead

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by Matt Singer February 26, 2015 @ 9:06 AM
Relativity
How many times in your life have you snuck up on someone and scared them? Three, maybe four times? The Lazarus Effect is the kind of horror movie where people do that constantly. It’s basically their standard greeting; instead of “Hello!” they jump on people from behind, sometimes while wearing pig masks. It doesn’t make much sense, but they’re not doing it because it’s logical — they’re doing it because this is a bargain basement horror film and you take the scares wherever you can get them.

‘Focus’ Review: Welcome Back, Movie Star Will Smith

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by Matt Singer February 25, 2015 @ 8:21 AM
Warner Bros.
It’s been a decade since Will Smith was “Will Smith” onscreen. Sure, he’s made movies in the last ten years; science-fiction pictures, dramas, comedies. He even played Satan, once. But none of them riffed on that classic Will Smith persona that everyone loves; the infectious charm, the seductive smile, the cocky but casual swagger. (What’s that? Men in Black 3? No, they never made a third Men in Black. You must be confused.)

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Review: A Vanilla Movie About Kinky Sex

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by Matt Singer February 11, 2015 @ 10:29 AM
Universal
Christian Grey is an unusual guy. He’s the world’s most eligible billionaire bachelor and an enormously powerful businessman. He’s an avid jogger, an exceptional piano player, and a licensed helicopter pilot. He also really like the color gray. He wears gray suits and ties, drives a gray car to his gray office building (which is called Grey House) under gray Seattle skies, where his assistant dresses in—you guessed it—gray. (For the record, his office chairs are white but the couches are gray too.) And, oh yeah, he’s into kinky sex, including bondage, spanking, and domination.

‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ Review: The Goofy James Bond Throwback You Didn’t Know You Needed

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by Matt Singer February 9, 2015 @ 2:02 PM
20th Century Fox
For decades, people have made fun of Roger Moore. Moore starred in more James Bond movies than anyone else, but his entire twelve-year, seven-film run is widely regarded today as a goofy, cartoonish disaster. After Moore retired from the role following 1985’s ‘A View to a Kill,’ the Bond franchise refocused, growing darker and more serious. Now 007 belongs to Daniel Craig, who’s as stern as Moore was cheeky. Craig’s Bonds (and the Jason Bourne movies that helped inspire their solemn tone) have been so hugely successful, that there is an assumption that over-the-top spy movies like Moore’s wouldn’t work in 2015. ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ proves they can.

‘Seventh Son’ Review: Jeff Bridges Battles Julianne Moore, the Nagging Sense This Is a Crummy Movie

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by Matt Singer February 5, 2015 @ 8:38 AM
Universal
This is the sort of week that makes a film critic questions their life choices: First, the Wachowski’s choppy, incoherent ‘Jupiter Ascending,’ and now the long-delayed (and likely soon-forgotten) ‘Seventh Son.’ Its trailer boasts that it comes “from the production company that brought you ‘300: Rise of an Empire,’” which is sort of like trying to convince someone to eat in a restaurant because the manager used to work in an Olive Garden. Isn’t January supposed to be the month where all the bad movies get dumped? The clunkers are spreading to February like a fungus.

‘Jupiter Ascending’ Review: The Wachowskis Descend Into Sci-Fi Silliness

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by Matt Singer February 4, 2015 @ 8:44 AM
Warner Bros.
Episode 415 of ‘Seinfeld’ was called “The Movie,” and it ended with Jerry delivering a monologue about the guy in every group of friends who can’t follow the plots of films and invariably spends them whispering confused questions to their seatmates (“Why did they kill that guy? I thought he was with them? Wasn't he with them? Why would they kill him if he was with them? Oh, he wasn't with them. It's a good thing they killed him!”) ‘Jupiter Ascending’ turned me into that guy. If you can explain the plot of this baffling movie in all of its intricacies, you are either a genius or one of the Wachowskis who wrote and directed it. It’s hard to believe that a movie that contains this much exposition could also be this confusing, but it does and it is. Something went horribly wrong here.