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‘Bad Words’ Review

Bad Words Review
Focus Features

“I’m not that good at a lot of stuff, especially thinking things through.”

Nope, Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) really isn’t so good at thinking things through, but the bad choices that pepper Bateman’s directorial debut, ‘Bad Words,’ go so far beyond misplaced common sense that Guy’s early and wholly understated confession about his decision-making style is perhaps the last actually relatable bit of the entire film. A black comedy with a black heart, Bateman’s ‘Bad Words’ knowingly attempts to push the envelope of unlikability, littering the big screen with pintsized victims and one heck of a mangled word-centric competition. Often funny by virtue of its shock value and Guy’s clever wordsmithery, ‘Bad Words’ still doesn’t feel quite so great going down, but it at least announces Bateman’s directorial sensibilities loud and clear, and there’s plenty here to mine for future projects.

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‘Enemy’ Review

Enemy Review
A24 Films

Jake Gyllenhaal and director Denis Villeneuve have recently set about turning their blossoming cinematic partnership into the kind of professional pairing that cranks out clever, creepy feature films that stick with their audiences long after they end. In short, these two like to make skin-crawling films that freak people out, and it turns out they’re pretty good at it.

Villeneuve and Gyllenhaal premiered both of their collaborations last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, though their bigger-budget (and bigger-named) ‘Prisoners’ hit theaters while the intriguing ‘Enemy’ bided its time before a more low-key release. While ‘Prisoners’ presented a terrifying premise that was still relatable – a pair of suburban couples are heartbroken when their young daughters go missing, and the fallout is very unexpected – ‘Enemy’ goes full throttle on a plot line that’s both bizarre and purposely hard to swallow.

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‘Need For Speed’ Review

Need For Speed review
DreamWorks Pictures

There are 35,000 deaths due to motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Every ten seconds someone is given emergency treatment because of a car crash. According to a report by the CDC the financial impact is close to $100 billion on injury care and lost productivity.

I know 'Need For Speed' is just a movie, and movies are entertainment, but it is shocking beyond all reason how much this movie thinks automotive safety is a big joke. I understand loving an outlaw, but when 'Bonnie & Clyde' robbed banks they were “punching up.” When Aaron Paul and his merry band of mayhem mechanics destroy public works and send innocent bystanders careening off of highways, they are “punching down.” 'Need For Speed,' its producers, writers, director and maybe even its stars should all hang their heads in shame.

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‘Open Windows’ Review

Open Windows Review

 

'Open Windows' stars Elijah Wood as Nick, the nerdy but affable web master of a site dedicated to fictional superstar actress Jill Goddard (former porn star-turned-actress Sasha Grey). When Jill cancels the dinner Nick won with her in a contest, a mysterious hacker named Chord allows Nick the opportunity to spy on Jill and play a little game that quickly turns dangerous and veers into an evening filled with myriad plot twists in this thriller from festival favorite director Nacho Vigalondo. Unfortunately, the film is a bit too ambitious and convoluted from the director, who's been admired for his deft sci-fi indies in the past. 

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‘Neighbors’ Review

Neighbors
Universal

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.

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‘Veronica Mars’ Review

Veronica Mars Movie Trailer Behind the Scenes Piz Logan
Warner Bros.

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. 

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‘Chef’ Review

Chef Review
Open Road Films

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.

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‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Review

Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review
DreamWorks Animation

“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.

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’300: Rise of an Empire’ Review

300 Rise of an Empire review
Warner Bros.

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.

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‘Non Stop’ Review

Non Stop review
Universal Pictures

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.

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