Movie Reviews

'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' Review: A Time Travel Movie That Somehow Makes Sense

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by Mike Ryan May 20, 2014 11:39 AM
20th Century Fox
Even though the story behind ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ has been around for 33 years now, the idea of a superhero movie meshed with a movie about time travel seems, let’s say … daunting. Especially for a superhero franchise like X-Men, which is known for having a lot of superheroes.
It’s just that it’s hard enough to make a big-budget superhero movie make sense (as the so very recent ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ taught us) -- and adding the cinematic equivalent of pai gow (at least, nothing confuses me more than pai gow) to this whole equation seemed like kind of a bad idea. I mean, how many time travel movies make sense in the first place, beyond the ‘Back to the Futures’ and the ‘Loopers’ and the ‘Primers’ of the word? And none of those movies have dozens and dozens of mutants to keep track of their whereabouts.

'Million Dollar Arm' Review: It's Fine

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by Mike Ryan May 14, 2014 12:51 PM
Million Dollar Arm’ is fine. It stars Jon Hamm, who is fine, as a fine sports agent named J.B. Bernstein who tries to find some fine baseball players in India in this fine true story. And he succeeds, recruiting both Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal, who is fine) and Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma, also fine) who, after a rocky start, both wind up being fine. Lake Bell also stars, and isn’t given a whole lot to do, but she’s fine.
After you see ‘Million Dollar Arm,’ people will ask you, “How was ‘Million Dollar Arm’?” And you will respond, “It’s fine,” then go about your life and probably never once think about ‘Million Dollar Arm’ again on your life. Which is fine.

'Godzilla' Review

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by Jordan Hoffman May 11, 2014 12:00 AM
Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures
'Godzilla,' the 2014 version from relative newcomer Gareth Edwards, is just about as good as a big fat summer tentpole movie gets these days. It's fun, scary and awe-inspiring in just the right places. Some of the acting is dull and the dialogue isn't exactly dripping with nuance, but these concerns are secondary. The set pieces are marvelous, the special effects are terrific and great care has gone into keeping the visual storytelling fresh.
You want a poster quote, cause here it comes: this 'Godzilla' is a monster!

'Neighbors' Review

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by Mike Sampson May 06, 2014 10:00 AM
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.

'Chef' Review

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by Mike Sampson May 04, 2014 07:30 PM
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.

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' Review

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by Jordan Hoffman May 02, 2014 08:13 AM
Sony Pictures
Most of what I know about complex science comes from comic books, so forgive me if my understanding of quantum mechanics is a little off. But, I think it can mean that particles can exist in two states simultaneously. 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2,' a film loaded with such half-understood notions of difficult scientific concepts, is a quantum movie. It manages to be both awful and entertaining, frequently at the same exact time. The script is ludicrous, even by summer blockbuster standards. The characters behave irrationally and without motivation and the story makes lengthy, frequent pit stops into dull backstory. But, for every moment of tedium and confusion there is a tiny explosion of joy. Director Marc Webb just barely ties this collision of half-baked ideas together in a sticky Spidey bow.

'Walk of Shame' Review

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by Kate Erbland May 01, 2014 11:01 PM
FilmDistrict
It all starts out with such promise. Steven Brill’s latest comedy, ‘Walk of Shame,’ introduces us to Meghan Miles (Elizabeth Banks), polished television news anchor, by way of a series of dramatized versions of famous newscast flubs that highlight exactly what Meghan is not – she’s not unprepared, she’s not unprofessional, and she’s not without some serious skills.
She is, however, without a clue.

How Many Poop And Vomit Jokes Are In 'The Other Woman'? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)

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by Mike Ryan April 25, 2014 03:20 PM
Today, a movie that, on the surface, resembles a rom-com, but isn’t a rom-com (there are no rom-coms any longer) titled ‘The Other Woman’ is playing at the multiplex down the street from you right now. Cameron Diaz (‘Shrek 2’) stars as Carly, a single, independent woman living in New York City who is dating Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – but Mark has a secret! Is Mark cheating on Carly? Is Mark secretly the Kingslayer? As a service to you, we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘The Other Woman’?

‘Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary' Review: Everything Is...Pretty Okay

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by Mike Ryan April 21, 2014 04:50 PM
Yes, it’s a little odd that another LEGO movie is coming out so quickly after the release of, well, ‘The LEGO Movie’ – that also features an animated LEGO mini-fig voiced by a well-known celebrity. In this case, it’s Jason Bateman (as opposed to Chris Pratt) and this is a documentary (or, as they are calling it, a “brickumentary”), not a narrative feature.
‘Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary’ (which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival) is a sort of companion piece, as opposed to direct competitor, to the aforementioned ‘The LEGO Movie’ – especially considering that ‘The LEGO Movie’ is mentioned quite a few times over the course of this film and we even see the shooting of a particular scene. (Funny, if you don’t want to be spoiled on how ‘The LEGO Movie’ ends, you probably should avoid ‘Beyond the Brick.’) Also, it’s endlessly fascinating.

'A Haunted House 2' Review: A Live Blog

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by Mike Ryan April 18, 2014 02:20 PM
'A Haunted House 2' did not screen early for critics. On Thursday, I received an email from my editor suggesting that I pay to see 'A Haunted House 2' at a movie theater on Friday morning. I tried using the "but I haven’t seen the first ‘Haunted House'" excuse, but that seemed to have little to no impact on this request. Who knows? Maybe it’s hilarious? On Friday morning, I purchased a ticked for the 10:45 a.m. screening of 'A Haunted House 2.' While watching, I kept a running diary of the events that transpired. It was a fairly miserable experience. Here’s how all that went: