Taking a step back from big screen blockbusters for a decidedly more lo-fi affair, Anne Hathaway pulls double duty on Kate Barker-Froyland’s debut feature, ‘Song One,’ both starring in and producing the music-infused drama. Hathaway plays Franny, a PhD candidate unexpectedly called back to New York City (her hometown, and one she has been absent from for far too long) after her younger brother slips into a coma after being hit by a car on familiar Brooklyn streets. Pulled back into the fray of an actually fraying family, Franny and her mother (Mary Steenburgen, who is excellent in her role) attempt to make sense of the tragedy that has befallen them, and Franny takes a personal interest in yanking her brother back into the living world.
Quite frankly as misguided and problematic as the forlorn romanticism of Kenneth Branagh’s 1994 adaptation, not to mention as ridiculously self-serious, Stuart Beattie’s ‘I, Frankenstein’ isn’t even campy enough to be fun. Cut from the mold of the films in the ‘Underworld’ series, Beattie’s film similarly eschews the natural intrigue of the original mythology to pump it full of steroids and Hot Topic-style cool, adding an epic, age-old conflict between no less than angels (well, gargoyles) and demons for Frankenstein’s monster to be caught between – all of which showcases an excess of thought, and yet a shocking lack of brains.
The Sundance cut of 'The Raid 2' is 148 minutes. I think I saw 138. Ten minutes before the end I turned to a colleague and said "all right, enough of this," and walked out. It is the first time I've ever left a film that I intended to review in my career.
Some franchises leave an indelible mark on you during your formative years, and inspire passionate, lifelong devotion from their fans – but is Jack Ryan really one of them? Given the messy lineage of the character on screen, played now by four separate actors (Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and here, by 'Star Trek Into Darkness' star Chris Pine), not to mention the fact that the films are wildly uneven in terms of quality, it seems like the answer would be no. But, the character’s resilience is apparently as indefatigable as Hollywood’s faith in intellectual property, which is why ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ exists, a dull mishmash of Cold War spy games and ‘Bourne Identity’-style grit which shares much in common with the weakest of its predecessors – especially total forgettability.
A newlywed couple (Allison Miller and 'Friday Night Lights' star Zach Gilford) returns home from their honeymoon with an unexpected pregnancy, but as the husband documents their lives, the pair begin to notice that something isn't quite right with the baby. 'Devil's Due' is the latest entry in the found footage horror genre, and while it does have its fair amount of creative visual effects, the thrills are hardly thrilling in this paint by numbers occult chiller.
If you’ve recently watched Antoine Fuqua’s hard-bitten 2001 cop drama ‘Training Day’ and found yourself imagining what it would look like with a zippy comedic cast and a bizarrely convoluted plotline, Tim Story’s 'Ride Along' is the answer to your oddly specific cinematic dreams. For the latest round of big screen "good cop, bad cop, dumb cop," Kevin Hart and Ice Cube star as diametrically opposed do-gooders with very different ways of getting things done, even as they both rigorously adhere to the letter of the law.
Animated animals have long been used as cuddly, fluffy stand-ins for actual human beings and their fraught interactions, and director Peter Lepeniotis' 'The Nut Job doesn’t break from that tradition in the slightest, using the hungry inhabitants of a sunny park to frame up an allegory about political machinations and maneuvering.
No. Really. That’s what 'The Nut Job,' an animated film about squirrels trying to steal nuts from a local nut shop, is about. Politics.
In the late 1950s, American bodybuilder Steve Reeves somehow ended up in Italy and made a cheapo production of 'Hercules.' It spawned an avalanche of knockoff strongmen films -- some starring Reeves, some featuring a rather malleable new character named Maciste -- and are just wretched examples of boring cinema that, for whatever reason, I ended up seeing quite a bit of as a little kid. But to an 8-year-old back then, sub-Ray Harryhausen special effects and wafer-thin plots still managed to impress. Hey, it was a Sunday afternoon and a color TV.
It's easy to say “they don't make 'em like that anymore,” but the spirit of these garbage movies is alive and well in Renny Harlin's charmingly awful 'The Legend of Hercules.' Starring Kellan Lutz as a block of concrete that has to fake the classic British accent (even though Hercules is Greek), this is boring by-the-numbers dross from the artless Millennium Films, best known for 'The Expendables' films. It has maybe three good fight scenes and two moments that are so over-the-top bad you just have to laugh, and that makes for some undeniable entertainment. The best way to describe 'The Legend of Hercules' is as the fake movie that teenagers in movies go to see.
‘Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones’ finds its own entertaining voice for the majority of its slim 84-minute runtime, before giving itself over to the good of the franchise as a whole, sacrificing quality and coherence in the process.
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