Sunday, December 28, 2014

Finally, refusing to ever watch E.T. again pays off!


EARTH TO ECHO

An effervescently sweet little piece of boilerplate, and only mildly underminedsurprisinglyby its found-footage conceit.

2014
Directed by Dave Green
Written by Henry Gayden and Andrew Panay
With Teo Halm (Alex), Reese Hartwig (Munch), Ella Wahlestedt (Emma), and Astro (Tuck) (and are you kidding me)

Spoiler alert: mild

Saturday, December 27, 2014

What Schrodinger's cat usually does in his box

COHERENCE

I don't know if anyone ever really asked why Twilight Zone episodes were customarily only 25 minutes long, but if they did, they have a definitive answer now.  And, as a bonus, their answer is really, really fucking ugly!

2013 (them)/2014 (us)
Directed by James Ward Byrkit
Written by Alex Manugian and James Ward Byrkit
With Emily Baldoni (Em), Maury Sterling (Kevin), Nicholas Brendon (Mike), Elizabeth Gracen (Beth), Alex Manugian (Amir), Lauren Maher (Laurie), Hugo Armstrong (Hugh), and Lorene Scafaria (Lee)

Spoiler: moderate (severe, however, if you've seen +1... so, yeah, probably just "moderate")

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The perfect system


TRON: LEGACY

And for Boxing Day, a present to myself.

2010
Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Written by Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal, and probably your mom, given the story fragments evident in the final motion picture, but let's say "a lot of people who deserve varying degrees of praise and scorn"
With Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn), Olivia Wilde (Quorra), Michael Sheen (Castor), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley), Anis Cheurfa (Rinzler), and Jeff Bridges/John Reardon (Clu)

Spoiler alert: high

Having myself a patriotic little Christmas


THE INTERVIEW

I liked the part with the imperial overreach.  Meanwhile, James Franco reinforces his reputation as (perhaps) the best performer of comic ejaculation pantomime to have ever lived.

2014
Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Written by Dan Sterling, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg
With James Franco (Dave Skylark), Seth Rogen (Aaron Rapoport), Randall Park (Kim Jong-un), Diana Bang (Sook), and Lizzy Caplan (Lacey)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Signal to noise


THE SIGNAL

It's so much easier to enjoy a bad movie when watching it is not also watching a great movie die in its place.

2014
Directed by William Eubanks
Written by William Frigerio, Carlyle Eubanks, and William Eubanks
With Brenton Thwaites (Nic), Beau Knapp (Jonah), Olivia Cooke (Haley), and Laurence Fishburne (Damon)

Spoiler alert: moderate

The nerds of Albion, part I: A brief history of how two people had sex, at least three times


THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

For a movie with a title like that, you'd think it'd be willing to explain itself, at least occasionally.

2014
Directed by James Marsh
Written by Anthony McKarten (based on the book by Jane Wilde Hawking)
With Eddie Redmayne (Stephen Hawking) and Felicity Jones (Jane Wilde Hawking) 

Spoiler: moderate, I guess, but if ever a spoiler warning was inapplicable...

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's one of the more dangerous games, anyway


13 SINS

Sometimes a premise is all you need: given a week, the title, and a suitably gnarly sense of humor, you might write nearly the exact same film that David Birke and Daniel Stamm didand it would probably still be pretty darned good.

2014
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Written by David Birke and Daniel Stamm (based on the movie 13: Game of Death by Chookiat Sakveerakul and Eakasit Thairatana)

Spoiler alert: mild

Monday, December 15, 2014

18 Years a Slave


THE BABADOOK

And, representing the case for infanticide, The Babadook.

2014
Written and directed by Jennifer Kent
With Essie Davis (Amelia), Noah Wiseman (Samuel), Daniel Henshall (Robbie), Hayley McElhinney (Claire), and Tim Purcell (The Babadook, dook, dook)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Love is a stupid hat


NINOTCHKA

The corruption of purity by capitalism's false promises has never seemed so sweet as in Lubitsch's fantastic dialectical romcom.

1939
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Written by Billy Wilder, Walter Reisch, Charles Brackett, and Ernst Lubitsch (based on the story by Melchior Lengyel)
With Greta Garbo (Nina "Ninotchka" Ivanovna Yakushova), Melvyn Douglas (Leon, Comte d'Algout), Ina Claire (Duchess Swana), Sig Ruman (Iranoff), Felix Bressart (Buljanoff), Alexander Granach (Kopalski), and Bela Lugosi (Rakonin)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Catching up with the (super) classics of horror, part III: We're having an adventure, just like the Goonies!


THE DESCENT

2005 (The United Tyranny)/2006 (Freedomland)
Written and directed by Neil Marshall
With Shauna Macdonald (Sarah), Natalie Mendoza (Juno), Alex Reid (Beth), Saskia Mulder (Rebecca), Myanna Buring (Sam), and Nora-Jane Noone (Holly)

We've all missed movies that we should've seen.  Here are three of mine, that might surprise you.

Spoiler alert: high

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Catching up with the (super) classics of horror, part II: Video nasty


THE RING

2002
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Ehren Kruger (based on the novel by Koji Suzuki and the screenplay by Hiroshi Takahashi)
With Naomi Watts (Rachel), David Dorfman (Aidan), Martin Henderson (Noah), and Daveigh Chase (Samara)

We've all missed movies that we should've seen.  Here are three of mine, that might surprise you.

Spoiler alert: high