Finding Dory (2016) – Review

4 Stars

Finding Dory reunites audiences with the absent-minded blue tang fish from the Pixar smash Finding Nemo. This side character made such an impression that she’s been given a spin-off/sequel to further explore the plights of that forgetful fish deep within the aqua blue seas of an disclosed Oceanic reef. Filled with the typical visual splendor of the Disney/Pixar brand, Finding Dory looks to capture the title of timeless classic that only a few titles from the mouse house have ever attained.
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Independent’s Day (2016) – Review

3 Stars

Its summer-time, which means blockbuster season is in full swing at multiplexes throughout the nation. It also means that The Asylum will produce a handful of ‘mockbusters’ designed to win a time-slot during primetime on channels like USA or SYFY. Once upon a time, these low-level rip-offs were meant to trick unsuspecting renters at local video stores. In the age of streaming, The Asylum has been forced to up its product and reduce its output, all for the betterment of each individual movie. It seems that more time and money have been dedicated to the special effects departments.
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Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

I’m sure everybody has dealt with an annoying neighbor at some point in their lives. Someone intent on adding an irritation to your life through intentional and often unintentional means. Currently, I’m dealing with upstairs neighbors that have feet etched out of concrete. I digress. The appeal of the original Neighbors was universal in its concept, and superior in its well-thought out execution. It treated its characters fairly and balanced raunchy with sentiment in proper measures. The sequel squander it’s perfect set-up and exposes itself early as a comically lazy and particularly sloppy filmmaking effort from the once heralded director Nichols Stoller.
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Purple Rain (1984) – Review

3 Stars

With the recent passing of musical icon Prince, Warner Bros. and Cinemark theaters have teamed for a one-week engagement of theatrical runs for the 1984 hit, Purple Rain. The seminal film and soundtrack in Prince’s vast catalogue is still as engrossing as it was in its heyday. This autobiographical musical is brimming with beautiful music and imagery, while otherwise dealing with backstage theatrics that are mean-spirited and awkward.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

I’ve seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice twice, and I’m still not clear on every plot development that transpires throughout. Unfortunately, this highly anticipated pairing of the most popular characters within the DC Comic universe is just as ungainly as its wordy title. This is an unwieldy epic that has moments of cinematic exuberance and others that display the current weakness of the over-saturated genre. Still, the visual style and filmmaking verve of director Zack Synder often off-sets the films shortcomings.
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Disclosure (1994) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

One of top twenty grossing film from 1994, six of them were adapted from popular novels. Including the year’s highest grossing film, Forrest Gump. Amongst the big-screen book to movie conversions from literary heavyweights Anne Rice, Tom Clancy and John Grisham, Michael Crichton’s Disclosure holds it own in that fine company. In a particularly strong year for adaptions, Disclosure is surely the most lurid,trashy, and erotic of the bunch. Written by former movie critic turned scriptwriter Paul Attansio and directed with low-key professionalism by Barry Levinson, Disclosure is the second best movie made from Crichton’s literary canon.
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Raw Deal (1986) – Review

2 Stars

Raw Deal is the second installment of an unofficial trilogy involving cops taking down Chicago mobsters. The other bookends would be Code of Silence and Above the Law, each features an action icon from the eighties and bad guys who drive big Cadillacs, and wear expensive suits. Raw Deal is the weakest link in the chain, not because of Schwarzenegger or the direction from John Irvin, but rather an overly complicated screenplay that jettisons sub-plots and characters for easy set-ups and lazy pay-offs.
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Stroker Ace (1983) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Stroker Ace was the most popular film ever made about NASCAR until 1990’s Days of Thunder came and presented the sport, and its drivers in a less comedic light. This Burt Reynolds star vehicle is the most professionally polished of all the film made with long-time director/friend/stuntman Hal Needham. To watch this film today is to witness the last hurrah of a movie star in a vanity project backed by a large budget and full studio promotion. Sure, Cannonball Run II and City Heat would out-preform Stroker in terms of box-office prowess, but Ace is Reynolds’ last true good ‘ol boy flick, and it holds a certain appeal because of that.
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Top Secret! (1984) – Review

3 Stars

Directors Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker, the creators of Airplane and The Naked Gun series, spoof World War II spy movies, and 1950’s Elvis musicals, with smart sight gags and funny dialogue. Top Secret! doesn’t hit the high bar set by those two other classics from the trio of comedic filmmakers, but it’s still a lot of fun.
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Rough Cut (1980) – Review

2 Stars

It’s become part of the James Bond mythology that American actor Burt Reynolds was approached by series producer Albert R. Broccoli to take over the role for the departing Sean Connery. Thankfully, for Reynolds and audiences this never came to fruition. Yet, Rough Cut feels like a glimpse of what could have been. Hitchcock movies, Cary Grant pictures, and The Italian Job all seem to be heavy inspirations for this troubled film, that saw three directors exited during a tumultuous production.
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