Elektra (2005) – Review

2 Stars

Before Marvel reinvented itself with Ironman in 2008, the high-water mark was X2, Elektra has long been thought of as the low-point for the company. I would argue that Ghost Rider or Blade:Trinity holds this unremarkable title, but there is no mistaking that this spin-off of the so-so Daredevil big-screen adventure is a silly romp with little on the agenda outside of the most basic plot elements.
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Point Break (2015) – Review

2 Stars

Katherine Bigelow’s classic 1991 action film Point Break has been remade nearly 25 years later. This update on the original plays like a cliff notes version for the younger attention deficit crowd. To be fair, The Fast and Furious copied the formula long ago and to better effect than this in name re-telling. Featuring a cast of unremarkable actors that are only modestly invested in the material, Point Break (2015) has to rely on its stunning stunt footage to carry the film. The photography by director/director of photography Ericson Core is top-notch and often distracts from the mundane procedural.
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Bed of Roses (1996) – Review

2 Stars

Today a film like Bed of Roses would be considered a Lifetime channel movie, but twenty years ago the network was a fledging station that had yet to earn that undistinguished nomenclature. Here is a story that could only take place inside a movie, had this been reality the lead female character would have surely called the cop on the loon sending her flowers every hour on the hour. However, since this was a valentine’s day timed release and stars Christian Slater, it is an innocuous mix of sweet and fluff.
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The Hateful Eight (2015) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Each Quentin Tarantino film is such a unique movie-going experience that any new entry is guaranteed to be greeted with expectations that have become almost impossible to meet. Every few years the auteur brings to the screen another one of his personal opuses, taking us on strange journeys through differing genres. How many other directors can pull audiences to see a two-part kung-fu flick, a three-hour serio-comic WWII movie, or a western set mostly indoors?
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Spy Game (2001) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

Spy Game is a carefully plotted and rather ingenious story set over the course of one day. The action takes place inside CIA headquarters located in Langley, Virginia, while also flashing to a Chinese prison where former shadow agent Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) is awaiting execution in twenty-four hours. When Bishop’s rogue mission goes awry, he’s captured and sentenced to death. With a short deadline, Bishop’s former boss Nathan Muir (Redford) must navigate the political sharks inside the agency while battling enemies abroad in saving his protegĂ©’s life.
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The Big Short (2015) – Review

4 Stars

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies after space opera fantasies, along comes The Big Short. A film that harbors a palpable sense of disbelief at the unethical behavior displayed by the nation’s leading financial structures and their unregulated practices overlooked by the government. Director/writer Adam Mckay has taken Michael Lewis’ (dry) account of the pre-market collapse and the resulting bailout chronicled in his bestseller and made the endeavor easily understandable and darkly comic at the same time. This is no easy feat and Mckay (mostly known for his Anchorman movies) proves himself a rich storyteller. Who knew? That seems to be the theme of the tale outlined here and characterized by a dozen gifted actors portraying real-life fund managers that foresaw the burst of the housing bubble.
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A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) – Review

1 Star

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate would be completely forgettable if it wasn’t also the debut (and, only) film written and directed by star Martin Lawrence. Ah, yes lets remember back to a time, when in early 1996 Martin was considered a bigger movie star than Will Smith. That was before Lawrence’s disruptive behavior on-set and in his personal life torpedoed his once white-hot career streak. I digress. It’s clearly obvious that A Thin Line Between Live and Hate is a vanity project in the mold of Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang. However, unlike Murphy’s star vehicle, Hate is lacking anything remotely resembling wit or style. It isn’t exactly terrible – it’s just completely uninspired.
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