Archives for Mark Smith

Film Review: Pain & Gain

pain-and-gain-poster-final

by Mark Smith

Score: 3/4

I used to be a fan of Michael Bay’s. I knew that his films weren't brilliant by any definition of the word but most of them knew exactly what they were and played to his strengths. (I am one of the few defenders of Bad Boys II and not only do I defend it, I honestly think it is Bay’s masterpiece.) I lost a lot of my faith in him after the last two Transformers films. They both seemed like they played to a boring and clichéd formula and it appeared that Bay was just going through the motions or better yet that he was sleepwalking while making them. So I was excited when he announced he would be returning to his Bad Boys roots by making a moderately budgeted, hard “R”, crime thriller called Pain & Gain.

Pain & Gain is based on a true story and it involves three bodybuilders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Anthony Mackie) at various stages in their lives, trying to achieve the American dream any way they can. Things predictably go horribly wrong for them after they kidnap a wealthy dirtbag businessman (Tony Shaloub) in an attempt to steal all of his assets.  That last sentence is probably an understatement as this movie gets so crazy that by the end of it I was questioning how “true” it really was. (more…)

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Film Review: Evil Dead (2013)

evil_deadby Mark Smith
Score: 2.5/4

Remakes always give us pause because not very many of them are good. The Horror genre is especially remake crazy, especially in the last few years. Some of them have been great, ( 1982’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly), some of them have been decent, (2009’s Friday the 13th remake and 2006’s The Hills Have Eyes) but most of them have been bad (Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake and the remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street).

When it was announced that The Evil Dead was being remade I was cautiously optimistic. I love the original film and always have, but it is definitely dated and could be primed for an update. It was then announced that Sam Raimi, the creator and mastermind behind the original, was going to be producing the remake. The red band trailer then came out last year and I was really impressed with it and the buzz coming out of screenings of the film at SXSW was extremely positive. So I had some expectations for this film. I wasn’t going into it thinking that it was going to be another bad remake. Did it live up to those expectations?

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What Roger Ebert Meant To Me

Ebert3Honestly right now I am still in shock that we will never have another Roger Ebert review. I also don’t even know where to begin with trying to put into words what he meant to me and the influence he has on me but here goes my attempt.

I will start off by saying that there has not been a celebrity death in my lifetime that has ever brought me to tears or affected me like his death has. I had just read his blog post (entitled A Leave of Presence which you must read if you haven’t) that he posted two days ago about slowing down the amount of films he reviews. His last published words were “Thank you for going on this journey with me. I'll see you at the movies.” Nothing could be more appropriate than that.

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were the first film critics I followed when I was a very young child. I would watch their show on PBS every Saturday. I would think that their word on any movie was the truth and when they endorsed a movie I had to see it no matter what. My mom and dad would get sick of me always saying, “Well, Siskel and Ebert gave it two thumbs up, so it has to be good.” When my mom informed me that Siskel had passed when I was 10, at first I didn’t believe her. I was then devastated by it and is one of the most vivid memories I have of a celebrity passing away when I was a child.

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