Archives for Reviews

Film Review: Pain & Gain

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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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Film Review: V/H/S

by Dave Minkus
Score: 2/4

To say that found footage films, or shakycam movies, have been hit ormiss in their relatively short history is a bit of an understatement. There have been a few strong entries, but the entire genre has been mostly dismissed as an annoying fad that needs to go away as soon as possible. Suddenly, out of Sundance comes v/h/s, and the rave reviews declared that the genre was legitimate and here was proof positive. So does v/h/s live up to the hype? Yes and no…unfortunately more no than yes.

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Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises

by Dave Mi

nkus
Score: 2/4

I’ve never shied away from the fact that I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Dark Knight. It’s not that I think it’s a bad movie. I just happen to think it’s vastly overrated. With that in mind, my expectations for The Dark Knight Rises were set fairly low to be sure, yet somehow it found a way to still disappoint me. By necessity for this review, I’m going to need to get into some spoilers. I’d highly recommend you skip those, so here’s your capsule review: the film looks gorgeous and takes full advantage of IMAX screens. The film is also incredibly convoluted and needed to be at least 45 minutes shorter. Anne Hathaway is great in it. It’s a decent film, but a severe disappointment as a Batman movie. Godspeed and I hope you enjoy the film.

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Film Review: Brave

by Lydia Winningham
Score: 2.5/4

Who doesn’t love a fiery redhead with strong character? Those of you who just raised your hands will be disappointed in the new CG-animated film, Brave, but the rest of us have been anticipating Scottish accents, slapstick humor, kilts, and a summer blockbuster that Pixar has done everything in its power to promote. Video games, featurette-length trailers, and an assortment of dolls and costumes hit the store shelves well before you could even get in line to buy tickets.

I betray nothing not already seen in the trailers by divulging that the story starts with young Merida learning she is about to become the trophy in a contest between the most eligible young men in Scotland. What you have already seen in the trailers, though, walks a careful line of half-truth editing, and the story soon takes a sharp right turn into the magical highlands of Scotland by following the recognizable trail of glowing bread crumbs now standardized by the video game industry.

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Film Review: The Avengers

by Dave Minkus
Score: 3.5/4

I never quite know what I’m going to get with

Joss Whedon. I’ll be the first person to admit that he’s talented and has a certain charm. However, I’m not a card-carrying Whedonite. I adore Firefly and Dr. Horrible, but can’t stand Buffy, Angel or Dollhouse. His run on Astonishing X-Men was good until the big reveal, and then it lost me. I definitely don’t hate the guy’s work, but he isn’t a lock for me…until 2012. Between Cabin In the Woods and now The Avengers, I’m 100% sold on the man. I might not love everything he does, but I’m guaranteed to at least give anything he does a shot.

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Film Review: Blue Like Jazz

by Dave Minkus
Score: 3.5/4

After what I said in my review of online pharmacy cialisref=”http://www.screengeeks.com/2011/09/02/film-review-seven-days-in-utopia/” target=”_blank”>Seven Days In Utopia, I really couldn’t blame any Christian filmmaker for banning me from seeing their film in a preview capacity. Hopefully through the frustration and anger came the true point. I’ve spent my life being told Christian films are good because they talk about Jesus and are always rated PG at worst. I’ve always been of the opinion that Christian films need to relate to a non-Christian audience as well as a Christian one. When Pete’s Dragon is a darker movie than most films coming out of Christendom, we’ve got a problem. It’s this lifelong frustration that’s made me fall in love with Blue Like Jazz like I’ve never loved any other film from a Christian filmmaker before.

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Film Review: Attack the Block

Directed by Joe Cornish
Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega
Score: 4/5

It’s just another night in South London, when a nurse named Sam (Jodie Whittaker) is mugged by a teen gang, lead by the imposing Moses (John Boyega). As if things weren’t bad enough for Sam already, an alien invasion takes place just moments later, just outside of her apartment. Suddenly, everyone must work together to overcome a vicious attack from creatures whose mission isn’t initially clear.

While fan boys may note that this is from the producer of Shaun of the Dead, it isn’t a comedy. In fact, it’s kind of like An American Werewolf in London, which was also a horror film that just happened to be wildly funny. Writer/director Joe Cornish, who wrote the screenplay to Steven Spielberg’s upcoming The Adventures of Tin Tin, is a talent on the rise; this sleeper mixes genuine scares, pulse pounding excitement, social commentary, laugh out loud moments and really inventive monsters in a way I haven’t seen since Tremors.

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Film Review: Attack the Block

Directed by Joe Cornish
Starring Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker and John Boyega
Score:  4/4

Looking at the poster and trailer for Attack the Block, I don’t blame people for not being more excited about this movie.  When the buzz around it started building (especially the audience award at SXSW), I didn’t understand it.  Obviously I was missing something, so I was more curious than anything when I got the invitation to catch a preview screening last night.  What I couldn’t have possibly expected was a film that is a direct descendant of films from John Carpenter, Wes Craven and even Cliver Barker from mostly the 70’s and 80’s.  If you’re not sure if that’s a good thing or not, believe me, it’s a VERY good thing.  When the opening shot of the movie was a static shot of a starry night and a synth score that John Carpenter could have easily written in the 80’s started up as a meteor fell to earth, I immediately got an idea of what I was in for, and this movie met every single one of my expectations.

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Film Review: Paul

by Dave Minkus

Directed by Greg Mattola
Starrting Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig and Jason Bateman

Score:  1.5/4

Paul has been getting mixed reviews pretty much from the get go.  I was legitimately scared to print Jack's review when he saw it back in November of 2010.  I was afraid to even entertain the thought that the two men who were on their way to becoming this generation's Abbott and Costello could put out what is at best a mediocre movie.  Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened.  I have some special bones to pick with the film's treatment of faith, but I'm going to leave that for the end as I've done my best to take that out of the equation when it comes to reviewing and scoring this film.

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