It’s been over a decade since we’ve taken a trip to Calvin’s barber shop, on the Southside of Chicago. The shop has evolved as the neighbourhood has evolved; but the bitter pill of change can be hard to swallow. Recently, Chicago has made international headlines, as high-profile murders plague the city. Gang warfare threatens the residents of the impoverished Southside, catching innocent victims in the crossfire. Fed up with the lack of progress by local police The Mayor’s Office proposes a plan to wall off the neighbourhood, with Calvin’s shop in the center. Fearful of the Mayor’s proposal, escalating violence and the impact on his impressionable, teenage son; Calvin secretly weighs his options: Move the shop to the preppy Northside, or stay the course and inspire a positive change in the neighbourhood (somehow). Continue reading “Review – Barbershop: The Next Cut”
The Lego Movie isn’t the story of Ole Kirk Christiansen; a Danish toymaker whose plain plastic building bricks were first made of wood. As interesting as that story is, The Lego movie is another mis-marketed, 3D, CGI-fest that should’ve been a movie that is definitive of a generation. The premise is a flimsy as a Lego city mat causing the film to drag on a bit. However, one shouldn’t let a strong script or developed plot dissuade you from seeing this yourself. The level of detail is astounding and dare I say, physically unbelievable; and that’s just in the Warner Brothers’ logo.
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The Hobbit is back on Blu-Ray this November with the extended edition. It’s Available from November 5, but pre-orders now on Amazon or WBShop.com today. There’s only 13 more minutes of footage in the extended edition, bringing the running time to a svelte 182 minutes. There is about 9 hours of special features to keep you busy. Watch Peter Jackson’s transformation of New Zealand to Middle Earth or listen to one on the new director’s commentary tracks. The Blu Ray is also available in 3D. Both versions include an Ultraviolet version, for download to mobile devices.
Sitting through the “Hangover” sequels has been like helplessly watching from a remote satellite feed while someone vandalizes my car.
The 2009 mega-hit original was something of an anomaly, at least as far as box office-topping comedies go. Why? Because it was actually funny, particularly amidst the proliferation of disposable “gross-out” fare at the time. But something that was once great has been dismantled and sold for scrap – inevitable, I suppose, in Hollywood.
Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: The Hangover Part III”
My initial reaction to Bullet to the Head was something along the lines of “it’s not meant to be Lawrence of Arabia, but it’s entertaining. It was fun.” However, after ruminating on it a few days, the film’s racist humor (and the audience reaction to it) started to get to me, and it left me rather cold; I thought I needed to examine why I’m about to give this movie the grade that follows. Bullet to the Head seems to be another in a long line of big-budget, should’ve-been-released-on-cable movies with large name actors at the helm. Sure, it’s a fun, retro, 80s-style action movie with updated gore effects (it certainly earns its title well), and it’s only 91 minutes long.
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Before we start: on behalf of Reel Film News, we would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the victims of the Aurora shooting and their families.
I had originally written an overlong piece about the merits of The Dark Knight Rises. There was a quote by Randy Meeks from Scream 3 about the nature of trilogies; there was a five-item list of things I wanted to see done in it, which I then proceeded to tackle point-by-point. Throughout it all, I saw one constant theme I kept touching upon in almost every paragraph: I kept marveling about how wonderful the entire Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy was for its constant real-world grounding.
Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises”
I must confess my approach to this review of Rock of Ages with a quote:
“I’m old and I’m not happy. Everything today is improved and I don’t like it. I hate it! In my day, we didn’t have hair dryers. If you wanted to blow dry your hair, you stood outside during a hurricane. Your hair was dry, but you had a sharp piece of wood driven clear through your skull! And that’s the way it was, and you liked it! You loved it! Whoopee, I’m a human head-kabob!”
— Dana Carvey as Grumpy Old Man, “Saturday Night Live”
You see, this is the way I feel about Rock of Ages. Having grown up in the era from which the songs from this film (and the Broadway musical upon which this film was based) were culled, I realized early on that this movie wasn’t geared toward me; this movie was more for the “American Idol” and “Glee” fans, neither of which I am. What Rock of Ages manages to do is take the “rock” out of every song and replace it with the Auto-Tuned, toneless vocal bravura that seems to dominate current pop music and television shows. The story found amid the songs is no great shakes, either – if you’ve seen 2000’s Coyote Ugly, 2001’s Rock Star, 2007’s Music and Lyrics, and 2010’s Burlesque, you’ll catch yourself wondering if you’ve seen this movie before. But where the latter three at least propelled their stories forward with original music, Rock of Ages relies on everything from the 1980s: the hair, the glam, and the music, whether rock or not.
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It’s one thing to see adults in compromising circumstances. The Hangover showed responsible (well… sort of responsible, at least) adults in outlandish and dangerous situations, ranging from drug-induced blackouts to being assaulted to having guns pointed at them and so forth. However, it’s quite another thing when you take those situations and put minors in place of the adults. Project X, co-produced by Todd Phillips (the director of The Hangover), is a morally bankrupt example of how NOT to let children act. Almost reprehensible in its nature and in its presentation, Project X manages to be funny at times, but at what price do those laughs come?
Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Project X”
Attached to full IMAX prints of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is a six-minute prologue to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the eagerly-anticipated closer to Nolan’s Batman trilogy. This excerpt sets up the hunt for Bane, a ghastly brute who requires a nightmarish breathing apparatus, which also serves to define his horrifying visage. Designed and shown to start the public drooling for The Dark Knight Rises, does it do its job?
Spoilers lurk ahead, for both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises prologue! Continue at your own peril…
Continue reading “The Dark Knight Rises: The Prologue”