Movies

Movies

Thu
13
Feb

Super Sonic: Sega's Hedgehog Hero Comes Out a Winner

Sonic the Hedgehog Movie

The face of Sega gaming races into theaters this weekend, and the studio execs have got to be crossing their fingers that they hit a home run with the fans. After early images of the CGI-rendered Sonic the Hedgehog were released to the public and met with universal scorn, production went back to the drawing board to get a redesign that was closer to the original version of the character.

They succeeded.

Sonic the Hedgehog came from another dimension, fleeing to this one as a hiding place when evil beings on his home wanted to take his power from him. It's a power he doesn't fully understand himself, but it manifests itself in super-speed. (Warner Brothers may want to push back THE FLASH another year after this.) He's been here for a while, living among the people in a small town, hiding from them. He knows them intimately, even though they don't know he's around.

Thu
13
Feb

DOWNHILL Is An Unfunny Waste Of Great Comedy Talent

DOWNHILL opens 2/14/2020, and the best part will be the trailers  before it starts.

Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are two living legends in comedy. Both are Saturday Night Live alumni who revel in the absurd. Ferrell graduated to the big screen with Old School and never looked back. Elf, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, The Lego Movie 1 & 2, Get Hard, and my personal favorite of his impressive resume, Stranger Than Fiction -- It seemed like the funny man would never bomb. The same holds true for Louis-Dreyfus,, the only woman in history to have won Emmy Awards for three different comedy series. Seinfeld put her on the map, and The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep proved that she belonged to be considered among the heavyweights like Carol Burnett and Betty White. 

Tue
11
Feb

An Inept Con Run Against Gullible Rich: This is Parasite

Parasite on Blu-ray

More than a few people expected PARASITE, the film from director Bong Joon Ho, to take the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. But far more were taken aback when the film swept out of that niche and into the broader part of the ceremony, nabbing the coveted Best Picture award.

Is it a good movie? It's okay. It's a bit of a slog in places, and for American audiences it is clogged with cultural references that won't strike any chords. Add to that the fact that the entire thing is subtitled throughout, and you end up with a recipe for Decidedly Not a Blockbuster.

Tue
11
Feb

Bird Flu: Femme-Flick Box Office Latest Victim of Coronavirus

Birds of Prey Sick

It cost 84.5 million to make.

It grossed about $81 million in its opening weekend.

Which has executives at Warner Brothers scratching their heads and wondering: Why is BIRDS OF PREY AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN not making money?

It couldn't be the wordy title. It couldn't be that the movie posters had all the mass appeal of a 14-year-old girl's scrapbook project inspired by Botticelli. It couldn't be that the few ads that were shown revealed the well-known intellectual property characters to be even less like their historical counterparts than any prior DC Extended Universe or televised Arrowverse character. It couldn't be that the R rating shut out a large segment of a target audience that could be remotely interested in a superhero property (if, indeed, BIRDS OF PREY was intended to be one).

Sun
26
Jan

Tim Miller Leads Terminator Franchise to Dark Fate

Terminator Dark Fate

So here's the gist of the TERMINATOR franchise: In the future, an artificial intelligence called Skynet decides humanity needs to be purged, and creates killer robots called Terminators. But John Connor would mount a successful resistance, forcing Skynet to invent time travel so it could send a robot into the past to prevent him from growing up. It fails, and only succeeds in ensuring John Connor is born. His mother Sarah Connor then fights Terminators who keep coming back trying to kill him, so that the future would be changed.

Only we see in the beginning of TERMINATOR: DARK FATE that a Terminator arrives and does successfully shoot the young John Connor in the head, leaving a grieving and embittered Sarah Connor behind to mourn.

So Skynet's future is assured, right?

Wrong.

Sat
11
Jan

When the Special Effect is the Plot, Gemini Man is What You Get

It's WILL SMITH vs WILL SMITH when the classic "nature versus nurture" debate gets tested in the world of highly-skilled assassins.

Smith plays Henry, a superior marksman with a number of kills to his credit all of whom were bad guys looking to do harm to America. Until this last job. When he misses his kill shot by a few inches (still killing the man), he decides it's time to hang it up and retire. After all, an inch in the wrong direction can mean the difference between a righteous kill and an innocent victim.

However, Henry's last target wasn't what Henry was led to believe: he was the loose end in a secret government program called "Gemini." And now the last dangling thread is Henry himself. He manages to fight off an attack of several men, picking up a partner in Agent Dani Zakarweski (BIRDS OF PREY's MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD) by accident. And when the men behind his kill order realize Henry escaped, they send in their best man.

Junior.

Thu
02
Jan

Voting Open for Best of 2019 Awards

Nominations for Best of 2019

Holy cow, is it 2020 already? 2019 seems to have gone by in a blur, with so much happening in the world of movies, television, and comics. It's hard to believe we've reached the point where we now have the unenviable task of deciding which was the best in every category to recognize the producers of entertainment for their efforts.

So below you will find the voting form, featuring our nominations for the best film, film actor, television series (which includes streaming until we come up with a word to replace television), series actor, comic book storyline, comics writer, comics artist, and -- last but certainly not least -- the selection of our Critical Blast Bombshell of the Year from the list of 2019's Bombshell of the Month candidates.

Sat
28
Dec

Little Women, Big Mess

Little Women

GRETA GERWIG's directorial rewrite of Louisa May Alcott's American classic is a sprawling mess of a period piece that meanders about, hopping backward and forward in time to finally get to its quiet and unsatisfactory conclusion.

Thu
12
Dec

Jumanji: The Next Level Delivers More Cast, Less Fun

Jumanji: The Next Level opens in the US on 12/13/19.

There are a handful of movie sequels that have surpassed the original: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Captain America: Civil War, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Toy Story 2 and maybe The Godfather II could also be on that list. How about Jumanji: The Next Level which hits theaters in the US on 12/12/19?

Finally...there's something even the presence of Dwayne Johnson can't improve. It would be more accurate to call it "The Next Level Down." There was a genuine sense of fun and enery to be found in the first reboot of the Robin Williams classic. While the cast tried hard to recapture that elusive chemistry that made the previous film work so well, the sequel failed to reach the next level this time.

Fri
06
Dec

Ready or Not a Foray into Comedic Gore-Porn

Ready or Not Blu-ray

When Grace (SAMARA WEAVING) accepted a marriage proposal from Daniel Le Domas (ADAM BRODY), she expected her life to change. After all, the Le Domas clan was richer than Croesus, and their reputation was global. What she didn't plan for, however, was the wedding night tradition of midnight game play. The Le Domas dynasty had been built on marketing games, and it had been a long-standing tradition that upon any wedding, the new family member would be assigned a random card from a puzzle box, detailing the game to be played. It could be checkers, chess, backgammon...anything at all.

But one game required different rules than all the others: Hide and Seek. That's the game when the family knew their ages-old benefactor demanded a sacrifice be made. So when Grace pulls that card, and goes off to find a hiding place, she is completely unaware that the family is preparing to come looking for her -- armed to the teeth!

Wed
27
Nov

Stars Shine But Dimly in By-the-Book Buttons: A Christmas Tale

Buttons a Christmas Tale

I will say this for Tim Janis's BUTTONS: A CHRISTMAS TALE: it's heart is in the right place, and it delivers familiar faces -- and voices -- at every turn. Beginning with narration from KATE WINSLET and ROBERT REDFORD, we waste no time in being introduced to legendary actor DICK VAN DYKE, leaving a note at the doorstep of Mr. & Mrs. Hill (PAUL GREENE, ABIGAIL SPENCER). A child is at the hospital awaiting adoption, and the Hills are too eager to rush there to fill that role.

At that same time, Emily (NOELLE PARKER) is brought to the hospital, brought to Mother Genevieve (ROMA DOWNEY), to the chagrin of the doctor (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION's JOHN De LANCIE). He makes it clear that she can't stay past the night, as this is a private hospital for paying patients.

Tue
26
Nov

Official Secrets Compelling Window into Iraq War Run-Up

Official Secrets

The events of OFFICIAL SECRETS are true, and that's what makes the film so magnetic. It's not overblown with explosions, high-speed chases, or tense confrontations. It's a sequence of human decisions, facts, denials, and consequences.

Katharine Gun (KIERA KNIGHTLEY) was working as a translator for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British counterpart to the United States' NSA. Between the events of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, she was one of several recipients of a confidential email from the NSA, requesting assistance from GCHQ to dig into the backgrounds of several United Nations representatives for the purpose of finding leverage on them that could garner their votes for an invasion. Torn between duty and conscience, Katharine ultimately printed the email and, through a series of back-channels, got it into the hands of reporters at The Guardian.

Sat
23
Nov

Elsa and Anna Go Into the Unknown in FROZEN II

Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Sven Go Into the Unknown for FROZEN II

FROZEN 2 has a high bar to get over, what with the first film having produced a main theme that won an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Critics Choice award. But this film is all about taking leaps, as the characters go through their own transformations in this richly layered tale that is more stage musical than its predecessor.

It's autumn in Arendelle, the season that reminds us that life changes. And where the scenery does this with subtlety, Olaf the Snowman (JOSH GAD) does it with overtness. He's rather old for a snowman now, and with age comes a certain wisdom. Anna (KRISTEN BELL) assures him there are some things that will remain constant. Remember them, there will be tragic callbacks later to them in the movie. While Anna comforts Olaf that things will go on changeless, Kristoff (JONATHAN GROFF) is preparing to introduce a big change in his and Anna's life by proposing -- if he could ever get the words out without Anna finding a self-conscious way to twist all his words.

Fri
22
Nov

Blinded by the Light of Bruce Springsteen

Blinded by the Light

BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is a coming of age tale set in a small town in Britain. Javed (VIVEIK KAIRA) is a British young man of Pakistani descent. His father and mother (KUVLINDER GHIR, MEERA GANATRA) both emigrated from Pakistan for a better life. But this is the UK of the 1980s, and teens walk the streets wearing swastikas. Pakistani homes are assaulted with grafitti, and Pakistani men are attacked on the street.

Javed is uncertain what path his life will take, but he knows he doesn't want it to be the path his father puts him on. He writes lyrics for his best friend, Matt (DEAN-CHARLES CHAPMAN), who fronts for a rock band, and he dreams of going to London to make it on his own there.

Thu
21
Nov

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Challenges You To Accept And Give Basic Human Kindness

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, opening everywhere November 22, 2019

The first thing you'll need to know about Tom Hanks' latest film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, opening everywhere November 22, 2019, is that it's not a biography of Fred Rogers, the widely beloved star of the long-running children's television program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. That was covered perfectly by last year's Academy Award nominee Won't You Be My Neighbor. This film features Hanks as Rogers, but the story is not about the man. The story is about impact Mr. Rogers had on the people who were fortunate enough to meet him.

Tue
19
Nov

When the Subplot is More Engaging than the Main: Angry Birds 2

The world is all divided into three parts. On the first, there is the island of the flightless birds, who get around in the air through the use of giant slingshots. On the other island live the green pigs, with whom the birds are at constant prank war. Chief among the warrior birds is Red (JASON SUDEIKIS), who is revered because he protected the island from the pigs and their leader, Leonard (BILL HADER) with the help of his friends Chuck (JOSH GAD) and Bomb (DANNY McBRIDE).

But there is a third island, an island of ice, newly discovered and declaring war upon the lands of both pig and bird, launching giant iceballs through the air and reigning down not pranks but destruction. Having a common enemy, birds and pigs forge a truce to work together and stop the mad plans of Zeta (LESLIE JONES) who seeks revenge against the one who jilted her years ago -- Mighty Eagle (PETER DINKLAGE).

Sat
16
Nov

Dora Brings Nostalgic Chuckles, But Inconsistencies Plague This Nickelodeon Release

Dora and the Lost City of Gold Bluray

The idea of adapting the Nickelodeon pre-school cartoon series, DORA THE EXPLORER, into a matured teenaged jungle expert is, quite frankly, an idea that should have been money in the bank. From the trailers, we see all the classic DORA touchpoints that seem deservedly odd in a live-action film, such as young Dora breaking the fourth wall and asking the audience if they can say a word. That's a cute throwback to the cartoon series. 

When we first meet Dora, she's six years old, and living in the jungle with her parents, Elena (EVA LONGORIA) and Cole (MICHAEL PEÑA), and her cousin Diego. When Diego has to go back home to the city (Go, Diego! Go!), Dora is left with no one her own age with whom to relate.

Sun
10
Nov

Last Christmas, Worst Christmas

Last Christmas

Kate (EMILIA CLARKE) is a professional elf in the employ of Santa. No, she's not at the North Pole; Santa is her grouchy Asian boss, played by MICHELLE YEOH. Kate's a bit of a cock-up, going from flat to flat, wherever she can find a friend who will let her flop for the night. Her parents live in town, but she can't stand being around her overprotective mother. Kate's attitude also carries over into her job, which she treats with apathy and carelessness, being more focused on getting the big audition that will launch her music career.

When she encounters Tom (HENRY GOLDING), her life begins to slowly change. She finds him weird at first, and she continues dating other people (if we define dating as "sleeping around"). But the more she bumps into him, the more she is drawn to this blissfully zen-like man, who is always "looking up" and finding new things to appreciate.

Fri
08
Nov

Cena Expands Comic Range in Family-Friendly Playing With Fire

PLAYING WITH FIRE is the kind of family comedy we've seen before: kids vs. adults, with the kids safely maneuvering around dangerous situations, while formerly unflappable adults are suddenly incapable of handling themselves because they are new to dealing with children.

That's the setup for when a crew of smokejumpers go to a cabin fire, where they find three kids -- Brynn (DEADPOOL's BRIANNA HILDEBRAND), Will (CHRISTIAN CONVERY, DESCENDENTS 3), and Zoey (FINLEY ROSE SLATER in her acting debut) -- huddled under a piece of debris. Superintendent "Supe" Jake Carson (JOHN CENA, BUMBLEBEE) pulls them out of harm's way, and almost immediately comic incompetence ensues.

Sun
03
Nov

Move Over, Hallmark. Christmas Jars is Already This Year's Most Heartwarming Holiday Tearjerker

Christmas Jars

Over the past several years, the broadcast bands get more and more flooded with sentimental holiday romance films. From Hallmark to Lifetime, from the occasional theatrical release to the annually repeated standards, the plethora of yuletide romance flicks are thick enough to drown in your own pile of tissues. They blend into each other, become predictable. Often you can recognize the plot from another movie and see they've merely changed the names, or the career, or made the single mom with a too-cute son a single dad with a precocious daughter. So it takes a lot for a new Christmas feature to stand out from the pack.

CHRISTMAS JARS, from Director Jonathan Wright, does more than stand out -- it stands apart, wasting no time at all in grabbing the viewer by the heart and squeezing.

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