After breaking out with The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner took on a series of action roles that saw him join some big-ass franchises, including Mission: Impossible and The Avengers. Over the last couple years, though, he’s been going back to his character-actor roots in projects like The Immigrant, American Hustle, and a not-nearly-lauded-enough guest starring stint on Louie. Now, in Kill The Messenger, he is once again the leading man. I just wish the final effort was more worthy of his talent. Continue reading
I didn’t think I was going to have time to review two movies this weekend, but instead of writing one 800-word review about how The Judge was bad, I decided to write two 400-word reviews telling you why The Judge AND Dracula Untold are bad. Neither movie is terribly complicated, therefore, neither review will take terribly long.
Robert Downey, Jr. and his wife, producer Susan Downey, started a production shingle together, and this is their first creative output as producing partners. It is not entirely a good movie, but I also don’t outright loathe it (like I do Dracula Untold). I could see myself watching this movie with my parents during the holidays and it being a solid family option. The main issue with The Judge is that it’s too long and schmaltzy, and the length makes the schmaltz worse because you have that much longer to be aware of it. The story is nothing new, both in the estranged father/son department and in the legal/procedural one, and there is some really hackneyed dialogue. Poor Vera Farmiga gets the worst of it but she’s game and tries her best to make that shit work. Continue reading
I didn’t really like Gone Girl as a book. I thought the premise was interesting, and I appreciated the antagonistic ending, but I found the alternating narrators to be a gimmick, and I got bored—I skipped over a hundred pages in the middle of the book and never missed a beat—and I didn’t understand why author Gillian Flynn devoted so much ink to Nick Dunne when his deranged, vindictive wife Amy was so much more interesting. It’s not that I think that Flynn is a bad writer—she’s not—or that I was offended somehow by the ending (which I gather many people were), I just thought Gone Girl was a helluva story bogged down by its own gimmicky conceit. Not coincidentally, this is also exactly how I feel about David Fincher’s film adaptation. Continue reading
I wanted to like Horns so much. I’ve enjoyed writer/director Alexandre Aja’s pulpy genre output since 2003’s French horror flick High Tension, and enjoyed the hell out of the campy, gore-laden Piranha 3D. Horns looked more ambitious than those films, though, still working the genre tropes that Aja uses so well but expanding into a broader, more fantastical realm, adapted from Joe Hill’s novel. The trailers looked great, I loved the cast (starring Daniel Radcliffe and featuring Max Minghella, Juno Temple, and Joe Anderson), and with a premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, it seemed like Horns might be something a little bit special. Continue reading
There are so many orphans in pop culture. Seriously, if you want to be a hero or a chosen one, you basically have to be orphaned first. And so, inspired by a delightfully time-wasting Twitter conversation, I’ve created a March Madness-style competitive bracket, beginning with a round of 32, to determine the Most Important (Fake) Dead Parents. Continue reading
Between the Chicago International Film Festival (10/9 – 10/23) and an increasingly busy commercial release slate, I’m going to see something like 31 movies in 31 days. How many do you think I can get reviewed? Over/under 15?
Over the last couple years, I’ve soured on football. I come from a football family—my mom had to reschedule her wedding around a Texas/OU game—and football is a big deal where I come from. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost my taste for football. It wasn’t one specific thing that did it, but more the accumulation of years of bullshit at both the college and pro levels, but things have really gone south over the last couple years. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit B2. Exhibit C. Exhibit D. Exhibit-Fucking-E. You get the picture.