Cooties is an odd-ball horror/comedy that excels at neither

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , on September 28, 2015 by Sarah

Cooties_posterI have generally enjoyed Elijah Wood’s post-Lord of the Rings career as he’s largely retreated into genre and takes on interesting and offbeat projects like Wilfred and the Maniac remake—both of which are good, as is last year’s Grand Piano—but his latest movie, Cooties, of which he is both producer and star, is not up to his usual standard of oddball fare. (He also has movies with Vin Diesel AND Nicolas Cage coming up, which means that either he’s taking “ironic performance” to whole new levels or that LOTR money is running low.) Cooties is a zombie movie with the twist that it’s set at an elementary school and the kids are the only ones affected by a zombie virus outbreak, leaving their beleaguered teachers to fend them off or die trying. Continue reading

Fall Movie Preview: September 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2015 by Sarah

Goodbye summer movie season, hello awards season.

September 4

A Walk in the Woods

My parents want to see this.


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Straight Outta Compton is half incendiary history, half rote biopic

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2015 by Sarah

Straight_Outta_Compton_posterThe first half of Straight Outta Compton is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. Tense, incendiary, tightly directed by F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job) and beautifully acted by an ensemble cast fronted by Corey Hawkins (Non-Stop), Jason Mitchell (Contraband), and O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (Ice Cube’s actual son), Compton is fierce and unrelenting and explosive. …Until it downshifts about halfway through and becomes a chronicle of contract disputes, and then it loses all momentum and limps across the finish line, hobbled by a genre it outstripped within the first twenty minutes. It’s a worthwhile movie for a lot of reasons, and definitely worth seeing even if you don’t care about the history of rap, but the lame second half throws a big bucket of ice water over the fire and rage of the legitimately brilliant first half. Continue reading

Summer Movie Preview: August 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , on August 7, 2015 by Sarah

August 7

Cop Car

A group of punk kids steal a sheriff’s car and he then pursues them like a lunatic. Looks awesome.


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What are dumb weiner kids?

Posted in Movies with tags , , , , , , on July 29, 2015 by Sarah

I’ve had some questions lately about a term I use in movie reviews, “dumb weiner kids”, and why I use it to describe children in movies. It’s not because I hate kids—I’m just indifferent to them—it’s because there is a specific kind of kid that shows up in movies that serves no purpose except to force an audience reaction because kid. Recent examples of movies with dumb weiner kids include Southpaw, Jurassic World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, where Hawkeye was retro-fitted with a family in order to provide him with a character, as he really didn’t have one up to that point. Since we need to care about what happens to Hawkeye in Ultron, Marvel and Joss Whedon threw some kids into his backstory in order to give him an identity and create emotional stakes for his character.

I have children.  You are legally required to care about me.

I have children.
You are legally required to care about me.

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Southpaw is a lot of Jake Gyllenhaal’s wasted effort

Posted in Movies, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2015 by Sarah

southpaw-posterThe problem with boxing movies is that there are only two possible stories to tell: 1) A boxer trains hard, overcomes adversity, and wins, or 2) a boxer trains hard, overcomes adversity, and loses. Occasionally you get a boxing movie that throws a little extra juice into the formula, either by supplying a twist (Million Dollar Baby), or by using side plots as co-dependent metaphors—boxing is life and life is boxing!—like in Rocky and The Fighter. But no matter how you tinker with it, boxing movies only ever come in two varieties, win or lose, which means escaping clichés is virtually impossible. It’s the inherent problem of boxing movies, and it’s a problem that Southpaw, written by Kurt Sutter (Sons of Anarchy) and directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), can’t overcome. Also Southpaw is incredibly stupid on a fundamental level. Continue reading

Summer Movie Preview: July 2015

Posted in Movies, Previews with tags , , , , , , on July 9, 2015 by Sarah

Better late than never?

July 1

Magic Mike XXL

No seriously, it’s great! Full review here.

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