Movie Review: TRUE GRIT

From the Duke to the Dude, the Coen Brothers put their own indelible stamp on the Western in this latest adaptation of the 1968 novel, True Grit, by Charles Portis. Portis’s book was previously brought to the screen a year after publication in a film directed by Henry Hathaway with John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, a…

Movie Review: 21 JUMP STREET

21 Jump Street is an early contender for surprise hit of the year. Movies based on old television shows haven’t had a winning percentage and 21 Jump Street had the potential to be another Starsky & Hutch or, worse yet, Car 54, Where Are You? Instead, it’s a clever and uproarious spoof of action films and high school comedies. Jonah Hill steps…

Movie Review: THE MECHANIC

CBS Films quickly carved themselves a little niche for old school action movies. One of the first films they released was the 70’s revenge throwback, Faster, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It was a marked departure from their first two productions, the medical drama Extraordinary Measures and the Jennifer Lopez rom-com, The Back-Up Plan. CBS follows up Faster with The Mechanic, a…

Blu-ray Review: ATOMIC BLONDE

When it seemed like Daniel Craig would walk away from the role of James Bond, fans pondered what it would be like to re-imagine 007 as a female agent played by Charlize Theron. Evidently, somebody drove a dump truck full of money to Craig’s home, but that female Bond franchise has arrived in the form…

Movie Review: UNSTOPPABLE

“This is Will Coulson, your conductor, we’re gonna run this bitch down.” Unstoppable marks the fifth collaboration between Tony Scott and Denzel Washington as well as the second time in a row the pair get to play with trains. Their working relationship has yielded some good (Man on Fire) and some bad (Déjà Vu). You can…

Blu-ray Review: PARANORMAN

2012 was a strong year for animated films. While computer animation rules the roost, it’s good to know that older forms like stop-motion are still being kept alive. Disney released Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Universal produced ParaNorman from Laika Studios, the same animators that brought us Coraline. Despite being stronger pictures, neither of those pictures…

Movie Review: FRANKENWEENIE

Before he was Tim Burton, the director of Batman and Ed Wood, he was simply Tim Burton, a young animator trying to make a name for himself at Disney. He first gained notice in 1982 with a stop-motion animated short called Vincent. His follow-up was a half-hour live-action piece, Frankenweenie, about a boy who brings his beloved dog back to…

Movie Review: JONAH HEX

Comic book movies are now a staple of the summer blockbuster season. This modern age of the comic book film can be traced back to an unlikely source in Blade. For decades, Marvel had attempted to turn their characters into successful feature films. Yet, all they had to show for it are a pair of awful…

Movie Review: MALEFICENT

“Let us tell an old story anew and we will see how well you know it.” So begins Disney’s latest attempt to mine their rich archives and re-imagine a classic fairy tale, both of which have become big business. Alice in Wonderland scored over a billion dollars at the box office to get the ball…

Blu-ray Review: SUPERMAN/SHAZAM! – THE RETURN OF BLACK ADAM

Warner Premiere has been steadily releasing a series of direct-to-video animated films based off the popular superheroes of DC Comics. It began in 2007 with Superman: Doomsday, but it wasn’t until last year that they began producing shorts under the “DC Showcase” brand. These short films would star an assortment of lesser known DC characters…

Movie Review: HAYWIRE

Steven Soderbergh has to be considered one of the most versatile filmmakers working today. He can effortlessly switch from slick blockbusters like Erin Brockovich and the Ocean’s series to iconoclastic indie projects like Bubble and Full Frontal. Soderbergh’s latest film, Haywire, is a melding of both worlds and his first foray into the action genre.…

DVD Review: BONES – SEASON 12

Police procedurals are an easy sell to the networks, especially if they have a gimmicky twist. There was Ioan Gruffuld as an immortal medical examiner in Forever and the devil himself assisting the LAPD in Lucifer. At one point, producers were developing a drama with King Arthur reimagined as a crime-solving graffiti artist. It’s surprising…

Blu-ray Review: THE THING

Until recently, John Carpenter had been persona non grata since the abysmal Ghosts of Mars, a sci-fi version of his earlier action flick, Assault on Precinct 13. For a while, he seemed content with collecting royalty checks as Hollywood studios churned out big-budget remakes of his beloved cult classics. Assault was remade along with The…

Movie Review: OZ – THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Walt Disney had always wanted to make an animated film based on Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. However, MGM beat him to the punch, acquiring the rights and producing their classic musical starring Judy Garland. The closest Disney ever came was a television special featuring the Mouseketeers as various characters and the disturbing…

Movie Review: CONTAGION

Steven Soderbergh is one of the few filmmakers working today who rarely repeats himself. He is as comfortable at making big Hollywood spectacles like the Ocean’s series as he is with idiosyncratic low-budget projects like Bubble and The Girlfriend Experience. He’s also delved into film noir in The Good German (one of my favorite films…