Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Getaway' Movie Review

Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the distinct impression that I’m the only person in the free world who is actually going to give “Getaway” a positive review. We’re not talking about a great work of cinema here, and in many ways this is a terrible, terrible movie. I completely recognize this fact, but that doesn’t mean that this is a film without certain charms, and, taken on its own terms, this is a successful endeavor. Produced on the cheap by After Dark Films, most known for their low-to-no budget “films to die for,” “Getaway” is essentially the action equivalent of their horror fare. The only reason this didn’t go straight to video is because the only three real cast members are Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, and John Voight.

Monday, August 26, 2013

'Divergent' Teaser Looks To Get In On The Lucrative Dystopian Teen Market

So the last few days have been heavy on hype for Summit Entertainment’s upcoming adaptation of Veronica Roth’s best-selling young adult novel Divergent. There was a brief synopsis laying out the core plot details, an infographic that shed a little more light on the five factions of the story, and, of course, 13 seconds worth of footage from the film. All of this was a build up towards the money shot, which happened yesterday at MTV’s Video Music Awards, when the studio debuted the first teaser trailer for the film. Everything else was really just a teaser for the teaser.

Friday, August 23, 2013

'The World's End' Movie Review

Everyone has that friend that’s not always easy to get along with, that you don’t see for extended periods, and when you do, you spend most of your time questioning why you still put up with this person. In Edgar Wright’s new film, The World’s End—the close of the so-called Cornetto Trilogy that began with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz—that role is filled by Gary King (Wright’s frequent co-conspirator Simon Pegg). He’s loud and crass, he’s ingested every drug you can name, along with a few you can’t, but most of all he’s stuck in the past, fixated on one glorious night in 1990.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

'You're Next' Movie Review

It’s all too rare in these days of continual, 24/7 movie hype to come across one that actually lives up to the hyperbolic surge. Adam Wingard’s (“V/H/S”) newly released home invasion film, “You’re Next,” not only meets, but exceeds expectations, which is impressive, because there has been a ton of steam behind this movie. The indie horror offering originally made the festival rounds back in 2011, where it gathered glowing reviews from every genre-centric writer—and most others as well. The rest of us finally have the chance to see the movie, and it was totally worth the wait. We’re talking twisted, gory, scary, tense, and shockingly funny. I mean that in both the sense that, from the way the movie has been promoted, you wouldn’t expect many laughs; and also in what the film makes you laugh at. “You’re Next” isn’t genre bending, it’s genre done very, very well, and one of the most entertaining movies of the year.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RIP Elmore Leonard: Take One Last Lesson From The Master

Like many people, I woke up this morning to the news that legendary crime and mystery writer Elmore Leonard has passed away at the age of 87. I started reading books like Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch in junior high. While in the intervening years I moved away from his fiction for periods of time time, I always admired his prose. Along the way, I realized he also wrote films that were just as badass as his books.  Movies like 3:10 to Yuma, Joe Kidd, and Mr. Majestyk (who else beside Elmore Leonard and Charles Bronson could make melon farming kick so much ass?) are important works of the stern-faced, stoic, gritty genre that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Justified, a show not only based on Leonard’s work, but produced by him as well, is currently the reigning champion of gravelly crime dramas on TV.

There isn’t much that I can say about Leonard that hasn’t already been said with more eloquence elsewhere, so I think it’s best to let the man speak for himself. What follows are Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules forwriting. Not only to do they offer valuable advice to anyone looking to hone their craft, they provide a quick insight into the way his mind worked. Read them, learn them, love them. Enjoy.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: 'Rapture-Palooza'

Rapture-Palooza is a prime example of a movie that has great concept, but that struggles to stretch said concept into a feature-length motion picture. The idea is so absurd that you’re immediately drawn in, but the execution leaves much to be desired. In the end, the finished product, now out on Blu-ray and DVD, is little more than a footnote in a summer that includes superior apocalyptic films like This is theEnd, The World’s End, and It’s a Disaster, which is a shame, because it has a fantastic cast.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

'Kick-Ass 2' Movie Review

It’s weird, as I walked out of the theater, I was aware that there are big problems with “Kick-Ass 2,” but on the whole, I had been reasonably entertained over the previous 103 minutes. With some movies, distance smooths over the rough patches, and the more you think about them, the more you examine them, the more you enjoy them. “Kick-Ass 2,” however, is not one of those movies. There was a long bus ride home after the screening, and the more I thought about it, the more I broke the film down in my mind, the more glaring, and troubling, the flaws became.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: 'The Guillotines'

The Master of the Flying Guillotine (AKA One-Armed Boxer 2 and One-Armed Boxer Vs. The Flying Guillotine, which is how many of us first saw the film) is one of the most memorable movies in the Shaw Brothers cannon, which is saying something big, because they’re responsible for countless martial arts gems. Legendary Hong Kong director Andy Lau (Internal Affairs) recently took a whack at reworking the concept, as The Guillotines-now available on Blu-ray from Well Go USA-with mixed results.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: 'Aftershock'

To lay this out right off the bat, I’ve never been a big fan of anything Eli Roth has ever done. There are two exceptions, he’s great in “Inglorious Basterds,” and that fake trailer he made for “Grindhouse” is pretty fantastic. Aside from that, the “Hostel” films don’t do anything for me, and I even found “Cabin Fever” underwhelming. I want to like his movies—sometimes I feel like it makes me a bad horror fan that I don’t—and I appreciate how excited and enthusiastic he always comes across about the genre, but it simply hasn’t clicked. I keep trying, but failing to make that connection.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

'Elysium' Movie Review

Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium isn’t going to sneak up on anyone like his last film, District 9. That film, his feature length directorial debut, put him squarely on the map, and marked any future endeavors as movies to keep an eye on, especially for sci-fi fans. Neither is Elysium going to surprise anyone. If you’ve seen District 9, have a sense for the politically dense stories Blomkamp favors, and have paid any attention to the promotional buildup towards the film, you know precisely what you’re in for. This time around, Blomkamp has a budget, some major celebrities on his side, and, unfortunately, a script that lacks anything that resembles subtlety.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

'2 Guns' Movie Review

If you walk away from Baltasar Kormakur’s latest actioner, “2 Guns,” having learned one lesson it will be this: everyone will betray you, always. That’s the basic point of the movie. Everyone will screw you over in the end, even the people you call your People, and when they do it, that’s when it hurts the most. That’s also why undercover DEA agent Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) doesn’t have people. In fact, he has a few connections as possible. That’s about as deep as you’ll get in “2 Guns,” which falls into that category of late summer—or at least post-every massive blockbuster of the season—action film that looks groan worthy and generic before hand, but turns out to be a ton of goddamn fun. Last year “Premium Rush” surprised a lot of people, this year “2 Guns” might just do the same.