Comedian Jonah Hill usually plays a goof-off in a group of guys. He appeared in director Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up" as well as "Funny People" as part of a bunch of guys. Although Hill took top billing in "Superbad," Michael Cera attracted the lion's share of attention in that Judd Apatow produced teen comedy. Hill shared the screen with Russell Brand in another Judd Apatow produced laffer "Get Him to the Greek," but Brand dominated that comedy with his hopelessly eccentric persona. Now, in "Pineapple Express" director David Gordon Greene's "The Sitter," Jonah Hill plays top dog. Not only does he star as the protagonist, but he also is the butt of most of the humorous jokes.
Anybody who has seen the wonderful Christopher Columbus comedy "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987) might discern the palatable resemblance between "The Sitter"
(**** out of ****) and the former film. Freshman scribes Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka must have seen "Adventures in Babysitting," too, because
- Suzanne Juliano | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 7:24 AM EDT
According to The Guinness World Records, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's illustrious literary detective Sherlock Holmes ranks as "the most portrayed movie character" in cinematic history. Indeed, Hollywood has been shooting movies about Sherlock Holmes since the initial one-reeler, "Sherlock Holmes Baffled," appeared in 1900, as a 30-second silent epic. Since then a number of actors have taken up residence at 221 B Baker Street, ranging from the most vintage, Basil Rathbone during the 1940s, to the most bohemian, Robert Downey, Jr., who received a Golden Globe for his performance in director Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" (2009). Mind you, the Holmes character has made an enviable reputation for himself on television, too. Actor Jeremy Britt took top honors with the definitive interpretation of the notable consulting detective throughout 41 episodes of the Granada Television series. Most recently, the BBC-TV revived Doyle's gumshoe for the contemporary series "Sherlock" with BenedictRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME of SHADOWS" (2011)
"Battlespace" writer & director Neil Johnson's derivative, low-budget science fiction thriller "Alien Armageddon" (* out of ****) chronicles a breed of Martian invaders, 'the Nephilim,' who dominate planet Earth for 67 historic days. These hostile intruders establish their headquarters in Los Angeles after subjugating the Earth and then rely on our own scientists to modify our DNA so that we become fodder for them. You see, these ravenous monsters had to abandon their famine-stricken world. Actually, the villainous Nephilim have been quietly infiltrating Earth for many decades, acquiring knowledge about our character and culture. The computer generated special effects imagery of the alien armada during the first ten minutes looks like something out of a black & white graphic novel. This fleet of spacecraft, which resemble naval vessels, hover as if they were vultures over every major city. The lackluster battle sequences are comprised of ersatz mushroom cloud explosions and flashesRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''ALIEN ARMAGEDDON" (2011)
Prolific filmmaker William Beaudine and horror icon Bela Lugosi worked together on four films, and "Voodoo Man" (** out of ****) was the third. Previously, they collaborated on "Ghosts on the Loose" (1943) and "The Ape Man" (1943), while their final outing occurred on the madcap comedy "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla" (1953). In "Voodoo Man," Lugosi plays a deluded doctor, Dr. Richard Marlowe, who wrestles with spousal issues similar to those in the 1942 chiller "The Corpse Vanishes." Whereas he endeavored to restore his wife's beauty in the latter movie, he struggles to restore his wife's life in "Voodoo Man." Actually, Evelyn (Ellen Hall of "Lumberjack") looks well-preserved to have been kaput for over two decades. She ambles around in a trance but looks as if she hasn't aged a day since she died.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''VOODOO MAN" (1944)
Dr. Marlowe is in cahoots with a Mobil gas station owner, Nicholas (George Zucco of "The Black Raven") to bring his poor wife back to life. "Return of the Ape Man" scenarist Robert
"Right at Your Door" director Chris Gorak's apocalyptic science fiction actioneer "The Darkest Hour"(** out of ****) qualifies as initially provocative but incredibly anti-climactic. Freshman scenarist Jon Spaihts formulated his outlandish script about a "War of the Worlds" invasion of Earth by invisible predators from a story that "Dante's Peak" scribe Leslie Bohem and first-time writer M.T. Ahern penned with him. If you've caught the trailer for this half-baked hokum, you know it pits a quartet of trendy, American, twentysomething guys and gals in Moscow against aliens determined to wipe out civilization while they extract all of our mineral resources. Basically, humans cannot see these extraterrestrials, but they have no trouble seeing us. These elusive aliens atomize anybody in sight without warning. If they don't outright zap you, they snare you with a neon-like electric bolt noose and then vaporize you in a shower of dust and sparks. Despite Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE DARKEST HOUR" (2010)
- Christopher Mertes | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 7:06 AM EDT
If you saw both versions of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" side by side, you could spot the differences between the 2009 Swedish original and the 2011 American remake. Nevertheless, the revelations in the other won't be as surprising. "Fight Club" director David Fincher brings his obsession with serial killers with him to this top-drawer adaptation of Stieg Larsson's international bestseller. Fincher scored his first major cinematic success with the Brad Pitt & Morgan Freeman crime mystery "Se7en" (1995) about a cunning serial killer, and he explored similar subject matter in "Zodiac" (2007) a film about the real-life murders in San Francisco which spawned Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" franchise. Considering that the gritty subject matter of Larsson's novel concerns a man who rapes and then murders women, the pairing of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (**** out of ****)and Fincher seems ideal. Oscar winning "Schindler's List" scenarist Steven Zaillian, who received Oscar nods forRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE GIRL with the DRAGON TATTOO" (2011)
The horror chiller "The Devil Inside" (O out of ****) gives movies about exorcism a bad name. Face it, William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" (1973) still ranks as the best exorcist movie of all time. Nothing made since then can match the impact of this landmark movie, least of all its lackluster sequels. Nevertheless, Hollywood continues to crank out new movies about exorcism as if time had eroded the demonic fury of "The Exorcist." Warner Brothers did the next best thing; in 2000, they re-released Friedkin's frightening film in a revamped version that performed startlingly well at the box office. Lately, the studios have conjured up three exorcism movies. Sir Anthony Hopkins starred in the respectable hair-raiser "The Rite" back in the spring of 2011. Sadly, "The Rite" bore a PG-13 rating so it possessed little bite. The low-budget, Louisiana-set, yell-bent yarn "The Last Exorcism" preceded "The Rite" by several months, but it furnished more irony than chills. Now, Paramount Pictures hasRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE DEVIL INSIDE" (2012)
Actor-producer Wesley Snipes may have finally found himself an action movie franchise that he can sink his teeth into with British director Stephen Norrington's "Blade," (***1/2 out of ****)a well-made, imaginative, adrenaline-laced vampire chiller based on the Marvel Comics' super hero. Snipes heads a first-rate cast that includes Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Dorff, N' Bushe Wright, Udo Kier, and Traci Lords. "Blade" synthesizes the exotic swordplay of the "Highlander" epics, the double-digit body count of a John Woo thriller, and the martial arts pandemonium of a Jackie Chan opus to spawn a horror movie several cuts above your ordinary vampire fare.
If the sight of blood, especially torrents of bogus blood, turns your stomach, avoid "Blade." "Blade" takes its cues from renegade vampire sags like Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996) and Kathryn Bigelow's "Near Dark" (1987) rather than those venerable classics such as either Tod Browning's "Dracula" (1931) with Bela Lugosi
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Anybody who has seen enough World War II movies knows that Hollywood has to resort to elaborate artifice to conjure up equipment which no longer exists in vast quantities. Each year attrition depletes the number of Allied planes, tanks, and war ships used in combat. Worse, most of the Axis equipment has been destroyed. The Spanish Air Force furnished the filmmakers of "Battle of Britain" (1969) with scores of vintage Nazi-era aircraft. Most moviemakers aren't that fortunate. Now, every time that you see a World War II relic fly, you wonder if they haven't matted in additional models, or relied entirely on miniatures. Virtually no World War II movie since the 1950s has used a Sherman tank. They rely on either the Pentagon for Cold War era equipment or mock up something that resembles a Sherman.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of "RED TAILS" (2012)
Freshman director Anthony Hemingway's aerial epic "Red Tails" (** out of ****) qualifies more as a showcase for the digital computer generated imagery which can forge greater authenticity than a
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