Furious 7 review

Why are you even reading a Furious 7 review? For most of the franchise’s enthusiastic audience there are only two questions to be answered about the latest sequel. One: does it do right by Paul Walker? Two: how does it continue the development of a film family while simultaneously expanding the scope of the increasingly insane action setpieces established by the previous two films?

Without spoiling specifics, the answer to the first question is that Furious 7 treats the late Paul Walker with more respect than it shows to anything other than cars and frantic punching. The answer to the second is more complicated. Furious 7 is more of a comic book movie than any other chapter in the series, with a few big setpieces and a lot of very repetitive action in between. It squeezes in one-liners, guest appearances and fluid camerawork wherever possible, but the returns are thin for anyone who isn’t already invested in this series. Read More »

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Raiders of the lost ark documentary

In 1981, when Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark was released, everyone was changed by the world of Indiana Jones. However, few changed as much as Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala. The then teenagers decided they wanted to remake the film, shot by shot and did so over the course of the next seven years. It’s a story that’s very well known on the Internet because the Internet pretty much brought it to the masses. The end game of that story is a new documentary called Raiders!, directed by Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen, which not only documents the process and struggles behind the original version of the remake, but incorporates new footage as Strompolos and Zala come back decades later to complete the one scene they were never able to do: the airplane fight scene.

Raiders! had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival over the weekend and you can continue to read our Raiders of the Lost Ark documentary review below. Read More »

It Follows 700

Editor’s Note: This review originally ran during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. We’re rerunning it now that It Follows is in limited release. 

Sometimes, the scariest thing isn’t what’s around the corner. It’s what’s right in front of you. In It Follows, writer director David Robert Mitchell has created a simple, perfect, and bone-chillingly terrifying horror conceit that doesn’t need blood or jump scares. It doesn’t even, necessarily, need special effects. In It Follows a normal person, walking, is enough to scare the living crap out of you.

Below, read our It Follows review which will tell you why it’s one of the scariest horror films in years. Read More »

CINDERELLA

On paper, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella sounds like Disney’s laziest live-action fairy tale adaptation yet. Unlike Maleficent or Oz the Great and Powerful, it doesn’t claim to reveal some untold story; it doesn’t even offer a new ending, like Alice in Wonderland did. It’s simply a new telling of the same old story.

But that, it turns out, is exactly why it succeeds. By reminding us why we love this story so much in the first place, Disney manages to make the old feel fresh again.  Read More »

la_ca_0105_chappie

Following the Oscar-nominated District 9, Neill Blomkamp’s sophomore effort Elysium proved a major disappointment. Even Blomkamp himself knows it, and his recent admission that he “fucked it up” by pressing ahead with a script that “just wasn’t there” seemed like an encouraging step in the right direction.

But acknowledging your mistakes isn’t the same thing as figuring out how to avoid them. Unfortunately, Chappie indicates that, like the childlike protagonist that gives the film its name, Blomkamp still has a lot to learn. Read our full Chappie review after the jump. Read More »

Jupiter

The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending is a total mess. It’s plot is nearly incomprehensible. It feels like there’s a director’s cut out there with at least a half hour more of explanatory plot details and character development. It introduces various story lines and characters whose appear on the screen for minutes before they vanish and are never followed up on. It borrows heavily from The Wachowskis’ own film, The Matrix, yet is crammed full of ideas that have appeared in other, better fantasy and sci-fi films.

And yet, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. Hit the jump to see my video review of the movie.

Read More »

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Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead

Many people today don’t realize it, but much of modern comedy was born at the National Lampoon. John Hughes, Al Jean, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, John Landis, Ivan Reitman and John Belushi are just some of the famous names who got their start through something related to the once-popular humor magazine, created in 1970.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, directed by Douglas Tirola, tells the complete history of this incredible brand. Simultaneously, the film documents much of the humor we love today: Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and more. Below, read the rest of our Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead review. Read More »

True Story review

Though it doesn’t say it at the beginning, True Story is indeed a true story. It’s the story of Mike Finkel, a New York Times reporter who is oddly drawn into the world of Christian Longo, an Oregon man accused of killing his wife and three children. Playing against their usual types, Jonah Hill plays Finkel and James Franco plays Longo in first time feature director Rupert Gould’s crime mystery that is mostly good, but falls short of its full potential. Read more of our True Story review below. Read More »

Z for Zachariah

When you think post-apocalyptic movies, you probably think about action. You think zombies, or destruction. You probably don’t conjure up water wheels, a turkey dinner, and romance. But that’s what you get with Z for Zachariah. Directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance), the film is almost an anti-post-apocalyptic movie as it’s much more concerned with human relationships than anything else going out around them. With a cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine, that’s both a blessing and a curse. Read more of our Z for Zachariah review below. Read More »