22 Jump Street (3)

22 Jump Street is so fast, so funny and so entertaining, it almost makes time stop. After watching the film, and without looking it up, I couldn’t guess how long the movie had been, because the whole experience was so relentless with its comedy and action. It’s exhausting in the best possible way.

The non-stop onslaught of cleverness is something we’ve come to expect from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. With this, their first directorial sequel, they’ve lived up to the huge expectations of the first 21 Jump Street. In fact, they might have gone beyond it. 22 Jump Street is one of the funniest, and best movies of the summer. Read More »

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X-Men: Days of Future Past review

X-Men: Days of Future Past is not only the latest chapter in the cinematic life of the X-Men. It is an attempt to rectify some mistakes made in previous films, particularly X-Men: The Last Stand. It is a Charles Xavier origin story of sorts, and also a Wolverine movie; no matter how many mutants Fox splashes on the posters, this is the continuation of Wolverine’s evolution from animal to man. And for a film that ranges from 1973 to future decades hence, it is also a rather contained, character-oriented story.

As Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels into the past to help Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) realize his potential, Wolverine also truly comes into his own. As a character piece, there’s a bit of a cheat, as Wolverine has the benefit of tremendous foresight. But while he knows where he has to go, he doesn’t know how to get there. Despite the myriad ways in which Days of Future Past is unlike the X-Men comics, it plays out as a solid special issue, a rip-roaring tale of power and old-fashioned good versus evil. It is an unusual summer “blockbuster,” and stands among the better X-Men movies. Read More »

Godzilla Review

Note: We’re bumping this review as the film is now in theaters.

Godzilla, the remake directed by Gareth Edwards, gives you everything you could want in a big summer monster movie. It just takes its sweet time getting there.

A reboot of the classic franchise, Godzilla was constructed with a clear eye cast back to similar monster movies, such as Jaws and Jurassic Park. Films, in other words, that build character and suspense by holding back the creature. In fact, in this film, we don’t see Godzilla himself for almost an hour. And while that very conscious decision will make some people uneasy, the work by actors Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and others give the film a humanity and drive that keep it interesting until things get monstrous. Read the rest of our Godzilla review below. Read More »

In Your Eyes review

Despite hitting it big with the billion-dollar smash The Avengers in 2012, Joss Whedon hasn’t lost his taste for smaller indies. One of his latest in that vein is In Your Eyes, a supernatural romance that Whedon wrote and then handed off to Brin Hill to direct.

The film boasts a juicy premise that seems straight out of Buffy. Michael Stahl-David and Zoe Kazan play two strangers who share an unexplained psychic link. Since childhood, they’ve occasionally been able to experience each other’s senses. When she gets into a sledding accident as a kid, for example, he passes out in a classroom thousands of miles away.

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Starred Up review

Jack O’Connell is one of those names you don’t know yet, but will very soon. The 24-year-old British actor has been in the mix for a bunch of high-profile roles over the past few years, and finally booked one in 300: Rise of an Empire — before nabbing an even bigger one in Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken. And while we’ve seen lots of pretty young faces come and go, his performance in David Mackenzie‘s excellent prison drama Starred Up suggests that this one has real staying power.

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Transcendence review

In his directorial debut, Christopher Nolan‘s longtime DP Wally Pfister serves up a dire warning about all the things that can go wrong when someone other than Christopher Nolan tries to make a Christopher Nolan movie. Transcendence is Inception, in spirit if not in plot, only without the heart, style, intelligence, or grace.

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Draft Day review

The NFL is a notoriously cautious company. For years, it has not allowed official logos to be used by Hollywood; the NFL did not feel that a negative representation of football benefited the brand in any way. It makes sense, and also casts an odd light on Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day, the first film ever officially licensed by the NFL. Obviously, the film does not shine a negative light on the league, something other football films definitely have done. There’s no mention of drug use or concussions. The lack of controversy actually works to the film’s advantage, creating a very broad entry point to a subject that might initially seem limiting. Draft Day doesn’t need controversy or on-field action to create drama. Read More »

Oculus

These days it feels like every horror movie can be easily categorized. Either it’s a possession movie, a found footage movie, a slasher movie or some inane combination. Finding something different is rare. Mike Flanagan‘s Oculus, at the very least, strives to be different. Combining elements from several subgenre columns into something that feels new and fresh, Oculus is the story of a brother and sister who try to destroy a haunted mirror that drives people to wild hallucinations, blurring lines between what’s real and what’s not.

Flanagan’s script is a psychological jumping bean as it hops wildly between multiple timelines, putting the audiences in the shoes of the characters, everyone totally unaware of precisely what’s going on. The whole thing has a fluid feeling that’s not exactly innovative, but exciting enough to potentially kick off a new franchise. Read more of our Oculus movie review below. Read More »

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