Video Reviews

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Post image for Clever Screenplay Boosts Low-Budget Horror Offering ‘Oculus’

Clever Screenplay Boosts Low-Budget Horror Offering ‘Oculus’

by Eric Melin on April 11, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Mike Flanagan is the co-writer and director of Oculus, which was developed with co-screenwriter Jeff Howard from Flanagan’s own 2006 short film. By design, it’s a psychological thriller masquerading as a haunted house movie, and Flanagan wisely avoids cheap jump scares in favor of letting the dread develop naturally.

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Post image for ‘Sabotage’ a Miscalculated Attempt at Adult Drama

‘Sabotage’ a Miscalculated Attempt at Adult Drama

by Eric Melin on March 28, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

‘Sabotage’ has a ton of forced macho camaraderie among its actors and a series of grisly murders that even Hannibal Lecter would find classless.

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Post image for Young Adult Fantasy ‘Divergent’ isn’t Different or Dangerous

Young Adult Fantasy ‘Divergent’ isn’t Different or Dangerous

by Eric Melin on March 21, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

The know-it-alls, the geeks, the jocks, the smart-asses, and the Jesus freaks are clearly defined groups, and it can be tough if you don’t fit in anywhere.

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The leather man panties and hyper-stylized violence is back! Plus, more boobs! 300: Rise of an Empire is a teenage boy’s wet dream.

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Post image for Kevin Costner Can’t Save the Formulaic, Mediocre ’3 Days to Kill’

Kevin Costner Can’t Save the Formulaic, Mediocre ’3 Days to Kill’

by Eric Melin on February 21, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Costner is essentially playing the same over-the-hill, reluctant-but-badass gun-toting hero that Willis has been playing for years, and in 3 Days to Kill, he’s even saddled with something more challenging than killing bad guys with names like The Albino and The Wolf — keeping a teenage daughter out of trouble.

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Post image for ‘RoboCop’ Reboot a Surprisingly Effective Sci-Fi Satire

‘RoboCop’ Reboot a Surprisingly Effective Sci-Fi Satire

by Eric Melin on February 12, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

The satire is still there, albeit not as angry and way more obvious, and the targets have shifted ever so slightly to keep up with current events. Had the film been a carbon copy, though, there would have been no point in making it.

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Post image for ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ a Fast-Paced Reboot

‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ a Fast-Paced Reboot

by Eric Melin on January 17, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

As long as the subsequent films in the franchise avoid turning Ryan into a superhero and keep their plots at least somewhat rooted in reality, the Jack Ryan franchise may stand a fighting chance. At least they finally have the right actor.

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Post image for Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ May as Prescient as it is Thoughtful

Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ May as Prescient as it is Thoughtful

by Eric Melin on January 10, 2014

in Reviews,Video Reviews

As Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) leaves his spotless, lonely high-rise Los Angeles apartment for work, he is surrounded by thousands of people doing the same thing—every one of them zoned into their own little bubble, talking to someone (or something) on devices that are networked into their home computers.

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Post image for Desperate Swindlers Make for HIgh Comedy in ‘American Hustle’

Desperate Swindlers Make for HIgh Comedy in ‘American Hustle’

by Eric Melin on December 20, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Everything is fake—from Christian Bale’s hideous comb-over/toupee combo to Amy Adams’ English accent—in David O. Russell’s messy, hilarious crime comedy American Hustle.

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Post image for ‘Anchorman 2′ Fizzles Under High Expectations

‘Anchorman 2′ Fizzles Under High Expectations

by Eric Melin on December 18, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Even more so than usual in a McKay/Ferrell collaboration, the movie feels like string of sketches very loosely tied together — as if the plot only exists to expose how stale these kinds of comedic blueprints are in the first place.

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Post image for Solid Acting Can’t Save ‘Out of the Furnace’

Solid Acting Can’t Save ‘Out of the Furnace’

by Eric Melin on December 6, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Out of the Furnace is one of those movies that spends so much time building mood and character that by the time the plot really kicks in, you realize it was in the service of nothing terribly special.

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Post image for ‘Thor: The Dark World’ Movie Review

‘Thor: The Dark World’ Movie Review

by Eric Melin on November 8, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

As Marvel’s cinematic universe extends into its second phase, Thor: The Dark World finds itself sandwiched between movies seven and nine in the franchise (or one and three, depending on how you look at it).

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Post image for Rock doc ‘Muscle Shoals’ Profiles Unsung Heroes

Rock doc ‘Muscle Shoals’ Profiles Unsung Heroes

by Eric Melin on November 1, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

The new documentary Muscle Shoals, which opens this weekend at the Tivoli Cinemas in Westport (please check out their Kickstarter page to upgrade their projectors to digital and stay in business), posits that the spirit of community forged by the musicians that created this music was part of its magic, and listening to it in the movie, it’s hard to argue.

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Post image for ‘Ender’s Game’ a Thought-Provoking Young Adult Adaptation

‘Ender’s Game’ a Thought-Provoking Young Adult Adaptation

by Eric Melin on November 1, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Ultimately, what makes writer/director Gavin Hood’s streamlined adaptation of Ender’s Game successful is its devotion to the awakening conscience of its main character, criticized by some as “the innocent killer.”

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Post image for Nihilistic Philosophy Abound in ‘The Counselor’

Nihilistic Philosophy Abound in ‘The Counselor’

by Eric Melin on October 25, 2013

in Reviews,Video Reviews

Inevitability is a theme that is foreshadowed, warned about, and then played out in grisly fashion throughout The Counselor, which is crammed with so much nihilistic philosophizing that it makes the fatalistic tirades of Killing Them Softly seem like Fried Green Tomatoes.

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