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Identity Thief review
Universal Pictures
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‘Identity Thief’ Review

Funny is, of course, subjective. I find Woody Allen funny but there are plenty of people who find him about as amusing as being slowly asphyxiated in plastic bags from CVS. Still, I'll hazard to guess that there is no one who will find Melissa McCarthy obnoxiously singing along to Kelis' not-at-all-current "Milkshake" funny. Especially when 'Identity Thief' - a new "comedy" with McCarthy and Jason Bateman - goes to quite successful lengths to make you HATE her character. And you just might wind up hating this movie too.

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Category: Movies
The Dirties
Echo Pictures
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‘The Dirties’ Review

Nobody asked for this movie. But someone was going to make it. I'm just glad it was Matthew Johnson, a young (but not as young as he looks!) Canadian director/co-writer/co-star who has the chutzpah to take on a really difficult subject and the chops to deliver without coming off as crass or exploitative. There are plenty who will refuse to give 'The Dirties' the time of day, and that's somewhat understandable, but if you believe that, in order to correct a problem it must first be discussed, 'The Dirties' is, I feel, a noble mix of entertainment and social importance.

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Category: Pictures
Warm Bodies review
Summit Entertainment
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‘Warm Bodies’ Review

'Warm Bodies' is a supernatural teen love story with a brain. (Excuse me. . .BRAINS!) It is hardly a memorable film, and certainly a step back for director Jonathan Levine after the masterful '50/50,' but it's cute, and if you are a high schooler looking for a date flick or slightly older and chaperoning your niece you could do a hell of a lot worse.

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Category: Pictures
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‘Upstream Color’ Review

For some psychotic reason my parents showed me '2001: A Space Odyssey' when I was around ten. Ever since, I've been chasing that dragon. I've been looking for someone to use the powerful tools of cinema to show me - not tell me - something important about the Universe and have me work to (almost) understand it.

There have been times that have come close - Godfrey Reggio's 'Koyaanisqatsi' probably closest, with 'Eraserhead' and 'Enter the Void' in there, too. I'll need to see Shane Carruth's 'Upstream Color' again, but it may belong on this short list. Almost everyone who watches 'Upstream Color' will come out of it saying "I need to see that again."

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Category: Pictures
Mud Review
Lionsgate
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‘Mud’ Review

'Mud' is a great story, but not a particularly great film.

Dripping in regional specificity and broad metaphor, Jeff Nichols' new film feels more like a big, fat American novel you get assigned in 10th grade than the follow-up to 'Take Shelter.' That earlier film's ominous tone and psychological portraiture is traded-in for large, gestural story beats that itch to be broken down and discussed for their symbolic meaning. When you are done explaining just what Boo Radley represented, then you can sink your teeth into Joe Don Baker's character "King."

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Category: Pictures
Parental Guidance review
20th Century Fox
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‘Parental Guidance’ Review

I was worried 2012 would end and there wouldn't be a clear winner for the prize of Worst of the Year. 'Parental Guidance' was worth waiting for. It isn't just the worst film of 2012, it's the worst film of 2011 and probably 2013, too. 'Parental Guidance' is a cinematic hemorrhoid throbbing on the screen, its only purpose in life to cause pain and discomfort.

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Category: Movies
The Guilt Trip review
Paramount Pictures
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‘The Guilt Trip’ Review

I imagine the pitch meeting went like this: "Producer: We got Barbra Streisand, we got Seth Rogen, we get 'em in a car. Release it around Christmas. I mean, you gotta take grandma somewhere during the Holidays. Executive: Are there life-lessons involved? Producer: Does the Pope crap in the woods? Of course there are."

Lo and behold, a year later, these two guys found themselves at the premiere for 'The Guilt Trip,' a movie that didn't cost too much to make and won't make that much of an impact but will empower everyone involved to one day strike again.

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Category: Movies
The Hobbit review
Warner Bros.
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‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Review

Pop culture enthusiasts can be forgiven if they approach Peter Jackson's J.R.R. Tolkien prequel trilogy thinking about 'Star Wars.' Will this next (but previous!) chapter in one of Fandom's key franchises broaden the cinematic universe we love so much, or will this be another case where they should have let enough alone?

Well, as is so frequently the case in life, I can't give you such a black and white answer. For starters, we may not be able to fully analyze 'The Hobbit' until all three chapters are in. Nevertheless here we are and 'An Unexpected Journey' does, indeed, have a lot going for it. It is also saddled with tangents, jabberjaw scenes that never end and far too many beats whose sole function is to remind you how much you love the original 'Lord of the Rings' films.

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Category: Movies
Zero Dark Thirty review
Sony Pictures
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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Review

I have no firsthand knowledge of how the CIA works. (You are shocked, I'm sure.) Yet among the things that has me so excited about Kathryn Bigelow's major new achievement, 'Zero Dark Thirty,' is that I come away from it thinking “yeah, that feels right.” So much in this story of “how we got Bin Laden” is a mixture of bullheaded perseverance and dumb luck. We've heard about “the fog of war” but this film shows the fog of intelligence. This look at world's biggest manhunt may be the best manhunt movie ever made.

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Category: Pictures
Rise of the Guardians review
Paramount Pictures/DreamWorks Animation
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‘Rise of the Guardians’ Review

I can only take so much. I approach a family-friendly film with as open of a heart as possible, but when hit in the face with the shovel of whimsy and wonderment and wide-eyed optimism over and over and over again, eventually, I have to strike back. Sorry, 'Rise of the Guardians' - there's a lot that is admirable in you, particularly some of your design work, but you brought this on yourself.

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Category: Movies
Lionsgate
Lionsgate
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‘The Bay’ Review

“I don't want you YouTubing!” the panicked mother snipes at her daughter as they sit in backed-up traffic, trying to escape the summer berg of Claridge, Maryland. “Did you just call it YouTubing?” the embarrassed daughter wise-asses back, adding a note wholly unnecessary for the plot but rather indicative of how 'The Bay' goes that little extra step from being just another gross-out horror pic.

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Category: Pictures
Vivid Entertainment
Vivid Entertainment
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‘The Avengers’ Adult Film Review — Is The Parody As Good As ‘The Avengers’ Movie?

Pity the poor pornographer. As the dam has bursted on the free stuff, smut providers have had to rely on gimmicks to keep the lights on in their creepy, ammonia-scented warehouses. Porn parodies are nothing new (I recall an evening alone with a VHS copy of 'Dougie Hoser: The World's Youngest Gynaecologist') but we've definitely entered a day when a Hollywood film and its smutty cousin can achieve, shall we say, simultaneous release.

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Category: Funny

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