REVIEW: Super Troopers 2 [2018]

“Happiness in the household” To look at Broken Lizard is to see the ever-changing landscape of mid-range studio cinema at the turn of the century. These five guys (Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske) formed a comedy troupe in college before taking their first film Puddle Cruiser on a campus tour. It allowed Super Troopers to become a reality with supporting players like Lynda Carter and the venerable Brian Cox. Fox Searchlight paid around three million after its Sundance debut, made twenty million in box…

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REVIEW: Churchill [2017]

“I mustn’t let it happen again” I’m far from a history buff. To me Winston Churchill was a pillar of strength that helped take down the Nazis and declare victory for the Allied forces against fascism. I don’t believe that’s an ill-advised description by any means, but it’s definitely a shallow one. Here we are half a century removed from that carnage and our memories are mostly divided into two categories: good and evil. The latter holds the Holocaust, genocide, oppressive regimes, the suspension of freedom, and some of our…

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REVIEW: The Autopsy of Jane Doe [2016]

“It looks like they were trying to break out” There’s no sign of forced entry. Two bodies are brutally murdered upstairs and a naked woman without a skin blemish is discovered half-buried in the basement. Sheriff Sheldon (Michael McElhatton) is at a loss. He can theorize the locals’ demise—even if it won’t quite fit perfectly—but he cannot spin the woman’s presence to the press. So unless he’s looking for a circus, her cause of death is paramount. Luckily county coroner Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) works late. And if he’s working…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Supremacy [2004]

“It’s easy. She’s standing right next to you.” The idea that a sequel can best its predecessor is one that many people believe impossible save one or two exceptions to prove the rule. We’re talking The Godfather: Part II caliber stuff—prestige pieces with weight behind them for critical acclaim and box office success. So you may find me hyperbolic to say this, but I think The Bourne Supremacy belongs on this ultra short list. Don’t demean it by exclaiming how an action film doesn’t deserve to sit alongside a Francis…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Identity [2002]

“I guess you’re not home” It’s interesting to go back and watch Doug Liman‘s The Bourne Identity after so many years and sequels because it’s so unlike what Paul Greengrass accomplished during his tenure at the helm. The action scenes seem almost quaint in comparison with quick cuts and loud thuds. The kinetic excitement of extended take sequences is absent, replaced by choreographed images rather than limbs. It just goes to show how different the series’ origins were with espionage and spy thrills trumping the subsequently explosive hand-to-hand combat. This…

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REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011]

“These people invest in results. Not dreams.” How did the apes from Pierre Boulle‘s Planet of the Apes gain control of Earth? The 1968 film adaptation shows human/ape hybrids walking, talking, and living in civilizations—a great sci-fi conceit making us believe in a distant planet where evolution took a different turn than what happened here. But as anyone who saw that movie or Tim Burton‘s much-maligned remake knows, a twist arrives to show the existence of these creatures was something else all together. We discover we were watching a tale…

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REVIEW: X-Men 2 [2003]

“Nature laughs last” This is the one—the superhero movie unequaled in the decade since. The Dark Knight comes close, but it’s hard to hold Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy on par with the rest when it exists as a beast all its own. Only The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier found a way to match its scale and precision, falling ever so short on the emotional depth chart. X-Men 2 is simply a perfect storm of everything you could want in a film let alone one steeped in comic lore.…

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REVIEW: Rushmore [1998]

“I saved Latin. What did you ever do?” Writer/director Wes Anderson‘s style was officially born on his sophomore effort Rushmore. That’s not to say his debut was devoid of the trademarks we associate him with today, it was simply set in a world possessed by more authentic rules. He’s since made a career out of skewed storybooks of selfish characters wandering a landscape they misguidedly feel power over as they take their missteps in stride with over-the-top reactions steeped in a heightened state of the absurd. His stories take upper…

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REVIEW: Blood [2012]

“You think you’re the only one here with a conscience?” Writer Bill Gallagher took on the daunting task of turning his six-part, 360-minute miniseries “Conviction” into a 90-minute film entitled Blood. It’s a tale about family, mankind’s capacity to do wrong, and the psychology involved in growing up with impossible expectations and the knowledge they’ll never be met. No matter how good Joe (Paul Bettany) and Chrissie Fairburn (Stephen Graham) are as detectives, their legendary father Lenny (Brian Cox) will always overshadow them. He was a man who took the…

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REVIEW: RED 2 [2013]

“I was very touched that you cried at my funeral” For DC Comics imprint Homage’s RED, screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber turned Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s original work into a surprise box office hit with an inspired cast of aged, former CIA operatives presently labeled “retired: extremely dangerous”. The goal with any successful comic book adaptation is then to greenlight a sequel in the hopes lightning will strike twice in a bigger and better way. Like many before them, however, the task of expanding on a winner is never…

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REVIEW: RED [2010]

“Did you vacuum?” My only knowledge of director Robert Schwentke was that he helmed the Jodie Foster vehicle Flightplan that didn’t interest me in the slightest and the sub-par adaptation yet very effective film version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So, I wasn’t sure on whether his newest comedic actioner RED would end up being a hit or miss despite a couple of very fun trailers. Ends up Schwentke directed a couple well-received German language works to begin his career trajectory to Hollywood too, he isn’t just some hack brought…

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