REVIEW: McFarland, USA [2015]

“There ain’t nothing American Dream about this place” I entered the theater expecting McFarland, USA to be a Million Dollar Arm redux with Latinos in place of Indians. What director Niki Caro actually delivered was something more akin to Miracle—still not a “great” film per se, but definitely a worthwhile telling of a heartwarmingly Disney, sports-themed tale. While the studio that loves plastering “based on a true story” atop every bit of marketing material available to them didn’t do so with this property has me questioning the authenticity of what’s…

Read More

REVIEW: Lone Survivor [2013]

“A lot of moving parts” If you’ve read Marcus Luttrell‘s memoir Lone Survivor (co-written by Patrick Robinson), you’d know it was primed for a cinematic adaptation. There’s Navy SEAL boot camp, the infamous “hell week”, the brotherly bond formed between team members, and the courage under fire each has been trained to cultivate and utilize in the field. It’s a tragic tale with a spoiler title that details the heroic deaths Marcus witnessed after a rules of engagement decision proved fatal as well as the unlikely saviors who helped ensure…

Read More

REVIEW: Fruitvale Station [2013]

“Undefeated! 100-0.” If even half of what first time writer/director Ryan Coogler depicts happened on Oscar Grant III’s (Michael B. Jordan) last day is true, you better not be leaving the theatre without red eyes and dried tears. We love to depict fate and destiny as the things which bring us towards true love and happiness, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes we’re destined for tragedy no matter what we do; sometimes a series of coincidences and events simply occur with no rhyme or reason besides putting us into…

Read More

REVIEW: The Baytown Outlaws [2013]

“You ladies have anymore questions?” Who wants a little Southern fired cooking? I know ATF Agent Reese (Paul Wesley) from Chicago doesn’t. He can’t even find an anti-perspirant strong enough to save his button-down shirt from drowning. No, the heat and the culture is an acquired taste best instilled during youth so it can become infused into one’s blood like the Oogie brothers. For Brick (Clayne Crawford), McQueen (Travis Fimmel), and Lincoln (Daniel Cudmore), Alabama is a candy store and they are the kids. Redneck vigilantes with a penchant for…

Read More

REVIEW: Battleship [2012]

“It’s the North Koreans—I’m tellin’ ya” Screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber actually made paying Hasbro a boatload of cash for their seemingly unnecessary board game property a relevant story point in their big budget, science fiction actioner Battleship. The fact they had to conjure up a humanoid alien race with reptilian characteristics and cloaking technology to keep gigantic flying nautical vessels off radar is beside the point. The American public loves extra-terrestrial invasions, thinks Andy Roddick’s wife Brooklyn Decker is hot, and can’t help getting revved up when their armed…

Read More

The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

Read More

REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010]

“I haven’t even cut you yet” So this is what it has come to. Hollywood should really stop making ‘revisionings’ and just tack on another number to the end of the once sacred horror franchise they decide to desecrate. I’ll admit, the new A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t that bad, at least as far as formulaic genre flicks reveling in blood and gore while leaving any sense of ambiguity out the window go. What truly made the original scary and still fresh when watched today—especially for newcomers unfamiliar with…

Read More

REVIEW: All the Pretty Horses [2000]

“I have no honor but my promise” I shied away from Billy Bob Thornton’s All the Pretty Horses because the Weinsteins had billed it as a romance and all I had read said it was terrible. Now, almost a decade since its release, and the addition of two stellar films based on Cormac McCarthy novels, I had to take a look back. Watching No Country for Old Men and The Road does not give you a feeling that anything written by the guy could be something other than dark and…

Read More

REVIEW: The Kingdom [2007]

“If we go slower, next time we might pick out livestock” Here is the introduction of screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan, brother of high-octane director Joe Carnahan. With this being his first film, it appears as though he has already reached A-list status. I mean his next three scripts will be brought to the screen by Oscar winner Robert Redford, Oscar winner Kevin MacDonald, and his brother. After viewing this entry, I must say I am looking forward to the others, if not with a little trepidation, very much. The Kingdom…

Read More

REVIEW: Death Sentence [2007]

“Welcome to hell” Unrelenting and uncompromising. That is all you need to know about James Wan’s new film Death Sentence. This is a tale of revenge and retribution for the death of a man’s son at the hands of a gang initiation. Taking the law into his own hands, Nick Hume, a father lost in the world, starts a war that he is not ready for. You can’t even out an equation when a person’s life is on the other side; the guilt of killing is just too much to…

Read More

Top 25 Films of 2004

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 130 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Million Dollar Baby directed by Clint Eastwood. #24: The Dreamers directed byBernardo Bertolucci #23: The Brown Bunny directed by Vincent Gallo. #22: Hotel Rwanda directed by Terry George #21: Friday Night Lights directed by Peter Berg #20: Down to the Bone directed by Debra Granik #19: Sideways directed by Alexander Payne #18: Mysterious Skin directed by Gregg Araki #17: The Incredibles…

Read More