REVIEW: Army of One [2016]

“They don’t call me the psychic wizard for nothing” To hear about Gary Faulkner is to know the meaning of the phrase “stranger than fiction.” This is a Chatty Cathy of a Colorado handyman who was visited by God one afternoon while receiving dialysis and given a mission. Of everyone on planet Earth, Gary was the one personally selected by his Lord and Savior to capture Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and bring him to the United States for “justice and stuff.” Not the Marines. Not mercenaries or Al-Qaeda power…

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REVIEW: Paradise [2013]

“Why twitter with Satan when you can friend with God?” My first trip to the Toronto International Film Festival had me arriving at the box office with vouchers and no clue about what to see. Ready for anything, my friend and I took a chance on Juno based solely on our enjoying Thank You for Smoking and our intrigue in Ellen Page’s follow up to her fantastic turn in Hard Candy. It was a great choice: funny, fresh, contemporary, and accompanied by a Q&A with director Jason Reitman and first-time…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me 2 [2013]

“Do not do your business on the petunias” When we last saw super villain Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me he had just returned the moon to its rightful place in the sky, retired from evil, and become a father to the three sweetest little girls ever: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher). He had turned over a new leaf after youthful innocence thawed his heart a la how Cindy Lou helped the Grinch grow his in the classic Dr. Seuss tale. It’s the kind…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2012: Meet the new poster, same as the old one

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Not even superhero heaven can save this summer from continuing its uninspiring dearth of quality posters. But what do you expect when there are four sequels/reboots in the mix? A…

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REVIEW: Rock of Ages [2012]

“Actually, I told him the gig was last night. So he’s a day late.” Listening to Night Ranger‘s “Sister Christian” sung by a bus full of strangers a la Almost Famous was a pretty good way to start Rock of Ages, the big screen adaptation of the Tony Award nominated musical. Julianne Hough‘s ‘Sherrie’ Christian’s blandly starry-eyed wonder was acceptable; Hollywood circa 1987 took shape via hookers, muggers, and over-zealous cops; and the hyper-real Broadway sensibilities came out as extras broke into song and dance while a sweaty, sex-infused rock…

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REVIEW: Arthur [2011]

“A savant-like gift of defying death with fun” Having been a child during the 80s, Dudley Moore will always be Patch, the elf that saved Christmas in Santa Claus [The Movie]. I had seen Arthur, and probably Arthur 2: On the Rocks—they were PG after all, even though my parents could have done better than allow me to possibly cultivate an alcoholic as a role model—but I can admittedly remember very little besides the nondescript plot synopsis available on any movie site. So, while I didn’t really have any attachment…

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REVIEW: Hop [2011]

“See you later. Enjoy your life of privilege.” What do you get when you mix Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with The Santa Clause? Why another redundant holiday flick to tickle the kiddies and leave Mom and Dad clueless to the appeal, of course. Between the coronation of a new Easter Bunny, the betrothed having cold feet and a dream of drumming to fame and fortune, and a human forever lambasted for believing he once saw the mythical creature being willing to do anything to become him, you can…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me [2010]

“Oh yes, I have pins and needles I’m sitting on” Yet another hat is thrown into the ring. Illumination Entertainment joins the stiff competition of Hollywood animators, bringing along with it a stellar voice cast and the ever-present 3D format. Christopher Meledandri—the man behind Fox’s steady rise into becoming one of the top three studios of the medium alongside Pixar and DreamWorks—left his executive job to head up this new company, pilfering artist Chris Renaud to co-direct the firm’s debut Despicable Me with Pierre Coffin. Let’s just say that it’s…

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REVIEW: Get Him to the Greek [2010]

“Please press seven for fellatio” The glory that is Russell Brand’s character Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall stems from two words: supporting role. On paper, expanding the obnoxious and vain sexual deviant’s background part to head up his own vehicle seems like a slamdunk—and it is to some respect. Although it underperformed at the box office opening weekend, Get Him to the Greek appeals to its audience and makes them laugh hard. But does humor alone create a success? I’m undecided on whether I laughed or looked towards my…

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REVIEW: Forgetting Sarah Marshall [2008]

“I’ll equalize you” Forgetting Sarah Marshall had all the potential to fall into one of two camps: unbridled raunchy fun a la 40 Year Old Virgin and Superbad or sentimentality masked as comedy like Knocked Up. I had all the fear that it would hit the latter taking the sensitive guy with the broken heart too far into romance territory, letting the laughs fall by the wayside once the conclusion comes along. Thankfully, though, while the train took some turns down that path, writer/star Jason Segel knew what he was…

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