REVIEW: Jason Bourne [2016]

“And I heard you got hacked” In the nine years since Matt Damon last played amnesiac black ops assassin Jason Bourne, (eleven movie years considering the character exclaims he’s been running for three in The Bourne Ultimatum after The Bourne Identity bowed in 2002), there’s been a lot of chatter about making a reunion work only to have the actor and director Paul Greengrass emphatically say, “No.” It was with good reason too because they knew throwing a sequel together without a quality story that did justice to the original…

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REVIEW: Sicario [2015]

“For now let’s just keep an eye on the time” There should be no illusions that Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario will deliver a story we haven’t seen before. Any action thriller set at the Mexican border between El Paso and Juarez is bringing heavy artillery, copious drugs, and amoral warlords on both sides of the fence/law. First-time screenwriter Taylor Sheridan of “Sons of Anarchy” fame knows this and therefore decides to place a slightly different spin on the proceedings. Rather than watch from the vantage point of those looking to deal…

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REVIEW: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit [2014]

“No. This is geopolitics, not couples therapy.” Even though The Sum of All Fears made a boatload of cash with Ben Affleck at its center, you can’t help but know his Gigli demise played a big role in the Jack Ryan saga not continuing. Why let Tom Clancy‘s cinematic legacy go down with the ship? So a few years passed, Chris Pine started rising through the ranks as an A-list action star, and Adam Cozad‘s script Moscow seemed ripe for a makeover to reboot Ryan and see where his ex-Marine,…

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REVIEW: White House Down [2013]

“My father is a very special man!” It’s a shame Hollywood blockbuster fare has a contractual obligation for contrived happy endings with unnecessary and unsurprising “twists” because Roland Emmerich‘s newest disaster porn entry White House Down is a legitimate winner until its cheesy finale. There’s actual suspense, authentic humor, and charismatic leads to hook us into its plausible terrorist attack scenario with plenty of action to sustain our interest over its two-hour plus runtime. But just as James Vanderbilt’s script inches towards the finish—and our government protocols are severely tested—cliché…

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REVIEW: Independence Day [1996]

“We will not go quietly into the night” The man who proved we could only take so many disaster films and yet still made more, Roland Emmerich shouldn’t be denied the astronomical success of the one that jump-started the genre’s big budget revival in the first place. After giving us the rather smart science fiction actioner Stargate, he and writing/producing partner Dean Devlin came up with the treatment for Independence Day as a response to the constant questions about their opinions on alien life. Wanting to take a step back…

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REVIEW: Arthur Christmas [2011]

“In Santa We Believe” After the box office failure of Flushed Away, I was worried Aardman Animations may have been dead. With the fire that consumed thirty years of their history and the realization mainstream Americans simply don’t ‘get’ thew British-tinged dry humor, the Academy Award for Wallace & Gromit didn’t seem to prove enough. But Dreamworks’ loss became Sony’s gain as the studios worked out a three-year deal to keep on creating. And although the stop-motion has taken a backseat for computer graphics—don’t worry, their next one is good…

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FaneXpo 2009: Day One Recap

“What, do I moderate myself?” – James Kyson Lee Oh, the amusement I get from watching grown adults dress up like characters from their favorite anime/movie/game/etc. Surprisingly, I thought there would be more cosplaying, (I learned a new term), but thankfully I wasn’t alone in my lack of imaginative wardrobe. I did however pimp my Thor tee, so give me some credit. What was first a somewhat subdued looking scene—a scattering of people waiting outside lecture rooms for whatever person/screening was about to start—soon became mayhem once entering the actual…

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REVIEW: Saw V [2008]

“Everybody deserves a chance” Wow, did a Saw film get beat out by a bunch of Disney tweeners for the top spot? Maybe the tide has changed and the blood and gore doesn’t quite hold up on the scare factor versus singing and dancing kids … hey that scares me more too. Saw V has arrived anyways, though, and it continues the intricate storyline very well. While that story ties together nicely, the film itself is not up to par. I believe this is the first of the series that…

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REVIEW: Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay [2008]

“Y2K?” If you enjoyed Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and have any reservations about the sequel, fear not. Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay may not be quite the same as its predecessor, but it brings enough of the story mechanics back and the stoner humor that made it a cult success. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, also serving as directors this time around, have upped the ante like the sequel cliché goes. There is more nudity, (with a bottomless party, how could there not?), a…

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REVIEW: Rambo [2008]

“Live for nothing, die for something” In what must be the most awkward sequencing of titles for a film franchise, the fourth installment, titled as though it was the first—Rambo, shows the side of the character that I was expecting while watching the first film. We get John Rambo in all his Green Beret glory, taking no prisoners and killing all in his wake; quite the departure from his introduction as a misguided ex-pat pushed too far into exploiting the bigotry and weakness of a local sheriff and his deputies.…

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REVIEW: Zodiac [2007]

“I am not Avery” Two David Fincher films in two years? Is that even possible? With The Curious Case of Benjamin Button finishing filming this year for a 2008 release, we get the director’s sixth film, Zodiac. While we do get some vintage Fincher style throughout the proceedings, this is very different from his other movies. As much a real life story film as one can be, Zodiac goes through the years chronicling the hunt for the serial killer that got away. There isn’t the graphic gore quality we’ve become…

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