REVIEW: The Tax Collector [2020]

Family is sacred. I often wonder how writer/director David Ayer‘s films will hold up considering so many of them deal with race relations on the streets and dirty cops. I have to believe Fury (my favorite of his) will stand up best, but what about Harsh Times? What about End of Watch? What about the script that vaulted him up the Hollywood depth chart, Training Day? I’m afraid to find out since I loved each one of them upon their release. I therefore hoped The Tax Collector would help me…

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REVIEW: Balls of Fury [2007]

“I’m going to Disneyland!” With the appropriately titled book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! under their belts, one could easily make the case for Balls of Fury being Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon‘s cornerstone in screenwriting profiteering. A sports redemption tale set inside the seedy underbelly of elite ping-pong, the premise is laughable as a comedy skit let alone a feature length film. But this is what Garant and Lennon—comedians and creators of “The…

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REVIEW: Rio [2011]

“Sing it, Lionel” Always playing third fiddle to the powerhouses of Pixar and Dreamworks, Sony Pictures’ Blue Sky Studios has held their own with the Ice Age franchise and a couple supporters. Their newest endeavor, Rio, looks to try and recreate a bit of the magic from their competitor’s Madagascar, setting the tale in an exotic locale—Brazil—and populating it with a blend of random humor, violin playing sentimentality, and an eccentric hoard of hive-mind beasts for slapstick entertainment. The music is unfortunately not up to snuff, giving a film aimed…

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REVIEW: The Smurfs [2011]

“Is my thinking interrupting your vile hacking?” I think Grouchy says it best during goodbyes with his human counterparts in The Smurfs. “I hated it so much … less than expected.” He then caps it off with, “but I did hate it”, sentiments I assumed I’d share before sitting down at my screening and was surprised to find absent. It actually isn’t that bad—but I didn’t love it. Director Raja Gosnell is no stranger to live action/animation hybrids having helmed two Scooby Doos and a Beverly Hills Chihuahua. His decision…

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REVIEW: Our Family Wedding [2010]

“You know you just said that out loud” And then the bottom drops out. All paint-by-number comedies of this ilk eventually hit the point where everything appears to be destroyed. Relationships are ended, love gone in a flash, and those who were thick-as-thieves are now unable to look at each other let alone speak. A film like Our Family Wedding can’t come to a resolution unless the story hits so far down on the depression scale that the inevitable across-the-board reconciliations can culminate into nothing but a climatic moment of…

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REVIEW: Valentine’s Day [2010]

“It gives me acid reflux” Tonight’s gold star goes to the duo of Deborah Aquila and Mary Tricia Wood for their deal with the devil to compile a star-studded cast for the blatantly lackluster affair that is Valentine’s Day. I don’t know how they pulled it off—I’m sure the promise of a hefty payday for minimal work helped—but the name recognition on the poster and advertisements alone will go a long way in cementing the film’s number one status at the box office over it’s titular holiday weekend. The actual…

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