REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets 2 [2019]

Was the world always this dangerous? Illumination missed the boat on The Secret Life of Pets because the way they’ve told these stories thus far make them a lot more conducive to television than cinema. If that first film’s sprawling character list devolving into wild schemes and pratfalls barely adhering to the flimsy plot beneath wasn’t enough to prove it, composing The Secret Life of Pets 2 into three very disparate subplots forced together at the climax is. Moving to a long-form narrative format would supply breathing room to focus…

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REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets [2016]

“Liberated forever, domesticated never” Illumination Entertainment’s latest film The Secret Life of Pets has an amazing hook: what do our pets do while we’re gone? We could obviously pay Comcast Xfinity to supply cameras and discover the answer to that question—why use product placement when you can show a commercial before the film that uses its characters as shills—but it’s more fun to imagine the possibilities ourselves. If you’ve seen any of the trailers you’ll know this is precisely what Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, and Cinco Paul have decided. Their…

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REVIEW: Million Dollar Arm [2014]

“That better have been filtered water” The seventh and final season of “Mad Men” has begun yet star Jon Hamm is only now getting his first leading man role in a feature film. So why does what should be an auspicious event considering his obvious talent seem less than noteworthy? As good at comedy as drama, no one can deny he owns chauvinistic smarm on TV or has the chops to play a business-first sports agent who exclusively dates models while scheming to earn his next buck. The problem lies…

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REVIEW: Mr. Peabody & Sherman [2014]

“But that’s not fair! All my friends are fighting the Trojan War!” It’s been a decade in the making but director Rob Minkoff has finally brought Mr. Peabody and Sherman to theaters. He tried with Sony in 2003, got the ball rolling again with Dreamworks in 2006, and saw the latter studio’s purchase of the Classic Media library in 2012 as the clincher to guarantee it’d come to fruition. With characters known from segments of the 60s television series “The Bullwinkle Show”, they’re virtually a brand new property for today’s…

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REVIEW: In a World … [2013]

“The whole thing’s based on the Prussian War” I remember seeing Lake Bell for the first time on the criminally underrated HBO show “How to Make It in America” and thinking, “this is a real person.” She was slightly awkward, somewhat unconventionally attractive, and far from the ditzy, interchangeably dull girls mainstream entertainment loves to shove down our throats ad nauseum. Bell’s Rachel was headstrong, successful, charmingly flakey, and ultimately the kind of woman you’d believe could find herself at the center of a love triangle. What I couldn’t have…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2013: ‘Elysium,’ ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Short Term 12′ & More

“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. Summer is coming to a close with a five-Friday August jam-packing all the leftover big budget actioners that have been biding their time to distance themselves from the likes of…

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Posterized Propaganda May 2013: Super Sequel Summer with ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Hangover,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Fast & Furious’ & More

“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. One of these years Alamo Drafthouse has to organize some crazy Mondo Tees sponsored summer where every big tent pole release receives a unique artistic interpretation on paper. They get…

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REVIEW: What Happens in Vegas [2008]

“Oh Lovebiscuit; Yes Tickle-Monkey?” I went into the screening of What Happens in Vegas thinking I was in store for a train-wreck; I mean the trailer looked horrible. I suffer the pain for all of you readers, though, in the hopes that you won’t have to live the same fate. In actuality, the movie ended up being a same-old, same-old rom-com that had some laughs, but overall just plodded along to its inevitable conclusion. Being that this pair of New Yorkers, married after a night of heavy drinking in Vegas,…

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