REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two twenty-somethings who landed huge military contracts with the US government before federal indictments was the perfect segue. It’s as though the characters from his Old School decided to make connections with black market arms organizations…

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REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer [2014]

“Sock on put” The writing team behind The Break-Up is back nine years later with their latest comedy The Wedding Ringer. While not a slog like their first feature—I found it painful at times—Jeremy Garelick (who also directs) and Jay Lavender‘s increased entertainment value unfortunately comes at the price of the whole being a complete mess. Jamming in as many comedy tropes as possible to create this genre Frankenstein’s monster, you’ll find yourself laughing at Wedding Crashers-level raunch one moment, wading through a flipped The Wedding Planner-esque plot full of…

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REVIEW: We’re the Millers [2013]

“That’s my credo, ‘No Ragrets’” An R-rated comedy shouldn’t possess a PG-rated heart. This is We’re the Millers’ main problem in my mind because while the profanity-laced adventure has a ton of laughs, one can’t help shake the feeling that it’s targeted to a 13-16 age group who won’t be allowed to buy a ticket. Overt sexual innuendo and f-bombs don’t make up for a lack of anything else that would render screenwriting teams Bob Fisher and Steve Faber or Sean Anders and John Morris to need an R for…

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REVIEW: The Hangover Part III [2013]

“Can you take Stu instead?” Love them or hate them, you can’t deny The Hangover and The Hangover Part II pushed the envelope to an extreme. No one anticipated Todd Phillips’ hard-R buddy romp would turn into the phenomenon it did—a hit before its release—and his idea to pretty much remake it in Bangkok for the sequel was an inspired choice for no other reason than it being so uninspired. I loved the first and thought the second’s ability to increase our discomfort level further was just as funny if…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2013: ‘Stoker,’ ‘Place Beyond the Pines,’ ‘Spring Breakers’ & 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. I’m honestly not sure if it is possible to cram more movies in one 31-day period (five Fridays!). Let’s just say the dump month doldrums have ceased and we’ve moved…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“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. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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REVIEW: The Change-Up [2011]

“Rotate your turret and go night night” It may be overly derisive to say, especially from a guy who watched Like Father Like Son and Vice Versa religiously during the late-80s, but The Change-Up has to end up being the laziest piece of cinema released this year. Scribed by the duo behind both Hangover flicks, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore appear to be making a conscious effort to create ‘modern updates’ of tired concepts. After the ho-hum, not as bad as it should have been Ghosts of Girlfriends Past redid…

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REVIEW: The Hangover Part II [2011]

“I don’t get it. Is this a magic show?” It’s very weird to go into two films with completely different feelings despite them having almost identical plots and comedic upside. Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to check out The Hangover and see if the hype was real. My contact at Warner Brothers was even compelled to confirm my RSVP for the screening by saying it’s the funniest thing she had seen in years. Somehow—and this is rare—Todd Phillips’s self-proclaimed Star Wars, due to the amount of money he earned…

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REVIEW: Bridesmaids [2011]

“Hold on for one more day” The best things a comedy can do are to exceed expectations and prove you don’t need to show all the funny parts in the trailer to con people into coming. Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo achieve both with their ‘stone-cold pack of weirdoes’ gearing up for the bride-to-be’s wedding day. Following in Tina Fey’s footsteps as SNLer turned feature film comedy scribe, Wiig branches out from the tv sketch show with help from Judd Apatow and his gang, including director Paul Feig, to…

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REVIEW: Cedar Rapids [2011]

“You’re what I like to call a Richard. A Richard Head.” On paper, Cedar Rapids seems an odd choice for a Sundance Selection. With a star in Ed Helms at the center, a man enjoying continued success on “The Office” and breaking out in The Hangover, you think overdone Hollywood vehicle to cash in on some timely exposure. Just look at that poster with his too wide grin and airplane pillow that doubles for a life preserver on quick glance next to the title. But then you go deeper and…

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REVIEW: Due Date [2010]

“What are you, a girl or something?” In a coincidental stroke of fate, following my own cross country trip from Buffalo to Denver amidst a constant barrage of quotes from Planes, Trains & Automobiles on behalf of my co-pilot cousin, I arrived back home on the east coast in time for a screening of Todd Phillips’s follow-up to The Hangover, Due Date. Trying its best to recreate the magic of Steve Martin and John Candy’s memorable Thanksgiving jaunt, this new film pits a father-to-be against the clock and the mileage…

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