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Olympus Has Fallen

And it can't get up!


Action

Rod Lott
As Aaron Eckhart grows angry and Morgan Freeman pulls strings from the sidelines, a possibly crazy but altogether decent man dishes out some superheroic justice to save the city. The result is an excellent movie, arguably the best of the year.
 
Saturday, August 3, 2013

Oblivion

Cruise into a dystopian future.


Sci-Fi

Rod Lott
Oblivion marks the second Tom Cruise vehicle in a row — Jack Reacher being the first — to underperform at the box office and underwhelm critics, yet turns out to be not bad. Not bad at all! (Scientology backlash? Signs point to “yes.”)
 
Friday, August 2, 2013

The Guillotines

Not very sharp.


Action

Rod Lott
Everyone knows — or they do now — that the greatest gimmick in the history of martial-arts movies is the titular weapon of Master of the Flying Guillotine. Therefore, one could surmise that the more retractable blades whizzing through the air, the better, right?
 
Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bert Stern: Original Madman

Our snap judgment: See it!


Documentary

Rod Lott
For someone who claims to be so uncomfortable in front of the camera, Bert Stern never shuts up in Original Madman, the documentary about him. And I'm sure glad he didn't, as the story of his life is a must-absorb for anyone interested in film, fashion, photography, art, design, advertising, popular culture, counterculture ... oh, hell, let's say American history in general.
 
Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

‘Extraordinary,’ indeed!


Action

Rod Lott
How ironic that un film par Luc Besson — the Frenchman behind such action smashes as the Taken and The Transporter series, among others — would fail to play American theaters, yet that’s what happened with The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. The 2010 adventure finally sees the light of day on these shores from Shout! Factory; its absence from our multiplexes is not indicative of its quality.
 
Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Canyons

True to its title, the film is a void.


Drama

Rod Lott
Paul Schrader’s The Canyons opens and closes with a montage of abandoned movie theaters. For this film in particular, that choice strikes one as symbolic in several ways: not only as a comment on the state of the industry, but on the state of The Canyons itself. You’re unlikely to find many 2013 films this empty.
 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Starbuck

A sitcom premise with spunk.


Comedy

Rod Lott
Thanksgiving brings Vince Vaughn's Delivery Man to theaters, but you can see it now, more or less, in Starbuck, the 2011 French dramedy that serves as the source material for the American remake.
 
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Fog

For a great ghost story, bank on it.


Horror

Rod Lott
Once considered a disappointment (because anything after Halloween unfairly would be), John Carpenter's The Fog today is a genre-audience favorite — well-admired if just shy of qualifying as a modern horror classic. Its Blu-ray debut from Shout! Factory cements that.
 
Saturday, July 27, 2013

Musicals on the Silver Screen: A Guide to the Must-See Movie Musicals — Leonard Kniffel


Nonfiction

Rod Lott
For a crash course in Movie Musicals 101, tiptoe no further past Musicals on the Silver Screen. Leonard Kniffel’s paperback guide traipses through hundreds, from 1927’s The Jazz Singer to 2011’s The Artist.
 
Friday, July 26, 2013

Women Who Kill

More like maim.


Comedy

Rod Lott
An hour of stage comedy by female stand-ups, Women Who Kill errs in putting its not-so-secret weapon right upfront: Amy Schumer, who might just be the funniest person in America right now. Even her throwaway lines (“Do you ever have Oxycontin mouth?” she asks no one, rhetorically) pierce the flesh.
 
Friday, July 26, 2013

Gallowwalkers

Like ‘Blade’ with a badge.


Western

Rod Lott
One of the most fun movies of the summers isn’t even in theaters. It’s Gallowwalkers, a weird, wild Western starring Wesley Snipes, freshly sprung from prison after serving three years for failure to file income tax returns. The lesson: Even Blade can’t mess with the IRS!
 
Friday, July 26, 2013

Under the Bed

Warning: May cure insomnia.


Horror

Rod Lott
Because monsters hiding beneath beds is a near-universal fear among children, it seems ripe for a horror movie to explore. Under the Bed does, yet provokes only yawns. That’s because the concept is best-suited for a youthful audience, à la an episode of Goosebumps, rather than an R-rated treatment. 
 
Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

“Go look in the refrigerator.”


Documentary

Rod Lott
Understandably, a documentary about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer that weaves fictional elements with fact sounds like a wretched, evil, exploitative thing. Instead, it's a small marvel of microcinema — and another argument for the storytelling power of the nonfiction format.
 
Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kiss of the Damned

Pucker up.


Horror

Rod Lott
As if HBO's True Blood had been scrubbed clean of all its suds and Southern accents, Kiss of the Damned explores the politics and passions of a vampire community.
 
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Welcome to the Punch

Lands a weak ‘Punch.’


Thriller

Rod Lott
Overlook the confounding title of Welcome to the Punch; it's the least of the British film's troubles. And that's too bad, because its rip-roaring opening chase had its hooks in me tight.
 
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
 
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