Category: Theatrical Reviews

The Grand Seduction Review

poster from the Entertainment One movie The Grand Seduction

I can count on one hand the number of Canadian movies I actually like (well, maybe two hands at this point). I reject most at the trailer stage for being boring, confusing, pretentious, or only playing in Toronto. So when the previews my theater showed for The Grand Seduction made me laugh, it didn’t matter what else was coming out this week. I HAD to see it.

An unemployed fisherman convinces his town to lie to a visiting doctor so he’ll stay and help them meet the oil company’s requirements for a new factory.

The trailers made it seem like a romantic comedy, and it was. But the romance wasn’t between the doctor and the woman he meets in town. It’s between the doctor and the town. And while there were a few things in The Grand Seduction that I found hard to believe, it was easy to enjoy.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

poster from the Twentieth Century Fox film X-Men Days of Future Past

Of all the superhero movies, the X-Men are my favorite. Except, of course, for X-Men 3 – an atrocity we fans avoid speaking of like it’s the movie equivalent of Voldemort. X-Men: First Class was one of my favorite movies ever. I was looking forward to Days of Future Past, not just because it’s the sequel, but because it promised to erase X-Men 3 from history.

Wolverine is sent back to 1973 to stop an assassination that will lead to an apocalyptic future full of invincible mutant-hunting super-robots.

I had some slight worries regarding time travel rules and the huge cast of mutants, but I’m happy to report that they were groundless. Though there were some themes that were repeated from other movies, everything else was great. I’ll buy the DVD for sure.

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Neighbors Review

poster from the Universal Pictures film Neighbors

My choices this week were as follows: 3 movies I’ve already seen, 2 religion movies, 1 documentary for little kids, and 3 movies that looked even worse than this one. My hands were tied, in other words. If I hadn’t promised to see more bad movies this year, I would have stayed home. But I did promise, so I went to the frat boy movie.

A pair of former partiers who now have jobs and a baby decide to run the new frat house out of their nice quiet neighborhood.

I didn’t expect much from Neighbors (Bad Neighbours in Britain) but I got even less than I expected. I got awkwardness instead of comedy, a mess instead of a plot, and an entire cast of thoroughly unlikeable characters. I think I just saw my first really solid contender for Worst Movie of 2014.

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Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

poster from the Sony Pictures film Amazing Spider-man 2

Spider-man and I have a weird relationship. I’ve read some of the comics, watched the cartoon, and I even own two of the movies. I think Spider-man is cool… as long as he doesn’t open his mouth. When he starts wisecracking I mostly just want to slap him. This latest incarnation is the mouthiest of all, but I keep going to see the movies anyway.


Spider-man struggles with his girlfriend’s decision to move away and his old friend’s need for his blood as a new electricity-based supervillain threatens the city.

There’s so much going on in Amazing Spider-man 2 (not all of it necessarily relevant) that it’s hard to boil it down to a coherent logline. Despite the logjam of subplots it all seems to work together somehow, so in the end the movie is about as good as a Spider-man movie could be.

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The Other Woman Review

poster from the Twentieth Century Fox film The Other Woman

Many moons ago, I saw a movie called John Tucker Must Die. It was about a group of high school girls who had a secret plan to make the guy who cheated on them miserable. It was funny, so when The Other Woman came along, I was inclined to give it a shot, even though it was similar both John Tucker and First Wives Club.

A woman discovers her boyfriend is married and teams up with his wife and his other girlfriend to get revenge.

I was expecting more diabolical revenge schemes and less getting drunk and falling down, but I laughed a lot, so I wouldn’t say The Other Woman is a waste of time. I would, however, change the title to The Other Women. It’s more accurate and it would set the movie apart from that Natalie Portman drama from five years ago.

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Transcendence Review

poster from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Transcendence

I wasn’t eager to see another movie about artificial intelligence, because who in their right mind still expects an audience to be surprised when the thing turns evil? But the only other movies that came to my theater this week were a children’s documentary about bears and another stupid Trailer Park Boys movie.

A scientist transfers his consciousness to a computer as he dies, but some worry that the resulting hyperintelligent AI marks the end of humanity.

I was expecting SkyNet: The Movie, but that wasn’t exactly what I got. Transcendence is more like a giant Outer Limits episode than a Hollywood movie. The story was interesting and a little different than the pantheon of AI movies led me to expect. Unfortunately, it’s also a lot more boring.

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Draft Day Review

poster from the Summit Entertainment film Draft Day

My options this week were Rio 2, Oculus, and Draft Day, and I picked Draft Day because it seemed least uninteresting. Yes, a movie about a guy who talks on the phone to various people for two hours was more interesting than dancing birds and another monster that lives in a mirror. That’s the kind of week it was.

In the 12 hours before the NFL draft, the general manager of the Cleveland Browns wheels and deals, trying to resurrect his ailing football team.

I didn’t expect much from Draft Day. I don’t find dealmaking exciting, I don’t follow American football, and I find Kevin Costner a little bland. But Draft Day wasn’t a waste of time. I liked it while I was watching and I still like it looking back. Surprising!

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

poster from the Marvel Studios film Captain America Winter Soldier

Marvel has effectively put us on a money treadmill. All of their movies (and now the TV show) interlock, so if you miss one, you miss the clues that lead in to the next one. The best part for Marvel is that no one wants to get off the treadmill. Not even me, and I’m the one cynically pointing out that we’re running in place. The latest mile we’re paying for is Captain America: Winter Soldier.

A patriotic superhero from the 1940s struggles to adjust to modern anti-terror tactics while facing off against an enemy from his past.

I was really looking forward to the Winter Soldier aspect of this movie, so when I watched it and discovered that a more accurate title would have been Captain America and a Bunch of Crap About SHIELD, I was disappointed. If you’re dying to see more Nick Fury, maybe you’ll like it better than I did.

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Muppets Most Wanted Review

poster from the Walt Disney Pictures film Muppets Most Wanted

The offerings this week consisted of Noah (too ridiculous) and Bad Words (too angry) so I decided to turn back the clock to last week and see Muppets Most Wanted. I’ve never been a big fan of Kermit, Miss Piggy, or any of the ‘big’ Muppets but I do love backgrounders like Beaker, Robin, and Statler and Waldorf. Plus the last movie was really funny.

After taking Kermit’s place, international criminal Constantine and the Muppets’ manager Dominic Badguy use their world tour as a cover for stealing priceless artifacts.

I’m always worried that a movie with a hilarious trailer will be disappointing because it used up all its good jokes already. Luckily, that didn’t happen here. Though I did occasionally wish for less Muppets and more supporting cast, it turned out to be as funny as the last one.

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Divergent Review

poster from the Summit Entertainment film Divergent

Teen dystopia is popular right now, largely thanks to the huge pile of money made by the Hunger Games series. What set The Hunger Games apart was that it was successful not just as a book trilogy but also as a film series. Now studios are throwing more teen dystopian novels on the adaptation bandwagon. But will lightning strike again for Divergent?

In a world divided into factions based on personality traits, a teenage girl joins the bravery faction to hide the fact that she doesn’t belong in any one category.

I read Divergent about a year ago and really liked it. As far as I can remember, this movie is exactly the same as the book, which should make fans happy. Nothing’s been changed and as far as I can tell nothing important has been left out. Except, perhaps, the people who came to see this movie without having read the book first.

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