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Deliver Us From Evil Review

poster from the Sony Pictures film Deliver Us From Evil

This week I refused to see Tammy on the grounds that it’s just a giant fat joke. I also rejected Earth to Echo, because I saw E.T. and have no desire to watch a remake starring annoying modern kids. Deliver Us From Evil didn’t look all that special either, but it had three things to recommend itself by: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, and Sinister.

A police officer with a talent for finding trouble turns to a renegade priest for help tracking down a painter possessed by evil.

I was expecting hot guys and some good scares from this movie, but I only got one out of two. Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez were still worth the ticket price, but writer/director Scott Derrickson failed to recreate the “I am about to chew my own fingers off” tension levels I remember so well from Sinister.

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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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The Heat Review

poster from the Twentieth Century Fox film The Heat 2013

Bridesmaids was a little grosser than I usually like my comedies, but I can’t deny that it’s opened up a lot of doors for female comedians. One by one the old male-dominated sub-genres are falling, with the latest one being the buddy cop genre. I enjoy buddy cop movies but sexism makes me angry, so even if The Heat looked dumb I probably would have seen it. Luckily it looked funny.

A braggart FBI agent meets her match when she tries to take over a drug case from a pushy Boston cop who terrorizes her entire precinct.

Now that I’ve seen it I can tell you that The Heat is indeed downright hilarious. The best part about it that it wasn’t the gross kind of funny like in Bridesmaids. There are lots of witty one liners, action scenes loaded with physical comedy, and the whole thing is a fairly apt satire of the cop movie genre, much like The Other Guys. It’s a great time. You should see it.

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After Earth Review

poster from the Columbia Pictures film After Earth

I like M. Night Shyamalan movies. I thought The Sixth Sense and The Village and Signs were good. But by the same token, he’s made a bunch of movies, like Unbreakable and The Happening that I was really unimpressed by. All the same, when I heard he was making a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie, I wanted to go, even if After Earth was easily confused with Oblivion at first blurb.

In the future, Earth is abandoned and dangerous. When a young boy and his father crash there, the boy must survive in Earth’s hostile environment long enough to summon help.

But where Oblivion was about conspiracies After Earth is pure survival. You get very little in the way of an explanation for why things are the way they are and we spend most of our time on a coming-of-age journey with the boy. I liked it for what it was, but if you’re expecting something more then you’ll be disappointed.

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Star Trek Into Darkness Review

poster from the Paramount Pictures film Star Trek Into Darkness

I’ve been a science fiction fan since I was a kid, with the Star Wars movies sitting at the top of my personal heap and the Star Trek shows and movies in the middle, except for the original Star Trek, which is near the bottom. When J.J. Abrams remade Star Trek in 2009, it slotted in just below the original Star Wars trilogy, so you can imagine how crushed I was not to be able to see the sequel on opening night, especially since it sounded so awesome.

Following a terrorist attack on Starfleet, Captain Kirk and the crew of the enterprise go on a black op to hunt down and kill the rogue officer responsible.

Terrorism? Black ops? Assassination? Hell yeah! I already knew J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek was nothing like the campy, wishy washy TV show from the 60s, but it took seeing Into Darkness to make me realize what it WAS like: Star Wars. I suspect that’s why I love it.

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Quartet Review

poster from the BBC Films movie Quartet

The original plan for this week was to see Warm Bodies, even though I was less than thrilled to have zombies co-opted by the romance crowd. But then my friend who was keen on the movie went out of town, so I said “the hell with it.” And went to Quartet instead. I’d missed Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in theaters and I wasn’t going to miss this one.

Four opera singers who once performed together must resolve their differences in order to re-enact their performance for their retirement home’s fundraising gala.

If the American baby boomer actor anti-obsolescence plan is to simply implant them into regular scripts and then shoehorn in a few jokes about getting old, the British plan seems to be to embrace retirement as a new source of jokes and funny situations. What surprised me about Quartet wasn’t that it was funny, but that it was so relatable, even to people 40+ years away from the nursing home.

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The Last Stand Review

poster from the Di Bonaventure Films movie The Last Stand

Unless you’re ten years old, you may remember that former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was once a famous lump of muscle who starred in many terrible action films. Now that studios are looking for more old meatheads to star in more terrible action movies (thanks, The Expendables) and Arnold is out of office, apparently he’s decided to pick up where he left off with The Last Stand.

The sheriff of a small Arizona town and his deputies must stop an escaped drug lord from crossing back into Mexico.

As you might expect, it’s dumb, action packed, and dumb. If that’s what you’re looking for in a movie, congratulations! You just found the movie you should see this week. However, if you’re like me, you want your action movies to be logical, tense, and be populated with interesting characters, none of which describes The Last Stand.

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Jack Reacher Review

poster from the Paramount Pictures film Jack Reacher

I’ve been a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books for a while, so when I heard they were making a movie out of One Shot, I was like: yay! Then when I heard they were getting Tom Cruise to star as the quiet, deadly, 6’5” blonde main character, I was like: oh no. Not Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise is crazy. But Lee Child supported the decision, so of course I had to give the movie a chance. For those of you who haven’t read One Shot, here’s the plot:


A mysterious former military policeman uncovers a conspiracy after a Marine sniper is accused of killing five people.

I was prepared to not like it. Book adaptations don’t always work out, especially when you read the book first. But now that I’ve seen Jack Reacher, I have to admit that it’s one of the best book adaptations I’ve seen and that Tom Cruise got it exactly right.

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Breaking Dawn Part 2 Review

poster from the Summit Entertainment film Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

I’ve seen all the Twilight movies and read all the Twilight books, mostly so I can criticize them properly. I have to admit that the first and third movies were almost tolerable, which made them much better than the books. Breaking Dawn 2, which deals with the most interesting, most potentially exciting, biggest letdown half of the last book, also had the potential to be an almost decent movie.

Vampire Bella and her new family of wolves and vampires form an army to protect her half-vampire child against the murderous vampire ruling class.

The posters bill Breaking Dawn 2 as “the epic finale that will live forever,” but now that I’ve seen it I have to report that these taglines were misprinted (I blame autocorrect). They should have read “the insipid finale that will feel like it goes on forever.” As you might expect, this is a movie only fans will like.

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Argo Review

poster from the Warner Bros. Pictures film Argo

I think Ben Affleck is a great director (and a pretty good actor, too, though not a lot of people seem to agree with me on that one), so I was excited for Argo. Argo is based on the memoirs of a CIA officer who engineered the rescue of several American embassy workers from the Canadian ambassador’s house during 1979 Iranian hostage crisis – a story that was only recently declassified and is almost too crazy to be true:

A CIA agent creates a fake science fiction movie as a cover to extract six escaped embassy workers out of hostile Iran.

My excitement was dampened a bit when a Toronto Film Festival reporter wrote an article about how some Canadians were so upset by the portrayal of Canadians that Ben Affleck actually changed one of the closing title cards, but now, having seen it, I can say that those people were overly sensitive and that Argo is terrific.

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