Lincoln

Add Comment on November 03, 2012 by Pete Hammond
Lincoln

A restrained Steven Spielberg tackles his long-gestating historical document, Lincoln, with intelligence, verve and style in a film that's not afraid to express ideas without plugging in an action sequence every ten minutes. Focusing on President Abraham Lincoln's last days in office as he attempts to push through the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, thus ending the Civil War, this is not really a biopic of the great President as the title might indicate, but rather a fascinating, savvy look at the inner-workings of the political process and how things in the White House get—or don't get—done.

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The Man With the Iron Fists

Add Comment on November 01, 2012 by James Rocchi
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After his interest in filmmaking was sparked by his soundtrack work for directors like Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino in Ghost Dog and Kill Bill, The RZA—one of the architects of the Staten Island hip-hop force called The Wu-Tang Clan—wanted to make a movie. But The Man with the Iron Fists—even with its combo-platter approach mixing classic martial-arts cinema in all of its glorious excess with the beats and breaks and attitude of hip-hop—isn't the work of a slumming dilettante. It's a real film, and a fun one, made with gonzo good humor and plenty of action from the opening brutal battle over which the sound of The Wu-Tang Clan's 1993 single "Shame on a N***a" roars.

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Wreck-It Ralph

Add Comment on October 31, 2012 by Pete Hammond
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Taking a page from the enormous success of Pixar's Toy Story franchise, Disney Animation has once again made magic from childhood obsessions, this time with a group of video arcade characters that, while wildly different from Woody and Buzz Lightyear, should have the same success with family audiences. The titular star Wreck-It Ralph is the bad guy of a videogame called Fix-It Felix, in which every time someone puts in a quarter, Ralph—a giant, hot-tempered destruction derby of a dude—must destroy a building before losing to the good guys. Tired of being bad, he decides to become a hero, which sends the whole arcade and its inhabitants into crisis mode.

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Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Add Comment on October 26, 2012 by David Ehrlich
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"Do not go to Silent Hill!" That's one of the first (and only) intelligible lines of dialogue in Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, but by that point you've probably already realized the magnitude of your mistake. By then, you've already been witness to the most garishly fecal color-scheme this side of the Saw movies, a screeching jump-scare bunny, and the magical "Bondage-go-Round" (which I trust requires no further explanation). So begins the unwarranted sequel to 2006's Silent Hill, a visually inspired but otherwise unremarkable film adaptation of Konami's visually inspired but otherwise unremarkable survival-horror videogame franchise.

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Fun Size

Add Comment on October 25, 2012 by Amy Nicholson
Fun_size

Boobs. Boobs. Boobs. Boobs. Boobs. If your tween can handle that, they can handle the Halloween comedy Fun Size, Nickelodeon's naughtiest kids' movie, and the first in their catalogue to include underage drinking, morning after hook-ups, and a scene where a giant robot chicken humps a Volvo. But who's complaining? Not the kids delighted to see their schoolyard obsessions slapped on the screen—and their blushing parents should remember that they saw much worse in the '80s. Fun Size isn't good enough to ascend to those John Hughesian ranks, and its small holiday window means it won't scarf much box office. But at least first time feature director Josh Schwartz can expect a minor slumber party hit on DVD. 

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Chasing Mavericks

Add Comment on October 25, 2012 by Amy Nicholson
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In 1994, 16-year-old surfer Jay Moriarity braved the biggest waves ever seen off the coast of Northern California. His biopic, Chasing Mavericks, gets that fact right but changes everything else about his life in order to bowl audiences over in a saccharine tsunami. Though co-directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and Michael Apted (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), this feel-good froth is distinguished from a TV movie only by the continual, expensive, pounding, astounding shots of surfers surviving McMansion-sized crests that threaten to tumble down and thrust them 40 feet into the deep. That actually happened during shooting to star Gerard Butler, who had to spend a day under hospital observation.

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Killing Them Softly

Add Comment on October 23, 2012 by Mark Keizer
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A lot has happened in this country since Andrew Dominik directed his last film, 2007's Brad Pitt-lead historical Western, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, including the almost total collapse of the U.S. economy. Such upheaval must have put Dominik in a feisty mood because in his second film, Killing Them Softly, he explores a provocative, hot button premise: criminal networks are in micro what America is in macro. They're both systems of financial pulleys and levers, operated by haves and have-nots, all working together to keep a delicate ecosystem in balance. When something goes awry, the system needs to be repaired lest the whole enterprise collapse.

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