One might assume that the gravitational forces exhibited by our elders would be used to attract grandchildren for cheek pinching and frail hugging. However, what if a person’s gravity determined their respectability? Heavy people would command attention, normal wouldn’t be fat enough, and thin people would order their biscuits with extra Gravity (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“In one form or another, motion pictures have been with us since the middle of the 19th century, but there’s never been one like Gravity. What’s new in Alfonso Cuarón’s 3-D space adventure is the nature of the motion. It’s as if the movie medium had been set free to dance in a bedazzling zero-gravity dream sequence.” Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
The movie is a dream, but you still have to pay to see it.
“It’s a nerve-wracking visual experience of unusual and paradoxical delicacy. And if your stomach can take it, it’s truly something to see.” Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips
Buy your stomach a ticket and the rest of you sees it for free.
“The movie is as cornball as all get-out and — once you discern the narrative arc — as predictable. But then there’s the part that’s — as we serious cinephiles like to say — infuckingcredible.” New York Magazine (Vulture) David Edelstein
“The miracle of the movie is the way that director Alfonso Cuarón, using special effects and 3-D with a nearly poetic simplicity and command, places the audience right up there in space along with them.” Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman
Even with 3D IMAX prices, a trip to space has never been cheaper.
“Alfonso Cuarón’s triumph is an invigoratingly clean, elegant display of action choreography, a La Région Centrale you can still take grandma to see.” Slant Magazine Eric Henderson
“As Jackass japes go, though, Bad Grandpa was better in concept and in its short, punchy TV commercials than it is as a feature.” Movie Nation Roger Moore
If something is funny enough for skit, but not a feature, how can we know the optimum length of a joke until we see it stretched too far? Put another way, where are the quality stretch marks?
“Some of these gags are hilarious.” The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore
I don’t mind hilarious gags, but I don’t find gagging hilarious.
“Secondhand gags, third-rate execution, fourth-rate results.” Mark Kermode Observer [UK]
“This whole movie is pretty much a mental colon blow.” New York Post Kyle Smith
Translation: The film hits you in the brain via your bowels.
“In 92 minutes I laughed twice.” Ed Whitfield The Ooh Tray
According to that review, Bad Grandpa has a LPM (laughs per minute) of .002. It’s cinematic cousin, Borat, has 1.7 LPM, while the all-time leader, Airplane, flies highest with 3 LPM. If it was possible to have a negative LPM, it would probably happen in a movie like Carrie (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“Hollywood’s ongoing campaign to remake every horror movie of the 1970s and ’80s has finally caught up with the Stephen King-Brian De Palma classic “Carrie,’’ and the results are distressingly anemic, pig blood and all.” New York Post Lou Lumenick
Hollywood exists to adapt other mediums, be they books, plays, TV, comics, or films from other countries; remaking movies isn’t cannibalism, it’s recycling.
“Peirce has done a remaking rather than a reimagining.” Los Angeles Times Betsy Sharkey
Step 1: Forget previous remakes (the  Carrie reboot, Carrie 2: The Rage , and Carrie the musical ).
Step 2: Revisit the most successful ingredients – the original (novel 1974) and the original adaptation (1976)
Step 3: Readapt the adaptation. Trust me, it’s as easy as remaking a cake by baking it twice.
“But now we’re a lot more accustomed to seeing movie characters mold their destiny through special effects, and since Peirce films the climax in a rather depersonalized, shoot-the-works way, Carrie comes close to seeming like an especially alienated member of the X-Men team. She blows stuff up real good, in a way that would make the devil — or Bruce Willis — proud.” Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman
“Rather than offering new blood, Carrie is a purely cosmetic revamp.” USA Today Claudia Puig
Revamping = spawning a lifeless copy by sucking all life out the original.
“The new Carrie is a thoroughly dispiriting remake — “retread” is the appropriate word — that could have been directed by any proficient Hollywood hack.” Boston Globe Ty Burr
“The plot itself is predictably divorced from reality, containing more holes — and smelling staler — than month-old Swiss cheese. All of which means that Stallone and Schwarzenegger end up having to do all the heavy lifting.” Washington Post Michael O’Sullivan
Their resumes suggest they are up to the challenge.
“They just don’t make ’em like this anymore, and it’s a good thing, too.” The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy
When they made this movie, they broke the mold; then beat the shit out of the mold-maker.
“As Hollywood vehicles for aging action stars go, it’s at least serviceable. Of course it’s ridiculous, but what else would you expect?” Tom Long Detroit News
“In one amusing bit of dialogue, Stallone and Schwarze-negger kid each other about being smarter than they look. For a little while at least, we thought we might be able to say the same about Escape Plan.” Boston Globe Tom Russo
So, it’s exactly as smart as it looks?
“It won’t stick to your ribs in the way, say, a shank will — but it probably won’t leave you looking for a way to escape the theater, either.” New Orleans Times-Picayune Mike Scott
“The Counselor achieves the almost unheard-of daily double of giving us the most outrageous sex scene of the year AND the most unforgettably brutal murder of the year. This is a badass journey from start to finish.” Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper
Thank you for making your priorities clear.
“If The Counselor is a failure, it’s at least a fascinating one. Much of the reason for that is time spent in the theater examining why the film isn’t working.” NPR Ian Buckwalter
Reverse translation: Marvel at the mistakes while you inspect the neglect.
“It’s possible there has never been anything like it. It contains memorable dialogue, vivid characters and several superb scenes, and yet it still manages to be wrong, a complete miscalculation.” San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle
“The Counselor explodes with violence that is grisly, but not gratuitous: McCarthy has a point to make. Wars create monsters, and the drug war is no exception.” Tampa Bay Times Colette Bancroft
“At this point in his celebrated career, there shouldn’t be much new that Hanks can show us. But there is, as the actor reaches deep inside to express the relief of dodging death as I’ve never seen it played before. He’s in shock; we’re awed.” Tampa Bay Times Steve Persall
As an actor, Hanks is an ‘everyman,’ ergo there is no limit the number of parts he can play.
“The number one thing I took away from Captain Phillips (and Zero Dark Thirty before it) is: Don’t. Ever. Mess. With. America. They take that (stuff) personally.” Adam Ross The Aristocrat
“The surprise is that Captain Phillips is a surprise in the first place, pitching and rolling tirelessly like the sea on which it is set and, in the process, becoming one of the most enjoyable and well-made movies to hit theaters this year.” New Orleans Times-Picayune Mike Scott
Surprise! It’s a surprise!
“Despite the obvious mismatches involved, this isn’t a simplistic smackdown. Freighted with weighty issues, Captain Phillips is a film worth debating.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch Joe Williams
Fall movies are Hollywood’s garage sale. Mostly, it’s overdue Spring cleaning, where studios pick up by throwing away. Unexpectedly, 2013 is like a garage sale where you rediscover a bunch of awesome shit you own. The expectation-to-reality whiplash offers quite a Rush (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“Rush is the kind of Hollywood studio production that has sadly become all too rare — a smart, exciting, R-rated entertainment for grown-ups that quickens your pulse and puts on a great show without ever insulting your intelligence.” Miami Herald Rene Rodriguez
Is it the job of the intelligent to point out that idiots are being insulted?
“I might have tolerated the film much more with the sound off. With the volume on, this movie feels like a mucho-macho Saturday morning cartoon—specifically Bugs Bunny toying with his eternal pursuer, Elmer Fudd.” RogerEbert.com Susan Wloszczyna
“Mr. Howard doesn’t just want you to crawl inside a Formula One racecar, he also wants you to crawl inside its driver’s head.” The New York Times Manohla Dargis
A driver’s brain is a think holder.
“Utterly gripping. Aided by two punchy lead turns, an Oscar-worthy script and stunning in-car footage, Howard’s race film delivers top-gear drama. A piston- and heart-pumping triumph.” Total Film James Mottram
“I like Mr. Gordon-Levitt a lot as an actor, and I wish him only the best in his future work as a filmmaker. There is, however, the matter of this particular movie, an overheated disquisition on the pleasures and limitations of masturbation.” Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern
“We know that more than seventy to eighty percent of women masturbate, and ninety percent of men masturbate, and the rest lie.” Joycelyn Elders
“What Don Jon is, surprisingly, is honest. R-rating aside, it should be required viewing for every 15-year-old boy on the planet.” Boston Globe Ty Burr
Hear that boys? Wakey wakey, hands off snakey.
“Gordon-Levitt wears three hats (director, writer, actor) and all of them fit.” ReelViews James Berardinelli
“Who would have thought one of the most amusing and oddly insightful romantic comedies would be built around the power and the potent pull of porn?” Los Angeles Times Betsy Sharkey
“And that’s it, really: two hours of loneliness, interleaved with havoc. The dialogue has been distilled to expletives and grunts.” The New Yorker Anthony Lane
“The movie jogs along nicely without ever getting a case of the stupids; far from being a bloated “John Carter,” it’s just a pared-down yarn of survival: “Die Hard” on a planet.” New York Post Kyle Smith
Wasn’t “Die Hard,” “Die Hard” on a planet?
“Twohy’s script contains macho dialogue so ripe it’s embarrassing to hear it.” RogerEbert.com Odie Henderson
“The only reason to root for Riddick is that his name is on the ticket stub. But he’s so dull and the hunters so weird that we’re literally cheering for the movie to kill off its personality, one throat slash at a time.” Village Voice Amy Nicholson
“‘Poltergeist’ goes ‘Back To The Future’ with only passable results in a film whose activity is more par for the course than paranormal.” Total Film Mark Samuels
When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious….oh shit!
“Insidious: Chapter 2 is perhaps an even more scattershot mess than its predecessor. Whannell’s script is so rife with portentous backstory, third-act goofiness, and a denouement that practically screams “Insidious 3: Same Old Shit,” that the film as a whole is jarring, and not in a good way.” Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov
“Insidious: Chapter 2 may be somewhat uneven, but at a certain point near the end, I realized I hadn’t taken any notes during the second half. For all its weirdness, the film had utterly transported me. Bring on Chapter 3.” New York Magazine (Vulture) Bilge Ebiri
“A humorous yet unfocused romp, so unwilling to settle on a single theme that hyperactivity medication should be handed out with the 3-D glasses.” San Francisco Chronicle Peter Hartlaub
Pop two pills and see the movie in Coma-Vision!
“Picks up where the first film left off, literally, and offers at least as many laughs (if not more for adults), retaining the goofy attitude. Cameron and Pearn throw a lot at the wall, just like their predecessors, and most of it sticks.” Arizona Republic Bill Goodykoontz
Throw it against the wall, hope it sticks. Spill it on the wall, pray it doesn’t.
“At times it felt as if this film might challenge Pixar’s decade-long reign, but that promise wanes. Instead, the movie is sometimes so strange, colorful and wildly cute that it may end up becoming a “Yellow Submarine” for a new generation.” The New York Times Miriam Bale
“It’s the only chance for small children to drag parents to the movies until November, so knock yourself out, kiddies.” Tampa Bay Times Steve Persall
“When it comes to thrillers, this one is as good as it gets. Not for the squeamish, but for anyone who loves movies, it’s too exhilarating to miss.” New York Observer Rex Reed
Most misses are exhilarating.
“Prisoners is the kind of movie that can quiet a room full of casual thrill-seekers. It absorbs and controls your attention with such assurance that you hold your breath for fear of distracting the people on screen, exhaling in relief or amazement at each new revelation.” The New York Times A.O. Scott
Speaking of theater behavior, Madonna was recently banned from Alamo Drafthouses for texting during a movie. When asked to stop, she said “It’s for business…enslaver!” The movie she was watching: 12 Years A Slave.
“Torn between making sense and arguing that the world itself makes no sense, Prisoners is a captive of its own ambitions.” Village Voice Amy Nicholson
“Oh, and the title? It could be an apt description for almost any character in the movie at one time or another. The satisfaction is in finding out who, if anyone, will be set free.” Arizona Republic Bill Goodykoontz
Except, Elysium’s ending wasn’t any more memorable than yesterday’s poop.
Reminiscing about summer movies enshrines the highs before the lows, and when it comes to the highs of summer 2013, they’re generally pretty low.
This summer has its share of notable dramas that stretch from Fruitville Station all The Way Way Back to a town called Mud, there was even commercially successful histortainment about The Butler. However, while these films were unquestionably highs, and likely to be remembered come awards season (looking at you Rockwell and Whitaker), they don’t represent your July-August theater bounty, which blows like a shit load of storms made of shit. History remembers the ones that make money, but it’d be nice if more would Kick Ass 2 (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“Your ass is constantly braced in readiness and hope, but it remains un-kicked.” The Telegraph Robbie Collin
It aims for Spankus Maximus, but barely flogs booty.
“The writer and director, Jeff Wadlow, can’t obscure the movie’s misogyny, and he also has a tough time staging a scene and selling a joke. His worst offense is that he has no understanding of the power, gravity and terrible beauty of violent imagery, which means he has no grasp of cinema.” The New York Times Manohla Dargis
If that burn were more pithy, it would be highly quotable.
“Bravo Jim Carrey, bravo. Refusing to promote your work in Kick-Ass 2 is the wisest career move you’ve ever made.” Erick Weber NECN
“In the annals of sequeldom, Kick-Ass 2 has to be one of the lamest follow-ups ever.” Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea
A bold promise considering its company. To contextualize the exaggeration of ‘lamest sequel ever’ consider the cinematic cross-section of summer 2003’s franchise-killing follow-ups:
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd
Tomb Raider 2: The Cradle of Life
“This Wolverine gets our hopes up, and falls short.” Movie Nation Roger Moore
You should be careful making height jokes about Logan.
“Let all Marvel franchises have as long a life as Logan. But could Singer let Jackman sing a few numbers as the knife-fingered mutant? They could call it Les Scissorables.” Time Richard Corliss
Unused Broadway gags: Little Chop of Horrors, Fileter on the Roof, and Cuts!
“It’s a step up from the garbled silliness of Wolverine’s first solo outing. Unlike Origins, the storytelling is more sharply focused here, ignited by flashes of stylised superheroism.” Total Film Neil Smith
“Finally – a superhero movie that doesn’t feel like every other superhero movie.” ReelViews James Berardinelli
At last, a superhero movie that feels like a movie!
“Whether or not this flies in the unforgiving fan world remains to be seen. But for those less intemperately invested, The Wolverine will come as a welcome and bracing surprise: An almost human-scaled superhero movie about a guy who goes to die in Japan and ends up beating his way back to life.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Geoff Pevere
“The result is a grim and predictable adventure saga that is not nimble but leaden. Dystopia has rarely been so dysto-pointing.” Time Richard Corliss
That was pun-tacular.
“Blomkamp overdoes even his best effects. (I would have welcomed more vistas of Elysium to break up the grungefest.) If Elysium is an example of how recession-era Hollywoodintends to dramatize the rift between the haves and the have-nots, let’s hope the studios don’t also bring back Smell-O-Rama.” Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer
For part 2: Smellysium?
“For a 99 percenter movie, then, Elysium is kind of a head-scratcher. It throws away its best opportunity for drama. It’s as if Han and Leia parked on the Death Star and started asking, ‘How much is a two-bedroom around here?’” New York Post Kyle Smith
“Blomkamp proceeds to spend the last two-thirds of his film crashing spaceships into lawns, or staging high-tech fistfights between Elysium’s stolid hero and his even duller arch-nemesis. It’s a waste of a perfectly good dystopia.” Slate Dana Stevens
“It is possible to applaud Pacific Rim for the efficacy of its business model while deploring the tale that has been engendered — long, loud, dark, and very wet. You might as well watch the birth of an elephant.” The New Yorker Anthony Lane
Or, you know, not.
“If this is the best we can do in terms of movies – if something like this can speak to the soul of audiences – maybe we should just turn over the cameras and the equipment to the alien dinosaurs and see what they come up with.” San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle
From the alien perspective, the title would be This Crater Earth.
“You get 45 minutes of awesome encased in 90 minutes of yawnsome.” Time Richard Corliss
“There are long sequences in this movie that merit that most overused of terms: ‘Awesome.’” Rene Rodriguez Miami Herald
A rambling preamble kinda takes the piss out of words like ‘awesome.’
“Pacific Rim’s wafer-thin psychodrama and plot-generator dialogue provides little for the human component to get their teeth into.” The Guardian Andrew Pulver
“This is by light-years the most entertaining movie of the year. How many apocalyptic sci-fi action extravaganzas leave you feeling as if the world is just beginning?” New York Magazine (Vulture) David Edelstein
The End is just the end of the beginning and begins a journey towards a new end.
“This is a tighter, smarter film than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, and buried beneath all the blue-goo aliens and terrible punning is a heartfelt meditation on the perils and pleasures of nostalgia.” Time Out London Tom Huddleston
“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be” Peter De Vries
“As in their previous comedies, Pegg and Frost play men who refuse to stop acting like boys. But these pint-swilling Peter Pans also know how to work the heart and the brain for belly laughs.” Entertainment Weekly Chris Nashawaty
“It’ll knock you on you ass from laughing when you’re not rubbing your eyes in disbelief.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers
Both bruisingly funny and eye-gougingly engaging – a.k.a. a review with low poster potential.
“This is a movie that floats by on dazzlingly silly banter and well-slung slang.” Roger Moore Movie Nation