Oscar Docs: A Look At The Nominees

The Best Documentary category at the Academy Awards is always a great window into the human experience and this year is no different.

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REVIEW: Poorly Handled Subtext Pulls The Plug On ‘Lights Out’

“Lights Out” likely could have been a better horror flick if it had handled one aspect better.

The movie centers around the character Rebecca, played by Teresa Palmer. Rebecca is trying to make the best of what she has in life but is troubled by her mother’s clinical depression and the effects it has on her younger brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman).

The situation becomes extraordinarily worse when Martin sees his mother, Sophie (Maria Bello) speaking to some sort of dark being and it doesn’t take long for Rebecca to believe him.

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REVIEW: Shane Black’s ‘Nice Guys’ Is A Fun Throwback To The 70s

Director Shane Black takes audiences back to the 1970s in “The Nice Guys,” a movie that brings together Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

The movie begins with Crowe’s character Jackson, an enforcer and Gosling’s character Holland, a private investigator, at odds with each other over a case.

Circumstances related to the case force the two into a team-up, though, and they get some help from Holland’s daughter Holly (Angourie Rice) along the way, too.

The mismatched buddy comedy is a genre that’s been around for quite some time, so it’s always nice to see one that brings a fresh take. “The Nice Guys” is exactly that.

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REVIEW: ‘London Has Fallen’ Doesn’t Live Up To Olympus

“Olympus Has Fallen,” released in 2013, was actually an enjoyable action flick. Of course it was an obvious take on the “Die Hard” idea of one man being in a building against a whole group of baddies, but it was still a fun time at the theater.

The action was intense with a solid R rating and the “Die Hard” set up of being trapped in a single location always makes for suspense. Another strength the movie had going for it was the use of a cast that included Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo and Angela Bassett, similar in a way to “Air Force One.”

Unfortunately, because of the first film’s box office performance, a sequel had to get made, and this time things didn’t come together very well.

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REVIEW: ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Lags Behind Its Predecessors

Whenever someone says they have problems with excessive sequels, I always bring up “Kung Fu Panda 2” (2011) as an example of how a sequel can surpass the original. The first film, released in 2008 was good, but “Kung Fu Panda 2” was even better and is one of my favorite animated films ever.

So does part 3 live up to its predecessor? Unfortunately, no.

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes review

Director:
Rupert Wyatt
Cast:
James Franco
Freida Pinto
John Lithgow
David Oyelowo
Andy Serkis
Rated: PG-13

Move over Burton, somebody got it right.

The latest installment with Planet of the Apes in the title is a prequel about the ape Caesar, and his rise as a leader. The film begins by following Will Rodman (Franco), a scientist who is working on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease at a genetic research facility. His reasons go deeper than just exploring things scientifically, as his father (Lithgow) has the disease as well. The genetic lab tests the experimental cure on apes however after one test goes wrong the lab is shut down and the apes are killed.

However, one ape was pregnant and gave birth to a baby before she died, Rodman is soon forced to take the young ape home. He soon learns, though, that the ape, named Caesar, had the experimental cure passed down genetically from the mother and that the cure actually dramatically increased intelligence. As the ape gets older more complications begin to pop up and he is soon forced to go to an animal control center. It is here that Caesar begins to get fed up with the life he and his fellow apes are leading and decides to revolt for freedom.

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Friends with Benefits review

Director:
Will Gluck
Cast:
Justin Timberlake
Mila Kunis
Woody Harrelson
Jenna Elfman
Rated: R

“No Strings Attached” got it wrong, this got it right.

“Friends With Benefits” follows the story of Dylan (Timberlake), an editor who has just been offered a job as editor for a major magazine. Upon arriving in New York, Dylan meets Jamie (Kunis), who is his sort of temporary agent to help get him the job. Before going to work, Dylan and Jamie spend some time together exploring the city and eventually become good friends.

After Dylan gets the job he settles into the city and continues his friendship with Jamie. Eventually the two get really close however do not want to start a relationship, with both of them having bad break ups in the past. The two then decide to just have casual sex instead of a relationship so they won’t have to worry about having the issues of dating, however this raises come complications through out the film.

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REVIEW: ‘Iron Man 2’

Director:
Jon Favreau
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr.
Don Cheadle
Scarlett Johansson
Gwyneth Paltrow
Sam Rockwell
Mickey Rourke
Samuel L. Jackson
Rated: PG-13

Iron Man has finally returned, but did this film live up to its original.

The movie takes place after some time has past since Tony Stark revealed to the world that he’s the hero Iron Man. In light of this, Stark holds a large expo to not only tout his technology, but also inspire other scientific achievements.

However, problems for the metal clad protagonist start to mount quickly. A new villain named Whiplash (Rourke) with a vendetta against Stark’s family teams up with a rival technology CEO, Justin Hammer (Rockwell) to eliminate Iron Man. Additionally, Stark is suffering from a new disease caused by his arc reactor in his chest and he’s unsure of what to do. Plus, the government begins to distrust Tony.

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March-April 2010 Mini-Reviews

Our Family Wedding: 2/5
This movie staring Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker had potential with a humorous premise but just turned out to be another run of the mill wedding movie that mostly used some racial humor. Simply put, it didn’t work. Plus Mencia can’t really act and Whitaker was phoning it in.

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