Movie Review: Final Destination 3

As movie critics, it is our responsibility to dissect the production, direction, writing, acting and execution of a film and then determine its overall worth. Those rules went completely out the window while watching “Final Destination 3.” Quite simply, the 17-year-old version of me would have loved this movie, and as a result, the considerably older version of me wound up doing the same. The entire movie is preposterous, of course; the series of events that triggers each death sequence requires belief in both Rube Goldbergian precision and the outer limits of chaos theory. And that is what makes them so entertaining. Everyone’s going to bite it in the end, so why not embrace fate and see exactly how death becomes them?

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: The Fifth Estate

One would think that the group that turned modern-day journalism on its ear would have a much more interesting story to tell, or at least a more original story, than the one that drives “The Fifth Estate.” As it is, we have the age-old morality play about the man who sets out to bring justice to the oppressed but is ultimately undone by his own ego, played out by people on laptops. (Hollywood has tried again and again to make hacking look sexy. It’s not.) This is not to say that “The Fifth Estate” is dull, because it’s teeming with interesting bits and the possibilities for more. The problem is the execution, both from a story structure standpoint and a directorial standpoint. You will be hard pressed to find a movie this year as overly directed as this one.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club” may get more attention, but “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is John Hughes’ finest hour. His trademarks are all here: the humor, the drama, the so-hip-it-hurts pop soundtrack, but this time Hughes elevates everything with the most spectacular editing that any Hughes movie has ever seen. Along with being a big love letter to the great city of Chicago, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” as Ben Stein astutely observes in the bonus material, is a testament to man’s need to be free, and that is why it has endured as a comedy classic.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Feast

Does anyone else find it at all odd that Dimension would decide to launch a theatrical run for the Project Greenlight-winning gorefest “Feast” (to call it a horror movie is misleading, since it’s more funny than scary) a month before the movie makes its debut on DVD? Yeah, me too, but since this movie wasn’t even on my radar when the pass for the screening landed in my mailbox, it made the experience of seeing it all the more pleasant a surprise. Though if I may, I’d like to suggest that you not follow in the footsteps of the couple in front of me, who brought their five-year-old daughter to see this movie. I know, sounds like common sense not to bring a young, impressionable child to see a vulgar, horrifically violent movie, right? Get this: they wouldn’t even take her out of the theater when she started crying. I wanted to call Child Services, right then and there. But I didn’t, because I was having too much fun watching the movie.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Faster

There’s a good movie lurking in here somewhere, one where the main character – who’s simply known as Driver – isn’t impossible to find despite leaving a veritable trail of bread crumbs, one where he actually gets noticed in public thanks to his mug being plastered all over the evening news after killing a man. “Faster,” unfortunately, is happy to take the easy way out, and after a while it’s hard to tell if the movie is even aware that it’s bordering on self-parody. And the frustrating part is that even self-parody could have worked here, had it been handled smartly. The core elements to the story are solid; the execution of them is not.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Fargo

What has gone largely forgotten in the years since Joel and Ethan Coen cemented their reputations as a creative force that’s both quirky and financially reliable is that the movie that started it all was very much a make-or-break moment for the two. Fresh off three box office bombs – with their most recent, 1994’s “The Hudsucker Proxy,” being of the Hiroshima variety, bringing in not quite a tenth of its $30 million budget – the Coens needed a hit, badly. What better way to reverse your fortunes, then, than to write a pitch-black comedy about a tragically ill-conceived ransom scheme?

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Extraordinary Measures

It appears that the best way for we movie folk to get quoted on the interwebs these days is by coming up with some withering one-liner. I’ll be the first to admit that my writing style doesn’t accommodate that approach – also, it feels like pandering – but let’s just say that “Extraordinary Measures” inspired me, as it were. So here goes: there is so much barking in this movie, you’d think it took place in a dog pound. Ta-dum, boom. Don’t forget to tip your bartenders and waitresses.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Director Scott Derrickson said that he wanted “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” to feel like a horror episode of “Law & Order.” For better and for worse, that is precisely what he has made. The courtroom scenes have the same kind of outrageous statement-objection-snarky judge retort that the NBC juggernaut has honed into an art form, and the flashbacks that show the events at hand are far, far creepier than anything Jack McCoy or Lennie Briscoe (R.I.P.) has ever encountered. In the end, however, the courtroom drama, however competent, pales in comparison to the spook show, and the movie loses its impact as a result.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Evil Dead

It’s hard to watch “Evil Dead” after seeing “The Cabin in the Woods,” and not just because the movie takes place in a cabin in the woods. On the one hand, it’s admirable that director Fede Alvarez went to great lengths to keep this, a remake of Sam Raimi’s 1981 game-changing original, grounded in a style similar to the source material. (Case in point: there isn’t a single piece of technology used in this movie that didn’t already exist in 1981.) On the other hand, this type of movie has either been borrowed or parodied approximately six million times in the 32 years since its release, and as a result, the story structure seems less retro than it does arcane. No amount of blood can wash that away, though God knows they tried.

Continue reading
Share

Movie Review: Everything Must Go

It’s a pity Will Ferrell doesn’t make more movies like “Everything Must Go.” He’s really good at it, as the six people who saw the underrated “Stranger Than Fiction” will tell you, and he’s equally good here. The story is not the kind that will revitalize independent film, but it’s nice to see someone try to find the positive in a situation rife with sadness. Most indie movies work the other way around, which is why most people don’t bother watching them.

Continue reading
Share