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"Mostly-good thriller about mostly-true crime."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "It's often said, by those longing for a past golden age, that the movies were better decades ago when filmmakers had to deal with restrictions, whether imposed by the industry or communities - from pressure, the argument goes, diamonds are formed. There's some merit to this line of thinking, but watching it being applied in China can be a bit disheartening, as the Hong Kong filmmakers with a great legacy of gritty, uncompromising crime stories must deal with a government edict that Crime Does Not Pay to get access to that billion-person mainland audience. If "Saving Mr. Wu" weren't based upon actual events, it would probably be frustrating to watch, because it often seems to be built around dealing with a foregone conclusion as much as telling the story in the most exciting way possible." (more)
"Will Hunting On Mars"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Throughout his long career, filmmaker Ridley Scott has amassed a filmography that would be the envy of most of his contemporaries--directing "Alien" and "Blade Runner" alone would be enough to earn him a place in the pantheon and such films as "Thelma & Louise," "Gladiator," "Hannibal," "Black Hawk Down" and "American Gangster" were critical and commercial successes as well. In recent years, however, even his biggest fans would have to admit that, while prolific, his output has been somewhat erratic--"A Good Year" was an abysmal stab at whimsy, "Body of Lies" was a somewhat muddled look at contemporary international affairs, "Robin Hood" was a bleak and depressing take on the normally high-spirited legend, "Prometheus"--an semi-prequel to "Alien" that I personally loved--largely failed to live up to its overinflated expectations, "The Counsellor" was one of the dumbest movies in recent years ever made by an acclaimed filmmaker and "Exodus: Gods and Kings" was a lumbering Bible epic that failed to dazzle or inspire. And yet, as bad as those movies were at times, you never had the sense that you were in the hands of anything but a master filmmaker and that when he finally got a hold of the right material, he would once again dazzle audiences." (more)
"Worth the wait."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Ah, what a bracing slice of throwback nastiness is Eli Roth’s "The Green Inferno."" (more)
"Don't worry, 'Taken 3,' you aren't the worst sequel of 2015"
2 stars
Charles Tatum says... "The gang from the smash-hit is back, in a film that screams for more hotel and less Adam Sandler screenwriting." (more)
"Frog On A Wire"
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... ""The Walk" is a film that offers viewers a highly questionable first act, a second that, while technically proficient, has been done before and better and a third that provides some of the most spellbinding and audacious moments of pure visual storytelling in recent memory. In other words, your enjoyment of it will depend to a large extent on whether you think that the absolute triumph of its last 20 minutes or so are enough to make up for the occasional missteps of the first 100. To these eyes, they do but while it is all worth it in the end, the journey to get there is sometimes a bit rough and also requires viewers to deal with one of the more bizarre and occasionally off-putting performances to anchor a major motion picture that I can easily recall seeing." (more)
"You can often find something good in Hong Kong."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour made seven "Road to..." movies between 1940 and 1962, though this series was not sequels so much as a chance to make selling the audience similar plots on a regular basis a virtue beyond the proven chemistry. Xu Zheng is doing something similar with his "Lost in..." movies, although without the returning co-stars. So far, so good - "Lost in Hong Kong" is at least as funny as "Lost in Thailand", a pretty decent madcap farce." (more)
"Eye Witness"
3 stars
Charles Tatum says... "This Lifetime made-for-television film commits a huge blunder in its opening seconds." (more)
4 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "From its opening moments, "Sicario" makes no bones about its desire to be considered a Great Film--there is not a single aspect to it that does not carry the weight of import about it. Considering that most films these days barely even try to work their way up to the level of merely adequate and even then miss the mark more often than not, such upfront ambition is something worth considering. The trouble is that while it is undeniably a good film in most respects, it is nowhere near the instant classic that it is clearly straining to be in nearly every scene and the disconnect between its ambitions and ultimate achievements prove to be somewhat distracting after a while--maybe not enough to discourage possible viewers from seeing it but enough to potentially make some viewers wonder what all the fuss was about." (more)
"A Bad Robert De Niro Film? That's Unpossible!"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Vulgar displays of conspicuous consumption from start to finish? Check. Much discussion about the importance of corporate figureheads, money men and the spiraling price of New York real estate? Check. A old guy mansplaining about life and business at great length to a woman who has actually built and developed her own successful company? Check. A worldview so blindingly white that it makes "Mistress America" seem like "Straight Outta Compton" by comparison? Check. Put all these odious ingredients together and you have "The Intern," a film that oftentimes plays less like the adorable comedy it wants to be and more like the cinematic embodiment of Donald Trump's presidential campaign--albeit slightly less plausible and nowhere near as laughable." (more)
"Roland The Clueless History Teacher"
1 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Ever since it was announced that Roland Emmerich, the purveyor of such schlockbusters as "Independence Day," the bad "Godzilla" remake, "The Day After Tomorrow" and "2012," was going to follow up his first bid for true critical acceptance--the bizarre Shakespeare-was-a-liar-pants drama "Anonymous"--with a drama about the Stonewall riot, a 1969 uprising in New York's then-oppressed homosexual community that helped to inspire the modern gay rights movement, many observers have looked at it as a disaster waiting to happen--what the hell could the guy behind "Stargate" and "10,000 BC" have to say about that seminal moment in time? That feeling was underlined when the trailer was released a couple of months ago and many people--including that who were around the area at that time--began complaining that the minorities, lesbians and transgenders that were at the heart of the conflict wee being shunted to the side for a wholly fictionalized character who was a clean-cut white kind who appeared to have stepped right out of a boy band." (more)

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