New Releases

Daddy's Home (2015)
A Sign of Where Humanity Is at Right Now

What is it with movies like Daddy’s Home? Why is there a demand for inane comedies that are crude, offensive, populated by characters that aren’t even remotely authentic or even likeable, and shockingly shallow? Have people truly deluded themselves into believing that this kind of material is entertaining? As much as I hate sounding like a bitter, puritanical prude, there are only so many tasteless movies I can watch and keep hold of my tongue.
The Remake Fans Have Been Clamoring For

In 2013, after feeling let down by his Star Trek Into Darkness, I expressed wariness over J.J. Abrams’ involvement with what would come to be called Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the long-awaited seventh episode of the Star Wars saga. “If he can compromise the integrity of one beloved franchise,” I wrote at the time, “there’s no telling what he can do to the other.” I felt and still feel that it was a legitimate concern, despite some naysayers who believed otherwise and were happy to tell me so.
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The Highest Form of Patriotism

One of the hallmarks of Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film Munich, a dramatization of the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympic games, was that it examined the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in a nonpartisan way. He takes the same approach in his new film, Bridge of Spies, which dramatizes the true story of James B. Donovan, a Brooklyn-based insurance lawyer who, at the height of the Cold War, found himself negotiating a prisoner transfer as the Americans, the Soviets, and the East Germans embroil themselves in a power play.
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Literally and Figuratively Full-Blooded

Guillermo del Toro inexplicably and inexcusably set his cinematic sensibilities aside for his previous film, the mindless techno action extravaganza Pacific Rim. I feared that we had lost a visionary, that he had fallen under the same spell as Michael Bay and sold his soul to make unimaginative, manufactured hack work. By the end of Crimson Peak, del Toro’s new film, the weight of disappointment had been lifted off my shoulders, and my faith had been restored.
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The Magic of Barrie, Minus the Magic

In 1991, Steven Spielberg’s Hook was a sequel of sorts to J.M. Barrie’s original Peter Pan fairy tales, telling the story of what happened after Peter left Neverland and grew up. It’s now 2015, and Joe Wright has directed Pan, a prequel of sorts telling the story of how Peter Pan came to be in Neverland in the first place. It’s a marvelous idea for a movie, and I had high expectations ... which, unfortunately, weren’t met.
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The Man Behind the Myth

It must be a monumental effort, making an engaging biopic about someone who didn’t much want to be engaged. Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, Inc., appears to have been such a person.
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Don't Look Down

The word “breathtaking” is all too often thrown around in movie reviews, pretty much to the point that it has lost a great deal of its meaning. A great deal, but not all. The proof can be seen in the films in which technical achievement, narrative flow, thematic resonance, and performance skills are not merely evident but practically radiating off the screen. Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk is such a film.
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Someone Pass Me a Can of Raid

It goes without saying that comic book stories are, by their very nature, preposterous conceits created purely for entertainment. But there’s a fine line between escapist fun and goofy fecklessness, and when crossed, not only is it not entertaining, suspension of disbelief is simply not possible. Ant-Man most definitely crosses that line.
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Now We Know What a “Retcon” Is

Watching Terminator Genisys, in IMAX 3D or otherwise, is an experience I would recommend only to slavish Arnold Schwarzenegger fans, fanboys that salivate at the idea of hearing lines such as, “Come with me if you want to live,” “The future is not set,” and, “I’ll be back,” rehashed yet again, and audiences with attention spans so short that they wouldn’t be motivated enough to finish reading this sentence, let alone this entire review.
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The Weaker of the Two Films

I could point out that I enjoyed Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, released in 2012, more for its plot and character development than for the spectacle of well-toned, barely clothed male strippers dancing lewdly. But what would be the point? Let’s not kid ourselves, here; it earned over $165 million at the box office precisely because predominantly female audiences enjoyed the spectacle. I expect a similar reaction, if not a bigger one, to Magic Mike XXL.
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From The Movie Vault Archives


Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
A Plant Sings for Its Supper

1960’s The Little Shop of Horrors was a farce on every conceivable level, including the production, director Roger Corman and screenwriter Charles B. Griffith tailoring a screenplay to sets left over from a previous film and shooting it over a period of two days. The plot was just this side of incompetent and the performances were about as amateurish as the production values, perhaps even more so. Why, then, would anyone want to adapt this film into a musical play? The idea must have seemed insane.
A Sign of Where Humanity Is at Right Now
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The Remake Fans Have Been Clamoring For
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The Highest Form of Patriotism
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Literally and Figuratively Full-Blooded
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The Magic of Barrie, Minus the Magic
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The Man Behind the Myth
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Don't Look Down
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Someone Pass Me a Can of Raid
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Now We Know What a “Retcon” Is
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The Weaker of the Two Films
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A Plant Sings for Its Supper
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Baum's Vision Gets Urbanized
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A Camp Horror Movie, Minus the Camp
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A Dizzying Whirlwind of Conflict
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Corman’s Horticultural Farce
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Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Best Films of 2012. See his full list of favorite films right here!
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Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Worst Films of 2012. See the full list of dispicable films right here…
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Chris Pandolfi Talks with the Author of Enemies, A Love Story
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San Diego's Biggest Convention as Seen Through the Eyes of The Massie Twins
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The reasoning behind my review of Act of Valor, supporting our troops, and the meaning of real patriotism
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