New Releases

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
We Waited Twenty Years for This?

At the end of Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day: Resurgence, I came to the conclusion that, in some cases, twenty years just isn’t long enough to wait for a sequel. Or thirty years. Or forty. Or fifty. This movie, much like the destruction it depicts, is an unmitigated disaster – flimsy of plot, unmotivated of character, devoid of imagination, deprived of substance.
A Haunting in Enfield

Three years ago, I wracked my brain trying to figure out why James Wan’s The Conjuring, a haunted house movie, worked in spite of being constructed almost entirely from clichés and contrivances. I never really came up with anything. Now, thinking about Wan’s The Conjuring 2, which also works and is yet again constructed almost entirely from clichés and contrivances, the answer couldn’t be any clearer. These films work because they have nothing to prove.
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The Upside of Exposition

“I’m the enemy of exposition. I feel there’s no need to overstate.” So said actor Anson Mount, known for such films as Burning Palms, the remake of Straw Dogs, and Non-Stop. If this is really how he feels, he’d be perfectly content watching Warcraft, a film in which explaining things and providing context was apparently a secondary concern.
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They Should Retreat Back into Them

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is, in an unexpected way, aptly named. Whereas the title characters were basically relegated to background scenery for their 2014 predecessor, they have now, narratively speaking, been brought out of the shadows, allowed to be the stars of their own movie. The tradeoff is that their starring vehicle is the most miserable cinematic experience this side of a Transformers movie.
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The Lonely Island Makes a Music Mockumentary

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping aims to be this generation’s answer to Rob Reiner’s This Is Spinal Tap – a film that parodies music documentaries and concert movies. Whether or not it will ever be regarded as highly, only time will tell. What I can say with certainty is that Popstar is quite funny and timely, with recent documentaries starring Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, One Direction, and the cast of Glee all being a great well to draw from.
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It's a Matter – or a Mad Hatter – of Time

In retrospect, my mild praise for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was guided by an incorrect approach to the material, namely the preconceived notion that the film would be a fairly faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s original novels. Going into Alice Through the Looking Glass, for which Burton stays on board as one of the producers while giving the directing reins to James Bobin, I knew to withhold all expectations regarding faithfulness.
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A Villain's "Final Solution"

It cannot be denied that Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse comes at a time when the movie market is saturated with comic book adaptations, the latest of which, Captain America: Civil War, was released only earlier this month. Indeed, despite being just six years into the 2010s, I think it’s already safe to say that they have pretty much defined the entire decade. We need more of these movies about as much as we each need a hole in the head. Nevertheless, it also cannot be denied that the film is a success.
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They're In a Movie that's Not So Nice

The lure of The Nice Guys is not the fact that it’s a buddy cop movie, one of countless others. Rather, it’s the pairing of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. Indeed, the ads have been promising a perfectly mismatched comedic duo, most recently reminiscent of Mark Wahlberg and Will Farrell in The Other Guys. It might have turned out that way, had the characters had actually been developed. The same can be said for the film as a whole.
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A Stilted Romantic Comedy

Love & Friendship, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel Lady Susan, is a film of delicious wit and ingenious plotting – not in the structural narrative sense, but in the sense that several of the conversations are verbal tennis matches between people with agendas.
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Too Much Franchise for Me

I knew this day was coming, the day the Marvel Cinematic Universe would grow too big for its own good and become mentally exhausting. Captain America: Civil War is the thirteenth film of a series that knowingly and unfailingly intertwines their numerous story arcs, and for the first time, it was simply too much for me to take in.
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From The Movie Vault Archives


Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1984)
This Is Why B-Movies Develop Cult Followings

Voyage of the Rock Aliens is as hilariously incompetent as the title suggests – a film made from the spare parts of disparate genres that have no business being forced to share the same space. It shows not the slightest indication that anyone involved was ever trying.
We Waited Twenty Years for This?
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A Haunting in Enfield
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The Upside of Exposition
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They Should Retreat Back into Them
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The Lonely Island Makes a Music Mockumentary
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It's a Matter – or a Mad Hatter – of Time
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A Villain's "Final Solution"
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They're In a Movie that's Not So Nice
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A Stilted Romantic Comedy
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Too Much Franchise for Me
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This Is Why B-Movies Develop Cult Followings
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New Adaptation, Old-School Tricks
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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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Why we should never judge a film, remake or otherwise, before actually seeing it
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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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