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12:00 PM on 01.28.2014

New Releases, week of 2/1/14: San Francisco Rush Edition

This week's still a good week, folks. Heading up our new releases are Rush (which was conspicuously nominated for a Golden Globe), Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (which is conspicuously nominated for an Academy Award), Cloudy ...

Nick Valdez

11:00 AM on 01.21.2014

New Releases, week of 1/25/13: Oh Captain My Captain

Like last week, it's time to play catch up as the best and brightest of 2013 continue to hit home video. We have Captain Phillips, which Tam Honks seems to be wonderful in, Bad Milo!, the only film about a butt demon this wee...

Nick Valdez

Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit photo
Review: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
by Matthew Razak

Ahhh, the left over goodness of January. The month where every movie goer's hopes are so low that even the most banal film can seem like a worthy excuse to head to the theater. That's where an established name like Jack Ryan can really pull folks in without doing too much.

It's not like Jack Ryan is a banal character. The Tom Clancy spy has been in some of the best spy thrillers ever made, but that was over two decades ago and his last foray into cinema, The Sum of All Fears, didn't exactly ignite the character back to life.

Enter another reboot of the character. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the first of his films to turn the name into a franchise, which is what they studio is clearly attempting to do. The question is can they make a 90s hero into a new millennium franchise or is there a reason the movie was released in January.

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Review: Ride Along photo
Review: Ride Along
by Matthew Razak

There's a thin line sometimes between buddy cop movies and comedy cop movies. Usually it's dependent on the amount of action and whether the majority of the time is spent trying to get laughs. When a film tries to tip toe on this line disaster can strike, especially when the movie isn't funny in the first place.

Ride Along is a comedy movie with cops in it, but it desperately wants to be a buddy cop movie. Unfortunately what it is and what it wants to be don't jive at all and everything just ends up in a crumpled mess. It's also just not funny. 

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2:00 PM on 01.14.2014

New Releases, week of 1/18/13: Really Good Week Edition

Looks like last year's award winnings movies and indie releases are finally hitting home video. And each of them is worth a watch. First off there's You're Next, a horror film that came out of nowhere to become one of last ye...

Nick Valdez

Review: Her photo

I had planned to skip Her. It was an early Saturday screening, which was bad enough, but because of the all-star cast attending the press conference afterwards, I knew I'd need to be up stupidly early to get a decent seat in the theater. But when I made that decision, I didn't know what it was about (I don't watch trailers), and Hubert offered to give me the one-line synopsis, just in case it might change my mind:

"A man falls in love with his operating system."

So the next morning, I woke up bright and early. Even though I was nearly two hours early, I wasn't the first person in line. I wasn't even in the first twenty. Over the next several hours, hundreds more arrived. Some grumbled about having to be up so early, and more were just glad that this whole NYFF thing was finally coming to an end.

But we were all there, whether we knew it or not, to see something truly special. Her is a love story that has been a long time coming, and it is one that Spike Jonze and his cast and crew have brilliantly realized.

[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of the 2013 New York Film Festival. It is being reposted to coincide with the film's wide theatrical release.]

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Review: The Legend of Hercules photo
Review: The Legend of Hercules
by Matthew Razak

That sub-header isn't a pithy remark about it only being a week into 2014. It will be incredibly challenging for any wide release film in the upcoming year to be worse than The Legend of Hercules. I am now staking my claim that despite the fact that I have seen no other 2014 movies, none of them will be worse than this. 

Films based on young adult novels trying to be Twilight? They will be better than this. Comedies whose entire comedic value rest in poorly executed fart jokes? They will be better than this. Other action films that feature action so dull they're almost dramas? They will be better than this? Melodramatic dramas that don't actually seem to understand human emotion? They will be better than this. Cheaply made children's movies with big name star voices to pull in unsuspecting crowds? They will be better than this.

Every film that arrives in theaters this year will be better than The Legend of Hercules

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3:00 PM on 01.07.2014

New Releases, week of 1/11/14: Run Away Already Edition

This week's home video releases are full of smaller films that may or many not be that great. There's the one that stars Justin Timerlake and Ben Affleck, Runner Runner, there's one with a big ass spider, Big Ass Spider! (yes...

Nick Valdez

Review: American Hustle photo
Review: American Hustle
by Mike Cosimano

As I sit here, trying in vain to remember anything of importance about David O. Russell’s latest film American Hustle -- which I saw hours ago -- I have to ask myself the question: is this my fault?

I saw the ads and read the title, so I expected something along the lines of The Sting. I saw Ocean’s Eleven a couple days beforehand, so I expected something a little slicker. I saw The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, so I expected a good movie. So, you know what? Maybe that’s on me!

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Review: Wrong Cops photo
Review: Wrong Cops
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It hurts me that people think that Quentin Dupieux makes surrealists films. It really does. And it's not just a bunch of hipsters trying to sound smarter than they are. Film critics who really ought to know better have lauded him for his modern day surrealism. It hurts.

Let's be clear: Quentin Dupieux does not make surrealist films. Got that? He does not make surrealist films. And if anyone tells you otherwise, you should hit them. Up until now, Dupieux's filmography has consisted entirely of absurdist films, films that bring to mind Beckett rather than Dalí. But that has changed with his newest release. Wrong Cops is not an absurdist film; it's just absurd.

I don't mean that in a good way.

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Review: Grudge Match photo
Review: Grudge Match
by Matthew Razak

Grudge Match is a movie based entirely around getting two old actors (Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro) from two of the greatest boxing movies ever made (Rocky and Raging Bull) back into the ring to punch each other. It really, by all rights, should have been an absolute train wreck. I'm sure you rolled your eyes the second you saw the trailer. No way in hell a cash grab like this is going to be good.

Well, it's that time of year for (minor) holiday miracles. While the theaters are jam packed with Oscar-worthy movies you should really spend your money on, something about Grudge Match actually works. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but much like its aging actors, it's surprisingly doesn't fall flat on its face.

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12:00 PM on 12.17.2013

New Releases, week of 12/21/13: The Lone D Edition

This week's home video releases involve a bunch of movies we regrettably did not get to review here on Flixist. First off there's a movie only Liz saw apparently since it tanked so bad, The Lone Ranger. Secondly, there're two...

Nick Valdez

Review: What's in a Name? photo
Review: What's in a Name?
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's a stereotype that the French are more cultured than Americans, but obviously that's a hard claim to either prove or disprove. There are any number of examples that could be used to show it either way, but here's evidence that, as far as I can tell, is incontrovertible:

What's in a Name?, a drama-comedy completely devoid of action that centers around a really uncomfortable dinner party, is one of the biggest blockbusters in France's history. It outsold The Avengers on opening weekend.

Your move, America.

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Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug photo
Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
by Matthew Razak

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey blew me away when I caught it in theaters and I gave it an appropriately high score because of that. It was truly stunning and another epic coming from Peter Jackson, but upon re-watching it the complaints I had with the film stood out even more, especially the fact that the film's plot was stretched pretty thin to make the movie the length it was. It just felt like padding for the book's plot.

The Desolation of Smaug does not have this issue. Mostly because the book's plot is what feels like the additive this time. Yes, it hits its key points, but the stretched feeling is gone because the movie isn't stretching anything. If you're a fan of Jackson's prolific Middle Earth than you're going to be a fan of this movie. If you came to see the original story of The Hobbit unfold then you'll like about 20 minutes. 

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10:00 AM on 12.10.2013

New Releases, week of 12/14/13: #FAMILY Edition

It's a big week for home video releases. First of all there's the elephant in the room. Fast & Furious 6 hits home video after the tragic death of Paul Walker. The silver lining in all of this is when you buy it (and...

Nick Valdez

Review: Out of the Furnace photo
Review: Out of the Furnace
by Michael Jordan

When I sat down to watch Out of the Furnace, I had nothing but high hopes for the film. The trailers looked amazing and suspenseful and the premise seemed engaging. Plus, how could I possibly get burned on a film that stars some of my favorite actors?

Before I knew it I was already covered in gasoline, and writer-director Scott Cooper was lighting a match.

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10:00 AM on 12.03.2013

New Releases, week of 12/7/13: Sequelitis Edition

This week's home video releases involve two big sequels: one revered, one reviled. The Wolverine (and subsequently a re-release of the entire X-Men series so far) hits DVD and Blu-ray while the less said about The Smurfs 2, t...

Nick Valdez

10:00 AM on 11.26.2013

New Releases, week of 11/30/13: T-RED-ing Lightly Edition

This week's biggest home video release isn't a movie, it's a TV show. Breaking Bad finished its final run of episodes a few months back and now it's finally available on home video. I haven't seen the final episode yet, so I ...

Nick Valdez

10:00 AM on 11.19.2013

New Releases, week of 11/23/13: F**king Planes Edition

I've been salty toward Disney's Planes since it was first announced. Its very existence angered the hell out of me. A Pixar dropped spin-off of an ailing franchise originally meant for home video but was released to theaters ...

Nick Valdez

Review: The Book Thief photo
Review: The Book Thief
by Matthew Razak

It's a dead week for the movies. The biggest thing coming out is Best Man Holiday, and we didn't see that. Instead, since it's opening wide today, we've got a review for The Book Thief, which has the dubious title of "Movie With the Worst Trailer of the Year." That trailer is easily the most desperate Oscar plea ever. "From the studio that brought Life of Pi"? Really?

So clearly The Book Thief, which is based on the book of the same name, is going for some sort of Oscar grab, but you may have noticed it's not really getting much buzz. The reason for that is pretty obvious: it's callous, predictable and not very good.

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10:00 AM on 11.12.2013

New Releases, week of 11/16/13: Turbo Man Edition

This week's home video releases just remind me that I need to see Jingle All the Way again, and the upcoming holiday season is just making that worse (check back with Flixist in December for a big holiday thing). First off th...

Nick Valdez

1:00 PM on 11.05.2013

New Releases, week of 11/9/13: Grown Hobbits Edition

This week's home video releases are especially important if you're interested in sequels or TV show box sets for the upcoming holiday. First off, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition hits home video ju...

Nick Valdez