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Review: Almost Human photo
Review: Almost Human
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I've realized something important in the past year or two: I don't really like period pieces. I like watching films from other eras and seeing them as they represent their own culture and time, but I don't really like seeing them try to reminisce about a better (or worse) point in history. The further back it goes, the less interested I am. There are exceptions to be made, of course, but they're few and far in between. 

Almost Human is set in the late 1980s, which would be a strike against it, if it wasn't for the fact that its time period is all but irrelevant. It would be basically the same movie if it was set in 2013 as it is set in 1989.

Somehow, that's even worse.

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12:00 PM on 02.18.2014

New Releases, week of 2/22/14: Nice Day for a Wedding

Earlier this year I had finally caught up on Game of Thrones. Never seen the show before now, but after some boredom and prodding from others, I finally gave the show a shot. I was instantly hooked and blasted through three s...

Nick Valdez



Review: Robocop photo
Review: Robocop
by Matthew Razak

I have a great fear, dear reader. A great fear that the new RoboCop film will become the next Dredd. I fear that it's a great action movie that's coming out in the doldrums of the movie season without a big enough marketing push and with a character that not enough people care about even though they should. A movie that deserves sequels, but won't get them because it doesn't make enough at the box office. 

I have this fear so I'm putting this here so you don't even have to read very far to see it: Go see RoboCop. It deserves your money. 

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Review: The Monuments Men photo
Review: The Monuments Men
by Matthew Razak

When monuments men was delayed from award season to a early February release it didn't cause too much concern. The line that the film wasn't quite ready seemed plausible, since there's no way a film with this cast, taking place in WWII and featuring Nazis (Nazis make movies better, see: Indian Jones trilogy) could really be all that bad. It would be a nice break from the January doldrums, right?

Not so much. The Monuments Men is a movie in need of a story, which is odd because the true story its telling should be story enough. The problem is it isn't, and no manner of Hollywood fluff to make the true story more "true" is really going to save it. What could is a bunch of banter between some of the best bantering actors in the business. Yea, not so much with that either.  

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4:00 PM on 02.04.2014

Justice League: War to begin DC Animated continuity

I'm not the most knowledgeable comic book fan, but if I had any focus, it would be DC Comics due to their awesome cartoons I had growing up. And while I've been sad they're gone now, DC is currently trying to get back to thei...

Nick Valdez

12:00 PM on 02.04.2014

New Releases, week of 2/8/14: Movie Buyers Club Edition

As the best of 2013 continue to release on home video, we've got another particularly interesting week. First off is Dallas Buyers Club (a film filled with such great performances, it made my Top 15 of 2013 list), then About ...

Nick Valdez



Review: 12 O'Clock Boys photo
Review: 12 O'Clock Boys
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I've never felt so totally lost watching a film spoken in my own language as I was watching 12 O'Clock Boys. It's bizarre, really, just how difficult to understand many of these characters are. The only close approximation I can think of would be Trainspotting, but at least I can feel like that one is foreign-ish, since it's from a different country. But 12 O'Clock Boys is not. It's just set in a culture that I am not a part of and have no connection to. In fact, I would venture to guess that 90% of the festival-going public who has seen this film so far can't really relate to the characters it follows.

That would be bad enough in a narrative film; it's potentially ruinous for a documentary.

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Review: That Awkward Moment photo
Review: That Awkward Moment
by Mike Cosimano

I feel like I should hate That Awkward Moment more than I actually do. On paper, it seems like a real disaster. I mean, look at the title! Nine times out of ten, only inane dribble follows the phrase “that awkward moment…” So perhaps my lukewarm feelings towards the film come from a place of exceeded expectations. 

However, even after you realize this isn’t going to be the worst thing in the world, it’s still a very easy film to hate. I don’t, but I can’t blame you if you do. The leads bounce off each other quite well, so there’s a good chance that will carry the movie for you, but it’s hard to escape the underlying emptiness that seeps into every pore of this film. There are flashes of brilliance, make no mistake, but they’re mired in a fog of unrepentant, smug, off-putting masculinity.

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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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