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Movie Reviews

Sword fighting, dwarves, lush visuals and not a script in sight

Once upon a time, a movie mogul imagined it was time for another adaptation of Snow White. In a fairytale world, this would mean a beautiful production with excellent performances.     In reality, what we got was a poison apple: Beautiful on the outside and deadly dull beneath the surface.

And you thought your teens were tough

Adolescence is a difficult period. Wondering whether your crush likes you back. Picking out a cool Facebook profile picture. Trying to figure out txt spk.     For Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: X-Men: First Class) those troublesome teen years are a bit harder. She has to fight other teens to the death in the annual Hunger Games.     Suddenly pre-calc doesn’t seem so bad, does it, kids?

Sometimes crass is all you need

21 Jump Street is an immature comedy, full of penis references, bodily function humor, comedic violence and drug jokes that appeal to the lowest common denominator.     I laughed through the whole movie.     Sometimes the best humor comes from rude places. But if you dislike strong language and sexual humor, you’ll have the vapors before the 20-minute mark.

Beautiful effects and interplanetary drama isn’t enough to make up for a terrible lead

When confederate soldier John Carter (Taylor Kitsch: Friday Night Lights) realizes he’s on Mars, he is filled with wonder and amazement. I tell you this now, because it’s hard to decipher what Carter thinks or feels since Kitsch plays him with a slack-jawed blankness that makes you wonder if there’s enough air on the red planet to support brainwaves.

Sometimes life won’t let you make good decisions

Nader (Peyman Moadi: About Elly) and Simin (Leila Hatami: Aseman-e mahboob) are in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle, made more bitter by the fact that neither wants to end the marriage.

There’s a thin line between straightforward and uninteresting

Modern thrillers are typically bogged down with fantastical plots, unnecessary twists and red herrings. Gone avoids most of these pitfalls with a simple thriller plotline that’s easy to follow. In doing so, it becomes a boring potboiler.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry about illegal surveillance

CIA agents Tuck (Tom Hardy: Warrior) and FDR (Chris Pine: Unstoppable) are top agents assigned to take down German terrorist brothers. The job goes bad, terrorist Heinrich (Til Schweiger: New Year’s Eve) vows revenge and the two agents are grounded in the Los Angeles field office.     What do bored agents do when they can’t wear suits and shoot up nightclubs?     They look for love in this crazy modern world.

The only mystery is who approved this script

Young adventurer Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson: The Kids Are Alright) intercepts a mysterious message referencing Jules Verne. Sure he had to break into a satellite station to get the signal, but what’s a little arrest in the quest for adventure?

A trio of teens get the gift of a lifetime in this fun sci-fi take on superpowers

Spiderman’s beloved Uncle Ben once said With great power comes great responsibility. Sure Voltaire said it first, but the three teens at the center of Chronicle are more likely to be reading philosophy penned by Stan Lee than some old French guy.

Liam Neeson proves old dogs can learn new tricks

There are movies like The Artist in which every shot is an exquisitely composed tableau. And then there are movies like The Grey, where Liam Neeson (Unknown) bare-knuckle boxes a giant Alaskan timber wolf.     My job as a reviewer is convincing you that both sorts can be enjoyable and worth your hard-earned money.