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August 2011
Nasty, Brutish and Short 30 Minutes or Less

Clocks in at a lean 83 minutes, but for viewers looking for admirable characters it’s a long sit.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 12, 2011 |
  • comments
The Help Serves a Story of Hope

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s bestseller, The Help is by turns hilarious and horrifying, but ultimately it’s a story of hope.

Apes Reboot Desperately Seeks Charisma

He looked bored at this year’s Oscars. And apparently Rise of the Planet of the Apes doesn’t excite James Franco either.

No Hope for This R-Rated Change-Up

Hoping for Freaky Friday? Then you’ll want to opt out. The Change-Up plants this body-swap premise squarely in hard-R territory.

Whistleblower Tackles Human Trafficking

The Whistleblower is almost unremittingly grim, and the effect is that of being struck repeatedly with a sledgehammer.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 05, 2011 |
  • comments
July 2011
Intense Cowboys & Aliens Shoots 'Em Up

Western/sci-fi Cowboys & Aliens is intense with “gotcha” moments looming anytime the action even thinks about slowing down.

Heart, Humor Converge in Crazy Stupid Love

Ultimately examines why lasting love—not merely bed-hopping—is worth fighting for.

What’s Old is Blue Again in The Smurfs

With The Smurfs, Sony Animation has resurrected what began as a Saturday morning cartoon turned ‘80s cultural phenomenon.

Another Screenplay Could Save Another Earth

Despite an arresting idea and admirable execution, this drama fails. The problem: Another Earth needs another screenplay.

Captain America is Red, White and Blasé

With a milquetoast action hero and a relatively generic bad guy, Captain America: The First Avenger is a pretty dull movie.

July 2011
No Advantages for Friends with Benefits

A morally troubling film that falls short even on the base level on which it tries to work.

Winnie the Pooh Wins Viewers’ Hearts

Disney resisted modernizing the characters or A.A. Milne’s gentle storytelling style.

Good and Evil Collide in Deathly Hallows 2

What goes down in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 won’t likely sway anyone who’s been on the fence.

James Talks to the Animals in Zookeeper

In this Dr. Doolittle/Night at the Museum mash-up, Kevin James plays Griffin Keyes, the titular keeper of a big city zoo.

Black Comedy Goes Bawdy in Horrible Bosses

Despite its many comedic achievements, bawdy Horrible Bosses will probably still offend more than entertain.

Larry Crowne Should Have Been Better

With Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, Larry Crowne stands as an example of how star-driven vehicles can suffer from bloat.

Wish Fulfillment Falls Flat in Monte Carlo

Starring Selena Gomez, this slice of teen wish fulfillment ultimately falls prey to a slew of storytelling contrivances.

June 2011
Storytelling Stays Light in Transformers 3

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is yet another instance where storytelling has been kicked to the curb by action scenes.

Cars 2 Kicks the Action into Overdrive

With a second installment that outshines the original, perhaps Pixar is hoping to prove that Cars wasn’t a bad idea.

Bad Teacher Skips Class, Among Other Things

Bad Teacher is painfully desperate for laughs. Its primary modus operandi is shock value, packaged in the usual suspects of pervasive language, drugs and sex.

Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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