Failure to Launch

Our growing obsession with unrealistic romantic expectations continues in Failure to Launch, a film by Tom Dey. Dey wraps his movie in a weird mix of romantic clichés, screwball animal attack comedy, and Terry Bradshaw nudity as if to distract his audience from the fact that basically, the female lead in his script is written as a whore. There’s something very wrong here.

Find Me Guilty

In Find Me Guilty Diesel prances around court as Giacomo DiNorscio and pronounces himself a gagster, not a gangster. But Giacomo is in fact a murderous, coke dealing gangster and no matter how many wacky jokes he tells it’s a little hard to root for him to get off. But root for him is what this movie asks you to do. Giacomo is a lifetime offender; he’s spent most of his life in prison. He’s in again, this time on drug charges, when the police round up his entire mob (including their boss) under the newly enacted Rico laws.

V for Vendetta

At times it almost feels like you’re watching something forbidden, like you’re seeing something you shouldn’t be allowed to see. It’s shocking that a movie like this, especially in these times, ever actually got made. It’s even more unbelievable that it was made by a major Hollywood studio. It’s fun to accuse Hollywood of liberal activism, but you don’t expect this kind of real filmmaking bravery from corporate America or a company like Warner Bros.

Ultraviolet

Writer/director Kurt Wimmer reaffirms his position as the worst motion picture director not named Uwe Boll working in the movie industry with Ultraviolet. Wimmer gained a little undeserved cult fame with the theatrically ignored movie Equilibrium, but despite some really odd pockets of geek love, the film was a disaster. Ultraviolet is no better, in fact it's a lot worse.

Running Scared

Paul Walker casts off his pretty boy persona to get damaged and dirty in Wayne Kramer's Running Scared, but was it really worth the effort? Paul plays a hood named Joey, charged with ditching a gun used by his mob boss in the slaying of a local cop. Joey screws up, his neighbor's kid gets it, and uses it to shoot his abusive, John Wayne obsessed father. Kramer's script only gets more implausible from there.

Lady and the Tramp (50th Anniversary Edition)

Lady and the Tramp is by now an ingrained part of our cultural consciousness. An uptown dog named Lady meets a rascally stray named Tramp. Sparks fly, magic happens and there’s the cartoon doggy equivalent of love. The film is of course defined by that now iconic spaghetti scene, in which the pair share a noodle...

16 Blocks

The film stars Bruce Willis, in the kind of role he knows well. Bruce plays Jack Mosely, a burned out cop with an alcohol problem, a potbelly, and a pronounced limp. Jack enters the film with a defeated sigh. Huffing, puffing, and sweating he lurches into a crime scene where he’s supposed to stand guard, swipes a bottle of booze from a cabinet and plops down on the victim’s couch to get drunk and read the paper. Jack Mosely may still be on the job, but he retired a long time ago.

Block Party

It’s interesting the way documentaries have evolved over the past few years. No longer the stuffy, stiff stuff of flat footage and droning narration, today’s documentaries strive to entertain as much or more than they bother to educate. The influence of reality television is at least partly to thank for that, so next time you turn on your set stop by “Dancing with the Stars” and deliver a quick thank you before you flip over to something better.

Date Movie

Date Movie plays as if the worst two of the six writers of Scary Movie scribbled it down on the back of a cocktail napkin while on the way from their hotel to the set. It sets out to apply Scary Movie's horror parody formula to rom-coms, and in doing so comes up with something, believe it or not, worse.

The Pink Panther (2006)

Martin steps into the trench coat once filled by the greatness of Peter Sellers, and plays Inspector Jacques Clouseau. But Steve’s Clouseau is not Peter’s Clouseau. Steve plays the character as a sort of weird mix between Austin Powers and Ernest P. Worrell. It’s funny, but he’s not exactly our beloved Inspector.

Imagine Me and You

Most marriages end in divorce. We've long since passed the 50% mark. Wonder why? At least a little of the blame has to go to movies like Imagine Me & You. Our culture glorifies unrealistic romantic expectations. That's bad enough. But movies, books, and television shows like Imagine Me & You take that glorification to an entirely new level by actively endorsing a grass is greener approach to marital fidelity. Rather than rejecting the morally reprehensible idea that it's acceptable to ditch your spouse the first time someone new catches your eye, we're asked to embrace it.

Final Destination 3

Final Destination 3 continues onward with a premise that’s already been covered adequately by the first two movies in its series as teenagers tick off death by cheating it out of their corpse. Death is a spiteful little bitch, and so goes after them again in the most bizarre, gruesome, and implausible ways imaginable. You don’t want to piss off the grim reaper. Don’t expect to escape by challenging it to a game of Twister.

When a Stranger Calls

When a Stranger Calls is a minimum effort horror movie. It does just enough to scare easily unnerved thirteen-year-old girls, and not much else. Luckily for Sony Screen Gems (but perhaps not so lucky for those of us who wish they'd stop making this sort of movie), there's plenty of underage would-be babysitters willing to pile in theaters and pay for overpriced tickets.

Eight Below

Disney has found the perfect film formula for Paul Walker. Keep him off the screen, or better still keep him quiet. Eight Below stars Paul Walker as a guilt-ridden mush-master but the real stars of the movie are the dogs, while Paul serves as in-between dog filler.

Glory Road

Glory Road tells the story of Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) and his 1966 Texas Western basketball team, the first college team ever to use a starting lineup composed entirely of black players. Texas Western was a poor school, and Haskins took the job as his only way to transition from coaching girl’s high school basketball into division one NCAA. The school hired him not because they were interested in winning, but because they wanted a strong male presence to move into their men’s dorm and lay down the law. Haskins had loftier plans.

Underworld: Evolution

While watching Underworld: Evolution, you get the sense that second time director Len Wiseman has no idea what it was that audiences liked so much about his original movie in the first place. Everything that was wrong with Underworld is back, missing are a lot of the things that were right.

Nanny McPhee

In Nanny McPhee Emma Thompson tries to break the forty-year stranglehold held on nanny related entertainment by Marry Poppins with her own take on the magical babysitter genre. Emma's entry owes a big debt to Julie Andrews, but differentiates itself just enough to avoid being labeled a blatant Nanny Poppins knockoff.

Last Holiday

Last Holiday is the story of a woman who finds out she’s going to die, and so does the thing that dying people in movies tend to do: have a lot of fun. Personally, in that situation I think I might be tempted to forgo the fun and taking a cue from Joe, throw myself into a volcano. At the very least I think I might ask my doctor for a second opinion, especially if he describes my incurable disease as “sneaky”.

Grandma's Boy

Grandma's Boy desperately wants to be The 40 Year-Old Virgin. In fact, sometimes it plays as if someone read Virgin's script and thought: "Hey I can do that!" Well they can't. This isn't that kind of film, though you get the sense that's what they were going for. Instead, Grandma's Boy is kind of like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle crossed with "The Golden Girls". While that's not good enough to lift it off into Steve Carrell's stratosphere or even the world of Harold and Kumar, it's crazy enough that as a mindless stoner/geek comedy it kind of works.

Kisses and Caroms

It begins where a lot of guys might like their evenings to end, with a menage. Zack (Drew Wick) wakes up in bed between two beautiful naked women, and pretends to go back to sleep. Jennifer (Nikki Stanzione) wakes up next to Zack, slips out of bed, and sneaks out of the house. Zack opens one eye and then attempts to do the same, but it doesn't work. Tara (Nicole Rayburn) sits up stark naked and unashamed to call out after him. She'll be in later to pick up her check.

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