New Releases

Ant-Man (2015)
Someone Pass Me a Can of Raid

It goes without saying that comic book stories are, by their very nature, preposterous conceits created purely for entertainment. But there’s a fine line between escapist fun and goofy fecklessness, and when crossed, not only is it not entertaining, suspension of disbelief is simply not possible. Ant-Man most definitely crosses that line.
Now We Know What a “Retcon” Is

Watching Terminator Genisys, in IMAX 3D or otherwise, is an experience I would recommend only to slavish Arnold Schwarzenegger fans, fanboys that salivate at the idea of hearing lines such as, “Come with me if you want to live,” “The future is not set,” and, “I’ll be back,” rehashed yet again, and audiences with attention spans so short that they wouldn’t be motivated enough to finish reading this sentence, let alone this entire review.
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The Weaker of the Two Films

I could point out that I enjoyed Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, released in 2012, more for its plot and character development than for the spectacle of well-toned, barely clothed male strippers dancing lewdly. But what would be the point? Let’s not kid ourselves, here; it earned over $165 million at the box office precisely because predominantly female audiences enjoyed the spectacle. I expect a similar reaction, if not a bigger one, to Magic Mike XXL.
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A Girl Obeys the Voices in Her Head

Of all the words we film critics are sometimes guilty of incorporating into our reviews, “original” most certainly tops the list. Why are we ever compelled to use that word when the entire history of narrative tradition teaches that there’s no such thing as an original story, that there are only variations? I ask this because Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, in which we enter the mind of a young girl and meet personifications of her five emotional states, has been deemed by some as a blatant ripoff of Herman’s Head, a semi-forgotten 1990s American sitcom in which personified emotional states guided the title character through his daily life.
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Not Every Story Lends Itself to a Continuation

Millions of people, myself included, responded and continue to respond to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park, a technologically innovative and tremendously entertaining adaptation of Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel. However, the passage of over twenty years has seen the release of several sequels, and they have revealed within the original a fundamental narrative flaw, namely a lack of groundwork for the sequels to have been built upon.
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Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

Part of me understands that disaster movies shouldn’t have to be anything more than what they are, namely loud, bombastic showcases of special effects and mass destruction. San Andreas, 2015’s answer to films as old as Earthquake and as recent as 2012, delivers in this regard.

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A Tomorrow That's Not So Great, Big, or Beautiful

“There’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow / Shining at the end of every day. / Oh, there’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow, / And tomorrow’s just a dream away.” These lyrics, taken from the song of Disney’s long-running Carousel of Progress theme park attraction, had to have been repeating like a loop in the mind of Brad Bird as he made Tomorrowland, a family-friendly science fiction film intended to instill within us the notion that the future is what we make it.
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We Haven't Reached the Saturation Point ... Yet

For the last several years, I've expressed concern over the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – that it was expanding to unreasonable proportions, that it was inundating audiences with characters, events, plotlines, twists of fate, and locations that would be impossible for laymans unfamiliar with any of the original comic books to keep track of.
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Setting a March in Motion

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” This is but one of the many, many words of wisdom spoken by civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., who, like Mahatma Gandhi before him, came to regard nonviolent resistance as the only way to combat the very laws, behaviors, and beliefs founded on prejudice and bigotry. We see King practicing what he preaches in Selma, a new film that dramatizes the events leading up to his 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
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Hardly a Fitting Farewell for Williams and Rooney

Shawn Levy’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb features a supporting performance by Robin Williams and a cameo appearance by Mickey Rooney. We all know that they both died this year, the former quite unexpectedly, the latter perhaps imminently but nonetheless tragically. The sad thing, apart from the shadows cast by their deaths, is that the film, which has been dedicated to their memories, just isn’t very good.
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From The Movie Vault Archives


Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
A Plant Sings for Its Supper

1960’s The Little Shop of Horrors was a farce on every conceivable level, including the production, director Roger Corman and screenwriter Charles B. Griffith tailoring a screenplay to sets left over from a previous film and shooting it over a period of two days. The plot was just this side of incompetent and the performances were about as amateurish as the production values, perhaps even more so. Why, then, would anyone want to adapt this film into a musical play? The idea must have seemed insane.
Someone Pass Me a Can of Raid
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Now We Know What a “Retcon” Is
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The Weaker of the Two Films
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A Girl Obeys the Voices in Her Head
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Not Every Story Lends Itself to a Continuation
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Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
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A Tomorrow That's Not So Great, Big, or Beautiful
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We Haven't Reached the Saturation Point ... Yet
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Setting a March in Motion
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Hardly a Fitting Farewell for Williams and Rooney
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A Plant Sings for Its Supper
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Baum's Vision Gets Urbanized
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A Camp Horror Movie, Minus the Camp
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A Dizzying Whirlwind of Conflict
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Corman’s Horticultural Farce
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Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Best Films of 2012. See his full list of favorite films right here!
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Chris Pandolfi makes his picks for The Worst Films of 2012. See the full list of dispicable films right here…
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Chris Pandolfi Talks with the Author of Enemies, A Love Story
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San Diego's Biggest Convention as Seen Through the Eyes of The Massie Twins
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The reasoning behind my review of Act of Valor, supporting our troops, and the meaning of real patriotism
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