New Releases

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Battling Doesnít Do Much to Lighten the Mood

The first movie was the windup. The second movie was the pitch. Now we have the third movie, Peter Jacksonís The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and although it isnít the home run I had hoped for, it certainly doesnít strike out.
Thou Shalt Not

The biblical story of Moses and his delivery of the Israelites from the bonds of Egyptian slavery has inspired several films of varying quality, although none miss the mark quite so staggeringly as Ridley Scottís 3D spectacle Exodus: Gods and Kings. Here is a confused, dull, unpleasant, emotionally inaccessible film that traverses from start to finish without ever really knowing what it wants to say.
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Mission: Cartoon Spinoff

If thereís one thing Iím a real pushover for, itís a cartoon that isnít afraid to be a cartoon Ė to be bright and fun and surging with goofy energy, and make absolutely no apologies for it. DreamWorks Animationís newest 3D film, Penguins of Madagascar, is exactly like that. A cross between a spy thriller, a stunt spectacular, and a slapstick comedy, it plunges headfirst into a delightfully absurd plot and proceeds to indulge in a litany of hilarious visual and verbal gags.
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A Toyetic Travesty

Back in 1951, when Disneyís animated version of Alice in Wonderland was first released, Walt Disney himself claimed that it ďlacked heart,Ē which he felt was the reason behind its disappointing critical and commercial reception. If he were alive today, he would probably say the exact same thing about Disneyís newest 3D animated film, Big Hero 6. Even if he wouldnít say it, Iím saying it now.
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As They Say, Opposites Attract

Although The Theory of Everything is a biopic about Stephen Hawking, the English physicist known for his theorems on space singularities and his 1988 book A Brief History of Time, you would be wrong to see it under the assumption that his scientific research is at the heart of the plot. The film is essentially a love story, one in which the marriage between Hawking and his first wife, Jane, is explored and dramatized.
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A Ponderous Mission to Save Humanity

After getting off to a fairly decent start, Christopher Nolanís Interstellar, a science fiction film about a group of astronauts that travel through a wormhole in the search for a new habitable planet, devolves into something so ponderous, abstract, and emotionally weighty that it inspires more head scratching than feelings of sheer wonderment.
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Oh, You Frightening Doll

If you can think back a year to James Wanís The Conjuring, a horror movie supposedly drawn from the true-life accounts of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, youíll remember a brief subplot involving a doll with possible ties to demonic occurrences. That doll, being so memorably creepy, now serves as the basis for a spinoff film, Annabelle, for which Wan remains on board as one of the producers but relinquishes his position as director.
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The Mystery of the Missing Wife

One of the most praised aspects of Gillian Flynnís novel Gone Girl was the utilization of the unreliable narrator, the first half written in the first person from the perspective of both lead characters, neither of whom, the second half reveals, divulges everything there is to know about them. I havenít read the novel, but I have seen David Fincherís film adaptation, penned by Flynn herself; the unreliable narrator concept has been retained, although I donít know if it will fare as well from a critical standpoint.
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Talking Crayons Save the Day

Much like Curious George and The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, The Hero of Color City is a film that intentionally caters to very young audiences. If youíre reading this review right now, youíre definitely too old for it Ė and this is in spite of strategically placed jokes that children are very unlikely to get.
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British Humor Isn't Everyone's Cup of Tea

I try my best to avoid anything involving Ricky Gervais, his acerbic comedic style and cynical public persona not exactly being, and youíll have to excuse the expression, my cup of tea. In November of 2011, however, he did write an intriguing article for Time magazine discussing the general differences between British and American humor, which, according to him, are directly correlated to how each nationality is raised on a sociological level.
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From The Movie Vault Archives


The Wiz (1978)
Baum's Vision Gets Urbanized

Sidney Lumetís The Wiz is an adaptation not just of the Tony-winning Broadway musical but also of L. Frank Baumís novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which means it already has three strikes against it from a sizeable audience of fans and purists. Those who loved the novel Ė and, it cannot be denied, the 1939 MGM musical it spawned Ė may not respond well to the storyís urbanized updates, the cast consisting entirely of African American actors, the songs peppered with Motown, funk, and gospel influences.
Battling Doesnít Do Much to Lighten the Mood
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Thou Shalt Not
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Mission: Cartoon Spinoff
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A Toyetic Travesty
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As They Say, Opposites Attract
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A Ponderous Mission to Save Humanity
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Oh, You Frightening Doll
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The Mystery of the Missing Wife
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Talking Crayons Save the Day
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British Humor Isn't Everyone's Cup of Tea
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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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Cormanís Horticultural Farce
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What Lies Waiting Beyond That Corridor?
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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 hereÖ
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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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