New Releases

Tomorrowland (2015)
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.
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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Battling Doesn’t 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 Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and although it isn’t the home run I had hoped for, it certainly doesn’t strike out.
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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 Scott’s 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 there’s one thing I’m a real pushover for, it’s a cartoon that isn’t afraid to be a cartoon – to be bright and fun and surging with goofy energy, and make absolutely no apologies for it. DreamWorks Animation’s 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 Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland was first released, Walt Disney himself claimed that it “lacked heart,” 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 Disney’s newest 3D animated film, Big Hero 6. Even if he wouldn’t say it, I’m 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 Nolan’s 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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From The Movie Vault Archives


The Wiz (1978)
Baum's Vision Gets Urbanized

Sidney Lumet’s The Wiz is an adaptation not just of the Tony-winning Broadway musical but also of L. Frank Baum’s 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 – and, it cannot be denied, the 1939 MGM musical it spawned – may not respond well to the story’s urbanized updates, the cast consisting entirely of African American actors, the songs peppered with Motown, funk, and gospel influences.
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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Battling Doesn’t 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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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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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 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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