New Releases

Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
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.
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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Oh, You Frightening Doll

If you can think back a year to James Wan’s The Conjuring, a horror movie supposedly drawn from the true-life accounts of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, you’ll 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 Flynn’s 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 haven’t read the novel, but I have seen David Fincher’s film adaptation, penned by Flynn herself; the unreliable narrator concept has been retained, although I don’t 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 you’re reading this review right now, you’re definitely too old for it – 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 you’ll 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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Winter Gets a Friend

“You must concede that movies like this follow a very specific formula, and that they’ve done so for a very long time, and that they will continue to do so, not only because that’s what audiences have come to expect from them, but also because they actually demand it of them.” These words were part of my closing thoughts for my review of Dolphin Tale, a 2011 film that dramatized the true story of Winter, an injured dolphin that was rescued off the coast of Florida and eventually fitted with a specially-made prosthetic tail.
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The 4K Is a Disaster of Biblical Proportions

The 2011 rerelease of Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters had no selling point, apart from the opportunity to see the film on the big screen after twenty-seven years. That was, for me, more than enough of a reason to go see it; being less than a year old upon the film’s premiere in June of 1984, I had no choice but to grow up experiencing it through television and home video viewings. It’s now 2014, and it has been rereleased again for an exclusive week-long run, only this time with not one but two selling points.
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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.
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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Winter Gets a Friend
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The 4K Is a Disaster of Biblical Proportions
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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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