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Step Up Revolution [Step Up: Miami Heat] Review


OK
The Step Up franchise has never been noted for its astute screenwriting, but this instalment sets the bar so low that even its bendy cast members would have trouble limboing under it. Even so, the cut-and-paste characters and plot can't make this sweaty dance movie boring.

In a noble but poor neighbourhood under a stack of bridges by the Miami River, Sean (Guzman) and his pal Eddy (Gabriel) lead an underground dance crew called The Mob to perform flash-mob antics in picturesque locations. Their goal is to win an online competition and go pro. Then Sean meets Emily (McCormick), whose property tycoon dad (Gallagher) wants to destroy Sean's neighbourhood to build another glitzy development. While trying to make her own way in dance school, Emily hides her identity to join The Mob and take on Dad.

Continue reading: Step Up Revolution [Step Up: Miami Heat] Review

Step Up 3D Review


OK

Shamelessly derivative and laughably packed with every cliche imaginable, this second sequel pushes the formula into a full-on celebration of street dance.
And through sheer exuberance, it almost gets away with it. It's not good, but it's a lot of fun.

Luke (Malambri) runs a nightclub and dance studio out of the Brooklyn warehouse he inherited from his parents. Despite the fact that the club is packed to the rafters every night, he's behind on his mortgage and really needs to win the upcoming World Jam to save his crew's home. So he challenges his team, the Pirates, to go for it against their arch-rival competitors. New members include Natalie (Vinson), who sparks a romance with Luke, and Moose (Sevani), who neglects his university studies and his pining best pal Camille (Stoner) to dance in secret.

The only connections to the first film are Stoner (from Step Up) and Sevani (from Step Up 2 the Streets), plus a couple of surprise appearances. Otherwise, the filmmakers jettison the clash-of-the-dance-genres premise for a more straightforward sports-movie structure with a win-or-die competition, two formulaic rom-com subplots and a rather pointlessly evil villain in rival team leader Julien (Slaughter), who has a nefarious connection to one of Luke's dancers.

But the filmmakers also realise that the whole point of the exercise is the dancing, and they stage outrageously elaborate dance-offs and montage sequences that are choreographed for maximum 3D gimmickry using water, lights and anything else they can find. Including Slushees blowing in a gust of wind from a Subway vent. This is all done with smiley brio and hectic energy, and the dance sequences are truly exhilarating.

They're so good, in fact, that we can overlook the clunky dialog, which the actors struggle to deliver with any believability. But if their performances are often almost comically stiff, their dance moves are thoroughly entertaining. It's impossible to watch this film without enjoying every ridiculous moment, even if much of the enjoyment is in laughing at the corny script. "We can go anywhere," emotes Natalie, urging Luke to run off with her, "even California!" Oh come on, who would want to go there?

Step Up 2 The Streets Review


Good
Despite all of the cheap, cheesy, and/or thoroughly unnecessary sequels I've seen on purpose in my time, a second helping of the 2006 dance-romance (ro-dance?) Step Up was not high on my list of potential larks, thanks to dance-movie fatigue in general and the dullness of the first movie in particular. But Step Up 2 is something of a surprise, a teen-dance movie that should please its target audience without pandering -- or without only pandering, at least.

It helps that Step Up 2 is a sequel only in the sense that it, too, is about dancing teens -- so really, you could make a case for You Got Served, Stomp the Yard, Save the Last Dance, and all the rest being a single franchise with more titles than Freddy or Jason, and closing in on James Bond. The near-complete turnover both in front of and behind the camera is healthy for the energy levels, and fans of this type of movie, too, who at least deserve more than the heavy-handed romance of the original (and I use that term loosely).

Continue reading: Step Up 2 The Streets Review

The Alibi Review


Weak
Distraction is one of Hollywood's greatest assets. People are easily distracted by damn near anything, and in movies it becomes crucial. Story doesn't quite make sense? Make an explosion or a tidal wave. Character development not going so well? Throw a love story in and a sex scene for good measure. If you make things complicated enough, the audience really has nowhere to go and just takes things as they come, allowing for some absolutely implausible things to happen. For Kurt Matilla and Matt Checkowski's The Alibi, distraction is the name of the game, but it's all in the name of fun.Steve Coogan, in what seems destined to be only his first Hollywood film, plays Ray Elliott, a man who has built a business around making it safe for people to cheat on their spouses. Through contacts and an outlandishly complex phone and computer system, Elliott has set up alibis for literally hundreds of people who need a quick romp in the sack. While handling his favorite client, Bob (a cheeky James Brolin), Ray decides to hire Lola (Rebecca Romijn) as his new assistant and is asked to handle one last personal case for Bob: an alibi for his son Wendell. As Wendell is getting his freak on in the clear, he accidentally kills the girl he's with and Ray is forced to cover it up, something he vows never to do. Soon enough, the girl's boyfriend (John Leguizamo), a cop (Debi Mazar), and a Mormon assassin (Sam Elliott) are all after Ray and he has to mislead all of them to make sure he can quit and run away with Lola, who has indeed fallen for him even though they only have a handful of scenes together (a largely undisputed problem with many romantic subplots).With a runtime just a tad shy of 90 minutes, The Alibi can't handle all these characters, even if it all just comes back to Ray. Talented actors like Leguizamo, Selma Blair, and the great Elliott play their parts well but are given no room to dig into the roles. In fact, the structure of the film introduces each of these characters as a threat then moves straight into how they get duped by Ray. Writer Noah Hawley seems so interested in the quirkiness and silliness of his characters that he doesn't take time to really bring them to life and make them work their mojo on the film.What keeps the film from being a disaster is Coogan, who gives Ray so much wise-ass, dry-as-a-martini charm that we are simply enamored with laughter every time he comes on screen. Although he seems more at home with indie masterpieces like 24 Hour Party People and Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, Coogan has an odd way of keeping us interested in things when Matilla, Checkowski, and cinematographer Enrique Chediak are just fine playing things safe and harmless. In the end, the problem comes down to conflict: there is none. The minute danger is introduced to Ray or the storyline, it becomes clear that Ray can handle it and that there really is no threat at all. Therefore, none of the characters stick, because we know they're all just small-timers compared to Ray. But as far as distraction goes, Coogan has got the whole game wired.

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Review


Weak
Ever since Scream came out in 1996, the teen horror movies have been revived. We've seen some good ones like Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Scream 2. But like most genres, there are some bad ones. Disturbing Behavior, and Urban Legend both were terrible. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is kind of in the middle.

The movie stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie James, the teenager who was stalked last summer by the person who she and her friends ran over the summer before that. Shouldn't the movie be called I Still Know What You Did 2 Summers Ago? Anyway, Julie and her roommate Karla (Brandy) win a trip to the Bahamas, even though Julie is still haunted by what happened last summer..

Continue reading: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Review

Dot The I Review


Good
Lips. The one thing I kept thinking about while watching Mathew Parkhill's debut comedy-cum-thriller Dot the I, was lips. The reasons were quite obvious. The stars of the film, Gael García Bernal (Bad Education) and sultry Natalia Verbeke (Life: A User's Manual), both have extraordinary ones. Bernal in particular has lips that can only be described as Kinski-ian in their curl. And that's fitting because he has mentioned in interviews that the oft times rabidly deranged Klaus Kinski, who's autobiography I Need Love was an outrageously raw memoir of out-and-out insanity, as an inspiration. Verbeke's lips aren't as weirdly fascinating as Bernal's, though they are sexy, out J. Lo-ing J. Lo.

My focus on the lips wasn't by chance, Parkhill actually opens and practically closes the film with zoomed shots of the lead's puckers. In Dot the I, the camera follows lips and eyes almost reverentially. It's as though Parkhill believes he can capture the soul of his actors in close-up shots of their faces. It's telling because despite the pretension of depth, the film is quite superficial, with an odd, almost off, affectation. Parkhill wants to tell us an engaging, deliriously snappy story but he loses us with half-baked dialogue and patchwork style.

Continue reading: Dot The I Review

Wrong Turn Review


Bad
Wrong Turn follows the same simple recipe of most other horror movies before it - take a half dozen dumbass kids, toss them into a leafy forest patrolled by freaks, and blend everything with the finest red blood available. The concoction is a little salty, but mostly it's just a bland imitation of earlier, finer creations.

Chris Finn (Desmond Harrington) is on his way to a job interview when he turns off the main highway to get around a massive pile-up that has clogged the interstate. The dirt road he finds takes him into the woods where his trip comes to a halt when he crashes into the SUV of five wannabe-campers who are stranded with a flat tire. Chris joins the dim-witted group of two couples, Carly and Scott (Emmanuelle Chriqui and Jeremy Sisto) and Evan and Francine (Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth), and their friend Jessie (Eliza Dushku). The gang ventures deeper into the woods in search of a working phone to call for help; of course, their cell phones are out of range! Their journey eventually leads them to a log cabin where they soon discover a trio of disfigured, inbred inhabitants that have no need for a phone, but every desire for freshly killed meat.

Continue reading: Wrong Turn Review

I Know What You Did Last Summer Review


OK
Yesterday's flavor of the month Kevin Williamson penned this little horror flick way back in 1997, a terribly straightforward tale where the suspected killer... really is the killer. Notably, this movie launched the film career of Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts.

Continue reading: I Know What You Did Last Summer Review

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Erik Feig Movies

Step Up Revolution [Step Up: Miami Heat] Movie Review

Step Up Revolution [Step Up: Miami Heat] Movie Review

The Step Up franchise has never been noted for its astute screenwriting, but this instalment...

Step Up 3D Movie Review

Step Up 3D Movie Review

Shamelessly derivative and laughably packed with every cliche imaginable, this second sequel pushes the formula...

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I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Movie Review

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Movie Review

Ever since Scream came out in 1996, the teen horror movies have been revived....

Wrong Turn Movie Review

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