John Pogue

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LA premiere of 'The Quiet Ones' - Arrivals

John Pogue - Los Angeles premiere of 'The Quiet Ones' - Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 22nd April 2014

Rollerball (2002) Review


Unbearable
Seeing a movie remake inevitably leads viewers to make comparisons, matching up new casting choices, storylines, and updated themes. It happens all the time, as moviegoers may catch Open Your Eyes (Abre Los Ojos) or the original Thomas Crown Affair on video so they can compare, contrast, discuss. Well, it won't happen with Rollerball, a remake of the 1975 futuristic sports thriller, because the John McTiernan-directed update is so thoroughly bad, so outrageously uninteresting, and so poorly presented that it demands no comparison, perhaps not even to other terrible movies.

In line with the James Caan version, Jonathan Cross (the horrid Chris Klein) is a young hotshot athlete playing the dangerous, thrill-seeking game of Rollerball, a roller derby-style sport that pits armor-clad combatants on skates and motorcycles against one another, hoping to slam a metal ball into a goal.

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The Skulls Review


Terrible
A secret society so powerful it can get away with murder. A secret society so exclusive it firebrands everyone who joins with its mark. A secret society so secret... it has a big logo up on top of the building!?

You know something is rotten with The Skulls right from the get-go. I mean, what self-respecting prep school-Ivy League snob would join an organization with a name as stupid as "The Skulls"? Well, Luke (Joshua Jackson) would be, for one. Only he's no preppie. He's a "townie" with no money, but even though he's of the Lower Classes, since he's such a good rower (yes, "the skulls," I get it), he's a shoo-in for the secret society. A mysterious invitation arrives, and Luke is whisked into a world of power and money, where men in red robes usher in beautiful women for the taking at tuxedoed parties. Before you can utter "Fidelio," Luke has become One of Them.

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Ghost Ship Review


Weak
Ghost Ship opens with one of the most gruesome, gratuitous, and swiftest slaughters in recent memory. Without warning, dozens of passengers aboard a luxurious Italian luxury liner are sliced in half by a makeshift wire device running from the bow of the ship to the stern. The effect - and the ensuing bloody panic - is pretty cool, even if I still can't quite figure out how it worked. The entire sequence doesn't justify you paying to see Ship, but it does mean you should arrive on time if indeed you opt to go.

Asking the rest of the film to live up to such a ghastly opening is like asking a rinky-dink tugboat to tow a mammoth ocean liner across the ocean. Ironically, that's exactly what Ghost Ship does. Sean Murphy (Gabriel Byrne) owns the tugboat in question, and he employs "the best damn salvage crew in the business." In reality, they're a tough-talking, hard-drinking cast of carefully handpicked racial stereotypes, from an African-American first mate (Isaiah Washington) to a Mexican engineer (Alex Dimitriades) to an Italian salvage team leader (Julianna Margulies), who's a female, to boot.

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John Pogue

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