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They Review


Bad
Watching a truly scary movie is a great cure for drowsiness. Your heart thumps a little harder and your eyes get wider as you look for the next threat or listen for the bump in the night. Those things didn't happen when I watched They. After some 90 minutes of predictable thrills and chills, my winter coat was looking like a giant multi-colored pillow. The temptation to use it as such was overwhelming.

My obligations as a movie reviewer prohibit such behavior, so I got to see one of the most boring horror movies in recent memory. They's plot concerns a trio of young adults who delve into the world of nocturnal monsters with the help of their late friend's journal, which explains the creatures' behaviors. One actor in this group is Ethan Embry, who's gone from courting Jennifer Love Hewitt in the almost cult classic Can't Hardly Wait (1998), to getting third billing here. Come to think of it, that fact is scarier than anything you'll see in They.

Continue reading: They Review

I Capture The Castle Review


Extraordinary
Movies teach us the power of love. Reality, quickly and without apology, demonstrates its limitations. Rarely does a film show us the flipside, but I Capture the Castle is that special exception.

Based on Dodie Smith's novel, I Capture the Castle gives us a 17-year-old named Cassandra (Romola Garai), who spends most of her time writing in her journal. There is plenty of material around her. At the height of his literary fame, her father (Bill Nighy) bought an isolated castle on the English countryside. Twelve years later, circa mid-1930s, he hasn't written anything more than a laundry list and looks like a fine candidate for a straitjacket. As his creativity crumbles, so does his family, while the castle remains dank, dark, and home to quite a few rats.

Continue reading: I Capture The Castle Review

Prey For Rock & Roll Review


Bad
In Gina Gershon's labor of love, the general worldview is worse than any other film short of A Clockwork Orange. This pathetic tale of a terrible all-girl (and 75% lesbian) band called, ahem, Clam Dandy, gives us Gershon as frontwoman and day-job tattoo artist, still trying to get her band to the Big Show some 20 years past its prime. But the story (what there is of it) is just a backdrop for some world-class bad tidings: Prey for Rock & Roll (oh, it's a pun!) tells us that getting raped, being addicted to drugs, getting beat up, and even getting run over and killed are all worth it -- if it makes your music even more angry (and thus, good). The only thing worse than the plot itself are the music (good lord) and Gershon's horrid melange of tattoos. Sad.

First Daughter Review


Weak
We now understand why Forest Whitaker and the suits at Fox held off releasing their own presidential daughter romance after Mandy Moore's Chasing Liberty beat them to the punch. Basically, we're looking at the exact same movie save for some minor alterations.

Both involve an overachieving first daughter who, tired of living up to elevated expectations, cuts loose from the presidential apron strings and strikes off in search of pre-twentysomething independence. Moore, in her film, bounces around Europe, while Holmes tests the waters of college life. And while each daughter truly believes they're sowing their wild oats, they both are being watched over by undercover agents planted in their path by the overprotective president. (Liberty was even titled First Daughter in an early incarnation.)

Continue reading: First Daughter Review

We Were Soldiers Review


Good

Mel Gibson plays yet another idealized and idealistic father-of-five war hero, bursting at the seams with charge-leading integrity in "We Were Soldiers," a detailed and staggering account of the first harrowing battle of the Vietnam War.

This may sound like a bit much to take so soon after he single-handedly vanquished the British as a choleric colonial in "The Patriot." But Gibson is well cast in this far heavier and historically accurate picture that only falls back on hackneyed Hollywoodisms when it takes a break from the battlefield (and that isn't very often).

Gibson stars as Lt. Col. Hal Moore, the man who reluctantly but boldly lead the first American ground troops into the Ia Drang Valley on November 14, 1965 -- 11 years after the occupying French were trounced in the same location (as established in the film's brutal World War I-styled prologue).

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They Review


Bad

After almost 90 minutes of stodgy "what's that in the shadows?" jump-frights and a whole lot of foot dragging, there is exactly one chilling conceptual payoff moment at the end of the nightmare-themed horror movie "Wes Craven Presents: They."

But of course I wouldn't give away that ending, so let me tell you the only thing you need to know to understand how utterly mediocre this flick is: Horror meister Wes Craven ("Scream," "Nightmare on Elm Street," etc.) didn't write, direct or even produce this movie -- but Dimension Films knew they couldn't sell it on its own merits, so they paid him for his titular above-title endorsement.

The plot follows four college kids who as children all had night terrors in which evil somethings came to drag them away in the dark. Nineteen years later the suicide of one of the four leads the remaining three to a slow realization: "That's when they marked us, and now they're back!"

Continue reading: They Review

Sunshine State Review


Good

Another utterly captivating John Sayles ensemble piece with an incredible sense of a particular place and its personality, "Sunshine State" manifests the winds of change and uncertainty blowing mightily over a humble island township off the Florida panhandle that has been targeted for ravenous resort development.

Like "Lone Star," "Limbo" and other films from the iconic independent writer-director, this one transports you into the soul of its community through smaller pieces of the whole. Sayles paints a larger picture through the lives of individual denizens who are each struggling with a choice between the rich heritage of their fading pocket berg and the big money being offered by developers.

Some are rediscovering a spiritual connection to the town, like Angela Bassett, who plays a refugee from the island's black community, which made the place thrive in the 1940s before its culture began fading away with desegregation. She couldn't get away fast enough as a teenager -- although that might have been because she was pregnant and her parents were sending her away whether she liked it or not. She became an actress but never made it past infomercials. Now she has returned to visit her estranged mother (Mary Alice) for the first time with her handsome, affluent new husband (James McDaniel) on her arm.

Continue reading: Sunshine State Review

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Marc Blucas Movies

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Thr3e Movie Review

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Despite my distaste for movies that use numerals in place of letters in their titles,...

They Movie Review

They Movie Review

Watching a truly scary movie is a great cure for drowsiness. Your heart thumps a...

I Capture the Castle Movie Review

I Capture the Castle Movie Review

Movies teach us the power of love. Reality, quickly and without apology, demonstrates its limitations....

First Daughter Movie Review

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The Alamo Movie Review

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If you want to remember the Alamo, the latest feature film version of the Texas...

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