Don't miss out on crime drama


The unfortunate part about living in Hastings is that we miss out on the limited release films, but luckily someone invented the VCR, then eventually DVD and Blu-Ray players. Films such as "The Place Beyond the Pines" or another release from this week, "Mud," are reasons I am happy that we have these capabilities so that a smaller city like ours never has to miss out on a single motion picture.

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Female characters add some substance to ‘The Wolverine’


Four years ago Hastings was close to screening the national premiere of Hugh Jackman’s first standalone Wolverine film, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” We took third place in the nation thanks to friends of mine in the media department at Hastings College, multiple Hastings residents, and, not to toot my own horn, but yours truly. When the film finally did premiere at the Rivoli I think all of Hastings released a sigh of relief, because “Origins” was not at all what we expected. The film was wrought with continuity errors, the tone was overly silly, and the action was lame. Plus, they ruined one of the best Marvel characters, Deadpool, among others.

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'Pacific Rim' begins promisingly, ends up boring


I hate 3-D. This film movement was a novelty that has certainly worn out its welcome. "Pacific Rim" looked like a movie that was going to change my mind on my loathing of the manipulative style of filmmaking, but I was sorely disappointed. Let me first say that 3-D only works for me three minutes into a film and then it does nothing for me. The depth that is created in opening shots catches me. I fall into the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" associated with 3-D, but 10 minutes later it looks like a normal, digital film that I just spent a lot of extra money on.

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‘Die Hard’ lives on as favorite movie


Loving movies as much as I do, I’m often asked the question, “What is your favorite movie?” My instinct is to jump straight to “Star Wars,” the film that defined my childhood. I might then consider a Sidney Lumet film such as “Twelve Angry Men” or “Dog Day Afternoon.” Both are classics in their own right and exceptional films, but they don’t have the edge-of-your-seat fun one film has. “Die Hard” will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Monday after four sequels have been released of this comedic-action film franchise. I love “Die Hard”; it is basically a perfect summer movie that deserves a big bowl of popcorn and attentive eyes and ears to catch all the great ‘80s action and Bruce Willis’ wordy quips.

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'Spring Breakers': Not for your mom, grandma


This movie is not appropriate for children and I'm not entirely sure it's appropriate for adults either. "Spring Breakers" may star two Disney beauty queens, a "Pretty Little Liar," and "Oz: The Great and Powerful," but this film is far removed from anything resembling a Disney or ABC Family property. "Spring Breakers" is a brash, bombastic barrage of sexuality, drugs and alcohol, with some added criminal behavior to spice up this story even further.

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‘Despicable Me 2’ sure to please kids


I have no right to write this review. Illumination Entertainment did not create this movie for me nor did they create it for most of Tribune readers, but they did create it for the kids in your family. They will love it!

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25 years later, ‘Coming to America’ a classic


The year 1988 was a monumental year for film-seeing as the original “Die Hard” premiered in July and the genre-bending film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” leaped to screens with both animated and live action performance.

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Future bright for ‘Man of Steel’


The best thing about Zach Snyder’s “Man of Steel” is that it doesn’t reek of superhero cliché. Not until the final act will audiences see action that screams “been there, done that.” Somehow, nothing about that was bothersome to me. Eventually after a thrilling, dramatic beginning I started twiddling my thumbs waiting for the icon to don his cape and symbol. Snyder and his story writers could sense this yearning, because Superman brought the pain in bucketloads.

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‘The Internship’ best comedy of 2005


Comedy movies are a funny thing. Sometimes they’re just downright funny and other times they act as mind-control devices. I know it sounds ridiculous to think of a comedy film with two smiley actors that way, but “The Internship” will make you believe. The first hour of the film is a horrendous destruction of the comedy genre that has so many inconsistencies I’m not entirely sure what year the characters are in. The second hour was what makes me believe in this joker voodoo.

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Shyamalan’s ‘After Earth’ crashes and burns


My biggest problem with “After Earth” is that I saw it a few months ago and it was better when it was called “Oblivion” starring Tom Cruise. This is the year of post-apocalyptic thrillers that have a twist that can be seen a mile away and some are faring better than others. “After Earth” is not one of those movies.

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Thrill ride accelerates in ‘Fast & Furious 6’


Sequels have an expiration date most of the time, but one sequel alone has continued to swiftly power through time and again. The plot may not matter, physics may be challenged, and Vin Diesel sometimes has a serious case of mumble mouth, but “Fast & Furious 6” is the most fun at the movie theater I’ve had so far this summer. This movie is a nonstop thrill ride with an always engaged cast and excitement to boot.

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Latest ‘Star Trek’ exceptional film


The year 2012 was one of the biggest in film history with the release of Marvel’s “The Avengers” and Christopher Nolan’s final film in “The Dark Knight” trilogy. One event, however, overshadowed those two big premieres easily. Disney bought Lucasfilms, meaning that Disney was now in control of the “Star Wars” empire.

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'Olympus Has Fallen' falls flat


Superman will finally return to the big screen in less than a month after a seven-year absenc.

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‘Iron Man 3’ more than a superhero movie


In Shane Black’s sharp-witted, surprisingly fun and well-plotted “Iron Man 3,” he proves that he is not only a witty auteur, but also worthy of summer tentpole films as both director and writer.

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‘Silver Linings Playbook’ golden


David O. Russell knows how to properly use actors. He’s an excellent director, but mind you, he’s had a history of verbal and physical disputes with them. An audience should always know that when sitting down for a Russell film you’ll witness transcendent performances. Russell transforms Hollywood stars such as Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence into believable human characters that might live down the street.

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‘Evil Dead’ falls prey to misleading marketing


“The Evil Dead” was already remade and it was called “Cabin in the Woods” — a brilliant film that calls attention to horror film clichés and the obvious stupidity of characters.

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‘Les Mis’ stunning musical spectacle


“Les Misérables” starts with a grand panning shot landing on Hugh Jackman’s Jean Valjean, a struggling prisoner and slave to the powers that be. This initial shot establishes the scale of this musical adaptation based on Victor Hugo’s book of the same name. Moments into the film audiences will be alerted to the fact that this epic tale is a musical, but the music tells the story in a way that does not talk down to its audience, but forces them to pay attention.

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'Olympus Has Fallen' falls flat


“Olympus Has Fallen” is a waste of an idea that would have made for a wonderful dramatic film.

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New ‘Oz’ doesn’t live up to original


“Oz the Great and Powerful” is certain to disappoint many audiences, but may intrigue others with some of the creative presence in the film. I suggest that moviegoers do their best to dismiss the 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” when seeing “Oz the Great and Powerful.” If people go in expecting a complementary piece to the MGM masterpiece then they will be sorely disappointed. Walk into the theater willing to accept a spin on the classic “Wizard of Oz” tale with a youthful spin.

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Original ‘Wizard’ a classic


In preparation for Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful,” I decided to return to a classic film, director Victor Fleming’s “The Wizard of Oz.” “The Wizard of Oz,” based on L. Frank Baum’s book, was made for a then staggering amount, $2.7 million, and only made $3 million in its initial release. The film gained its classic status after multiple re-releases, television screenings and stage adaptations.

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‘The Master’ deserves more critical acclaim


This spectacular film begins with a bright blue sea of dangerous waves and an enchanting score written by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. The image and sound set a tone for the film: Unrelenting power conflicts with a voice of reason. The sea functions as the powerful force of nature, embodied in Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Freddie Quell, and the voice of reason, present in the score, is Philip Seymour Hoffman as cult leader Lancaster Dodd.

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‘Argo’ revisited


The 85th Academy Awards are Sunday and among the films nominated are “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lincoln” and “Argo,” all based on historical events. “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln” have been attacked recently for historical inaccuracies. “Zero Dark Thirty’s” controversy stems from claims that the CIA received information regarding the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden through methods of torture. The film’s director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal are standing by the film and have defended its accuracy in numerous publications.

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‘Evil Dead’ terrifyingly funny and nightmarish


Bruce Campbell is speaking on the Hastings College campus Saturday, so it seemed fitting to review the first film Campbell had a starring role in, “The Evil Dead.” “The Evil Dead” was directed in 1979 by Sam Raimi, now famous for the “Spider-Man” trilogy.

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Spielberg continues journey to the top with 'Lincoln'


Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned, but his comeback may be cut short with poor new beginnings. Schwarzenegger’s latest starring role is in the action shoot ’em up “The Last Stand.” This attempted eighties callback tells the story of an experienced sheriff forced to stop the leader of a drug cartel rocketing to the Mexican border.

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Arnold’s ‘Last Stand’ represents poor start to movie comeback


To say that Steven Spielberg has established himself as one of the premiere film directors is an understatement. The filmmaker behind "Jaws," "Indiana Jones" and "Jurassic Park" has a secure place in the audience's conscious.

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Spielberg continues journey to the top with ‘Lincoln’


To say that Steven Spielberg has established himself as one of the premiere film directors is an understatement. The filmmaker behind “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones” and “Jurassic Park” has a secure place in the audience’s conscious.

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Tarantino unleashes his best movie yet, ‘Django Unchained’


Quentin Tarantino makes B-movie pictures with A+ scripts. That’s how he has consistently gained a rabid base of foaming-at-the-mouth fans, and “Django Unchained” should satisfy those hungry cinephiles.

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‘Hobbit’ a holiday gift for fans


“The Hobbit” might be the best holiday gift a Tolkien fan or fantasy-adventure lover could ask for. The film is iconic for those who have grown to love the series both as literature and film.
The moment Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey steps on screen all memories of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy will come flooding back. McKellen is an incredible presence as the powerful wizard. His aged face and commanding voice again bring to life one of the best characters in the series, and McKellen embraces the role the same as he did in the trilogy. Nothing about his performance appears to be phoned in.

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‘Flight’ reaches new heights


Director Robert Zemeckis’ name has been associated with family friendly adventures, stop-motion animated films and the story of a man named Gump. His films have heart and encounter conflict, but it is conquerable. But Zemeckis’ latest film has so much conflict that it doesn’t seem entirely resolved by the end of the film.

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Patrick White

Movie fan Patrick White doesn't spare anyone's feelings when deciding if the latest Hollywood offering is trash or treasure. Catch his reviews on the latest theater and DVD releases in Saturday's paper.

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