Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (G)

January 29, 2015

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Perhaps the nicest thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story. And the acting of Richard Gere. Somehow, both combine to make a simplistically emotional story. A more complicated one would have gone over the top, becoming a tearjerker without heart. “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” is just that – a story that takes place as much from Hachi’s point of view as it does from his human owner. The love of this dog, as well as other, toned-down actors only adds to this film; no one steals the show here. And while it does have some issues – mostly a lack of depth during some parts – overall this is just a nice story of loyalty, love, and an unbreakable bond. (more…)

Dumb and Dumber To (PG-13)

January 25, 2015

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In 1994, ignorance was bliss for Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey). In 2014, it’s still endearing, and they maintain the same level of innocence but they are more obnoxious. They make arm fart noises and try to get the crowd to call the speaker a nerd at a sort-of TED talk. It misses, though the joke could be their harsh misjudgment of the situation.

Harry (Jeff Daniels) is still the innocent one. Daniels is able to fall back into his character, even though he seems rusty until ten minutes pass. After twenty years, that’s expected. Lloyd still puts his needs before anyone else, dead or alive. Carrey is occasionally over-the-top, but he has a blast portraying the character. The film is kept alive by the actor’s chemistry when there are periodic, unfunny lulls. (more…)

The Seven Year Itch (NR)

January 23, 2015

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Marilyn Monroe’s entire existence boils down to one iconic image from the 1955 comedy, “The Seven Year Itch”: standing above a New York City subway grate, holding her dress down from the escaping air beneath the streets.

As far as Monroe movies go, though, “Itch” is not one of the better ones. (more…)

The Fast and the Furious (PG-13)

January 20, 2015

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This series has spanned so many sequels, it almost makes the “Friday the 13th” franchise look conservative. But I have to admit, this first film, directed by Rob Cohen has something about it that its predecessors seemed to lack. It would later gain infamy in light of one of its stars, Paul Walker, dying in an ironic car crash. It also features a plethora of rising Hollywood stars, such as Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewseter. It has a hip-hop soundtrack and the revving of car engines as its fuel. What it lacks in brains, it has in action. Films often forget who they are. Here’s a film that wants to be a view of the criminal underworld disguised as an action film. It does this very well. (more…)

St. Elmo’s Fire (R)

January 19, 2015

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High School is about conforming to the various groups and peers that surround you in the halls and classrooms every day. College is about finding yourself. Perhaps no other film to date has done a better job of showcasing the perils and tribulations of collegiate coeds that Joel Schumacher’s 1985 Brat Pack classic “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

(more…)

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (NR)

January 18, 2015

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Decades before there were Twitter wars between celebrities, there was the infamous ongoing feud between oldschool Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

The two hated each other.

So it was a stroke of genius when director Robert Aldrich convinced the two to play sisters in the now classic “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” The off-screen rivalry carries over perfectly on screen to create a dramatic and uncomfortable tension between the two icons, which leaves the audience believing either one of these starlets just might be capable of killing the other. (more…)

Paperthin (NR)

January 13, 2015

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Paperthin” is a 35-minute short directed by first time director Trent England, filmed with a seeming dearth of actors and set pieces. Lucky for us, the film is not paper thin, and provides some character complexity and food for thought on privacy, sharing your feelings, and trying to figure your place in this world. The film is not ambitious, but focused. Two actors carry this film, and while the proceedings take place in Boston, much takes place from a cramped apartment and a coffee house. The result is a crisply shot and tightly edited film that never really feels overlong as you follow it through. (more…)