Movie Review

Veteran movie reviewer Jim Erickson shares his no-holds-barred opinions on Hollywood's best efforts. Tune in every Thursday for the latest review.

rottentomatoes.com

The Spectacular Now was written by the screenwriters of 500 Days of Summer, and director James Pensoldt apparently respected their efforts, because The Spectacular Now is very nearly as great as 500 Days of Summer-- maybe just as great, because what it lacks in not having Zooey Deschanel it gains in having Shailene Woodley, whose final close-up does with facial expression more than I can imagine any other current performer doing.

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I have been maligning Lee Daniels' The Butler as a movie without a central storyline, but my powers of prophecy were weak: its story is the whole civil rights movement, from beginning lunch counters to South African apartheid and the Reagan administration.

Movie Review: Paranoia

Aug 22, 2013
rottentomatoes.com

Paranoia wants to be serious about corporate misbehavior, but falls short because of uninvolving characters and a tendency to depart from realism in favor of melodramatic and sentimental cliches.

Movie Review: Elysium

Aug 15, 2013
rottentomatoes.com

Elysium makes a few gestures in the direction of serious interests and even current events.

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I hope this does not represent a trend, but for the second week in a row I must try to review a movie that has no plot whatsoever.

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SPOILER ALERT: I cannot review Fruitvale Station without giving away the ending, so if you’re planning to see it and don’t want to know what happens, you might want to stop here.

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Pacific Rim qualifies as almost the ultimate special-effects sci-fi movie in that it involves almost no plot and includes almost nothing but robots and monsters the size of 25-story buildings. And it proves that you don’t need a plot to be illogical and inconsistent.

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The Lone Ranger is first-rate for comedy in the beginning, action at the end, and a totally new interpretation of Tonto by Johnny Depp.

It falls short because its main plot seems intended to be separate revenge stories of the Lone Ranger's and Tonto's, but in the end turns into a railroad story; the interpretation of the Lone Ranger is lame; and it is inconsistent in tone and even topic.

rottentomatoes.com

The Heat is an unusual buddy-cop movie in that the odd couple cops are women-- it's also unusual in being very funny indeed, and has a plot that pretty clearly hangs together, though it does not particularly feature credibility.

Movie Review: The East

Jun 27, 2013

The East is a superior movie partly because it is somewhat original, but mostly because it takes its subject and its characters seriously and skirts what would seem to be almost inevitable clichés.

There is nothing particularly new about Brit Marling, who also co-wrote the screenplay with director Zal Batmanglij, taking a job as an infiltrator of a subversive group that is sabotaging the efforts of a big corporation; but the treatment of the group is unusually and very effectively objective and serious.

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