Eric D. Snider

Eric's Blog May 27, 2016

Friday movie roundup - May 27

It's a holiday weekend, y'all! To help you enjoy it, most of the new movies aren't very good so you don't need to see them. Here's what we have:

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Movie Review: "X-Men: Apocalypse" C+ May 26, 2016

Mutants keep fighting, this time in 1983

After the first trilogy of X-Men movies (and that standalone Wolverine movie that nobody liked), they launched a new series that went back in time to show the X-Men as children. Now we arrive at "X-Men: Apocalypse," the third film in the second trilogy (there was another Wolverine in there somewhere too) -- and it still feels like they're setting up for whatever the real story is going to be. STILL. After three of them. All that work, and Michael Fassbender still isn't Ian McKellen yet. When will he be Ian McKellen?!

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Movie Review: "Alice Through the Looking Glass" D May 26, 2016

Here's that Mad Hatter biopic you wanted

"Alice Through the Looking Glass" is the stagnant, mirthless sequel to "Alice in Wonderland," the garish live-action Disney film that was itself a sequel to, um, "Alice in Wonderland." (It's been six years and I'm still annoyed by that.) Obviously, the new sequel is about the Mad Hatter's and the Queen of Hearts' childhoods, as Hollywood inches toward its goal of exploring the backstory of every fictional character ever invented.

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Movie Review: "The Ones Below" B May 26, 2016

The miracle of childbirth turned sour

For all its miraculous beauty, there is also something eerie and alien about pregnancy, even when you know how the baby got there and how it's going to get out. Films have exploited the fears of expectant parents for as long as movies have been allowed to say the word "pregnant" (so, like, the '50s), so there isn't much new ground to be explored. But "The Ones Below," a taut thriller from first-time British filmmaker David Farr, covers some of the familiar fears with a cold, unsettling efficiency.

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Movie Review: "Pelé" C May 25, 2016

Superhero tells us his own origin story

[In theaters and Video on Demand.] || Warm up your cringe muscles, everyone. Brazilian soccer legend Pelé is at last the subject of a biographical sports drama, called "Pelé: Birth of a Legend" on the poster but just "Pelé" in the movie itself. No one would argue against Pelé's worthiness of the biopic treatment, but there's a snag: the man himself is the executive producer. So when the movie is only 22 minutes old the first time it depicts a crowd chanting Pelé's name, be glad it showed some restraint and waited that long.

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Eric's Blog May 20, 2016

Friday movie roundup - May 20

Sup, bros and sisses? I baked up a big pot of reviews for you. Here they are, listed in order of the age of their top-billed star, from oldest to youngest:

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Movie Review: "The Angry Birds Movie" D- May 19, 2016

Ah, if only they were funny birds too...

Think about what an awful assignment it would be to write a screenplay based on a video game -- and not one of the complex games full of characters and stories, either, but a smartphone game like Angry Birds, where you just have to knock stuff over. The game has provided what must be the story's climax; it's up to you, the hapless writer, to come up with a plot that gets us to that point.

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Movie Review: "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" B+ May 19, 2016

Parties still loud, now higher-pitched

It's been two years since we were delightfully surprised by "Neighbors," a raunchy comedy about new parents vs. the fraternity next door that was lean, well-written, and funny, not loose and sloppy like raunchy comedies often are. The sequel, "Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising," is another improbable achievement: it's as funny as the first one, the characters continue to grow, and it's not sleazy or sexist even though it's about sorority girls.

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Movie Review: "The Nice Guys" B+ May 19, 2016

Bumblers solve a mystery, Black-style

First of all, if you haven't seen "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," Shane Black's giddy deconstruction of action movies and detective fiction starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, stop what you're doing immediately and watch it. Not only is it a pithy delight that you'll be glad you saw anyway, it's a perfect appetizer for Black's latest film, "The Nice Guys," a sort of spiritual sequel that shares its snappy humor and penchant for comic violence.

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Movie Review: "A Bigger Splash" B May 18, 2016

Four adults get into adult situations

Once you get past the initial disappointment of "A Bigger Splash" not being the long-awaited sequel to "Splash," it's a well-crafted piece of understated adult drama. Directed by Luca Guadagnino ("I Am Love") as a loose remake of the 1969 French film "La Piscine," it's built around a steamy mixture of jealousy and miscommunication among lovers and former lovers, all set on a picturesque Italian island that is a playground for attractive, wealthy people. As is often the case with movies about the upper crust, we grow increasingly less envious of them as the story progresses.

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