Eric D. Snider

Eric's Blog March 2, 2015

Buy This: 'Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go'

Lisa Valentine Clark is one of my best friends, one of the funniest people I've ever met, and now a published author! Her book, "Real Moms: Making It Up As We Go," combines two of the things she is best at: improv comedy and parenting. You should buy this book (here).

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Movie Review: "Focus" B February 27, 2015

It turned out the real con ... was love

"Focus" is about con artists, and the title refers to the fact that humans are easily distracted and thus subject to being conned. Some of us are easier marks than others, of course. I, for one, am almost always fooled by the tricks in con-artist movies. Even when I should know better, I think, "Uh-oh! They blew it! Their caper's not going to work! How will they get out of this?" And then it turns out they knew what they were doing all along, the setbacks were part of the plan, and I am delighted. Every time.

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Movie Review: "The Lazarus Effect" C+ February 27, 2015

Resurrection for fun, profit, and thrills

"The Lazarus Effect" begins with some medical students trying to resurrect a pig. This is a great use of everyone's time, you'll agree. If there's one thing we don't have enough of, it's live pigs. Actually, these students have developed a serum that might lengthen the window of time that doctors can revive a person after he or she is clinically dead. What's more, where there's usually brain damage in cases like that, this Lazarus juice keeps the brain sharp. Why, a person brought back to life with this serum might even have EXTRA brain power...

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Movie Review: "The Duff" C February 20, 2015

She's not really U or F, but hey, whatever

Everyone knows Duff is Homer Simpson's favorite brand of beer. What "The DUFF" presupposes is: what if it were also a mean acronym used by teens in a formulaic high school comedy? DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend, and it's the person in a group who makes the others look better by comparison. You don't even have to be particularly ugly or fat to be a DUFF, just less beautiful or thin than your peers. It's an unfair system, but that's high school for you.

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Movie Review: "What We Do in the Shadows" A- February 13, 2015

Vampires live together as roommates

"What We Do in the Shadows," a mockumentary about vampires, arrives at a critical juncture, when audiences have begun to tire of both mockumentaries and vampires. But the brilliant, buoyant comedy from New Zealand's happy shores proves an old truth: any trope, no matter how overused, can be fresh and appealing again if you put some care into it.

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Movie Review: "Kingsman: The Secret Service" B February 13, 2015

Colin Firth in a cheeky Bond homage

The gentleman spies in "Kingsman: The Secret Service" have Knights of the Round Table nicknames and use a Savile Row tailor's shop as their front. Though their job requires deception and violence, they view proper etiquette as a non-negotiable trait of a gentleman, and being a gentleman as a prerequisite for being a spy. Imagine James Bond combined with ... well, with Colin Firth, who happens to star in "Kingsman" and is the perfect chap for such a role. I had no idea how much I wanted to see Colin Firth kick butts and shoot people in the head until I saw him do it.

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Movie Review: "Fifty Shades of Grey" D- February 13, 2015

'Kinky' sex that's boring and not kinky

However kinky and taboo the novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" may be -- and I haven't read it, so I don't know, and I'm not going to read it, so I'll never know -- the movie version is disappointingly tame and astonishingly boring. It's about an adult victim of childhood sexual abuse who seeks to perpetuate the cycle in the most tedious way imaginable. It is the unsexiest movie since "Bowling for Columbine."

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Movie Review: "The Voices" A- February 6, 2015

His cat has nothing good to say to him

[In theaters and Video on Demand.]

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Movie Review: "Jupiter Ascending" B February 6, 2015

Messy, jumbled sci-fi, but it's sincere

According to interviews, Andy and Lana Wachowski's screenplay for "Jupiter Ascending" was originally more than 200 pages long. Assuming the usual metric of one page in the script being about one minute on the screen, that means they chopped 40% from it. And boy, does it show. Many expositional details -- heck, even a few entire scenes -- are included despite being ultimately irrelevant, while other elements go unexplained. It's a muddled, confusing hodge-podge of a sci-fi spectacle that presumably made more sense in the original screenplay ... and which I almost thoroughly enjoyed in spite of itself.

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Movie Review: "Seventh Son" D February 6, 2015

Jeff Bridges hunts witches irritatingly

Ah, "Seventh Son." It is at times like these -- i.e., when we are assigned to review "Seventh Son" -- that we recall the immortal words spoken at the beginning of "Seventh Son" by Julianne Moore, who plays a witch who is also sometimes a dragon:

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