Eric D. Snider

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Friday movie roundup – June 24

June 24th, 2016

Hello! I’ve been on the road this last week, seeing family and friends in Utah, so the full complement of reviews will be late. In the meantime, here’s the rundown:

– “The Shallows,” in which Blake Lively is pestered by a shark, is a solid, tight genre thriller. Bare-bones story, no frills, done quite well.

– “Free State of Jones” has Civil War-era Southern farmer Matthew McConaughey rebelling against the Rebels. Well-intentioned (probably … it’s not clear what the movie’s purpose is), but it feels like a miniseries crammed into one overlong movie.

– “Independence Day: Resurgence” was not screened for critics in the U.S. As far as I can recall, this is the most expensive, highest-profile movie to be released cold like that. Not a good sign, but who knows? I’ll catch it over the weekend.

Xanadu: a benefit production for Chris Clark

June 21st, 2016

Clarks&me061816This is a picture I took the other night of Lisa Valentine Clark, myself, and Chris Clark, Lisa’s husband. They’re two of my best friends. Lisa and I met 21 years ago in the Garrens Comedy Troupe at BYU. We became close friends, which Chris accepted because I am romantically nonthreatening. Then Chris and I got to be good friends, too, which Lisa accepted because I am romantically nonthreatening.

Chris was recently diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The one from the Ice Bucket Challenge. Which didn’t work, because Chris Clark has it. As diseases go, ALS is a bastard. It will gradually destroy Chris’ nervous system, his ability to move, and his speech. Eventually, barring a cure or other miracle, it will kill him.

Chris and Lisa have five children, ages 8 to 18. I used to write about the Clarks in Snide Remarks sometimes.

ALS is devastating and horrible. It’s also expensive, even with health insurance. To help the Clarks, some of their friends are remounting a production of “Xanadu” that Chris directed in 2012 at the Hale Center Theater in Orem, Utah. Shows are at 10:30 p.m. this Thursday through Saturday, June 23-25, and next week on the same nights. There are also 11 a.m. shows on the Saturdays. Ticket price is a donation of at least $25. All the money will go to the Clarks. The actors and technicians are working for free, and the Hale Center Theater is generously lending its stage.

If you’re in the area, please consider seeing “Xanadu.” If you’re not in the area, or if you cannot be compelled to see “Xanadu” (totally understandable), please visit Xanadu Benefit to see about buying some merchandise or just making a cash donation.

It’s no surprise to people who know the Clarks that they’re facing this challenge with humor and strength. But they need all the support they can get, emotionally as well as financially. Please contribute if you can. If you had ALS, they would totally do it for you.

Friday movie roundup – June 10

June 10th, 2016

Hey hey! Three new wide releases this week, plus reviews of the ones from last week that I didn’t see till they opened.

“The Conjuring 2” (R) B+
“Now You See Me 2” (PG-13) C-
“Warcraft” (PG-13) R
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” (PG-13) B
“Me Before You” (PG-13) C

The R rating for “The Conjuring 2,” like the one for “The Conjuring,” is for one reason: it’s scary. There’s no sex, nudity, strong violence, or profanity. (There are several violent images.) In both cases, it’s a rare instance of the R rating being applied sensibly: these movies are for adults, or for mature kids accompanied by their parents. But since the ratings are usually inconsistent, it’s annoying.

For example, “Warcraft” is chock-full of slicing, slashing, crushing, beheading, and other gruesome violence. Sometimes blood spatters on the camera lens. But it’s usually green blood, you see. From orcs. The human characters curiously don’t bleed very much when they are slaughtered. Hence, the movie is rated PG-13, sending the message that horrific violence is fine for kids to see as long as they don’t see the consequences of it. But if “The Conjuring 2” is R, “Warcraft” should be too.

ANYWAY. We reviewed this week’s releases on Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, if you’d like to listen to me talk rather than read my words.

To get reviews and recommendations emailed to you each week, sign up for In the Dark. And please consider throwing a dollar a month into the Patreon tip jar to keep the reviews flowing like precious lifeblood. Thanks!

Friday movie roundup – June 3

June 3rd, 2016

Whoa, whoa — what’s busting out all over? Is that … June? Son of a gun. Here are this week’s new reviews:

“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” (R) B-
“Dark Horse” (PG) B+
“The Wait” (“L’attesa”) (NR) B+

Press screenings for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and “Me Before You” conflicted with press screenings of other things (don’t get me started), but I saw them both Thursday night and will have reviews soon. Briefly, “TMNT” is the first “TMNT” movie I’ve enjoyed. It’s made for 13-year-olds but not in a bad way. And “Me Before You” doesn’t earn its emotions but has a charming lead performance by Emilia Clark. Reviews to come.

On Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, we reviewed “Popstar” and the Mark Strong-in-space film “Approaching the Unknown” (B-).

To get reviews and recommendations emailed to you each week, sign up for In the Dark. And please consider throwing a dollar a month into the Patreon tip jar to keep the reviews flowing like precious lifeblood. Thanks!

Friday movie roundup – May 27

May 27th, 2016

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:

“X-Men: Apocalypse” (PG-13) C+
“Alice Through the Looking Glass” (PG) D
“The Ones Below” (R) B
“Pelé” (PG) C

That’s more or less what we talked about on this week’s episode of Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider. We also played a game of Character Casserole, the sensation that’s sweeping the nation.

“Pearl Harbor” came out 15 years ago this week. I did a time capsule thing for (Here’s my original review, and here’s where I reconsidered it 10 years later.) (Side note on that last link: I wrote for, not MTV. MTV’s parent company bought and its catalog of content, shut down the site, and ported the old material over to the MTV site. I am not cool enough to write for MTV.)

I also wrote about “Grosse Pointe Blank” for Mental Floss.

Have a great weekend, if you want to.

Friday movie roundup – May 20

May 20th, 2016

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:

“The Meddler” (PG-13) B+
“A Bigger Splash” (R) B
“The Nice Guys” (R) B+
“The Angry Birds Movie” (PG) D-
“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” (R) B+

This week’s episode of Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider covers those same films (except “The Meddler,” which we hit last week), plus listeners’ ideas for other app-based movies.

At Mental Floss, I wrote about “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Did you know that movie freaked Stephen King out? Well, it did. Read the article and find out more things, if you want.

As always, subscribe to In the Dark to have new reviews and recommendations emailed to you each week (one email a week, no spam). And please also consider my Patreon campaign, whence comes the funds to support my movie-reviewing habit. Thank you!

Friday movie roundup – May 13

May 13th, 2016

Hey hey! What’s cookin’, Smokey? Here are this week’s reviews (and last week’s, since somebody forgot to post this last week):

“Captain America: Civil War” (PG-13) B
“The Man Who Knew Infinity” (PG-13) C+
“Money Monster” (R) C
“The Darkness” (PG-13) D+

On this week’s Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, we review “Money Monster,” “Being Charlie,” (C) and “The Meddler” (B+). Written review of that last one soon to come. We also revealed the stakes of this year’s Summer Box Office Challenge, and talked about incidents from our lives that would make good movies. (And monkeys. There was some talk of monkeys.)

At Mental Floss, I wrote a piece on “My Own Private Idaho,” plus a feature on 10 past Cannes winners that you can watch online right now.

Subscribe to In the Dark to have new reviews and recommendations emailed to you each week. And please consider my Patreon campaign, which is the oil that greases the review-writing machine. Thanks to one and all, but especially to YOU.

Friday movie roundup – April 29

April 29th, 2016

Reviews! Piping hot reviews! Get ’em while they’re piping and/or hot! I will list them in order from best to worst:

“Sing Street” (PG-13) A-
“Keanu” (R) B-
“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” (PG-13) D
“Mother’s Day” (PG-13) F

On Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, we reviewed those movies (except “The Huntsman,” that was last week) and made our selections for the 2016 Summer Box Office Challenge. It’s our sixth year doing this contest, and Bayer is ahead, 3-2. I think I’ve got it this time, though.

At Mental Floss, I wrote about “Gangs of New York” (2002) and “The Philadelphia Story” (1940).

Be sure to subscribe to In the Dark, and check out my Patreon. A dollar a month is all we ask. A dollar! That’s barely even a dollar.

Friday movie roundup – April 22

April 22nd, 2016

The only new wide release this weekend is “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” (D), an unsolicited sequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman.” It’s bad — uninspired, bland, pointless. We reviewed it on Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, and I’ll write a review soon, but in the meantime, there you go.

But there are other movies to see! To wit:

“Green Room” (R) A- (Only on about 30 screens nationwide right now, but watch for it, it’ll come around. Also, we interviewed the director and star on Movie B.S.)
“Elvis & Nixon” (R) B+ (Playing in almost-wide release. And the R rating is for five uses of the F-word and nothing else, so maybe ignore that.) 
“The Invitation” (NR) B+ (In a few theaters and also VOD through Amazon, iTunes, etc.) 
“Standing Tall” (R) B (Warning: French.)

Over at Mental Floss, I wrote:

14 Up-Tempo Facts About “Saturday Night Fever”

Sign up for In the Dark, my weekly email of new reviews and movie recommendations, here. And don’t forget Patreon, the magic that makes it all possible. Thanks, everybody!

Friday movie roundup: April 15

April 15th, 2016

BAM! Three new wide releases this week, and I have reviews of all of them! Just like the old days.

“Barbershop: The Next Cut” (PG-13) B-
“Criminal” (R) C+
“The Jungle Book” (PG) B-

I mean, I wish the movies were better, but you can’t have everything.

On Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider, we talked about those three, plus “Everybody Wants Some!!” (B-) and “The Invitation” (B+). I’ll definitely be writing a review of “The Invitation,” which is in limited release and VOD.

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