Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "My Blind Brother" B September 23, 2016

Blind people can be jerks too, you know

[In theaters and Video on Demand.] ••• As a general rule, we do not make jokes at the expense of the handicapped. The bitterly funny, just-sweet-enough "My Blind Brother" gets away with it because the jokes aren't about his blindness per se, and because the vision-impaired gentleman in question is a total bastard. Total bastards are fair game, joke-wise.

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Movie Review: "The Magnificent Seven" B+ September 23, 2016

Well, 'magnificent' is a strong word...

Except for some slightly more graphic violence and language than its forebears used to get away with, the new version of "The Magnificent Seven" is a Western in the old-fashioned style. That's mostly a compliment, though not entirely. With its shootouts and showdowns, its dramatic saloon entrances (and window-smashing saloon exits), its rousing musical score that hints at but isn't Elmer Bernstein's iconic original, the film has the comfortable feel of something familiar. (Well, duh. It's a remake.) But it also shares with many Westerns from the first half of the 20th century a lack of subtext. There's nothing on this film's mind beyond what's explicitly spelled out in its simple, morally black-and-white plot. After a few decades of new Westerns that explored, subverted, and questioned the old tropes -- often while still indulging in them, so it was a win-win -- to see one that's blithely uninterested in self-examination is a little disappointing.

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Movie Review: "Complete Unknown" B September 18, 2016

Reinvent yourself when you feel like it

"Complete Unknown" begins with fractured clips of the same woman -- or at least the same actress (Rachel Weisz) -- in multiple professions, going by multiple names. Are these fantasies? Past lives? Something else? It's a discombobulated start for what turns out to be a straightforward, bluesy drama about the identities and life-paths we choose for ourselves.

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Eric's Blog September 17, 2016

Friday movie roundup - Sept. 16

This week's movies range from So-So to Eh, No. To wit:

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Movie Review: "The Hollars" D+ September 16, 2016

Get it? Because they yell and fight a lot?

Stop me if you've heard this one before. "The Hollars" is a Sundance dramedy about a mope who returns from the big city to his hometown to deal with family issues, and finds both the hometown and the family issues unchanged (depressingly so) yet somehow alien to him now. Alas, directed by John Krasinski (who also stars), this thing is as generic as it sounds, right down to the indie-folk soundtrack full of "hey ho" guitar songs. I know for a fact that Krasinski has been to Sundance before. Did he not watch any movies there? THEY WERE LIKE THIS.

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Movie Review: "Snowden" C September 16, 2016

By-the-book account of a whistleblower

"Snowden," the story of a man blowing the whistle on a secret government surveillance program, seems like a perfect match for Oliver Stone, a paranoid moonbat who loves a good rant. Yet his docudrama about Edward Snowden is restrained, almost dispassionate in the way it lays out the facts of the story. Where's the incendiary, provocative Stone? This Stone is soft.

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Movie Review: "Bridget Jones's Baby" B- September 15, 2016

She won't be at her goal weight for long

"Bridget Jones's Baby," in which our favorite diary-keeping singleton has a (spoiler alert) baby, begins with Ms. Jones (Renee Zellweger) alone on her 43rd birthday, listening to "All By Myself." This tells us two things: that the music choices in these films are still v. on-the-nose, and that Bridget didn't marry Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) even though they got engaged at the end of "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason."

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Movie Review: "Blair Witch" B- September 15, 2016

Into the woods to grandmother's house!

Not that "The Blair Witch Project" needed a sequel, but if had to get one, the team of director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett were a good choice. They've made a handful of intense horror features in the last six years, including "You're Next" and "A Horrible Way to Die," and contributed segments to the "V/H/S" films, anthologies that use the "found footage" style basically invented by "TBWP."

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Movie Review: "Hands of Stone" C- September 12, 2016

Duran's career is probably interesting

The life of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran has featured enough drama, setbacks, and victories to make for a terrific movie. Maybe someday someone will make one. In the meantime, here's "Hands of Stone," another well-intentioned but feckless snooze.

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Eric's Blog September 9, 2016

Friday movie roundup - Sept. 9

Movies! Here are my last several reviews, including some short ones of summer movies I saw but didn't review till now. Several recommended options in here:

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