Eric D. Snider

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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Movie Review: "The Meddler" B+ May 16, 2016

Give Mom a call, before she calls you

The first line of dialogue in "The Meddler" is "Anyway." It's the title character speaking, Marnie (Susan Sarandon), a recently widowed Mom from New Jersey with nothing to do with her time now but leave long, discursive voice mails for her daughter, Lori (Rose Byrne). Well-meaning, generous, and interested in everyone she meets, Marnie is the kind of lovably garrulous person who starts conversations with "anyway," as if she's been talking to you forever and was merely distracted, momentarily, by something else.

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Eric's Blog May 13, 2016

Friday movie roundup - May 13

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

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Movie Review: "The Darkness" D+ May 13, 2016

Oh, hey, another one of these. Great.

It must be 30 years now since those aliens delivered the PG-13 Horror Movie Template to the Hollywood studios, and here they are, still getting regular use out of it. Say what you will about liberal, godless Hollywood, at least they're into recycling.

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Movie Review: "Money Monster" C May 12, 2016

The money monster was inside all of us

In "Money Monster," a mildly ridiculous thriller with a bafflingly impressive pedigree, a brash financial guru's live TV show is interrupted by a desperate gun- and bomb-wielding man who followed his stock advice and lost everything. He doesn't want his money back, though; he just wants answers, man. And he's threatening to blow the place up if he doesn't get them. It's a terrorist act, sure, but it's also the first time a financial show has been interesting.

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