Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "Love the Coopers" C November 29, 2015

Holiday nonsense with a big, dull family

You know the plot where the girl gets someone to pretend to be her boyfriend when she visits home so her parents won't nag her about being single? And the one where a guy has lost his job but pretends to go to work every day so his family won't know? "Love the Coopers" has BOTH of those plots, plus several more. It's better than it sounds like it would be (it sounds like it would be an excruciating nightmare), but not much.

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Movie Review: "By the Sea" C- November 28, 2015

Wealthy people's problems are boring

In "By the Sea," when Roland and Vanessa arrive at the picturesque seaside hotel in France where they have come to relax and rejuvenate, the first thing out of Vanessa's mouth is a complaint: "I smell fish." Upon checking into their room, she's annoyed: "What's that sound?" (It's the sea, Roland tells her.) This vacation is going to be miserable for both of them, isn't it? And we're along for the ride, aren't we?

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Movie Review: "Trumbo" B November 28, 2015

The screenwriter as life of the Party

It's hard to imagine, but there was a time when many Americans, including some elected officials, were convinced that our country was threatened by the very existence of certain foreign ideologies, and that it was necessary to keep an eye on any American citizen holding those beliefs, even though holding them was not against the law.

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Movie Review: "Creed" A- November 25, 2015

We return to the ring with a new hero

Some of the sequels make this easy to forget, but the original "Rocky" was a sweet, inspiring little drama without much showiness. It followed a formula, but only partially (a formula wouldn't have let Rocky lose at the end), and it was about the characters more than it was about the boxing.

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Movie Review: "The Good Dinosaur" B- November 25, 2015

Prehistoric meanderings by way of Pixar

"The Good Dinosaur" is Pixar's 16th film, and it might be its most peculiar. It has a brazenly simple story, though the five (!) people credited with conceiving that story are evidence of the movie's troubled production and frequent rewrites. Originally scheduled for release in 2014, it was pushed back and had a new director (Peter Sohn) assigned when it became clear to Pixar's creative heads that the story wasn't working. Most of the cast was replaced, too.

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Movie Review: "Victor Frankenstein" D+ November 25, 2015

The dumb version you haven't heard

"Victor Frankenstein" starts with the mad doctor's assistant, Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), telling us, "You know this story." Well, then what are we doing here, Igor? Are you deliberately wasting our time?

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Movie Review: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2" C+ November 20, 2015

Goes out with a whimper, not a bang

Well, that's disappointing. After defying expectations with three rich, thoughtful movies, the "Hunger Games" saga comes to a fizzling conclusion in "Mockingjay - Part 2," an overlong half-story that doesn't provide the satisfying resolution it promised. Every archer misses the target now and then, but it's a particular letdown when the arrow that goes wide is the final one.

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Eric's Blog November 16, 2015

Let's all make me a film critic again!

Ahoy, friends! Many of you long-time readers remember the days when I reviewed pretty much every new movie that came out. It was a time of peace and security, when you could visit with 99% confidence that I'd have a review of whatever movie you were considering.

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Movie Review: "The 33" C November 13, 2015

Killing time with unaccompanied miners

"The 33" is the perfect movie to see if you do not enjoy being surprised, challenged, or inspired. It tells the true story of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped 2,300 feet underground for several weeks in 2010 before (spoiler alert if you do not remember what happened five years ago) they were all rescued alive. It was a miraculous and happy story, but the film version is a slog -- an earnest slog, but a slog nonetheless. I suspect reading the Wikipedia entry about the event would be more stimulating.

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Movie Review: "SPECTRE" C+ November 6, 2015

Didn't these used to be a lot more fun?

Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond finds him wearier, less humorous, and more apathetic than before – and buddy, I’m right there with you. “SPECTRE” fills in the blanks of a standard 007 adventure, but it feels like those involved were merely completing an assignment. How it was made by the same director, Sam Mendes, and most of the same writers as the energetic “Skyfall” is beyond me.

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