Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "The Secret Life of Pets" C- July 7, 2016

Just another 'toon about talking animals

It was a clever trick for Universal to call its new animated offering "The Secret Life of Pets," and to market it in a way that suggests it's all about what our pets REALLY do while we're out of the house. That sounds like a fun concept, right? There's plenty of comedy potential in dogs, cats, and goldfish throwing daytime house parties while their owners are at work.

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Movie Review: "The Purge: Election Year" C+ July 4, 2016

Don't expect any real politics, though

As you know, the Purge is an annual event during which all crime is legal for 12 hours, enabling people to burn off some steam so they can be law-abiding citizens the other 364.5 days of the year. As of this writing, the Purge is fictional, and the logic behind it doesn't make sense. But check back in 2017. Trickle-down economics didn't make sense, either, and we tried that for a while.

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Movie Review: "The Shallows" B July 3, 2016

One shark, one girl, one rock, one gull

Any film about a killer shark will inevitably be compared to "Jaws" (usually unfavorably, which is probably why we don't see many of them). But "The Shallows," in which Blake Lively is pestered by a shark near a picturesque Mexican beach, dares to invoke the sacred memory of Hollywood's first summer blockbuster and comes away from it looking pretty good. Stripped to its bare essentials by screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski and directed with tense efficiency by Jaume Collet-Serra ("Run All Night," "Orphan"), it's a no-frills woman-vs.-nature thriller that renews our national fear of sharks while making a strong case for Blake Lively as an action heroine.

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Eric's Blog July 1, 2016

Friday movie roundup - July 1

July 1, y'all. The year is half-over. If you're scoring along at home, I've posted 73 reviews so far in 2016, up from 46 at the same point last year. Here are the latest ones:

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Movie Review: "The Legend of Tarzan" C July 1, 2016

At least it has some monkey-punching

"The Legend of Tarzan" begins with the title swinger (played by Alexander Skarsgard) already back in London society after having spent his formative years in the African jungle. He and Jane (Margot Robbie) are married; he's a world-famous celebrity; and he's still getting used to things like sticking out his pinkie when he drinks tea (which is the kind of hogwash he didn't have to put up with when he was an ape, I'm just sayin'). Oh, and don't call him Tarzan. He's John Clayton now.

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Movie Review: "The BFG" C+ June 30, 2016

Whimsy and wonder, but not much story

"The BFG," based on a Roald Dahl book and directed by Steven Spielberg, has childlike wonderment and whimsy out the wazoo. The title character, a Big Friendly Giant who's made of computers, motion-capture, and Mark Rylance's charming voice, speaks in the gentle West Country accent of a kindly old British pensioner and has colloquial names for everything. (Farting is "whizz-popping," for example.) He befriends a precocious orphan named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) and takes her to Giant Country, where he's actually at the small end of the spectrum and is the only giant who doesn't subsist on human flesh. He spends his nights mixing dreams to deliver to Londoners. So, yes, whimsy, etc.

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Movie Review: "Central Intelligence" B June 27, 2016

Comedy between a Rock and a Hart place

Given their individual popularity and wildly contrasting physical sizes, it was only a matter of time before Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart appeared in a movie together. That movie is "Central Intelligence," a good-natured, low-decibel action comedy from "The Mindy Project" writers Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen and "Dodgeball" director Rawson Marshall Thurber.

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Eric's Blog June 24, 2016

Friday movie roundup - June 24

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:

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Movie Review: "The Fundamentals of Caring" B- June 24, 2016

The funny version of 'Me Before You'

[Available on Netflix.] ••• The first half of "The Fundamentals of Caring" is a breathlessly witty, almost flawlessly executed comedy starring two very funny men with excellent rapport. If the film had stopped at the 45-minute mark, and if the rest of it had then ceased to exist for some reason (gypsy curse?), forcing me to review only the first half, well, that would have been a glowing review, let me tell you.

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Eric's Blog June 21, 2016

Xanadu: a benefit production for Chris Clark

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.

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