Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "A Most Wanted Man" B July 31, 2014

Germans try to prevent terror, post-9/11

The venerable English spy-novelist John le Carré has been writing page-turners since the early 1960s, when the Cold War was giving people in le Carré's profession ample material to work with. As the times have changed, le Carré has adapted his skills. The easily identifiable Soviets and East Germans of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" are gone now (even their countries are gone); modern espionage focuses on terrorist groups and religious extremists, most of whom aren't affiliated with or backed by a government. Intelligence-gathering is more complicated now. But le Carré's criticism of it -- that the West's tactics often go against our ideals -- is as trenchant as ever, as we see in the film "A Most Wanted Man," adapted from his 2008 novel.

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Eric's Blog July 28, 2014

Garrens Comedy Troupe reunion video!

Remember the Garrens Comedy Troupe? Remember when we did a 20th anniversary show? Remember when we released the video of that show?

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Eric's Blog July 27, 2014

Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider #220: 'Hercules,' 'Lucy,' 'Boyhood,' and more

[Also reviews of "And So It Goes," "They Came Together," and "A Most Wanted Man." It's a busy week at Movie B.S.!]

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Movie Review: "And So It Goes" D July 25, 2014

White people in Connecticut do nothing

A while back, after years of directing good movies in a variety of genres, Rob Reiner decided to focus on tepid, forgettable, upscale comedies aimed at the least discerning, most easily entertained demographic in America: middle-aged white people. So instead of "The Princess Bride," "A Few Good Men," and "When Harry Met Sally...," the once and future Meathead has been shoveling out tripe like "The Bucket List," "Rumor Has It...," "Alex & Emma," and now the latest, "And So It Goes," a movie so lazy it couldn't even be bothered to come up with a real title.

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Movie Review: "Lucy" C July 25, 2014

Taking drugs makes you smart, powerful

The familiar adage about how humans only use 10 percent of their brains is an old wives' tale (old scientists' tale?), but that doesn't mean it can't be the basis for a good story. I mean, it's not true that getting bitten by a radioactive spider gives you the powers of a spider, either, but you go with it. So what sorts of things could we do if we unlocked 100 percent of our mental potential? The possibilities are staggering!

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Movie Review: "Hercules (2014)" C July 25, 2014

He's not a demigod, he's just The Rock

"Hercules" begins with someone saying, "You think you know the truth about him? You know nothing!" That seems like an unnecessarily combative way to start a movie, but it does set the tone. This ain't your father's Hercules! Unless your father is Brett Ratner. Which, for all I know, he may well be.

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Movie Review: "The Purge: Anarchy" C July 24, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Last year's "The Purge" made a sparse, modestly thrilling movie out of a dumb premise -- for 12 hours every year, all crime is legal! -- and hit pay dirt at the box office. The natural consequence of this, as you know, is a hastily produced sequel. It has arrived, 13 months later, in the form of "The Purge: Anarchy" (was it not anarchy before??), a considerably less interesting but not altogether worthless exercise in ham-handed social commentary and wanton violence.

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Movie Review: "Sex Tape" C July 24, 2014

Step away from the iPad, you total morons

"Sex Tape" is like an episode of a filthy sitcom that was stretched from 22 minutes to 94 even though they barely had 22 minutes' worth of story. Starring a slimmed-down Jason Segel and a very game Cameron Diaz, it centers on a workable premise: what if you filmed yourself doin' it and then accidentally uploaded the video to the Internet? What would you do? But screenwriter Kate Angelo ("The Back-Up Plan"), with assists by Segel and his regular collaborator Nicholas Stoller, doesn't seem to have pondered the question any further than that. The answer is that everybody runs around screaming and flailing their arms (figuratively, but also sometimes literally), coming up with panicky, last-second lies, and ranting about the Cloud the way people 30 years ago ranted about arcade games (and with a similar level of understanding of how they work).

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Movie Review: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" B July 20, 2014

Animals become human, and vice versa

The surprisingly robust prequel "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" ended with a few dozen chimps, gorillas, and such escaping into the forests near San Francisco after being dosed with a drug that made them super intelligent (for apes). Over time, these animals will evolve into the Statue of Liberty-destroying, Heston-bedeviling dominant species we know from the "Planet of the Apes" movies of the '60s and '70s. But as "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" picks up the story, 10 years after "Rise," humans are still technically in charge, and the apes are still learning what they themselves are capable of.

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Eric's Blog July 19, 2014

Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider #219: 'The Purge: Anarchy,' 'Sex Tape,' more

[There's a new "Planes" movie too, but Movie B.S. refused to dignify it by watching it.]

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