Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" B June 4, 2016

One of the year's better superhero flicks

Well, it took 26 years and six attempts, but they finally made a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie that I enjoyed! Which is magnanimous of them, since I wasn't the target audience and never expressed any interest in being part of it. But "Out of the Shadows," the sequel to 2014's loud, dumb reboot, at last achieves the goal the franchise has been reaching for all along: It's made for 12-year-olds without "made for 12-year-olds" being meant as an insult.

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Eric's Blog June 3, 2016

Friday movie roundup - June 3

Whoa, whoa -- what's busting out all over? Is that ... June? Son of a gun. Here are this week's new reviews:

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Movie Review: "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" B- June 3, 2016

Lonely Island takes on Justin Bieber

After several years of viral success making some of SNL's most popular "digital shorts," The Lonely Island -- aka Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone -- have now expanded their musical parody ambitions to fill a feature film, the Justin Bieber-inspired mockumentary "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping." Written by the three of them and directed by Schaffer and Taccone, it's a Lonely Island film through and through: very funny, with slickly produced music, and it runs out of steam before it's over.

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Movie Review: "The Wait (Italian/French)" B+ June 2, 2016

Juliette Binoche waits beautifully

True to its title, "The Wait" ("L'attesa") is about people waiting for others to arrive or return, and it begins with an image of one of history's most eagerly anticipated figures: Jesus Christ, in the form of a large crucifix displayed in a Sicilian church where a funeral is being held. Easter is just days away, so death and resurrection are already on the minds of the mourners in this very Catholic country.

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Movie Review: "Dark Horse (documentary)" B+ May 31, 2016

Racing around the track, into our hearts

If you wanted to engineer a documentary for maximum appeal to the widest possible audience, you could hardly do better than "Dark Horse." It's a sports movie (insofar as horse-racing is a sport), but it hits most of the sweet spots for people who don't particularly care about sports or documentaries: colorful characters, a lovable animal, an informative but not stuffy tone, a story you probably don't already know, and a short running time. If you could breed movies like horses, this one could sire many champions.

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Eric's Blog May 27, 2016

Friday movie roundup - May 27

It's a holiday weekend, y'all! To help you enjoy it, most of the new movies aren't very good so you don't need to see them. Here's what we have:

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Movie Review: "X-Men: Apocalypse" C+ May 26, 2016

Mutants keep fighting, this time in 1983

After the first trilogy of X-Men movies (and that standalone Wolverine movie that nobody liked), they launched a new series that went back in time to show the X-Men as children. Now we arrive at "X-Men: Apocalypse," the third film in the second trilogy (there was another Wolverine in there somewhere too) -- and it still feels like they're setting up for whatever the real story is going to be. STILL. After three of them. All that work, and Michael Fassbender still isn't Ian McKellen yet. When will he be Ian McKellen?!

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Movie Review: "Alice Through the Looking Glass" D May 26, 2016

Here's that Mad Hatter biopic you wanted

"Alice Through the Looking Glass" is the stagnant, mirthless sequel to "Alice in Wonderland," the garish live-action Disney film that was itself a sequel to, um, "Alice in Wonderland." (It's been six years and I'm still annoyed by that.) Obviously, the new sequel is about the Mad Hatter's and the Queen of Hearts' childhoods, as Hollywood inches toward its goal of exploring the backstory of every fictional character ever invented.

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Movie Review: "The Ones Below" B May 26, 2016

The miracle of childbirth turned sour

[In theaters and Video on Demand.] ••• For all its miraculous beauty, there is also something eerie and alien about pregnancy, even when you know how the baby got there and how it's going to get out. Films have exploited the fears of expectant parents for as long as movies have been allowed to say the word "pregnant" (so, like, the '50s), so there isn't much new ground to be explored. But "The Ones Below," a taut thriller from first-time British filmmaker David Farr, covers some of the familiar fears with a cold, unsettling efficiency.

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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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