Guardians of the Galaxy group review 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – A Weird, Wild, Trip Into the Stars

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever seen. In fact, I think THE AVENGERS is maybe the only movie in recent memory that rivals it for sheer “fun factor.” There are certainly higher quality, more intelligently plotted, and better paced adventure movies out there. (Heck, WINTER SOLDIER was pretty silly and it was still a “smarter” film.) But nothing this summer will beat the bang for your popcorn-chomping movie buck than GUARDIANS. Silly plot and pulp stylings may be a “low” goal, but the…

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Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow review 

EDGE OF TOMORROW – Once More, With Feeling

EDGE OF TOMORROW, you had me at “GROUNDHOG DAY during an alien invasion”. But the most surprising thing about you is that you come so close to the greatness of that Bill Murray classic. The film reuses the concept of a never-ending day in novel ways. Making the most of the genre leap, it results in not only some harrowing sci-fi action, but also fantastic character development. Try as I might to dislike Tom Cruise for starring in seemingly every other action movie, he’s used extremely well in the film.…

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Toothless and Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon 2 review 

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 – Or, “What To Do With Your Dragon Once it’s Trained”

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 is a successful sequel on almost every level. The journey of the lovable characters from the first movie are continued and explored in meaningful ways, stretching naturally into the challenges of young adulthood. The high flying action is taken to new levels of excitement, and the stakes are higher this time around as there is more for the characters to lose. Impressive new characters are introduced into the fold, and the female gaze is aptly used to hilarious effect. The most important improvement though…

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Maleficent and a Disgusting Child review 

MALEFICENT – Taking the Bite Out of a Great Villain

For the life of me, I don’t know who MALEFICENT was made for. It seems like it wants to be for fans of the titular villain, but while Jolie is fantastic in the horns, she is Maleficent in iconography alone. It seems like it wants to be made for fans of the stage play WICKED, aping a similar fan-fic-that-absolves-the-villain plot gimmick, but unlike WICKED, it doesn’t even attempt to honor the source material. In this it seems to actively oppose catering to fans of Disney’s original SLEEPING BEAUTY. Its plot…

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Godzilla Roaring in 2014 review 

GODZILLA (2014) – “Meh” on an Epic Scale

GODZILLA (the newest movie by this name) suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. It takes great strides to be a more faithful modern American interpretation of the original movie series than the abysmal 1998 film of the same name. But like many modern adaptations of dated properties, something is lost in the translation. The film is technically put together quite nicely, with solid vfx, cinematography, sound design, and even a few good performances (though the best departs far too soon). All these things line up with what you’d…

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James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart as Professor X in Days of Future Past review 

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST – The World’s First Rebootseprequel is the Best of All Those Things

Let’s get one thing out of the way: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is the finest film of the franchise yet. It focuses on only the absolute best things that the X-films have offered over the past 14 years, and does so with intelligent balance, poise, and a budget that’s FINALLY worthy of a superhero franchise. (Thanks for finally coming around on that, Fox.) Aside from how effortlessly its massive scope is handled, the most impressive thing about the film is how human its story is. Yes. The fate of…

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - holding a police car review 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 – The Folly of Trying to be All Things to All People

Pictured: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, heroically holding the weight of his sequel’s issues. Chief among these is a plot that doesn’t quite know where it wants to focus, resulting in a movie that feels a bit too long, and simultaneously too short. Similarly the tone and quality of dialogue oscillates wildly from scene to scene, from schlocky to charming. The film does a lot of things right, however. Visually it is hands down the most stunning realization of swinging through New York yet filmed. (Yes. You should see this in theaters.…

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Tina Fey and Kermit in Muppets Most Wanted review 

MUPPETS MOST WANTED – After Their Triumphant Return, Our Favorite Felt Friends Run a Victory Lap

[Pictured: Kermit directs the Gulag’s annual Please-Don’t-Riot Talent Show] If you’re a muppet fan (or even just a muppety man) and you haven’t seen MUPPETS MOST WANTED, you should go, post haste to the theater to support it. While I blame Disney for not releasing this in a more nostalgic season (like its successful predecessor), the movie isn’t doing so well in the box office, and it’s a shame, because it’s one of the best muppet movies so far! The story is devised in a way that each muppet gets…

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The Winter Soldier hijacks Cap's Shield review 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – Marvel’s Golden Boy Starts Seeing Shades of Grey

Marvel has upped their game again with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, and while it never quite reaches giddy fan service highs of THE AVENGERS, it firmly stands above their other films to date in its breadth of accomplishments. Familiarity with these characters certainly helps them keep the plot tighter, but I think Marvel is just getting better and better with each try at figuring out what makes an adventure blockbuster totally kick ass! While Cap’s learned some killer new moves, and The Falcon flies in with some exhilarating aerial…

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Batman in the Lego Movie review 

THE LEGO MOVIE – A Hilarious, Life Affirming Advertisement

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME about THE LEGO MOVIE! No. Seriously. It works on multiple levels, and shockingly could even be compared favorably to a Pixar movie, though its goals are clearly a bit different. One of these is obviously product placement, which the movie does better than any commercial I’ve ever seen. It uses a toy to examine the human condition¬†and asks us to be more free thinking, more creative, more cooperative, more humble, and yes… more well-balanced versions of ourselves by considering what the toy offers us. The concept is…

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