Avengers Age of Ultron hero shot review 

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON – “I’m Calling Veronica”

Do you like roller coasters? Do you like Marvel movies? If you answered “yes” to both of these, AGE OF ULTRON is going to be a hella good time for you! Go see it. Now. You’ll probably want to ride it again as soon as you’re through. If your answer was “no” to either of those, or you’re concerned with the film’s currently measly 75% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, let me address the concerns. Roller Coasters: This film has 6 protagonists when it starts, and the number only grows from…

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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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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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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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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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Kristoff and Ana's meet cute in Frozen review 

FROZEN – Disney Finally “Gets” Love

The best thing I can say about FROZEN is that Disney finally did it right. They created a modern fairy tale with meaningful, nuanced, and well-defined values that the plot never deviates from. The story has very clearly defined goals, and by the end, the lessons learned are also earned. (This differentiates the film from its recent peer, BRAVE, which had its heart in the right place, but did not earn its conclusion.) FROZEN’s greatest weakness (or rather, challenge) is that it starts a bit slow. The conflicts are personal,…

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Smaug greedily eyeing a Hobbit snack review 

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG – A Charming Adventure is Buried in Another Three Hours of Slog

However much you liked the first Hobbit film, you will probably like THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG a little bit more. If the first movie did it, the second does it more, and with a bit more payoff. Unfortunately, if the first movie did something poorly, it did more of that too. Among the film positive qualities: generally excellent acting, phenomenal cinematography, fun fight choreography, Smaug’s design and animation, and realizing that Legolas is basically the elven equivalent of a racist redneck jerk. Sadly as THE HOBBIT tries to out-epic LORD…

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