Bad Santa 2 (2016)

Bad Santa 2 (2016)

If nothing else, Bad Santa 2 certainly carries on the spirit of 2003’s Bad Santa. While the material isn’t near as fresh or well-written as it was thirteen years ago, the film still delivers the kind of rapid-fire insult humor and anti-Christmas vibe that propelled the original to cult status.… Continue reading

Blackhat (2015)

Blackhat (2015)

The ongoing struggle to make cyber crime an exciting time at the movies continues with Michael Mann’s Blackhat, a ridiculous, stone-faced mish-mash of genre stereotypes and endless exposition. We’ve come to expect much more from Mann, an accomplished director whose Heat (1995) remains one of the première crime films ever… Continue reading

A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year (2014)

You have to hand it to writer/director J.C. Chandor. He is immensely skilled at taking otherwise mundane topics (the stock market in Margin Call, a disastrous solo sailing adventure in All Is Lost, and the oh-so-glamorous heating oil industry here) and making tense dramas surrounding them. His films are all character-driven,… Continue reading

Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)

“I’d like to think if you’re seeing me you’re having the worst day of your life.” So says Louis Bloom, the anti-hero of writer/director Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. The film is a pitch-black, often satirically so, look at the bloodlust that engulfs local news. Its parallels with reality are only slightly blurred,… Continue reading

Inherent Vice (2014)

Inherent Vice (2014)

Seedy, drug-fueled, and absent any type of sense we’re used to in film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is a film destined to divide any audience that watches it. Its core story is fairly straightforward, but twists and turns abound that don’t make a great deal of sense. Anderson seems to… Continue reading

Need for Speed (2014)

Need for Speed (2014)

It’s really amazing that it’s taken this long for Need for Speed, a popular and never-ending video game series, to get the big-screen treatment. On the heels of the mega-popular The Fast and the Furious and its sequels, there is a built-in audience for this kind of vehicular anarchy. And… Continue reading

Desperado (1995) – “Mariachi Suite” By Los Lobos

Desperado (1996)

Desperado, released in August of 1995, is basically a big(ger) budget remake of director Robert Rodriguez’s first film, El Mariachi (1992). Many are familiar with the lore surrounding El Mariachi‘s production. It was made in twenty days on a budget of $7,000 (or roughly the cost of afternoon snacks for today’s… Continue reading

22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street (2014)

Just because you know you’re a lame retread doesn’t mean you’re not a lame retread. Such is the lesson to be learned from 22 Jump Street, a self-aware sequel to the very good 2012 original that earns some early laughs before disintegrating into screaming matches and just plain unfunny, repetitive… Continue reading

Breakdown (1997) – “Main Titles” By Basil Poledouris

Breakdown (1997)

Released in May of 1997, Breakdown is an old-school suspense/thriller from director Jonathan Mostow and starring Kurt Russell. It won its opening weekend and finished its theatrical run with a respectable $50 million haul, but it has since vanished into the realm of the underrated and under-appreciated – not to… Continue reading

Face Off (1997) – “Ready For The Big Ride, Bubba” By John Powell

Face Off (1997)

If you’re in the hunt for beautiful, touching, and emotional movie music, 1997’s Face Off original score would seem an unlikely starting point. Known primarily for director John Woo’s signature ballets of violence and an over-acting clinic by stars John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, Face Off did moderately well at the box… Continue reading