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Movie Reviews

Nature is cute, if you live in a Disney documentary

Oscar is a baby chimpanzee, living a blissful life in the jungles of Uganda. His mom dotes on him. He romps with other baby chimps during upbeat musical sequences.     But in the distance the evil Scar and his hoard of chimp raiders threaten Oscar’s idyllic life.     If it sounds like a Disney movie, it is.

It’s hard not to beat up on this well-intentioned film

Alex is a sweet kid with huge lips, glasses and ears that stick out. To an adult, he’s an adorably awkward adolescent who hasn’t grown into his features. To his peers, he’s a target.     Every day his school bus ride is a gauntlet of humiliation. He’s punched, choked and stabbed with pencils. When he comes home, his sister calls him a loser. But Alex smiles because at this point he’s used to it.

Zombies and ghosts and mermen. Oh my!

When five attractive college co-eds spend the weekend at a creepy isolated cabin in the woods, it’s no surprise they’re marked for death. We’ve seen this movie, and it always ends the same way: Someone gets high, someone flashes her breasts and almost everyone dies.     Such is the world of slasher filmmaking. Fans love it just the way it is.
Children can be little monsters. But if you give birth to a real monster? We Need to Talk About Kevin is a nightmare about the nature of evil.     When a pregnancy interrupts Eva Khatchadourian’s (Tilda Swinton: Chronicles of Narnia) exciting life of travel and extravagance, she reluctantly settles down to play the roles of wife and mommy.

Sword fighting, dwarves, lush visuals and not a script in sight

Once upon a time, a movie mogul imagined it was time for another adaptation of Snow White. In a fairytale world, this would mean a beautiful production with excellent performances.     In reality, what we got was a poison apple: Beautiful on the outside and deadly dull beneath the surface.

And you thought your teens were tough

Adolescence is a difficult period. Wondering whether your crush likes you back. Picking out a cool Facebook profile picture. Trying to figure out txt spk.     For Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence: X-Men: First Class) those troublesome teen years are a bit harder. She has to fight other teens to the death in the annual Hunger Games.     Suddenly pre-calc doesn’t seem so bad, does it, kids?

Sometimes crass is all you need

21 Jump Street is an immature comedy, full of penis references, bodily function humor, comedic violence and drug jokes that appeal to the lowest common denominator.     I laughed through the whole movie.     Sometimes the best humor comes from rude places. But if you dislike strong language and sexual humor, you’ll have the vapors before the 20-minute mark.

Beautiful effects and interplanetary drama isn’t enough to make up for a terrible lead

When confederate soldier John Carter (Taylor Kitsch: Friday Night Lights) realizes he’s on Mars, he is filled with wonder and amazement. I tell you this now, because it’s hard to decipher what Carter thinks or feels since Kitsch plays him with a slack-jawed blankness that makes you wonder if there’s enough air on the red planet to support brainwaves.

Sometimes life won’t let you make good decisions

Nader (Peyman Moadi: About Elly) and Simin (Leila Hatami: Aseman-e mahboob) are in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle, made more bitter by the fact that neither wants to end the marriage.

There’s a thin line between straightforward and uninteresting

Modern thrillers are typically bogged down with fantastical plots, unnecessary twists and red herrings. Gone avoids most of these pitfalls with a simple thriller plotline that’s easy to follow. In doing so, it becomes a boring potboiler.