Sunday, July 5, 2015

Posted April 22, 2015in Film Review

Who took Johnny?

When you start talking about the disappearance of Johnny Gosch, it can be difficult not to start sounding like a conspiracy theorist. The fact that a young boy could be taken from a street in the middle of West Des Moines and disappear so completely is odd enough. Add in

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Posted April 15, 2015in Film Review


In the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates, the father of the medicinal arts, laid out the code by which all physicians practice their art. Perhaps the greatest tenant therein: Do no harm. Do your job as well as you can, but above all else, make sure that no person walks out

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Posted April 08, 2015in Film Review

‘Fast and Furious’ franchise paints itself into a corner

The franchise has developed a reputation for being a kind of dumb, kind of fun action franchise. But now that there are seven installments, I was genuinely curious as to whether or not one needed to be versed in the past iterations in order to fully enjoy the current one.

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Posted March 31, 2015in Film Review

Ball busters

Pint-size producer and documentarian Dick “The Stick” Prix (pronounced “Pree”) is renowned for his ability to take seemingly innocuous, clean-as-a-lilly subjects and find their dark sides. Take for instance his 2011 critically acclaimed documentary “Finders Keepers, Losers Sweepers,” a fascinating look the secret world of nighttime high school janitors, which

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Posted March 25, 2015in Film Review


For starters, here’s a caveat for this week’s review: I am not a teenage girl, so I acknowledge that I am not the target audience for “Insurgent.” Now, the caveat to my caveat: I am also not the target audience for “Frozen,” but I can still tell a good movie

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Posted March 18, 2015in Film Review

Run away

Is there an actor alive who has more undeserved goodwill than Liam Neeson? He certainly seems like a pleasant enough fellow in interviews and commercials, and this “I’m going to do action movies now” turn has been enjoyable enough. But when was the last time he actually made a good

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Posted March 11, 2015in Film Review

Almost human

Remember last week’s discussion about the difference between entertaining movies and good movies? Neill Blomkamp has given us another example to work with in “Chappie.” On a purely emotional, gut level, “Chappie” does everything it sets out to. It is moving, funny, exciting and gut-wrenching. Taken purely from that point

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Posted March 04, 2015in Film Review


I did not realize “Focus” was bad until I realized I had spent an hour wondering what side of the road Brazilians drive on. There is frequently a more than semantic difference between a film that is “good” and one that is “entertaining.” Good films are usually entertaining (though in

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Posted February 25, 2015in Film Review

Play on

If you could break life down into a series of Venn diagrams, at the point where the circles for “people who like sports” and “people who like movies” intersect, you would find “Kevin Costner fans.” Say what you will about Costner’s complete body of work, but there is no denying

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Posted February 18, 2015in Film Review

Royal treatment

There are a number of things that make “Kingsmen” really cool: seeing Colin Firth — master of the period drama — throwing punches in fight scenes; the wonderfully choreographed action sequences; seeing Mark Hamill get some work. There are, however, a few things that make the film not so cool:

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