John Keith

Staff Writer

Writer. TV Addict. Bibliophile. Reviewer. Pop Culture Consumer. Vampire Enthusiast. LOST fanatic.

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"Breathe In"-It'll Be More Exciting Than This Movie Review

The Reynolds are a perfectly content family until British foreign exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones) comes to stay with them and uproots everyone’s existence. Despite being 30 years old, Jones plays a high school student whose precocious nature and incredible magnetism make Keith (Guy Pearce) fall irresistibly in love with her. They flirt through their shared joy of performing music, bringing Keith out of his mid-life ennui but endangering the charmed, simple life that his wife Megan (Amy Ryan) and daughter Lauren (Mackenzie Davis) have grown used to.

Sep
23
2014
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Don't Fall Into An "Open Grave"-Or A Plot Hole Review

A man, John (Sharlto Copley), awakens in an open grave full of dead bodies with absolutely no memory (not even his name). Although in the middle of nowhere—a desolate yet striking forest—he finds a house where six people have also recently awakened with no memory. Despite not knowing a single thing, the group is immediately distrustful of John, who tries to be a team player in their quest for answers. But flashes of memory make John worry that he may be responsible for what has happened. Or, perhaps, the others are the perpetrators and John just barely survived. Or, maybe, they are all in a new reality competition series.

Sep
23
2014
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"Once Upon A Time", For The Third Time Review

After what felt like a zeitgeisty season two, Once Upon a Time’s third season attempts to present a more focused front, evenly dividing the season into halves with two separate story arcs that aired with limited breaks (other than the giant three-month gap between the first and second half). While such storytelling attempts are not unheard of—and merely represent network television’s attempts to ape cable television’s shorter, more concise seasons—OUAT brings a certain flair to its two halves. In the first half we get to see a dark take on Neverland, and in the second half the Wicked Witch of the West (Rebecca Mader) infiltrates Storybrooke.

Sep
23
2014
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"Michael King" Could Use An Exorcist, Or A Script Review

The Possession of Michael King follows in the rich tradition of “possession” films (like The Possession of David O’Reilly, 2010; The Possession, 2012) in exploring demonic possession through generally “authentic” means. In Michael King’s case, the authenticity is derived by Michael’s (Shane Johnson) documentarian skills, which capitalize on the amateur camera trend in horror films today. At least in this case, Johnson is a handsome man who makes for an attractive subject at the center of the film—that is, until, his demonic possession drives him haggard.

Sep
11
2014
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How Do You Say Boring In Italian? "Closed Circuit Extreme" Review

The amateur camera trend in horror films has now extended to Italy for “Circuito chiuso,” or Closed Circuit Extreme as its English name. While not actually in spoken Italian, the characters speak English with such heavy Italian accents that the film still requires subtitles. But, surprisingly, that’s the least egregious aspect of Closed Circuit Extreme.

As films continue to strive for authenticity, Closed Circuit purports to tell the closed file case of two vigilante friends trying to find the suspected serial killer who killed their friend. Lots of expositional information is delivered as case information that serves as the easy way to reveal each of the limited characters in the film. But with such a limited scope, the film almost could not make sense without it.

Sep
11
2014
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Some Of The Best Things Are Still "Made In America" Review

Made in America documents the Philadelphia concert festival of the same name that brought together a variety of musical talent to celebrate making music in America (sponsored by Budweiser, of course). The documentary was produced and directed by Ron Howard and exec produced by Jay Z (who dropped the hyphen, which is a topic that deserves its own documentary), the informal host for the event. The focus of the film is on the American struggle, specifically in the recent economic downturn.

Aug
21
2014
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It's Hard Work Dealing With "Boredom" Review

In the documentary Boredom, “comedic” Canadian documentarian Albert Nerenberg delves into a full study of the concept and condition of boredom. Known for similar documentaries—Laughology, Stupidity—Nerenberg seems to be the ideal filmmaker to tackle such an unexplored topic. This hour-long doc brings some fascinating insight into the debilitating state of boredom.

Boredom results from a combination of three things: an unstimulating environment, a repetitious activity, and the need for constant vigilance of the repetitious activity in an unstimulating environment. But while you may think that boredom results from inactivity in brain usage, it turns out that boredom actually occurs from an over-stimulated mind. In fact, when bored, the brain is moving so fast that it distorts the concept time—hence that feeling that time is going even slower when you’re bored.

Aug
20
2014
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They Should Have Spent A Little More Time In The "Labyrinth" Review

The Labyrinth miniseries is in no way related to the Jim Henson film but is an adaptation of the Kate Mosse novel. As has been trendy from the mid-aughts into the present, Labyrinth bounces between two loosely connected stories—one occurring in the contemporary present and one occurring in a fictional historical past. In this case, the story follows Alice Tanner (Vanessa Kirby) in 2012 and Alais Pelletier du Mas (Jessica Brown-Findlay) in 1209 who both find themselves on a quest for the Holy Grail.

Aug
15
2014
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"Witches" Casts A Generally Harmless Spell Review

This past year has found us at peak witch as pop culture’s latest answer to the next big supernatural phenomenon (as if anything will ever outdo vampires). Although a little bit silly, the Lifetime series Witches of East End (based on the book series by Melissa de la Cruz) is one of the stronger, more entertaining entries in witch culture. Easily reminiscent of Charmed: it’s a little bit campy and all about family.

Aug
15
2014
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"Nymphomaniac": Get Comfortable, It'll Be Awhile Review

Lars von Trier is known as an imaginative and divisive and contentious director, so it should come as no surprise that he wrote and directed a four-hour opus about nymphomania that borders on the pornographic. But, as star Charlotte Gainsbourg is eager to point out, Nymphomania is not pornography because none of the actors were filmed having sex. They merely simulated it. And simulated it very well, because, as Stacy Martin (who plays Gainsbourg’s younger self) says, while she knows she never had sex with Shia LeBeouf, the scenes are so believable that she feels like she really did.

Aug
15
2014
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"Winter" Brought On By A Diabetic Coma Review

“Is it possible to love someone so completely they simply can’t die?” Such optimistic, doe-eyed sentimentality is just a taste of the treacly emotional core of Winter’s Tale. At least, it’s a taste of the schmaltzy script penned by Akiva Goldsman (who also takes a rare turn directing the film), a screenwriter better known for his much finer work on A Beautiful Mind and Fringe (to name a couple). No stranger to filmic adaptations (he’s adapted novels by John Grisham and Dan Brown), it seems that he really missed the mark with this adaptation of Mark Helprin’s beloved and lauded novel (but then, condensing an 800-page novel into a two-hour movie would require far more magic than that steeped in the world of Winter’s Tale).

Aug
12
2014
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"Scavenger Killers" Don't Find Much To Scavenge Review

Landing somewhere on the spectrum between softcore and torture porn, Scavenger Killers tells the tale of two serial killing sex maniacs on a graphic, murderous rampage. Judge Taylor Limone (Robert Bogue) and defense attorney Clara Lovering (Rachael Robbins) enjoy murdering strangers on a whim. Drawing occupations—like attorney or cowboy—out of a scandalously placed pouch, the duo hunt down victims that match. But, unlike most serial killers, they never kill their victims the same way twice.

Aug
12
2014
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There's Always Room In "Mama's Family" Review

In the fourth season of the somewhat tumultuous sitcom Mama’s Family (a spinoff from one of the successful recurring sketches on The Carol Burnett Show), Mama Harper (Vicki Lawrence) and her makeshift family endure more comedic ups and downs. At home in the Harper household are Vinton Harper (Ken Berry), Mama’s youngest son who’s too buffoonish to move out of the house; his wife Naomi (Dorothy Lyman), a flirtatious bimbo; and Bubba Higgins (Allan Kayser), Mama’s grandson (through Eunice and Ed Higgins—portrayed by Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman on The Carol Burnett Show and the first iteration of Mama’s Family).

Aug
12
2014
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"Color Of Lies" Is Bold And Intriguing Review

Before a child was found murdered in the British seaside town of Broadchurch, there was the shocking rape and murder of a girl in a French seaside town in The Color of Lies. Now released in the US on Blu-ray thanks to the off-brand Criterion Collection, the Cohen Film Collection, this 1998 French film finds its way to new audiences. And, like Broadchurch does some 15 years later, acclaimed director Claude Chabrol’s film focuses more on how the murder and its investigation affect a small community than on the actual investigation itself.

Aug
08
2014
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Welcome to "The Jungle", You Should Leave Now Review

From the director of such nondescript horror films as The Reef and Black Water comes another nondescript horror film called The Jungle. Eager conservationist Larry Black (Rupert Reid) has a love for leopards that makes his wife cringe with jealousy. So, when he hears about the sighting of an elusive and endangered Javan Leopard, Larry and his cameraman friend hop on a flight to Java to find and tag the feline.

Once there, Larry teams up with guides Adi (Igusti Budianthika) and Budi (Agoes W Soedjarwo) to lead him through the thick jungle in search of the leopard. But Larry et al get more than they bargained for when the Javan Leopard they thought they were hunting turns out to be the legendary “forest demon.” And Larry’s adventurous urges lead them all into danger as they try to prove its existence.

Jul
30
2014
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"Blood Ties" Makes "American Hustle" Look Like a Masterpiece Review

The 1970s-set crime drama Blood Ties is a redundant American adaptation (by the French director Guillaume Canet) of the French film Les Liens du Sang based on the French novel of the same name. As can be inferred by the inane title, the film focuses on a familial relationship tested by criminal activities. In this case, it’s two estranged brothers: the cop Frank (Billy Crudup) and the criminal Chris (Clive Owen).

Jul
28
2014
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Try Taking This "Journey To The West" Review

The latest film, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, from prolific filmmaker Stephen Chow serves as a (very loose and comedic) prequel to the 16th century classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. Told in a highly comedic Kung Fu style, Journey to the West embraces religious beliefs in one man’s quest to rid the world of demons and their evil influences. A mighty tall order for anyone, especially this meek, yet eager, young man Xuan Zang (Wen Zhang) whose unkempt, dusty hair is extremely distracting.

Jul
07
2014
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You Won't Envy "How I Live Now" Review

Saoirse Ronan seems to be trying very hard to carve her own little niche in cinema. From Hanna to The Host to Byzantium, Ronan has been building a career as a teenage action star in dystopic/post-apocalyptic worlds. And her latest film, How I Live Now, is another entry on that resume.

Britain is on the brink of World War Three, and American Daisy (Ronan) is forced to spend the summer at her aunt’s country home. The house is full of her rambunctious cousins—Isaac (Tom Holland), Piper (Harley Bird), and Eddie (George MacKay)—but her Aunt Penn (Anna Chancellor) has business to deal with and leaves the children alone during this turbulent time. Daisy tries to keep to herself but Isaac is keen on including her, and Eddie is so devastatingly handsome and mysterious that Daisy just can’t help herself (Isaac is also quick to mention that Eddie is adopted and thus not a blood relative, so don’t get too excited about the incestuousness of it all).

Jul
07
2014
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There's Topicality, But Not Enough Creative "Capital" Review

“Money is the master” in the French financial thriller Capital released by Cohen Media Group on Blu-ray. Budding bank executive Marc Tourneuil (Glad Elmaleh) manipulates his way to the top of France’s Phenix Bank in true Frank Underwood fashion. When the bank’s CEO suffers a heart attack whilst golfing, Tourneuil pounces on the opportunity, turning heads from a number of bank executives who have their own plans for the bank’s future.

Tourneuil’s rise quickly causes problems in his personal life as well as his career. His stone-cold demeanor, however, keeps him well prepared for the storm of drama in his life. Dittmar Rigule (Gabriel Byrne), head of an American hedge fund, attempts to exert control over Tourneuil and the Bank. And Tourneuil’s marriage gets rocky when he takes up an affair with a supermodel. It is all Tourneuil can do to maintain control of the Bank while also taking down his enemies.

Jul
07
2014
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Jack Ryan Just A "Shadow Recruit" Of His Former Self Review

Jack Ryan has a rich history in the film world. With actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck portraying him over the course of 12 years, this popular literary thriller character—created by Tom Clancy—has been patriotically and heroically defending his country. Now, in a Hollywood beset and beleaguered by prequels, sequels, and sidequels it’s only inevitable that this character get a reboot of his own (Ryan’s second complete makeover, no less) and a chance at a brand new series of films for a new generation supposedly hungry for heroes—whether they be supernaturally gifted or not.

Jun
29
2014
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