John Keith

Staff Writer

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

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15 Years Later and "Good Will Hunting" Is Still Worth Seeking Out Review

For Good Will Hunting’s 15th anniversary, the film gets a Blu-ray update. This lauded character drama is one that benefits from the hi-def look and well-timed release. With Ben Affleck trading in his rocky acting career for a higher profile directorial one and Matt Damon as a solidified movie star, now is a great time to return to their classic film.

Written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (earning them numerous Best Original Screenplay awards including the Oscar), Good Will Hunting tells the story of Will Hunting’s (Damon) life in Boston as people discover his photographic memory. Will is a punky, smartass janitor at MIT who solves a difficult mathematical theorem that’s posted in one of the hallways. When the mathematics professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) discovers that Will solved it, he becomes deeply involved in his life.

Aug
27
2012
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"Home Run Showdown" Strikes Out Review

Home Run Showdown retreads the old underdog sports team story with a youth baseball team program. This time the clashing Deluca brothers use these kids’ teams to compete for their father’s (Barry Bostwick) bar. Joey (Matthew Lillard) is a washed-up minor leaguer coaching a team of misfits while Rico (Dean Cain) is a washed-up major leaguer coaching a team of winners. They do all they can to take their teams to the final Home Run Showdown competition.

Joey’s ragtag team of misfits is comprised of Lori (Kyle Kirk) who wants to make it to the final round so that his dad will be able to see him on TV in prison; Fassi (Emma-Less Hess) who is an aggressive, no-holds-barred girl softball player who prefers to play hardball; and Tanker (Brandon Balog) who is the overweight kid who never gets picked. These children act more like adults than the adults do, which isn’t a hard thing to accomplish when the Deluca brothers are the epitome of squabbling siblings.

Aug
24
2012
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"A Separation" Lets You Judge For Yourself Review

In the Iranian film A Separation, writer/director Asghar Farhadi masterfully explores the themes of judgment and blame when a series of unfortunate events escalates into utter disaster. The opening scene of the film immediately forces the viewer into the role of judge—both literally and figuratively. (The camera shows the scene from the judge's perspective as you jump into the film.)

Simin (Leila Hatami) is petitioning for a divorce from Nader (Peyman Moadi), but the courts in Iran aren't as understanding as they are in the United States. The judge deems Simin's desire to leave the country frivolous and her weariness at caring for Nader's father, who suffers from a debilitating case of Alzheimer's, an unsuitable reason to dissolve a 14-year marriage.

Aug
22
2012
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Rocker Romantic Comedy "Tonight You're Mine" Has a Beating Heart and Great Soundtrack Review

Of all the absurd romantic comedy setups, two clashing rock stars being handcuffed together at a music festival is pretty random. Morello (Natalia Tena) and her fellow punk girl rockers out of nowhere antagonize Adam (Luke Treadaway) and his electropop rocker buddy Tyko (Mathew Baynton) before the two have even had a chance to get out of their car. A crazy preacher (Joseph Mydell) shows up to calm down these angry young people, but when Adam refuses to say he’s sorry, the preacher handcuffs him to Morello and disposes of the key.

All of this occurs in the first five minutes of the film, before any sort of characters have been truly established—or even the setting established. The two are, of course, unable to find anyway to break the handcuffs and thus spend 24 hours together, performing on stage and hanging out with their significant others. Adam is dating vapid model Lake (Ruta Gedmintas) and Morello is with dull banker Mark (Alastair Mackenzie). Clearly, these two fiery rock stars don’t belong with such one-dimensional people and they quickly fall in love as they run around the festival making up songs and wrestling in the mud.

Aug
17
2012
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"Breathless" Takes Macabre Humor to New Heights Review

Trailer trash Lorna (Gina Gershon) accidentally kills her husband Dale (Val Kilmer) while questioning him about the “great robbery of Red County.” Lorna enlists the help of her best friend Tiny (Kelli Giddish) to hide the body and find the money that she is certain is hidden somewhere in the trailer. But things grow from bad to worse in this dark comedy thriller.

When the sheriff (Ray Liotta) pops by to put his own questions to Dale, Lorna buys the pair a little time to dispose of his body to avoid arrest. But their disposal attempts go awry. The film turns grotesque as they chop, shred, vacuum, and burn Dale’s body, making an even bigger mess in the trailer. Suddenly Lorna’s private investigator (Wayne Duvall) shows up to stake his claim in this mess of a situation.

Aug
17
2012
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Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" Will Alienate Most Audiences to the City Limits Review

Eric Packer wants a haircut. Such is the simple premise for Director David Cronenberg's increasingly complex film, Cosmopolis. Robert Pattinson plays the billionaire Packer whose trip in his sleek, white limousine—which is equipped with high-tech computer systems and a toilet—turns into a daylong odyssey. The Manhattan streets are gridlocked thanks to a visit by the president of the United States and a large funeral procession for a rap artist whom Packer happens to be a huge fan of—leading to an awkward hug with the rapper’s manager. Along the way he holds meetings—in his limousine—with the chief advisors in his company, dealing with some yen-related currency drama and an anti-capitalist riot that is reminiscent of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Aug
16
2012
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The New "Looney Tunes" Leave You Longing For the Classics Review

Cartoon Network’s The Looney Tunes Show is not your usual Looney Tunes cartoon. All the classic characters have moved to suburbia and begun their adult lives, as if in a Lost-style sideways universe (for example: Elmer Fudd is no longer hunting that “wasciwy wabbit” and is now a CNN-esque reporter). The main focus of the show is on roommates Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck—both voiced by Jeff Bergman—and their endeavors both romantically and in the workplace.

While not as good as the classic cartoons, the show does have moments of infectious hilarity. The episode “The Shelf,” in particular, will have you in stitches as Nobel-Prize-winner Bugs tries—and fails—to install a shelf. Kristen Wiig’s dimwitted Lola Bunny is also good for a few laughs as Bugs’ girlfriend. However, the episodes that are Daffy-centric tend to be the unfunny and uninteresting ones (his attempts to get a driver’s license in “DMV” will provide very few laughs). But count on Bugs to throw in a few withering asides about Daffy to make up for it.

Aug
14
2012
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You'd Do Well To Seek Out "Last Days Here" Review

Bobby Liebling may not be a household name, but the lead singer of the rock & roll band Pentagram (a fitting name for them considering Bobby’s onstage persona looks Satanic) certainly has a cult fan base. Documentarians Don Argott and Demian Fenton find Bobby living in filth in his parents’ sub-basement, resembling the Maysles brothers’ documentary Grey Gardens. Bobby is suffering from a very long drug addiction that has him picking off chunks of his skin from parasitic delusions. He feels as if he’s on the verge of death, a hopeless man frozen in time as his former self.

Aug
01
2012
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Overworked Pop Culture Cliches Get Stuck in 'Detention' Review

Popular girl Taylor Fisch (Alison Woods) is brutally murdered by horror film character Cinderhella who continues on a murderous rampage throughout the high school. Amid rampant “post-ironic” allusions to horror films of the last few decades—including Scream and Saw—and a plethora of 90s pop culture references, suicidal Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell) and hipster Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson—who is also an executive producer of the film) find themselves embroiled in an attempt to unmask the killer and travel through time to prevent a bomb explosion from destroying the world.

Aug
01
2012
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Everything Burns in Chicago's Political Fire in "Boss" Review

An ad for Lionsgate TV at the beginning of disc one compares Boss’ Tom Kane to Mad Men’s Don Draper, Weeds’ Nancy Botwin, and Nurse Jackie’s eponymous Jackie Peyton. These are some of the darkest, most compelling protagonists on TV right now (if Damages were produced by Lionsgate, I’m sure Patty Hewes would’ve been included in that group), and Kelsey Grammer’s Kane has definitely earned his inclusion with these characters. This despicable mayor of Chicago worms his way into your heart (just like Don, Nancy, and Jackie) thanks to Grammer’s exceptional—Golden Globe-winning—performance.

Jul
27
2012
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On the Inside Review

Nick Stahl’s Allen is sent to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane after the revenge killing of his girlfriend’s rapist goes awry. Although he doesn’t seem too psychologically disturbed, flashbacks that are slowly parceled out during the film reveal a troubled past that would leave any child mentally unstable. At the hospital prison, Allen falls for a mysterious inmate (Oliva Wilde); befriends a few psychotic killers (Dash Mihok and Pruitt Taylor Vince); and undergoes a socialization experiment helmed by a doctor (Shoreh Aghdashloo) who clashes with the prison guards.

Jul
23
2012
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Notable Flaws Drag Down the Candidacy of "Evita" for Movie Night Review

The biopic musical Evita has been given a Blu-ray release for its 15th Anniversary (and to capitalize on the show’s Broadway run like Sister Act did). Although it does look crisper and more vivid in this restoration, that hardly makes up for the film’s overall flaws.

The musical follows the life of Argentine Eva Peron who rose from a childhood of poverty to a life as an important political figure for the nation. Madonna as Eva does convincing job playing a power-hungry social climber thirsty for fame. Likewise, Antonio Banderas does an adequate job embodying the everyman narrator Che.

Jul
21
2012
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The Quality of "Sister Act" and Its Sequel Clash Like Fighting Nuns Review

In honor of Sister Act’s 20th anniversary (not to mention an attempt to capitalize on the Broadway adaptation’s current run), the film has been released on Blu-ray in a special 3-disc set. Fans get a Blu-ray edition of Sister Act (and its sequel) and they get DVD editions of both films. For those who already love the cult classic, this high-definition release is worth it; and for those who have yet to see this film, it is a great opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

Sister Act is a cult classic for a reason. When lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) catches her mobster lover killing someone, she disguises herself as a nun, Sister Mary Clarence, through the witness protection program. After involving some of the other nuns in her shenanegins, the Mother Superior (played by Maggie Smith whose austere countenance is the perfect foil for Goldberg’s comedic chops) forces Mary Clarence to teach the church choir.

Jul
16
2012
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"Storage Wars" Continues To Find Gold In Its Addictive Format Review

For those unfamiliar with Storage Wars, the show focuses on a small group of buyers who bid on storage lockers. In California, if you don’t pay rent on your storage locker for three months then the contents contained within are sold as a single lot at an auction. These buyers pay for the units with only a momentary glance at its contents with the hopes of finding some real gems within that they can sell to turn a profit.

The volume three set contains the second half of the second season of this popular A&E show. Fans will easily jump into the series, enjoying the antics that the main buyers cause for each other; but new viewers of the show can quickly pick up on the show’s dynamics as well.

Jul
10
2012
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Summer TV: Should TNT See "Perception" in its Future?

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The newest TNT drama Perception puts a new psychological spin on the procedural cop show. Eric McCormack plays Dr. Daniel Pierce, a high-functioning Walter Bishop with a penchant for neuroscience and classical music instead of fringe science and sweets, who suffers from (and also revels in) paranoid schizophrenia—although he’s still allowed to teach college students because he’s that brilliant. He’s recruited by his former student, FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook), to help solve cases because he has a gift for diagnosing human behavior and psychological patterns.

Jul
10
2012
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The Capers of White Collar Continue in a Thrilling Third Season Review

Before Matt Bomer skyrocketed into pop culture fame by singing on Glee, he was the star of USA’s White Collar. Bomer plays con man and art thief Neal Caffrey (whose reliance on a fedora is more successful than Maria Bello’s on Prime Suspect and his spiffy suit collection would give How I Met Your Mother’s Neil Patrick Harris a run for his money). After being caught—again—by FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) upon escaping from prison, he convinces Peter to let him assist with the FBI in catching other criminals (something he knows a lot about) instead of sending him right back into prison. Thus is the premise for the show.

Jun
07
2012
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The Horrors of "Rogue River" Might Shock You, But That's About It Review

The film opens and ends with a river, but it is more a tranquil river rather than a rogue one. Introspective Mara (Michelle Page, who looks like a Keira Knightley stand-in) spends too long gazing at this Rogue River; and her car is towed. Stuck in the middle of nowhere, Mara relies on the kindness of the stranger who appears at her side. Didn’t her mother warn her about getting into cars with strangers?

Jon (Bill Moseley) takes her home to his wife Lea (Lucinda Jenney)—no wait, she’s his sister!—who is preparing dinner. After some awkward conversation, Mara retires to bed; and everything gets really weird. Jon shows up in her bedroom in his underwear and freaks her out. Then she runs into Lea in a bathrobe in the kitchen. Lea pees on the floor whilst repeating some creepy phrase, yanks the wig off her head and tries to force-feed it to Mara.

Jun
07
2012
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Though a Bit Silly, "G.I.Joe: Renegades" Proves An Enjoyable Distraction Review

The best that can be said about this animated series, based on the G.I. Joe franchise, is that it’s not terrible. While the dialogue is pretty awful (one of the recurring villains says things like “you should have vamoosed while the vamoosing was good”), the story itself is well plotted and a lot of the action is really engaging (thanks to the crisp animation style of the show). For what it’s worth, Renegades is—or should I say was?—a decent children’s show.

As is stated in every episodes’ opening credits: “Accused of a crime they didn’t commit, a ragtag band of fugitives fights a covert battle to clear their names and expose the insidious enemy that is...Cobra.” The ragtag group of Ordinary Joes is headed by Scarlett, a lieutenant in the army who is obsessed with uncovering the evil conspiracy that is Cobra. She gathers a group of soldiers to infiltrate a Cobra facility in Springfield and reveal their secrets. The team consists of blond-haired, blue-eyed Duke (the natural protagonist); Asian, comedic sidekick Tunnel Rat; imposing and serious African-American Roadblock; Ripcord who sacrifices himself for the team’s safety in the pilot; and, for good measure, Scarlett’s silent ninja friend Snake Eyes, who can be relied upon to show up just in the nick of time.

Jun
06
2012
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The Collapsed Review

The post-apocalyptic indie The Collapsed (still confused as to what that title refers to) has enough psychological thrills to mess with your head, as long as you can put up the with the sub-par acting. The story follows a classic nuclear family as they try to survive in a Walking Dead-esque world. But, instead of running from zombies, they are running from other men; or so it seems.

Jon Fantasia, who plays the patriarch, is the strongest of the actors, which is good considering most of the film hinges on him. The rest of the family is comprised of Steve Vieira as the son, who looks like the younger brother of Ringer’s Kristoffer Polaha (and whose acting is no less offensive); Anna Ross as the petulant daughter, who lost her boyfriend in the vague apocalypse and is worried that she’ll have nothing to do the rest of her life except live; and Lise Moule as the dutiful wife, who attempts to have a poignant scene with her daughter before both of them are murdered (by far the best part of the film, other than the ending).

Jun
05
2012
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