John Keith

Staff Writer

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

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The "Code" May Be "Deadly", But The Movie Ain't Much Better Review

Growing up is hard enough. But when you’re raised by the deadly code of a Siberian gang of criminals, life is bound to be extra hard. Kolyma (Arnas Fedaravicius) and Gagarin (Vilius Tumalavicius) are raised by Grandfatehr Kuzya (John Malkovich, apparently struggling for a paycheck) in the art of being an “honest criminal.” It requires something like avoiding drugs (both selling and using) and being immensely intimidating. Young Gagarin eats it all up, but Kolyma doesn’t quite buy it.

Jun
13
2014
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You May Develop Feelings For "Her" Review

In the not-so-distant future (2025 to be exact), when men nonchalantly sport high-waisted pants, operating systems will advance to a new level of intelligence. Advanced far beyond the capabilities of Siri, these new OS are infused with a level of artificial intelligence that would make HAL green with envy. Fortunately these OS are not as sinister as HAL, unless you, like so many in our modern age, fear and despise the rise of technology.

Jun
13
2014
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"Kendra On Top", Garbage On The Bottom Review

“You can’t make a ho into a housewife,” says Kendra Wilkinson, former Playboy bunny, in what I can only imagine is the overall premise of this reality series. Catapulting her career after The Girls Next Door, Kendra is furthering her vacuous personality with this apparently successful series (season three airs this fall on WE). Season two continues to follow her life as she balances her bustling career with her family life with former NFL player Hank Bassett (the third!) and their young son Hank IV (I can’t wait to see how long they will carry on the family name).

Jun
13
2014
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They Should Have Tried Harder To Keep Up With "Mr. Jones" Review

Choosing to live in an isolated cabin in the wilderness for a year in order to work on your relationship sounds like a terrible idea. It becomes an even more terrible idea when you discover that your nearest neighbor happens to be the reclusive, mysterious artist known only as “Mr. Jones.” But photographer Scott (Jon Foster) and his very supportive girlfriend Penny (Sarah Jones) think that living in an isolated cabin next to an artist known for disturbing, sinister sculptures is actually a great opportunity to make a documentary about Mr. Jones and maybe garner some fame in the process.

Jun
06
2014
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"Raze" Starts A Fight With No Winners Review

I presume that Raze was pitched as Girlfight meets Saw, since that’s the most apt way to describe this pseudo-horror film. After awaking from a mediocre date, Jamie (Rachel Nichols) realizes that she’s been abducted. Imprisoned in the underground bunker with her are a group of women who share a similar fate as hers. The woman must fight each other to the death in order to not only survive but also save the lives of their loved ones whom their captors are threatening.

Jun
06
2014
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"Gimme Shelter", Or Just A Little More Heart Review

Any film “based on the inspiring true story” is bound to have a happy ending (what I wouldn’t give to see one with a surprise depressing ending). Gimme Shelter is no exception, showing Agnes “Apple” Bailey’s (Vanessa Hudgens, who looks remarkably like Zac Efron on the cover) struggle to escape an abusive home and succeed in life. While it has its touching moments, it hardly feels groundbreaking enough to encourage such B-list star power.

Jun
06
2014
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"Wicked Blood" Shows A Career In Checkmate Review

Chess has been used symbolically and metaphorically in storytelling for ages. So much so that it feels played out (pun intended). Thus, when it comes to Wicked Blood, you will immediately be rolling your eyes as Hannah (Abigail Breslin, really working that eyeliner) quotes from some sort of chess bible. Her literary narrations sprinkled throughout the film obliquely spell out how she views her moves against an underworld gang as mere moves in a chess game.

Jun
06
2014
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There's More To Admire Than Like On "Shelter Island" Review

Shelter Island is one of those quiet, intimate portraits of common men reaching for their goals. In Shelter Island, New York, there is an aloof outsider artist, Harald Olson, who is perfectly content slapping paint on a canvas in that wholly contemporary style, playing with colors and shapes to create art that speaks to him. There is also Harald’s patron, gas station owner Jimmy Olinkiewicz, father of Autistic son Alex Olinkiewicz and blue-collar everyman whose aim is to promote and make money for Harald in his free time.

Jun
06
2014
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"Lizzie" Should Have Taken A Few More Whacks At The Script Review

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks

When she saw what she had done

She gave her father forty-one

So goes the jump rope rhyme about the infamous 1892 axe murders. And such is the inspiration for the title for the Lifetime movie that depicts those grizzly murders.

Jun
04
2014
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"Snake & Mongoose" Fails To Cross The Finish Line Review

Last September two racing films featuring rivals who turn buddies (yet remain rivals) were released: Rush and Snake & Mongoose. From there, the similarities between these two films diverge greatly. Rush is all glamorous and European and flashy and starring popular actors. Snake & Mongoose is the complete opposite: all dull and American and starring actors best known from an aging TV series and a Dragonball movie.

May
21
2014
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"Veronica Mars" Returns to a Darker, More Daring World Review

Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) is back. Thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, creator/writer/director Rob Thomas (along with co-screenwriter Diane Ruggiero) was finally able to return to the Veronica Mars brand after the TV series ended in 2007. Only this time, instead of using her skills as a private investigator, she’s bringing her name-brand charm and sass to New York City law. And she spends her free time trying to get excited about finally meeting longtime boyfriend Piz’s (Chris Lowell) parents. That is, until infamous ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dohring) calls her for a big favor.

May
12
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "In Your Eyes" and "5 to 7"

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As Rose is advised in Gypsy, “You gotta have a gimmick if you wanna get ahead.” And, in the romantic comedy genre, that advice couldn’t seem more relevant. It seems that each new rom-com tries to outdo the last with innovative (read: increasingly absurd) premises. And, at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, there are some pretty gimmicky rom-coms. Between 5 to 7 and In Your Eyes, you can take your pick of intriguing premises, but only one of them succeeds in delivering a compelling film.

May
10
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "Just Before I Go" and "Goodbye to All That"

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Ensemble casts can either be an asset or a hindrance. Dramas tend to make better use of the bountiful cast, utilizing actors for one or two killer scenes; but comedies tend to fail in that regard, never knowing when to let a character fade to the background or disappear altogether. Two buzzy Tribeca Film Festival comedies exemplify this misuse—or, really, overuse—of the ensemble cast. Both Just Before I Go and Goodbye to All That don’t know when to cut out the extraneous characters and focus on the main ones.

May
04
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Alex of Venice

alexofveniceChris Messina, best known for his acting (The Mindy Project, Newsroom, Argo) puts on his director’s hat for Alex of Venice. The film is a coming of age story of sorts, just for a woman who is almost 30. Titular Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds her life in flux when her husband of 11 years, George (Messina), leaves her. Suddenly, disconnected Alex must deal with her complicated family life while working an important, time-consuming legal battle for the environment.

May
01
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Double-Feature "Zero Motivation" and "Human Capital"

Human-Capital_web_3Films have toyed with the concept of time and storytelling almost since the simple film narrative was started. But, as our attention spans continue to get shorter and harder to maintain, toying with a film’s structure could increase that hard to maintain attention (not to imply that all films should do this). Two films in particular at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival show how altering a film’s structure could dramatically improve a film, or, at least, make it an even more engaging film. Zero Motivation segments its stories into episodes and Human Capital divides its varying perspectives into separate chapters to successfully tell these engaging stories.

Apr
30
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Something Must Break

Something-Must-Break_web_3The bleak Swedish film Something Must Break portrays the troubled and destructive life of Sebastian. Like most young people, Sebastian (Saga Becker) is undergoing an identity crisis. Unlike most young people, Sebastian identifies as the opposite sex. He’s cultivated his androgynous looks to resemble his idyll form: Ellie. But his suicidal discontent with life leads him down a destructive path.

Apr
30
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Life Partners

680x478The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival theme of friends staying close as they head into their 30s (first seen in About Alex) continues in Life Partners (which also happens to feature actors best known for their TV work). Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs) are the best of friends. They get along so well that no romantic relationship has been able to match it. But when Paige begins dating Tim (Adam Brody) things quickly change for them.

Apr
30
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Palo Alto

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For her debut feature film, Gia Coppola (granddaughter of that Coppola) tackles the collection of short stories by James Franco, Palo Alto. Choosing to dwell on what life is like—and feels like—for a teenager, the film draws from several of the stories and interlinks them more cohesively in the film. Just as in the book, the film relies on an impressionistic mood to express this not-quite coming of age story.

Apr
26
2014
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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: About Alex

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For Jesse Zwick’s first feature film, he gathered together an ensemble of sitcom actors to tell a hilarious and heartfelt story about friendship (and social media). In About Alex, six somewhat estranged college friends (and a plus one) gather together for a weekend to “celebrate” the attempted suicide of their friend. Over the weekend, secrets and unrequited passions rear their ugly heads but push these great friends back together.

Apr
26
2014
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"Broadchurch" Uncovers A Tiny Bit More Of The Procedural Review

In the quiet, seaside town of Broadchurch, a child has been murdered. Eleven-year-old Danny Latimer’s (Oskar McNamara) body is found on the beach. Despite the giant cliff above the site, they discern that his death wasn’t from jumping/falling off. They also discern that the crime scene is not where the murder actually happened. So begins an 8-episode, months-long investigation into who killed Danny Latimer that will rock the entire community.

Newly hired DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) is in charge of the investigation. He’s harboring some secrets from his past, having chosen to relocate to this small town to avoid the scandals associated with them. His hiring snubs DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) who was promised his position. Her resentment for this and Hardy’s own off-putting demeanor create immediate strife between the two of them. Ellie has enough on her plate as it is, considering she is close friends with the Latimers.

Apr
19
2014
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