Kyle North

Staff Writer



It Ain't Easy, Living "The Motel Life" Review

Based on the 2006 debut novel by musician Willy Vlautin, The Motel Life also marks the directorial debut of brothers Alan and Gabe Polsky. It is apropos that a story about two brothers be told by two brothers, and the Polskys have some semblance of a track record, both having produced Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant remake. In this instance, they find themselves behind the camera in the bleak, uncompromising Sierra Nevadan frontier, as one traumatic accident sends two brothers into a tailspin.

Jul
25
2014
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Eva Green Makes This Empire "Rise" Review

Two years after remaking Romero’s socially aware Dawn of the Dead, director Zack Snyder jumped aboard 300, the action porn realization of Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Sin City had just come out and Miller was in. The movie would go on to cash in big, while making an international star out of Gerard Butler, Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey, and, yes, even young Magneto himself, Michael Fassbender. Snyder also legitimized himself as an A-Lister and went on to direct Alan Moore’s mesmerizing epic Watchmen and franchise reboot Man of Steel, with the Justice League movie on deck. Fast-forward to 2014, and Warner Brothers tried to catch lightning in a bottle again, returning to the shores of Greece, this time with an Athenian navy taking on the Persians and a more recognizable cast. The ride is worth the wait, thanks to two words: Eva Green.

Jul
17
2014
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"Ride For Lance" Plays It Straight Review

In 2008, Chief Petty Officer Lance Vaccaro, a Navy SEAL, died in combat. Director Scott Mactavish, a Navy vet who previously helmed the documentary Murph: The Protector, follows a group of Lance’s friends as they embark on a 31-day, 12,000-mile motorcycle trip from Virginia Beach to Alaska and back. A picture aimed at the blue-blooded American who loves a Memorial Day parade, Ride for Lance is fittingly available only at Wal-Mart.

Jul
17
2014
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"Godzilla" Roars, Sort Of Review

Let’s face it; the new Godzilla movie was abysmal. Far beyond a flat script, the direction was the main culprit. Even Bryan Cranston obviously had no guidance and ended up a stuttering, underdeveloped Walter White mess. The action scenes, so well advertised in the trailer, were nothing to write home about. Then again, the last incarnation of Godzilla wasn’t much to write home about either. Starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, and Hank Azaria, with Roland Emmerich directing on the heels of the wildly successful Independence Day, 1998’s Godzilla was a dud. Fan boys are still waiting for a worthy realization of the King of the Monsters, and Fox’s animated series, released in ’98 as a continuation of the film, doesn’t do much to help.

Jul
17
2014
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"Mountain Men" Pushes The History Channel Further Away From History Review

Anyone growing up today would probably scoff at the idea that the History Channel was actually once devoted to…well, history. Indeed, it is a rather discouraging sign of the times that the History Channel has had to enter the desperate ratings fray with an abundance of reality television. While Hatfields & McCoys skirted that fine edge of entertainment versus education by being historically based, the reality shows are undeniably ratings grabs for a 24/7 viewing audience. Among them is Mountain Men, following a group of rugged outdoorsmen who take a camera crew along while they hunt, trap, and "survive."

Jul
02
2014
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"The Machine" Needs An Instruction Manual Review

Someone really liked Blade Runner. Oh, and Terminator. Just call this Bladinator. It’s an exciting time for low-budget science fiction. As the accessibility of VFX technology emboldens more filmmakers to try their hand at genre projects akin to Spielberg’s dominant 1980s fare, and the surreal material attracts top talent a la Scarlett Johansson in last year’s Under the Skin, the possibilities are seemingly endless. The Machine joins the parade with a story of what it is to be human; it just forgets to adhere to its own rules.

Jul
02
2014
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The Duke Yucks It Up In "McClintock!" Review

The Duke. There was only one man like him. The craggy face and squinted baby-blue eyes, with that drawling, patient voice that commanded authority with every “Pilgrim.” Those who knew him on set said that he was a true “presence,” and not that many stars were or are. He was a cinematic titan; still holding the record for the most leads roles (142) and a timeless icon of a certain man in a certain era. With a career of mostly dramas, Wayne discovered a funny bone with 1960’s North to Alaska, directed by Henry Hathaway, who would later get the actor his first and only Oscar for the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. With two ensemble epics just under his belt, The Longest Day and How The West Was Won, Wayne moved handedly back into the spotlight with McLintock!, a western slapstick riff with good values and men being men.

Jul
02
2014
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"Old Yeller"'s As Rabid As Ever Review

He’s still got it. Now in his mid-60s, Lewis Black has been in the game since starting out in New York theater in the early 1980s. A playwright-turned-stand-up-comedian, Black is famous, or infamous, for his abrasive, ranting style as his calm demeanor gives way to wild gesticulations, rolling eyes, and crass language from a mouth that never got washed out with soap. His voice may be a little hoarser than it used to be, but this comedy veteran still has the stuff.

Jun
20
2014
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A Monument To Nothing But Clooney's Ineptitude Review

The Monuments Men was a superb book. Easily one of the best of the last few years, with meticulous research and masterful construction by author Robert Edsel. He captured the gravity of man’s battle for the soul of civilization; the desperate need to preserve culture in the face of atrocity, and humanity when pitted against the inhumane. On the page, it was a true story that surpassed the excitement of Indiana Jones, as art detectives unraveled one of the war’s most diabolical mysteries. What George Clooney has done with this film adaptation is nothing short of a travesty. It’s so bad, one has to wonder if Clooney ever had the talent we attributed to him to begin with.

Jun
13
2014
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Your Appetite For The Grotesque Will Have To Be "Ravenous" Review

It’s hard to summon a movie to mind that is more incomprehensibly, inextricably, perversely strange. If that opener alone interests you, then you might as well go put on 1999’s Ravenous right now and get to the gory banquet that awaits you. For everyone else, this movie may elicit a more confused response. Either way, you’ll go in hungry and leave nourished with the most unsettling meal you’ve ever stomached.

May
28
2014
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