Lex Walker

Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.

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"The League" Returns to Top Form in its Fourth Season Review

If the third season of The League could be described as something of a fumble in its overuse of Taco’s singing and its lack of really big belly laughs, then the fourth season is the show recovering the ball and sprinting forty yards for a touchdown. The League has gotten back on its feet and somehow the parts of the show that used to be its weakest are now among the best. It’s still the only TV show about fantasy football that really has nothing to do with fantasy football, and now The League has started to feel like it’s becoming almost Seinfeld-esque in how each episode is simultaneously about something and nothing at all. You don’t watch The League for sports talk or even for episodic adventures; you watch it because it just might be the best representation on TV of how guys really act and talk. From the profanity to the sarcastic jabs, The League is the distilled essence of male friendship taken to something of a hilarious extreme.

Sep
12
2013
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Winnie the Pooh's "Many Adventures" Are the Perfect Introduction for a New Generation of Kids Review

Growing up with classic Winnie the Pooh cartoons, 2011’s return to that classic take on Pooh Bear was a nostalgic whirlwind I didn’t think Disney was capable of when it came to cartoons of the classic A.A. Milne character. I’d come to accept The Tigger Movie as the new unfortunate standard for Winnie the Pooh movies, and when you compare it to a classic like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, you can truly understand just how low the bar had fallen in an attempt to sell more toys. Like the 2011 relaunch, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh fully embraces the storybook nature of Pooh’s source material and works it into the movie in often very clever ways. Watching it 35 years later, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh remains the animated epitome of the character.

Sep
12
2013
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You'll Likely See the Twist of "Now You See Me" Coming Review

Have you ever watched a movie that so desperately wanted to be clever but also have maximum crowd appeal? Once you’ve taken in Louis Leterrier's Now You See Me, you’ll know what such a film looks like. The film touts misdirection as its driving narrative force, and in some ways it succeeds, but when it comes to trying to distract the audience with sleight of hand, it moves to slowly and obviously to really make it work. Instead of a final ‘a ha!’ moment at the end where a bunch of seemingly unrelated pieces fall into place, we’re shown a twist that will likely have crossed the mind of everyone in the audience who then discounted it because they thought it was too silly and obvious to be used. Now You See Me is the guy who just discovered the riddle of the sphinx and thinks he’ll be able to use it to stump everyone else, never realizing they all learned it years before. It’s a movie with a twist that’s years too late, because better films got there first.

Sep
12
2013
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It's the Infomercial for "Bergdorf's" No One Asked For Review

Despite not being your typical fictional narrative, documentaries still need to tell a story. Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, a documentary that celebrates the storied New York fashion Mecca that is Bergdorf Goodman’s, has no story to tell. Sure, it has a few anecdotes here and there as famous designers and movie stars talk about their encounters with the store’s personnel and how they first had their merchandise appear in Bergdorf Goodman’s, but it never goes anywhere. None of the stories mean anything. You get glimpses of a history lesson about the store, but mostly it’s just one big commercial for a store as told through the very people it earns money for. Would you watch a 90-minute commercial where Microsoft or BP executives gush about how important their respective companies are in the scope of their particular industry? That’s all Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s amounts to.

Sep
11
2013
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"Revenge" is a Dish Best Served Coherently & Concisely Review

The first season of Revenge was a pleasant surprise in ABC’s primetime lineup; it was basically a soap opera with an increasingly elaborate revenge plot complicated by the protagonist’s web of lies which threatens to consume her the further down the rabbit hole she goes. It was campy, it was cheesy, but the cast made the contained story work. The problems of the second season of Revenge don’t come out of nowhere, however. We saw the initial signs of where the show might start spinning out of control as the first season introduced new characters one on top of the other, compounded plot points to an absurd degree, and threw twists at the audience as if they were afraid they were losing interest. If it’s possible, the second season crams even more into its already crowded narrative, and yet it feels inexplicably thin on actual substance.

Sep
11
2013
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Some Strangeness Can't Shake "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" Review

In the wake of September 11, 2001, one of the main questions on most Americans’ minds was ‘How could someone do this?’ It’s a common question asked by many people who live through a tragedy, but it’s mostly rhetorical. There’s really no story of tragedy that a terrorist could tell that would make that person feel as if their loss was somehow less undeserved. The Reluctant Fundamentalist ventures to see whether or not that’s actually the case by telling the tale of a young Pakistani man caught in the middle of a kidnapping conspiracy who relates his rise and fall in America which led him to his career as a seemingly radical political studies teacher. The quick pace of the story and the juxtaposition with past and present events makes for an interesting film from start to finish, but a few very strange choices temporarily derail the narrative.

Sep
10
2013
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Before There Was "Pan's Labyrinth" There was "The Devil's Backbone" Review

In 2006, the Academy Awards officially recognized the imagination of Director Guillermo del Toro by gracing Pan’s Labyrinth with three Oscars. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Guillermo del Toro’s 2001 film The Devil’s Backbone which stands as something of a spiritual and conceptual prequel to Pan’s Labyrinth and was arguably far more deserving of recognition. You might still be haunted by the freakish creature effects Guillermo and his team concocted for Pan’s Labyrinth, but the story and overall imagery aren’t nearly as poignant as what Guillermo crafted five years before in The Devil’s Backbone’s story of the inhabitants of an orphanage trying to survive the brutal war tearing Spain apart and the ghost that haunts the facility’s halls. The Criterion Collection has transferred The Devil’s Backbone to Blu-ray, and in so doing have given us a bevy of extras that will make any Guillermo del Toro fan excited.

Sep
10
2013
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"Frankenstein's Army" Might be the Closest We Ever Get to a "Wolfenstein" Movie Review

When you watch Frankenstein’s Army, you can’t help but wonder: how did this not get turned into a movie sooner? After all, Adolf Hitler’s fascination with the occult and strange and the now well-documented experimentation by Nazi scientists on living human beings, which both play strongly into the movie’s plot, have been the focus of countless movies and even the Wolfenstein video game franchise. That it took us until 2013 to make a movie about Frankenstein as a Nazi scientist turning captured soldiers and innocents into mindless killing automatons with transplanted mechanical appendages is somewhat strange. On the bright side, the fact that it took this long and wasn’t a Wolfenstein adaptation by Uwe Boll (which seems inevitable when you think about it), means we get a simple but well-done horror flick with practical effects that make it one of the better b-movies in a long time.

Sep
10
2013
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Best "Modern Family" Cameos

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With the fourth season of Modern Family arriving September 24th on Blu-ray and DVD, and with that the show is just 4 episodes shy of that big magical "100 Episode" marker that networks use as the threshold for syndication. That also means Modern Family has had 96 episodes and thus 96 opportunities for great cameos.In the fourth season alone we got Matthew Broderick (as Phil's awkward man-date), Elizabeth Banks, Shelley Long, and many more. To celebrate all the stars who've popped up here and there, we've compiled a list of some of the best cameos Modern Family has had so far.

Sep
08
2013
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Please Sir, I Want Some More British Zombie Comedies Review

You have to admire the immediacy with which Cockneys vs. Zombies gets to the point; straight out of the opening credits the film gets right to the zombification of London and turns away only briefly to give us the bare minimum of character development for our company of cockney wannabe bank robbers. Then again, what were you expecting from a film with the oh so subtle title of Cockneys vs. Zombies? For its simplicity it’s a fun idea, and comparisons to the superior and far more charming Shaun of the Dead are inevitable, but there’s enough meager comedy to make this entry into the zombie comedy genre worth trying. Just don’t expect too much, as it’s fairly barebones.

Sep
08
2013
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Marvel's Motion Comic "Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk" is Far From Being the Best at What it Does Review

Is it possible for a 6-part miniseries to jump the shark? If it is, then Marvel Knights: Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk does just that about halfway through its run. At least in this case it doesn’t feel like a complete blindsiding, as writer Damon Lindelof’s hackneyed attempt at humor is more often grating than ingratiating. When you can’t the gruff inner monologue and narration of Wolverine grimly, darkly humorous or if you fail at making the Hulk’s brutal over-the-top ultimatums amusing, then you’ve done something wrong, and in this case Lindelof definitely did something wrong. This might be the first time the Marvel Knights motion comics line has faltered in its choosing of stories for adaptation, but at the very least it all looks quite beautiful.

Sep
08
2013
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Saban "Megaforces" Its Way Into the Card Game Biz Review

It was only a matter of time before the Saban Group became weary of merely selling toys and wanted to get in on the franchise-based card games that kids these days spend all their money on, and what better way in than through their Power Rangers property? That’s right, the newest incarnation of the Power Rangers, Power Rangers Megaforce, is a blatant marketing gimmick for a new Power Rangers card game. The plots are still paper thin (aliens want to take over Earth, Power Rangers stop them), the acting is still some of the worst on television, and the action still has the overly hammy style that’s been part of the Power Rangers series from day one – but now all of their weapons and abilities power up with cards.

Sep
08
2013
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"Slightly Single in L.A." Deserves to Die Alone Review

Slightly Single in L.A. has no audience. The writing is too sappy and stunted for any adult viewer to take it seriously, with its story being entirely obvious from the 10-minute marker (almost exactly) forward, and it has more sexuality than most parents probably want their tween-aged daughters to watch. Consequently, it falls into a ‘no man’s land’ within the intended audience spectrum. And really, it doesn’t deserve one either. The acting is deplorable despite having a cast capable of far better, the story is the same as (and worse than) pretty much every other “single girl looking for love” romance film you’ve ever seen, and it fails to be funny with each and every joke.

Sep
08
2013
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Disney Rehashes "Peter Pan" in "Return to Never Land" Review

Most of Disney’s classic animated films are fairly timeless, and that includes Peter Pan. Its celebration of childhood and imagination with a mostly ambiguous time period of London in the 1900s prevented it from ever being dated, and setting the bulk of the adventure in a land where no one ever ages and a band of children exchange wits with a sinister but goofy pirate meant it never felt specifically like the product of any one given era. It’s a bit puzzling then that Disney felt a new installment in the Peter Pan saga was necessary, or why they decided to root that installment, Peter Pan: Return to Never Land, in World War II, but at least the end product was every bit as gleeful and fancy free as the original. However, it’s not quite as creative or complicated. Instead it just feels like the same old story with a new child experiencing the wonders of Never Land.

Sep
05
2013
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Familial Drama "Petunia" Wilts Despite a Great Cast Review

Family conflict has always been and always will be rife with room for film to explore, and to the credit of writers Ash Christian and Theresa Bennett, they managed to create a family that’s genuinely messed up in a number of ways. The problems constructed for the Petunia family aren’t far off from those faced by families throughout the US, but the way they unravel in Petunia isn’t particularly insightful, clever, or all that original. There’s a lot of truth to be found in the broken and mending relationships the film puts forward, but it gets tiresome very quickly as it relies heavily on catty dialogue to give it its only real buoyancy in a script that doesn’t live up to the large collection of talent assembled for the ensemble cast.

Sep
05
2013
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The Sex, Drugs, and Techno of British Youth are Alive and Well in "The Simon Rumley Trilogy" Review

When Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting debuted in 1996, with its comical commentary on clubbing and drugging in Scotland, it was (and in some ways, still is) considered the start of a new age in British filmmaking. One of the artists clearly inspired by Boyle’s style is Director Simon Rumley who went on to create a trilogy of films steeped in London youth culture and varied form between documentary, intimate drama, and a loose flowing comedy. His films Strong Language, The Truth Game, and Club Le Monde are all now available on DVD, and today two out of three of the films stand up to the test of time as prime examples of low-budget British cinema.

Sep
05
2013
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"Frontline" Blows the Whistle on "Rape in the Fields" Review

With our major news corporations locked in a struggle for ratings that has essentially seen the death of investigative reporting, bastions of integrity like Frontline are more important than ever in their willingness to shed light on crimes that would otherwise go unnoticed by the vast majority of the American public. Their report “Rape in the Fields,” a documentary on the sexual abuse of migrant workers in the produce industry across the United States, helps give a voice to an outrageous situation that a small contingency of lawyers at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have been fighting against to mixed results.

Sep
05
2013
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History Channel Continues to Prove its Disdain for Reality and Facts with Some More "Ancient Aliens" Review

There’s a right way and a wrong way to craft a compelling argument for an idea which has its basis almost entirely in rampant speculation with very little proof or evidence to back it up; Ancient Aliens is five seasons worth of the wrong way. Filled with conjecture, suggestive questions, and testimonies by “expert” witnesses of dubious value, the series has made a practice of making mountains from molehills, or, more appropriately, gigantic monuments to alien contact from simple, mathematically sensible structures. Logical fallacies abound in Ancient Aliens, and the fifth season sees no end to that. If you don’t care about well constructed arguments and you’re willing to accept the pastiche of random theories by a few credible speakers mixed with a huge number of nutjobs whose only authority is that they bothered to write their unfounded ideas down in a book, then by all means, enjoy. Just don’t expect the rest of us to take you seriously.

Sep
05
2013
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These "Great Plains" are Flat and Boring Review

A nature documentary isn’t just about beautiful, sweeping shots of landscapes and high-resolution footage of animals in their natural habitats, it’s also about a narrative, however fractured and divided between multiple subjects, to demonstrate something profound about the natural community in question. Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild has the beauty and the stunning shots of the American Great Plains and the animals who call it home, but when it comes to the narration and what it tries to accomplish in its two hour-long documentaries, there’s very little to keep the attention of its would-be audience. The hammy but dry narration actually becomes a turn-off making you wonder if it wouldn’t have been better off with some instrumental music in its place.

Sep
04
2013
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"Tai Chi Hero" is Too Distracted to Save Itself Review

It’s hard not to feel slightly cheated by Tai Chi Hero, the sequel to Tai Chi Zero, in that it feels like four different kung fu films in one, and yet it barely seems to have the requisite action of even one. At one point our hero is tasked with facing down a series of martial arts masters, but it’s essentially as an aside in the plot and not something the writer or director really wanted to focus on, consequently the film speeds through this sequence and it really amounts to nothing. It’s a little bit comedy, a little bit romance, a tiny bit war film, and sporadically a kung fu film. But if you go in expecting enough of any of those elements to really enjoy, you’ll be mostly disappointed. All you get are a few well-staged fight scenes, but even they feel far to sparse in the film’s 100-minute runtime.

Sep
04
2013
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