CVIndependent

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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Reviews

29 Oct 2012
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A Los Angeles family lets a really pretty girl into their house for an elongated visit, and—surprise surprise—infidelity and other sorts of trouble ensue. Nobody Walks is the latest from co-writer Lena Dunham, who penned and directed the very-good Tiny Furniture. While the movie has some tasty visuals and a dreamy soundtrack, the story doesn’t quite cut it. In fact, it’s quite predictable and boring. The really pretty girl is Martine (Olivia Thirlby), a supposed artist looking to finish her art film with the help of a freelance sound engineer, Peter (John Krasinski). This is one of those films that present an “artist” who is supposed to be very talented—but the film she’s working on is stupid. It’s just black-and-white footage of bugs that is meant to be “deep.” Well, it’s not. It’s just a bunch of bugs running around. Nothing Martine says is all that enlightening or profound, especially…
26 Oct 2012
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I enjoy watching Ethan Hawke getting the shit scared out of him. He spends much of Sinister in this mode, so I enjoyed the film, to a certain extent. Sinister is a kooky stew of horror themes, including the isolated writer, found-footage deaths, haunted houses and scary children. They are presented in a sporadically creepy fashion by director Scott Derrickson, with Mr. Hawke at the center of it all, expertly hyperventilating. Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime author 10 years removed from his last big success and looking for inspiration. He moves his family into a house where another family was hung from a tree in the backyard. Derrickson actually starts his movie off with the image of the family being hanged; it's just one of the film's many haunting images. Oswalt finds a box of home movies (along with a rather disgusting scorpion) in the attic, and sets about…
27 Oct 2012
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Tyler Perry stars as detective Alex Cross, a role Morgan Freeman occupied in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Perry is not terrible, but everybody and everything surrounding him is. Director Rob Cohen employs sloppy editing, a maudlin soundtrack and bad supporting performances in this hackneyed story of an assassin (poorly played by Matthew Fox) and his inexplicable vendetta against Cross. Fox got really skinny for the role, and the effort shows in his physicality. Unfortunately, the film also reveals that Lost may’ve represented his acting peak, because he’s ridiculously overwrought and amateurish. Perry handles a couple of heavy emotional scenes with palpable strength, although he doesn’t quite cut it as an action star. Edward Burns shows up as Cross’ partner, and it turns out he’s a pretty bad actor, too. Horribly edited fight scenes and silly dialogue kill this movie.
26 Oct 2012
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While watching Paranormal Activity 4, the latest in a series of bland found-footage films trying to squeeze scares out of home-security and cell-phone videos, I compiled a list in my head to keep from falling asleep. I listed the reasons why I would rather watch the grainy, live black-and-white security footage on the monitor behind the counter at a convenience store than watch the wannabe-scary security video in Paranormal Activity 4. No. 1: The convenience-store video doesn't feature an actress (like Kathryn Newton in PA4) who looks like she is always going to laugh while delivering a line, even if that line requires her to be serious or scared out of her fancy pajama bottoms. No. 2: I strike a rather impressive figure on black-and-white security video while waiting in line to buy my Altoids. I really do. No. 3: It's fun to wonder whether the guy standing next to…

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