2011

[7.0] Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire) directs this family drama/comedy about a widower, played by Matt Damon, who buys a rural home that comes with a rundown zoo. Damon and his two young children help the ragtag team of zoo keepers, led by Scarlett Johansson, to bring the zoo up to code so that it can re-open to the public — and along the …

[6.5] A nice young dude with an obsession for Mad Max and the Apocalypse falls in love with a cool young chick. But when he catches her with another dude, he and his best bud consider going medieval on some people’s asses. Bellflower is a genuine love story that takes some dark turns, supported by an unknown cast who give surprisingly good performances. Writer/director Evan …

[7.0] Director Justin Kurzel tells the true story of Australia’s most notorious serial killer through the eyes of his teenaged accomplice. Teenager Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) falls in with his mother’s new boyfriend, John Bunting (Daniel Henshall). Bunting becomes a father figure to Jamie and preys on the boy’s feelings of insecurity, transforming him into his own private henchman. First, they scare a molester out of …

[6.0] Thomas Horn stars as an nine-year-old boy who searches New York city for the lock to a mysterious key owned by his father, one of the victims of the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. I can’t make up my mind if it’s clever or overly-sentimental that Horn’s character has Asperger’s syndrome. On one hand, his lack of emotional perception keeps the …

[7.0] I can’t imagine a harder franchise to revive than The Muppets. They’re so innocent, so low-fi, so much a product of the 70s and 80s… is it possible for them to garner new fans, or are kids today just too busy and cynical to give felt a chance? The verdict is out (at least until the weekend box office results are in), but as …

[6.5] You really aren’t supposed to return to a well too many times. But in the case of the Scream franchise, I was still thirsty. So I drank… and the water’s still good! Of course the novelty has worn off, but unlike many other horror franchises, the characters have grown and developed, and gosh-darn it, you actually care about Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, and dopey …

[4.0] Jake Gyllenhaal plays a pharmaceutical rep and Anne Hathaway plays a free-spirit with the onset of Parkinson’s. They get together and take us with them on a dreary tale that’s more sad than funny, kinda boring, and lacking much forward momentum. What’s most remarkable is the amount of time the romantic leads spend naked (like, REALLY naked).

[6.5] Marginally the best entry in a franchise I never cared about. Some nicely staged action sequences – the Dubai tower scaling and dust storm chase are pretty wicked. I’d like to have been more invested in the characters. Part of the problem might be that Tom Cruise bugs me when he’s in a vanity role like this one (wish he’d do more stuff like …

[5.5] Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara star in the second adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel about a journalist and a computer hacker who work to solve the mystery of a missing woman. Is┬áthere perhaps something wrong with the fact that The Social Network is more exciting than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? People looking at computer monitors and holding board meetings shouldn’t be …

[6.5] Inner-city teenagers band together to protect their south London neighborhood from an alien invasion. This one’s for fans of monster movies, with interesting creature effects and a talented young cast. It kinda bugs me that the heroes (or anti-heroes) are all petty thugs and pot heads, but I guess that’s one of the things that distinguishes this flick from other monster fare. Leading man …

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