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Review: 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Is A Satisfying, If Slightly Inferior Sequel

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 11, 2014 2:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
How To Train Your Dragon 2
For most of their history, which has now lasted over 15 years ("Antz" and "The Prince Of Egypt" both debuted in 1998), DreamWorks Animation seemed to be content with making a quick buck and raising a cheap laugh. Some of their output was better than others (the original "Shrek" at one end of the scale, "Shark Tale" at the other), but even the better films paled in comparison to the output of arch-rivals Pixar, however profitable they are. These days, things have changed. For one, the company's films aren't all that profitable ("Rise Of The Guardians," "Turbo" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" all disappointed financially). But for another, the quality gap has closed, with Pixar hitting something of a creative rut, and DreamWorks putting out films that are as good as or better than their rivals. Well, one film, at least: 2010's "How To Train Your Dragon," which took an unpromising premise and turned it into something funny, exciting and emotionally satisfying in a way that relatively few of their films are.

Cannes Review: 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' With Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 16, 2014 10:37 AM
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  • 5 Comments
How To Train Your Dragon 2
For most of their history, which has now lasted over 15 years ("Antz" and "The Prince Of Egypt" both debuted in 1998), DreamWorks Animation seemed to be content with making a quick buck and raising a cheap laugh. Some of their output was better than others (the original "Shrek" at one end of the scale, "Shark Tale" at the other), but even the better films paled in comparison to the output of arch-rivals Pixar, however profitable they are. These days, things have changed.

Review: 'Don Peyote' Starring & Co-Directed By Dan Fogler Is A Bust

  • By Christopher Schobert
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  • May 13, 2014 7:05 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Don Peyote
I’ll say this for Dan Fogler’s “Don Peyote”: its title might be the finest play on “Quixote” in cinema history. (Sorry, 2007’s “Donkey Xote.”) Unfortunately, a pun-tastic title does not guarantee a winning film, as the makers of “R.I.P.D.” can attest. As star, co-writer, and co-director of “Don Peyote,” Fogler deserves credit for the sheer ambition involved in this oddball story of a stoner’s awakening.

Watch: Fly High With 2 Clips And Featurette From 'How To Train Your Dragon 2'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 9, 2014 2:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Sequels are hard enough, but animated sequels are arguably tougher. Why? Animation in general takes longer than live action film to make, which means that a lot of decisions about story, tone, character and more have to be made early. Do you change things up the second go-around or do you play to the formula that was already a success? There are dangers in both approaches, and in general, the genre has not always lent it self well to followups outside the Pixar realm (at least creatively; things like "Ice Age" continue to rack up money). So it will be interesting to see if "How To Train Your Dragon 2" can please the critics and audiences who loved the first movie.

Review: 'The Art Of The Steal' With Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Terence Stamp And Jay Baruchel

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • March 13, 2014 4:28 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Art Of The Steal, Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Terence Stamp and Jay Baruchel
"The Art of the Steal” isn’t just the name of Jonathan Sobol’s sophomore effort; it’s virtually a genre unto itself, thanks to countless movies about low-level con artists, their team of accomplices and the victims/ adversaries they’re trying to outwit. But even if the film doesn’t raze genre conventions or reinvent the notion of grifting as audiences know it, Sobol creates an ensemble as scruffy and indefatigably appealing as its star, Kurt Russell, as he shuffles dexterously through a heist scenario just implausible and charming enough to be convincing.

Jay Baruchel Is A ‘Man Seeking Woman,’ Linda Cardellini Joins Netflix Thriller, Nick Cannon Back For 'Drumline 2' & More

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • February 7, 2014 10:23 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Visibly more than his fellow Canadian collaborators, Jay Baruchel has retained his hometown adoration by selecting gigs set or filmed north of the border—“Cosmopolis”, “Goon”, and “Good Neighbors” to name a few—and now he’s set for a dual repeat with two projects in the works.

Review: 'RoboCop' Starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton & More

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 5, 2014 1:00 PM
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  • 9 Comments
Robocop
Every movie should be approached with an open mind. Ideally, be it a film from Martin Scorsese or Friedberg and Seltzer, a reviewer should be going in without expectations, ready to play it as it lays. But it'd be dishonest to pretend that that was the case going in to "RoboCop," because it's a long-delayed remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1980s cult action sci-fi classic that, based at least on early buzz and previews, does without much of what made the original special — the satirical bite, the extreme violence, the hand-crafted effects et al. As such, even the most even-handed person could be forgiven for going in with a heavy heart, especially with the smell of the abysmal "Total Recall" redo still lingering like a fish head behind a radiator.

Watch: Cameo-Filled Trailer For Comedy 'Don Peyote' Featuring Anne Hathaway, Abel Ferrara & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 9, 2014 4:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Don Peyote Anne Hathaway
Well, we'll give co-writer/director Dan Fogler credit for this: he certainly knows how to work a Rolodex. Ordinarily, we probably wouldn't pay a movie titled "Don Peyote" much mind, but when it manages to rope in a rather oddball assortment of people for cameo roles, well, we gave more time out of day than we otherwise would have.

Watch: New Trailer For 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Takes To The Skies

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 19, 2013 5:41 AM
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  • 1 Comment
How To Train Your Dragon 2
In the age of quick turnaround sequels, the four year wait for "How To Train Your Dragon 2" seems like an eon. But now a bonafide franchise—not only with a big screen followup, but a small screen offshoot too on Cartoon Network—DreamWorks is ready to cash in the success of the first movie. But can movie magic erupt like so much fire from the dragon's belly twice?

Watch: Kurt Russell & Jay Baruchel Are Master & Apprentice In Trailer For 'The Art Of The Steal'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 16, 2013 5:06 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Art Of The Steal Jay Baruchel
TIFF comes and TIFF goes and there are lots of movies that due to scheduling, the need for sleep and the necessity of food, just don't get in front of our eyes. And this year, one of them was "The Art Of The Steal" which brings together the ragtag crew of Kurt Russell, Jay Baruchel, Matt Dillon and more for a heist comedy. We like heists (check out this feature), we like comedy, but does this work?

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