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Review: 'Fast & Furious 6' Makes Cars Go Boom In A Mostly Satisfactory Way

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 13, 2013 6:09 PM
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  • 7 Comments
Has there ever been a franchise like the "Fast & Furious?" Begun over ten years ago with a film most notable for its '50s-style B-movie title, "The Fast & The Furious," it was a modest sleeper hit. Before long the series saw its biggest draw, the potato-headed growl-monster Vin Diesel, exit the series before it really got going, leading to the Paul Walker solo outing "2 Fast 2 Furious." Unsurprisingly, the box office for that one took a hit, a trend that continued with the Walker-free third outing "The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift." But ever since the series has been on a constant upswing, with "Fast Five" making nearly half-a-billion dollars worldwide, and even winning some critical plaudits, at least for series veteran Justin Lin.

Recap: Christopher Guest's 'Family Tree' Gets Off To A Promising Start & Shows He Hasn't Lost His Touch

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 12, 2013 7:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It's been seven far-too-long years since the last feature effort from Christopher Guest, and besides a failed pilot for the U.S. adaptation of the U.K. hit "The Thick Of It" and appearing alongside his regular roster players in a sketch for the 2012 Oscars, not much as been heard from him. But the writer/director is back at HBO with "Family Tree," a new comedy series that finds him back within the faux-doc aesthetic (which seemingly every sitcom uses now) and best of all, still retaining his touch for beautifully deadpan humor, rich wordplay and characters as odd as they are lovable too. In short, Guest hasn't lost a step.

Review: ‘Aftershock’ Is Like ‘Piranha 3D’ Meets ‘The Impossible’

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • May 10, 2013 12:04 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Eli Roth was hailed by none other than genre demigod Quentin Tarantino as “the future of horror” following his debut feature “Cabin Fever,” a grotesquely inventive chiller about a flesh-eating virus that has its way with a group of youngsters out camping in the woods. But since then, Roth hasn’t really lived up to the promise. He made two terrific “Hostel” movies (produced by Mr. Tarantino) but then drifted off the map, appearing as an actor in further QT adventures (“Death Proof,” “Inglourious Basterds”) and producing some forgettable schlock (“The Last Exorcism,” “Man with the Iron Fists”). With “Aftershock,” he makes a returning bid for the title of “the future of horror,” producing, co-writing and starring in a movie that uneasily mixes real-life tragedy with B-movie theatrics, using the 2010 Chilean earthquake as the backdrop for a movie that’s equal parts “Piranha 3D” and “The Impossible.”

Review: 'No One Lives' A Horrifyingly Dull Serial Killer Thriller

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 10, 2013 10:02 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Well, at the very least, "No One Lives" actually delivers on its title, however, it also tells you exactly what will happen in an already rote, routine and predictable movie. It's an R-rated horror flick that -- with a few obvious, quick cuts -- could easily be PG-13, perhaps indicating no one really knew what they wanted from the start. It's a movie that takes place mostly over the course of one night, utilizing a small handful of locations, but the low budget would suggest this was a choice of financing, rather than the requirements of the script. It's a movie that casts "Hey, it's that guy!" character actor Gary Grubbs in a part even too small and innocuous for him. Really, "No One Lives" isn't so much awful, but an example of a series of bad decisions that wind up resulting in a bad movie. Sometimes it's as simple as that.

Review: Two Sharp Performances Stranded By Limp Satire In 'And Now A Word From Our Sponsor'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 9, 2013 7:02 PM
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  • 0 Comments
There’s a nugget of a great satire within Zack Bernbaum’s “And Now A Word From Our Sponsor,” which begins with the discovery of missing advertising wizard Adan Kundle (Bruce Greenwood). A year has passed since the eccentric head of Kundle Advertising walked out of his office and disappeared, found passed out in front of a row of televisions in an electronics store. Physically, he’s fine: Greenwood is a perfect casting choice as a man seemingly born to sell. It’s fitting that in spite of a solid collection of big-screen roles, Greenwood has always seemed more at home on television. Distinguished but with a devilish grin, Greenwood can’t help but always seem like he’s just stepped out of a Gillette commercial.

Review: 'Venus And Serena' Offers an Intimate, Inspiring Look At The Williams Sisters

  • By Kimber Myers
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  • May 9, 2013 6:05 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Venus And Serena
Though it focuses primarily on the Willams’ career and personal lives in 2011, the documentary “Venus and Serena” covers their entire lives, beginning even before the elder Venus was born. Their father Richard Williams wrote an extensive plan for his daughters' success in tennis before Venus entered the world, not taking into account her abilities (or her sister Serena’s, for that matter). The film bounces between the near-present and the past, relating their training in the early ‘90s, growth and fame in the late ‘90s and maturity in the ‘00s and beyond. Footage from old interviews is interspersed with current-day interactions with the athletes to create a holistic picture of careers that are still going strong, despite opposition throughout their time as pros. Being raised in Compton doesn’t seem to fit with many people’s ideas about the normally aristocratic sport, and that resistance didn’t end once the Williams earned their fame and fortune.

Review: Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers' - Or 'Natural Born Campers' - Is A Black-Comedy Holiday Hoot

  • By James Rocchi
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  • May 9, 2013 5:07 PM
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  • 1 Comment
After "Down Terrace" and "Kill List," midnight-movie manqués and buffs in the know were wondering what director Ben Wheatley would do next; the answer is, apparently, make you laugh until you sound like a hole in the side of an airplane. "Sightseers," starring and written by Steve Oram and Alice Lowe, starts as Chris (Oram) and Tina (Lowe) embark on a camping tour of Britain, various caves and pencil museums and heritage sights -- a nice, relaxing trip for a couple in their third month of going out. Things go off the rails early, though, at a streetcar museum where Chris is incensed by a litterbug…and, later, distractedly backs over the man and kills him.

Review: Uwe Boll Cross-Breeds 'Taxi Driver' With The Occupy Movement In Tone-Deaf 'Assault On Wall Street'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 8, 2013 6:29 PM
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  • 0 Comments
It’s time to stop treating Uwe Boll like some once-in-a-lifetime nightmare behind the camera, and to start acknowledging that he’s just another substandard genre filmmaker. He’s Lucio Fulci without the aesthetics and kinky fetishes, Takashi Miike without the profane poetry, Roger Corman without the imagination or generosity. No longer do you need to say, “Oh, I have GOT to see the newest Uwe Boll movie, that guy is terrible!” No, Boll’s talents and skillset have improved to the point where the gotta-see-it appeal of his earlier mistakes has hardened into a pragmatic, dull sensibility allowing his output to become a cottage industry of annual releases set to be engulfed by the pit of Netflix Streaming before falling into oblivion. The sensationalist documentary about Boll’s career that we all envisioned would likely have run out of things to say about the filmmaker before we reached the deadening 99%-er vigilante drama “Assault On Wall Street.”
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Review: Race And Class Issues Clash With Lowbrow Comedy In 'Peeples'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • May 8, 2013 6:01 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Peeples
You’d be forgiven if you expected Tyler Perry to influence a large chunk of “Peeples,” the latest film to carry his name like a neon sign promising broad comedy and aggressive but dubious morality. Even the beginning seems to hum with the predictable rhythms of Perry’s multi-movie empire, with a dark screen soundtracked to the purr of a man’s voice introducing a particularly holy gospel tune. It’s a clever strategy for writer-director Tina Gordon Chism, who soon reveals that this is comic actor Craig Robinson, crooning to a classroom filled with children about the need to avoid urinating on others. At once, you’re assured that this film is going to explore places Perry normally wouldn’t dare… and surely places maybe you wouldn’t seek either.

SFIFF Review: 'Inori' Is A Gentle Look At A Slowly Fading, Traditional Way Of Life

  • By Sean Gillane
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  • May 7, 2013 7:57 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Pedro Gonzáles-Rubio’s “Inori” (Japanese for prayer) is set in Kannogawa, Japan, a dying town. There’s no menacing factory in the background spewing smoke or a horrible natural disaster in the recent past haunting the town. In fact, the environment we’re introduced to is serenely beautiful; a misty mountain showing off with its thick forests. The ancient land is treated patiently and meditatively by Gonzáles-Rubio’s camera, giving the sense that this place is eternal. It’s only the human life that’s fading away.

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