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Robert Rodriguez's "Machete Kills" is a sequel based on an end-credits joke from a film that was itself based on a joke trailer contained within a half-joke grindhouse homage. Exactly how many degrees such an endeavor is removed from anything resembling serious cinema would require Jean Baudrillard to calculate, yet for more immediate filmgoing purposes, all there is to see here is a surprisingly long-lived gag finally running out of gas. As violent as its predecessor yet noticeably duller and less outrageous, "Machete Kills" is dragged to the finish line entirely by its director's madcap energy and an absurd cast of major stars in strange cameos.
In an age when we're able to consume content so many different ways — and that's a good thing, mostly — let's declare right now that there's only one truly correct way to experience "Gravity," Alfonso Cuaron's thrilling new space film.
When Osama bin Laden was assassinated, it felt like the War on Terror’s big climax. The enemy was defeated, America rejoiced, and a bright new day was born. Two years later, troops are still in the Middle East, lives are still being lost, and undisclosed wars are still taking place right under our noses. It’s a war without an end. That’s one of the many sad truths explored in “Dirty Wars,” a documentary that’s significant, admirable, and occasionally shocking, although never really profound.
A social-conscience espionage film that has actually thought about its "eco-terrorism" themes beyond figuring out how to mine them for suspense, "The East" sends a straight-laced overachiever undercover with a violent eco-vigilante group. Zal Batmanglij and cowriter/star Brit Marling deliver a consistently tense, morally alert story that has plenty of box-office appeal.
I can’t think of a country that doesn’t have something like Memorial Day. Whether democratic or totalitarian or anything in between, national honors are paid annually to those who have given their lives for their countries.
In the galaxy of big-screen superheros — a rather glum lot — Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man is the snappy one.
Once again it happens with sickening suddenness — a jolting shock that alters and cruelly mocks our assumption of “normalcy.”
As you know, we had one assault weapons ban (1994 – 2004). What good did this ban do? During this first assault weapons ban we experienced the most horrific school shooting in our nation’s history — the Columbine Massacre.
In the eight years I’ve taken on the regular duty of reviewing movies, 2012 just might have been the best. It wasn’t easy compiling a top 30 list for a 12-month period of so many diverse, outstanding films. I found myself having to make some absolutely painful snubs, including “Flight,” “The Sessions,” “The Hobbit: An Expected Journey,” and a little cinematic masterpiece by the name of “21 Jump Street.” In the end though, I managed to narrow the list down to the 20 titles that best encompass 2012 in all its glory. If you’re still behind on the movies of yesteryear, consider this your ultimate movie guide to 2012.
In the eight years I’ve taken on the regular duty of reviewing movies, 2012 just might have been the best.
NEW YORK — If you just looked at the cast and crew of "Skyfall," you could easily confuse the assembled talent for a prestige costume drama. Director Sam Mendes, actors Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes, and cinematographer Roger Deakins might just as easily be mounting a Shakespeare adaptation.
A true-crime author stumbles onto something beyond his beat in Scott Derrickson's "Sinister," which follows Ethan Hawke's Ellison Oswalt as he grows increasingly obsessed with a missing-girl case he hopes will lead to a bestselling book. Occasionally stupid (stretching even fright-flick conventions) but scary nonetheless, the pic should please horror fans.
The Cult has just released its first new full-length album in five years, "Choice of Weapon." A long time has passed since the British hard-rock band ruled MTV with tunes like "She Sells Sanctuary" and "Wild Flower," but on its ninth studio recording, produced by Chris Goss and longtime collaborator Bob Rock, the group still makes a wonderful racket. You can hear it Friday when The Cult performs at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
When a film sails in on a wave of high expectations, disappointment is near inevitable. It may not be genuine, deep disappointment—as many felt after last summer’s sci-fi flick “Super 8”—but the kind that lurks in the back of your mind and reminds you of everything you wish a film had been.
LOS ANGELES — Since hatching "Alien" 33 years ago, Ridley Scott has hoped no other filmmakers would try to answer this question: Where did the space eggs containing those terrifying beasts come from?
One night in January 2004, Arizona State sports information director Doug Tammaro sat at dinner in Seattle with friend and former ASU player Pat Tillman and asked for a small favor. Tammaro wanted to put a picture of Tillman, who had starred in football at ASU and in the NFL before giving up the game to serve in the Army, wearing his military uniform in the football team's media guide.
Ernst Ulrik Persson was one of the greatest men Erika Will of Mesa and her sister Michelle Langowski never knew.
“These gangs are very, very dangerous. They are organized like a crime syndicate,” said Tempe City Mana ger Charlie Meyer (reported in the Arizona Republic, March 12).
“On my way to the store on Tuesday I thought I would stop at the polls and vote. I have voted many times over the years, but for the first time I couldn’t think of any candidate honorable enough to stand in line for.”
By now, everyone's seen at least a still picture of the four American soldiers urinating on dead Taliban.
The response to President Barack Obama’s Oct. 14 announcement that U.S. military boots were on the ground in Africa to assist in another “overseas contingency” “non-war” operation in Africa is another example of the left’s ever-evolving definition of war based upon which political party is in control.
In those days before kids, I was fast asleep when the phone by my bed rang at about half past six in the morning. It was my father calling. Planes had flown into the World Trade Center. America was being attacked. I knocked on the door of my guest bedroom to awaken a visiting friend. Together, thousands of miles from New York and Washington, we experienced the day - the fall of one tower and then the other, the attack on the Pentagon, the confusion, the rumors, the terror - the way most Americans did: watching television in stunned silence. It's not just that we all still remember where we were when we heard; it's that at that very moment we knew we would always remember.
“Now that Osama Bin Laden is officially dead, I wonder what bogey man our government will come up with to frighten the American sheeple into handing over our money and our constitutional liberties in the name of ‘fighting terrorism?’ ”
Football long ago turned into the great American pastime in terms of sports movies.