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February 2013

Film Review - War Witch


“War Witch” isn’t a message-minded film looking to expose the horrors of the world in a coldly academic manner. It’s a character piece with a loosely defined narrative, with an unusual sense of stillness to depict matters of tremendous horror. Writer/director Kim Nguyen constructs a harrowing portrait of innocence lost with minimal hysteria, finding a richer sense of experience by restraining graphic violence and contrived characterization. Infused with Terrence Malick spices, “War Witch” aims for ambiance as a way to approach its searing images of war, keeping the viewer unnerved instead of outraged when inspecting the troubles of Africa. Read the rest at

Film Review - So Undercover


“So Undercover” represents star Miley Cyrus’s attempt to distance herself from the tween entertainment she’s known for, without upsetting her fanbase. It’s more adult in design, trying to toughen up the actress with action and intrigue, while remaining attentive to the needs of light comedy and romantic interests. It’s not an especially impressive picture, but its hunt to find something new for Cyrus to do on-screen is interesting, building a bridge between her cheery “Hannah Montana” work and her thespian intentions for the future. “So Undercover” offers Cyrus brandishing guns, dodging explosions, and engaging in terrible improvisations. The little Disney star is all grown up, though Cyrus in need of a script that’s as interested in maturity as she is. Read the rest at

Film Review - Warm Bodies

WARM BODIES Nicholas Hoult

Just when the zombie subgenre had seen enough of panicky survivors, the stumbling undead, and doomsday landscapes of ruin, “Warm Bodies” swoops in to save the day, or at least refreshes the concept long enough to get excited about the prospect of watching brain-munchers on the big screen again. Imaginatively directed and wonderfully performed, “Warm Bodies” is a strange hybrid of zombies and Shakespeare, bringing a tilted romantic comedy take on survival horror. The disorientation is bliss, with the effort finding inventive ways to attack the routine, showing amazing ability with a challenging tonal juggling act few filmmakers could pull off. Read the rest at

Film Review - Bullet to the Head


After his career crumbled in the early 2000s, Sylvester Stallone went on the defensive, returning to characters and genres that provided his biggest successes, using this safety net to engineer his own creative path as a writer/director. The second wind resulted in “Rocky Balboa,” “Rambo,” and “The Expendables,” three solid pictures of undeniable popcorn appeal and unexpectedly potent atmospherics, restoring some wattage to the star’s marquee value. “Bullet to the Head” (shot before last summer’s “The Expendables 2”) is a return to Stallone’s actor-for-hire bad habits. It’s an entertaining wad of macho goofballery, no doubt, but without a tight grip of creative control and the element of surprise, this actioner comes up short in lasting appeal. Read the rest at