Review: Spy

With the phenomenal success of the James Bond franchise – 23 films and counting – it’s no surprise that suave, debonair spies are fruitful ground for satire and parody. Starting almost with the first 007 movie, filmmakers have found cheap laughs and wry social commentary an easy mix, whether it’s James Coburn as Derek Flint, Dean Martin as Matt Helm, Mike Myers as Austin Powers or the 70’s TV series Get Smart and its entertaining 2008 cinematic film…Read More

Review: Furious 7

Can a film be successful purely because of its special effects? That’s the key question around this seventh entry in the Fast and Furious franchise, and the answer is unfortunately obvious: yes, it can, and Furious 7 is going to be a success, in spite of the fact that there’s so much wrong with the movie. A franchise built around flawed action heroes whose superpower is the ability to drive cars quickly is on shaky ground…Read More

Review: The Mechanic

There’s a certain suspension of disbelief required for all cinema, an acceptance that what we’re seeing on screen is “reality” rather than a bunch of actors, lighting specialists, sound techs, set builders, cinematographers and a director all collaborating to tell a compelling story. With some genres of film, there’s a second level of belief required, one where the viewer has to also accept the basic premise of the film. That’s where The Mechanic fails miserably,…Read More

Review: The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone! Jason Statham! Randy Couture! Dolph Lundgren! Jet Li! How can you be a fan of action movies and not love the idea of teaming them all up as a mercenary army ready to take on the biggest bad guys in the world? That’s how Stallone undoubtedly lined up the funding for this big, loud mess of a movie. Actually, The Expendables is worse than that, because the first half of the film is…Read More

The Worst Films of 2009

2009 was a big year: I started out as a film fan who went to the theater maybe once every 2-3 weeks and otherwise lazily waited until movies made it onto the premium cable channels before I saw them. Not a lack of motivation, just a busy life. Early in 2009 I started to write a series of columns for Linux Journal on how to create a Twitter queueing system and my example subject was…Read More