‘Hangover 2’: Hair of the dog

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I had considered possibly resubmitting my initial review for “The Hangover” for its sequel, since that is all the writers of the latest film had done. But then I realized everything I found fresh and funny the first go-round had gone a bit stale in this second serving.

Plus, I don’t think the Cape Gazette would have paid me for it again for the same article. Continue reading

‘Panda’: All gut, and glory

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Despite a darker tone, Po’s fists of furry fury are just as engaging in “Kung Fu Panda 2,” a solid product from DreamWorks Animation, which has been milking its cash cow… or ogre, rather, churning out increasingly inferior “Shrek” sequels.

DreamWorks nailed it last year with one of the year’s best animated films, “How to Teain Your Dragon.” But in the sequel department, its subsequent “Shrek” and “Madagascar” films dropped precipitously in quality. Continue reading

‘Priest’: Holy shit

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Welcome, parishioners! Our reading today will be from the Book of Paul (Bettany).

It’s the story of a young, striking, classically trained actor with a promising future led into temptation by the draw of the monetary gain of crappy genre films. It’s a familiar tale, originally found in the Book of Julian (Sands).

Back in the early ‘80s, Sands was the overseas thinking-woman’s hunk. Starring in two back-to-back Oscar-winning films (“The Killing Fields” and “Room with a View”), Sands was rocketing skyward. But along came a little film called “Warlock,” that changed the direction of his career. From that point, he filled his resume with films like “Witch Hunt,” “Tale of the Vampire,” and “Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunter.” Continue reading

‘Thor’: It’s hammer time!

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I must admit, for all the Avengers amassing, “Thor” was the character for whom I held the most doubt.

For the uninitiated, Marvel Comics is toiling away at an epic comic concoction filled with its bankable superheroes. Over the past few years, it has been skillfully crafting the wildly diverse origin stories of these crusaders, starting in 2008 with “Iron Man,'” followed by “The Incredible Hulk,” and concluding this summer with “Thor” and “Captain America.” They will unite next summer on screen under the direction of geek overlord Joss Whedon (“Buffy, The Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and author of several comic book miniseries) in what is anticipated to be one of the biggest nerd-gasms the box office has seen in quite some time. Continue reading

‘Thor’: It’s hammer time!

I must admit, for all the Avengers amassing, “Thor” was the character for whom I held the most doubt.

For the uninitiated, Marvel Comics is toiling away at an epic comic concoction filled with its bankable superheroes. Over the past few years, it has been skillfully crafting the wildly diverse origin stories of these crusaders, starting in 2008 with “Iron Man,'” followed by “The Incredible Hulk,” and concluding this summer with “Thor” and “Captain America.” They will unite next summer on screen under the direction of geek overlord Joss Whedon (“Buffy, The Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and author of several comic book miniseries) in what is anticipated to be one of the biggest nerd-gasms the box office has seen in quite some time. Continue reading

Saving the best for ‘Fast’

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“Fast Five” is like “Inception” created for a“Jersey Shore” audience.

What is more shocking than that union is that it’s not a bad move. It only took producers five tries, but it seems this one gets it right.

For we are now in our fifth outing with the gears, girls and guns franchise known originally as “The Fast and the Furious,” and for all intents and purposes, the treads on the series’ tires should be quite thin by now. But somehow, “Five” defies common cinematic laws and manages to become the most entertaining, coherent and flat-out fun installment to date. Continue reading

‘Scream’: Another stab at relevance

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I was recently asked to participate in a “Scream” retrospective podcast in anticipation of the latest installment of the franchise. To brush up, I revisited the original and its two sequels after not having seen them for years.

What I had noticed was that, after years of sequels, spoofs, sequels to those spoofs, rip-offs and cinematic references, I had forgotten most of the primary films’ essentials. My memories were clouded with lesser films and the mocking send-ups of some of the original’s more climactic moments. Continue reading

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