I hated this movie. HATED it!

Is it worth $10? No

Sometimes you go to a movie with high but reasonable expectations and are positively shocked by how much you hate it.

“Tomorrowland” is one of those times. It starts with blatant Disney promotions, gets lost in a convoluted story, forgets to include its star (George Clooney) for a good hour, guilts us with a lecture on how people don’t appreciate Earth, and ends with a bunch of faux science that makes no sense. It’s so head-scratchingly bad it’s unbelievable.

Similar to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the story is loosely inspired by the “Tomorrowland” sections at Disney theme parks. This explains why Space Mountain is in the film’s poster, the song “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” is heard in the beginning, and the “It’s A Small World” ride is how young Frank (Thomas Robinson) first gets to the alternate dimension known as “Tomorrowland.”

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It’s crazy to think video games have turned into real war

Is it worth $10? Yes

Is it okay to be cowardly if you're saving lives?

The premise of "Good Kill" focuses on aerial drone attacks in the Middle East that are remotely flown from an air-conditioned trailer in Las Vegas. The benefits to U.S. military personnel are obvious: Pilots aren’t in danger, multiple points of view are provided, and the enemy never knows when a strike is imminent.

“Drones aren’t going anywhere,” Lt. Col. Jack Johns (Bruce Greenwood) says, adding, “in fact, they’re going everywhere.” It is not a mistake that as he speaks behind Johns is an oversized American flag, and in front of him is a room of eager soldiers. Writer/director Andrew Niccol is clearly channeling the similar “call to arms” speech in “Patton” (1970), and that evocation alone is enough to remind us how much the art of war has changed since World War II.

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A simple but highly effective plea for serenity

Is it worth $10? Yes

Placid desert vistas are interrupted by the unmistakable sound of automatic gunfire in the opening scene of Abderrahmane Sissako's Oscar-nominated drama "Timbuktu." Tellingly, an ISIS-type gang in a pickup truck tracks a sprinting gazelle. "Don't kill it, tire it," shouts one of the malefactors.
To Americans on the east coast, desert lands such as the Mali surrounding Timbuktu look almost otherworldly. Note the similarities to the landscapes of Tatooine, Skywalker's home planet in "Star Wars" (1977). That what you see in this film and, say, in a Wal-Mart in New Jersey, exist on the same planet seems doubtful, yet the riddle of our time is how to prevent disparities from become hostilities.

The militia's attempts to install sharia in the West African city are mild, even comically pitiful--at first. They're a rough and ready bunch: the motorbike, the rifle, the megaphone. Instead of the familiar aghast feeling--considering the subject matter, the film has relatively little violence--Sissako provides intermittent laughter at the expense of the egomaniacal, thuggish frauds under their primitive black flags. It's good to see the deeply conflicted, middle-aged Abdelkrim, for example, struggling as he learns to drive a stickshift pickup. You also see how most of the victims in this multinational power-grab are Muslim, many of them peaceful herdsmen or fishermen.

"I do jihad on myself. I swear I don't have time for other people's jihad," says a town elder, describing his daily inner struggle (jihad) for greater spirituality. The AK-47-carrying militant encroaching on the mosque seems perplexed by the calm demeanor and wise words of the local man who has, nonetheless, just dispatched of him. The older man has one more parting challenge for the coercer: "Remember the words of Allah the Almighty: 'So pardon them. Once you've made a decision, put your trust in Allah, for He loves those who rely upon him.'" And the few words of the spiritual man say more than endless legions of television pundits.

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If you fake being handicapped, shame on you

Like a pack of motorized cotton-topped buzzards, I watch as you gather at the front of the long movie screening line. Usually the same ten to fifteen, 65 years and older group of retired freeloading movie leeches are at every damn screening. I get it you are on a fixed income and this is a way for you to get out and socialize. I just have a hard time believing your movie tastes encompass everything from "Paranormal Activity" to "The SpongeBob Movie." Plus if you really need those motorized scooters to get around, which conveniently give you front of the line access, maybe you should keep the charade up and not park them, then climb seven levels of stairs for a better seat. If you’re going to fake being handicapped, at least play it out by sitting in the handicapped seats.

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"American Sniper" brings the story of the deadliest marksman in American history to life

When the word “hero” is used in pop culture, it tends to have the word “super” in front of it. The word conjures up images of the likes of Batman, Iron Man, and Wolverine et al. Only in extraordinary circumstances do we look to heroes in real life. One thing is for sure: To the countless lives that Navy SEAL Chris Kyle saved during his four tours of duty in Iraq—and their families—the man who they refer to as the “Legend” is a hero. Director Clint Eastwood’s soulfully rendered and Oscar nominated movie “American Sniper” is a hero’s story.

After briefly flashing back to show a young Chris Kyle (Cole Konis) developing his shooting skills and his steadfast, noble trait of protecting others—two elements that form the basis of his success as a SEAL—we see an older Kyle (Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper) riding in rodeos and drinking beers in Texas. He knows that he has a greater purpose in life, and feels that the way to actualize that purpose is to join the Navy. In the recruitment office, he chooses to become a SEAL.

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I can't think of another comedian who could've gotten away with this monologue

Racism is supposed to be a taboo topic for a white comedian, largely because as a society we idiotically believe that you need to be of a race in order to make fun of that race, even though that discrimination in itself is a form of racism. No matter: Louis C.K. tip-toed through the sketchy boundaries of racial humor in his opening monologue on last week's "Saturday Night Live," then went on to humorously point out what we can’t help to think must be true: That child molesters must really enjoy what they do, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

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This may end up being the best action movie of the year

Is it worth $10? Yes

So this is what a two-hour action scene looks like.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is 120 minutes of noise, action, and more noise. It’s an unrelenting assault on the eyes and ears that almost feels invasive, as if director George Miller wants us to experience every bone-crushing moment rather than simply watch it. Boy is this a helluva ride.

There is no story. We’re talking absolute zero in terms of plot. We have people on the run and people trying to catch them. That’s it. The entire movie is one long chase, with small breaks to map out strategy before the next fight starts. It’s episodic, and feels like a video game: After one level/fight is complete you move on to the next, more challenging fight. Coincidentally, video game play and “Mad Max” have the same core objective: survival.

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Recent Articles

Tomorrowland *1/2
I hated this movie. HATED it! Is it worth ...
Good Kill **1/2
It’s crazy to think video games have turned ...
Timbuktu ****
A simple but highly effective plea for ...
Asshole of the Week: Fake Handicapped People At Free Promotional Screenings
If you fake being handicapped, shame on you Like ...
Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: American Sniper
"American Sniper" brings the story of the ...

Summer Movie Preview!

Not intended to be an all-inclusive list — just a look ahead to the ten movies I’m most looking forward to this summer, divided into originals and sequels. Release dates in parenthesis. Enjoy!


Tomorrowland (May 22)
With “The Incredibles” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” director Brad Bird has earned our trust. At first glance the trailer looks like another glossy sci-fi futuristic action adventure, but in Bird’s capable hands and with George Clooney leading the way this could be something truly special. And who knows? Something (or someone) from the movie could end up inside the Tomorrowland at Disney!

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