The Internship
Like the boss that fired them, the internship supervisors and even the other interns tell Billy and Nick they’re dinosaurs who won’t accept the new world. It’s ironic given that we’re watching a movie where Vaughn and Wilson are doing the same old things...  To its credit, the advertised “team that brought you Wedding Crashers” hasn’t tarnished the legacy of the 2005 hit. That movie was an R-rated raunchy sensation, and smartly, they never did a sequel... So at the very least – instead of saying “Wedding Crashers 2 sucked,” audiences will ultimately just forget.  Maybe they’ll even have to Google:  “Other Movie Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson made.” Full review is at



Trouble With The Curve  (Kept Checking My Watch)

Movie fans though should be upset that after a wonderful performance as a curmudgeon with deep rooted issues in the drama Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood rescinded his retirement to play a curmudgeon with deep rooted issues in Trouble With The Curve.  He left us with a great performance and came back with a watered-down version of the same character. Last year, Moneyball proved that a movie could be made about baseball, the people who play it, the people who work for it and the people who love it could tell a compelling story in a whole new way... Traditionalists who don’t want their baseball movies without the standard clichés will take comfort...  The trouble with Trouble With The Curve is it never throws us one.   
Full review at

Total Recall 
The original Total Recall veered away from any deep thinking, but if memory serves, that’s OK. It was 1990. It was practically still the 80s, and Arnold was the biggest movie star in the world. We were willing to sacrifice a brainy sci-fi plot for some Schwarzeneggerian fun.... It was “An Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie.” This isn’t “A Colin Farrell Movie" – it’s one any hunky action hero looking for a paycheck could have starred in...Other than a couple of cliché moments where characters yell things at Quaid, like “She’s lying! Shoot her!”, you don’t really question what is the movie’s or Quaid’s reality."
Link to the full review is at my examiner page.    

Jack and Jill 
Adam Sandler was never really a great sketch comic – his characters on SNL were always just different levels of goofy, so it’s not like we should have expected his new Jack and Jill to be any kind of return to form... It’s Sandler wearing make-up and a dress.   Sandler’s Jill is hideous to look at and obnoxious to listen to.  The occasional tear doesn’t make her endearing; it just makes us sympathize with Jack.  That’s not what we’re supposed to do though, since this movie shoehorns in a “value of family” message to try and make us leave the theater smiling...  If there’s anything good about Jack and Jill, it’s Al Pacino hamming it up as an eccentric over-the-top version of himself.  Perhaps the finest actor of his generation is the funniest thing in an Adam Sandler movie. Go figure.
Full review at


All one can think while sitting through Contagion is:  “why would anyone want to watch this?”  There is nothing thrilling about Contagion.  Movies about viruses rapidly spreading and threatening to wipe out civilization shouldn’t necessarily be fun, but they should be able to put you on the edge of your seat.  Contagion just shows one person after another getting sick, and one researcher after another furrowing their brows worrying...  one also wonders “what am I supposed to get out of this?”...  the ultimate message is there is nothing you can do if a deadly disease wants to take you out.  Unless you’re the doctor who knows how to synthesize an antidote, this movie has no message for you other than:  “don’t touch your face so much” and “always be sure to wash your hands.”
Full review at



All they really have, though, is a concept, and while it would be nice to lose yourself in a fantasy world of talking animals, you can’t do that during a bland movie.  Instead, you have time to think about all of its flaws.  But in the era of CGI and Pixar, there is no real excuse for poor special effects to make animals talk.  It may seem quaint to simply have mouths moving on real animals, but it doesn’t look convincing enough after what we’ve seen in other movies.  I never believed Stallone was the lion.  I believed he recorded his dialogue, they pointed a camera at a lion and drew in a moving mouth.
Full review at


There’s a much loved and much quoted moment in the original Arthur between Dudley Moore’s title character and John Gielgud’s butler Hobson that sums up their relationship perfectly.  The soused millionaire announces he’s going to take a bath.  Hobson follows with the classically droll line:  “I’ll alert the media.”  The new Arthur follows the template of the original script fairly closely, yet doesn’t come up with a moment that’s close to as revealing or as funny as that... Arthur’s story plays out in a completely predictable and routine way... Worse than being predictable, the movie is dull –and lacking any edge. Consider yourself alerted by the media.
Full review at 


Battle: Los Angeles    
It’s like District 9 without the depth, the symbolism or the context.  It’s like Independence Day without the fun, the wit or the inspirational leader to get his country through.  Battle: Los Angeles is quite simply a big loud battle in Los Angeles between a U.S. Marine unit and an invading horde of aliens.... it’s all very by-the-book and very procedural – too procedural for a movie audience...  How long can you watch people fire at an unknown enemy before you feel like you’re just watching target practice?... It’s kind of a futile mission, and ironically, a waste of time.
Full review at


Just Go With It   
The movie’s title sure is asking a lot of us...   Sandler's set himself up as a successful, rich plastic surgeon – and notorious lothario.  Sandler has the tough choice of whether or not to be with Jennifer Aniston or Brooklyn Decker.  And this is not played for absurdist laughs.  We’re supposed to “just go with it” and buy that the star of Little Nicky and The Waterboy can pull that off...   Through his years of womanizing, we’re supposed to believe he somehow never noticed Katherine before they had to pretend to be married.  Like a female Clark Kent, her glasses kept him from noticing she looks like – well, Jennifer Aniston.  He’s a plastic surgeon who has done thousands of breast operations, yet until she goes swimming, he never noticed she’s built like – well, Jennifer Aniston. 
Full review at


Let’s hope the paranormal activity in Paranormal Activity 2 is more exciting than the paranormal activity in Hereafter.   This critic opted to get all critic-y and chose the advance screening of the film with the higher pedigree.   At first glance, it appears to be Eastwood’s first attempt at a supernatural thriller, but as you might expect, it also attempts to be something more... What it is is horribly disappointing and incredibly boring.
Full review at



Legend of the Guardians 
“Knock knock... Who’s there?... Who... Who who?... And now you can insert your own lame owl joke.  You’ll want to find something to laugh at if you sit through this pretentious, dark, humorless animated film from the director of Watchmen and 300.  This reviewer’s punchline to the knock knock joke:  “Who is this for?”  Who sat and watched the Zack Snyder’s grim and gritty Watchmen or ultra-violent 300 and thought:  “This guy should make a kid’s movie?”...  OK, there was one moment I laughed out loud, but given the seriousness of the 90 minutes before it, you know it wasn’t meant as a “wink wink” moment.  Soren is flying into battle, and he hears the Obi Wan Kenobi-like voice of his mentor:  “Use your gizzard, Soren.”  If you can’t have a character wink at the audience after a line like that, you take yourself way too seriously.
Full review at



Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore  
If you’ve got little kids who love cats and dogs, you could take them and they’ll probably enjoy it.  If you’re seeing this movie for any other reason, Kitty will have had her revenge on you... I had to be reminded that this movie is actually a sequel!  The original Cats & Dogs, about well, cats and dogs who when we aren’t looking, can actually talk.  It came out in 2001.  The little tykes who chuckled at that one have moved on The Revenge of Justin Bieber and are too cool to want to revisit that world.  In this day and age, is the best idea for a special effects movie really just live animals with their mouths moving?  Doesn’t that happen in cat food commercials?
Full review at


Sex and the City 2 
Sex and the City the movie was a huge hit, so with the sequel just two years later, the girls kind of feel like they can do whatever they want.  They give the fans what they want in an over-the-top self-indulgent fashion (while wearing a lot of over-the-top self-indulgent fashions) ...has all the elements in place for a good, extended episode of Sex and the CityThen after about 45 minutes, the girls leave the city. Then the movie becomes just plain stupid... They are living out a fantasy just because they can.
Didn’t they learn from their first hiatus that we want them to be themselves?
Full review at

Just Wright 
This movie isn’t too hard.  It isn’t too soft.  But something about Just Wright isn’t right either.  The drama is never intense enough to have you concerned about the characters.  It’s never funny enough to be considered a romantic comedy... Queen Latifah is a beautiful woman, but because of her size, she isn’t always thought of as a sex symbol like some of her glamorous colleagues..  But does the movie have to be afraid to say that’s why McKnight falls for her gorgeous friend first?.. if Leslie isn’t going to show us her insecurities, how can the audience ever doubt things will turn out just right?...  Just Wright is really just… there.
Full review at

Clash of the Titans   
"Just release the Kraken already. “Release The Kraken” is a catchphrase that’s endured among fans of the 1981 original.  The studio behind the new one has made sure we hear the phrase in all the promos.  And as I sat there watching the new one, I wanted them to release the Kraken so I could see the cool special effects and then be released from sitting through this underwhelming remake... Liam Neeson is Zeus.  Ralph Fiennes is Hades.  I couldn’t help but wonder if two of them looked at each other, rolled their eyes and said:  “Dude, what happened here?  We were in Schindler's List”."
Full review at

Our Family Wedding 
"Two cultures come together – but not with a bit of wit or originality.  Seriously, the best they could come up with was a grandma fainting at the site of her future black grandson-in-law.  Perhaps there’s no pleasing me, because if the bulk of the movie had played to stereotypes I would have blasted it for pandering... If we don’t see them embrace their own cultures, why should we believe the two fathers are so proud of their own?  The filmmakers would probably point to the overly long wedding itself – which is an explosion of poorly done slapstick, offensive stereotypes and loud reminders of everyone’s ethnicity.  It’s as if they forgot the racial comedy had no racial themes, so they crammed them all into the end.
Full review at


Dear John   
Dear Young Women of America:  If you were into The Notebook, you’ll probably want to see Dear John.  And the film’s creators will do everything they can to manipulate you into liking it...  John is on leave from the U.S. Army Special Forces visiting his father in South Carolina.  He’s a big heroic lunk – a good boy now but there are hints that he used to be a bad boy.  He also spends a lot of time shirtless.  Savannah is an unbelievably good girl.  She’s a wide-eyed blonde all the boys like.  She thinks she has a bad girl streak because she swears – in her head!  Her ambition:  to someday open a ranch where autistic kids can play with horses (Wow, that’s unbelievably word-in-Savannah’s-head-ing wholesome)!...  pretty much everything we see coming in the most cornball presentation possible.
(For the record -- I actually don't mind The Notebook)
Full review at

Did You Hear About The Morgans?  
It has an intriguing and somewhat unique enough premise, or at least one that should have made it stand out from other romantic comedies.  But once the creators had the initial idea, they let laziness set in...  Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant do just enough to remind you they’re Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant and aren’t other actors in disguise.  She’s a quirky yet sophisticated gal who loves New York City and wants to talk about her relationships.  He’s a droll Englishman with a witty charm who hides his true feelings.  They’ve each done these parts so many times before that they’re just phoning it in here.  Their delivery is so slow and so familiar; they both seem bored the entire time."
Full review at



Indiana Jones fans will know about the moment that separated the fourth movie from the classics: it’s been nicknamed the “nuke the fridge” moment.  Without giving away too much, Indy escapes certain death thanks to a refrigerator, and the audience who’s been with Indy through snakes, rolling boulders and temples of doom finally rolls its eyes and says “oh, come on.”  2012 is a two and a half hour “nuke the fridge” moment.  John Cusack’s character is either the greatest driver who ever lived or the luckiest SOB on the planet...  Let’s hope the Mayans’ prediction that something terrible would happen in 2012 has been mistranslated into “something terrible will happen that’s called 2012.”  Full review at

The Ugly Truth  
"I kid you not:  at my screening of The Ugly Truth, the film broke right at the film’s climax.  Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler were acting out the pivotal scene that you knew was coming, and the film broke.  I could have waited for the film to be fixed just so I could see the last minute in between the unimaginative climax and the credits, but at that point, I had already correctly predicted every other single thing that was going to happen.  Why wait when I’m sure I know?...  If you think you know everything about Abby and Mike…  you’re right, you do.  These two characters are stereotypes, written with no imagination and acted with no originality by Heigl and Butler. 
Full review at

Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen  
"It didn’t make a bit of sense to me, and with all the noise of machines fighting each other, I didn’t have time to figure it out.  Looking back, that’s hard to believe since the movie runs to overkill length of nearly 2 ½ hours.  The basic idea is that an evil robot called “The Fallen” has decided now is the time for his fellow evil Transformers – called “Decepticons” – to rise up and take over the planet.  Why now?  I don’t know.  If they were living among us all along, what took ‘em so long?...  When the mechanical arms start flying and the roar of machines blare through the speakers, I’ll be damned if I can figure out which one is the Autobot and which one is the Decepticon."
Full review at

Battle For Terra 
"Conservative groups or anyone with an ax to grind against the environmental movement should stay away from—and not talk about -- the animated 3-D adventure Battle for Terra.  Bringing attention to this movie could generate publicity and encourage people to see it, and that will hurt your cause.  I won’t reveal where I stand on environmental issues, but I will reveal where I stand on bad movies:  I’m against them."
Full review at

Observe and Report 
"If I may, I’ll quote myself from my Paul Blart: Mall Cop review referencing one of the few things I liked:  “It’s kind of funny that Paul took an oath as a security guard to ‘observe and report’ and he works a Segway very well – we needed more of that kind of law enforcement parody earlier on.” ... Boy, not only did writer/director Jody Hill and the usually likeable Seth Rogen give us a movie that sucks just as bad as Paul Blart, but one that’s kind of unsettling... if you feel like you’ve seen this before – you have and you haven’t.  But do yourself a favor and pretend you have.
Full review at

"Had Adventureland come out when I was still a teenager in the 80s, I would have thought this was a classic.  It has sex, loud music, parties and a story about young adults trying to make it in the real world.  But with my adult perspective, I can’t help but think Adventureland is bland and a little sad...    When all is said and done, Adventureland is probably pretty accurate portraying coming of age in the 80s, but it can’t hold up to a coming-of-age movie from the 80s. 

(Oh -- and Rochester readers -- look not just for Kristen Wiig but for a Foreigner tribute band!)
Full review at

The Pink Panther 2
"If I told you there’d be a movie starring a comedy dream team of Steve Martin, John Cleese and Lily Tomlin – and that it would be based on a concept by Blake Edwards and performed by Peter Sellers – you would have a right to be excited...  It’s amazing that the movie makers had the audacity to remake the classic to begin with and the arrogance to start the counter back at one."   
Full review at

Underworld:  Rise of the Lycans 
"Maybe the worst part of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is that it’s very, very dark.  You can’t see much onscreen, and worse:  there isn’t a moment of daylight to let you glance at your watch... With the corny overacting and the flowery speeches of main Lycan Lucian , it just comes off as goofy.  It’s a war between an army of vampires and an army of werewolves – I kept wondering if an army of Frankenstein monsters would jump in and take sides."
Full review at

Paul Blart:  Mall Cop 
"The title makes you hopeful you’ll get a movie with some big, dumb laughs. You want to see a guy who’s over-confident and takes his job way too seriously..  I can’t laugh at this guy. I’d be as big a jerk as the sales clerks who make fun of him.. I can’t laugh with him either because the movie isn’t very funny... This could have been the first movie about Black Friday to open on Black Friday.  Why not take advantage of the symmetry and the marketing opportunities and open then?  Oh yeah: because it stinks. And the good movies released at the same time would have Paul Blart: Mall Cop escorted from the building."
Full review at

Yes Man
Jim, Jim, Jim… why, after saying “yes” to The Majestic, Fun With Dick and Jane, and The Number 23 would you say “yes” to starring in a bad movie about a guy who has to say “yes” to everything?  You kind of asked for this, no?  So allll-righty then…
Full review at

The Alphabet Killer 
I've sold the full review to my friends at, so let me get Rochester-specific here.  The Rochester-based movie is fun to watch just to look for things you recognize --  be it a Churchville sign, Richmond's bar or High Falls (but could someone in Webster tell me where your underground parking garage is?).  Unfortunately, the movie is dull most of the way through and ludicrous at the end.
Full review at

The Duchess
"I sense through history there must have been thousands of stories of noble women held back by their royal spouses – beloved by the masses but loathed by the men they married because they couldn’t give them a male heir. And I feel like Hollywood is determined to tell every one of them...  For all her suffering, we don’t see acted out why Georgiana is a great figure. You do learn that all of this becomes important – when you read the “whatever happened to” subtitles at the end. Director Saul Dibb has made a movie about an asterisk to history and not about history itself."
Full review at

Disaster Movie
"... Reality TV star Kim Kardashian and Nick Lachey’s girlfriend Vanessa Minnillo are two of the stars of the new parody film Disaster Movie. If that’s a selling point for you and you go, then you deserve that you get. "
Full review at

The Rocker
"The Rocker is the new movie where the guy who plays Dwight on The Office is a former member of an ‘80s hair band trying to recapture his glory days... They could have called it Dwightsnake...  Or Great Dwight...  But they went with the generic The Rocker, which fits this hopelessly generic rock and roll comedy."
Full review at

Star Wars:  The Clone Wars
"I swear I love Star Wars, and I really do consider myself a Star Wars fan, but there are moments when I feel a great disturbance in The Force."
Please read my review at

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
I can only guess that to truly enjoy Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 you need to a) be a teenaged or pre-teen girl   b) been a teenaged or pre-teen girl when Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 came out  or  c) seen Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1... Actually, all four have had considerable success in TV either during or after Sisterhood 1.  It’s ironic that they didn’t move on to a bigger or better movie this time.  A dull project like this would seem to defeat the purpose of teaching that when you get older, you have to stop relying on your BFFs and strike out on your own.
Please read my review at

Step Brothers
"...if you know any of these slackers yourself, you know what makes them funny and why you laugh behind their back. They think they’ve got it going on.  They somehow think living at home makes them independent thinkers who don’t conform.  They think they’re just biding their time until the time is right.  They think they’re smarter than you... The problem with Step Brothers is that they’re played not as if they’re ignorant but so dumb they come off as mentally-challenged.  These guys don’t act like teenagers who never let go of their glory days – they act like toddlers.. .  And if a mentally-challenged guy still lives at home – well, you cut him some slack, don’t you?"
review at

Forbidden Kingdom
I’m not an aficionado of kung fu movies, so watching Forbidden Kingdom, I couldn’t say for sure if I was watching a parody or a tongue-in-cheek tribute.  Distilling the above comment to the real point:  I have no idea what I was watching.
Full review at

Smart People
" Does it make me stupid to say I wish they’d taken the raw material they had here and turned it into a more accessible romantic comedy?  On paper, it’s got what it takes.  Dennis Quaid though is a college professor, and Thomas Haden Church and Ellen Page made their name in Oscar-nominated quirky comedies, so (director) Noam Murro decides Smart People has to be more erudite.  What it comes off as is a movie that’s fairly dull, and not as smart as it thinks it is."
Full review at






Kept Checking My Watch

These would be the movies in current release or from the recent past that sucked and left a bruise.  Consider these your Phantom Menaces... your Meet The Spartans... your Pearl Harbors...  if these were bands, they'd be Nelson or the Yoko Ono half of a John Lennon album...