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Author: Kevin Bowen

War Dogs: A Real Howler [MOVIE REVIEW]

War Dogs Review As director of The Hangover, War Dogs director Todd Phillips is a specialist in making movies that are “not as.” Not as funny as it thinks it is. Not as crazy as it pretends to be. Not as cool as it hopes it is. Not as funny as it should be. Does that first paragraph sound like this review is going anyplace good? No? Give yourself a fuzzy toy and a treat. I wouldn’t say it’s a total howler. But there’s something about War Dogs that doesn’t work, and I can’t quite put my paw on it....

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Some Nerve: The Best Bad Movie in a Long Time [MOVIE REVIEW]

Nerve Review The best thing about Nerve is that it doesn’t care what you think of it. While it’s not a mind-bending surreal soup like The Lobster, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a film that feels quite so free in its own skin.  The new Emma Roberts film starts like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and ends like The Warriors or Escape from New York. It’s The Hunger Games as told by John Carpenter. Nerve is a total riot, the best bad movie in a long time. The Pokemon Go craze couldn’t be more timely.  If there’s a Nerve review that...

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Cafe Society: Wake Up to Woody Allen’s Smooth Blend [MOVIE REVIEW]

Cafe Society Review The year 2016 is starting to shape up as the year of the love letter to Hollywood’s Golden Age. We started the year with the Coen Brothers Hail Caesar!, a kidnapping comedy set in a fictional 1950s studio with million-dollar mermaids, crooning cowboys and blacklisted commie screenwriters. Still to come is Damien Chazelle’s musical La La Land with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Stuck in the middle is Woody Allen’s Hollywood love triangle Café Society. When it comes to Allen, I’ve been lucky lately. He releases a film every year of wildly varying quality, and I seem...

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Bungle in the Jungle: The Legend of Tarzan [MOVE REVIEW]

The Legend of Tarzan Review So here’s the thing I love about Taylor Swift. There are too many hit pop songs nowadays that sound like they were made in five different studios by producers and musicians who’ve never seen each other.  Swift is a real genius at retaining the illusion of a live band that’s stuck in a studio playing the music together. We know that’s not how it works, if we think about it. But that illusion of being in one place at one time playing the same song is an important part of the appeal. So think...

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‘Money Monster’ and the Sweet Smell of Success [MOVIE REVIEW]

Money Monster Review I liked Money Monster. I thought I would say that off the top. If that seems like an unusual or lame or unusually lame way to start a film review, that’s fine. I wanted to state it firmly. Because there are things in the Jodie Foster-George Clooney political thriller that should go wrong. To start with, Money Monster quickly violates two of my dearest “signs that you’re watching a bad movie.”  One is the shot of a long row of police cars, sirens screaming, speeding to an active crime location. The other is the shot of...

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‘Criminal’ Offense [MOVIE REVIEW]

Criminal Review It’s been a long time since I walked out on a movie. Years, in fact. It’s not professional. But I gave it a pretty long thought during  the irredeemable Criminal. Although competently made by Israeli director Ariel Vromen with some good practical effects, is the biggest cinematic felony committed in some time. The Cinematic Felony of Criminal A Spanish anarchist (Jordi Molla) teams with a German henchwoman (Antje Traue) to hunt down someone known only as “The Dutchman.” Such a plot might have been riveting. Had the film been made in the Sixteenth Century. During the Eighty...

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Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice: It’s a tie! [REVIEW]

On Monday night at the Alamo Drafthouse – roughly 24 hours before seeing Batman v. Superman – I caught a screening of Gun Crazy, the influential low-budget 1949 B-movie starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall as a pair of bank-robbing lovers on the run. If you  don’t know Dall, he was a Ben Affleck lookalike who starred in two minor classics in about 18 months and then barely acted in movies again – the other classic being Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope. If you don’t know Hitchcock, then I really can’t help. On Tuesday I caught a little bit different film...

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‘Race’: Owens’ Haunted Sports Story Runs With Too Much Cheer [MOVIE REVIEW]

Race Review The story of Olympics legend Jesse Owens has always stuck with me, and not because of the glory of winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin games, setting records in front of Adolf Hitler. It has stuck with me because it haunts me – that a man could be a national hero one day and then struggle in the longer race of life. Race doesn’t cover much of Owens’ life outside of his athletic peak. Being a pretty lame inspirational sports movie with broad points to make about racial relations means it will downplay rough or...

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