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John Carter, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic series of sci-novels, arrives encumbered by 100 years of anticipation and unavoidable (though perhaps unfair and unnecessary) talk about its gigantic budget, piss-poor marketing and lack of mainstream appeal. I can’t remember any film in recent memory that has been more under a microscope than this one, and I certainly have my own opinions about how Disney has handled the film and its chances of actually launching a franchise as a result. But that’s a discussion for another day. For now, the question is simply how does John Carter fare as a movie, and I’m happy to report that, despite some undeniable flaws, the film works amazingly well more often than not, and rightfully earns its spot in the pantheon of enjoyable sci-fi adventures.

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Watching Hugo, I could definitely see why Martin Scorsese wanted to make this movie. I could also see why, if anyone but Martin Scorsese had made it, it might not have ended up as good as it is. I mean, no offense to the lovers of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but there are a few wonky issues with the storytelling here that came right up to edge of bothering me, but were always immediately forgiven thanks to Scorsese’s fantastic visual sense, a slew of excellent performances, and an “ode to loving cinema” message that I could definitely get behind.

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I’m just sayin’…..

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In 2007’s Ghost Rider, daredevil turned supernatural hero Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) says “I’m the only one who can walk in both worlds.” I still have absolutely no idea what he meant by that, but I’m gonna steal the line anyway, and say that this new sorta-sequel-but-also-sorta-reboot Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance does indeed walk in two worlds – the world of “good-bad movies” and the world of “bad-bad movies.” The important question is how much time it spends in each.

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I am 31 years old, have no children, and am not a pedophile. So, needless to say, it’s been a very long time since I’ve set foot in a Chuck E. Cheese’s. But like any child of the 80’s (and beyond), I certainly have memories of spending time there, though I think the main attractions for me were the pizza and video games, and not so much the animatronic band. Singing robots sure sounds like something that any kid should be into, but I don’t really remember being that fascinated by it.  Now, having just watched this documentary, I feel like maybe I was totally missing out on something.

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Elmore Leonard is one of America’s greatest living crime-writers. Nothing about Raylan is going to change that. Still, the new book does go to show that even the best have their off days.

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When we last left vampire Death Dealer Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and her lover, vampire/lycan hybrid Michael (Scott Speedman), at the end of Underworld: Evolution (we can ignore the fairly unnecessary prequel film, Rise of the Lycans), they had successfully defeated both the sole remaining vampire elder Marcus, the first vampire, and his brother William, the first werewolf. What’s more, Selene had acquired new, somewhat undefined powers – we could assume enhanced strength and agility, and we knew for sure she could now walk in daylight. With the leaders of both the vampires and lycans dead, and what remained of the clans thrown into chaos because of their actions, Selene and Michael stood at a crucial turning point in the centuries-long war between the two sides.

Yeah, well, forget about all that.

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My Favorite Movies of 2011

2011 was a pretty damn good year for movies. It’s telling that – even after deciding to expand this list to 15 instead of 10, I still didn’t have room for a lot of movies I liked, such as The Lincoln Lawyer, Ides of March, Hobo with a Shotgun, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and Midnight in Paris.  Here’s hoping 2012 can match 2011’s level of quality, especially with it being our last year on Earth and all.

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The best character in Steven Spielberg’s computer animated action film The Adventures of Tintin is the film’s camera, which dashes and careens wildly across every scene and locale with more energy and personality than any of the people it is “filming.” Meanwhile, the worst character in The Adventures of Tintin, unfortunately, is Tintin himself.

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Shame is pretty much just like every other movie ever made about addiction…only a whole lot sexier. That’s because the addiction in question here is sex addiction. It’s not a film about whether or not sex addiction is even a real problem, though that is a debate – to this day, the American Psychiatric Association refuses to consider it an actual mental disorder, and have once again rejected it for inclusion in the upcoming DSM-5. Then again, I doubt many in the APA would have as easy a time getting a different hot chick to bang them every night as Michael Fassbender does in this movie.

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