Dec. 22, 2014

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Oh, Enough

Let’s hope 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' sits on its own sword

Barf The Battle of the 144 Minutes I’ll Never Get Back became the epitome of everything shitty about the 2014 movie year.

Dec. 16, 2014 by David Riedel

Eternal Vanity

'The Immortalists' could be fascinating, but its subjects aren’t

Barf The Immortalists takes an intriguing premise and squanders it with one of the least likable documentary subjects to ever grace the screen.

Dec. 09, 2014 by David Riedel

Piece. Of. Shit.

'Horrible Bosses 2' is so bad it defies comprehension

Barf There are four laughs in Horrible Bosses 2, but at 108 minutes, you deserve more than a laugh every 27 minutes.

Nov. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s 'Twister' Part 2!

'Into the Storm' is worse than bad; it’s boring

Barf Into the Storm is so similar to Jan de Bont’s mid-1990s unintentional larf-fest that one wonders how Warner Bros. isn’t suing itself.

Aug. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

Planet of the Dopes

Hopefully 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is followed by 'Demise'

Barf First there was Rise. Before that there was Tim Burton’s remake. Before that there were five Planet of the Apes films, the first of which has the distinction of being adapted by Rod Serling, so at least it’s subversive and progressive.

July 15, 2014 by David Riedel

A Contender for the Worst Movie Ever Made

'Third Person' is rotten, rotten and rotten

Barf Director Paul Haggis could have done the audience a big favor by making a short movie, as the endless narratives of Third Person don’t allow for any one story to dominate.

July 09, 2014 by David Riedel

Misogyny Disguised as an Art Film

Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 is stupid, uninspired and cruel

Barf Don’t get caught up in the Nymphomaniac hype. It’s a meticulously produced piece of shit.

April 01, 2014 by David Riedel

300: Rise of my lunch

‘300: Rise of an Empire’ proves too much blood can be boring

Barf 300: Rise of an Empire has no ideology, purpose or ambition beyond being blood-and-guts spectacle on a massive scale. If that’s your idea of a great flick, please enjoy. 

March 03, 2014 by David Riedel

The Barfbag Queen

‘The Callback Queen’ is so bad, it’s hard to believe

Barf Here are some things The Callback Queen thinks are funny: Gay sex; Irish-English hatred as fuel for sex; eastern Europeans in general. And here are some things The Callback Queen thinks it knows about: Hollywood productions.

Feb. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

Laborious

So much can happen on ‘Labor Day’

Barf The story told in Labor Day, about Adele (Kate Winslet), a divorced and depressed mother to young teenager Henry (Gattlin Griffith), and their long holiday weekend with stranger Frank (Josh Brolin) is absurd.

Jan. 29, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s Not Even in the Top 10

Chris Rock doesn’t make it in 'Top Five'

Meh One thing is clear about Chris Rock: He wants to make good movies.

Dec. 09, 2014 by David Riedel

After Hours With a Kid

'Before I Disappear' almost works

Meh Before I Disappear is almost a good movie, but it can’t escape its origins, the Academy Award-winning short film Curfew.

Dec. 02, 2014 by David Riedel

You're Better off at the Hanging Tree

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' squanders…everything

Meh Does the creative team behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 see the parallel between its characters’ cynical use of propaganda and the movie studio’s cynical marketing decision to turn the final book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy into two movies?

Nov. 20, 2014 by David Riedel

What We Talk about When We Talk about Overblown

'Birdman' has too much production and not enough story

Meh Co-writer and director Alejandro González Iñárritu is more concerned with the whiz-bang look of Birdman than genuine human emotions.

Nov. 04, 2014 by David Riedel

Ground Control to Major Yawn

Actually, 'Interstellar' isn’t dull, but I couldn’t resist that gag

Meh Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s latest gargantuan-budget head trip.

Nov. 04, 2014 by David Riedel

Murder?

'The Blue Room' doesn’t answer questions but you’ll get it anyway

Meh It’s too bad that Cléau and Amalric, who adapted Georges Simenon’s novel, didn’t give us more depth, because The Blue Room doesn’t amount to much.

Oct. 28, 2014 by David Riedel

The Good, the Bad and the Murray

'St. Vincent' rates high on the Bill Murray scale, falls short elsewhere

Meh Stop the presses! Bill Murray is back in a lead role.

Oct. 21, 2014 by SFR

Some Wounds Never Heal

'The Judge' is hampered by overlength and an overfamiliar story

Meh Unfortunately, The Judge gets bogged down in a million subplots.

Oct. 07, 2014 by David Riedel

That Narrator? Totes Unreliable

'Gone Girl' doesn’t feel quite right, even though it’s spectacularly well done

Meh Don’t worry about whether you’ll figure out who’s telling the truth or who’s lying; everybody’s lying.

Oct. 07, 2014 by David Riedel

War Is Hell, and Worse

'The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier)' is a world of shit

Meh The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier) is based on a highly regarded novel by Agota Kristof, and I imagine the story in book form is more palatable.

Sept. 30, 2014 by David Riedel

It’s a Wrap!

2013 was a year filled with glory, slurps and triple barfs

Movie Reviews So this year was a pretty good one for movies. It’s just that movies that were bad were so bad. Just inexcusable. Sweet Jesus. But we’ll get to those after my five favorite movies of 2013.

Dec. 31, 2013 by David Riedel

Fall Flicks

It’s the attack of the award-worthy films!

Movie Reviews Welcome to autumn. As we all know—and if you don’t, WHAT THE FUCK, ARE YOU LIVING UNDER A ROCK?—it’s the time of year when the studios, big and small, start pushing their awards fodder picture

Oct. 25, 2013 by David Riedel

Blood and guts… gotta problem with that?

'Machete Kills' is long, dumb, and a lot of fun

Movie Reviews The early reviews for Machete Kills have largely been unkind. The big gripe appears to be that Machete Kills is too long, too repetitive and too superviolent. How many of these critics have seen a Robert Rodriguez movie before?

Oct. 11, 2013 by David Riedel

Tom Hanks… and pirates

'Captain Phillips' has its moments

Movie Reviews Sometimes when watching a movie that’s particularly emotionally distressing, one has to ask, “Just how much harrowing adversity can we watch these characters go through? What’s the endgame here?

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

Nothing to see here

'Love, Marilyn' is truly lame

Movie Reviews Hey, here's something to savor. A bunch of actors reading—on camera no less!—words by lots and lots of people who have written things about Marilyn Monroe. And words by Monroe herself.

Oct. 09, 2013 by David Riedel

I Seem to Be Floating, And Downward

It’s ‘Gravity’!

Movie Reviews Calling a movie Newton’s Laws of Motion would probably have the potential audience running for the hills.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Not Enough

‘Enough Said’ is delightful

Movie Reviews It’s a shame there aren’t more movies like Enough Said. It’s a touching (and truly hilarious) comedy with moments of drama about people who are actual adults—people with children and responsibilities and jobs—and not just assholes who work in graphic design.

Oct. 01, 2013 by David Riedel

Come for the Crashes, Stay for the Story

Rush is better than it should be

Movie Reviews It’s that time of year between the end of summer and the beginning of the Oscar races when, traditionally, the genuine crap starts hitting the multiplexes. (You’ll also find crap from January to March, and, depending on your point of view, all year.)

Sept. 24, 2013 by David Riedel

Characters and Audience Abused

It comes together quite easily in Short Term 12

Movie Reviews I recently had a conversation with another critic about the jarring transition that some actors make from playing high school students to playing adults. For my money, the biggest jump is Jon Cryer playing Duckie in Pretty in Pink (1986) to playing 27-year-old stockbroker Andrew in Hiding Out (1987).

Sept. 24, 2013 by David Riedel

Set ‘Em Up!

Oh, to be more than ‘Drinking Buddies’

Movie Reviews One could be forgiven for considering Olivia Wilde the Gretchen Mol of her generation. You know, an actor with enormous promise who made early and frequent missteps.

Sept. 17, 2013 by David Riedel

Don’t Go West, Young Women

'The Homesman' is unrelenting and bleak

Ok The question of a woman’s value is at the heart of The Homesman, director Tommy Lee Jones’ decidedly feminist Western.

Dec. 02, 2014 by David Riedel

Flightless and Buoyant

The waterfowl in 'Penguins of Madagascar' are good for some yuks

Ok For those who like their animated movies crazy and with a throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks attitude, this is the flick for you.

Nov. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

Comedy and Torture

'Rosewater' almost works

Ok Jon Stewart’s debut as writer-director almost works, and it’s not quite good, but it’s certainly better than a rainy day flick.

Nov. 11, 2014 by David Riedel

We Call Upon the Author

'20,000 Days on Earth' documents Nick Cave

Ok If you’re a casual Nick Cave fan 20,000 Days on Earth probably isn’t for you.

Oct. 21, 2014 by David Riedel

Shot In the Heart and You’re to Blame

'Rudderless' is better than it has any right to be

Ok Despite every story beat being telegraphed way, way in advance Rudderless remains so watchable.

Oct. 14, 2014 by David Riedel

All That

'Advanced Style' is featherweight, but fun

Ok Lina Plioplyte’s Advanced Style documentary is a 72-minute commercial for Ari Seth Cohen’s book and blog of the same name.

Oct. 07, 2014 by David Riedel

You Think YOUR Day Is Bad?

'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' could be much, much worse

Ok There are some solid laughs, a dearth of fart jokes, and Carell and Garner have enough energy to make everything passable, if not great.

Oct. 07, 2014 by David Riedel

Burning Down the House!

'Happy Christmas': I’m an asshole!

Ok There isn’t much point to summarizing the plot of Happy Christmas; it doesn’t really have one.

Sept. 16, 2014 by David Riedel

A Swiftly Warming Planet

Exploring rarely accessible fjords in 'Expedition to the End of the World'

Ok There’s a sort of single mindedness that the truly intelligent possess in
Expedition to the End of the World.

Sept. 03, 2014 by David Riedel

A Good Priest, a Bad Town

'Calvary' is good but not quite great

Ok Father James sits in a confessional. An unseen man enters the box and says, “The first time I tasted semen I was 7 years old.” Thus begins Calvary, writer-director John Michael McDonagh’s pitch-black comedy and murder mystery.

Aug. 20, 2014 by David Riedel

Killing Hollywood-Style for Real

‘The Act of Killing’ is a bizarre must-see

See The Act of Killing is such a surreal movie it’s almost hard to believe that all the killings in it took place. 

Feb. 25, 2014 by David Riedel

You Can’t Escape the Babadook

'The Babadook' is so good I’m spouting its propaganda

Yay The Babadook is a psychological drama about the worst parts of ourselves, and whether we choose to give in to the worst parts of ourselves.

Dec. 16, 2014 by David Riedel

F Is for Fake

'Art and Craft' follows a prolific art forger

Yay So what happens when a prolific art forger dupes dozens of museums? Is he arrested, tried and convicted? Not if you’re Mark Landis.

Nov. 18, 2014 by David Riedel

Happy Notes

'Keep On Keepin’ On' chronicles jazz great Clark Terry

Yay In the last few years, it seems that music documentaries about iconic people, places and things have been popping up every six months.

Nov. 18, 2014 by David Riedel

Turn My Pages, Bitch!

'Whiplash' is hard to watch but fascinating

Yay Whiplash is so committed to letting its characters be rotten that it puts the tiniest of barriers between the audience and the movie.

Nov. 11, 2014 by David Riedel

Good Writers, Horrible People

'Listen Up Philip' follows a couple of assholes (and is one of the best movies of the year)

Yay Listen Up Philip is so good and willing to be disliked that I have to ask: Writer and director Alex Ross Perry, where have you been all my life?

Oct. 28, 2014 by David Riedel

Get Up, Stand Up

'Pride' is a great feel-good movie

Yay The underlying theme of Pride is in finding unity and fellowship, in finding people with whom you can share your struggle and draw strength.

Oct. 14, 2014 by David Riedel

Yes Yes!

'No No: A Dockumentary' is all over the place in a good way

Yay No No: A Dockumentary is all over the place, and it seems like a haphazard narrative structure until it becomes clear the storyline is mirroring Major League Baseball pitching great Dock Ellis’ life.

Sept. 30, 2014 by David Riedel

Inside For All Day

'Starred Up' is tough, gritty and surprisingly good

Yay Another year, another prison drama. If Starred Up were formulaic and stupid it would be a travesty.

Sept. 24, 2014 by David Riedel

Irritated By Love

'Love Is Strange' smartly catalogues the ways family can drive us nuts

Yay Love Is Strange has the distinction of being a quiet movie that’s less interested in making grand statements than it is being a quiet portrayal of a difficult time in an extended family’s life.

Sept. 24, 2014 by David Riedel

Fiddly Digits, Itchy Britches

'Frank' is weird, beautiful and funny

Yay Co-screenwriter Jon Ronson came up with the story after spending time as a keyboardist for Frank Sidebottom, the alter ego of Chris Sievey, an English musician and comedian.

Sept. 09, 2014 by David Riedel
 
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