If you’re thinking of going to see Source Code, erase that thought from your head. It’s ridiculous. The major twist is obvious early on, so that moment where Michelle Monaghan’s character, a sweet teacher named Christina reveals that shocking thing that we’re not supposed to already know is a big yawn. Jake Gyllenhaal is Colter Stevens, the soldier whose mission it is to find the terrorist who has planted a bomb on a train. There is some quantum physics mumbo jumbo spouted as the explanation for how he can be repeatedly transported to those last eight fateful minutes on board the commuter train headed to Chicago. The story lacks tension, surprise or any real emotion. Should you be home with the flu one day and need some mindless entertainment, then stream or rent Source Code. Otherwise, skip this attempt at a time travel/reincarnation hybrid. It’s more disposable than the exorbitantly priced popcorn with fake butter topping at the concession stand.

Don’t miss Ball of Fire, a screwball comedy take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Barbara Stanwyck, Gary Cooper and great character actor, Henry Travers probably best known as the angel Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life as ‘Sleepy’. Today on TCM 5pm PT/8pm ET.

Oldboy, from Korean director Chan Wook Park, is the story of a common man Oh Dae Su, who disappears on a rainy night and is mysteriously imprisoned for 15 years by an unknown adversary.  Oh Dae Su escapes with one goal in mind, revenge against his captor. A young waitress, Mi-do who is even more important to Oh Dae Su than he can imagine, helps him in his quest to learn why he was locked away.

The plot is original and unpredictable and Park has a clear, self-assured vision of the story he wants to tell and how he wants to tell it. To this end, he employs a commanding visual style that is integral to the tone of the film. Oldboy is a low budget movie but has a stylized rich look and texture.

The camera movement reveals the narrative in an unobtrusive, subtle manner that lends to the whole feel of the film. There is an otherworldly and isolated air throughout, which is how you imagine Oh Dae Su must feel as he unlocks the pieces of the puzzle. Continue reading »

FX series Justified, now in its second, continues the cable network’s streak of gritty, original programming. The show hits the mark with its spot on ensemble cast that slips into the unique, layered characters and smoldering storylines, some of which build over the course of an episode and others for the whole season.

Timothy Olyphant as exiled Miami Federal Marshal Raylan Givens puts to use the same intensity he showed off in Deadwood but this time around with a wicked, laid-back sense of humor. This southern flavored drama features one of The Shield’s MVPs, Walton Goggins as Raylan’s long-time frenemy, Boyd Crowder. Scenes between the two are like a slow dance between a long together couple that have come to an understanding but are ready to pounce on each other at a moments notice. Continue reading »

Human beings all have an irrational side. It’s what makes us so unpredictable, fun, and unique. Our sometimes illogical nature is often most evident in our likes and dislikes. When it comes to films, my tastes tend to fall in with the majority with a handful of loves and hates on either end of the bell curve that deviate from the norm. Then, there are those movies that defy logic. The cheesy ones I intellectually recognize are not good but I can’t help watching over and over again. Coyote Ugly definitely falls into this category. I can watch those coyotes dance on the bar to the strains of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” repeatedly and not tire of it. In fact, each time it makes me happy in a completely, goofy way and maybe that’s the appeal. Continue reading »

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