Category: 2.5 Star Reviews

Movie Review: This Is England (2006)

BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLAUGUST 19, 2021 “Men have laid down their lives for this. For this… and for what? So people can stick their fucking flag in the ground and say, “Yeah! This is England. And this is England, and this is England.”” — Combo (Stephen Graham) Welcome to England in 1983. At 12 years old, Shaun has lost his father in the Falklands War … Read More Movie Review: This Is England (2006)

Movie Review: Guns Akimbo (2020)

GUN AKIMBO BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMAY 1, 2020 “No respawns. No one-ups. No extra lives. I just killed this fucking guy.” — Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) Welcome to SKIZM, an online televised deathmatch run by a face-tattooed overlord pitting gun-wielding strangers against each other for entertainment. Sounds plausible enough to me. We’re probably only about ten seasons away from “Survivor” doing shit like this. “Guns Akimbo” … Read More Movie Review: Guns Akimbo (2020)

Movie Review: The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death (2015)

THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJANUARY 12, 2015 “The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death” lives and dies by jump scares. Void of any real horror innovations or standout performances, the tension is built through atmospheric suspense, relying on dark corners and moving shadows to do all the heavy lifting. Revisiting the daunting Eel Marsh House from the … Read More Movie Review: The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death (2015)

Quick Review: The Expendables 3 (2014)

THE EXPENDABLES 3 BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLDECEMBER 14, 2014 Sylvester Stallone continues to help write and star in his bombastic action series, this time delivering the first PG-13 endeavor, “The Expendables 3”. Overloading the cast with even more action stars and even poking fun at that fact in the trailer, Stallone has officially outdone himself. With almost all of the former cast returning, including Jason … Read More Quick Review: The Expendables 3 (2014)

Movie Review: Sex Tape (2014)

SEX TAPE BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLOCTOBER 20, 2014 “Who has sex for three hours? That’s the length of the movie “Lincoln.” You did the full “Lincoln.” —Robbie (Rob Corddry) The first thing to wrap your head around in the raunchy comedy “Sex Tape” is that the smoking hot Cameron Diaz, at 42 years old, is married to Jason Segel, who is 34 years old. The … Read More Movie Review: Sex Tape (2014)

Quick Review: Earth To Echo (2014)

EARTH TO ECHO BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 2, 2014 “I’m going to tell you a story and I’m not supposed to tell anyone so keep it between us. We were normal kids until we discovered something.” — Tuck (Brian “Astro” Bradley) Here is my theory: director David Green saw “Super 8” and heard critics call it a mix between “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Cloverfield,” pairing … Read More Quick Review: Earth To Echo (2014)

Movie Review: Walk Of Shame (2014)

WALK OF SHAME BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJUNE 18, 2014 Urban dictionary defines a “walk of shame” as “the walk home after a one night stand”. Further extrapolated, “one usually wears either the clothes they went out in (i.e. short skirt and heels) or the clothing of the person they slept with (i.e. a large white t-shirt) the morning after”. In the film bearing that title, … Read More Movie Review: Walk Of Shame (2014)

Movie Review: Plus One (2013)

PLUS ONE (+1) BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMARCH 29, 2014 No doubt, at some point in your life, you’ve heard the Golden Rule, but in case you haven’t, it is “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. This adage is meant to keep children from harming one another, but it is just a great philosophy to live by. But what would happen … Read More Movie Review: Plus One (2013)

Quick Review: Plush (2013)

PLUSH BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLFEBRUARY 10, 2014 Without the talented Emily Browning, “Plush” would almost be unwatchable. But with her innocent style mixed with the precarious nature of her character, she becomes the focal point of this feature as Hayley, the rockstar that loses her brother/bandmate to drugs. Following a poorly received second album, Hayley begins an intimate connection with her new guitarist Enzo (Xavier … Read More Quick Review: Plush (2013)

Quick Review: Despicable Me 2 (2013)

DESPICABLE ME 2 BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLFEBRUARY 1, 2014 Toss all the minions at me that you want, “Despicable Me 2” does nothing for me. Expanding off the original film, former super-villain Gru (Steve Carrell) turned foster father is taken captive by the Anti-Villain League, headed by Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan), to consult for their latest case, a missing laboratory stolen by a giant magnet. … Read More Quick Review: Despicable Me 2 (2013)

Quick Review: Dirty Wars (2013)

DIRTY WARS BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJANUARY 27, 2014 Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, known for his book “Blackwater,” tells the story of his trip to Afghanistan, as he delves into the mystery of unsanctioned U.S. Army night raids. Despite his over-dramatic voice-over narration, the interviews he has with many of the people involved with the war are very informative. The Army veteran that he interviews state … Read More Quick Review: Dirty Wars (2013)

Quick Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJANUARY 14, 2014 To sum up “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” into one word; derivative. Copying just about every horror and possession device in the book, this detour in the franchise adds nothing to the narrative yet tries to attach itself desperately to the previous installments. Once again we meet new characters who are simply living their … Read More Quick Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

Quick Review: Sweetwater (2013)

SWEETWATER BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJANUARY 14, 2014 A Western at heart, “Sweetwater” loses its footing on more than one occasion, arguing whether to be a serious, full-on wild west revival or an eccentric stomping ground for its colorful cast of characters. Most of the characters in the film are cartoonish, especially the villain, Prophet Josiah (Jason Isaacs) who preaches to his congregation one second, kills … Read More Quick Review: Sweetwater (2013)

Quick Review: Jingle All The Way (1996)

JINGLE ALL THE WAY BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLDECEMBER 26, 2013 Despite now being a classic Christmas film and despite being set in my home state of Minnesota, “Jingle All The Way” is not a great Christmas film. Capturing the angst of a parent needing to get the most popular toy for his child on Christmas Eve, the morals are down and dirty, not providing for … Read More Quick Review: Jingle All The Way (1996)

Quick Review: Violet & Daisy (2013)

VIOLET & DAISY BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLDECEMBER 26, 2013 The idea of “Violet & Daisy” was likely much more interesting than the execution. The idea of two young girls, interested in lollipops and pop singers, doubling as assassins is quite the tale. But as most of the film takes place in one living room and the actresses aren’t allowed to shine, the entire film falls … Read More Quick Review: Violet & Daisy (2013)

Quick Review: Paradise (2013)

PARADISE BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLDECEMBER 23, 2013 Diablo Cody has more than proven her worth as a screenwriter, with “Juno” and “Young Adult” under her belt, but taking on the role of writer and director may have been too far of a stretch. In her latest satire, “Paradise,” Cody’s paper-thin veneer is almost hard to stomach at times, feeling less like a script written by … Read More Quick Review: Paradise (2013)

Quick Review: Elsewhere (2009)

ELSEWHERE (2009) BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLNOVEMBER 24, 2013 As dismal as this film looks and sounds on the outside, “Elsewhere” really rises above its straight-to-DVD packaging and delivers a somewhat provocative and engaging thriller. Led by the gorgeous Anna Kendrick, her command of the character Sarah comes off like the turn Kristen Bell gives as Veronica Mars, using the assets around her to figure out … Read More Quick Review: Elsewhere (2009)

Quick Review: Girl Most Likely (2013)

GIRL MOST LIKELY BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLNOVEMBER 13, 2013 Much in the same vein as “Orange County”, where a writer embraces his wacky family and finds true inspiration, “Girl Most Likely” handles the same subject matter. Imogene (Kristen Wiig), a former playwright, is living the stylish life as a debutant in New York City, on the brink of marriage with a Dutchman. But when he … Read More Quick Review: Girl Most Likely (2013)

Quick Review: Fifty Dead Men Walking (2009)

FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLNOVEMBER 3, 2013 Delving into a true-life story of an IRA infiltration, “Fifty Dead Men Walking” is well-acted and mostly engaging but does little to differentiate itself from any of the films in its genre. Unless this subject matter thoroughly interests you or unless you’re die-hard fans of Jim Sturgess or Ben Kingsley, chances are this film will … Read More Quick Review: Fifty Dead Men Walking (2009)

Quick Review: Disturbing Behavior (1998)

DISTURBING BEHAVIOR BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLNOVEMBER 3, 2013 According to science fiction horror films, high school is one of the most unsafe places when it comes to invasions of any kind, alien or other. “Disturbing Behavior” is an interesting concept with a real-life allegory at play; we all know teenagers can be unruly, so let’s lobotomize them and make them robots. James Marsden plays the … Read More Quick Review: Disturbing Behavior (1998)

Quick Review: Peeples (2013)

PEEPLES BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLSEPTEMBER 22, 2013 Tyler Perry produces a take on “Meet The Parents.” Tina Gordon Chism’s “Peeples” is saved by a unique and humorous cast in Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, and David Alan Grier. However, it is far too predictable and laughless even to be considered average. With strange plot divergences like Tyler James Williams’s involvement as the youngest son, Simon, and … Read More Quick Review: Peeples (2013)

Quick Review: The English Teacher (2013)

THE ENGLISH TEACHER BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLSEPTEMBER 15, 2013 What is with outsider point-of-view narration? Apart from being distracting and out of place, there’s just no need for it in most films, especially a comedy. Cheapening the experience and taking away from actually forming a character in front of us instead of telling us all about the character, the only film I truly loved outsider … Read More Quick Review: The English Teacher (2013)

Quick Review: Branded (2012)

BRANDED BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLSEPTEMBER 15, 2013 As much as “Branded” is ambitious and inventive, it’s also careless and void of appropriate character development and character reactions. In the surreal world where corporations and brands materialize into strange animals and blobs, the message is so blatant that you picture the film having its monster slapping you across the face throughout its course. Ed Stoppard plays … Read More Quick Review: Branded (2012)

Quick Review: The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004)

THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLSEPTEMBER 7, 2013 For about thirty minutes, “The Chronicles of Riddick” is edge-of-your-seat entertaining. The rest of the two-hour run-time is an overproduced and underwhelming jaunt into dense science fiction. What was first a minimalist, survival thriller in “Pitch Black,” became an adventure in an overproduced and underwhelming science fiction world with too many story-lines and much too … Read More Quick Review: The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004)

Quick Review: Titan A.E. (2000)

TITAN A.E. BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLSEPTEMBER 7, 2013 By and large, not the most compelling young adult animated film ever made, “Titan A.E.” does achieve some general level of memorability with its ensemble voice cast and its use of science fiction and space travel. However, it fails to stand the test of time and occasionally looks haphazard and uneven. Lead by Matt Damon as the … Read More Quick Review: Titan A.E. (2000)

Quick Review: X-Men The Last Stand (2006)

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 28, 2013 “X-Men: The Last Stand” is all over the place. There are great cinematic moments like Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) meeting the Phoenix (Famke Janssen) at her childhood home. Still, with dialogue muddied with horrid turns of phrase, absolutely no focus, and half of the cast disappearing throughout the film, it is apparent … Read More Quick Review: X-Men The Last Stand (2006)

Movie Review: The Hangover Part III (2013)

THE HANGOVER PART III BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMAY 23, 2013 I remember my first experience with the original “The Hangover” from Todd Phillips. For some reason, I had missed most of the advertisements and was walking into the theater with zero expectations. And I ended up laughing hysterically, along with the rest of the packed theater. It became one of the most iconic boys-night-out ventures … Read More Movie Review: The Hangover Part III (2013)

Quick Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMAY 19, 2013 Hands down, Sung Kang, as supporting character Han makes this film. There would be nothing redeemable about “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” without Kang. For starters, Lucas Black is terrible as the lead character, Sean Boswell, a country hick, sent to Japan after getting into too much trouble. There are … Read More Quick Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Quick Review: Safe Haven (2013)

SAFE HAVEN BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMARCH 28, 2013 I could watch Julianne Hough, with short, blonde hair, do just about anything for any period. And for such a young actress with plenty of other professions on her plate, she nails a good portion of her moments. “Safe Haven” is another Nicholas Sparks adaptation. Although it lacks the sincerity and thoughtfulness of Sparks’ previous works (meaning … Read More Quick Review: Safe Haven (2013)

Quick Review: The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)

THE LAST EXORCISM PART II BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMARCH 13, 2013 Ashley Bell deserves all the credit. This incredible young actress, yet again, takes on the role of Nell Sweetzer, reprising her role from the previous film “The Last Exorcism.” In “Part II” of this hopefully two-part saga, Nell returns from the events on the farm, a tormented and reclusive young girl. She’s placed in … Read More Quick Review: The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)

Quick Review: Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

JACK THE GIANT SLAYER BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMARCH 13, 2013 Not nearly as bad as I expected it to be, “Jack The Giant Slayer” creates a fantasy world with kings and peasants, giants and magic beans, a fairy tale that I would never have imagined could translate to film. Even though this is PG-13, the film’s darkness is almost too much for adults and children. … Read More Quick Review: Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

Quick Review: Deadfall (2012)

DEADFALL BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMARCH 9, 2013 The idea was there, the fantastic cast, and even the snowy setting, but somehow “Deadfall” and director Stefan Ruzowitzky never quite get on the right foot. The film starts strong with the car crash promised by the marketing almost immediately. Instantly the characters are sent into motion, but instead of clear, cut paths, they meander until we can’t … Read More Quick Review: Deadfall (2012)

Quick Review: Starship Troopers (1997)

STARSHIP TROOPERS BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLDECEMBER 24, 2012 “Starship Troopers” mainly exists as science fiction fodder for those that care to indulge. As far as the acting goes, the characters might as well be cardboard cutouts or action figures fighting the realistic-looking yet lackluster bugs that continuously swarm in the same manner, telegraphed and without shock. Based on the 1959 serial novel “Starship Soldier” by … Read More Quick Review: Starship Troopers (1997)

Movie Review: Daydream Nation (2011)

DAYDREAM NATION BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLSEPTEMBER 9, 2012 Unsure of what this coming-of-age teenage drama is supposed to be, the performances barely make “Daydream Nation” tolerable through its 98-minute run-time. Kat Dennings plays a seventeen-year-old high school student, Caroline, who was moved from the city to a small town by her father. Unlike a similar premise in the television show “Suburgatory,” there is little humor … Read More Movie Review: Daydream Nation (2011)

Movie Review: Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 15, 2012 Audiences (mainly teenagers) cannot get enough of slasher films. That was as factual in the eighties as it is now. “Friday The 13th Part 2” proves that, continuing the franchise that would eventually become one of the most prominent in the slasher film genre. Known as the series headed by a hockey mask-wearing Jason … Read More Movie Review: Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Movie Review: 12 Monkeys (1996)

12 MONKEYS BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 15, 2012 After “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” before “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” Terry Gilliam directed the science fiction feature “12 Monkeys,” starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt. Set in the apocalyptic future in the wake of a virus that forces the world’s population to move underground, Bruce Willis’ character, James Cole, is sent into the … Read More Movie Review: 12 Monkeys (1996)

Movie Review: The Dictator (2012)

THE DICTATOR BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLMAY 20, 2012 Sacha Baron Cohen continues to coin his unique brand of comedy. Yet why wasn’t I laughing? “The Dictator” takes a step away from Cohen’s typical shockumentary formula and becomes a fully realized cinematic story with no natural elements. With that step, Cohen loses me completely, creating a political satire on the state of our world and the … Read More Movie Review: The Dictator (2012)

Movie Review: Gremlins (1984)

GREMLINS BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLDECEMBER 3, 2011 Somehow amid Christmas season rituals like decorating the house after Thanksgiving and the countless television stations playing “A Christmas Story” and “Elf” all day on Christmas Eve, a new ritual was born in the form of a little fuzzy creature named Gizmo. Produced by Steven Spielberg, “Gremlins” has become as Christmas as “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Miracle … Read More Movie Review: Gremlins (1984)

Movie Review: Larry Crowne (2011)

LARRY CROWNE BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLNOVEMBER 17, 2011 Ever walk into a room and get the feeling that something is missing? “Larry Crowne” gives off that same vibe. There is a void, and initially, I could not place my finger on it, but I decided to sit down and edge out precisely what caused the bitterness I experienced following my viewing of the film. Tom … Read More Movie Review: Larry Crowne (2011)

Movie Review: Faster (2010)

Faster (2010) Movie Review >>>>2.5 Stars<<<< Here’s what “Faster” had going for it before the actual viewing of the film. The trailer made it look like a make-and-model revenge flick, much along the lines of “The Punisher” with Thomas Jane and John Travolta. The trailer presented the film as a “Fast & Furious” with Dwayne Johnson taking over for Vin Diesel as the big man bad ass. What the film ended up possessing was nothing more than Dwayne Johnson being released from jail and generically working down a list of people to murder with a halfhearted homage to “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”.

Quick Review: Crazy (2008)

Stemming from the real life story of musician Hank Garland, “Crazy” depicts the way the man surfaced into the public eye, stole hearts, and became the legend that he was. Coming off as a watered down version of “Walk The Line”, the body of acting is unable to measure up to the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix.

Movie Review: Pretty Bird (2008)

Giamatti is a man that can fill just about any part in a film and appear perfectly natural, always delivering a spot-on performance. For Paul Schneider’s first time in the director’s chair, the presentation of Pretty Bird comes off spotless and completely sound. The performances, on the other hand, are either overshadowed by the presence of Paul Giamatti or abrasively lacking, especially in the character played by Billy Crudup, who ultimately makes the film hard to attempt multiple viewings.

Movie Review: Small Town Saturday Night (2010)

Had the film found more well known actors and actresses and fitted to a new structure, Small Town Saturday Night could have been something special. Instead, Small Town becomes small time and will ultimately be passed over by most viewers, save for the tagline on the case of the film: “Starring Chris Pine from Star Trek.”

Movie Review: Terribly Happy (2010)

There is nothing sensational about Terribly Happy. However, its off kilter and definitive nature draws most of its interest. The looming bog allows for several thrilling moments and an unexpected end.

Movie Review: Leaves Of Grass (2010)

Leaves of Grass proves that Edward Norton is not only a talented mainstream actor, but can carry a lower budget film. Though the ending is questionable, the majority of the film is still worth a viewing, especially for Edward Norton fans, or fans catching all the small roles that Susan Sarandon is frequenting these days. Complete with the stamp of approval from Roger Ebert, Leaves of Grass shows serious potential in the weeks leading up to its DVD release date. Not bad for a film named after a book of poetry by Walt Whitman. Not bad at all.

Movie Review: Operation: Endgame (2010)

OPERATION: ENDGAME BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 31, 2020 Fill a room with hilarious actors playing semi-serious roles, fighting to the death and “Operation: Endgame” is the result. The hardest part of viewing “Operation: Endgame” is deciphering whether the film is trying to be a comedy or an action flick. The wacky characters mixed with sexual tension and action violence make the answer to this question … Read More Movie Review: Operation: Endgame (2010)

Movie Review: Shrink (2009)

SHRINK BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 30, 2010 The mass majority of Americans have issues, including myself. After viewing “Shrink,” however, my issues pale in comparison to those of Henry Carter’s. Drugs and death surround “Shrink” and its characters, creating the subsequential theme of the film. Every character in the film suffers from some sort of addiction or disorder. Normally it would be professionals like Henry … Read More Movie Review: Shrink (2009)

Movie Review: Following (1999)

FOLLOWING BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 26, 2010 Before “Inception,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Prestige,” or even “Memento,” there was “Following.” Christopher Nolan’s illustrious career started from two small films, “Doodlebug” and “Following,” both directed, shot, and edited by Christopher Nolan. To understand the man Nolan is today, you must first understand where he came from. With the hand of a true artist, Nolan creates an … Read More Movie Review: Following (1999)

Movie Review: The Losers (2010)

THE LOSERS BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 23, 2010 Pure comic book war candy, any living, breathing human that enjoys explosions, sex, or badass gunslingers will find themselves drooling at the sequences in “The Losers.” Anchored around five United States Special Forces members framed for the deaths of a dozen innocent children in Bolivia, the story follows the team’s attempt to set the record straight. Persuaded … Read More Movie Review: The Losers (2010)

Movie Review: Margot At The Wedding (2007)

MARGOT AT THE WEDDING BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 20, 2010 “Margot At The Wedding,” Baumbach’s follow-up to “The Squid and The Whale,” takes an A-list actress in Nicole Kidman and diminishes her prestige to a standard, neurotic, everyday human being. Nicole Kidman plays Margot, a published writer, on her way to her sister Pauline’s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wedding accompanied by her son Claude (Zane Pais). … Read More Movie Review: Margot At The Wedding (2007)

Movie Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2010)

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 9, 2010 Like many film adaptations of great novels, the film version of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” falls short. One rule should go without saying: though a book may have a great original story, the film may not play out as such. Either the story was just not meant to be a film … Read More Movie Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2010)

Movie Review: Peacock (2010)

PEACOCK BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 9, 2010 “Peacock” is a modern day Hitchcock’s “Psycho.” Cillian Murphy plays bank boy, John Skillpa. On the first appearance, he looks like an ordinary guy, but within minutes of the film’s beginning you find out that there is more than meets the eye at the Skillpa residence. Emma Skillpa, on the other hand, is unknown to anyone in the … Read More Movie Review: Peacock (2010)

Movie Review: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009)

MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELLJULY 9, 2010 One thing can be said for sure: Werner Herzog is set in his ways. With the second cop-related drama this year, Herzog shows many of the same tendencies that appeared in “Bad Lieutenant-Port of Call New Orleans,” as well as in his previous films. The two main themes that appear are … Read More Movie Review: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009)