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Thursday, September 5,2013

Close to something

'20 Feet from Stardom' orbits greatness

By Ryan Syrek
In one of the most insightful, clever comments in a movie surprisingly devoid of insightful, clever comments, backup singer Janice Pendarvis notes, “When you think about the history of pop music and all the memorable hooks that most people sing along with, they’re singing along with us most of the time.”
Thursday, August 29,2013

Vacant lots

'The Bling Ring' is purposefully empty

By Ryan Syrek
Writer/director Sofia Coppola has made a movie that says nothing about people with nothing interesting to offer who steal from famous people who do nothing to be famous. And unless you’re a talk-show conspiracy theorist, it’s kind of hard to get too worked up about that much nothing.
Thursday, August 22,2013

'This isn’t a comic book'

'Kick-Ass 2' is totally a comic book

By Ryan Syrek
Since we last left Dave Lizewski, aka Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the world’s first “real” superhero, the idea has spread like herpes at the resorts where they film those MTV competition shows.
Thursday, August 15,2013

Crisis of context

'Fruitvale Station' isn’t just good, it's vital

By Ryan Syrek
Fruitvale Station is tangible context in fictional form. It’s a film about a real-life incident that’s not about a real-life incident; it’s about a real-life person.
Thursday, August 8,2013

'The Wolverine:' Better Orient-ed

Comic book film turns Japanese to get better

By Ryan Syrek
After his first solo stint landed with the grace and majesty of a wet fart, odds were stacked against a sequel for Wolvie. But if Hugh Jackman can forcibly warble Les Miserables to more than $400 million worldwide, there is literally nothing he cannot do.
Thursday, August 1,2013

Aubrey Plaza hilarious in a wasted effort

'The To Do List' could have been great

By Ryan Syrek
Before anything else: How great is Aubrey Plaza, right? From her droll, intentionally weird character on NBC’s Parks and Recreation to her killer late-night TV interviews (just watch the last one with Conan O’Brien if you doubt), Plaza is deliciously and completely secure in herself.
Thursday, July 25,2013

Harmless murderers

'Red 2' is unnecessary, stupid and kinda fun

By Ryan Syrek
Because the world needs the palpable sexuality of John Malkovich and Helen Mirren on screen together, here comes Red 2. You’d never know from the inspired title, but it’s actually a sequel to the film Red, which was something of a sleeper hit, and not just because it starred actors old enough to go narcoleptic mid-interview.
Thursday, July 18,2013

Jaegers bombing

'Pacific Rim' blows up the monsters

By Ryan Syrek
Just close your eyes and ask yourself this question: Does the thought of nearly mountain-sized Transformers wailing away on Godzilla’s uglier stepsisters with rocket punches and wrist swords excite you, or do you have no idea what most of the words in the first half of this question mean?
Thursday, July 11,2013

Review: 'Lone Ranger' is Kemosloppy

'The Lone Ranger' hates the Lone Ranger

By Ryan Syrek
Good news, Washington Redskins! For one glorious weekend in the summer of 2013, your unapologetically racist franchise mascot is not the most grotesque pop culture representation of Native Americans! One can only imagine owner Dan Snyder pounding copious shots of “firewater” in celebration when he heard they cast Johnny Depp, a living pinnacle of paleness, as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.
Wednesday, July 3,2013

Review: 'World War Z' better than awful

'World War Z' lacks scope and aim

By Ryan Syrek
As has been well-publicized, Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B, snapped up the rights to Max Brooks’ thoughtful, faux-historical retrospective novel and then promptly scrapped everything but the title. Turns out, they disregarded most of that too, in that the film World War Z features no war. Technically, it does take place on a planet, so it satisfies the “world” in its title. But unless the “Z” is meant to invoke onomatopoetic snoring, two-thirds of the title is still a lie.