Sept. 19, 2014

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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

Break out the Barf!

‘Lone Survivor’ is jingoism

Barf Mark Wahlberg is a bad actor. There are movies when he’s passable (Date Night; Ted). But most of the time he’s inexplicably praised (his wretchedly unbelievable performance in The Departed)

Jan. 08, 2014 by David Riedel

More like 'The Secret Life of Walter Shitty'

'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' holds you in contempt, so why not make a lame joke at its expense?

Barf The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is terrible. Just terrible. It’s wrongheaded, silly, and worse, confused. The story—about Walter (Ben Stiller), who works as a negative asset manager at LIFE magazine—is pretty straightforward.

Dec. 26, 2013 by David Riedel

Another Day, Another Equation

'The Zero Theorem' is pretty dull

Meh The Zero Theorem even has the same feel as most Gilliam movies, which is to say it’s a tragedy masquerading as a comedy.

Sept. 16, 2014 by David Riedel

Run For the Border

'Frontera' is pretty drab

Meh If you’ve ever wondered what a standard police procedural would look like with the added element of immigration, look no further.

Sept. 09, 2014 by David Riedel

Wait, They Remade Vanilla Sky?

'The Congress' is kinda like the 113th—it does nothing

Meh The Congress starts with a great premise: An aging, rumored-to-be-difficult actor named Robin Wright (and played by Robin Wright) is presented with a deal.

Sept. 03, 2014 by David Riedel

Oh, Just Make the Goddamn Choice

'If I Stay' is curiously flat

Meh I didn’t want to be so cynical about If I Stay because despite its heavy breathing and hand wringing, it does get a few things right

Aug. 20, 2014 by David Riedel

Sleights of Witticism

'Magic in the Moonlight' is offensive, but mostly because it’s bland

Meh Woody Allen has made a movie so bland, derivative of his earlier work and lazy, that it’s possible to wonder just what the man believes.

Aug. 13, 2014 by David Riedel

Young, dumb and full of mutagens

'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' is yawn-worthy

Meh While I always liked the idea of there being teenage mutant ninjas turtles, every big-screen thing I’ve seen featuring them has left me cold.

Aug. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

Snooze: More Gangsters

Whitey doesn’t answer the questions it sets out to answer

Meh If you’re not already familiar with James “Whitey” Bulger, Joe Berlinger’s scattershot documentary Whitey won’t be much help. It assumes you know the case and spends little time getting into Bulger’s backstory.

July 30, 2014 by David Riedel

Bad Kids, Bad Parents, You Know the Drill

'Hellion' treads familiar ground

Meh Hellion is aided by a restrained performance from Juliette Lewis as Jacob’s aunt, who takes in younger brother Wes.

July 30, 2014 by David Riedel

Save your quarters

Watching 'Video Games: The Movie' must be like playing Penn & Teller’s 'Desert Bus'

Meh How does one take something inherently exciting and make it boring? Video Games: The Movie answers that question.

July 22, 2014 by David Riedel

Wish I Were Better

'Wish I Was Here' is so-so

Meh It’s too bad Wish I Was Here isn’t better. The film could have been something more than a footnote in the great Kickstarter debate.

July 22, 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

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

This Must Be the Place

'Drunktown’s Finest' has flaws but succeeds

Ok The three characters have disparate narratives that come together in ways that are overly contrived, but that doesn’t blunt Drunktown’s Finest's overall effectiveness.

Aug. 13, 2014 by David Riedel

Witches and Dum-Dums

'Witching & Bitching' is outrageous

Ok You know, the time is just about right for an insane Spanish-language horror comedy. And what do you know? Here comes Witching & Bitching, which is about as insane as horror comedies come.

July 15, 2014 by David Riedel

A Life Less Ordinary

'Violette' is difficult but rewarding

Ok  If you can get through the first 30 minutes of Violette, you’ll be rewarded with another 105 minutes of much of the same self-hatred and sexual obsession, but it somehow becomes more palatable.

June 24, 2014 by David Riedel

The 1-percent Solution

Citizen Koch is angry agitprop

Ok Citizen Koch takes aim at Citizens United, Americans for Prosperity, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and billionaires Charles and David Koch.

June 17, 2014 by David Riedel

Let Him Die in Peace

'Lullaby' has problems but still jerks some tears

Ok Lullaby has lots of problems. For one thing, it can’t get a handle on the comedy in it, though it’s most certainly a drama.

June 10, 2014 by David Riedel

Fear and Loathing in a Documentary

‘For No Good Reason’ goes skin-deep on Ralph Steadman

Ok Ralph Steadman seems like a nice, ordinary guy—at least as he’s presented in For No Good Reason—who, through satire, happens to get to the guts of his subjects in a way that is real, complete and uncompromising.

June 03, 2014 by David Riedel

Bored. Disaffected. Whatevs.

'Palo Alto' is a solid debut for Gia Coppola

Ok Based on James Franco’s story collection, Palo Alto follows high schoolers as they are alternately bored, neglected, overwhelmed and drugged out.

May 27, 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

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

Calamari With a Side of Pacino

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return in 'The Trip to Italy'

Yay A few years after The Trip, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return in The Trip to Italy.

Aug. 26, 2014 by David Riedel

On the Road Again

Old dogs, old tricks, in the delightful Land Ho!

Yay Land Ho! is the template for movies about older people at pivotal points in their lives.

Aug. 26, 2014 by David Riedel

Life, In a Nutshell

Everything happens in the wonderful 'Boyhood'

Yay Boyhood is magnificent, and the banality is charming.

Aug. 05, 2014 by David Riedel

To Infinity Stone, and Beyond!

You’ll totes want to hang with these 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Yay Guardians of the Galaxy may be the best Marvel movie, period.

July 30, 2014 by David Riedel

Thumbs Up

'Life Itself' is a wonderful chronicle of Roger Ebert

Yay What comes through most in Life Itself is Ebert’s love of movies, the depth of his film knowledge and the relationships he had with the people who loved him.

July 08, 2014 by David Riedel

Got Songs?

'Begin Again' is featherweight and cute

Yay Begin Again is wholly implausible, has characters that couldn’t exist in real life and has an ending that’s just so syrupy sweet, but also has a decent soundtrack and winning performances. I’m in.

July 01, 2014 by David Riedel

Of Course the Future Is Dystopian!

'Snowpiercer' is tons o’ dark fun

Yay Snowpiercer takes place roughly 18 years after the world has been thrust into a new ice age. All the survivors boarded a train called Snowpiercer, and the train circles the globe once a year.

July 01, 2014 by David Riedel

Give the Punters What They Want

'Lucky Them' is funny, sad and surprisingly poignant

Yay Lucky Them’s Ellie is told by her editor to find her ex-boyfriend, a beloved disappeared Seattle musician, and write a story about what he’s been doing for a decade.

June 24, 2014 by David Riedel

Decisions, Decisions

Obvious Child is the best comedy of 2014 (so far)

Yay Obvious Child is funny as shit. It’s possibly the most laugh-out-loud comedy of 2014.

June 24, 2014 by David Riedel
 
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