Recently by Michael Nazarewycz

Phantom (2013) Blu-ray Review: This Submarine Story Sinks Fast

Take my advice and avoid having it sneak up on you.
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Back in the Golden Age of Hollywood, it seemed that there were two types of actors: Americans playing Americans and Brits playing every other nationality. The examples are endless, and of course there are exceptions, but it’s hard to watch a drama from the 1930s and 1940s that features characters from somewhere other than the US or UK and not see British actors portraying those characters. (Just look at Claude Rains, a British actor who played a Frenchman in Casablanca and a German in Notorious. Come to think of it, he even played an American in Mr. Smith Goes to
I'm a big fan of sketch comedy. I've been watching Saturday Night Live (for better or worse) for almost as many years as it has been on TV, and in that span of time I've also enjoyed everything from Second City TV to MAD TV, and from The Kids in the Hall to Robot Chicken. I like the format for several reasons, but what I like about it most is the fact that if a sketch isn't funny, there's a new one coming along in minutes. But those are TV shows. What about movies? Well, sketch comedy hasn’t had the

Killing Lincoln Blu-ray Review: Before and After

It suffers from being dull in its reenactment.
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I remember when Howard Stern left terrestrial radio. The first thing I thought was, “You don’t want to be the next guy. At best, you want to be the guy after that.” So big, so definitive was Stern that the guy who wound up replacing him didn’t stand a chance. (Okay, so you can argue that the guy who wound up replacing Stern, former/current/former/current/former/current Van Halen front man David Lee Roth, couldn’t have replaced most of us, let alone a living legend, but go with the spirit of the argument here, please.) Such now is the case with anyone who

Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie Review: A Lot of Hot Air

But as the movie played, it became more and more evident that it wasn't my memory that had failed me, but rather Downey, who was less of a cultural icon and more of a one-hit wonder.
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In case I haven’t said this before, I am a sucker for nostalgia - particularly ‘80s nostalgia. I spent the entirety of my teenage years living in the decade of decadence, and while you might not catch me wearing anything DayGlo, you will still find Wayfarers on my face, Reeboks on my feet, a formidable ‘80s music collection on my iPod, and even a few episodes of Battle of the Network Stars on my DVR. One of the joys of being nostalgic, especially as much as I am, is when a memory hits me that I didn’t expect. It’s easy

Shadow Dancer Film Review: Feel the (Slow) Burn

... a well-executed, slow-burning film about family, commitment, betrayal, and consequences, and it is anchored by Riseborough, whose performance is mesmerizing.
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When you watch a lot of movies with the intent to write about them, you are naturally inclined to wait for things to occur in each film - things about which you can write. Action, direction, dialogue, costumes, score, and so many other things come together (or, you know, don’t) and are there to be judged. Sometimes things come together to great positive effect (think The Place Beyond the Pines), and sometimes things fall apart to great negative (think Star Trek Into Darkness). And then, every so often, a movie comes along that is strong not only for what happens

generation Um... Movie Review: Um... Well... Um... Yeah... So... Um... No.

Speaking of boring, as characters go, John is like so many other Keanu Kreations - completely devoid of emotion to the point that you want to hold a mirror under his nose when he's not moving.
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Every so often on my late local news (and surely this happens in every other TV market in the country), I see a report about a crime that baffles me. I don't mean the kind of crime that leaves me wondering how anyone could do something so heinous to their fellow man. I mean the kind of crime that leaves me wondering what the hell were they thinking. It's the kind of crime where three or four people hatch some hair-brained scheme to knock over a liquor store or scam a senior citizen or steal puppies from the mall or

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay Movie Review: Every Trick Is A Treat

A link to the past, a link to the time in magic's history before craft became crass, is alive and well and mesmerizing.
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We like to do things big in America. We supersize our food. We drive Hummers. The Big Gulp is now the smallest of the Gulp line of beverages. We live in McMansions. We encourage Michael Bay. Magic has fallen victim to the same bloat. What was once an intimate art form has become a gaudy event, with every trickster more showman than magician, every assistant more stripper than confidante, and every illusion more spectacle than trick. Magic was once "look at this." Now, it’s "look at me." It wasn’t always this way. A link to the past, a link to

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Review: Like, Totally Awesome

And although the film recognizes the difference between 2286 and 1986, it doesn't play too much into the superficial trappings of the decade.
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Like most folks my age, I was introduced to the original Star Trek series when I was a kid, via reruns on UHF (a statement that lends insight into what my age might be), and I did the typical Kid Trek stuff: I went out as Kirk for Halloween (with one of those surely-flammable plastic masks with the elastic string in the back and the lousy holes in the nose); I figured out how to make the “Live Long and Prosper” sign with my hand; I pretended to give my friends the Spock Shock (or whatever that neck grab thing

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) DVD Review: You Say You Want a Revolution

While there are fine performances by the other two leads, McKellen stands out with a sparkling, well-measured performance that could easily slip into caricature but never does.
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I’ve reviewed a lot of catalogue titles over the years and through most of them, one thing has remained consistent: I tend to review films that I think will interest me (regardless of whether I wind up liking them). I don’t think this practice is a bad thing, because familiarity with a given subject can translate into a keener critical eye. But getting outside of my comfort zone is something I want to do because I think it will help me be a better critic and a better writer. With that, I raised my hand and asked to review The

The Sorcerer and the White Snake Blu-ray Review: All Hiss and No Bite

Without the presence of real danger, Fahai is nothing more than a mystic meddler.
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There’s a car out there somewhere. It’s at least 20 years old, it’s either primer-grey or riddled with rust, it has body damage or is missing something (bumper, taillight, whatever), the tires don’t match (and one might even be the donut), the windshield is visibly dinged, and the engine knocks and pings. But damn, the stereo in that thing is ridiculous. If you haven’t owned this car, or haven’t known someone who has owned this car, or haven’t had this car slow-roll your neighborhood, then you haven’t lived. And if you haven’t lived, now’s your chance to experience something similar

Book Review: If You Like Quentin Tarantino …, by Katherine Rife

Rife’s book is an excellent reference for those new fans who can’t get enough of Quentin Tarantino.
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After opening to great reviews on Christmas Day (and presently flaunting an 80 on Metacritic after 39 critics’ reviews), and fueled by controversy created by Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained grossed $77.8MM through New Year’s Day, putting it third on the director’s list of all-time box office receipts. The fact that the film is having this kind of success, even though it is Tarantino’s first movie in over three years, is proof that the director - and his style of filmmaking - is as popular as ever. So to feed the hunger of those who can’t get enough QT

Four Rooms: The Man From Hollywood Movie Review: Tarantino Doesn't Do Much with It

When you come in second in a four-person race, you aren't runner-up. You're the best loser.
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A look at Quentin Tarantino's body of work wouldn't be complete without a lesser-known writing/directing effort from 1995 - the short film The Man From Hollywood, which was the fourth entry of a four-vignette anthology called Four Rooms. The premise of the entire film is fairly simple: strange things go on in four different rooms in a Los Angeles hotel on New Year's Eve, and bellhop Ted (Tim Roth) finds himself in four different predicaments as a result. The hook to the film is that each vignette was written and directed by four different hot young talents with popular indie

From Dusk Till Dawn Movie Review: Half Action Movie, Half Vampire Movie. Guess Which Half Sucks?

Tarantino and Rodriguez seemed like the perfect match.
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It was the best of films; it was the worst of films. Okay. So it isn't really either extreme. But it does suggest what I find wrong with From Dusk Till Dawn, the 1996 action/horror movie written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez: what it gets right it gets very right, and what it gets wrong is...well, you know. The story is about two brothers - Seth and Richie Gecko, played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino (respectively). As you might imagine (based on who is playing them), Seth, while a bit short-tempered, is the cool one in

A View to a Kill Movie Review: I Want My MTV

A review to Moore's last outing.
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Okay. Confession time. I specifically chose to review A View to a Kill (1985), the fourteenth entry in the James Bond film franchise and seventh (and final) film starring Roger Moore as 007, because Duran Duran performed the title song. There. I said it out loud. If there is something I have a weakness for as much as movies, it's the 1980s - the decade of my youth. I am the MTV Generation. I watched the network launch on Day One. I tuned in daily to see VJs like Nina and JJ and Alan (not train wrecks like Snooki

For Your Eyes Only Movie Review: At Least the Title Track is Good

It hasn't held up well over 30 years.
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For Your Eyes Only (1981) marks the twelfth installment in the James Bond franchise, and the fifth to star Roger Moore as 007. After the space-romp that was Moonraker, the series came back to earth...or maybe "fell back to earth" is more like it. The film is certainly grittier and more realistic (relatively speaking) than past Moore-as-Bond films, but in its quest to abandon the gadgetry that helped make Bond famous, it instead relies on gimmickry that rings untrue. The film opens with Bond at the grave of his late wife (see On Her Majesty's Secret Service), setting a

On Her Majesty's Secret Service Movie Review: The Name's Lazenby, George Lazenby

It's Bond like you've never seen him before: that awkward transitional boyfriend.
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the sixth Bond film in the franchise and the first to star someone other than Sean Connery - namely, George Lazenby, who makes his feature film debut here. I'm hard-pressed to think of another situation where a freshman thespian was asked to assume the lead in a franchise as important as this one, even after only five films. It's said that producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had originally sought Cary Grant for the role of Bond in the first film, Dr. No. They didn't get him (of course), but they certainly tried

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