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Home » Articles »   By Dave Taylor
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Thursday, December 31,2009

'Sherlock Holmes' looks good, but no reinvention

By Dave Taylor
I've been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary detail-oriented detective, Sherlock Holmes, for as long as I can remember. The Holmes canon is extraordinarily rich and directors as talented as Billy Wilder and Barry Levinson have tackled it with varying levels of success and there are more than 200 Holmes films and TV shows.
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Tuesday, December 22,2009

Alien revolution from 'Avatar'

By Dave Taylor
"Avatar" is a movie about manifest destiny and second thoughts, a sweeping epic retelling of a classic theme about a soldier “going native” as he learns that the enemy isn’t a faceless monster, but an intelligent race. The most obvious parallel is "Dances with Wolves," but director James Cameron has taken the basic storyline and created a visual masterpiece that’s almost a perfect sci-fi film.
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Thursday, December 17,2009

Friendly skies 'Up In The Air'

By Dave Taylor
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) has a job that keeps him flying 200 days/ year in Up In The Air — he’s a corporate downsizer brought in to fire excess employees. It’s a tough job and Bingham has made a career out of detaching, disassociating from anything that could tie him down, including his long-estranged siblings.
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Thursday, December 10,2009

A slice of 'Ninja'

By Dave Taylor
The extraordinarily violent Ninja Assassin opens with a tough guy Yakuza gang leader having a tattoo inked on his back by a mysterious old man who talks about the four noble professions, the five rings, and other cliché Japanese cultural mumbo-jumbo. A henchman enters the lair and announces, “I got something for ya, boss.” It’s an envelope full of black sand.
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Thursday, December 3,2009

Fantastic furry fun in 'Mr. Fox'

By Dave Taylor
In a world of children’s films increasingly characterized by technological accomplishment and sophisticated rendering in lieu of good old-fashioned storytelling, it was a breath of fresh air to enjoy the stop-motion Fantastic Mr. Fox.
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Thursday, November 19,2009

British invasion in 'Pirate Radio'

By Dave Taylor
Any film that’s built around the music of the mid-1960s starts out with one thing going for it: a great soundtrack. That Pirate Radio goes beyond that and offers up an entertaining and poignant story about loss of innocence is what makes it a film well worth your time.
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Thursday, November 12,2009

Jedi mind tricks from 'The Men Who Stare At Goats'

By Dave Taylor
"Is this really based on facts?” a fellow critic asked the studio rep at the screening of The Men Who Stare At Goats. “Does it matter?” I responded, and I was right, it doesn’t. Whether it’s factual or just a riff on the craziness of modern military and contemporary culture, it turns out that The Men Who Stare at Goats is a witty and engaging satire in the same vein as the classic war films M*A*S*H, Dr. Strangelove and Catch-22.
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Thursday, October 29,2009

Revenge with a twist that falls short in 'Citizen'

By Dave Taylor
Law Abiding Citizen is the latest in the bad-lawyer genre, with Jamie Foxx as careerfocused attorney Nick Rice, who accepts a plea bargain from the killer of affable inventor Clyde Shelton’s (Gerard Butler) family to ensure his excellent trial outcome record. The film opens with Shelton and his daughter working together in the basement, while his wife prepares dinner.
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Thursday, October 15,2009

'Couples Retreat' a waste of talent, unfunny

By Dave Taylor
Director Peter Billingsley had a tough assignment: take four suburban couples and put them through a series of "relationship building" challenges that were thought-provoking, poignant, revealing and funny. In attempting to accomplish this, he makes everyone a crass caricature, preventing us from neither engaging with them nor caring about the outcome of their journey. Worse, it's just not that comical.
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Thursday, October 8,2009

'Zombie' hilarity

By Dave Taylor
It takes a certain sense of humor to enjoy a horror comedy film like Zombieland, but if you can laugh at graphic violence and can see the humor in parody, then this is a great movie for you to catch.
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