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Thursday, July 2,2015

Mainline it

Dope will get you high

By Ryan Syrek
When the stunning Nakia (Zoë Kravitz) invites Malcolm to a birthday party for her on-again/off-again, dopeslinging boyfriend, Dom (A$ap Rocky), the nerdy good kids find themselves wading hip deep into shit creek.
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Thursday, June 25,2015

Emotion motion

‘Inside Out’ is busy, breezy and (kinda) blah

By Ryan Syrek
My second set of questions: So logic doesn’t exist in this world? I understand this is a kid’s movie but “you are a creature ruled solely by your basic emotions” is a horrifying message. Why go to school if you never apply knowledge and you just emotionally react to stuff?.
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Thursday, June 18,2015

Hot dino-on-dino action

‘Jurassic World’ is what you wanted

By Ryan Syrek
Hand a kid two dinosaur toys. Said kid will not use them to contemplate evolutionary biology. Said kid will smash the two of them together, simulating an epic dino-smackdown while emitting a likely annoying reptilian howl. Jurassic World is that but with a $150 million budget. Director Colin Trevorrow went from quirky indie Safety Not Guaranteed to blockbuster franchise revival faster than you can ask, “How many zeroes are on that check again?” Those hoping Trevorrow managed to retain the light, whimsical, creative tone of his former effort should remember this is a movie about dinosaurs eating people. When it comes to people eating, Jurassic World does it better than most.
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Thursday, June 11,2015

On agents and agency

‘Spy’ treats Melissa McCarthy like a real person%u2028

By Ryan Syrek
Melissa McCarthy is immensely talented, armed with a stunning repertoire of acting skills. So, of course, Hollywood sees her and claps its collective hands together, yelling “Make the funny lady fall down again!” Spy is writer/director (and frequent McCarthy collaborator) Paul Feig’s attempt to save his friend from a Jack Blackian fate. In a clever conceit, he allows McCarthy to trot out her staid, clichéd usual characters, only to abandon them in favor of something authentic. Had it not been for one painfully tone deaf, unfunny, offensive running gag, Spy would have been damn good and not simply good.
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Thursday, June 4,2015

Quake and stakes

‘San Andreas’ is morally terrible, kind of watchable

By Ryan Syrek
As people die in ugly, awful ways all around him, Ray ignores them in order to save his estranged wife and loving daughter. If you’re not related to Ray, sorry about your death by fire or pulverization, but you can’t ride in the city’s helicopter or the plane he steals, truck he steals or boat he steals.
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Thursday, May 28,2015

All refrain

‘Pitch Perfect 2’ is a worthy encore

By Ryan Syrek
Fact: It’s harder to make people laugh than cry. Fact: It’s harder to make someone laugh a second time than the first. Conclusion: Comedy sequels are the hardest sequels to make satisfying. Pitch Perfect was a comedy ninja, stealthily stepping from shadows to chuck a throwing star of hilarity into the funny bone of unsuspecting viewers. But Pitch Perfect 2 is an encore performed before a ravenously loyal crowd demanding to hear certain hits. It’s clear that everyone, including first-time director Elizabeth Banks, felt the pressure to obey the raised lighters in the audience and repeat certain notes, lest those lighters become torches and pitchforks.
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Thursday, May 21,2015

Men ruin everything

Yes, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is as good as you’ve heard%u2028

By Ryan Syrek
This isn’t to say that the film isn’t speaking volumes. Hell, it’s not even speaking: it’s shouting and screaming over a wailing guitar riff. The brides scrawl graffiti in the dungeon they escaped, reading “We are not things” and “Who killed the world?” The latter has a clear answer: Dudes.
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Thursday, May 14,2015

Sodium eyewater

‘The Salt of the Earth’ swims in human suffering

By Ryan Syrek
The last one, “Genesis,” is beautiful and moving. It ties in to Salgado and Wanick’s Institutio Terra, which is a restoration of part of a rainforest that began in the 1990s. Yeah, they rebuilt a rainforest, in case you feel like recycling is a bit too much effort on your part to save the planet.
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Thursday, May 7,2015

Are you not entertained?!

‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ is a joyous spectacle

By Ryan Syrek
Another epic tale about incredibly powerful beings fighting against one another with melodramatic overtones? Ugh.
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Thursday, April 30,2015

Let’s not be gods

‘Ex Machina’ is a thoughtful thriller%u2028

By Ryan Syrek
This is in stark contrast to the muted Caleb, a painfully shy nice dude who is overwhelmed by the opportunity in front of him. That opportunity? To be the human component in the “Turing Test,” which determines whether a computer has achieved true artificial intelligence.
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