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matt has written 47 reviews for films rated ★★ during 2013.

  • Saving Mr. Banks

    Saving Mr. Banks

    ★★

    supercalifragilisticexpiala-Annoyed-Grunt-cious

  • Vicious Lips

    Vicious Lips

    ★★

    had high hopes for this as i remembered it fondly from cable tv as a kid, but of course Albert Pyun can ruin anything, even a movie about an all-girl new-wave band shanghaied by their sleazy agent into a big-break gig on an alien planet. what could go wrong? just for starters about 70% of the movie is just the girls stuck in a single room on a crashed spaceship, followed by a truly obnoxious plot twist that's essentially an admission that the entire film is padding. watch the beginning and the ending on youtube or something, and toss the rest.

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★

    "We all hustle to survive." yeah, ok that's even your tag line. so that's it? so the fuck what? another pack of cartoon caricatures from Russell. wakes up when everyone's shouting and swearing at each other, which is evidently all he's any good at anymore. also every movie he makes convinces me further that he's a misogynist dick.

  • RED 2

    RED 2

    ★★

    overlong and extremely lazy but not explicitly terrible. seems to think it's endlessly amusing to see "serious" actors like John Malkovich doing allegedly unserious shit like talking about his balls and double-fisting handguns (see also: "Brian Cox: Foot Sniffer"). personally i would change "endlessly" to "intermittently", and despite the impressive list of names in this cast i was most excited to see a typically underused Neal McDonough. occasionally the action is even lively, like Byung-hun Lee spraying a Paris streetcorner with a GAU minigun, but i would've hoped for (although didn't necessarily expect) better from the dude that directed GALAXY QUEST.

  • Tank Girl

    Tank Girl

    ★★

    this is what happens when a clueless studio wastes a lot of money trying to streamline a mostly stupid (and disorganized by design) but overtly political piece of semi-underground art for a multiplex audience that doesn't give a shit about gender politics or comic books. you get undercranked trying-on-clothes montages, a Busby dance scene knockoff and a shitty Iggy Pop cameo. points for some fantastic analog craft (especially the mutant kangaroo prosthetics), but this is mostly excruciating.

  • The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

    The Red Queen Kills Seven Times

    ★★

    and she'd have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for that sexy chick whose boyfriend solved the mystery while she somehow avoided being murdered for an hour and forty-five minutes. an object lesson in how a great deal of gialli are the same kinda boring movie.

  • Thor: The Dark World

    Thor: The Dark World

    ★★

    how anybody gives a shit about this i'll never know, but at least it's weird and funny and colorful.

  • Nebraska

    Nebraska

    ★★

    i'll cop to generally disliking Payne; this is one of his films. although its last couple scenes mine some genuine wistful hope for this father/son relationship, the rest of it never misses a single opportunity to hilariously remind you that these lives are sad ones in sad places clinging to sad delusions. also it looks like crap, draining all the color out of this world in some drab reach for formal seriousness.

    perfectly happy to be the grouch here.

  • Byzantium

    Byzantium

    ★★

    despite some lovely, elementally spooky images (i particularly liked the blood waterfalls) and a great moment wherein Saoirse is watching DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS and we realize it's totally racist against Draculas, this just fucking crawls. anyway i suppose you can go ahead and add "vague notions of Empire" (and prostitutes? whatever) to the list of boring, largely trite crap vampires have been made a metaphorical analog for.

  • The Doll Squad

    The Doll Squad

    ★★

    a phenomenal trailer stretched out to an interminable, inexplicably sleaze-free 100 minutes.

  • The Conjuring

    The Conjuring

    ★★

    not anywhere as good but it somehow manages to raise up a similar atmosphere to something like THE EXORCIST, largely because of an overall attempt at something classical, unreconstructed. calm and confident. i want to admire that but it's also largely a collection of rusty tropes and generic jump scares, and then there's a scene where we see an old 8mm reel of a "real exorcism" and there's a bunch of shitty fake film damage and then the possessed guy…

  • The Heat

    The Heat

    ★★

    i'm all for this movie's inclusive brand of feminism, except for how it forgot to include funny parts, or narrative momentum, or a shot list that didn't come from a single-camera sitcom.