February 6, 2014 |
Liam Neeson has proved of late how entertainingly potent the one-tough-middle-aged-SOB-against-impossible-odds movie can be. But there's not a lot to be - ahem - "Taken" by, however, in the lo-fi imitation thriller "The Outsider," which stars British slab Craig Fairbrass as Lex, a private security mercenary stationed in Afghanistan who hotfoots it to Los Angeles to investigate the supposed death of his estranged daughter. With all signs pointing to a weaselly, well-protected high-tech firm magnate (James Caan)
February 5, 2014 |
One of the big open secrets of contemporary EDM is that many, many DJs just aren't doing that much onstage. Whether picking super-obvious mainstream tracks, using oversimplified beat-matching software or even just playing a pre-mixed set and drunkenly fist-pumping, today's digital-centric DJs have myriad ways to cut corners in the booth. Las Vegas clubs are especially susceptible, with huge easy paychecks for artists playing to tourist crowds who just want to keep the bottles flying. Over at radio.com, Scott T. Sterling notes that one new Vegas club, After, has posted its house rules for DJs, and it amounts to a provocative 95 Theses for modern EDM venues.
January 16, 2014 |
Cloying and smug when it's not being unfunny and crass, the high school reunion comedy "Back in the Day" hits lows with a frequency that suggests a world-class sharp shooter or free-throw king. With every thudding gross-out gag or mistimed bit of sentimentality, writer-director-star Michael Rosenbaum's movie acts as if it deserves a high-five. Instead, this aggressively clichéd tale of Jim (Rosenbaum), a struggling Hollywood actor attending his Midwestern high school reunion, is about as entertaining as watching two guys vomit simultaneously, to name one of the movie's prouder moments of dreary raunch.
January 10, 2014 |
Unspooled in the January dumping ground and not screened for critics, Renny Harlin's "The Legend of Hercules" has preemptively conceded defeat in its duel with Brett Ratner's "Hercules," the other Hollywood project based on the same Greek hero due this year. One of the best-known figures in Greek mythology, Hercules has yet to receive serious cinematic regard. Besides serving as a bit player in films such as "Immortals" and "Jason and the Argonauts," Hercules has been the subject of one wisecracking animated musical from Disney and numerous live-action features straight out of the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" canon.
December 3, 2013 |
Like Wile E. Coyote realizing too late that he's walked off a cliff and is standing on thin air, "Britney Jean," the new studio album from Britney Spears, is marked with so many sleights of hand, dubious lyrics and bombastic but boringly simple melodies that the too-rare levitation of its better moments seems an animation trick. Item one: "It Should Be Easy," a song that practically wallows in its own failure. Featuring a cameo by the album's executive producer, will.i.am, the track casts doubt on his utility, as evidenced by these lazy lines: "Love, it should be easy / It shouldn't be complicated / It should be easy.
September 5, 2013 |
A talented quartet of young actors can't surmount the wall-to-wall clichés that comprise "Mission Park," an earnest, not terribly convincing action thriller as generic as its title. Though writer-director Bryan Anthony Ramirez keeps things moving apace, he trots out so many familiar tropes that it's often like watching a highlights reel from a lifetime's worth of urban crime dramas. The movie, set in San Antonio, finds four childhood friends, who as kids were jointly involved in a botched restaurant robbery, reuniting as 20ish adults on opposite sides of the law: Brothers Bobby (a strong Jeremy Ray Valdez)