<p>'Hey, Kevin, did you read the script for this?' 'Yeah.' 'Did it make any sense to you?' 'Nope. Just shut up and shoot something.'</p>

'Hey, Kevin, did you read the script for this?' 'Yeah.' 'Did it make any sense to you?' 'Nope. Just shut up and shoot something.'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' runs Tom Clancy's spy franchise into the ground

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
The good news is we won't have to sit through a sequel

Perhaps the greatest mystery that remains by the end of "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" is why anyone thought this movie needed to be made.

I get it in the general business sense. After all, Tom Clancy has been a major part of Paramount's story over the last 30 years, starting with "The Hunt For Red October," and they've managed to recast him enough times that they probably felt confident that, as with James Bond, the character is big enough that he can withstand whatever reboots the company decides are necessary.

But from a story sense, Clancy's work feels like it is very much of a certain era, an era that has passed, and simply moving Jack Ryan to a new time frame doesn't seem like it makes much sense thematically or narratively. It's not like he, as a character, has developed a skill set that makes him stand apart from other characters in any significant way. There's nothing about Jack Ryan, at least as he's been imagined on film so far, that lends any urgency to this reboot.

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<p>Look at Cube. He wants to laugh. You know he does.</p>

Look at Cube. He wants to laugh. You know he does.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'Ride Along' squanders the genuine chemistry between Ice Cube and Kevin Hart

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
It's not a disaster, but it's safe to call it a disappointment

While I'm not sure I'd ever accuse Ice Cube of having any significant dramatic range as an actor, I like his presence on-screen, and I've enjoyed several of the action comedies he's starred in. I think "All About The Benjamins" is just plain fun, and Eva Mendes gives a fantastic comic performance in it. Cube's had several on-screen comic foils, and I'd say Chris Tucker in the first "Friday" remains the gold standard. That film worked as well as it did because the entire cast was strong and funny and worked perfectly off of one another, whether it's Tiny Lister or John Witherspoon or Faizon Love. It was also an incredibly simple concept, played out for all it was worth.

I was hoping "Ride Along" would be an equally strong endeavor. It's a good comic premise: a guy wants to impress his brother-in-law to-be, a cop, and goes on a ride along with him where the cop intentionally exposes him to the craziest stuff possible. I like comedy ideas where you get the premise in one sentence because a good film can then play with character and twist the joke and really milk that premise in a dozen different ways. As it is, I would love to look at the various drafts by Greg Coolidge, Jason Mantzoukas, and Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi just to see who contributed what to the film as it exists now. At some point, this became an Ice Cube/Kevin Hart film, and how much you enjoy it probably depends largely on how funny you think Kevin Hart is when he yells.

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<p>This is pretty much exactly how I&nbsp;felt when I read the news today that 'Batman' is finally headed to home video.</p>

This is pretty much exactly how I felt when I read the news today that 'Batman' is finally headed to home video.

Credit: Warner Bros Home Entertainment

Biff! Bam! Whap! The '60's 'Batman' TV show is finally set for home video release

Duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-Blu-ray!

We are fifteen days into 2014, and I have already had at least three conversations with people about the possibility of a home video release of the "Batman" television series from the '60s, and until a half-hour ago, I would have said that the odds were slim to none that we would ever get it, much less that we would get it this year.

However, according to Conan O'Brien's announcement (which is being confirmed by home video sites including TVShowsOnDVD and which incorporated a pretty great Adam West joke), Warner Bros Home Entertainment has officially slated the series for a release this year, ending what has got to be one of the longest and most contentious legal rights tussles I've ever seen.

 


You would think this would have been a no-brainer for all involved years ago when everyone was putting out box sets of every TV show, but there's been a brutal legal battle going on between Warner and Fox over who had the specific rights to put the show out. Character rights, licensing rights regarding the Batmobile, actor likeness rights… everything complicated the process, and as a result, the show has been largely out of circulation even as the DVD sales market peaked and started to ebb.

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<p>If you want to see just how unloved this movie is, try to find more images from the film online. This is a film from the '90s starring Jeff Bridges, and it's like it's in the Witness Relocation Program.</p>

If you want to see just how unloved this movie is, try to find more images from the film online. This is a film from the '90s starring Jeff Bridges, and it's like it's in the Witness Relocation Program.

Credit: Warner Archive

Movie Rehab: Jeff Bridges and Peter Weir both did career best work with 'Fearless'

Other films may have won them more acclaim, but this one's special

It is the responsibility of the working film critic to not only offer opinion and context for the newest releases, but also to constantly champion and curate the films that matter, especially if they were misunderstood or poorly released or somehow handled badly the first time around.

Critics should take it upon themselves to rehabilitate the under-loved, to defend the wrongly-maligned, and rehab the films that need it; it is the only way film as a whole can be healthy.

It's easy to be a Jeff Bridges fan today.

After all, Bridges has passed into the "national treasure" phase of his career now, where he is celebrated simply for the majesty of being Jeff Goddamn Bridges. As he should be, certainly, but this is often the era in an actor's career where I am less excited by the work they're doing. Johnny Depp is in this same phase of things, although at a very different point in his life, and in many ways, the two men are similar right now. They both alternate between good performances that prove why they are who they are and vicious self-parody so raw that you wonder if they're enjoying any of it.

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<p>Ward and Skye dig deeper into Skye's family mysteries on this week's new 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'</p>

Ward and Skye dig deeper into Skye's family mysteries on this week's new 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' pushes Skye's family mystery to the forefront this week

I know they're trying to make us care... but do we?

Considering last week's return from hiatus, "The Magical Place," was the hyped episode where we were promised important answers, it seems odd that this week's episode "Seeds" was far more persuasive at convincing me that there is actually something interesting happening in "Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." at this point.

After all, last week pulled the typical "replace the question with more questions" move, but I think it did it through a sort of ham-handed ineptitude more than careful engineering. I think they felt like the end of that episode would be duly shocking and carry more weight than it did. While I think the image of the thing working on Coulson's brain was interesting, I don't think it was explained in a way that made it particularly compelling. If all it took to bring him back to life was Nick Fury demanding that they do even more surgeries on him than normal, that doesn't seem like a secret worth hiding. I get that they were worried about him recalling the massive traumatic pain and horror, and I know that there are surgeries that they are forced to do at times where the patient has to be awake, and that the accounts of those events can be horrifying. But it still just doesn't feel like it's enough of an answer or an interesting enough twist on the question.

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<p>'12 Years A Slave' has elicited some strong reactions since its debut at Toronto, but Armond White may be the first person to be drummed out of an organization over it.</p>

'12 Years A Slave' has elicited some strong reactions since its debut at Toronto, but Armond White may be the first person to be drummed out of an organization over it.

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Contentious critic Armond White expelled from New York critic's group over heckling

Ugly situation raises questions about critics and awards

It would be very easy to say something glib about Armond White's expulsion from the New York Film Critics Circle, but I don't think it's an easy situation, and I don't think it's the sort of thing that should be dismissed with an easy joke.

I didn't make a huge deal out of it when I got the news earlier this year, but since I know you can keep a secret, I'll tell you that I was over-the-moon excited and a little overwhelmed to be admitted to the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. I am a newly minted member, and that means that for the first time ever, I voted on the awards for the organization, something that may strike some of you as odd if you've been reading my work for a while.

After all, I've been writing about movies online since 1996, and in those 17 years, I have been fairly consistent in my opinion about awards shows, and in particular, the Oscars. I have never pretended to be excited about awards or what they "mean." I think there's something really unpleasant about the way a full third of the film year seems to be focused entirely on whether or not someone gets a gold statue to put in their house, instead of the films themselves. I am not going to just randomly change my position now, either. I still feel the same way, with a single exception.

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<p>The guy's last name is Strange... it's like Johnny Depp was born to play that part.</p>

The guy's last name is Strange... it's like Johnny Depp was born to play that part.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Report: Johnny Depp in early talks to play Marvel's 'Doctor Strange'

Someone's got to step in when Robert Downey Jr. wraps things up

Latino Review didn't wait very long before they started getting up Marvel's nose for 2014, did they?

Look, casting Johnny Depp as pretty much anything is a no-brainer these days, especially at Disney. "The Lone Ranger" didn't dent his star power one little bit, and if they do end up casting him as Dr. Strange, that's intriguing.

What is more important, though, is who they hire to direct, and I think that's the truth with all the Marvel movies at this point. I'm excited about "Guardians Of The Galaxy," and sure, part of it is because I find the notion of a gun-toting raccoon with a bad attitude so unbelievably crazy that I can't believe that's actually part of a real movie that will play in real movie theaters. But the reason I have faith that the film will actually be something new, something we haven't seen from Marvel before, is because I've spoken to James Gunn and I've seen how much room they've given him to define the world the way he wants to.

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<p>Jonah Hill is nothing like his character in 'Wolf Of Wall Street,' and thank god for that.</p>

Jonah Hill is nothing like his character in 'Wolf Of Wall Street,' and thank god for that.

Credit: HitFix

Jonah Hill talks about working with his hero Martin Scorsese on 'Wolf Of Wall Street'

And he can't stop smiling about it

The first time I met Jonah Hill was on a neighborhood street just off Zelzah near CSUN in the San Fernando Valley. It was a nighttime shoot for the film "Superbad," and I went to watch a scene involving Jonah, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who was the complete unknown the scenario. I knew Jonah's work from "Accepted" and "40-Year-Old Virgin," and I was a big "Arrested Development" fan already, but when I was first told that those three were the leads, I had no idea what to expect.

One of the pleasures of writing about film over a long stretch of time is watching the way people come into focus, the way your first impressions of them evolve as they evolve, the way their work changes. It's one of the things I think critics can do that is valuable, being able to lay out a context in which to view someone's work. I'm just as interested in the way Jonah Hill's persona has developed from film to film and the friction between his work in "This Is The End" and "Wolf Of Wall Street" in the same year as I am in any of the individual jokes or moments he's played onscreen. I think he made the jump to being taken seriously that many comics have attempted over the years, and in many cases, they've fumbled that moment. Bill Murray may be well-regarded now for films like "Lost In Translation" or "Moonrise Kingdom," but that took time. When he made "The Razor's Edge," audiences just weren't interested. Belushi wanted to make that jump, but he never quite got there. Jim Carrey has wrestled with his own identity onscreen, and while I think he's done amazing dramatic work, he's worth more box-office in an overt comedy. Even among the guys who he's worked with, Hill seems to be having an easier time in bigger films. I love "Take This Waltz," but I think right now, Seth Rogen is still seen primarily as a comic presence first.

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<p>I&nbsp;don't know who this is, but 20th Century Fox would be very happy if Brad Pitt decided to play him.</p>

I don't know who this is, but 20th Century Fox would be very happy if Brad Pitt decided to play him.

Credit: Wizards Of The Coast/Hasbro

Simon Kinberg and Fox deal themselves in for 'Magic: The Gathering' movies

This one's definitely got a fanbase, but what's the movie?

Simon Kinberg has asked me not to reveal his greatest secret, but at this point, I feel it is my duty so that young writers who look at how many things he's juggling at one time understand how he's able to pull it off.

Clones. Dozens of them.

That's the only way it could possibly work at this point. Think of everything he's got his name on right now. He's one of the producers of "Star Wars: Rebels," the next major piece of "Star Wars" canon to be introduced on Disney XD this year, and he's involved in the new "Star Wars" films as well. He's part of "X-Men: Days Of Future Past" and its follow-up, "X-Men: Apocalypse." He's producing a remake of "Murder On The Orient Express" with Ridley Scott and Mark Gordon. He's in charge of getting "Fantastic Four" back up and running, and he's also working on Neill Blomkamp's next film "Chappie."

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<p>Ellar Coltrane will age over a decade during the running time for Richard Linklater's audacious experiment 'Boyhood,' just added to the Sundance schedule.</p>

Ellar Coltrane will age over a decade during the running time for Richard Linklater's audacious experiment 'Boyhood,' just added to the Sundance schedule.

Credit: Sundance Film Festival

Richard Linklater's experimental 'Boyhood' added to Sundance line-up at last minute

This one's been in the works for a while

Last year, when it was announced that "Before Midnight" was going to play the Sundance Film Festival, it was a bit of a shock. Richard Linklater managed to keep the entire production under the radar, and it was a lovely surprise to realize that it was already finished and we'd be seeing it shortly.

This year, Linklater managed to surprise again with this morning's announcement that "Boyhood" has been added to the Sundance schedule in the TBA slots that many of us had noted on the schedule. It is unusual for Sundance to leave a prime slot in the Eccles theater unclaimed, so we figured there was something interesting that they were working to secure. I would have never guessed it would be "Boyhood," though, and it seems crazy to me that after years and years of waiting, I'm actually going to get to see the film this coming week.

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