The first G.I. Joe movie RISE OF THE COBRA was panned. I re-watched it recently and it’s not a fantastic action movie, but it’s fun and action packed and stars the engaging Channing Tatum. But it was such a flop, Hasbro needed not just a sequel, but a reboot. Enter G.I. JOE: RETALIATION. It’s kind of odd, because it is a reboot, but it is also a sequel. It picks up in the months after an impostor takes over as President of the United States. Most of the original cast is gone except for Tatum (more on that in a moment), Jonathan Pryce, Ray Park, Arnold Vosloo and Byung-hun Lee. So it’s kind of disjointed because most of the familiar characters are gone, yet the storyline progresses as if they are still there which they aren’t. There’s nothing much “new” here. Stereotypical set pieces. The mandatory ninja fighting. Guns, explosions, threats of nuclear annihilation. While the action is well shot and interesting to watch, it’s fairly drama-less. Even when the Joe’s are nearly wiped out by Cobra early in the movie, there is no sense of dread or sorrow. We don’t really know these guys so why exactly should we be sad they are dead? SPOILER ALERT: This is where they kill off one of the only familiar characters. Tatum is wiped out in the attack. I guess he didn’t even want to be around for the rest of this. Dwayne Johnson is solid. Adrienne Palicki is smokin’ hot. Walton Goggins is great as a prison warden (even with his limited material). And Bruce Willis just shows up, drops a few “funny” lines and doesn’t bring much more to the party. It’s not necessarily bad. It might be just a hair better than the original. So enjoy it for what it is and don’t hate it for what it isn’t. And pray they aren’t planning a third movie. — Alan Yudman


Is HYDE PARK ON HUDSON the story of Franklin Roosevelt’s many mistresses? Or maybe it’s the story of how he wooed his cousin Daisy, who was also one of his secret mistresses. Or maybe it’s the story of King George’s visit to Hyde Park, trying to gain financial & military support for it’s battle against Germany at the start of WWII. I don’t think the movie knows what it is either. I KNOW what it is… deadly boring. There are long pointless conversations. Endless narration by the Daisy character and beautifully shot scenery (ruined by the site of Daisy masturbating the President in his car). The characters are flat. The acting disinterested. Laura Linney’s Daisy is so understated that she’s barely there even when she is. The most interesting relationship is that of the King and Queen Elizabeth. They seem the only ones with any kind of passion or emotion. Bill Murray is OK as FDR, but other than being whimsical and paralyzed by polio, the role is paralyzed by a lack of depth. That is so strange because FDR was a very engaging character, but that doesn’t come across at all. As mentioned, the cinematography shows off how beautiful upstate New York is. Other than a pretty postcard, this is a waste of film. — Alan Yudman


Ralph is the type of movie Pixar used to make. Original with a lot of imagination, this one shows us another world a la Toy Story inside video games. Ralph is the “bad guy” of an 80’s video game who’s sick of it and wants to be a hero. John C. Reilly nails it as the sweet lug with good intentions, Jack McBrayer is hilarious as the do gooder Mario type hero of the game who tries fix it when Ralph goes into another video game, and Sarah Silverman has never been better voicing the spunky heroine of the film…the little girl in a children’s game that Ralph ends up stuck in and Jane Lynch is hilarious as the R rated soldier from another first person shoot em up game who when she’s not looking for a fight keeps flashing back to her groom-to-be getting devoured by giant bugs. You have to see it to appreciate it. Eye popping effects, jokes for grown ups who were inflicted up with Pac Man Fever, and a lot of heart, Ralph is one of the best family movies for grown ups and kids that’s come along in a long time. I know…I’ve been subjected to them all! Kudos to all the cameos as well, from Frogger to Q Bert, it’s always nice to reunite with old friends.

Stormy Curry


It’s by the numbers, predictable, and far from classic, but Gangster hits the bullseye as far as popcorn entertainment goes. Josh Brolin is tough as nails, Ryan Gosling is cool as ice, and Sean Penn is “boo hiss” bad as Mickey Cohen. Throw in some sweet action scenes and swell looking hats and you have a fun flick to enjoy on a Saturday night. What you see is what you get…and that’s a good thing.

Stormy Curry


A genuine sequel, not a franchise installment, which picks up from the original’s ending. I was underwhelmed — could not stop noticing that the lead, Ashley Bell, looks too old, a woman playing a girl’s role (even though the ones playing her peers are mostly around the same age). For a scary movie, it’s a little too quiet, a little too uneventful. And except for an intriguing actress named Julia Garner, who shares a sizzlingly lesbierotic moment with Bell and a lipstick, the acting is ho-hum. (But fun fact: the “cute boyfriend” part is done by the now-grown actor who was Bruce Willis’ son in UNBREAKABLE, the one who drove that incredibly tense scene in the kitchen with the gun.) No box office records will be set here, but if it ends up making a profit, the way has been conveniently cleared plotwise for Part III. — Jeff Schultz


I hate musicals. I’ve never seen a version of Les Mis. I had zero interest in seeing it. Didn’t know the story, didn’t care. I saw this and all I have to say is wow. I thought this was an incredible movie that worked on every level. I loved the story, think Hugh Jackman should have won for Best Actor (sorry Daniel Day), and have reconsidered what I think should have won Best Picture (sorry Argo). Aside from a 15 minute bathroom break in the middle (characters sing loooong boring love songs with lyrics like “I love him, he loves her, she loves him, zzzzzz) this flick was awesome.

Stormy Curry


For the last few years, I think Ben Affleck has been overrated as a director. The Town was standard fare and Gone Baby Gone was better but still not worthy of the hype. Affleck finally hit it out if the park with ARGO and now I join the others wondering where the Academy had their heads stuck when they snubbed him for Best Director. Affleck balanced several narratives and never lost the heart of the story. He succeeded in making a movie “based on a true story” that is entertaining an fascinating to watch (take note Zero Dark Thirty, it CAN be done). The tension he builds during the CIA mission to rescue Americans out of Iran is so well done, you can forgive the one distraction that takes you out of the movie: the runway chase near the end. Out of the best picture nominees I saw this year, I think Argo earned the win (although I would have voted for Django Unchained!).
Stormy Curry


It’s tough not to be TAKEN with Liam Neeson when he kicks serious butt in movies like this. The 60 year old is the reason to watch this sequel, which sticks to the formula and does something different at the same time. The story is simple, the action just awesome, and the acting groundbreaking when it comes to this genre (Expendables anyone?). A fun diversion that is fun from the get go, don’t watch this expecting an Oscar worthy film. It’s more of a thrill ride that delivers the goods. In a world where there can be five Die Hards, I would totally be down to be Taken for a third time!

Stormy Curry