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Abduction

Abduction stars Taylor Lautner. Lautner lets his eyebrow do the talking in a film that will thrill 12 year old girls each time he takes his shirt off. Our audience of grown ups was laughing hysterically at an insistent and far too serious screenplay about a high school senior who finds out, the hard way, that his parents are CIA spies. The film goes off course as soon as a bald bad guy utters the words "There's a bomb in the oven!" In this case, there's a bomb on the big screen.

About Cherry

About Cherry is this year's story about a runaway who finds success in porn. After 20 minutes of XX porn action (no male genitalia) , reality kicks in and the film tries to develop characters and a story. Tries and fails. Star Ashley Hinshaw is an "eleven" while supporting stars James Franco, Heather Graham and Dev Patel are names you may recognize. horny guys wait and rents

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter packs all you need to know into its title, though there is more story inside than the similarly ill-conceived Snakes on a Plane. Lots of violence. Not so much blood and gore as you would expect (a good thing).

All's Faire in Love

All's Faire in Love stars Christina Ricci, Cedric the Entertainer, Ann-Margret and Owen Benjamin in a terrible story of romance in a Renaissance Fair. Terrible terrible

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked is the third go round for Dave Seville and his "boys" Those with kiddies, take 'em. Then download wallpapers

Another Happy Day

Another Happy Day stars Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, Thomas Haden Church, George Kennedy and Ellen Burstyn. Ah, a wedding in a family in which one branch (Ellen Barkin and her kids) are emotionally unstable; another bullies the former; another prefers to drink 24/7 'cuz it's a party and a "second wife" attempts to establish her place at the top of the pecking order while grandpa (George Kennedy) suffers with a bad pacemaker and grandma (Ellen Burstyn) attends, instead of ruling the roost. Not a comedy. All play for Oscar noms when they should be contributing to making a watchable film.

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas puts forth the notion that Santa Claus is an inherited position, passed down from one member of the Christmas family to another, ever since they won the franchise from the Kringles. This year, a high tech delivery system put in place by Steve Christmas (next year's Santa) delivers all but one package. It's up to brother Arthur, and a retired Grand-Santa to set it straight. Take the kiddies. Wallpapers here

brave

An action flick with a super heroic princess at its center Brave tries to provide something for all. A background heavy first half is a very dull sit for the gents. The back half offers up all the fun action and story that we expect from a Disney/ Pixar movie.

A Dangerous Method

The earliest days of psychiatric theory, and the women who were the links from Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortenson) to Carl Jung (Michael Fassbinder) and back again, are at the center of director David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method. It's a very dry romance thanks to Jung's very understanding (or willfully ignorant) wife, Emma (Sarah Gadon) and the patient/ fling on the side (Keira Knightley). A serious movie that doesn't beat the scenery for Oscar nominations is a good thing; those that haven't accepted the fact that all of the world's emotional woes are really caused by the alien warlord Xenu killing millions in Hawaii's volcanoes, may want to watch this.

drunkboat

Drunkboat stars John Malkovich, John Goodman and Dana Delaney in a film so poorly constructed we had to watch it twice to figure it out. It's a story of a youngish teenboy who wants to sail the seas, his emotional wreck of a now-sober uncle, and a mom who just needs to get a life. While she does that, the kid buys an old boat from a career rip-off artist (Goodman's role) and ... eventually the film comes togtether but you'll have spent at least 30 or 40 minutes wishing you hadn't bought the ticket before it does. Avoid.

Fireflies in the Garden

Fireflies in the Garden disposes of A-list star Julia Roberts early on. Then it becomes a flashback filled story of a son's (Ryan Reynolds) battles with his dad (Willem DaFoe). At least that's what we think. More confusing is the casting of Hayden Pantierre as the younger version of a character later played by Emma Stone, who looks nothing like HP. The film is just one long, big mistake. Leave it be.

General Education

For those who believe that reviewing movies is an easy gig, may we suggest you endure General Education, with star names Janeane Garofalo and Larry David above the title to suck hard earned dollars out of your wallet. The pair do their best to save a sinking ship focussed on a whole host of teens, one of whom is about to go to college on a tennis scholarship that he really doesn't want. Writer/director /producer Tom Morris delivers a mega-bomb that is not even up to grad student project levels. Therefore, General Education gets an "F." We were praying for its end so we could get to a door without having to act unprofessionally and walk out. We have to sit through the damned thing. You shouldn't have to... it's that bad. [Rated PG-13 for sex references and a drug-related gesture.]

Goats

First time writer/directors should study Goats with some reg'lar folk viewers. It's a fine example of why something has to happen in the first 30 minutes of a film. Those who just want to see David Duchovny naked -- he plays a "fake Mexican: grounds keeper slash marijuana farmer -- should rent. Co-star Vera Farmiga plays the kind of loopy hippie new agist that is beyond description. There is a tiny story here but we didn't like it. Avoid.

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy is a good old fashioned disappointment. If you're expecting some hot, naked sex scenes, well, it's a joke we won't reveal. The overall film is a totally average sit. It is less funny than it is sexy and it isn't all that sexy so there you have it.

the grey

Under no circumstance are you to miss the first five minutes of The Grey, a classic dateflick of the Man is Manly and his date gets to grab his arm and bury her face in his shoulder when wolves attack half a dozen or so losers in the snow-covered Alaskan wilderness. We saw the film. We liked the film. We went home and had the equivalent of a stroke and didn't finish a full review. Go see Liam Neeson's great performance.

We mean it, suffer through the 20 minutes of trailers and commercials so you don't miss the first five minutes.

I Melt With You

I Melt With You stars Thomas Jane, Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay on their 25th annual week's vacation from Life; this year they evaluate where Life has taken them and the film veers off into unbearable arthouse territory with Carla Gugino as The Cop who gets to sort out the mess. Pass it by

in time

In Time stars Justin Timberlake in an OK SF thriller all about trying to stay alive past 25. Way too difficult to explain, it's a date flick that will do great once you can watch the DVD again and again to catch the details.

it's about you

It's About You documents John Cougar Mellencamp's 2009 tour and the making of his 2010 LP release. Thirteen new songs and lots of on-the-road footage, shot on Super 8 (out of focus hand-held shots a specialty), are narrated by a terminally bored sounding Kurt Markus (pro photog and the "you" of the title). Mellencamp doesn't take the time to talk about the new music. Markus' narration steps on the lyrics and, honestly, the entire project would barely have passed muster in a 12th grade media class.

Jeff Who Lives At Home

Jeff, Who Lives At Home is about a guy named Jeff (Jason Segal) who at age 30 still lives in the basement of his mother's house. Susan Sarandon plays mom. Ed Helms (of teevee's The Office) co-stars. Forget how lousy the film may sound, it isn't a bad sit. So rent

Limelight

Limelight is a documentary history of NYC's most famous club of the 1980s and its sister club, The Tunnel. Cranky partied in both locations and had a great time in both. That doesn't mean you'll have a great time watching this dull as dishwater history, 'cuz you won't. Pass it by.

Margin Call

Margin Call dramatizes the last day of the financial firm (allegedly) Lehman Brothers, as they realize that high risk mortgages they've packaged as marketable securities (like stocks) are totally worthless. A-lister Stanley Tucci is the trader who figures out that the end is near, just as the firm downsizes his gig out of existence. We viewers get to see how our retirement portfolios went up in smoke while the traders on screen made millions, The film is far too dry (tht means dull) and the facts too infuriating for us to label the film as entertaining though a cast including Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Mary McDonnell, and Demi Moore kept our eyes focussed on the big screen.

The Master

The Master was teased as a "based on true events" origin story of Scientology (for legal reasons now called "The Cause"). The film is nothing of the sort. It's a well acted tale of the platonic hook up of a middle aged pulp fiction writer (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and a mentally messed up naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix). Set against a new, lifestyle "cult" that the former develops and preaches, the real control is held by the older man's wife (Amy Adams). Thank goodness for production notes . . . It is one thing to watch good actors perform their craft well. It is another when the totality of the film fails to make its audience "feel" anything in any way. The Master is a very dull sit.

The Mighty Macs

The Mighty Macs offers Carla Gugino and Ellen Burstyn as the name stars, the former as the new basketball coach of Catholic women's college Immaculata, the latter as Mother Superior of the financially failing institution. While slanted towards young girls, this also true story is very entertaining. Non Catholic parents may have to explain something about different religious views but none of that got in the way of this viewer's enjoyment (FYI, a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn...)

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror stars Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen of the Snow White fairy tale ... Nathan Lane co-stars as her lackey ... but our invitation to see the film was revoked a couple of days before the screening because "we couldn't get a theater large enough for everyone . . ." We've been reviewing movies for close to twenty years, and that kind of excuse has always been code for "this film sucks so bad we don't want any Internet writers seeing it early because you (Internet writers) can't keep your mouth shut and honor an embargo. Turns out, though, the film really is a flop. I fully agree with our compadre Susan Granger, whose review is here.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is delightful little mess from writer/director Wes Anderson. We couldn't remember squat about the story on the way out, but we sure had a good time watching it. [No weed involved. I swear it.]

Musical Chairs

A paralysing spinal cord accident leads to a new life in competitive ballroom dancing in Musical Chairs. It sounds crazy but is apparently based on real competitions that are "big" in Europe. Screenwriter Marty Madden gets all the accident/ paralysis details correct (we lived something like it) but the overall movie is terribly assembled and should be given a pass.

My Week With Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn stars Michelle Williams as the movie star Marilyn Monroe, looking for acting respectability by making a movie with Sir Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). Olivier seeks movie fame by teaming with Monroe. In the middle is a go-fer who spends most of the movie making friends with Monroe. It's a one note film, built to win Williams award nominations. Pass it by.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve from director Garry Marshall puts 28 stars (including Robert DeNiro, Jon Bon Jovi, Katherine Heigl, Hilary Swank, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer) into half a dozen unwieldy parallel stories. It's a very barely lightweight dateflick

96 Minutes

96 Minutes is a terrific drama featuring two car jacked college students, one white gangsta wannabe and his A-A friend who is this close to getting out of the ghetto. We lost the review so just trust on on this one. If it's in your neighborhood and you want to avoid lines for anything else and still see a good film, here you go...

Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect is... wait for it... a terrible Glee set on a college campus. Without a lot of imagination on the part of the film's creators, either musical or story-wise, it's an awful film. But if collegiate aged types have moved on into 1980's nostalgia, this will be a big hit. Just saying.

ra.one

RA.One means "random access one" and is Bollywood's first attempt at big budget, high effects SF storytelling. Basically a good robot vs. a bad robot story whose script could've used another couple of rounds of rewrites.

Real Steel

Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman in a world where boxing robots bring a father and an estranged kidlet son together. It's Rocky meets Rock Em Sock Em Robots and its a heck of a lot of fun. Wallpaper downloads here. And what passed for Cranky's movie review was accidentally wiped from my hard drive sometime between adding more 'papers to the downloads page and writing about it . . . Bring the kids or, failing that, bring your inner child. Real Steel is tremendous fun..

Shame

Shame (NC17) stars Michael Fassbender as a man with a sex addiction. Carey Mulligan stars as his wannabe a star sister who makes the mistake of sleeping with her brother's married boss. It is Artiste Porn crossed with church infused Irish Catholic guilt ... for those without Irish friends, being unkind to your family is bad but having sex (of any kind) without marriage is even worse. The star of this show is mean to his little sister and has sex of every kind. More than that we'll not say (but we were so bored we wanted to run, screaming, from the screening room).

Snowmen

Snowmen with name stars Ray Liotta and Christopher Lloyd is a terrific family story which begins, strangely enough, with three ten year olds finding a frozen body in a snow bank, Its story then does a strange dance that includes childhood cancer, first love (sorta kinda) and an attempt by the kidlets and their schoolmates to find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by building the most snowmen, ever. Parents, enjoy the film from the back row and let your kids and their friends make like bigger middle schoolers and sit up front. It may take a while to get to your local 'plex. Remember the name. It's a great family flick.

Snow White Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman has all the elements: Snow (Kristen Stewart) , Evil Queen (Charlize Theron), Poison Apple, Eight Dwarfs (it's a copyright thing) and the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who is anything but . . . (that would be telling). A very dark telling of stories based on the original tales. We like dark. We could've used less dark by the time all was o'er but, as long as you're not bringing 5 year olds in -- DON'T -- it's a decent well made tale for grown ups

solomon kane

Solomon Kane, stuffs a three hour movie into 105 minutes and still manages to feel like a three hour movie. We loved the Robert E. Howard originals but this film drops like lead shot.

 

the thing

We don't compare to source material, which would include John Carpenter's original version of The Thing (whose publicists maintain that this version is not a remake). Doesn't matter. An alien "thing" is found buried in the icy north and, after it wakes, it feeds on and replicates the dumb humans that unearthed it. There are shocks and there is gore, but not slice 'n' dice gruesome stuff. You won't remember much a day or two later but the film is a good, bucket of popcorn worthy sit

Think Like A Man

If you must, close your eyes when you watch Think Like A Man, the funniest movie we've seen so far this year. Yes the ad campaign makes the film look Afro-centric . . . we almost fell victim to that thinking but, thankfully, didn't. A tale of four friends, one whose divorce is almost final and three seeking out their own perfect mate, this loose adaptation of a book by comedian Steve Harvey may follow the "how to write a screenplay" model, but we liked it nonetheless

Trespass

Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman star in Trespass. Two rich people in a gated community have a pouting teenager to deal with . . . and then thieves disguised as security officers in to their house, determined to raid the safe of all the cash that they know is there. Director Joel Schumacher - who we'll not forgive for his Batman films though whose Phone Booth was surprisingly terrific - makes a dumb, fun movie. Stoners should wait to rent and enjoy the film as a group sit. The rest of us, looking for an OK way to spend two hours will not be disappointed.

Tyrannosaur

Tyrannosaur stars Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan and Olivia Colman. A drunkard with a rage problem encounters a good Christian woman who is concerned for him, in a Christian way. She's married and devout though her husband shares at least one problem with the new guy. It ain't drink. This week's indie import, Tyrannosaur is, once you get past the accents; before you get clobbered by a plot device no one could see coming, a very good piece of writing and performance. Those who prefer the arthouse kind of film should seek this one out.

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale has got the longest title of all the releases this season. The cinematography is gorgeous. The true story, of Chinese Aboriginals versus Japanese overlords would have been a great sit if poorly designed and timed subtitles hadn't gotten in the way.

The Watch

So you know what happens when you live in a good neighborhood and some of those "other people" (foreigners, aliens, assorted slurs) move in? Yep! Good local citizens form The Watch, to keep "those people" out. With Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill above the title, no one dies and most everyone laughs. Well, Vince Vaughn doesn't laugh much but, as disposable comedies go, this one was forgotten in an hour or two. Strictly a disposable dateflick

What's Your Number?

What's Your Number? stars Anna Faris as an "aging" single femme, convinced by a magazine article that one of the twenty men she has dated in her lifetime is The One. Chris Evans is the annoying neighbor across the hall (gee... do ya think???) A Romantic Comedy short on romance and utterly lacking anything funny. Those readers wondering how bad a film has to be to get a "ZERO" rating from us are invited to waste their cash to find out.

Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans stars Liam Neeson as Zeus, the God of all (Greek) gods. In continuing battle with brothers Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Poseiden (Danny Huston) to overthrow father Kronos and take the throne, all the elder gods fail to see that the next generation -- their sons and daughters -- are plotting the downfall of their own parental units.

Those who saw Clash of the Titans applauded when all was done. But we feel you shouldn't have to know the Source Material so, for 99 minutes, we enjoyed the cinematography. But that's it. You can get your own samples with can wallpaper downloads from our huge stash!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.