‘X2: X-Men United’ is better than the original

The mutants are together again, with some new members, in 'X2: X-Men United'
The mutants are together again, with some new members, in ‘X2: X-Men United’

[rating=4]Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming
Director(s): Bryan Singer
Writer(s): Story by Zak Penn, David Hayter and Bryan Singer, Screenplay by Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris and David Hayter

It’s rare that a sequel proves to outdo the original, but X2 does pull it off with flying colors. This is chiefly because it does everything that a sequel is supposed to do: Build on original, expand the story, move it forward and make it different.

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‘Duplex’ is a horrible film starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore

Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore star in 'Duplex'
Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore star in ‘Duplex’

[rating=1]Starring: Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essel
Director(s): Danny DeVito
Writer(s): Larry Doyle

Anyone who has ever seen a film that Danny DeVito has directed, produced, written or starred in knows that DeVito has a certain brand of humor. It’s a bit off-putting, a bit different and sometimes completely off the mark. His critically panned Death to Smoochy was all these things with the exception that it was exceptionally entertaining. Duplex is all these things and nothing else.

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‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’ is fun for the kiddies

Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman join Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny for 'Looney Tunes: Back in Action'
Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman join Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny for ‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’

[rating=3]Starring: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Heather Locklear, Joan Cusack
Director(s): Joe Dante
Writer(s): Larry Doyle

Looney Tunes: Back in Action preys upon our deep-rooted childhood love of good ole Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and all their harebrained rivals in what would otherwise be a silly, lackluster film. Back in Actiontakes us behind-the-scenes on the Warner Bros. lot to enjoy a world where cartoons and humans attempt to live together in relative harmony. And unlike Space Jam, the stars of this film are the animated bunch while the humans follow their lead.

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‘The Quiet Man’ brings ‘Taming of the Shrew’ to Ireland

John Wayne kisses Maureen OHara in 'The Quiet Man'
John Wayne kisses Maureen OHara in ‘The Quiet Man’

[rating=4]Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Victor McLaglen, Barry Fitzgerald
Director(s): John Ford
Writer(s): Written by Frank S. Nugent, Story by Maurice Walsh

The basic story of The Quiet Man is that of Sean Thornton (John Wayne), a native of a small Irish town who has spent most of his life in America (“Pittsburgh, Massachusetts”, as one character claims) and has just returned to his native land to start over.

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‘Win a Date with Tad Hamilton’ is a bit of a loser

Topher Grace, Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel in 'Win A Date With Tad Hamilton'
Topher Grace, Kate Bosworth and Josh Duhamel in ‘Win A Date With Tad Hamilton’

[rating=2]Starring: Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Nathan Lane, Sean Hayes, Ginnifer Goodwin, Gary Cole
Director(s): Robert Luketic
Writer(s): Victor Levin

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! attempts to draw on our secret fantasies of dating movie stars but falls short. At worst, an effort in voyeurism, its attempt to become a cutesy romance is awkward and weak. The story centers on a love triangle that includes celebrity bad boy Tad Hamilton, a Piggly Wiggly checkout girl named Rosalee Futch and her best friend Pete. Pete’s lack of last name in the film only foreshadows the problems in the plot.

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‘The Shape of Things’ goes from stage to screen with entertaining grace

[rating=3]Starring: Gretchen Mol, Paul Rudd, Rachel Weisz, Fred Weller
Director(s): Neil LaBute
Writer(s): Neil LaBute

Rachel Weisz and Paul Rudd star in 'The Shape of Things'
Rachel Weisz and Paul Rudd star in ‘The Shape of Things’

The Shape of Things first sparked my interest when it was playing off-Broadway on the New York stage. I found it curious that film stars Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz were giving the stage a shot in roles that seemed completely out-of-character. I missed the chance to see the story unfold on stage, only to find out that it was debuting in theaters shortly after with the original cast.

The film opens with a rebellious MFA student Evelyn (Weisz) surveying what she has deemed “fake” art in a museum. She plans to deface a sculpture to make a point. Paul Rudd enters to stop her as Adam, an anxious, nerdy museum guard. Somehow, a quirky courtship begins.

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‘Calendar Girls’ has its moments, but not many

Call me crazy but I love movies about old people. They just seem more interesting, more mature. A person can only stand so many films agonizing about the confusion and reckless fecklessness of youth before reaching the breaking point. Perhaps, that’s why Calendar Girls drew me in with its witty group of English gals, a comedy billed as the female The Full Monty.

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Past and Present

Leatherface in 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' 2003
Leatherface in ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ 2003

Remember way back when, when I was terrified of seeing the original Texas Chainsaw Massacrebecause I’d barely survived the remake? Michael Sheridan, Tail Slate’s very own creator, wasn’t going to let me off that easy. He insisted I watch both films, then compare and contrast and oh, yea, live to tell the tale.

Well, I finally got the balls (not literally) to see the original. I swear, though I can’t remember who it was, that someone told me 1974’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic. When I think of classics, I think of Psycho or Hitchcock’s The Birds. These are movies that, though made back in the day (in other words before I was born), still manage to scare the living bejeezus out of me.

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