‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ fires for effect and is on-target

Dwayne Johnson is 'Roadblock' in 'G.I. Joe Retaliation'
Dwayne Johnson is ‘Roadblock’ in ‘G.I. Joe Retaliation’

[rating=3]Starring:  Dwayne Johnson, D J Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki, Channing Tatum, Ray Park, Elodie Yung, Jonathan Pryce, Byung-hun Lee, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson, RZA, Luke Bracey and Arnold Vosloo
Director(s):  Jon M. Chu
Writer(s):  Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

You don’t need to have seen the first G.I. Joe film to see G.I. Joe:  Retaliation, but it might help to understand what’s going on.

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‘Side Effects’ will leave you feeling just fine

Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones talk about the treament of Rooney Mara in 'Side Effects'
Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones talk about the treament of Rooney Mara in ‘Side Effects’


Side Effects is the latest film from director Steven Soderbergh.  Jude Law plays a psychiatrist who works shifts at a hospital doing consults, in addition seeing patients in his private practice.  He is a partner with two other psychiatrists in a thriving New York City practice.  He’s married to a beautiful woman named “Dierdre” (Vinessa Shaw), who has a son.  He has a great life until he encounters a patient in the emergency room.

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’10 Years’ is a better than average directorial debut for Jamie Linden

Kate Mara and Oscar Isaac in ’10 Years’

10 Years is just what it sounds like.  It is the ten year reunion of a group of former high school classmates.  Just like any real reunion, the graduates travel from close by and far away to spend a night drinking, reconnecting and sharing what’s gone in their lives over the decade since they graduated.  Some people dread receiving that invitation in the mail, others salivate and wait impatiently for its arrival and the chance to go.

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‘Magic Mike’ lacks magic

The guys take it all off for 'Magic Mike'
The guys take it all off for ‘Magic Mike’

Some motion pictures manage to be two different movies within the same film.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragonis, for example, is both a martial arts epic and a beautiful dramatic love story.  Magic Mike tries hard to be several movies – and ends up being none of them.

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‘Magic Mike’ is a bad tease with no payoff

Matthew McConaughy strips it all off in 'Magic Mike'
Matthew McConaughy strips it all off in ‘Magic Mike’

[rating=3]Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughy, Matt Bomer, Joe Mangianello
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Writer(s): Reid Carolin

Did you know Channing Tatum is hot? It’s true! And Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s inside-but-not-probing look at a club full of male strippers, puts a lot (but not all) of the goods on display. And boy does he want to be a major star. Who needs chops when you have abs? Credited to Reid Carolin, Tatum’s producing partner, Mike broaches an interesting subject but plays it so safe that it loses any sense of urgency. It’s a star vehicle in which all players stay belted into the passenger seat.

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’21 Jump Street’ is funny sh*t

[rating=3]Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco
Director(s): Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Writer(s): Michael Bacall (screenplay), Bacall and Jonah Hill (story) based on the TV series by Patrick Hasburgh and Stephen J. Cannell

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum co-star in '21 Jump Street'
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum co-star in ’21 Jump Street’

If the formula for 21 Jump Street, from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (they previously directed Cloudy With Chance of Meatballs together) seems familiar, that’s because it should.  25 years ago, Fox Television wanted to show they had an edge and they found it with 21 Jump Street, a gritty drama about cops going undercover at local high schools.  It launched the career of Johnny Depp and managed to last four seasons.  The same year that Jump Street debuted, another gritty television cop show was being reimagined on the big screen.

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‘The Vow’ should probably be forgotten

Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in 'The Vow'
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum in ‘The Vow’

There are few phrases that will make me cringe as badly as the words “Inspired by True Events” do when I see them on a movie screen before a film begins.  The fear that liberties taken by those who adapted the true story for the screen will harm rather than enhance the presentation of the tale is a fear born of long experience.  Those fears come home to roost in The Vow.

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