‘Baby Driver’ is one rad ride

If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough – Mario Andretti Fast cars are my only vice – Michael Bay In the era of unleaded gas, writer/director Edgar Wright has unleashed a high-octane leaded gasoline fueled heist film.  Baby … Read more

‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ tries to do too much

Andrew Garfield spin another web in 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'
Andrew Garfield spin another web in ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’

[rating=3]Starring:  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dane DeHaan, Jamie Foxx, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz and Marton Csokas
W
riter(s):  Alex Kurtman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinkner (screenplay); Kurtzman, Orci, Pinkner and James Vanderbilt (screen story), from the comic book created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Director(s):  Marc Webb

It’s tough to reboot a film franchise.  It’s even tougher to do when you’re doing it only ten years after the film that (to borrow an overused meme) “jumped the shark” comes out.  But The Amazing Spider-Man did just that in 2012 and did it very well.  The sequel, The Amazing Spiderman 2 has just opened, and with two more films (plus spinoffs) already scheduled, the expectations were high.  Especially with the key cast members all back and Marc Webb in the big chair.

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Crazy antebellum: ‘Django Unchained’ is pulp non-fiction

Jamie Foxx is 'Django Unchained'
Jamie Foxx is ‘Django Unchained’

[rating=3]Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino’s filmography is now long enough for his own telltale calling cards to emerge in his latest genre time warp, Django Unchained: his episodic narrative, his usury of genre tropes with modernist updates, violence galore, use of a wronged protagonist to seek vigilante justice and speak for a greater population, whether it be women (the Kill Bill films) or Jews (Inglourious Basterds).

Read moreCrazy antebellum: ‘Django Unchained’ is pulp non-fiction

Quentin Tarantino unchains his penchant for violence in ‘Django Unchained’

Christopher Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx in 'Django Unchained'
Christopher Waltz (left) and Jamie Foxx in ‘Django Unchained’

Django – nickname from the Romani language meaning “I awake”.

Django – A 1966 film in the genre of “Spaghetti Western” starring Franco Nero.

Django Unchained – a 2012 film from writer/director Quentin Tarantino.

If the name of Tarantino as writer/director didn’t make this clear upfront, Django Unchained is a very violent but stunning film. Don’t let its running time of 165 minutes give you any reason to hesitate choosing this fine film.

Read moreQuentin Tarantino unchains his penchant for violence in ‘Django Unchained’

Top 10 Actors Who Started Their Careers as Stand-Up Comedians

Actors all want to be musicians, musicians all want to be actors, and comedians are usually content to be miserable neurotics. The advantage of working out neurosis on stage is that it can be a great training ground for channeling emotion in front of an audience who aren’t shy about giving you instant feedback. In his autobiography, “Born Standing Up,” Steve Martin expounds on the idea of how his stand-up days helped mold him into the actor, writer, and musician he is today. That got me thinking about other stand-ups who’ve turned out brilliant acting performances, and can claim to be Actors with a capital A.

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Jamie Foxx makes ‘Ray’ a stunning success

[rating=4]Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Terrene Dashon Howard, Larenz Tate, Richard Schiff, Regina King, Curtis Armstrong
Director(s): Taylor Hackford
Writer(s): Story by Taylor Hackford and James L. White; Screenplay by James L. White

Jamie Foxx is 'Ray'
Jamie Foxx is ‘Ray’

There aren’t exactly that many biopics that I really enjoy. Partially because they aren’t done well, but also because they tend to take too many licenses with the truth. But with Ray we’re given a surprisingly honest film that doesn’t appear to pull any punches. It’s Ray Charles, warts and all, and in the end you may not necessarily like the man, but you cannot leave without respecting his genius.

I’m not sure this is the greatest film I’ve ever seen, but if ever there was a movie that was carried by the performance of its star, than Ray is it. With stunning ability, Jamie Foxx expertly disappears into the part. You forget the actor and feel that you are witnessing a young Ray Charles slamming away gracefully at the piano.

Read moreJamie Foxx makes ‘Ray’ a stunning success