Archive for October, 2011

Directed by Errol Morris

Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris recounts the stranger-than-fiction story of Joyce McKinney, a former beauty queen whose obsession with a Mormon missionary landed her on the front pages of the tabloids with tales of abduction, rape, bondage, prostitution, cult brainwashing, magic underwear and animal cloning.

Errol Morris knows
eccentrics make great subjects.
Your jaw might just drop.

Grade: A-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Tabloid is available on DVD on 11/1/11.

Starring: Lauren Bittner & Chris Smith
Written by Christopher B. Landon
Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman

In 1988, a man attempts to videotape the ghostly entity that’s haunting his family.

The night cams still spook,
but this schtick and its story
are stretched pretty thin.

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Paranormal Activity 3 is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Starring: Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega, Alex Esmail, Franz Drameh & Nick Frost
Written and directed by Joe Cornish

A gang of tough street kids take on a horde of alien monsters that besiege their London neighborhood.

Step off, Leprechaun.
There are aliens in this
hood. Not quite Hot Fuzz.

Grade: B

By Daniel J. Hoag
Attack the Block is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/25/11.

Haiku Review: The Ides of March (2011)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei & Jeffrey Wright
Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
Directed by George Clooney

An ambitious campaign staffer for an idealistic presidential candidate gets a crash course in dirty politics.

The system is flawed,
and so is this thriller, but
it still gets my vote.

Grade: B+

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Ides of March is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, John Michael Higgins & Jason Segel
Written by Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg
Directed by Jake Kasdan

An obnoxious, foul-mouthed, gold-digging teacher gets dumped by her fiance and sets her sights on a rich, handsome substitute while shrugging off the advances of the school gym teacher.

There’s no redemption
for this unlikeable hag
(or Diaz herself).

Grade: C

By Daniel J. Hoag
Bad Teacher is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18/11.

Starring: Michael Angarano, Kerry Bishé, Nicholas Braun, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Kevin Pollak & Stephen Root
Written and directed by Kevin Smith

Three teenage boys are kidnapped by a militant fundamentalist group lead by an evil pastor with a deadly moral agenda.

Kevin Smith slacks off
on a solid idea
for a smart thriller.

Grade: C

By Daniel J. Hoag
Red State is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/18/11.

Starring: Mélanie Thierry, Gaspard Ulliel, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Lambert Wilson & Raphaël Personnaz
Screenplay by Jean Cosmos, François-Olivier Rousseau, Bertrand Tavernier
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier

In 16th century France, a woman’s love for her dashing cousin is thwarted when her father’s political ambitions force her into an arranged marriage.

Soooo long, soooo boring.
An inert and poorly-shot
period snoozer.

Grade: C

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Princess of Montpensier is now available on DVD.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett & Tim Robbins
Screenplay by Greg Berlanti & Michael Green & Marc Guggenheim and Michael Goldenberg
Directed by Martin Campbell

A test pilot is chosen to be a part of an elite force of intergalactic peacekeepers known as the Green Lantern Corps.

Seems Kermit was right:
it’s not easy being Green.
A cosmic flame-out.

Grade: C

By Daniel J. Hoag
Green Lantern is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/14/11.

DVD Haiku Review: The Trip (2011)

Starring: Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon
Directed by Michael Winterbottom

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, friends and rival comedians, travel the English countryside critiquing restaurants and driving each other crazy with constant competition and showdowns of celebrity impressions.

Funny Brits drive, dine,
quip, quaff and quote Michael Caine;
an Anglophile’s treat

Grade: A-

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Trip is available on DVD today.

Starring: Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey & Jamie Foxx
Screenplay by Michael Markowitz and John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Directed by Seth Gordon.

Three friends set out to murder their bosses.

Squandered potential
for dark comedy turns a
spicy concept bland.

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Horrible Bosses is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10/11/11.