Read the latest movie reviews and film ratings written by John Villoch, Movienewz.com’s top critic.
- The Hangover (3 1/2 stars) (R)
- The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (3 stars) (R)
- Drag Me to Hell (2 stars) (PG-13)
- Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2 1/2 stars) (PG)
- Terminator Salvation (3 stars) (PG-13)
- Star Trek (3 1/2 stars) (PG-13)
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2 stars) (PG-13)
- Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2 1/2 stars) (PG-13)
- Tyson (3 stars) (R)
- Monsters vs. Aliens InTru 3D (2 1/2 stars) (PG)
- Fighting (2 1/2 stars) (PG-13)
- 17 Again (3 stars) (PG-13)
- Watchmen (4 stars) (R)
‘The Hangover’ is the quintessential guy-flick. It takes place in Vegas, everything goes wrong and guys waiving guns want their money back. The characters stumble into such unexpected and embarrassing situations you can’t help but laugh until it hurts. In a star-making role, Bradley Cooper plays the straight man to the hilarious Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms. But it’s the events involving a baby, a tiger and a “man-purse” that really brings the funny.
Director Tony Scott (‘Domino’, ‘Man on Fire’) controls his distracting epilepsy-inducing filmmaking style just long enough to yield a movie worth watching. As remakes go, ‘The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3’ is refreshingly compelling. The film works due to a great script, edge of your seat suspense and two amazing actors, Denzel Washington and John Travolta. Travolta is exceptional as Ryder, the demanding and self-righteous lead train hijacker.
Actors Alison Lohman and Justin Long can barely keep a straight face in director Sam Raimi’s gross-out shockfest. Raimi desperately employs every overused movie trick to shock the audience. ‘Drag Me to Hell’ borrows heavily from past B-horror movies but doesn’t add anything to the genre.
‘Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian’ is more entertaining than the original but that isn’t saying much. Ben Stiller returns but it’s Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart and Hank Azaria as the sinister Kahmunrah that makes this ‘Battle’ worth watching.
Director McG’s sequel requires the viewing of the first three films beforehand. The adventure is broadened but ‘Salavation’ takes a risky departure from the previous films in which a heartless cyborg killer is sent back in time to kill John Connor. Sam Worthington easily steals the movie from Christian Bale.
Director J.J. Abrams does everything but give James T. Kirk a lightsaber in this Star Wars-esque reboot of ‘Star Trek’. The screenplay is solid and Abrams’ direction adds some much needed intensity to the film franchise. Zachary Quinto is terrific as Spock.
Wolverine’s turbulent relationship with Victor Creed aka Sabretooth is the focus of the film. Unfortunately the screenwriters have created their own origin story and included elements of the comic book and X-men films only as an after thought.
‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’ is a modern day morality tale based on ‘A Christmas Carol’. Matthew McConaughey is convincing as a habitual heart-breaker and Jennifer Garner is equally believable as his bitter ex-girlfriend who thinks he will never change. Good supporting performances by Michael Douglas and Emma Stone.
Mike Tyson’s autobiography is a raw detailed account of his troubled life beginning with his delinquent childhood through his tumultuous boxing career. It turns out boxing was a gift and a curse for the former heavyweight champ. ‘Tyson’ is a must see for anyone interested in documentaries.
DreamWorks Animation’s first film developed in 3-D is visually spectacular but where is the story? The 3-D will serve as a fun distraction for younger moviegoers but adults will eventually find it a bit gimmicky.
Channing Tatum once again does his best Marlon Brando imitation. Terrence Howard is interesting as his street smart manager. The bare-knuckle brawls are gritty and realistic but the film is utterly forgettable.
Zac Efron plays a former high school basketball star who gets a second chance to relive his glory days but as a result disrupts his kids social lives. The screenwriters breathe new life into an old premise and have a lot of fun with the characters. Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon is comical as the rich nerdy best friend.
Director Zack Snyder has created an instant classic with his faithful adaptation of Alan Moore’s bleak graphic novel. Jackie Earle Haley is mesmerizing as the masked vigilante Rorschach and Jeffrey Dean Morgan is brutal as the Comedian. Pay attention Hollywood, this is what unflinching filmmaking looks like.