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Both Frank Miller sequels from 2014 can’t live up their predecessors, yet the follow-up to 300 is surprisingly enjoyable.

300 Rise of an Empire 2

7 Stars
Director: Noam Murro
Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.
Released: March 7, 2014
Warner Bros. Pictures

When it comes to expectation, Rotten Tomatoes established a new dynamic.

Although I only made the realization days ago, I’ve been a long-time fan of Frank Miller adaptations, loving both Sin City (2005) and 300 (2006) in the theater.

Since its early March release, 300: Rise of an Empire is…

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A better flick than critics are making it out to be, especially for fans of horror.

As Above So Below

Director: John Erick Dowdle
Runtime: 1 hr. 33 min.
Released: August 29, 2014
Universal Pictures

Horror movies are rarely called ‘great.’

When was the last critically acclaimed horror movie released? You’d be hard-pressed to find anything since The Ring in 2002.

I haven’t seen The Conjuring, Mama or Oculus but people say they’ve got potential. I thought Drag Me to Hell was pretty good from 2009.

B…

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (R)

A Dame to Kill For

7 Stars
Writers/Directors: Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 min.
Released: August 22, 2014
Dimension Films

Sigh.

It’s an injustice when critics refer to Sin City as a ‘cult classic.’

Likewise ‘campy’ denotes a lack in quality, and is unfit description of the first film.

A Dame to Kill For isn’t as good as its predecessor. Therefore if a group arises to defend their equality, then…

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For a PG-13 ‘Giant Monster’ movie, Godzilla’s pretty great.

Godzilla

Director: Gareth Edwards
Runtime: 2 hr. 3 min.
Released: May 16, 2014
Warner Bros. Pictures

Summer’s a-winding down.

You know what that means?

Less PG-13.

That’s right, folks. Content rated for ‘a mature audience.’

In consideration of the premise, one might presume this monster movie’s unsuited to a teenage audience.

At its core, Godzilla’s a horror story, no?

In terms of genre, it belongs under…

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Under the Skin (R)

Under the Skin

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Based on the Novel By: Michel Faber
Runtime: 1 hr. 48 min.
Released: April 4, 2014 Limited
A24

‘Alien’ is a misnomer.

More accurately Laura, played by Scarlett Johansson, is an ‘extraterrestrial organism.’

A being who exists beyond our frame of reference. Seems puzzling, no?

Well it’s certainly elaborate, but not needlessly confusing.

Under the Skin is smart and mandates…

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Let’s Be Cops (R)

Let's Be Cops

7 Stars
Writer/Director: Luke Greenfield
Runtime: 1 hr. 44 min.
Released: August 13, 2014
20th Century Fox

A Wednesday release is odd enough.

But a 12% amongst top critics on Rotten Tomatoes?

Heavens to Murgatroyd! Things don’t look good.

Now. Are you sitting down?

When asked my opinion of Breaking Bad or The Wire my response is always the same, “I haven’t seen an episode, but I’m sure I’d love…

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Don’t be duped by the spoiler-heavy trailer, and let A Million Ways simmer awhile. Let the memory of the preview fade, and nab it as a rental in a year or two.

Smoking Guns

6 Stars
Director: Seth MacFarlane
Runtime: 1 hr. 56 min.
Released: May 30, 2014
Universal Pictures

Why get your hopes up?

It won’t help.

A Million Ways to Die in the West contains several genuine laughs and a number of chuckles. Don’t sully them with high expectations.

Have you seen the trailer? Hence the anticipation.

The preview gives away the majority of the jokes, reveals and cameos. Wait a…

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A film for gents who enjoy dark narratives, high tension and elaborate fight sequences.

The Raid Redemption

Writer/Director: Gareth Evans
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 min.
Released: March 23, 2012 Limited
Sony Pictures Classics

Kung fu needs a new publicist.

Somewhere along the way, martial arts acquired a bad reputation.

Perhaps Keanu’s been over-quoted.

Regardless, a number of great movies from the past few decades feature hand-to-hand combat: The Matrix, Shanghai Noon, the Rush Hours, Rumble in the Bronx.

[Sid…

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Metaphor and fights galore for those seeking a rental.

Snowpiercer 3

4 Stars
Writer/Director: Joon-ho Bong
Runtime: 2 hr. 6 min.
Released: June 27, 2014 Limited
Radius-TWC

Dystopian societies are hip.

So are post-apocalyptic civilizations.

It’s rare to find them together without robots, space travel or undead.

Snowpiercer is based off a French sci-fi graphic novel, Le Transperceneige, which colloquially translates to “The Train of the Snow Land.”

And boy is it…

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Of the four Marvel movies released this summer, this is my favorite. It won’t change your life, but you should thoroughly enjoy it.

Guardians Gamora

5 Stars
Writer/Director: James Gunn
Runtime: 2 hr. 1 min.
Released: August 1, 2014
Walt Disney Pictures

Don’t be fooled by my review.

Guardians of the Galaxy won’t help you achieve enlightenment, fall in love or lose weight.

Especially if you’re the chick who sits beside me, crushing a tub of popcorn singlehanded.

[Quick sidebar: Basin soloists do a weird move where they excavate the warmest…

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A great PG-13 for those willing to buy in.

Hercules

4.5 Stars
Director: Brett Ratner
Writers: Ryan Condal & Evan Spiliotopoulos
Runtime: 1 hr. 38 min.
Released: July 25, 2014
Paramount Pictures

I cried.

Go ahead. Laugh it up.

Greek minstrels sang tales of his twelve labors. Roman historians like Tacitus and Plutarch inked record of his deeds.

Most recently he was the protagonist of the 1997 Disney animated feature. Which is good, but on the lower…

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Don’t get your hopes up.

Lucy

3 Stars
Writer/Director: Luc Besson
Runtime: 1 hr. 27 min.
Released: July 26, 2014
Universal Pictures

Three stars is rare.

Categorically, it’s ‘just barely worthwhile’; A timid thumbs-up.

Anything less I can’t recommend.

This particular tri-star rating syncs up with the Rotten Tomatoes score at 60%. Which is, coincidentally, the lowest possible for the ‘certifiably fresh’ stamp.

So the question…

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Edge of Tomorrow (R)

Director: Doug Liman
Writers (screenplay): Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth
Runtime: 1 hr. 53 min.
Released: June 6, 2014
Warner Bros. Pictures

If you see one flick all summer then look no further.

It’s not only the best of the season, Edge of Tomorrow is the top release so far this year. It’s still playing in some theaters so catch it before it completely leaves…

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Learned a few things from two good friends on the sunny links. (at Old Hickory Golf Course)