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Mania Review: Black Sea by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(January 23, 2015)
The fact that Black Sea owes a huge debt to Das Boot should come as no surprise. It gazes at its predecessor with unashamed envy, emulating everything it can without being called out for full-contact copycatting. Of course, if you’re going to steal, stea

A Walk Among the Tombstones Blu-Ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(January 22, 2015)


The Winter of '85: Blood Simple by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(January 20, 2015)
1985 witnessed the debut of a number of notable filmmakers, starting in January with the singularly brilliant Blood Simple. A ripe slice of Texas noir as envisioned by a couple of nice Jewish boys from Minnesota, it didn’t shatter box office records or m

LAST STARFIGHTER, THE (EXPANDED) Soundtrack Review by Robert T. Trate, Columnist and Critic
(January 19, 2015)


The Boxtrolls Blu-ray Review by Kimberly McCall, Critic
(January 19, 2015)


No Good Deed Blu-Ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(January 17, 2015)


Mania Review: Blackhat by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(January 16, 2015)
Filmmakers like Michael Mann attract a large following because even their worst movies tend to be interesting ones. Considering its release date, you shouldn’t expect Blackhat to knock Heat or Collateral off of your favorites list. And yet while it isn

Mania Review: Paddington by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(January 16, 2015)
When the Weinstein Company moved Paddington’s release date from December to January, everyone smelled a disaster. That impression was compounded by the dire ad campaign they’ve been running, which seems to focus on CGI-based slapstick and belching/fart

Mania Review: Taken 3 by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(January 09, 2015)
We’re living in a Golden Age of franchises right now, where people say things like “I can’t decide if part four or part seven is the best.” It didn’t used to be that way. Sequels used to follow an inevitable descent into toxic scum-swamp levels o

The Equalizer Blu-ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(January 07, 2015)


Mania Review: The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(January 02, 2015)
I've said it before and it bears repeating: good horror movies are almost entirely a technical exercise. I differentiate good from great here; great horror takes quite a bit more than funhouse flourishes. But if a film is just looking to get the job done,

Stonehearst Asylum Blu-ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(December 28, 2014)


Mania Review: Big Eyes by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 25, 2014)
For better or worse, Big Eyes is resolutely a Tim Burton joint, surprising considering its relatively straightforward subject matter. It recounts the bizarre tale of Walter and Margaret Keane (Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams), who produced a series of kitsch

Mania Review: Into the Woods by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 25, 2014)
Rob Marshall is a weird director for me. By and large, I’ve hated his work – HATED it – but I love what he did with the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie (unlike most of the civilized world) and when he plays to his strengths, he’s not bad. Into

The Winter of '84: Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 22, 2014)
1984 was truly the year that Cannon Pictures came into its own, and nothing signifies its glorious awfulness more than the immortal Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Not a single internet wag in the civilized world can resist stapling “Electric Boogaloo

Mania Review: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 19, 2014)
We get a Hugh Jackman cameo towards the end of the latest Night at the Museum movie. It’s awesome. So awesome, in fact, that it actually seems to snap the entire film into focus and delivers a surprisingly strong third act to what looked like another poi

The Winter of '84: 1984 by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 18, 2014)
I'm still a little shocked that Hollywood in its infinite wisdom chose to release two high-profile adaptations of science fiction classics on the same day. The bigger of the two was Dune, which laid a massive egg but did so in such spectacular and grandios

Mania Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 17, 2014)
We come to the finale at last, and the bill is past due. We saw it from the very first Hobbit film, and it remains the central, tragic flaw in the whole trilogy. Namely that it ever was a trilogy to begin with: stretching the source material well past the

The Winter of '84: Runaway by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 17, 2014)
Even very smart people can drop the ball every now and then. The late Michael Crichton scored his share of winners at the box office -- notably Jurassic Park and The Great Train Robbery -- but not all of his ideas translated well to the big screen. Case in

The Winter of '84: Starman by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 16, 2014)
How wonderful it can be to watch a noted director stretch his boundaries. Even if the results aren't entirely successful (say with Steven Spielberg and The Color Purple), such efforts signal a maturation in the director's vision and a willingness to push p

The Winter of '84: Dune by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 15, 2014)
I re-watched David Lynch’s Dune over a week before sitting down to write this review, and I’m still not certain what the hell to say about it. It’s a mess: the kind of glorious, overly-ambitious disaster that only comes when a brilliant maverick gain

Mania Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 12, 2014)
I’m not a religious man and I’ve generally found that you don’t need to embrace a particular theological viewpoint to make a good religious picture. You do, however, need to be engaged in the subject: that is, you need to have an opinion regarding li

The Winter of '84: 2010: The Year We Make Contact by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 09, 2014)
I think critics condemned 2010 almost as a matter of principle rather than any specific problem with the film. Its predecessor still stands as a landmark of science fiction and the high water mark for one of cinema’s most vaunted directors. Naturally, th

The Winter of '84: Beverly Hills Cop by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 08, 2014)
Everything that’s right and wrong about the Hollywood formula can be found in Beverly Hills Cop: the movie that made Eddie Murphy a superstar, cemented the modus operandi of producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, and emerged as the highest grossing

Mania Review: The Pyramid by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(December 05, 2014)
Ah, found footage: my old nemesis. We meet again. The problem with the format – besides the chronic need for Dramamine – is that it facilitates all kinds of laziness in the rest of the production. You don’t need to worry about lighting or blocking o

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