Sunday, March 31, 2013

First Quarter of 2013


Once again it's time for my quarter end review.  Below are the 57 films I saw that were released in the first quarter of 2013.  The first quarter of the year is traditionally pretty lacklaster, and that was certainly true for 2013.  Only 20 films were worthy of a B+ or better.  But there were also some great experiences, and the top 5 below are definitely worth your time.

Below is my ranking.  (And as usual I may have tweaked a few grades since my original review after pondering them a bit.)


The Call     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A

Broken City     Grade: A

The Sweeney     Grade: A

56 Up      Grade: A

Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey    Grade: A-

The Silence    Grade: A-

Dark Skies      Grade: B+

Wrong      Grade: B+

Oz the Great and Powerful     Grade: B+

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone     Grade: B+

Snitch     Grade: B+

21 & Over     Grade: B+

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters     Grade: B+

The Factory    Grade: B+

Somebody Up There Likes Me   Grade: B+

Phil Spector    Grade: B+

Gangster Squad     Grade: B+

Parker     Grade: B+

Sound City     Grade: B+

Dead Man Down     Grade: B

Stand Off (a.k.a. Whole Lotta Sole)    Grade: B

Everybody Has a Plan     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures     Grade: B

Fairhaven    Grade: B

The End of Love    Grade: B

Lore    Grade: B

$ellebrity    Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Jack the Giant Slayer     Grade: B-

Olympus Has Fallen     Grade: B-

Upside Down    Grade: B-

Guns, Girls and Gambling     Grade: B-

Spring Breakers     Grade: C+

The Last Stand    Grade: C+

The Last Exorcism Part II    Grade: C

Resolution    Grade: C

Admission     Grade: C

The Power of Few   Grade: C

Mama      Grade: C

The Sapphires     Grade: C-

As Luck Would Have It    Grade: C-

The Playroom    Grade: C-

Movie 43    Grade: C-

ABC's of Death     Grade: C-

John Dies at the End    Grade: C-

Safe Haven     Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard     Grade: C-

Small Apartments    Grade: C-

Stoker     Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

Phantom     Grade: D

The Croods   Grade: D

A Dark Truth    Grade: D-

Gimme the Loot    Grade: D-

Storage 24   Grade: D-

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III      Grade: F


Films Not Reviewed:

Beyond the Hills
Bullet to the Head
Electrick Children
Emperor
Escape from Planet Earth
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Greedy Lying Basterds
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
A Haunted House
A Haunting in Connecticut
The Host
Like Someone in Love
My Brother the Devil
No
A Place at the Table
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Tyler Perry's Temptation

Friday, March 29, 2013

In Theaters Now




(new releases are in green):

The Call      Grade: A

Side Effects      Grade: A

Oz the Great and Powerful      Grade: B+

21 & Over      Grade: B+

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone       Grade: B+

Snitch     Grade: B+

Barbara      Grade: B

Dead Man Down      Grade: B

Quartet      Grade: B

Life of Pi      Grade: B

Identity Thief       Grade: B-

Jack the Giant Slayer      Grade: B-

Olympus Has Fallen      Grade: B-

Ginger & Rosa      Grade: C+

Spring Breakers      Grade: C+

Admission      Grade: C

The Sapphires     Grade: C-

Safe Haven      Grade: C-

On the Road      Grade: D+

The Gatekeepers      Grade: D

Stoker     Grade: D


Additional Films Not Reviewed:

Beyond the Hills
The Croods
Everybody has a Plan
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
The Host
Lore
No
The Silence
Tyler Perry's Temptation

The Sapphires


Based on a true story, four Australian Aboriginal girls form a singing group, with more than a little help from newfound manager Chris O'Dowd, and perform for troops in Vietnam during the war.

Apparently I'm the only one who isn't gaga over this movie.  And, in fact, I really didn't care for it much at all.  I didn't find it charming, entertaining, or even musically interesting.  I can say that O'Dowd is the best I've ever seen him, and this role fits him quite well.  But personally I'd rather stay home for a 'Dreamgirls' / 'That Thing You Do' double-feature.

Grade: C-

Ginger & Rosa


Two teenage girls in postwar England giggle, defy their mothers, worry about nuclear war, and get themselves into trouble in this artsy coming of age drama that was considered by many critics to be award worthy.  Personally, I don't agree.  Elle Fanning and Alice Englert do a fine job as Ginger and Rosa, respectively, but neither one keeps the movie from being a snooze-fest; Nor does the rest of the decent supporting cast, including Christina Hendricks, Oliver Platt and Annette Bening.  I much prefer Juno Temple in the little seen 'Little Birds'.

Grade: C+

Little Birds


Juno Temple stars as a disturbed teen yearning to get out of her small town, and away from her mom, to head to L.A.  Along with her best friend, they take off to meet up with some bad boys they recently met and, of course, trouble ensues.  Leslie Mann co-stars as Temple's mom.

Looking quite young for her age, 23, Temple is making a career out of playing parts that would be too mature for an actual teen actress.  She's really been making a splash in indie cinema over the last few years, including such memorable films as 'Killer Joe' and 'Kaboom'.  Nothing seems taboo for her, and I see her as a rising star.

'Little Birds' is compelling, gritty, and disturbing.  It's much better than Temple's other indie film this year, 'Jack and Diane', as well as a similar movie getting a bit more press, 'Ginger & Rosa'.  See it if you're into dysfunctional, blue collar, coming-of-age films.

'Little Birds' is now available on DVD and Video on Demand.

Grade: B+

The Factory


Prostitutes have been disappearing in Buffalo, NY, and it's up to two detectives played by John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter to track down the man responsible.

There's nothing new about this story, which is undoubtedly why this one went straight to DVD.  Yet, considering how overdone this idea is, it's pretty exciting, well made, and entertaining from start to finish, even if it is completely predictable.  Pair it with 'The Call' for a night of disturbing thrills.

'The Factory' is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Video On Demand.

Grade: B+

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Upside Down


I love a good high concept art house picture.  And I constantly yearn for something I haven't seen before.  For sure, 'Upside Down' is a completely original high concept sci-fi/romance, but unfortunately it isn't nearly as good as it should be.

Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst play young lovers who live in different worlds.  Literally.  Though, their worlds exist very close together, and close enough so that two people climbing the highest mountains or trees can communicate and even fall in love.   However, they cannot fully cross over, as their gravities are polar opposites.  In essence, one is upside down from the other.  Pretty interesting, right?  Totally.  And had Christopher Nolan had this idea, or purchased it and improved upon it, we'd be looking at a possible A+.  But unfortunately writer/director Juan Solanas doesn't have the filmmaking experience and/or talent to bring this great concept alive on the big screen.  He wasn't able to extract engaging performances from his cast or keep the story from flatlining.  And that's too bad, because there was a lot of potential here.  Yet it's still creative enough and visually interesting to warrant a mild recommendation.

Grade: B-

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 3/22/13



Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Olympus Has Fallen', 'Admission', 'Zero Dark Thirty'.

FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now




(new releases are in green):

Django Unchained     Grade: A

The Call     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Oz the Great and Powerful     Grade: B+

21 & Over     Grade: B+

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone     Grade: B+

Snitch     Grade: B+

Barbara     Grade: B

Dead Man Down     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures     Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Jack the Giant Slayer     Grade: B-

Olympus Has Fallen    Grade: B-

Upside Down      Grade: B-

Spring Breakers   Grade: C+

Admission    Grade: C

Safe Haven     Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard     Grade: C-

On the Road    Grade: D+

The Gatekeepers     Grade: D

Stoker     Grade: D


Additional Films Not Reviewed:

The Croods
Dark Skies
Escape From Planet Earth
Last Exorcism Part II
Like Someone in Love
Lore
No
The Waiting Room
The We and the I

Olympus Has Fallen


'Olympus Has Fallen' (a.k.a. 'Die Hard while Under Siege in the White House') features Gerard Butler as the 'John McClane' character, a former-Secret Service agent who must stand alone against a band of North Korean terrorists to defend the President, the White House, and the United States.  (All that's missing is the white undershirt and the 'Yippee Kai Yay'.)  The all star supporting cast includes Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd, and Robert Forster.

Like most action films, 'Olympus' has its pluses and minuses.  On one hand, it's got a great cast, a few great action scenes, and allows you to turn off your brain and just enjoy the ride.  On the other, it's really just a concatenation of every 'Die Hard' rip-off we've seen (whether they star Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Steven Seagal, or Wesley Snipes).  And worse, the lead villain isn't memorable at all, which is key in any 'Die Hard'-esque film.  At best, it's a guilty pleasure that's at least better than 'A Good Day to Die Hard', but not as good as its predecessors.

Grade: B-

Admission


Tina Fey stars as an admissions officer for Princeton University.  She holds the future of Princeton's applicants in her hands, but her future is out of her control and about to change when she meets Paul Rudd who plays the head of a new, more alternative thinking grade school.  And while I'd like to say that zaniness ensues, it really doesn't at all.  In fact, this could be the least funny comedy I've seen in some time.  I didn't laugh or even smile once.  And it's not as if the jokes just fall flat.  There really weren't any.  And this is quite surprising, since the film stars two of the most likeable and funny people in Hollywood.  Sadly there's not much to like here.  It's really just a bore.  But since they're just so darn likeable, I'm only going to give it a ...

Grade: C

Spring Breakers


The thing about avoiding trailers is, you never know what to expect from a movie.  Of course, I still can't help but have a preconceived notion from the title and cast alone.  But I was completely caught off guard by this one.  'High School Musical' meets 'Bridesmaids' meets E's 'Wild On...' this is not.  In fact, this isn't a teen party comedy.  (Or, at most it's a very, very dark teen party comedy.)  More appropriately it's a hard core, hard R rated story of four girlfriends who will naively do everything for and during Spring Break vacation.

Honestly I'm still not sure exactly how to grade this film.  I didn't enjoy the first half whatsoever.  It takes way too long for the story to get going.  But, once James Franco arrives (in what seems to be an homage to Gary Oldman's classic bad-ass character from 'True Romance') the film gets darker and more fun.  Franco breathes life into an otherwise lifeless film, but not enough to warrant a recommendation.  I expect a wide range of reviews.  My advice is, be wary before you spend your time on this one.  It's for art house fans who can appreciate performance and style over story.  Oh, and lots of boobies too.

Grade: C+

On the Road


When a movie premieres at Cannes and generates buzz it automatically has the aura of importance.  And if that movie is based on a Jack Kerouac novel about a young writer trying to experience life (i.e. travel the road, drink, smoke, and have sex) in order to create something 'important' then you have the recipe for a movie that seems important and deep, at least from a distance.  But it actually couldn't be less so.  It's pointless and shallow.  Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, and Kristen Stewart star, and one is less engaging than the next.  Fortunately the occasional cameos including Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, and Steve Buscemi help make it palatable, but only barely.

Grade: D+ 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The End of Love


Mark Webber plays a widowed father and struggling actor trying to make ends meet and cope as a single dad.  Webber directed, wrote, and stars in this drama, which also includes cameos of young Hollywood stars playing themselves including Amanda Seyfried, Jason Ritter, and Michael Cera.

There's nothing revolutionary or must see about this film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2012 and is just now available in limited release in theaters and on Video on Demand.  But it's a quiet, well acted character piece that seems very personal to Webber.

Grade: B

Small Apartments


Franklin Franklin (played by Matt Lucas) lives in a small apartment.  And he is surrounded by a cast of strange characters played by Peter Stormare, James Caan, Juno Temple, James Marsden, and Johnny Knoxville.  And now his abusive landlord is lying dead on his floor, Billy Crystal is investigating, and things are about to get even stranger.

I don't know about you, but this cast really intrigued me.  But the fact that a film with this cast only got a very limited theatrical release with no buzz kept me only cautiously optimistic.  I'm as big a fan of quirky dark comedies as the next guy (and probably more), but this one is heavy on the quirk and disappointingly light on entertainment value.  It needn't be seen, but I give Billy Crystal kudos for stepping outside his comfort zone, even if it didn't amount to much.

'Small Apartment's is now available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Video on Demand.

Grade: C-

$ellebrity


Obsessed with celebrity?  Can't get enough of the latest Hollywood gossip?  Huge fan of US Weekly and TMZ?  Then you may want to check out this documentary about the price of fame.  Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Salma Hayek, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, and Rosanna Arquette open up about how out of control the focus on their private lives has become.  From legitimate photographers to paparazzi to all of us regular folks with our cell phone cameras, celebrities now have to expect to have their pictures taken every time they leave the house (and sometimes even in their back yards.)  There's nothing really new unveiled here, but it's a fun 90 minutes with interesting clips and interviews and a walk down memory lane of some of the juiciest stories in Hollywood gossip history.

You can see '$ellebrity' now on Video on Demand.  And pair it with 'Teenage Paparazzo' for a documentary double feature on this sleazy profession.

Grade: B 

Resolution


From Tribeca Films comes this ultra low budget drama/horror about two old friends holed up in a cabin, engrossed in their own drama, but also experiencing strange goings on.  I won't say much more because the only fun to be had here is waiting for the story to unfold.  And there is an interesting story here, but unfortunately it's masked by a weak cast, slow pacing, and an unsatisfactory conclusion.  I rarely say this, but I'd wait for a bigger budget remake if one ever arises.  This version isn't quite worth your time.

'Resolution' is now available on Video On Demand.

Grade: C

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 3/15/13


Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone', 'The Call', and 'Smashed'. FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now


(new releases are in green):

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

The Call    Grade: A

The Sweeney  (Also on VOD)   Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Oz the Great and Powerful   Grade: B+

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

21 & Over     Grade: B+

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone     Grade: B+

Snitch    Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Sound City  (also on VOD)    Grade: B+

Barbara    Grade: B

Dead Man Down    Grade: B

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures     Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Jack the Giant Slayer    Grade: B-

ABC's of Death   Grade: C-

Safe Haven     Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard     Grade: C-

The Gatekeepers     Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

Phantom     Grade: D

Stoker    Grade: D


Additional Films Not Reviewed:

Emperor
Like Someone in Love
Lore
No
The Waiting Room

The Call


Movie reviews all too often throw the term thriller around when it isn't warranted.  Well take note, this movie is actually thrilling.

Halle Berry plays a 911 Emergency Call Operator.  And that's all I'm going to tell you about this thriller directed by Brad Anderson ('The Machinist', 'Transsiberian') because it should be experienced rather than read about.  It won't win any awards, but it's an edge-of-your-seat nail biting ride that rarely lets up on the tension from start to finish, and it's the most exciting movie of 2013 to date.

Grade: A

Incredible Burt Wonderstone


Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi play childhood friends who became master magicians, headlining at Bally's in Vegas.  Of course, all good things must evolve or become obsolete, and they are being outshined by a new-school illusionist, played by Jim Carrey.

There's a lot to like here.  Carell and Buscemi do a great job sending up magicians like David Copperfield and Lance Burton.  And Olivia Wilde and Alan Arkin shine in their supporting roles.  But it's really Jim Carrey who steals the show with his David Blaine-esque performance.  It's been way too long since we've seen him do his unique brand of comedy, and it's great to have him back.  As big budget Hollywood comedies go, this one's a winner.

Grade: B+

Stoker



Mia Wasikowska ('Jane Eyre', 'Alice in Wonderland', 'The Kids are All Right', 'Albert Nobbs') stars as a disturbed child whose dad has just passed away.  Nicole Kidman plays her sultry mom.  And Matthew Goode plays the uncle she never knew she had, and more than he appears to be.

Mark this down as another entry in the WTF genre.  'Stoker' is the epitome of style over substance.  Director Chan-wook Park (known by South Korean film buffs for his Vengeance Trilogy) is attempting to make an unimportant film seem important based on shocking sexual and violent imagery and purposefully oblique and slow paced storytelling.  But ultimately it's too artsy-fartsy for its own good and I was left feeling grossly unsatisfied.  And as far as its cast?  Kidman seems to be drawn to too many strange, erotic, art thrillers these days (e.g. The Paperboy') and Wasikowska needs to turn that perpetual frown upside down every once in a while or it might stay that way.

I expect to see a wide range of reviews on this one.  Some film buffs and critics will rave about it.  Personally, I don't get it.  I didn't like it.  And I don't think you should see it.  But different 'stokes' for different folks.

Grade: D

Sound City


In the 1970's there was one recording studio in Los Angeles that provided the environment that made one hit record after another: Sound City.  Artists like Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, and Neil Young made magic happen creating numerous classic records due its incomparable acoustics and legendary Neve mixing console board.  Over the years Sound City's popularity waxed and waned, but eventually its old-dog analog way of doing things couldn't compare with the digital age to come.  But now, Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is paying homage to this legendary studio with this interesting and rockumentary.

You can see Sound City now in limited release in theaters and also on Video on Demand, DVD and Blu-Ray.  And if you'd like to see the film counterpart to this doc about the debate of digital vs. analog filmmaking, check out 'Side by Side'. (Though 'Sound City' is better.)

Grade: B+

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Barbara


As Germany's submission for last year's Best Foreign Language Film consideration for the Academy Awards, 'Barbara' tells the story of a doctor in 1980 East Germany, formerly working in East Berlin, but sent to work out in the country.  Barbara is introverted and seemingly sulky, but there's more to her than meets the eye.

It's a common complaint that those that pick the Academy Award Best Picture nominees are out of touch with what regular people think.  And while that may be true, it is even more true for the films submitted and nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category.  Films like 'Amour', 'After Lucia', and 'Barbara' are all good movies, but are an acquired taste and for the most part inaccessible by American audiences.  The combination of the slow pacing and subtitles will turn most people off.  But those that appreciate these kinds of films will appreciate 'Barbara' for what it is: a thoughtful character study at a time and place unfamiliar to most of us.  Though, as last year's submissions go, I prefer 'Sister' and 'A Royal Affair'.

Grade: B

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Sweeney



The sorely underappreciated tough guy Ray Winstone stars as the leader of an elite police squad that makes its own rules to take down the bad guys.  It's typical cops vs. robbers, but of the highest order.  Unlike the majority of American action films, this one's cool, stylish and with smart dialogue, great locations, and exciting action scenes.  Sure, I would have enjoyed a more memorable conclusion, but it's good enough to at least not ruin the fantastic ride that precedes it.  Based on a British TV show from the 70's, the film also features 'Homeland's Damian Lewis in a supporting role.

If you love quality British crime films like 'Layer Cake', Michael Mann's 'Heat', and TV's 'The Shield', then this one's definitely for you.  Of course, as is often the case in this genre, it's quite challenging to understand the dialogue, particularly at the beginning.  Though in my opinion, that's one of the things that makes these films fun for repeat viewings.  Sure, you can put on the closed captioning, but you're cheating yourself out of the challenge.

You can and should check out 'The Sweeney' in limited release in theaters or in the comfort of your own home on Video On Demand.  It will also be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 2.

And do yourself a favor and check out some of Winstone's other underappreciated roles, including 'The Proposition', 'Sexy Beast', 'Edge of Darkness', '44 Inch Chest', and Academy Award winner 'The Departed'

Grade: A (though it probably should be an A-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 3/8/13


Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Oz the Great and Powerful', 'Dead Man Down', and '56 Up'.

FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now


(new releases are in green):

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

The Sweeney  (Also on VOD)   Grade: A

56 Up     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Oz the Great and Powerful   Grade: B+

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

21 & Over     Grade: B+

Snitch    Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Barbara    Grade: B

Dead Man Down    Grade: B

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures     Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Jack the Giant Slayer    Grade: B-

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

ABC's of Death   Grade: C-

Safe Haven     Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard     Grade: C-

The Gatekeepers     Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

Phantom     Grade: D

Oz the Great and Powerful


Digging up a beloved classic is always a questionable idea.  And that's particularly true if that classic is 74 years old and considered by the American Film Institute to be the 10th best film ever made.  Disney did it once already back in 1985 when they made the unexpectedly creepy and oft-forgotten sequel, 'Return to Oz'.  And now, 28 years later, they're doing it again, but this time with a prequel.  Before Dorothy Gale, there was Oz.

Needless to say, I was more than a little concerned going in that this would be harmless entertainment at best and blasphemous at worst.  These are big shoes to fill and James Franco, Zach Braff, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams aren't known for having particularly large feet.  Yet my concerns were put to rest even before the end of the opening credits.  Sometimes you can just tell you're about to see a well crafted film, and that was the case here with this film directed by Sam Raimi, with a score by Danny Elfman, and beginning in glorious black and white.  It's entertaining, colorful, well cast, and nicely fills in all the pieces of the puzzle leading up to Dorothy's infamous arrival.  Even the 3D (which generally isn't my thing) enhances the experience for this one.  Take note, fantasy fans: This one slays 'Jack the Giant Slayer'.

Grade: B+ (and maybe even an A-)

Dead Man Down


It's generally a bad sign when a studio waits until the night before its release to screen a film for critics.  If they're not too confident in the film they don't want bad word of mouth killing its opening weekend.  Anyways, since I've got to be up in a few hours to get ready for my FOX appearance I'm going to keep this one brief.  'Dead Man Down' is your standard guilty pleasure revenge thriller with an above average lead played by Colin Farrell, and partially filmed in Philadelphia.  While it's not quite as fun as another revenge thriller filmed in Philly, 'Law Abiding Citizen', I found it consistently engaging enough to warrant a recommendation.  I'd say it's a pretty decent option for this weekend if you're not into family/fantasy films.  Though, buyer beware, as I've heard and read more than a few scathing reviews so others obviously weren't as entertained as I was.

Grade: B

The ABC's of Death


First off, let me admit I've never been a fan of short films for the simple reason that they're too short.  It's very hard to have a satisfying beginning, middle, and end with interesting characters and storytelling in the span of a few minutes.  As such, very few short films actually seem worth my time.  (Case in point: all of this year's Academy Award short film nominations seemed undeserving of kudos to me.)  Yet the concept of this particular anthology intrigued me: 26 short films about death made by 26 directors each given a letter of the alphabet on which to base their concept.  Though, while these are technically well made shorts (many of which are subtitled, FYI), to keep the running time reasonable, each film is around 5 minutes on average, and that's generally not long enough to create something as memorable as a feature film.  In short, seeing one short before a feature is sometimes a treat.  Seeing 26 in a row is just tedious.

Grade: C-

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flieder's Flicks - Good Day FOX 35 Orlando 3/1/13


Check out my appearance from this morning where I offered my thoughts on 'Jack the Giant Slayer', '21 & Over', 'Phantom', and 'The Master'.

FOX 35 News Orlando

In Theaters Now



(new releases are in green):

The Impossible     Grade: A

Django Unchained     Grade: A

Zero Dark Thirty     Grade: A

56 Up     Grade: A

Argo     Grade: A

Side Effects     Grade: A-

Silver Linings Playbook     Grade: A-

Les Miserables     Grade: B+

21 & Over    Grade: B+

Snitch     Grade: B+

Amour     Grade: B+

Lincoln     Grade: B

Quartet     Grade: B

Life of Pi     Grade: B

Beautiful Creatures     Grade: B

Identity Thief     Grade: B-

Jack the Giant Slayer    Grade: B-

Beasts of the Southern Wild     Grade: C+

Mama     Grade: C

Safe Haven     Grade: C-

A Good Day to Die Hard     Grade: C-

The Gatekeepers   Grade: D

Warm Bodies     Grade: D

Phantom    Grade: D

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III   (VOD)     Grade: F