G-Force - “Imagine experiencing, at warp speed and for 90 minutes, the reality of the infamous Richard Gere gerbil joke. Next, add a bunch of “clever” allusions to authentic films of varying quality: Die Hard, Mission: Impossible, Scarface, Apocalypse Now, Indiana Jones, and Transformers. Then, throw on a superficial layer of cutesy references to such bastions of pop culture as the Pussycat Dolls and “Pimp My Ride” before accessorizing with a throbbing Black Eyed Peas musical accompaniment. It is through this unholy mating of Walt Disney Studios with producer Jerry Bruckheimer that G-Force was spawned. If Bruckheimer’s presence ain’t enough to convince you that this movie is awash with meaningless action, then consider the fact that the director, Hoyt Yeatman, is not only a veteran Hollywood effects pro but also, quite tellingly, was the visual effects supervisor for Armageddon and The Rock, both of which were directed by Michael “BOOM!” Bay. With G-Force, Yeatman makes his feature-length directing debut with a bunch of anthropomorphized, hyperactive CGI animals interacting with live-action humans, and it’s truly a miracle that he didn’t blow every cast member, both of the rodent and homo sapien variety, to fur-spattered smithereens.” - Agent Bedhead
Inglourious Basterds - “The film opens in Nazi-occupied France in 1941. (The narrative is split into five chapters, but they’re closely related and unspool in a linear enough fashion that the structure is closer to Kill Bill than the interlocking vignettes of Pulp Fiction.) The first chapter highlights Tarantino’s skill at short-form storytelling, with its brief but detailed introduction of a farmer and his daughters as they’re visited by Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) of the SS, a man nicknamed “the Jew Hunter” who’s come by to see if the farmer is hiding “enemies of the state.” The sequence is taut and lean, driven by an intrinsically tense plot and the bravura performance of Waltz, who manages to inhabit some deadly gray area between charming and calculating. As Landa interrogates the farmer, Tarantino keeps the compositions neatly focused on the men, often letting a profiled two-shot linger uncomfortably. When it comes to creating these minor moments between characters, almost like powerful short stories, Tarantino’s still got chops. But once the larger narrative begins, the film starts to wander.” - Daniel Carlson
Taking Woodstock - “The problems with Taking Woodstock are best understood when viewed as a reflection of the youth culture at the time of the legendary 1969 concert in upstate New York: Namely, there are a lot of good intentions and some genuinely sweet moments, but too much of what goes on is disjointed and just uninterested in whatever happens next. For the kids partying at the show 40 years ago, this was understandable. They were living in an era that saw turnout among young voters at levels that haven’t been topped since while also encouraging an attitude of willful innocence about the world at large. That’s an interesting tension, full of interesting conflicts and questions about equality and youth and on and on. But director-producer Ang Lee and writer-producer James Schamus (working from Elliot Tiber’s memoir) forget that they aren’t telling a story in the immediate aftermath of a cultural event, but with the benefit of four decades of hindsight and experience and history. They don’t have to wonder what happened next; they lived it. And it’s that willful ignorance of the concert’s larger historical ramifications and the turning point it provided for 20th century pop culture that render the film more trivial than insightful. Hints are made at a more complex world, and there are moments where the story probes into the true motivations of the promoters and participants, but for the most part, Taking Woodstock commits the sin of being too shortsighted to do any good. Even rose-colored nostalgia has to compare the object of its affection with a less pleasing present, but Lee’s film feels cut off from the world that came after, and as such, it can’t be anything more than a superficial look at a time and place that deserve greater and more nuanced examination.” - Daniel Carlson
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard - “Two words and four letters for you: Ho Lee S * * T! As Sandie Newton from CBS/Dallas writes, The Goods is “laugh out loud funny.” If you liked The Hangover, get ready for The Goods. It will blow your motherfucking mind out the back of your head and leave you shitting in your seat. But The Goods is so awesome, you’ll have to sit and fester and wallow in your own feces so you don’t miss a single, rapid-fire joke. And they come at you fast, like non-fatal machine-gun fire into your temples. But you’ll be LOLing so hard, you’ll wish you were dead. I know I did!” - Dustin Rowles
The Hangover - “When The Hangover is hitting on all cylinders, it rises to a rare level of outrageously funny vulgarity, without relying overmuch on gross-outs or improvisational non-sequiturs. The Hangover functions primarily as a vehicle for ordinary guys flailing their way through an extraordinary situation, getting loads of laughs from the straightforward premise of four men staring fearfully into the toothy maw of a gambol gone horribly awry. The central trio is perfectly cast, with each character carrying enough individual foibles to magnify the ludicrous nature of the circumstances but none so implausible as to distract from the central idea that they’re regular guys. Cooper shows dazzling good looks and nice restraint as the straight man to Helms’ and Galafianakis’ broader turns, losing his Wedding Crashers abrasiveness in favor of a more sophisticated, laid-back demeanor. Galafianakis’ stage persona, a taciturn hermit, makes a clean transition to the big screen with a magnetically weird presence that’s occasionally as dumbfounding for his companions as their predicament.” - Ted Boynton
Intern Rusty is a Masters student at the University of Miami. You can learn more about her at Rusty’s Ventures.