If you love America, go see Pain & Gain

Review of Pain and Gain, Directed by Michael Bay"Don't be a don't-er, do be a doer." Such is the motto of body-builders/gym-rats Danny Lugo, Paul Doyle, and Adrian Doorball (Marky Mark, the Rock, and Anthony Mackie). Okay, if we're being all technical about it, it's the motto of Johnny Wu—the hottest self-help guru to come along in the history of ever. But good advice is good advice, and Danny, Paul, and Adrian have decided to be doers instead of don't-ers by going out and taking their own l … [Read more...]

Lost in Thailand Chinese Style

Review of Lost in Thailand, Directed by Xu ZhengIf you know anything about the Chinese box office, you know that James Cameron’s Titanic and Avatar are among the highest grossing films—not to mention the incredible popularity of 2012. But who knew that low-budget comedy Lost in Thailand would rocket to the top of the box office when it opened in December 2012? By January 1, 2013, it passed the 1 billion yuan mark, beating the 3D release of Titanic. It sold more tickets than Avatar, but failed t … [Read more...]

‘Admission’ Is Worth the Price

Review of Admission, Directed by Paul WeitzCollege admissions: the final test of the helicopter parent. While it was no Deerfield or Andover, my college prep school career began with a meeting about college preparation the first month of freshman year and ended with a wall of paper stars announcing mine and my classmates' acceptances to elite universities, mostly on the East Coast. My parents were helpful but mercifully not overbearing compared to many of my peers’. While some parents called … [Read more...]

Burt Wonderstone: From Wonder-Empty to Wonder-Full

Review of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Directed by Don ScardinoYet this I hold against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. ~ Revelation 2:4Albert Weinzelstein and his friend Anthony—social outcasts and frequent targets for bullying—wanted nothing more than to explore the wonderful world of magic; a world personified by Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin), a stage magician who looks like a live-action Count von Count … if he were a lounge singer. The boys assiduously study and perfec … [Read more...]

Are We Stand Up Guys?

Review of Stand Up Guys, Directed by Fisher StevensBy KENDRICK KUOWhat makes a stand up guy? Friendships between three retired gangsters tries to answer this question in the just-released Stand Up Guys starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. After 28 years in prison, Val (Pacino) has finally served his time and rejoins his two buddies Doc (Walken) and Hirsch (Arkin) for a night to remember. There’s a problem, however. Val was in jail because of a job gone wrong, ending in a … [Read more...]

Django Discusses Race

Review of Django Unchained, Directed by Quentin TarantinoBy KENDRICK KUODjango Unchained is everything you would expect from a Tarantino film. Much in the same vein as Inglorious Basterds, this story is a historical one. Instead of Nazi Germany, it is set in the antebellum South. If you liked Inglorious Basterds, I would reckon you will enjoy Django Unchained—if you can stomach the gore that underlines the brutal world of slavery.Naturally, any film depicting race relations in the U … [Read more...]

This Is 40: Hollywood on Aging

Review of This Is 40, Directed by Judd ApatowBy KENDRICK KUOPete (Paul Rudd) got Debbie (Leslie Mann) pregnant, got married, and a few years later, they have two kids and they are 40 years old. Well…Debbie thinks she is 38, but later we discover she is actually 40. This Is 40 is a spinoff of Knocked Up, where Pete and Debbie were supporting characters.First off, as an evangelical, let me say that This Is 40 is not a family-friendly film. The film plays on awkward and sexual humor, j … [Read more...]