You may remember Joe Kirkish from the Lode, from the gazette, or from the Michigan Tech Department of Humanities. Now he's on the alumni Web page with his no-pulled-punches movie reviews.
2012 Movie Reviews
UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING (RatedPG-13 for violence, peril, profanity, drinking, smoking, unpleasant thematic elements):
You don't want to waste time or money on this one, which joins earlier losers that are unscreened for professional critics, here commented on by one who paid to see it when it arrived at local screens. His reaction was hardly a surprise:
THE DEVIL INSIDE (for all graphic details dealing with exorcism): Fuggettit! A god-awful script by William Brent Bell & Matthew Peterman and directed by Bell, this highly disappointing, reminiscent exorcist theme, based on everything from the original Friedkin "Exorcist" to the later "Blair Witch Project," is a horrible, sloppy, cheesy, imitative mess with an unbelievably bad conclusion - far too long for its 83-minutes of gross ugliness. Skip it, and see the previews instead; that's all you need to be at least a bit amused. (Grade: F)
CONTRABAND (R for profanity, violence, some drug use): OK, it's January, the month of mediocrity, and this crime thriller fits right in - excitingly fast action, lots of tough stuff with Mark Wahlberg doing his schtick as a bad guy trying to go straight, but forced to do just one last job, plan go awry, etc. etc. Capably directed by Baltasar Kormkur, written by Skar Junasson, Arnaldur Indriasson, and more. Formulaic, but it passes the time (110-minutes) passably well. (Grade: C+)
WAR HORSE (PG-13 for thoroughly intense & perhaps upsetting violence): Straight off, I must admit a lack of interest in lengthy (nearly 2 1/2 hours) movies that honor the love between humans & animals, but especially with horses. From From the excellent, but over-long "Horse Whisperers" & Elizabeth Taylor's "National Velvet" to "Black Stallion" and both versions of "Black Beauty" - all entertaining & endearing as they may be - they increasingly wane for me.
BEAUTY & THE BEAST (Rated G): returns the children's fable to the screen after many relatively successful versions, the last one being the 1991 Disney animated version, fresh & triumphant in its own right, and returned here with a new 3D updating, with Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise as directors, and with a refreshing musical score in traditional Disney-style by Alan Menken & Howard Ashman.