KATY PERRY: PART OF ME (Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, 2012)

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People can hate on Katy Perry all they want but she’s still the only woman who’s had five #1’s just from one album (fan alert!!).

This concert film worked because like most of Perry’s songs, it’s pure pop confection. The Hot ‘n Cold production with all the costume changes stood out as my favorite part of the show. The last few minutes of the movie were so heartbreaking it would be hard to control the tears.

I finally forgave Katy for making us wait three hours in her last concert. Now I know that she wasn’t being a diva back then. She was just being human.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published September 9, 2012.)

TOTAL RECALL (Len Wiseman, 2012)

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I just wanted to erase this movie from memory. After Contraband, Kate Beckinsale got punched in the face again. Why did she sign up for this? Boring and unnecessary remake.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published September 9, 2012.)

THE POSSESSION (Ole Bornedal, 2012)

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Seriously, another exorcism movie with a lead character named Emily? This was a slow-moving horror flick that served as a cautionary tale on garage sales, directed by someone obsessed with rooftops. I spent most of the time fixating on the older sister who reminded me so much of a young Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published September 9, 2012.)

SPRING BREAKERS (Harmony Korine, 2012)

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I surprised even myself that I was able to finish this stinker. The movie definitely brought out the old fart in me.

I almost lost it when James Franco started belting out Britney Spears’ Everytime (unconvincingly) on the piano. WTF?!

If the point of the movie was to scare parents from sending their daughters to spring break, it should work. This was no different from a Girls Gone Wild video.

I pitied these Disney princesses trying desperately to break free from their good girl image. Was nudity and twerking really the way to go?

Now where was Miley Cyrus when you really needed her?

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published September 8, 2013.)

THE EXPENDABLES 2 (Simon West, 2012)

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Yes, it’s a great casting coup but we’ve seen everything in the original. They just threw in Jean-Claude Van Damme (reasonably stiff), Chuck Norris (gloriously hamming it up and making fun of his death rumors), and Liam Hemsworth (sticking out like a sore thumb) and completely forgot to write a decent plot. My favorite person in the cast (Jet Li) was onscreen for barely 10 minutes.

I know this falls under “mindless action films” but we at least deserved a serviceable story, right? (Hmm, maybe I expected too much?)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published September 3, 2012.)

THE CAMPAIGN (Jay Roach, 2012)

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Occasionally funny and mildly offensive. I might have enjoyed the movie more than I expected because I have this certain affinity to Zach Galifianakis. This was a confused satire at best with gags that worked because of its lead actors. It was forgettable, but not a complete waste of your hour and a half.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published September 3, 2012.)

HOPE SPRINGS (David Frankel, 2012)

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With someone as consistently brilliant as Queen Meryl, one would think she’d have run out of tricks up her sleeve by this time. She continued to amaze and surprise me here with a nuanced portrayal of a mature woman trying to save her crumbling marriage. You could sense her loneliness, helplessness, and frustration in just a simple glance.

Tommy Lee Jones provided the perfect counterpart, the grumpy old husband afraid to show any affection. The magic of this movie was its simplicity and ordinariness making it more relatable and heartbreaking.

Lovely, lovely film!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published September 3, 2012.)

BRAVE (Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, 2012)

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Merida may just be the first “lesbian” lead character in a Disney/Pixar cartoon and it was reason enough for me to love this movie.

Its story of a young girl trying to break free from the norm was pure fun and the animation was just gorgeous. I loved the three little brothers and I hope they get their own movie.

Emma Thompson was regal as usual voicing the Queen straight out of Battle Hymn of the Scottish Mom.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 24, 2012.)

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS (David Bowers, 2012)

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Not as charming as the first movie, but not as awful as Rodrick Rules. I love the book series and it was sad to see that a lot of the funny moments got lost from page to screen.

Robert Capron (Rowley) continued to upstage Zachary Gordon (Greg) in almost every scene. The movie started with a complete (albeit realistic) gross-out and you knew what else to expect from there.

Here’s hoping the next movie doesn’t lose its heart in favor of toilet humor.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 24, 2012.)