• By Joe Bell

In “The Martian,” Matt Damon is Mark Watney, a member of an exploratory mission to Mars. Thinking he’s dead after an intense windstorm hits during the mission, the crew departs, leaving Watney alone on the lifeless planet, where he must attempt to survive for the four years it will take for …

  • By Joe Bell

The original “Hotel Transylvania” was a nice, mild distraction of an animated feature about a group of classic movie monsters running a hotel. It failed to hit the high bar set by Pixar or recent DreamWorks films, but it was a cute and inoffensive romp. That’s surprising given the creative f…

  • By Joe Bell

There has been plenty of buzz about “Black Mass,” the story of South Boston crime kingpin James "Whitey" Bulger's rise to power and subsequent fall from grace. The buzz is merited. This is a fascinating true-life crime story of violence and corruption led by a brilliant performance from John…

“The Visit” is an imperfect but effective small-scale horror film that is a return to form for director M. Night Shyamalan. It reminded me why I like his first few movies, especially “The Sixth Sense,” and loathe his later efforts (“Unbreakable,” “Lady in the Water,” etc.).

  • By Joe Bell

The original “Transporter” series was anchored by the incredibly charismatic certifiable bad-ass action star Jason Statham, who carried the weaker installments. These movies were in no way brilliant – in fact, much of the time they were downright awful. But they were serviceable action films…

  • By Joe Bell

“Straight Outta Compton” chronicles the rise and fall of the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A., focusing on the careers and personal lives of its most seminal members – Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. It's a razor-sharp biopic that embraces the structure of the genre, creating a compelling …

  • By Joe Bell

A genre often overlooked in movies these days is the psychological thriller, a film that plays with human emotions to create a sense of fear. Most films that deal with these themes have a sci-fi bent or are heavy on the action. But “The Gift” is an extremely effective example of the category…

In “Ant-Man,” Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, an ex-con released from prison and struggling to reconnect with his daughter. Broke and desperate, he returns to a life of crime and breaks into the house of a scientist, where he happens upon a red suit and a vial filled with a red chemical substance.

  • JOE BELL

It's understandable why the Minions were the breakout characters of the “Despicable Me” movies. The adorable little yellow pill-shaped creatures who speak in a combination of gibberish and different actual languages were often the most outright funny parts in the first two films, self-contai…

  • With JOE BELL

This sequel to “Jurassic Park” does little to distinguish itself from the original blockbuster. Though it has an all-new cast, it tends to follow almost all the same story beats. Granted, it would be hard to improve on “Jurassic Park,” a genre-defining blockbuster with rich and interesting c…

  • By Joe Bell

As a television show, “Entourage” was never big on things like story or conflict. It told the tale of four rich, immature guys living out the Hollywood version of male fantasy. After eight seasons of nearly drama-free wish fulfillment, the boys are back in what is essentially a bloated, came…

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a helicopter pilot who must rescue his daughter from a San Francisco in the grips of massive earthquakes and tsunamis.

  • Joe Bell

“San Andreas” is a loud blockbuster that relies more on visual thrills than a storyline. Movies like this tend to get a pass in the summer, when so many films are released as a means of escapism. And this is especially the case with disaster flicks, which tend to feature huge casts of underd…

  • By Joe Bell

The original “Hotel Transylvania” was a nice, mild distraction of an animated feature about a group of classic movie monsters running a hotel. It failed to hit the high bar set by Pixar or recent DreamWorks films, but it was a cute and inoffensive romp. That’s surprising given the creative f…

  • By Joe Bell

There has been plenty of buzz about “Black Mass,” the story of South Boston crime kingpin James "Whitey" Bulger's rise to power and subsequent fall from grace. The buzz is merited. This is a fascinating true-life crime story of violence and corruption led by a brilliant performance from John…

“The Visit” is an imperfect but effective small-scale horror film that is a return to form for director M. Night Shyamalan. It reminded me why I like his first few movies, especially “The Sixth Sense,” and loathe his later efforts (“Unbreakable,” “Lady in the Water,” etc.).

  • By Joe Bell

The original “Transporter” series was anchored by the incredibly charismatic certifiable bad-ass action star Jason Statham, who carried the weaker installments. These movies were in no way brilliant – in fact, much of the time they were downright awful. But they were serviceable action films…

  • By Joe Bell

“Straight Outta Compton” chronicles the rise and fall of the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A., focusing on the careers and personal lives of its most seminal members – Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. It's a razor-sharp biopic that embraces the structure of the genre, creating a compelling …

  • By Joe Bell

A genre often overlooked in movies these days is the psychological thriller, a film that plays with human emotions to create a sense of fear. Most films that deal with these themes have a sci-fi bent or are heavy on the action. But “The Gift” is an extremely effective example of the category…

In “Ant-Man,” Paul Rudd is Scott Lang, an ex-con released from prison and struggling to reconnect with his daughter. Broke and desperate, he returns to a life of crime and breaks into the house of a scientist, where he happens upon a red suit and a vial filled with a red chemical substance.

  • JOE BELL

It's understandable why the Minions were the breakout characters of the “Despicable Me” movies. The adorable little yellow pill-shaped creatures who speak in a combination of gibberish and different actual languages were often the most outright funny parts in the first two films, self-contai…

  • By JOE BELL

This fifth installment of the “Terminator” franchise takes us back to 1984, to a recreation of the events of the original film. In the meantime, it ignores the two most recent sequels as well as major plotlines from the first two far superior films. The time travel plotline attempts to pay h…

  • With JOE BELL

This sequel to “Jurassic Park” does little to distinguish itself from the original blockbuster. Though it has an all-new cast, it tends to follow almost all the same story beats. Granted, it would be hard to improve on “Jurassic Park,” a genre-defining blockbuster with rich and interesting c…

  • By Joe Bell

As a television show, “Entourage” was never big on things like story or conflict. It told the tale of four rich, immature guys living out the Hollywood version of male fantasy. After eight seasons of nearly drama-free wish fulfillment, the boys are back in what is essentially a bloated, came…

  • Joe Bell

“San Andreas” is a loud blockbuster that relies more on visual thrills than a storyline. Movies like this tend to get a pass in the summer, when so many films are released as a means of escapism. And this is especially the case with disaster flicks, which tend to feature huge casts of underd…

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