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Badass all-star cast drives ‘Expendables 3’

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Written by Joe Bell Friday, August 22, 2014 12:20 pm

The Expendables franchise succeeds primarily as nostalgia, compiling a large crew of aging action stars and plopping them into a generic action film.

“The Expendables 3” does more of the same, with occasional attempts to up the ante. This entry is perhaps the weakest in the series, lacking both the freshness of the original and the winking attitude of the second.

For a brainless action film, the movie has a surprisingly dense plot line.

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Cinemania: New Ninja Turtles look cool but reboot is poorly hatched

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Written by Joe Bell Friday, August 15, 2014 04:05 pm

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a fairly lifeless reimagining of the old series. It fails to capture the fun of the original films and the cartoon series that was so pervasive in the ’90s. It also doesn't do anything original.

To be fair, the Turtles were never much more than a transparent ploy to sell toys to children. But this installment takes away some of the boyish charm of the franchise. It turns the goofiness down and ups the attitude, turning already one-note characters into hulking CGI monstrosities with no personality to speak of.

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Cinemania: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is space-hopping fun

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Written by Joe Bell Friday, August 08, 2014 02:36 pm

Chris Pratt stars as Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, an intergalactic adventurer and outlaw who finds himself in possession of a mysterious orb with the power to destroy the universe.

With a bounty on his head, Quill stumbles into a crew of law-dodging misfits who have little choice but to defend the universe or let it be destroyed. This decidedly unheroic group includes a formerly evil assassin (Zoe Saldana), a vengeful maniac (David Bautista) and two bounty hunters: a giant tree person with limited vocabulary (Vin Diesel) and a wisecracking, hyperintelligent raccoon (Bradley Cooper).

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Cinemania: ‘Hercules’ offers plenty of skull-cracking fun‘

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Written by Joe Bell Thursday, July 31, 2014 11:35 am

Hercules, which stars Dwayne Johnson as the Greek hero, is a surprisingly satisfying, straightforward action film that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's far from a great film, but it offers plenty of skull-cracking hits and more than enough moments of genuine entertainment.

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CINEMANIA: Diaz, Segel star in illogical and slapstick ‘Sex Tape’

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Written by Joe Bell Friday, July 25, 2014 01:32 pm

Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are a married couple whose sex life has gone stale. In a spur-of-the-moment decision, the two decide to make a sex tape. Of course, it accidentally gets in the hands of friends and family, so the pair end up on a nightlong chase through the L.A. suburbs, attempting to track down and delete every last copy.

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Cinemania: Apes, humans find they are not so different in ‘Dawn‘

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Written by Joe Bell Thursday, July 17, 2014 02:41 pm

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is an intense and action-packed sci-fi thriller with brilliant effects and surprisingly real emotional resonance.

The film takes place decades after its predecessor. The simian flu is now widespread. Colonies of apes with genetically advanced brainpower are thriving in the woods, and mankind is on the brink of extinction.

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Cinemania: Melissa McCarthy wears thin in ‘Tammy’

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Written by Joe Bell Friday, July 11, 2014 01:43 pm

Melissa McCarthy's schtick is beginning to run thin. She is a talented comedic presence – sharp, and good at physical comedy. But the actress who made such big waves in the 2011 smash hit “Bridesmaids” hasn't been able to get away from what is essentially the same persona.

Once again, McCarthy plays a screwed-up loudmouth prone to anger. Here, she's a fast food worker ditched by her husband. When she loses her job, she forms an unlikely alliance with her free-spirited grandma (Susan Sarandon). The two travel to Niagara Falls for a reason that is barely explained.

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CINEMANIA: Spectacular effects drive ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’

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Written by Joe Bell Thursday, July 03, 2014 03:26 pm

The fourth movie in the “Transformers” franchise reboots the series, with new human characters taking over for Shia LeBeouf and his crew of robot-loving misfits. Mark Wahlberg stars as an eccentric, down-on-his-luck inventor and single dad who discovers that his beat-up old truck is actually Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots.

Since they saved the world for the third time, the few remaining Transformers are being hunted down by an evil government agent (Kelsey Grammer) and reassembled for nefarious purposes. With the help of Wahlberg and his daughter (Nicola Perez), Optimus must reassemble his crew and take on this new threat to humanity.

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