Scene Stealers

Boxing cliches spring eternal in 'Southpaw'

Eric Melin

Most boxing movies are rags-to-riches stories but “Southpaw,” starring a bulked-up **Jake Gyllenhaal**, is a riches-to-rags story. This reversal of the traditional structure doesn’t mean that the film isn’t riddled with other cliches, however. Writer **Kurt Sutter** (“Sons of Anarchy”) and director **Antoine Fuqua** (“Training Day”) understands those cliches and ...

'Ant-Man' a small wonder; 'Amy' goes behind the music

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/jul/16/294449/ In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the mega-superheroes are taken out of their usual hi-tech, urban surroundings and brought down to Earth when they hide out at a Midwestern farmhouse. It’s a scene that writer/director Joss Whedon had to fight to keep in the movie, and it's one of the ...

'Trainwreck' tweaks the rom-com formula for the better

Eric Melin

The genre of romantic comedy is in a sorry state these days. Besides sporting some of the most interchangeable, clichéd movie titles ever, most of the rom-coms that come out of Hollywood are full of bland writing, are overly contrived and cause their actors to amp up the energy to ...

New 'Terminator' a surprisingly crafty reboot

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/jun/30/293658/ “What do we want?” “Time travel!” “When do we want it?” “It’s irrelevant.” That joking exchange between leader of the human resistance John Connor (**Jason Clarke**) and a nameless character is emblematic of the self-aware sense of humor that the new sci-fi action film **“Terminator Genisys”** displays throughout. In ...

Is Netflix taking over TV and movies?

Eric Melin

A prequel to one of the biggest cult comedy classics of the last 20 years is out on July 31, only it won’t be released in theaters. And, unlike its predecessor, it’s not a movie. Unless you binge watch all eight episodes in a row. Which people do. A lot. ...

'Inside Out' has That Pixar Feeling

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/jun/19/293173/ You know that song “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” by Cinderella? Man, it’s so true. Yeah, I know that phrase was already a well-worn cliché before Tom Kiefer and company turned it into a power ballad monster, but just because they didn’t invent it doesn’t mean ...

Dear Hollywood: Stop getting our hopes up

Eric Melin

http://www.lawrence.com/photos/2015/jun/11/292832/ Hope is a dangerous thing, and with its never-ending stream of sequels and franchise reboots, Hollywood preys on its audience’s hope in the most cynical of ways. Hope is what drew me to see **“Jurassic World,”** even though I knew in the back of my mind not to get ...

Brian Wilson biopic 'Love & Mercy' all about the music

Eric Melin

There are many things to enjoy about the unconventional new **Brian Wilson** biopic **“Love & Mercy,”** so let’s start with the obvious one: the music. Not only does director **Bill Pohlad** concentrate on 1966 to 1967, the most adventurous and fruitful period of The Beach Boys’ career (“Pet Sounds,” “Good ...

Why we live in the best possible time to watch film history

Eric Melin

*“The glamour of limelight, from which age must pass as youth enters.” — Opening titles of Charles Chaplin’s “Limelight”* On March 5 of this year, another 20th-century auteur passed from this world. Groundbreaking documentarian **Albert Maysles** (“Grey Gardens,” “Gimme Shelter”) died at age 88, leaving behind a legacy of fly-on-the-wall ...

An 'Incredible' history of Brad Bird movies

Eric Melin

In his video blog this week, film critic Eric Melin discusses the interesting history of animation-turned-live-action director Brad Bird ("The Incredibles," "Ratatouille," "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol") and the recurring themes present in his movies. Check out Eric's review of Bird's latest film, Disney's "Tomorrowland" starring George Clooney [over on his ...

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