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Armored – Absolutely mediocre action vehicle.  Wants to be something to make John Carpenter or Walter Hill proud, but fails from start to finish.  Not enough character or twists to be found.  Scratch that.  No character or twists to be found.  Lots of semi-credible actors walk through it, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Dillon, Fred Ward, Jean Reno, but director Antel Nimrod has little for them to do and no tricks up his sleeve.  Tedious and forgettable.  Go rent “Tresspass” for a better version of the same thing.

Hot Tub Time Machine – Slovenly comedy that provides a few chuckles.  Overall I feel left out of movies like this.  They’re too undiscipline, sloppy and all over the place for me, even though nothing like those virtues is the least bit important to those making them.  It stumbles though its jokes like a drunken moron, assuming everything it does is hysterical, but only some of which is actually funny.  Movie tries to score easy nostalgia points by trotting out cultural relics like Poison, Red Dawn, a gratuitous tit shot, Chevy Chase, whatever.  I’m not nostalgic.  It’s harmless and silly and if you were a big fan of “The Hangover” you’ll probably dig this.

The Box – Floundering “Donnie Darko” wonder kid Richard Kelly tries to bounce back after the catastrophic failure of “Southland Tales” with this “Twilght Zone” inspired film.  A financially strapped couple gets an offer of $1 million if they press a button, which will then result in someone unknown to them dying because of it.  They press it, things start to unravel.  There’s a luminescent and engrossing look to everything, a subtle and skilled score contributed from several members of Arcade Fire, as well as strongly honed performances from James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella.  Kelly though can’t whip his story into a suitable shape.  The director/screenwriter’s attempt to expand short story material into a feature length effort results in a slow burner that never boils.  The story slowly becomes a metaphysical, Earth in the balance mess with a befuddling conclusion.  Still though, it’s an interesting misfire.  It may have come apart before the credits roll but there’s more to appreciate in this than other, less ambitious stinkers.


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