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The Last Stand – Arnold’s return to action movies proves to be far less rickety and stagnant than the efforts he was putting out 10 years ago when he left acting behind for politics.  Did anyone see Collateral Damage?  The plot of Stand is slim and almost too silly for words, a drug dealer escaping to the border in a really fast car, and the first half of the movie is too protracted but once the fireworks start going off Last Stand proves itself to be adequately bananas.  The movie becomes an unhinged battle of bullets and blood which feels invigorating when compared to the sanitized carnage on display in bigger budget flicks.  Sadly, Arnold’s nutty little action flick went seen by no one.  He said he’d be back, he was, where were you?

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Mud – Gritty, Arkansas set coming-of-age/crime drama featuring a stellar performances from Matthew McConaughey and newcomer Tye Sheridan.  Ellis (Sheridan) and his buddy Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) discover an abandoned boat on a small island that they hope to claim for themselves.  Instead they find Mud (McConaughey), a mysterious, grimy looking character who immediately draws them into his confidence with his tale of ruined romance and murder.  There’s a lot to appreciate in Mud, it flirts with being great in places, but director Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) seems afraid of applying momentum to his story when he could start to use it.  Things also gets thematically thick fingered and obvious in places.  Why did people yelp at the snake scene?  Despite the hiccups it’s a worthy effort and further proof that it’s okay to take McConaughey serious again.

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Much Ado About Nothing – Right around the time he was tapped to helm one of the biggest movies ever, The Avenger, director Joss Whedon decided to get his friends together and make an adaptation of this well worn Shakespeare comedy in his house.  Assembling a cast made up of refuges from his various TV shows, Whedon puts together a commendable effort that fans of the Whedonverse will love to play spot the actor while watching.  The effort is loose and fun and the black and white photography helps mask the no budget nature of the production.  Kenneth Branagh’s version from the early 90’s is still tops.  Amy Acker stands out as the fierce and feisty Beatrice.  Alexis Denisof’s turn as Benedict is the one bit of casting which feels off the mark.  An all around good time though I felt a little stiffed for paying the late night price.  When you see it pop up on Netflix, enjoy.

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