Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
The Lazarus Effect

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Title: The Lazarus Effect

Sum Up The Movie Using Other Movies: Pet Semetary plus Flatliners divided by Paranormal Activity

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: One Nothing Like the Sun albumout of five.


Brief Plot Synopsis: "Did you wreck the car?"
"No."
"Did you raise the dead?"
"Yes."
"But the car's okay?"

Tagline: "Evil will rise."

Better Tagline: "Hell is other doctors."

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Archer Sags Into Middle Age in Its Sixth, "Unrebooted" Season

Categories: Film and TV

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TV shows aren't too different from people in at least one respect: The longer they've been around, the less interest they tend to garner. But the sixth season of FX's beloved spy spoof Archer is like few others. It's an "unrebooting" of the previous year, in which creator Adam Reed, reportedly bored with his own show, jettisoned virtually everything about it at the height of its popularity. Archer Vice, as the fifth season was called, found the animated cast peddling cocaine and country music after the disbanding of ISIS, the show's espionage agency, by the federal government in the season premiere. Vice was a bold gamble, but unfortunately a flameout of a season; the show's stakes changed too fast and too furiously for viewers to keep up or care.

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2015 Oscars Recap: Hate Watch Edition

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Photo courtesy of ABC
Still pissed about Boyhood.
Nobody likes the Oscars.

Maybe that's too broad an indictment, but if your only sources of feedback on the 87th Academy Awards were social media and blogs, it's easy to get that impression. 36.6 million people watched the ceremony last Sunday (down 18 percent from last year), and apparently every one of them resented the experience.

But even for a TV viewing population as bitchy as ours, the vitriol aimed at this year's ceremony (and its smirking host, Neil Patrick Harris) seemed a little excessive. There were plenty of legitimate reasons to complain: a painfully white group of nominees, another near three-and-a-half hour running time, no streakers; but it's the other stuff I'd like to take a closer look at.

Oh, and in case anyone cares, I went six for nine on my Oscar predictions. Curse you, Big Hero 6!


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Podcast: Winners, Awkward Moments and Losers from the 2015 Oscars

Categories: Film and TV

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There was an awkward moment between Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson and her mom, Melanie Griffith, on the red carpet before the Oscars on Sunday. But the world got to see Johnson's impressive talent for pretending uncomfortable situations don't seem to bother her (see also: Fifty Shades of Grey). It was an eventful Oscars, and that was only the start. Your Voice Film Club hosts Amy Nicholson, Alan Scherstuhl, and Stephanie Zacharek break down the 2015 Oscars winners and losers, while Amy and Stephanie unveil their all-time favorite Oscar dresses. Plus, Amy tells us about how Channing Tatum is going to blow our minds in the new Coen Brothers movie, Hail, Caesar! As always, send mail to filmpod@villagevoice.com and follow us on the Twitter at @voicefilmclub.

[Subscribe to the Voice Film Club podcast on iTunes]

Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
The DUFF

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Title: The DUFF

Ugly *And* Fat? Are Both Required? I'm led to understand it can be either, or, or even none of the above. Outrageous.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: Three Duffmans (Duffmen?) out of five.

Brief Plot Synopsis: Allegedly unattractive high school student has the improbable last laugh.

Tagline: "Every DUFF has their day."

Better Tagline: "Nerd gets Revenge on those who claim she's not Pretty in Pink."


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The 3 Most Out-There Full House Fan Theories

Categories: Film and TV

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"The King and I"
... and moves on to Houston Press blogging career. YES! In before the commenters could make the joke!
When I was growing up, the adventures of Danny Tanner and his enormous blended family on Full House were my jam...which probably explains why I as a 33-year-old man am still calling things my jam. If aliens landed tomorrow and demanded I explain the appeal of Full House to them or they would incinerate the Earth, you would all be as black and crispy as the bread crumbs in the guts of an old toaster. No idea. None.

Inexplicably, it has passed down through the decades to survive in hearts like mine as a beloved piece of pop culture, and in doing so has done what all pop culture does on the Internet: become infected with the virus Bullshitella theorica. Then, like those poor bastards in The Last of Us with mushrooms growing out of their heads, they run rampaging down the halls of the Internet biting whatever they can get their hands on. Let's look at some insanity, shall we?

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Boyhood: The Most Boring Oscar-Worthy Film of the Year

Categories: Film and TV

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Courtesy of Matt Lankes

Last week, Screen Junkies posted a hilarious trailer for Boyhood, likening the Oscar frontrunner to the Harry Potter franchise but "without a plot or magic or fun." The slow-moving indie film isn't for everyone, but it's nonetheless in a tight race for Best Picture, its 12-years-in-the-making premise up against the creative stylings of Birdman.

It's an extraordinary premise, to be sure. The film's depiction of time is mesmerizing - amusing in some moments and resounding in others. Pop culture breezes from "Oops!...I Did It Again" to those giant pastel iMacs to Roger Clemens pitching at a Houston Astros game. The Iraq War begins and ends, subtly influencing a generation. Meanwhile, the actors grow and grow up, blending with their characters in ways we've never quite seen before on screen.

But if the Oscar goes to Boyhood this Sunday because of Richard Linklater's unique filming structure, the voters will have missed the point (cue: Kanye West). As affecting as that structure may be, it's just a device that enables the storytelling - and Boyhood's storytelling is profound.

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Five Reasons Why Fox's Empire Has Become a Breakout Hit

Categories: Film and TV

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Empire most certainly wasn't built in a day, but its reputation as a breakout hit has been made in virtually no time at all. Since the series debuted six weeks ago, every episode has drawn more viewers than the one before it. Buoyed by positive reviews and especially word of mouth, its ratings trajectory is quite simply bonkers, making the Fox midseason replacement a genuine cultural phenomenon.

For those who haven't yet caught up with the hip-hop soap, Empire is the brainchild of director Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) and screenwriter Danny Strong (The Butler, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Parts 1 and 2). Equally inspired by King Lear and Dynasty, it centers on the mighty but shattered Lyon family, headed by rapper turned music mogul Lucious (Terrence Howard). Recently diagnosed with ALS and anxious about his legacy, Lucious makes a horrendous decision: to make his three sons compete for the throne atop Empire Enterprises, the family business. Also demanding a say in its direction is Lucious's ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), newly released from prison after 17 years after taking the fall for the couple's drug deals.

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Birdman, Boyhood or Budapest? Predicting the 87th Academy Awards

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Photo by Alison Rosa
Norton was nominated solely for his choice of underwear.

Oscar days are here again
That most pompous time of year again
So, let's get 'faced on all our beer again
Oscar days are here again.

The 87th Academy Awards will be handed out this Sunday. In between Neil Patrick Harris rendering the plot of American Sniper through interpretive dance and attempting to exorcise the unquiet spirit of Seth MacFarlane from the Dolby Theater once and for all, some major awards will be distributed.

As I have every year since I can remember, I'll be watching as well. My experience hasn't transitioned to full-on hate watch mode yet, but there has been a noticeable uptick in my drinking during the broadcast over the last decade. And having long ago discarded any illusions about the artistic merit of this (or any other) awards show, I now pay attention mostly for gentlemanly wagering purposes.

To that end, here are my (for entertainment purposes only) picks for the 2015 Oscars. I also put the odds on an Amal Clooney red carpet eyeroll at 13/5.

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Reviews for the Easily Distracted:
Fifty Shades of Grey

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Title: Fifty Shades of Grey

Is This Movie Really A Sign Of The Apocalypse? It'll have to hold us over until the next Magic Mike, I suppose.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: One and a half W. Somerset Maughams out of five.


Brief Plot Synopsis: "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side."

Tagline: "Mr. Grey will see you now."

Better Tagline: "No one gets away/Until they whip it."


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