By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Three O’Clock High, the movie which loosely inspired this movie, offers a slightly subversive, comedic take on a showdown story.  Director Phil Joanou and writers Richard Christian Matheson and Thomas Szollosi came up with a highly inventive and thoroughly entertaining movie that has a unique style of its own. The filmmakers behind Fist Fight should have lifted more than the basic plot elements from its inspiration, as it lacks the smart laughs, sharp writing, and no discernible style of its own.  The film does deliver some good laughs, but overall, comes across as a half-hearted attempt at updating a movie that doesn’t need it. Read more »



By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

A problem with some slow-burning thrillers is the tendency to fizzle out when they are supposed to erupt with excitement and surprises.  Such is the key issue with Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness, a creepy and strange movie that spends too much of its run time trying to build tension, but fails to deliver when it comes to a climax.  Verbinski and crew do an exceptional job creating the perfect mood with a dark, dank, and bleak visual style, but the writing squanders the gorgeously macabre aesthetics. Read more »



By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

Director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) is a filmmaker, well-known for a gorgeous and majestic style.  For his latest movie The Great Wall, his first film with an American lead actor, Yimou employs some of his elegant sensibilities, but isn’t afraid to get gritty and dirty to present a fun, and sometimes exciting, monster movie.  The plot is simple with a typical redemption tale as its story and with a certain amount of predictability to it.  Still, the movie does deliver a few thrills and surprises and does it with a certain amount of grace, poise and respect for its Chinese heritage. Read more »

Screening Pass Giveaway: GET OUT


Source: Universal Pictures

TVR is giving readers a chance to win a complimentary pass to see a special advance screening on Tuesday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. For a chance to win a pass (admit 2), e-mail and in the Subject line of your e-mail, please note “GET OUT in Austin”. A limited number of winners will be selected at random and sent an e-pass no later than Monday, February 20.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Must be 17 years or older to enter for a chance to win. One entry per person please. We encourage early arrival at these screenings. Seats are not guaranteed and are on a first-come, first-served basis with the exception of local press and studio VIPs. Read more »



By Laurie Coker

Rating: D

Scores read the Fifty Shades novels and scores flocked to the theater for the first disappointing film installment of the wildly popular, super-soft-porn novels. Grey and Steel are back in Fifty Shades Darker. While the sex scenes are more frequent, the story is still as lackluster as, um, the color grey. Director James Foley’s semi-smutty rendering of the E.L. James’ poorly (by her own admission) penned narratives, falls notably on substance and flounders like two awkward lovers in its pseudo-erotic repetition.  Read more »