Author: Beth McDonough

Aliens and Goonies: Friendship in Children’s Adventure Movies

This weekend, Earth to Echo will attempt to capture the hearts of both kids and adults everywhere with its attempt to breathe new life into the world of the childhood adventure movie by using a found footage format.  This film tradition is a challenging one to break into successfully, and unfortunately, the bar was set so unattainably high a few decades ago that most recent efforts seem flat.  There’s an art to crafting a cinematic experience that strikes the delicate balance of the heart, emotion, imagery and excitement that makes these movies special.  What’s the secret to that balance?...

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They Keep Coming! Movies With Too Many Sequels

Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise has to be one of the most criticized, scrutinized, and laughable film franchises in the history of the big screen.  And yet, here we are, one day away from the release of a pointless fourth installment, which will undoubtedly be critically panned and yet bring in enough money to buy Michael Bay his fifth mansion.  As we prepare to endure a weekend of internet rage, perhaps it will ease the collective cultural mind to remember that while it might be the most inexplicably and dishearteningly profitable, Transformers isn’t the first film series to wear out...

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The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Overview: A bitter, middle-aged man scrambles to make amends with his friends and family after he is told he only has 90 minutes to live.  2014; Lionsgate; rated R; 83 minutes. Star Studded: On the surface, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn has all the ingredients for a potentially engaging, heartwarming dramedy.  With a supporting cast that includes Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage (who in my eyes can do no wrong), and Melissa Leo backing up a storyline that should give Robin Williams the freedom he needs to do what he does best, I fully expected to have plenty of material to boast about...

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10 Movie Dads You Don’t Wanna Mess With

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there who spend their days trying to ensure the safety of their entire family.  It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.  There’s not much in this world a dad won’t do for his children (in real life and in the movies), whether it’s teaching them right from wrong, making sure vacations and holidays are successful, or even saving their lives.  So in honor of  the amazing things fathers do for their kids every day we bring you 10 Movie Dads You Don’t Wanna Mess With.  In no particular order, because there are no losers here. John Quincy Archibald: John Q Nobody messes with a man and his family’s health care.  Although John Q is a lackluster movie that checks every box in your typical hostage situation playbook, Denzel Washington manages to portray a compelling  and desperate character.  He takes his wife’s words quite literally when she demands for him to “do something” as the hospital releases their son when they can’t manage to come up with the down payment to keep their son on the heart transplant list.  Taking over a hospital with a gun is not at all an overreaction, right? Daniel Hillard: Mrs. Doubtfire Although at first glance Daniel Hillard seems to be a carefree, sloppy, reckless father, as time goes on he proves he’ll go to any lengths to...

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22 Jump Street

Overview:  Schmidt and Jenko are ordered to revisit their undercover younger selves to hunt down a dealer who’s distributing a dangerous new drug at a university. Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, rated R, 112 minutes. The Sequel:  22 Jump Street isn’t discreet about its identity as a sequel. In fact,  it spends a hefty amount of time mocking its own identity while simultaneously bragging about its ability to pull off doing “the exact same thing”.  The comments and jokes peppered throughout the movie dance across the line of both parody and full blown meta.  Nine times out of 10, this tactic would not...

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Take My Breath Away: Tom Cruise’s Top 10 Movie Moments

This weekend marks the release of Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster and quite possibly one of the most entertaining movies of the summer.  30 years later and Cruise has barely slowed down in cranking out the hits.  Known for the intensity and enthusiasm he adds to his roles (and pretty much everything else…), Cruise’s extensive resume has left its mark on us with countless memorable moments.  Let’s take a look at 10 of the best: 10) Magnolia 1999 brings us Magnolia, a film that gives us a side of Cruise we’ve never seen before, and really only one time since (see...

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Maleficent

Overview:  A faerie takes revenge on the man who broke her heart and stole her wings.  2014;Walt Disney Studios and Motion Pictures;  Rated PG; 97 minutes. The Mistress Of All Evil:  Predictably, the best part of this film is Angelina Jolie. Luckily, Disney favorite screenwriters Linda Woolverton and Charles Perrault seem to be aware of their villainess’ powerful presence because the script keeps her in nearly every scene.  Performance, wardrobe, and makeup transforms the recognizable starlet into a faithful live version of one of the most famous animated villains of all time. It is casting so obvious that it...

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Unhappily Ever After So Far: Live Action Fairy Tale Adaptations

This week marks the release of Maleficent, a retelling of the tale of Sleeping Beauty that focuses on the infamous villain and how she evolved into the evil sorceress who cursed one of Disney’s most beloved princesses.  A poster was recently revealed for next year’s Cinderella, and Disney has announced their plans to produce a new take on Beauty and the Beast.   It’s safe to say that Hollywood’s not going to be finished cranking out live action fairy tale films anytime soon.  Although the fairy tale movie, even the live action one, isn’t a new concept, the recent influx of the attempts at creating...

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Blu-Ray Review: 3 Days To Kill

Overview:  A man attempts to give up his life as a CIA agent to reconcile with his estranged wife and daughter.  2014; Relativity Media; rated PG-13; 117 minutes. The Family Man:  Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) just wants to spend his last few months with his family.  Is that too much for a guy to ask?  3 Days to Kill follows him through two hours of a continuous attempt to achieve the ultimate work life and home life balance we all yearn to achieve.  This guy’s job is just a bit more stressful than cubicle life.  Although the plot of...

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Beth’s Guide to X-Men Dating

Fans of the X-Men franchise have been anxiously waiting for the Days of Future Past chapter to be told for years, and it’s finally arrived.  The X-Men universe is known for its extensive cast of characters, each with their own distinct abilities and personalities.  The dating pool is fairly large here ladies, and I’m back for another round of dating advice to help you weed out the bad ones.  The line between good and evil is often blurry when it comes to mutants, so get your little black books out and listen up, because dating X-Men can get tricky. 10....

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Put Down The Pages And Pick Up The Popcorn: 11 Movies That Are Better Than The Books

Introduction Before we begin, allow me to make an admission.  I’m usually that annoying girl in the theater vehemently exclaiming throughout the movie things like, “This didn’t happen in the book,” not so silently judging every minute adjustment made as I tick off my imaginary checklist in my head.  It is true that often times movie adaptations fail to achieve the compelling storytelling and emotional connection that makes the book special.  However, sometimes we get so caught up in our nitpicking, we forget to allow ourselves to enjoy a well made movie that usually has the honorable intentions of bringing...

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Days Long Remembered: A Timeline of the Star Wars Ups and Downs

The Star Wars universe has been littered with rumors over the years, and the speculation and guessing are rewarded by the few and far between official announcements released to fans.  In celebration of Star Wars Day, I’ve gathered some of the major announcements that have been made over the years along with what they meant for the Star Wars universe and fan base alike. When: May 14, 1980 What:  At a press conference, the name of Episode VI was announced as “Revenge of the Jedi”, following a conversation with the movie’s producer that “Return of the Jedi” was a weak title....

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Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Overview: Luke begins his training with a Jedi Master, while his comrades find themselves at the mercy of the Empire as the result of a well-laid trap to capture young Skywalker.  1980; 20th Century Fox; rated PG; 127 minutes. The Great Escape:  The fist pumping climax that concludes A New Hope leaves the viewer with a knowing feeling that it can’t be that easy.  When you knock down the bad guys and they get back up, they return with gusto.  The Empire hits back, and it hits back hard.  In Empire Strikes Back, each of our main characters is trying to escape...

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Mean Girls: Ten Years Later

Overview: A teenage girl (Lindsay Lohan) struggles to find her place when she is introduced to the cattiness and cliques that make up high school girl world. 2004; Paramount Pictures; rated PG-13; 97 minutes. Fetch Is Still Happening:  Where Mean Girls excels is in its innate ability to relate to the mind of the teenage girl in a manner that is now proven timeless.  Your average teenage girl has two all-consuming burning desires:  1) Popularity.  2) Hot Boyfriend.  These desires haven’t changed over the years and they probably never will. Even though the basic premise of high school cliques...

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Do Girls Really Just Wanna Have Fun?: A Breakdown of the Modern Female Comedy

In recent years, Hollywood has graciously provided us with a noticeable influx in mainstream movies broadly defined as “female comedy.”  While the category is still narrowly represented– certainly more “subgenre” than “genre”– more people are slowly coming around to the idea that women can be hilarious.  Why are there so few of these genuinely funny films that feature females providing the comedic content?  Because it’s an art that until recently, hadn’t been skillfully presented.  Some of the same rules apply to both men and women when it comes to eliciting laughs, but some don’t.  Before the noted rise over...

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