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Articles by Derek Austin Johnson

FILM REVIEW: Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

REVIEW SUMMARY: A pretentious, self-indulgent, and ultimately silly first feature from director Panos Cosmatos that never captures the erratic grace or fitful elegance of [...]

February 21, 2013 // 2 Comments

FILM REVIEW: Skyfall (2012)

MY RATING: BRIEF SYNOPSIS: James Bond returns in a visually lush and emotionally involving adventure that benefits from a strong script and one of the best casts the series [...]

November 9, 2012 // 5 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Cloud Atlas (2012)

MY RATING: SUMMARY: Audacious, daring, and never uninteresting, yet the execution falls far short of its visionary ambitions. MY REVIEW: PROS: Visually absorbing and lush; [...]

October 26, 2012 // 5 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Looper (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Ambitious and often clever, Rian Johnson’s first foray into science fiction never quite pieces its philosophical content together with its thriller [...]

September 28, 2012 // 6 Comments

FILM REVIEW: Dredd (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Covering almost no new cinematic ground, director Pete Travis and screenwriter Alex Garland nonetheless concoct a tight, gritty, and resiliently dark picture [...]

September 24, 2012 // 6 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Messy, way too long, and with far too many missteps and misguided elements, Nolan’s final chapter in the rebooted Batman franchise still remains watchable [...]

July 20, 2012 // 14 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Marc Webb’s updating of Spider-Man’s origin story looks good but feels flat and, ultimately, too familiar. MY RATING: BRIEF SYNOPSIS: High school student [...]

July 3, 2012 // 3 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Brave (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Beautifully shot, as one would expect from Pixar, but only intermittently engaging and sputters badly as it moves toward its climax. MY RATING: BRIEF [...]

June 23, 2012 // 4 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: A touching romantic comedy supported by a great cast, Derek Connolly’s smart script, and Colin Trevorrow’s understated direction. MY RATING: BRIEF [...]

June 15, 2012 // 1 Comment

MOVIE REVIEW: Prometheus (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Ridley Scott returns to science fiction with a lifeless, derivative prequel to one of his most famous movies. MY RATING: BRIEF SYNOPSIS: After finding [...]

June 8, 2012 // 35 Comments


REVIEW SUMMARY: Occasionally clever touches and a strong turn by Josh Brolin as a young Agent K cannot hide the listlessness of the third entry in a series that should have [...]

May 25, 2012 // 5 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Dark Shadows (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Despite good casting and one or two promising scenes, Burton’s sendup of the classic supernatural soap opera only manages to be an incoherent mess. MY [...]

May 11, 2012 // 1 Comment

MOVIE REVIEW: Wrath of the Titans (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY:  Witless sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans that plays fast and loose with Greek mythology and internal logic. RATING: BRIEF SYNOPSIS:  Hades bleeds [...]

March 30, 2012 // 6 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Hunger Games (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: By turns pedestrian and pretentious, Gary Ross’s adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s young adult novel still delivers a good deal of suspense and a remarkable [...]

March 23, 2012 // 7 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: John Carter (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY: Often visually striking, occasionally breathtaking, yet too long and uninvolving, John Carter often remains too reverent to the source material to be fully [...]

March 9, 2012 // 14 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Woman in Black (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY:  Daniel Radcliffe’s first non-Potter movie is a listless, lifeless ghost story adapted from Susan Hill’s evocative novel. MY RATING:  BRIEF SYNOPSIS: [...]

February 7, 2012 // 2 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Chronicle (2012)

REVIEW SUMMARY:  A “found footage” superhero movie that shows a good deal of craft, skill, and intellectual and emotional honesty. RATING: BRIEF SYNOPSIS: After [...]

February 6, 2012 // 2 Comments

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