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Articles by Derek Austin Johnson

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

MOVIE REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

The challenge this time comes in keeping Holmes's restlessness from bleeding over into the picture's other aspects, something that director Guy Ritchie managed to rein in well in the first movie but allows infecting here. It's a mistake. Part of what made Sherlock Holmes work so well was allowing the character's bohemian energy, so anathema to the period, and so often absent of even the best filmic interpretations, to run amok in the staid London streets. But when mania overtakes those streets in the wake of "anarchist" bombings, it dampens Holmes's eccentricities. [...]

December 16, 2011 // 4 Comments

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