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Articles by Derek Austin Johnson

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 [Read more]

June 23, 2012 // 4 Comments

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 [Read more]

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 [Read more]

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 [Read more]

May 11, 2012 // 1 Comment

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 [Read more]

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 [Read more]

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: [Read more]

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 [Read more]

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. [Read more]

December 16, 2011 // 4 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Thing (2011)

Like the Thing itself, The Thing merely absorbed its predecessor to make a simulacrum of a movie, but is never a movie itself. It has the right apparatus, but possesses nothing vital or human. And lays in wait for its audience... [Read more]

October 14, 2011 // 4 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Fright Night (2011)

Not much unexpected happens in Fright Night, director Craig Gillespie's remake of the dubious 1985 classic. The only real surprise in its 106-minute running time (identical to the original) comes in its quality; while far more horror movies of its vintage promise greater remake potential, Fright Night pulls off the feat of being far more entertaining than this critic anticipated, and far better than most remakes released in the past two or three years (The Crazies, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left, and Rob Zombie's execrable Halloween). [Read more]

August 19, 2011 // 3 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011)

What a long...well, long trip it's been. Ten years after Warner Brothers took the chance of filming all seven of J.K. Rowling's fantasy novels to encompass a complete unified series, complete with the same cast (save one, Richard Harris as Dumbledore, who died after filming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) and much of the same crew (screenwriter Steven Kloves has penned seven of the films; Peter Yates has directed four), it finally draws to a close with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. That it has managed to maintain such a tight focus on its vision, to say nothing of a relatively consistent level of quality, over its decade-long run demands no small amount of admiration, if not exactly respect. [Read more]

July 15, 2011 // 5 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Midnight in Paris (2011)

Though never bad, though always enjoyable, it feels more like one of the parties the time traveling Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) attends--where one may catch a glimpse of Cole Porter (Yves Heck) or "Tom" Eliot (David Lowe), but learn little more than their idiosyncrasies--than a fully formed movie. [Read more]

June 17, 2011 // 4 Comments

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