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        Movie Reviews in 50 Words: (S)

        The Scorpion King (2002)
        Prequel to The Mummy makes the series proper seem almost contemplative, as the Rock crashes through this absurd tale about a lone desert warrior raging against an empire. The cheese factor is rampant, with hokie action, painful quips, and an obnoxious sidekick. Said the ancient Egyptian movie reviewer, “Entomb it.”

        Bury it


        Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
        Action fans will find a worthy rental in what is essentially a delivery mechanism for Clive Owen’s badassery as he unravels a dark conspiracy involving babies. It’s a homage to Looney Toons violence enriched with tons of bullets, zero explosions, and gunfights in ludicrous situations. Connoisseurs of high cinema, run.

        Borrow it


        Silent Hill (2006)
        Video game plots wither best on the silver screen, and Gans and crew continue the tradition in their retelling of a woman who searches for her daughter in a haunted mining town. The truly creepy monster designs pale when compared to the most terrifying beast of them all: the screenplay.

        Bury it


        Spy Game (2001)
        The entire theater may have groaned at a shirtless, wrinkly Redford, but this otherwise slick flick about a CIA vet who fights the clock to save his protégé is still riveting today. It’s a taut thriller packed with details for the attentive, along with a co-star Pitt probably didn’t bang.

        Buy it


        Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
        Watch as George Lucas, who apparently ate the real George Lucas, shivs fan anticipation in the proverbial spine with a flat script and grating computer-generated characters. Two Jedi and a boy fight the Sith, which in layman’s terms are aliens who resemble Satan after a clearance extravaganza at Hot Topic.

        Bury it


        Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
        In what was surely a terrible foley mistake, all you’ll hear is whining whenever Christensen opens his mouth. As civil war threatens the Galactic Republic, the Vader-to-be throws fits and makes awkward passes at an unfortunate Portman. Smell that? It’s Lucas attempting to cram romantic dialogue into his half-baked screenplay.

        Bury it


        Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
        Iconic villain Darth Vader is born along with the Empire in this middling conclusion to Lucas’s ill-begotten prequelogy. Darker tones somewhat offset the usual fare of weak screenplay and glitzy effects, but what delighted most was seeing Christensen get his acting chops. Literally, via the business end of a lightsaber.

        Borrow it


        Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)
        A rare phenomenon in which the cost of renting the movie actually eclipses its production budget. Three dollars went toward casting Van Dien to bamboozle fans of the original. The other buck was lavished on special effects. The script itself was free, scrawled on the margins of the DVD liner.

        Bury it


        Sunshine (2007)
        Directorial auteur Danny Boyle makes his sci-fi debut with a small crew sent to reignite a fading sun. Thoughtful pacing and empathetic characters are cannibalized three-quarters of the way through when the space drama turns slasher. 28 days later, though, I’m still thinking about some of the visual spectacles.

        Borrow it

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