Jason Armstrong

The Smurfs stumble on the big screen

Things are not as smurfy as they should be in the Smurf village. Once a cuddly phenomenon that holds a special place in the heart of most 40-somethings, the much anticipated big-screen adaptation stumbles. It’s very big, it’s awfully blue … but there just isn’t a whole lot of smurf in its heart.

Winnie the Pooh retains his charm in new cartoon

I’m honestly not sure if Winnie The Pooh is a really great movie, but I know this much … I felt awfully great after seeing it. So why argue with the heart? As sweet and gentle as you’d expect, this silly willy old bear can do no wrong.

Guilty Pleasures win out in Horrible Bosses

There are guilty pleasures and then there’s Horrible Bosses, a film as irresistibly funny as it is helplessly ruthless. Laughing at some of what transpires in this movie is so, so wrong, yet so, so unavoidable.

Cars sequel fun, but not a powerhouse racer

When you’ve smacked it out of the park at the ridiculously consistent pace that Pixar has established, it’s going to come as a bit of a downer when the latest hit doesn’t sail into the bleachers.

Green Lantern lacks punch

Green Lantern is a pretty cool ride, and probably everything a comic book movie should be. So then, why does it feel like this feature is missing — oh, I dunno — something?

Imagination key to horror in Super 8

Super 8 is a movie produced by Steven Spielberg, a fact that becomes very apparent, very quickly. His fingerprints are all over this thing, and that’s a good thing — the initial suspense and overall nostalgia more than makes an impact before writer-director J.J. Abrams goes crazy with both boyish enthusiasm and a biggie size budget.

X-Men flick rises above comic book fare

As one of the seemingly few who actually enjoyed the X-Men’s previous big screen outing, 2006’s Last Stand, I don’t know if I’m a real expert on giving advice for the latest mutant adventure, X-Men: First Class. Perhaps there’s just something about this story that intrigues me, good or bad.

Kung Fu Panda sequel a notch above

Not too often does the chance come along to praise a sequel as a better product than its predecessor. So let’s seize the opportunity: Kung Fu Panda 2 kicks the original’s big fuzzy keester.

Bridesmaids brings different perspective to chick flick

Does frat boy humour work with the ladies? (And if it does,…

Thor lives up to larger-than-life hype

Thor is a pretty good movie, but it’s an extremely good comic book movie. And with the parade of spandex-clad heroes and villains marching towards the big screen such a hectic one, especially this summer, that’s rather decent praise.

You scream, I scream, we all scream

Don’t think for a second that I’m going to be a raving advocate for Scream 4 — because, quite frankly, after a few decades of watching films and writing about them, I have a big problem giving hugs n’ kisses to any film with a number, roman numeral, or cutesy subtitle immediately following the title.

Fast and Furious franchise not out of gas yet

There’s a certain freedom in knowing exactly what you’re going to get.…

Soul Surfer has highs and lows

The story of Bethany Hamilton, a Christian surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack at the age of 13 before going on to become one of the sport’s all-time legends, is a pretty remarkable story. So good, it probably deserves a better movie than Soul Surfer — but if solid intentions count for anything, this one is an overwhelming winner.

No flash but a lot of story in legal thriller

The Lincoln Lawyer isn’t a brilliant movie, but it’s a solid one;…

Remake of Arthur lose gentle touch

I first saw Arthur in the summer of 1981. I was 11…

Limitless shows limited planning

Let’s see, here … the story of an ordinary slacker who discovers a mystery drug that gives him superhuman mental ability. Honestly though, the writers of Limitless could’ve perhaps benefited from popping a few of those magic pills themselves. This film has a ridiculously great concept but runs out of steam before even the halfway mark. Instead of looking at how many cool options such a set-up provides, they have their players plod along in what looks to be yet another tired, predictable thriller.

Mars Needs Moms not a total loss

Mars Needs Moms? Okay. But first, movie needs a little help. Sure, there is a pinch of charm and a decent message in Disney’s latest stab at the hit-or-miss exercise of performance capture, the very complex process that involves mingling animation with a live actor’s movements and facial gestures.

Rango brings on the good, the bad and the silly

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that, in the opening moments of Rango, we see an image of one Hunter S. Thompson, behind the wheel of a speeding convertible, rolling through the dusty Nevada desert.

New thriller swings from action to blandness

I Am Number Four sort of looks like your run-of-the-mill sci-fi ride, infiltrated by the spirit of this generation’s sensitive bloodsuckers. Thanks Twilight. Thanks a bunch.

Shakespeare takes to the backyard

So let me get this straight; Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, presented by…