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José Cruz Jr.

José Cruz Jr. is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

May 7, 2009

‘X-Men’ takes audience through confusing plot with random twists

Is knowing the past of Wolverine really that necessary? Probably not. But apparently, comic book fanboys think it was, as legions of them called for a prequel to reboot the series. Maybe 20th Century Fox thought it was still a good idea, since it was put into production even after the disappointing “X-Men: The Last […]

April 30, 2009

‘17 Again’ follows similar plot to ‘Big’, not worth the money

The cinema of our time needs a new injection of imagination. That is not to say that interesting movies have not been stemmed from one original premise—what I mean is that much of the time we have one concept that is several times over, and not always with a positive result. In any concerned cinephile’s […]

April 23, 2009

Popular actor may find new audience with ‘Observe and Report’

Obviously, this Seth Rogen guy is a big star right now. In a fortune career boost that arguably started with “40-Year-Old Virgin,” he has continued to churn out a flick every few months, especially within the last year. Unless you have been residing in an Amish farming community,  you have at least heard of the […]

April 16, 2009

‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ appeals to one of two target demographics

Animation is certainly making a comeback, and has been gradually for the past decade (debatable, of course). While 2-D animation is taking a backseat, CG animation reigns supreme. Animated films nowadays are facing a different demographic than they were before. Rather than keeping the children’s attention, studios realize that more can be gained from appealing […]

April 9, 2009

‘I Love You, Man’ changes romantic comedy formula

Romantic comedies have always been a genre of formulaic and predictable storylines. An outline of these scripts will usually consist of the old, tired “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins back girl.” For some reason, we still tend to love these exhausted plot elements. Every so often, a romantic comedy will come along […]

April 2, 2009

Big name actor fails to compensate for confusing plot, obvious ending

Blending genres can be a unique and bold feat. The whole process of writing and directing such a film is so delicate, in that elements have to be carefully aligned in a way that makes sense, is intelligent and is entertaining. “Knowing” is none of these things. Despite having a big-name actor in the starring […]

March 26, 2009

Remake of ‘Last House on the Left’ falls short of original movie

The sea of mediocrity that is Hollywood knows how to run good ideas and stories into the ground. By the improper use of sequels, prequels, remakes, adaptations and knock/spin/rip-offs, the mainstream filmmaking machine rehashes the same concepts and storylines repeatedly. So naturally, there is a niche for films that transcend regular and conventional filmmaking by […]

March 12, 2009

‘Hotel for Dogs’ relies on ‘cuteness,’ neglects to strive for originality

Child-friendly movies are not always this bad. If a film has enough imagination and knowledge of children, it can definitely pull off a movie that entertains kids, as well as adults (i.e. “Wall-E”). But it is when producers sacrifice originality and heart for crap that will simply earn a quick buck. Such is usually the […]

March 5, 2009

‘Valkyrie’ intrigues audience with journey rather than destination

Hollywood seems to be obsessed with making films about World War II.  From the propaganda “Why We Fight” documentaries to the upcoming “Inglorious Bastards,” the Second World War scenarios have been continuously used and exhausted. But what is even more apparent is our strange fascination with Adolf Hitler, whether we like to admit or not. […]

February 26, 2009

Horror genre steadily weakens, reaches new low with ‘My Bloody Valentine 3-D’

I am convinced that the horror genre is in a terrible slump. What looked like a promising resurgence in the early to mid-2000s that took elements from old-school horror (from “Shaun of the Dead” to “Grindhouse”), may have died shortly after. Any enjoyment or fright we used to feel while watching is no longer present. […]

February 19, 2009

‘Friday the 13th’ relies on original plot, falls short of inventiveness

Warning: The following review contains spoilers about the original three “Friday the 13th” films. Ah, the remake. As Hollywood continues to get more and more unoriginal, a smorgasbord of remakes seems to be constantly in the works. This is especially true when it comes to the horror genre. However, if done with enough originality and […]

February 12, 2009

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ gives viewers a realistic portrayal of Indian living

The perception of India through the lens of American cinema is usually one of two things: the more developed and highly technological India or the devastating poverty of the slums. Although we seem to encounter the image of the latter much more often, it’s the former that tends to bother us the least, and thus […]