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February 2011

Sins From a Marriage

MOVIE REVIEW
Hall Pass (2011)

HPD-04500c
Peter Iovino/Warner Bros. Pictures

In most respects, “Hall Pass” is a standard second-decade Farrelly brothers production. The fiery, scatological brilliance of the New England comedy icons’ earliest efforts — the beloved troika of “Dumb & Dumber,” “Kingpin” and “There’s Something About Mary” — has given way to works imbued with a mildly ribald spirit tempered by a strong dose of morality.

While the new Farrelly template surely reflects the married, middle-aged-family-men brothers’ general outlook, the movies it’s produced don’t have the same jaw-dropping, outrageous kick of those earlier efforts. Still, “Hall Pass” shows flashes of ’90s-Farrelly magic; and even at its most reductive, the picture can still fall back on one basic tenet: These guys know their way around a gag.

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The Mouse That Has but One Hole

MOVIE REVIEW
Unknown (2011)

UWM-FP-017
Warner Bros. Pictures

Liam Neeson continues his descent from leading-man respectability to run-of-the-mill action star in “Unknown,” a passable Hitchockian thriller. For a time, director Jaume Collet-Serra sustains the mystery at the picture’s core with a hint of vivid conspiratorial edge, but the movie builds up to a climax that makes one question whether it was ever worth the effort.

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Abyss-mal

MOVIE REVIEW
Sanctum (2011)

Sanctum-richard-roxburgh-allison-cratchley
Universal Pictures

The problem with the new disaster movie “Sanctum” is not that it features one-dimensional characters and poor acting. Those are genre standards, essential stock elements without which one would have to question the very nature of the enterprise.

No, the problem with “Sanctum” is that the characters are so one-dimensional, the acting is so bad and the dialogue is so composed of ham-fisted one-liners spoken VERY, VERY LOUDLY that the flick transcends the usual allowance for such things.

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