Mark Barber



By: Mark Barber Tracers is aimlessly plotted, driven only by a cynical, desperate need to financially exploit the parkour craze and Twilight star Taylor Lautner’s now-dwindling popularity. The film’s overall premise and execution recalls Lautner’s previous action outing, 2011’s Abduction.  Although Tracers takes itself slightly more seriously, both films have a proclivity for deception.  Similar to how Abduction featured no actual kidnappings, Tracers is barely about parkour; it gracelessly vacillates between a modern-day re-visioning of…


Loitering with Intent

By: Mark Barber Loitering with Intent has all the right ingredients for a compelling short film.  Unfortunately, it has been unnecessarily bloated into an 80-minute feature. Raphael (Ivan Martin) and Dominic (Michael Godere) are two struggling actor-writers who are commissioned to write the screenplay for a low-budget Chandleresque noir film.  The screenplay subplot is quickly dropped once the two are settled in their writing retreat: the cottage they occupy suddenly becomes a festering nightmare of…


The Lazarus Effect

By: Mark Barber David Gelb’s The Lazarus Effect offers an intriguing concept, but gets bogged down by convention. Despite its compelling concept, the premise is familiar: a group of researchers led by Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancée Zoe (Olivia Wilde) create the “Lazarus” serum, a formula that brings the recently deceased back to life.  This God-like power to cheat death causes things to go awry very quickly.  Zoe is killed in a laboratory accident…


Fifty Shades of Grey

By: Mark Barber Like its source material, the film adaptation of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey has taken quite a bit of flak for its tantalizing portrayal of abusive relationships.  The film reeks of misogyny, but that’s only half the problem.  While Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film resists some of the moral haziness of the book’s gender politics, it does so half-heartedly. Given the book’s start as Twilight fan-fiction, it’s not surprising how the film’s narrative…