Archive for the 'Features' Category
Enough is Enough
After going low-budget (relatively speaking) and directing one of last year’s biggest surprises, Pain & Gain, Michael Bay returns to his big-budget franchise with Transformers: Age of Extinction. The movie is technically a sequel, picking up the story four years after the events of 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but it also has elements of a reboot. Gone are Shia Labeouf’s Sam Witwicky and the rest of the human characters from the first three movies, replaced by a whole new cast led by Mark Wahlberg. With the exception of a few holdovers, most of the robot cast is new as well, including a brand new villain.
Her Side of the Story
The 1959 animated version of Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney’s most successful and memorable hits. Their new live-action version, however, opens with a narration that essentially just tells you to disregard that entire movie. It’s misleading, the narration tells us, and then we are whisked back in time and introduced into the younger version of that film’s menacing villain, who will be the protagonist in Maleficent. Now, we will get to see her side of the story; for better or worse. Perhaps Disney will do better with its upcoming live-action remake of Cinderella.
Bringing Together Young and Old
Many thought that the original X-Men series had run its course after 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Five years after that film, the series was supposedly rebooted with X-Men: First Class, which took place in the 1960s and introduced the younger versions of many of the main characters. It was an interesting new direction and an opportunity to tie the X-Men franchise in with real-life events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Instead of creating a direct sequel to First Class, however, director Bryan Singer returned to the franchise and creates X-Men: Days of Future Past, which manages to feature the casts of both the reboot and the original films.
King of the Monsters, Indeed
As movie monsters go, there is one that stands out above the rest. After first appearing in the allegorical Japanese film Gojira in 1954, the character that became known as Godzilla has appeared in over thirty movies. Most of these movies have been Japanese products and for good reason: when Hollywood attempted to make a Godzilla movie in 1998, it was a laughable disaster. Under the theory that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, Hollywood is back with another stab at the legendary movie monster. Does this Godzilla have what it takes to succeed? The answer is a resounding yes.
Mucks up the Works
If Transcendence looks like a movie made by Christopher Nolan, it is because the movie is the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, who photographed every movie Nolan has made since Memento. The movie also features a sci-fi heavy premise that sounds a bit like Inception, only replacing dreams with artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, whereas Inception truly felt like it was something new and exciting, Transcendence pulls too many punches to truly be measured in the same category as Nolan’s film.
Superstar or Bust?
It used to be something only hardcore football fans enthusiastically followed, but now the NFL Draft is a primetime television event that gets high ratings every year. It has turned team general managers from behind-the-scenes businessmen into superstars. It seems appropriate, then, that Hollywood would swoop in and try to capitalize on the phenomenon. The result is Draft Day, a film that focuses on one such general manager as he tries to make a splash for his team on the fateful day of the title.
Another Muppet Caper
Everybody’s favorite puppets are back in a sequel to their successful 2011 comeback film. Never ones to be afraid of breaking the fourth wall, the movie opens with a musical number about them making a sequel. As Dr. Bunsen Honeydew points out in that number, this is not the first Muppets sequel. In fact, this could actually be considered the seventh sequel to the original The Muppet Movie that came out back in 1979.
Director Denis Villeneuve’s thriller Prisoners was one of the best movies of 2013. In 2014, he reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal for a new thriller called Enemy. Based on the novel The Double by Jose Saramago, Enemy has the same dark tone and intensity as Prisoner, but the plot is less straightforward and more enigmatic. The result is a film that is entertaining, but will have its audience scratching their head for hours afterwards.
The new comedy Bad Words certainly lives up to its name. If you go to this movie expecting a family-friendly movie about kids’ spelling bees, then you will be in for quite a shock. Hopefully, the fact that the poster is nothing but a close-up of star Jason Bateman’s mouth clearly forming the f-bomb will help more sensitive moviegoers steer clear. For those who aren’t turned off by offensive language and raunchy comedy, though, Bad Words is exactly what you hope it would be.
It seems that ever since Twilight did so well at the box-office when it was released in 2008 that movie studios are cranking out another young adult book adaptation every couple of months. With the exception of The Hunger Games, though, none of these other potential franchises have really taken off. Enter the latest contender, Divergent, based on the novel by Veronica Roth. With a rising young star in Shailene Woodley in the lead role of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, the hype for this movie has been growing.
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