Archive for the 'Features' Category
The Man with Skills is Back
Released on January 30, 2009, the original Taken was a blockbuster at the time of the year when there aren’t supposed to be blockbusters. Historically, January and February are the least successful months at the box office, but for some reason the revenge thriller transcended that. It’s not that the plot was that original, but there was something about Liam Neeson as a vengeful father that just clicked with audiences. It was probably inevitable, then, that a sequel would not be far behind. But while Taken 2 does succeed as a moderately entertaining thriller, it lacks the punch of the original.
The Movie Itself is a Perk
Those who aren’t familiar with Stephen Chbosky’s novel may walk into The Perks of Being a Wallflower knowing simply that it is the movie with “that girl from Harry Potter.” Walking out of it, however, they will likely be praising it as a funny and charming, yet powerful teen drama. They’ll probably also be talking non-stop about that talented actress, Emma Watson. Amazingly, Watson is able to make the audience forget she ever played Hermione Granger in an instant.
Everyone Has One
Ever since his breakthrough with 1997’s Boogie Nights, Paul Thomas Anderson has been a fascinating director to follow. Whether it be a sprawling, multi-character drama, or the story of how wealth and power can corrupt an individual, or even an experiment with Adam Sandler, his movies are always worth watching, whether you ultimately enjoy them or not. The same can be said for The Master, the director’s examination of the powers behind belief systems akin to Scientology. It’s a fascinating examination, but whether or not it truly says anything is still up for debate.
The Plagiarism Movie
Finally, it’s the plagiarism drama for which we’ve all been waiting. Remember all those years in school when your teachers would warn you about the consequences that would come if you plagiarized another person’s work? Well, The Words is the movie version of those consequences… and you know what? The consequences don’t seem so severe. Essentially, this is an after-school special with a bigger budget for more recognizable stars.
What Just Happened?
Walking into Cosmopolis, this writer had no idea what the latest movie from director David Cronenberg was about. Walking out of Cosmopolis 108 minutes later, this writer still had no idea what the latest movie from director David Cronenberg was about. Was it really happening? Was it just a dream? Were all of these characters real? Is Robert Pattinson acting like that at his director’s instruction, or is he just a bad actor? The movie doesn’t really explain anything, leaving that up to the audience. Some may buy into it, but this writer did not.
Growing Up Green
Real-life mom Jennifer Garner seems to have trouble having babies of her own in the movies, always looking for alternative options. In 2007, she convincingly played a woman looking to adopt a child in Juno and now she takes an alternative approach: growing a child in the garden. The Odd Life of Timothy Green starts off well with that original idea, but unfortunately, it fails to really go anywhere from there.
Will vs. Zach
Will vs. Zach. No last names were required in the promotional material for The Campaign, a political farce starring two of today’s most popular comic actors. Their names perhaps overshadow a key figure in the movie’s production, that being director Jay Roach. Having directed both comedy (Austin Powers & Meet the Parents) and political drama (Recount & Game Change), Roach is the perfect director to spoof political campaigns. The final product leans more towards outrageous comedy than political satire, but that’s okay. After all, it’s got Will and Zach.
Mr. Allen Goes to Rome
The new Woody Allen movie, To Rome with Love, is exactly what its title suggests: a love letter to Rome. An ensemble piece, the movie tells four different stories. The stories all take place over a different timeline and never intersect; they are connected only by the fact that all four stories take place in Rome. When Allen’s character talks about how much he is struggling with retirement, you can’t help but wonder if Allen is expressing his own feelings about retiring from acting, explaining his return here. He does well, playing the same character we have seen for decades.
I Want One!
Ted may open like any number of family-friendly Christmas movies and be about a talking teddy bear, but make no mistake, this is not a movie you take your kids to. This is the live-action debut of writer/director Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the television show Family Guy. Although the show manages to push some buttons, it is restricted by being on network television. Given the freedom of an R rating, MacFarlane is able to crank up the dirtiness. Fortunately, the extra level of filth does not lessen the impact of his one-of-a-kind sense of humor; if anything, it enhances it.
Change Your Fate
Pixar has been making feature films under the Disney brand for seventeen years now and they have finally delivered their first female protagonist. And guess what… she’s a princess! For those keeping score at home, that makes Merida a Disney princess. So, not only does Brave come with the high expectations that have been earned by the Pixar name, but Merida will also undoubtedly be compared to Disney’s great line of princesses. As entertaining as it is, however, this Pixar effort seems to lack that special kind of Pixar magic. Still, a subpar Pixar movie is not the worst thing.
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