Archive for the 'Features' Category
Good Music, Poor Movie
It’s time to go back to the 1980s—1987, specifically—a time of big hair and hard rock. Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name, Rock of Ages is a musical made up entirely of hair rock songs from the era. Everyone from Poison and Joan Jett to Bon Jovi and Journey lend their songs to this movie that is heavy on music, but light on plot. Essentially, Rock of Ages is a concert film, allowing time for only about five lines of dialogue between each of the musical numbers. Although that probably worked very well on stage where the audience is essentially watching a concert anyway, could have spent a little more time developing its story and characters.
Many Questions, Few Answers
Director Ridley Scott is returning to his science fiction roots. Long before winning his only Oscar for the swords-and-sandals epic Gladiator, Scott first made his name with the sci-fi hits Alien and Blade Runner. With his new film, Prometheus, the director not only returns to the genre, but also to the universe he first created in 1979’s Alien. Leading up to its release, many have wondered if Prometheus would in fact be a prequel to Scott’s previous classic. Although the end result proves not to be a direct prequel, audiences will recognize many familiar elements as Scott essentially lays out the DNA—figuratively and literally—for the entire Alien universe.
Prince Charming is Such a Third Wheel
Earlier this year, Mirror Mirror gave moviegoers a bright, colorful version of the Snow White fairy tale. Snow White and the Huntsman now gives viewers the opposite. It is dark and drab, yet has surprisingly more in common with the popular Disney version than its bubbly predecessor. It is also the better of the two movies. In the movie’s most colorful scene, it is explained that Snow White is the one destined to restore life to the world. Unfortunately, as she doesn’t seem to have much life in her, it is a difficult premise to buy into.
Lost Their Sense of Humor
Making a sequel to Men in Black was completely understandable. You might even say that it was the logical move. After all, the first movie was quite entertaining and proved to be a major success at the box-office. The second movie, however, was a disaster; getting by on the first film’s reputation more than any genuine entertainment value of its own. That should have been it, but here we are ten years later and the mysterious guys with the sunglasses and the dark suits are back once more to protect humanity from knowing that we are not alone. Unfortunately, in the past ten years it feels like most people have forgotten about the franchise that is known for erasing people’s memories. Too bad Men in Black III does little to remind us of why we liked these guys in the first place.
Consider it Sunk
The success of the Transformers series apparently played straight into the egos of the powers that be in the Hasbro Company, who immediately began scouring their history of popular toys and games to find another that was ready for a big screen adaption. The initial announcement that the popular board game Battleship would be that next feature made perfect sense at the time. After all, it’s been a long time since we’ve been treated to an epic naval adventure on the high seas. When word leaked out that the title warships would be battling an invading alien army, however, the movie’s stock immediately began to plummet. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the completed movie doesn’t do its reputation any favors.
Laugh. Regret. Repeat.
If you have already seen either Borat or Bruno, then chances are you have already made up your mind about whether or not you will see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest farce. Although the style of humor is the same, there is a major difference separating his latest film from the previous two: it actually is a movie. While his two previous comedies were essentially “reality” cinema, having his outrageous characters interact with “real” people in “real” situations, The Dictator actually has a plot, with characters played by real actors. Not just any actors, either, we’re talking Oscar-worthy (or -winning) talent here. The movie also, whether we want to admit it or not, has a point.
What a Team!
It should not be underestimated just how ambitious of a project The Avengers is. Bringing four major comic book superheroes—and two minor ones—together for one epic action movie is something that has never been attempted in the history of cinema. Only adding to the expectation level is the fact that Marvel has been building the anticipation for this movie ever since it was hinted at in both Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2007. That’s a lot of pressure for a director who—although he has a lot of writing and television credits under his belt—has directed only one feature film to date and certainly nothing of this size and scope. Never fear, though, as Joss Whedon pulls it off with flying colors brighter than those worn by his avenging heroes.
It looks like Jason Segel has finally forgotten Sarah Marshall. The actor and that movie’s director Nicholas Stoller now reunite for another Judd Apatow-produced (read: R-rated) romantic comedy. In The Five-Year Engagement, Segel, as chef Tom Solomon, is not trying to forget an ex-girlfriend, but rather to get his current squeeze to marry him. It’s a good goal, but even though she is immediately on board with the idea, the actual accomplishment of that goal proves to be somewhat complicated. More complicated than it should be, really. High hopes for this comedy are teased in the opening act, but then are dashed in the weighty mid-section.
It all sounds so clichéd: five college students—the jock, the good girl, the brain, the sexpot, and the pothead—travel to a remote lake cabin for some unruly fun. Of course, cell phones get no reception where they are going, and to get there, they need to stop and get directions from a creepy hillbilly. We all think we know where this movie is going—even the characters in this movie are often aware of the clichés that they are walking into—but when it comes to The Cabin in the Woods, it turns out we have no idea. This is bound to be a big hit with horror fans and should also please those that are less inclined to watch a horror movie, but love great entertainment… as long as they don’t mind a little blood and gore—okay, a lot of blood and gore.
Snow White 2012, Part 1
It seems that Hollywood likes to do things in pairs. Remember the pair of asteroid movies in 1998? Or how about the competing movies about ants that same year? And the two movies about Truman Capote that came out between 2005 and 2006? Well, this year’s pair is a couple of big screen adaptations of the Snow White tale. There’s the more hardcore, Lord of the Rings-style Snow White and the Huntsman due this June, but first out of the gate is Mirror Mirror, which aims to be more fantastical, colorful, and family-friendly.
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