Archive for the 'Recent DVDs' Category
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.
You Got to Move It Move It
Those zany fugitives from the Central Park Zoo are back and still trying to find their way home in Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. They escaped to the titular country way back in 2005 and then escaped to mainland Africa three years later. Each of the previous movies definitely had their charms and the third film proves to live up to—if not surpass—its predecessors, but will our castaways finally find their way back to New York? No matter what happens in possible future chapters, it will not change the fact that this is a thoroughly entertaining flick. The animation is phenomenal, especially during the movie’s two impressive action sequences.
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.
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.
Cinematically, author Edgar Rice Burroughs is best known as the man who created Tarzan. In the literary world, however, he may be better known for his novels about the adventures of a human named John Carter, who ends up becoming the hero of Mars. The author’s first John Carter story debuted in 1912, meaning that it took an even one hundred years for the John Carter saga to finally hit the silver screen.
On the surface, the new thriller Silent House may look like a dozen other thrillers to come out recently, movies in which the camera is the direct point-of-view of one of the terrorized characters. The camera here is only a third-person observer, however, just like us. In this case, it is an ever-present observer, one that never cuts away from the action and records the terror all in one continuous take. It’s a fascinating experiment that has been tried by directors as great as Alfred Hitchcock and it works well, for a while, but there is only so many times we can crouch under a bed or table with our protagonist.
The Price of Popularity
Remember Cloverfield, the movie filmed from a first-person perspective about a giant monster that destroyed New York City? Remember how it opened with a party? Now, imagine it wasn’t the monster that destroyed the city, but the party itself, and you will have some idea of what you’ve got in Project X. High school buddies set out to have the most epic party ever, and as it turns out, that is exactly what they get. The fact that the cast is a bunch of unknowns also works to the movie’s benefit, not only in creating the feeling that this might actually be legitimate footage, but also because it lets the audience just go along for the ride.
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