Archive for the 'Recent Releases' Category
In 2010, director Rodrigo Cortes created a claustrophobic thriller of Hitchcockian proportions with Buried, a movie that earned itself a share of this writer’s year-end top ten list. With his new film, Red Lights, Cortes stays within the framework of the thriller genre, but goes beyond the coffin to examine the subject of paranormal science. The movie attempts to do the same for its subject as Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige did for magic, but unfortunately Red Lights falls way short of that superior movie.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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