Archive for the 'Recent Releases' Category
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.
A Movie with a Message
Outside of possibly The Hunger Games, Bully is the most talked about movie of 2012 to date. The debate is over the rating. The MPAA suffered a backlash when it handed this documentary an R-rating as its supporters—and there are many—don’t want theater chains to be turning away the film’s intended audience (the rating has now been changed to PG-13). That audience is school-age kids, whom the filmmakers hope will be able to take this film’s message to heart and make a stand against bullying, which this movie shows to have tragic consequences.
Where’s the Riot?
The television spots for Lockout advertise “the biggest prison riot in history,” but watching the movie about the escape of nearly 500 prison inmates, one has to wonder: where are they? Trapped on an orbiting space prison, our wise-cracking hero and tough-talking damsel in distress sure spend a lot of time hanging out in abandoned corridors, considering there are supposedly hundreds of crazed inmates wandering around. To focus on details like this will only drive a person insane while watching this new movie from the creators of Taken, but if you don’t fret the details, you might find yourself having some fun.
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.
Is it Even Possible?
Mention the title of this movie to someone in conversation and the response is generally something like, “Is that even possible?” Common sense says no, but the movie argues that with a little faith and determination, anything is possible. It is an excellent message, but it almost gets lost amidst the romance, espionage, and political posturing that overtakes the plot. There’s a little too much going on here, and the movie probably would have been better served to simply focus on, well, salmon fishing in the Yemen. As the romantic leads, Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt are good, but Kristin Scott Thomas is remarkable.
The Odds are in its Favor
Based on the popular novel by Suzanne Collins—the first in a series of three—The Hunger Games has been referred to as both “the next Harry Potter” and “the next Twilight.” Although the latter certainly has its share of devoted fans, I’d wager that the odds are decidedly in favor of most people—this writer included—hoping it turns out to be more like the former, at least in terms of its cinematic quality. Fortunately, I am happy to report that that is the case, as director Gary Ross and company have done a fine job of translating the novel to the screen. The film nails the feel of the novel, keeps most of it intact, and presents it in an entertaining fashion. Fans will not be disappointed.
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.
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