Admin

Sometimes, a project just sounds questionable on its face. You hear the pitch and, for whatever reason, you’re left wondering just who gave this idea the go-ahead. It sounds ridiculous, yet scores of decision-makers said yes.

In this case, those yeses led to “Lightyear.”

Did we really need an origin story for Buzz Lightyear from “Toy Story”? Specifically, an origin story for the character on whom the toy was based? It all seems so silly. That being said, this IS Pixar we’re talking about – this is not an outfit that is known for misfires. They’ve got a couple of hiccups on their resume, but for the most part, the work they do is generally both critically and commercially successful.

So a high floor is standard for Pixar. But just what kind of ceiling are we talking about? Again, this is weirdly high-concept – “Lightyear” is ostensibly young Andy’s favorite movie, the one that served as the inspiration for the toy Buzz Lightyear – so it’s obviously a bit more overtly meta than what we usually get from the studio. But the big question remains: Is it good?

And the answer is yes. It is good. Quite good, actually.

What we get from “Lightyear” is a legitimately solid space adventure, one with a compelling story, some good jokes and a few surprises. It’s a good-looking movie, of course (we’d expect nothing less from Pixar), and it has plenty of heart (ditto). It’s a bit more grown-up than the studio’s regular fare, but certainly suitable for all audiences. And as always, be prepared for an instance or two of emotional impact.

Adventure, excitement, humor and pathos – you know … Pixar.

Published in Movies

There was a certain flavor of film that we used to see fairly often back in the day, films that were part rom-com, part adventure. These movies brought together action elements with love stories and steeped the whole thing in quippy banter and moments of slapstick. Now, were these movies always good? Of course not. But they were almost always fun – and that was more than enough.

We don’t see as many of those films these days, what with the industry’s pivot to IP blockbusters and franchise development. But when they do turn up, it can be a reminder of how much fun these kinds of movie experiences can be.

“The Lost City,” directed by Aaron and Adam Nee from a screenplay they co-wrote with Dana Fox and Oren Uziel, is a throwback to those delightful mélanges of comedy, adventure and romance. Thanks to some engaging performances, headlined by Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, and a distinctly retro storytelling sensibility, the movie proves to be a lovely romp, a frothy, goofy trifle of a film that refuses to take itself too seriously.

Sure, it might not be great cinema, but I definitely had a great time … and I bet you will too.

Published in Movies

In a cinematic landscape littered with high-octane action movies driven by gritty dialogue, computer generated imagery and explosions, it’s rare to see a good old-fashioned adventure story, something family-friendly but not condescending.

Oddly enough, “The Call of the Wild” fills that void, even though it heavily relies on CGI in its own way. This adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 classic of the same name is directed by Chris Sanders from a screenplay adapted by Michael Green; unlike the numerous film adaptations that preceded it, this version relies on a computer-generated lead character. It’s a choice that, while not wholly effective, winds up working considerably better than you might expect.

There’s a bit of tonal inconsistency as far as the narrative goes, but for the most part, the filmmakers lean into the broad adventure vibe that is foundational to the book. That grand sense of nature’s power and possibility goes a long way toward compensating for any issues. Ultimately, this is a story that kids and parents alike will find palatable, if perhaps not the most exciting entertainment ever made.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 04 April 2018 12:49

Game on! – ‘Ready Player One’

The potency of nostalgia is well-documented at this point. It seems as though much of the pop culture we consume these days is inspired by (or straight-up copied from) source material that we already know and love. Revisiting what we loved in the past has become a cottage industry across all entertainment platforms.

And so it’s no surprise that Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel “Ready Player One” would be adapted to the big screen. It’s a story ready-made for the wistful remembrances of the current cultural climate, packed with wave after wave of period-specific nerd references aimed at striking the winsome sweet spot of one particular generation. We do so love to love what we already love.

But when you hand the reigns over to a pop cultural icon like Steven Spielberg, well … that’s when you take things to a whole new level. A level, I might add, that is actually a bit higher than might have been expected for a film like this one. It’s precisely the sort of sci-fi-steeped young-person adventure story at which Spielberg excels. It’s throwbacks within throwbacks within throwbacks – a meta-nostalgic moviegoing experience that in many ways outshines the perfunctory nature of its inspiration.

Published in Movies

One of the realities of Hollywood’s love of sequels, remakes and reboots is that you’re guaranteed a fairly wide range of quality, though history shows that you’re much more likely to get a dud than a diamond. The most effective projects seem to be the ones that can manage to update a property while still retaining the aspects that made them successful in the first place.

That said, be honest – you’ve probably never spoken aloud (or even thought) the sentence “I sure would like to see an updated reboot of the 1995 family film ‘Jumanji’ – preferably starring The Rock.”

And yet that’s what we’ve gotten with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” It probably seems odd to be getting a movie like this some two decades after the original, but that’s not even the biggest surprise about the whole thing. The biggest surprise?

It’s actually pretty good.

Published in Movies

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Fixated on computer screens and video monitors, an army of volunteers scattered across the country has been painstakingly reviewing hundreds of images and hours of footage recorded over the last four months, desperately hoping to find a single clue to the whereabouts of missing treasure hunter Randy Bilyeu.

Published in Adventure
Monday, 12 January 2015 13:51

Adventure Briefs - (01/14/15)

The Benefits of Bats

BANGOR The public is invited to learn about 'The Benefits of Bats' with Katelin Craven on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

Published in Press Releases
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 22:32

Come explore Xtreme Adventures

BREWER - There's a new ropes course in Brewer where you can go over the edge - tied securely to a harness, that is. The specially designed course hopes to entertain and excite people of all ages, from grade schoolers to those enjoying their golden years. From the giant swing to the more challenging rings, there are over 40 obstacles to conquer at Xtreme Adventures, all intended to get your adrenalin pumping and your spirit soaring.

When owner Randy Spain thought about ways to maximize on property that he owned in Brewer, he thought of a ropes course.

Published in Adventure

Advertisements

The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine