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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

There’s a lot of risk that goes into revisiting an idea long after the fact. Adding to a cinematic universe that has been both unchanged and largely beloved for decades is a demanding prospect. To be able to do justice to the original and satisfy its acolytes while also telling a story that feels both new and necessary, well … that’s a real challenge.

For example: Ridley Scott’s 1982 film “Blade Runner” is one of the most cherished sci-fi films in movie history. If you’re going to make a sequel to THAT film – one that in many ways essentially served as the model for the genre for 30-plus years – you better be damn sure you get it right.

“Blade Runner 2049” gets it right.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 15:36

42' hits a home run

Film tells the story of Jackie Robinson

I am a sucker for a good sports movie. It doesn't even really matter which sport the drama inherent to athletic competition in general often makes for compelling cinema. And that competitive tension can be mined for humor as well as drama. You don't even need to be a sports fan (though it undoubtedly helps). The very best sports movies are the ones that use what happens on the field as a way to speak to the larger issues of what happens off it. 

Published in Movies

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