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Thursday, 27 December 2012 18:44

The realities of marriage This Is 40'

Apatow's latest light on story

We've all got to grow up sometime.

That's the primary message behind writer/director Judd Apatow's latest offering, both in terms of the story itself and Apatow's own changes as a filmmaker. Growing up is the foundation of 'This Is 40,' billed as a 'sort-of sequel' to 2007's 'Knocked Up.'

Pete (Paul Rudd; 'Wanderlust') and Debbie (Leslie Mann; 'The Change-Up') are a married couple attempting to muddle through the realities of their life together as both approach 40. Pete runs a struggling independent record label that desperately needs a hit, while Debbie's boutique clothing store is losing money under mysterious circumstances.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:48

Killing Them Softly' with a big stick

Gangster movie suffers from overly aggressive message

There's nothing inherently wrong with using a film to send a 'message.' In fact, with the right combination of circumstances, a movie can manage to be effective both as an entertainment and as a conveyance of some larger truth.

However, when a movie allows itself to be overwhelmed by the message it is intended to convey, both the movie and the message wind up significantly diminished.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:31

Always darkest before Red Dawn'

Remake fails to match spirit of original

The 1980s were a simpler time. America was America and we knew exactly who the bad guys were. That's what made a film like 1984's 'Red Dawn' such a success; it was rah-rah jingoism built around showing those Russkies who was boss.

In the 21st century, however, those lines of demarcation aren't so clear. This leads to the 'Red Dawn' remake. Since the circumstances aren't nearly so clear cut these days the movie's main enemy even had to be changed before the film was released you get a film that falls short of the plucky 'America! Fk yeah!' spirit of the original.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:33

Portrait of a president - Lincoln'

Spielberg, Day-Lewis bring history to life

Every once in a while, moviegoers are treated to a perfect cinematic storm, a confluence of talent that all but assures excellence. It is a rare and wonderful thing to see unfailingly exceptional actors, writers, director and subject matter come together in the same place at the same time. When they do, the result is true movie magic.

If you're lucky, the result is a movie like 'Lincoln.'

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 16:29

The end of the Twilight' saga

'Breaking Dawn: Part Two' is the fifth and final movie in the 'Twilight' series. 'Twilight' fans were thrown through hoops and were on an emotional roller coaster while watching this film. Thinking that I knew what to expect from having read the novels, I was surprised by quite a few scenes, one in particular which even caused me to shed a couple tears. Anyone who has been a fan of 'Twilight' since the novels, or just fans of the movies, will not be disappointed by the way the saga finalizes. The ending is certainly an unexpected twist.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 22:46

The evolution of a spy Skyfall'

Newest Bond film reinvigorates the franchise

It's hard to fathom, but the James Bond film franchise is celebrating its 50th year. That's half a century of a single iconic character evolving right alongside our culture. Starting with Sean Connery first gracing the screen as Bond in 1962's 'Dr. No,' there have now been 23 cinematic outings featuring the now-archetypal superspy.

(And yes, I'm aware that there are a handful of 'other' Bond movies; we're just talking about the projects from Eon Productions.)

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 23:06

If it ain't broke Wreck-It Ralph'

Disney film offers glimpse inside the lives of video games

For people of a certain age, there's nothing quite like classic video games. Sure, technology has advanced far beyond the simple arcade games of the 1980s, but for many of us, those are the games that we'll always remember.

Disney has found a wonderful way to capture that sense of nostalgia with 'Wreck-It Ralph,' giving us a brand-new look at some of those iconic characters.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 23:03

Kicking it with The Man with the Iron Fists'

RZA film an homage to classic kung-fu

Let's get this out of the way right up front: 'The Man with the Iron Fists' is not a good movie.

However, when you're walking into a theater to see a kung-fu movie written by, directed by and starring RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan (and produced by Quentin Tarantino), you're already operating under different expectations with regards to what 'good' means.

It isn't a good movie. That doesn't mean that it isn't a lot of fun to watch.

Published in Movies
Thursday, 01 November 2012 11:04

The powerful ambition of Cloud Atlas'

Film offers look at the constancy of the soul

There's something to be said for ambition.

The current cinematic culture doesn't appear to have a whole lot of room for ambitious undertakings anymore at least in terms of storytelling. It's all about massive CGI extravaganzas and franchises, remakes and reboots. It sometimes seems that no one is willing or able to tell an original story in an original way anymore.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 14:05

Madea fights crime? Alex Cross'

Film attempts to jumpstart Tyler Perry action franchise

There's something admirable about an actor who tries to break out and advance beyond his or her comfort zone. Watching someone trying to become something more comedians attempting dramatic roles, rom-com stalwarts trying action movies can be a lot of fun, and it can help an actor jump a tier or two in the Hollywood hierarchy.

But that's only if it works. If it doesn't work, you get a project that comes off as sadly (or comically) misjudged - a movie that is a transparent attempt to make the leap, yet not good enough to actually result in success. You get a movie where instead of catching hold and hauling himself up, the leaper instead falls to the ground in failure.

Published in Movies
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