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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
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 14:03

Paranormal Activity 4' more of the same

Latest installment brings nothing new to the table

One of the mainstays of the horror genre has always been the idea of the franchise. From those early Dracula/Wolfman/Frankenstein offerings from Universal Studios, the world of cinematic horror has long been rife with sequels.

A more recent development has been the spate of 'found footage' films a filmmaking style that lends itself particularly well to horror movies. These faux documentaries provide a number of benefits: They're intimate and they're very, very cheap.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 14:56

Argo' stranger than fiction

Director/star Affleck brings true story to life

One of the things that Hollywood often forgets is that some of the greatest stories are true stories. A movie doesn't have to be populated by fictional supermen and grand events that never were in order to be engaging, exciting and interesting.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 15:37

Taken 2' The Takening

Flat sequel mostly a rehash of the original

There are certainly valid reasons for the spate of sequels that Hollywood has been trotting out in recent years. Moviegoers often like seeing stories extended beyond the 120-minute running time of a single blockbuster or beloved characters placed into new circumstances. Not to mention the sheer lucrative nature of the beast.

Of course, the downside is that you regularly get crap like 'Taken 2.'

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 15:32

Sing along with Pitch Perfect'

Film explores the world of competitive a cappella

Anyone who has been on a college campus has seen them. Or heard them, anyway. They are enclaves of a unique brand of music nerd.

They are a cappella singing groups.

These groups write their own arrangements of popular songs, not only singing the lyrics, but also creating melody and rhythm using nothing but their voices. They're usually cheesy as all get out, but no less enjoyable because of that.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 October 2012 14:51

Staying in the loop

Looper' a fresh, fascinating take on time travel

Every once in a while, a film comes along that takes a tired cinematic trope and breathes new life into it. These new and interesting takes on old ideas are relatively rare why have a new take when old takes make plenty of money?

Take the new film 'Looper' for instance. The latest offering from writer/director Rian Johnson takes one of the classic science fiction foundations (time travel) and takes it in a direction that we've never seen onscreen. The result is a smart and challenging film that transcends its speculative origins.

Published in Movies
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