MOVIE REVIEW – Zero Dark Thirty

ZeroDarkThirty1

Leave your opinions of torture at the door, this is a film where they’re going to be used.  Let’s face it.  Waterboarding was used.  To great extent during many years.  And too much extent.  And this is a film that does not flinch when it comes to showing it used in some gritty scenes.  The key goal, the search for Osama Bin Laden.  The cost of getting there…there is no cost.

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MOVIE REVIEW – Zero Dark Thirty

From the moment it opens to its climatic end; Zero Dark Thirty and it’s director Kathryn Bigelow (K-19: The Widowmaker & The Hurt Locker) puts you through the ringer emotionally. Unfortunately for Bigelow, this film has been subjected to extra scrutiny. It’s unflinchingly realistic depictions of waterboarding, less than humane conditions at unnamed CIA “Black Sites” and suicide bombings is where Bigelow excels. However, it draws its greatest criticisms from these scenes. So much criticism that, the Intelligence Committee will investigate Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers’ CIA access.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Zero Dark Thirty

92976_galZero Dark Thirty is nothing if it isn’t meticulously put together, and that seems like enough to qualify this smart, painstaking film for my top three of 2012, if not the last five years, particularly because of  how scrupulously it treats such a delicate topic without catering to any obvious agendas. Though Oscar buzz has been surrounding this thing almost since its inception (which was initially slated to be a different story, since writing commenced before Osama bin Laden was killed), it breaks what might be considered the traditional mold for awards season, a stoic beast amongst a barrage of emotion-rich fare. That said, the film is a cinematic masterpiece that will probably get shortchanged in some category by the Academy (seeing as Kathryn Bigelow claimed hers for The Hurt Locker four years ago, typical politics have inevitably kicked in. She wasn’t even nominated this year for what is superior to her previous work). Thankfully, politics is something this film lacks almost entirely; it is primarily objective, purposefully unsensational – with perhaps the exception of its final 30 minutes – and unapologetic in almost every facet of the story. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Zero Dark Thirty”

MOVIE REVIEW: Skyfall


This is kind of a new foray for me. How does one actually rate and review a James Bond movie? Do you treat it like any other movie, or are these movies held to a different standard due to their cultural status? This is the first movie of this kind that I’ve had to cover, and I’m kind of frightened at the prospect. Well, let’s start with the obvious: Skyfall is a hell of a good time at the movies, with every cent of its $150 million-dollar budget being used and captured with masterful clarity. Director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins have made a very great-looking film (note: Skyfall is the first Bond movie to be shot 100% digitally) and have made an indelible mark in the James Bond canon. Yet I can’t help feeling that Skyfall needs to be held to a different standard – the kind not only set forth by the previous two Bond movies, but other real-world dramatic action films like The Dark Knight and Heat.
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MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania

You don’t mess with the Count, or Adam Sandler’s box office draw, even if it means miscasting him as an animated character. Half the cast of Grownups play monsters seeking refuge from nasty humans in Hotel Transylvania.

Adam Sandler and Grown Ups co-stars Kevin James and David Spade have found a reason to get together between shameless ensemble comedies (there’s a Grown Ups 2 releasing in 2013), lending their mouths to Sony Pictures Animation’s newest digital feature Hotel Transylvania. It’s a decent looking but slackly-scripted Halloween vehicle in which the 3D is mostly utilized to make flatulence palpable and give some depth to a few sure-to-be-dated-in-six-months dance routines that made me want to sashay out the door. Unlike the majority of digitally animated material these days  – from Dreamworks, Pixar and so forth – which typically appeal to both children and adults (even with the occasional misfire), Transylvania caters primarily to the pre-teen set, which it should, but without much depth, a trite love story and a moral that most kids probably won’t even absorb because it is so trivialized, the film feels like it was conceived by someone from its own target demographic. Continue reading “MOVIE REVIEW: Hotel Transylvania”

MOVIE REVIEW – Men in Black III

Black suits.  Cool sunglasses.  Style.  This is what defines the Men in Black.  Some 15 years after the original film the guys in black are back to save the planet yet again.  And this time they’ve got to go back thru time in order to do it.  Can this trip thru time bring back the same qualities that the original film had and be as much of a success?  Only time will tell.

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MOVIE REVIEW: 21 Jump Street

I cannot stress this enough – going into 21 Jump Street, the last words on my mind were words like “hilarious”, “instant classic”, or even “that was surprisingly fun”.  As a fan of the original 1980s television show upon which this new movie was based, I really had to wonder if this was going to be straw that broke the remake/reboot trend’s back.  Oddly enough, 21 Jump Street has turned out to be the kind of touchstone movie that producers and directors are going to look to as an example of how well an old property can be updated.  By turning a solid teen melodrama into an outrageous “oh, man, they actually went there” film, 21 Jump Street doesn’t hesitate to not only find the line and cross it, but it drags the line to a completely other level before crossing it again.

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The New Amazing Spiderman Trailer Hits The Web!!

Columbia Pictures has released a brand new trailer for their upcoming superhero reboot The Amazing Spiderman. Check it out… Continue reading “The New Amazing Spiderman Trailer Hits The Web!!”

MOVIE REVIEW-The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Over the past couple of years The Millennium trilogy have captivated audiences all over. When it was announced that an American Film version was being made many questioned the reasoning being that a Swedish version already existed. Even with the announcement that it is David Fincher helming the production didn’t stop the doubts from still being raised. Those fears should be quelled by the stunning piece of filmmaking.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Power.
It’s all about who has it and who doesn’t.  And when those in power abuse it, tragic things happen.
Late author Stieg Larsson’s novel Man som hatar kvinnor (literally translated as Men who hate women) was turned into a very fine Swedish film titled The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in 2009.  Two years later, director David Fincher has translated it into an exceptional English-language film of the same name.  We have been treated to an exemplary dramatic thriller that never speeds; instead, it immerses you in its world for the duration of its running time and doesn’t let go.
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Columbia Pictures Releases the Men In Black 3 Teaser Trailer

Men in Black 3

Columbia Pictures has released the first trailer for their new film, Men in Black 3. The film comes 9 years after the second film in the series and is scheduled to open in theaters on May 25, 2012 in 3D, 2D, and IMAX 3D.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Jack and Jill

Why?  Just… why?
Look, I get self-parody.  It’s been done many times to great humorous effect, the most recent being Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold & Kumar series, which Harris turns into comedic gold.  It often borders on the offensive, but it’s outrageous and fun enough to the point where he and his mythical self have become staples of American comedy.  However, the kind of self-parody found in director Dennis Dugan’s Jack and Jill isn’t outrageous or fun enough to be comedy; in fact, it’s just plain sad.  Easily the most uncomfortable movie of the year to watch, Jack and Jill needs to be avoided like that guy on the bus who stinks so badly, you can actually see those wavy, green, comic book-like smell-lines surrounding him.
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: the Sizzle Reel

Before a recent screening of Straw Dogs, the audience was treated to eight unrated, unapproved-for-all-audiences-by-the-MPAA minutes of footage to introduce us to director David Fincher’s film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  As this has already been made into a highly successful Swedish-language movie only two years ago, many people questioned the need for an American remake so quickly.  We experienced this with Let Me In, the American remake of Let the Right One In, and Quarantine, the American remake of a Spanish film called [REC].  Is it a dearth of American creativity that’s spurring on these quickly-turned remakes and rehashes?  Thankfully, due to director David Fincher, there’s another reason for the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: art.
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MOVIE REVIEW – Battle: Los Angeles

Battle: Los Angeles

It seems as though the summer movie season starts earlier and earlier each year. I remember when I was younger when you had to wait until May for the studios to put out their big budget action films. In recent years it seemed that the first week of April was when it started. And now this year Columbia Pictures has given us Battle: Los Angeles the second week of March. And clearly you can see that this film definitely has a big budget, and most of it definitely appears on screen.

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Spider-Man gets a Title and the First Official Photo!

Spider-Man

Today, Columbia Pictures announced the title of the new Spider-Man film. The title will be The Amazing Spider-Man. Additionally, the studio released the first photo to show actor Andrew Garfield in full mask and suit as Spider-Man. Continue reading to see the entire photo.

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Annie Remake in the works

Willow Smith (bottom center) with her family at Nickelodeon's 23rd Annual Kids' Choice Awards - Red Carpet

Following the success of The Karate Kid, it appears that Will and Jada will have daughter Willow (pictured above) following suit of big brother Jaden, starring as the title character in a remake of Annie. From the press release received from Sony today, rapper Jay-Z will be joining Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook in a co-producing capacity. Continue reading “Annie Remake in the works”

Super Bowl Movie Commercials

Super Bowl

Are you curious which movies will be appearing as commercials during this year’s Super Bowl?

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Ghostbusters 3 News!

Ghostbusters 3

I remember sitting in the theater seeing the first Ghostbusters film and being wowed by it. It’s cool. There’s just no other way to say it. It combined sci-fi with humor and a great story and a great cast of characters. Then when the second film came out, I thought for sure we’d be getting a third at some point, but thus far there’s been nothing. But, the wait may finally be coming to an end.

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