Tag Archives: review

Honestly, Abe

I’m not knocking Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for its inherently goofy hook—that our 16th president spent his early years dispatching (with his rail-splitting axe) the undead fiends who’ve infiltrated the new republic, only to later find himself back at odds with Confederate undead during his famed Civil War administration. In fact, I giddily embraced it. […]

Pixar’s Not So Brave New World

The problem with believing in the “Pixar Magic” is it becomes an ineffable catch-all for everything that once made Pixar animated family films better than the rest of their ilk. Sure Pixar films are usually visually impeccable, well-plotted with thought-out characters, and entertaining and moving on multiple levels. But in the past there’s been that […]

Prometheus Unbound

A third of the way into director Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, I wrote in my notes, “This is dang-near perfect—everything you’d want from a summer sci-fi thriller with cosmic aspirations!” Two-thirds through, I wrote, “Hey, what the hell happened to that terrific, summer sci-fi thriller I was watching?” Prometheus opens millions of years in the past, […]

Lost in the Woods: Snow White and the Huntsman

For a film obsessed with hearts both literal (eaten raw!) and figurative (plowing the same barren romantic ground as last year’s “Twilight Fairy Tale,” Red Riding Hood), Snow White and the Huntsman lacks a beating pulse of its own. The Female Empowerment Action Film is this year’s second take on the classic story after Tarsem […]

Men in Black 3: Slathered in Butter-Flavored Syrup and Green Alien Goop

I always say I’m never going to get my name in movie-marketing blurbs by writing lines to publicists like “With apathetic lowered expectations, you won’t mind this movie as much as you may have feared.” That bit of self-deprecation is doubly apt for Men in Black 3 because not only does it describe my honest […]

The Hunger Games: How a Real Film Emerged from the Deadly Arena of Young-Adult Movie Franchises

If we must have long, over-hyped film-franchise adaptations of annoyingly popular young-adult fantasy/sci-fi books (and it appears we must), then The Hunger Games from director Gary Ross and his co-writers trilogy author Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, State of Play) have figured out the way to do them. Some flaws aside (see below), […]

John Carter of Disney

Watching Disney’s cinematic red-planet boondoggle, I suffered a semi-serious film-critic/fan-boy crisis. Every time I tried to write about the film last week, my efforts derailed quickly into a frothing Inside Baseball rant about budgets and marketing and Industry Schadenfreude instead of the film itself. So does my lack of heartfelt interest in the relentlessly hyped […]

21 Jump Street Cuts Class, Gets Laughs

Despite my earnest appreciation of Johnny Depp, I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode of the original 21 Jump Street TV series, so from a cheap nostalgia standpoint I’m not the target audience for its remake 21 years later. In recent years, however, I’ve been a strong and vocal supporter of the children’s animated […]

W.E. Unhappy Few

You’ll be hard pressed to find a funnier line in a film this year than “Directed by Madonna.” Technically W.E. is not Madonna’s directorial debut—in 2008 she helmed Filth and Wisdom, a “comedy/drama/musical/romance” about a cross-dressing Ukrainian dominatrix with rock-n-roll dreams that made it to ten theaters in the United States. I was unaware of […]

The Lorax: Notes from a Seuss-icide

As you can imagine in this day and age of CGI singing Chipmunks and picnic-basket-stealing bears, there are myriad ways a big, mainstream, animated film could screw up a Dr. Seuss story, including paving over the good doctor’s gently clever whimsy with Shrek-y pop-culture shtick, lame jokes, and slapstick; stripping away (or worse, over-playing) the […]

“While all the other arts were born naked, [film], the youngest, has been born fully-clothed. It can say everything before it has anything to say. It is as if the savage tribe, instead of finding two bars of iron to play with, had found scattering the seashore fiddles, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, grand pianos by Erhard and Bechstein, and had begun with incredible energy, but without knowing a note of music, to hammer and thump upon them all at the same time.”

--Virginia Woolf