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Review: 2 Days in New York

22 Dec

Poster for 2 Days in New YorkTwo films this year have left me physically tired after the credits started rolling. Director and star Ben Affleck’s Argo was a fast-paced, edge of your seat political thriller that didn’t let you go until you were safely out of Iran; and, writer-director-star Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York thrusts you into a quick-cutting weekend of French-American culture clash in New York City. At the end of Argo, the rush of the film propelled Affleck to the top of my Oscar prediction chart for Best Director. At the end of 2 Days, the frantic 48 hours left me visibly uncomfortable and thankful that I just caught it on Netflix.
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The Term “Oscar Worthy” and a Review of Spielberg’s Lincoln

18 Nov

Official poster for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln

The telling of a true story is always a gamble with an audience, particularly if that true story is about one of our nation’s most beloved Presidents. Most biographies or interpretations or retellings of a lesser-known subject lead their films with, “Based on a true story.” When a true story is being told and on that rare occasion it doesn’t have to include said lead, then you know the stakes of your gamble are higher than ever.

Steven Spielberg’s 28th picture bares no such lead-in to his film, opting instead for a bold word accompanied by a resounding bass note: Lincoln. Continue reading

‘The Avengers’: Cinema’s High-End Prostitute

5 May

“You’re going to lose. It’s in your nature.”

Halfway through The Avengers, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is pointing a giant gun at the villainous Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Coulson, the only ordinary man in this film filled with spies, assassins, demi-gods, super heroes and aliens, is also the only one who knows how this film is going to end. He states it very clearly to the antagonist, seemingly offering Loki a cop out before this movie drags out to its intended two and a half hour run time. As any conventional super hero movie would have it, Loki ignores the agent and continues in his attempts to take over the world.

Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) stands alone in this film full of super heroes.

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Cronenberg’s Most Dangerous Method is Boredom

9 Jan

I once took a psychology class in high school. I didn’t take it because it was an easy A. I didn’t take it because it was a super popular class or I had all my friends in it with me. I definitely didn’t take it because I was at all interested in the subject. I took psychology because I thought having a basic understanding of the human brain and human emotions could be useful later on in life. As of yet, I still have not had to put any of that knowledge to the test. I had the same type of feelings towards David Cronenberg’s (The Fly, A History of Violence) latest directorial effort, A Dangerous Method. I forced myself to watch this movie because of the prestigious actors involved, as well as the potential awards-buzz surrounding it. Unfortunately, I experienced the same type of psychology related boredom and confusion that I had to sit through my junior year.

Who's who? (From Left to Right: Viggo Mortensen, Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender, Carl Jung)

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Hugo Finds Fun for Everyone

6 Jan

Martin Scorsese’s (Raging Bull, Goodfellas) foray into the worlds of family film and three dimensions is a delight for all to see. Set in Paris in the 1930s, a young orphan boy lives inside a clock tower in a train station, trying to unlock the secret his recently deceased father left for him to solve in the form of an automaton. He makes a few friends and a few enemies along the way as he ultimately discovers the true magic behind motion pictures. Wait, what? I thought this movie was about a boy fixing this old broken robot thing that his dad was fixing while he died. What is this about the magic of movies?

Martin Scorsese's cameo in Hugo.

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Williams Delivers Inner Beauty as Marilyn

29 Dec

Michelle Williams or Marilyn Monroe?

Michelle Williams’ (Dawson’s Creek, Blue Valentine) talent shone through her recreation of America’s most beautiful woman, Marilyn Monroe. It can be argued that Monroe was only eye-candy on the big screen and consequently didn’t have the most mature acting chops. Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), who plays the famous actor/director Sir Laurence Oliver in the biopic, even says during filming that Monroe doesn’t have to try so hard to act because she is only there to look pretty. As it turns out, Williams acted her heart out to appear not to be acting at all. Continue reading

Arthur Christmas Unwraps True Meaning of Christmas in Holiday Spectacle

1 Dec

This guy's going to save Christmas. He's going to need a miracle.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. December 1st means that the weather is getting colder, the snow is quickly approaching, and that Christmas cheer is in the air. I heard Christmas songs on the radio before Thanksgiving was even over, so why not start the Christmas festivities on Thanksgiving too? That is what Arthur Christmas had in mind when it hit theaters on November 23rd. This jolly film brings a fresh look at the man, the myth, the legend: Santa Claus! But what if one present wasn’t delivered with the others on Christmas Eve? That is the problem that the youngest Claus, Arthur, has to fix! Along with Grandsanta and a wrapping elf named Bryony, it is up to Arthur to save one special girl’s Christmas! Continue reading

Hawaiian Sun Shines Hope into George Clooney in The Descendants

30 Nov

A troubled man in a beautiful paradise.

Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) wrote and directed The Descendants, his first movie since 2004. He has won an Oscar, among other awards. However, I will admit that I have never seen one of his films. I went into this movie with a clean slate and an open opinion on this critically acclaimed writer/director. In hindsight, I’m glad I did. It is hard to keep bias out of your reviews if you know a lot about a movie before you see it. The director or actor’s past films create expectations and stereotypes that often pollute reviews for their new movies. Having never seen a Payne movie before, I can honestly say that I believe he did a fine job with The Descendants.

George Clooney (Ocean’s Eleven, Batman & Robin) plays Matt King, a Hawaiian native who is the sole trustee of 25,000 acres of pristine Kauai land. Since the trust is up in seven years, Matt and his large assortment of cousins are almost through with the process of selling the land for a large amount of money. Selling this land will be a huge financial boost for the Hawaiian island, but also a terrible change in lifestyle for the natives. During this stressful process, Matt’s wife suffered a head injury from a boating accident and is in a coma. Continue reading

After 12 Years, The Muppets Put on a Show for the Ages

29 Nov

The Muppets are icons in American culture. They teach important lessons to their viewers. Naturally, we all take away something from watching their films. What gift did you get from your viewing? Children? Ice cream? Those are both plausible possibilities since the Muppets believe that those are the two most important gifts to receive in this world. However, seeing as your local cinema (hopefully) wasn’t handing out babies and ice cream cones with your ticket purchase, it is to be assumed that you came away with the third most important thing in the world: laughter!

The Muppet's froggy leader: Kermit.

Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) is the human star, writer and puppet enthusiast that got the ball rolling on this much needed reboot for the Muppet franchise. Segel plays Gary, along with his other human co-star and future fiancé is named Mary, played by Amy Adams (The Fighter, Enchanted). Together they travel with Gary’s “puppet” brother and Muppet enthusiast, Walter, to go visit the old Muppet Theater. Continue reading

Newest Twilight Breaks Nothing in Filler Film

22 Nov

The Twilight movies have become more of a cultural experience than an actual movie franchise. When you go in, certain things can be expected to happen, both on the screen and from the audience. You can expect a thick, gooey layer of cheese to spread over every second of the film. You can expect a lot of longing and intense stares in spots where real acting is usually shown. You can expect to see a lot of Taylor Lautner’s rockin’ abs. Having fun yet? But what did you expect when you bought your ticket? Luckily, plenty of entertainment can be found on what happens in the audience. The target audience of married women and pre-teen girls gasp, ooh, giggle and awe at the most cliché parts while the normal audience that was dragged along snicker derisively more and more openly as the film, as well as the series, continues. People yell things like, “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” the first time either character steps on screen. Finally, the good old-fashioned whispered mockery transpires between friends because we all know how bad the movies are compared to the mediocre books. While The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 is by no means a good movie, when taken in context it is a much better film than the first two films of the franchise.

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