|At the Movies: Eight movie reviews|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:28|
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
This movie does not have a tagline. This is the journey of a boy as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.
Ted Wiggins is an idealistic 12 year old boy who will do anything within his power to gain the love of the girl who is the object of his affection. Audrey is the dream girl of Ted and her wish to see a real tree is brought to his attention it begins an adventure that may change the walled city of Thneed-Ville. The Once-ler is the person who recounts how his discovery of the Truffula Forrest in the past led to its depletion and the departing of its guardian the Lorax. Aloysius O'Hare is the Mayor of Thneed-Ville who has made a fortune exploiting the area's environmental collapse and is determined to stop anyone who may undermine his profitable business.
I was not familiar with this particular Dr. Seuss story but I did find the way they chose to animate it interesting. You can tell that the film makers have an admiration for the source material because when they expanded on the story to create the film they used the name Ted for the main character after Theodor Seuss Geisel and Audrey for the main character's love interest after Dr. Suess's wife Audrey Geisel. Despite there obvious reference for the original I kind of found this film lacking when it came to the sense of wonder and zest for imagination that I usually find in a production connected to Dr. Suess. I rate this movie a rated B.
The Hunger Games
One of the taglines for this movie : The World Will Be Watching. In a dystopian future a totalitarian nation is divided into 12 outlying areas and its main governing area. Each year a teenage boy and girl representative from each of the 12 outlying areas are selected by lottery to compete in a nationally televised event. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic where the selected representatives must fight to the death until only on survivor remains.
Our heroine has volunteered for this to take the place of her younger sister and must now make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Katniss Everdeen is a teenage of District 12 who has volunteered for the 74th annual Hunger Games to take the place of her younger sister Primrose and is now faced with the daunting task of being a Tribute. Peeta Mellark is the male Tribute of District 12 who has been chosen by lottery and must prepare himself for a challenge that no one believes her will be able to survive, no even himself.
Haymitch Abernathy is the only past victor of the Hunger Games from District 12 and must not train the current tributes from his district to survive a game that only 1 of them could possibly survive. President Coriolanus Snow is the ruler of the nation of Panem who lives in the Capitol where the games are held as the citizens of the 12 Districts are helplessly forced to watch their children slaughter each other.
This adaption of the Suzanne Collins book is to be praised for its ability to distill the essence of what the prose brought forth. I think that the choices the director Gary Ross has made when bringing this to the silver screen are the right ones in every way. I will admit to finding similarities to Japanese filmamker Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale as much as the novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami on which the film is based had the Hunger Games nevel compared to it.
I can see style choices that bring to mind George Lucas' THX 1138 to Luc Besson's The Fifth Element or even John Boorman's Deliverance. The point I am making is that no matter what the influences were, the finished product is a captivating bit of cinema. Jennifer Lawrence deserves the attention she has been getting for her performance and I can't wait to see how she plays the character in future installments of this movie series. I rate the movie a Rated T.Mirror Mirror
One of the taglines for this movie: The Snow White Legend Comes Alive. After a the king of a kingdom vanishes, his ruthless wife seizes control and keeps her beautiful stepdaughter hidden away in the palace. When the princess attracts the attention of a charming and wealthy visiting prince, the cash strapped Queen becomes jealous and banishes the girl to a nearby forest. Taken in by a band of rebel dwarfs, the princess blossoms into a brave young lady determined to save her kingdom from the Queen.
Snow White is the princess beloved by all in the royal household but her stepmother and after surviving years of mistreatment and neglect find the strength and courage in the face of adversary to win back her father's kingdom. The Queen is a bewitching enchantress who after usurping the throne has bankrupt the kingdom with her extravagant ways and must now find a new way to secure funds to stay in the manner she has become accustomed on terms of her choosing. Prince Alcoot is the handsome and ardent heir to the throne of the prosperous realm of Valencia which has brought him to the attention of the Queen but he find himself captivated by none other than the beautiful Snow White. Grimm, Butcher, Wolf, Napoleon, Half Pint, Grub and Chuckles are dwarfs forced to work as highwaymen to make ends meet after losing their jobs due to the bad economy of the kingdom but with the infectious optimism of Snow White they may find the courage to fight for the lives they use to lead.
Tarsem Singh is a brilliant director with and imagination that flows on to the screen in vibrant color and beautiful sound, but in the case of this movie it seems that his usual level of radiance has been toned down and thus made less off what it could have been. This interpretation of the Grimm Fairy Tale will still work for children but may leave adults wanting more in the long run which is sad for something which had so much potential to be more. The acting is top notch which is to be expected with the troupe of thespians gathered for this production, but not all of them are given much to work with in terms of their one dimensional characters. I rate this movie a Rated D. You can wait for it on dvd because there is nothing in it to rush out to see.
Wrath Of The Titans
The tagline for this movie : Feel The Wrath. A decade after a hero's defeat of a powerful monster, he attempts to live a less adventurous life as a fisherman and single parent of his son. On another realm a battle for supremacy escalates between a race of godly beings and those who proceeded them. Due to an unexpected betrayal, the hero is forced to come to the aid of his father as the fate of both realms hang in the balance.
Perseus is the demigod son of Zeus who must take up the mantle of hero again to save his father and with him the world by stopping his grandfather Kronos from being released from the abyss of Tartarus. Andromeda is the princess who was saved by Perseus from the Kraken and is now the queen of her people and ready to join Perseus on his quest to stop the lord of the titans from stealing the power of the king of the gods. Agenor is the son of Poseidon who must join Perseus on his journey after being imprisoned for being a thief but will he be able to live with the weight of the mantle that comes with his birth right. Hades is the god of the underworld and Ares the god of war who have joined together to betray Zeus their brother and father respectively for a bid to share in the power left when the titans are back in charge.
The only good thing I have to say about this movie is that the 3 D was better this time around when compared to the last installment. I was hoping for something better than the last one, that would bring back a glimmer of the excitement that came with the original movie they are based on. I guess the change in cast for certain roles and the change in director may have given it a different tone, but it still lacked the right energy. Of course this one made money so I think we can expect a third entry and I hope that it can improve upon the first two because this one has proven it can always get worse. I rate this movie a Rated D.
One of the taglines for this movie: Save The Best Piece For Last. A group of friends return to their hometown for their high school reunion. During that weekend they will find out who has changed and what hasn't and the bonds the tie friends together can not be broken by time and distance, only strained.
Jim and Michelle are happily married with a two year old son and are now experiencing the problems that come as a couple try to find time together without the intrusion of their child. Oz is an NFL sportscaster who is dealing with a girlfriend who is a little more experienced and adventurous in ways that he does not wish to be as he longs for a simpler relationship. Kevin is married and works from home as an architect, but in reminiscing about the past he has to remind himself that his present is not that bad. Stifler works as a temp at an investment firm and longs to relive his glory days but must come to the realization that those days are behind him and he must now face his current life with the maturity he has tried to avoid.
The fact is that I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would and the reason is that it remembered that behind all potty mouth humor has to be some honesty to make us relate to it. I liked this installment more than the last American Pie theatrical release most likely because they were able to get all of the original cast members to return this time around. You can't help but remember how successful all of the actors and actresses were for that period after the first movie and seeing now how some of those who had smaller parts back then have had better careers now. It seems that lifelong friends are life-long-friends for a reason, because we share touchstones with them as we mature and can use them to help navigate through the rough waters of adulthood like the characters in this movie. I rate this movie a Rated B.
Think Like A Man
The tagline for this movie: Let The Mind Games Begin. The love lives of four interconnected and diverse men are shaken up after the ladies in those lives start taking the advice in a book to heart. When the men realize what the women are doing, they conspire to use the information in the book to teach the women a lesson in manipulation of their own.
Dominic is a chef who is doing his best to fake it until he makes it, but when he meets the successful business woman Lauren he sees that it is time for him to up his game if he wishes for her to see him as a diamond and not part of the rough. Jeremy has been in a long term relationship with Kristen but unbeknownst to him she is ready for them to move to the next stage of their lives together, but if he is not able to step up she may have to move on with out him being in her life. Zeke is a man who has been hurt before so he is not looking for a relationship, but Mya is looking for a relationship and she is ready to actively abstain from any carnal knowledge in order to have a relationship that she feels that she deserves. Micheal is pursuing Candace but they both have people in their life who may complicate their getting together.
This movie won me over in every way possible, from the story, to the acting, to the music and the directing. I will be the first to admit that the only major flaw that this movie has is that it is a commercial for the best selling book it is based on which is Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey. However, the cast ignites with energy and make what could have been a humdrum affair into a truly charming romantic comedy. Tim Story shows that he is still comfortable direction comedy as much as he is directing superhero action movies and I am looking forward to whatever he directs next. There is truth behind the laughs and realistic details in the formulaic structure so the piece rises above what it could have been. I rate this movie a Rated T. It is not a waste of your money.
The tagline for this movie: She Has The Code. He Is The Key. A young girl hold a priceless numerical code in her memory and finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob and corrupt New York City Policemen. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter was destroyed by the some of the same men who are now on the trail of the young girl.
Luke Wright was a second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit who blew a rigged fight and was made an example of by the Russian Mafia by having his family murdered but now sees a way to redeem his life by saving a young girl from those same killers. Mei is a young girl who happens to be a math prodigy with a photographic memory forced to work with the Triads as a counter to keep her mother safe in their homeland but when matters change, she must run for her life into unknown danger. Han Jiao is the head of the Triad and ready to consolidate some of his fortune that has been made from the New York branch of his organized crime empire, but the problem is that the information he needs is stored in the brain of a girl no longer in his custody. Mayor Temello is the mayor of New York who wishes to attain the undocumented sum of cash for his possible re-election campaign and is ready to use his right hand man Alex Rosen who happens to have ties to Luke Wright which harkens back to a time before his cage fighting days as an elite government operative.
This movie could have been more and ended up being less, but the problem maybe that it thought it was more that is really was. Jason Statham does the same job we are use to him doing and Catherine Chan does a great job of drawing you in without becoming to mushy or cloyingly cute. Writer and Director Boaz Yakin shows that he has a flare for directing action while being a man of many genres but should polish his writing more next time. The movie was satisfying yet it lacked a level that would have made it memorable. I rate this movie a Rated C.
This movie does not have a tagline. When an unprecedented threat appears with the power to place the safety and security of the world in jeopardy, the director of an international peacekeeping agency finds himself in need of assembling a team to snatch the planet from the maw of chaos. Spanning the globe, a recruitment effort begins as the shadow of extraterrestrial war looms ahead.
Nick Fury is the director of Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division who must answer to the members of the World Security Council when the Tesseract power source is stolen from a S.H.I.E.L.D. base by Loki. Agent Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow is assigned to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner aka The Hulk for a reworking of Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative. Agent Phil Coulson is tasked with informing Tony Stark aka Iron Man of current event in hopes of piquing his interested in joining the team consisting primarily of Steve Rogers aka Captain America at the time. Loki has team with the Chitauri alien race with plans of invading Earth and subjugating its people who our under the protection of fellow Asgardian Thor.
I am still not sure why they couldn't just call the Tesseract the Cosmic Cube like in the comic books but aside from that this movie is EPIC. Director of the movie and writer of the screenplay Joss Whedon has shown that he can work within a universe not of his own creation and breathe life into that universe that illuminates it for the entire world to look upon in awe. The collection of actors and actresses gathered together to portray the iconic characters originating from the pages of sequential art is truly a wonder to behold. The visual effects made possible by Industrial Light & Magic (I.L.M.), Weta Digital, Scanline VFX, Hydraulx, Fuel VFX, Evil Eye Pictures, Luma Pictures, Cantina Creative, Trixter, Modus FX, Whiskytree, Digital Domain, The Third Floor and Method Design are able to make the impossible seem as real as the nose in the middle of your face. Marvel Studios and its parent company Disney has shown that by partnering with those possessing a love for the subject material, that greatness can be achieved. I rate this movie a Rated T. You would be doing yourself a true disservice if you did not watch this film in a theater.
A scene during the closing credits will shed light on who is the true mastermind behind the intergalactic army.
One word : SHAWARMA... If you stay until the very end of the movie after the closing credits you will be rewarded with a funny little scene. (If you watched the movie by bootleg and don't get to see it, well you don't deserve to see it because you should have seen the movie in the THEATER like I Told You To!)
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