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Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: HAPPY FEET 2



I once argued that Happy Feet was the greatest cinematic achievement of all time. However, I came to the realization that using penguins should be considered cheating; their cuteness can only be rivaled by lol-cats. Nevertheless the original Happy Feet remained a fairly entertaining movie with a positive message. The type of film most people want to see when they go to a family film. Happy Feet 2 builds on that and gives it a shinier polish. It is neither better nor worse than the original, just different enough to be an equal and, despite the trailers, not the huge cliché that you are expecting.
There is still a happy ending. But this is a family film called Happy Feet. Anything else would have been a tremendous folly.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: THE ARTIST



I went into The Artist expecting a gimmicky art piece, after all who would dare make a silent film in 2011; it has to be at least 70-something years since the last silent movie, excluding Mel Brooks’ parody Silent Movie. But man was I surprised when The Artist turned out not to be a pretentious piece of art, but a legitimate crowd-pleaser. For all intents and purposes this film could have been any commercial film made in 1929, if it weren’t for its self-reflexivity about the times. It is an innocent tribute to the magic of cinema, one of the best films I’ve seen this year, and a good reminder of why I love movies so much.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: IMMORTALS




Not since the 1998 “Godzilla” monstrosity has a movie so brazenly promised a sequel that everyone immediately knows will absolutely not come to fruition. I loved “The Fall,” and at least appreciated “The Cell,” but Tarsem Singh’s latest film, “Immortals,” exhausted all my goodwill within ten minutes. And for the remaining hundred minutes in the auditorium, I found myself counting the virtues of this film’s spiritual predecessors: “Troy” and “300.” These last two films rank among my guilty-pleasures and I would have freely admitted as much for “Immortals” but, frankly, this may be a film with no redeeming qualities and, worse, no earnestly enjoyable moments.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: MARGIN CALL




The film “Margin Call” is marketed as “based on a true story” though the film adamantly, even awkwardly, refuses to be about specific people in a specific place at a specific time. Even terms like “Wall Street,” “New York,” “politicians,” “crash” “2008” and “recession” are erased from the characters’ dialogue even though such distinctions are as clear in the audience’s mind as the filmmakers intended. The movie is not so much based on a true “story,” but rather based on true ideologies and motivations. Yes, people like these character existed—and still exist—but I’d say most movies contain such realistic characters, though other movies have the theatrics to put said characters in extraordinary circumstances. Fortunately, all the dads in America can breathe easily knowing “Margin Call” is not a 109-minute rant on the immorality and un-sustainability of unchecked, rampant capitalism. Nor is this even an Occupy Wall Street-geared movie. This is a re-enactment for those who don’t read books of how and why America’s, and thus the world’s, economic system seems to collapse every ten years. Granted, “Margin Call” may be based on a true story, but at what cost?


Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS



Here is once again another example of a great franchise (yes, the Harold & Kumar franchise is great) ruined by the insistence that it needed one more sequel… even worse a Christmas Special. The previous installments drew their strengths for being desire-driven comedies. In the first movie Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) had the munchies and they desired White Castle sliders; in the second movie they wanted to get to Amsterdam; both times, their weed induced trips and NPH (Neil Patrick Harris) got in the way. This time what they need is a Christmas tree, they are surprisingly sober most of the movie, and NPH actually saves the day (sort of). Is it just me, or are the stakes not high enough this time (no pun intended)?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review: THE RUM DIARY


Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) describes his drinking as being on “the upper end of social”, but in full honestly he could rival Captain Jack Sparrow for the rum drinking gold medal. But, despite this film’s misguiding marketing campaign, this is not Pirates of the Caribbean 1960s edition. It still involves, rum, mermaids, partying, and sailing in the Caribbean. But this is also the story of a man with no morals who saw much of the world through the bottom of an empty bottle of rum, and realized there was something very wrong with it. Afterwards, he learned a hangover is not the best state of mind in which to solve them. Will he sober up? Perhaps. But rum is too good to give up.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: PUSS IN BOOTS



For a movie that centers on the unlikely friendship between a talking boot-wearing feline and a sentient bank-robbing egg, as they search for a golden egg laying duckling who lives in a castle in the clouds, Puss in Boots is incredibly straight forward in its narrative. You have seen this story before, and if you were born pre-Y2K, you might have heard a few of the nursery rhymes it amalgamates. There are no surprises and it pretty much plays out the way you expected it from beginning to end. But it remains good harmless fun within tradition of DreamWorks’ double entendres.

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