Archive for May, 2014
Taking a beloved fairy tale and altering it to create a fresh idea isn’t a new thing. When done correctly (as with ABC’s Once Upon A Time), we get an entertaining ride dripping with an originality that builds on the source material while respecting its roots. When it’s done poorly (as with 2011’s Red Riding Hood), we get a plodding attempt at delivering a unique vision that fails because the filmmakers forget to include any of the charm and joy that we all once fell in love with. With Maleficent, Disney’s newest “re-imagining” of their very own Sleeping Beauty (an adaptation of the tale, “Little Briar Rose,” by the Brothers Grimm, which was itself an adaptation of the French fairy tale, La Belle au bois dormant), I was hoping for the former, but found it closer to the latter in both execution and its lack of creative excitement. Don’t Stop — There’s Plenty More
With the most recent rampage that occurred last week in Santa Barbara, once again we’re being presented with as many excuses as humanly possible for the reason it took place. From guns to knives to Hollywood, it seems as if everything in the world is at fault except for the actual person who committed the crimes. What everyone is overlooking, though, is the root of the problem, which has nothing at all to do with any outside influence, including the possibility of mental illness. The real problem lies in the cultural shift our country has taken over the last couple of decades, due in part because of the erosion of leadership on all levels. Don’t Stop — There’s Plenty More
For every actor that makes it his mission to star in only the biggest, most spectacle-fueled movies he can before it burns him into oblivion, there is an actor who sets his sights on smaller, more lavishly breathtaking and subtlety emotional films that give him a chance to thrive and truly perform. One of those actors is Colin Firth, who doesn’t shy away from the occasional fun piece of Hollywood shlock (see: Bridget Jones’s Diary and Mamma Mia!), but always tends to gravitate back to the smaller films that may or may not ever see the light of day in a cinema outside of prestigious film festivals. But since he’s been able to craft such a delicate body of work because of this, including his new intimately heartbreaking film, The Railway Man, it’s hard to want him to ever give it up. Don’t Stop — There’s Plenty More
Over the past decade or so, Disney has released several outstanding sports-related true stories dealing with overcoming adversity. These include Kurt Russell’s Olympic hockey film, Miracle; Dennis Quaid’s major league baseball drama, The Rookie; Mark Wahlberg’s NFL football flick, Invincible; and Josh Lucas’s college basketball movie, Glory Road. Each one of these films is a perfect example in how to be thoroughly entertaining while crafting an inspirational story that pushes you to be more than you are and honoring those from which the story was based. So when Disney used these films (most notably, Miracle and Invincible) to advertise Million Dollar Arm, they inadvertently set the bar for the film so high, it would be near impossible, even for a film about rising above the odds to succeed, to live up to the magic of its predecessors. Don’t Stop — There’s Plenty More
With all of the pretty good news coming out of the Star Wars camp in recent weeks, it was disappointing to hear that Denis Lawson (Ewan “Obi-Wan Kenobi” McGregor’s uncle) has decided not to reprise his iconic role of Wedge Antilles in Star Wars: Episode VII because he would be bored by it. Now I understand that Wedge probably wouldn’t have had a big presence in the new sequel, and I respect Denis’s decision (after all, if you can’t get fully behind something, you’re better off not doing it), but it definitely would have been awesome if the one and only character who actually participated in, and survived, attacks on both Death Stars (not to mention the Battle of Hoth) made, at the very least, one last appearance alongside his fellow X-Wing pilot, Luke Skywalker.
It certainly isn’t the worst news in the world… so long as there isn’t another Death Star that needs to be destroyed!
When it comes to frat-house based films, there are certain expectations (parties, sex, (possible) nudity and some gross-out humor) that come with them. When it comes to a Seth Rogen comedy, there are certain expectations (lovable doofus-style antics, marijuana use/jokes and some gross-out humor), that come with them. So by mixing these two ingredients together, the resulting product will inevitably carry with it a high amount of expectations, which in the case of Neighbors, delivers on every one of them. The problem is, by giving us everything, the end result is exponentially weakened. Don’t Stop — There’s Plenty More
When it was announced that Sony would be revamping (or rebooting) the Spider-Man franchise just a few years after Spider-Man 3 hit theaters, and only a measly ten years after the original broke new ground and all but started the superhero craze (along with X-Men, that is), I was a bit dumbfounded. It was far too soon for that to happen, but being the movie buff that I am, I was going to see the new version the day it came out anyway. Though not necessarily better or worse than the Tobey Maguire version, the Andrew Garfield version (now with the word “Amazing” as part of its title), was different, with a much closer feel to Marvel’s current slate of Avengers Initiative films. Now we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a darker, sadder, but no less thrilling adventure that, for my money, is just as good as both the original trilogy and its rebooted predecessor. Don’t Stop — There’s Plenty More