Captain America: The First Avenger

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on July 30, 2011

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Captain America: The First Avenger is the best film of the summer. It is the best of the Avenger lead-ins. It may be the best super hero franchise film not made by Christopher Nolan. Yes, I realize that is high praise and I fully expect to like the movie more than most audiences, but it is as complete a super hero film as I’ve seen in a long, long time. This is easily my biggest surprise of the year and seems like it’ll be around my top ten for the year. — more

Tagged: Captain America: The First Avenger, chris evans, hayley atwell, hugo weaving, joe johnston, tommy lee jones
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Cowboys & Aliens

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on July 30, 2011

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A year or so ago I heard that Jon Favreau’s next project was named Cowboys & Aliens, my brain summoned up an image of a CGI intense, Pixar-like kids movie in the vein of Mars needs Moms. This was well before any trailers or teaser posters. The title didn’t convey to me at all a high-concept action thriller. When they released the first teaser I was taken aback. OK, so this IS going to be an intense, dramatic and very action-y thrill ride. OK, cool. Sounds great, but I still didn’t think the title fit. It just seemed too damn jokey. — more

Tagged: cowboys & aliens, daniel craig, harrison ford, jon favreau, olivia wilde, sam rockwell
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Friends with Benefits

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on July 25, 2011

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Last summer, Will Gluck’s Easy A was one of my biggest surprises of the year. When I saw the trailer, I didn’t realize that it would be a whip-smart satire of high school and high school films. Gluck’s newest film, Friends with Benefits, may not rise to the heights of his debut, but it shows that the filmmaker has a great knack of taking recognizable, even clichéd, tropes of popular movies and turning them on their ear. — more

Tagged: justin timberlake, mila kunis
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

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on July 18, 2011

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I would be what is called a Harry Potter noob. I haven’t read any of the books and didn’t see any of the films until a week before the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Without this connection, I may not be the best judge of any of the films (I have to admit, I wasn’t always totally sure of what was going on), but I’m going to spin that to say that I’m not one of those people in the audience that burst into tears for no particular reason. — more

Tagged: Daniel Radcliffe, David Yates, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
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Another Earth

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on July 12, 2011

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Whereas most science fiction films from this year have been about complicated technologies, explosions and a focus on entertainment, Another Earth is a movie about thoughts. While the film may not excite all audiences, those interested in seeing a contemplative, thoughtful film will be pleased. — more

Tagged: another earth, brit marling, Mike Cahill, William Mapother
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Super Serial – Transformers: Dark of the Moon

on July 03, 2011

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Super Serial aims to dissect series of pop art — be it a filmography, discography or run of comics — by looking at its individual components.

Because Dark of the Moon just came out, I can’t yet give it a true Super Serial column with annotations and the like. However, I thought it would be cool to time my re-evaluation of the Transformers movies so the last week of the series would coincide with the release of what may actually be the last big-screen Transformers outing… at least for the moment. For now I’ll just present my DoTM write-up as an actual review; when the DVD comes out, I’ll revisit it, adding notes, talking about specific plot points and in general giving the series a more satisfying wrap-up.

In keeping with critical consensus, I’m in the camp that feels DoTM is director Michael Bay’s strongest Transformers feature yet. — more

Tagged: dark of the moon, michael bay, super serial, transformers
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Cars 2

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on June 27, 2011

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Cars 2 suffers from the reputation and filmography of its own filmmakers. While there is enough action and fun and you can certainly see the mastery behind its creation, it doesn’t have the heart or magic to stack up to previous Pixar films. But what can you really expect from a film starring Larry the Cable Guy? — more

Tagged: cars 2, larry the cable guy, owen wilson, pixar
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Bad Teacher

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on June 26, 2011

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Bad Teacher tries very hard to be a cutting edge, anti-hero story using the socially relevant backdrop of the public school system. Jake Kasdan’s film steps back from controversial the usual education-related politics to have a laugh and occasional cringe. By the end of the film, however, it wraps the whole thing up nice and cutesy, skimping on any cutting edge it seemingly sought out. — more

Tagged: bad teacher, cameron diaz, jason segal, justin timberlake
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Super Serial – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

on June 26, 2011

5 Comments

Super Serial aims to dissect series of pop art — be it a filmography, discography or run of comics — by looking at its individual components.

As a film, Revenge of the Fallen exhibits many of the same weaknesses as Transformers. However, as a story featuring our favorite Robots in Disguise, it fares considerably better. Michael Bay and company take a few steps towards rectifying many of the mistakes they made in the first movie, which unforgivably marginalized the characters named in the title, relegating them to the status of second-class agents in their own film. In Fallen, for better or worse, the Transformers are front-and-center. — more

Tagged: michael bay, revenge of the fallen, super serial, transformers
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Super Serial – Transformers (2007)

on June 19, 2011

8 Comments

Super Serial aims to dissect series of pop art — be it a filmography, discography or run of comics — by looking at its individual components.

Last week on Super Serial we analyzed a movie that reveled in how alien it was. Nelson Shin’s Transformers: The Movie engages in a minimum of hand-holding; many parts of it seem purposefully structured to disorient audiences, or at least to confound their expectations. In stark contrast to that, we have Michael Bay’s 2007 film Transformers, a movie super-concerned with grounding everything that happens, thereby making sure that almost nothing interesting actually gets put on screen. — more

Tagged: michael bay, super serial, transformers
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