Green Lantern

on June 18, 2011


Green Lantern is silly, frantic and a little nonsensical. It’s also kinetic, great-looking and totally entertaining. Critical consensus has led audiences completely astray with this film. It is, in fact, my favorite movie I’ve seen this year, though certainly not the best. — more

Tagged: green lantern, martin campbell
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Super Serial – Transformers: The Movie (1986)

on June 12, 2011


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

In a move probably awaited by no one (because no one suggested it), I’ve decided to turn the first few Super Serials‘ attention towards the brief set of films starring our favorite robots in disguise, the Transformers. There are a couple reasons for that: first, with the impending release of Dark of the Moon it seemed topical (indeed, my final post in this series will be a DoTM review). Second, it’s a short run of movies that doesn’t require too much critical attention, so it’s a good way to ease myself — and any readers out there — into the more significant projects I’ll be taking on as Super Serial progresses. — more

Tagged: nelson shin, super serial, transformers, vince dicola
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Super 8


on June 10, 2011


If it’s possible to have massive expectations while not having any expectations at all, this is how I felt waiting in line to see Super 8. I tempered my anxiousness with a carefully thought-out mantra, “Let’s just wait and see.” I had no idea what to expect. I carefully sidestepped the blog posts about “secrets” and stopped watching trailers weeks ago. I wanted to be surprised. But still, ever since I saw the first teaser ages ago, I had the sincere feeling that this movie was going to be different — better — than most. — more

Tagged: j.j. abrams, Steven Spielberg, super 8
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13 Assassins


on June 06, 2011

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Takashi Miike seems to be one of the few filmmakers in the world that can do absolutely whatever he wants. Although he is primarily known in the US as the shock renegade director of films like Ichi the Killer and Audition, he has incredible range — making musicals, kids films and thrillers. His latest film to arrive in the states, 13 Assassins, adds the classic samurai film to the list. — more

Tagged: 13 assassins, Takashi Miike
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X-Men: First Class

on June 05, 2011


X-Men is one of the few superhero franchises that really works well in a realistic setting. That’s probably because nearly everyone can relate to the feeling of not belonging. Almost all of the best X-Men stories have focused to some degree on the nature of mutants as a social minority akin to homosexuals, African Americans or any other marginalized group. None of us want to be persecuted for who we are, and the X-Men mythos speaks to that in a primal yet entertaining way. — more

Tagged: james mcavoy, matthew vaughn, michael fassbender, x-men, x-men: first class
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The Hangover Part II


on May 30, 2011


It’s inevitable these days for a super smash hit comedy, horror, superhero, sci-fi or action film to be followed up by a sequel. If it made money, it will make money again. Preserving integrity doesn’t even register on the radar of most Hollywood studios, as well it shouldn’t. These guys are in the business of putting big, fat, green dollar signs on PowerPoint presentations in shareholder meetings. It reminds me of the iconic Glengarry Glen Ross Alec Baldwin scene: “Good script? I don’t give a shit. Original idea? Fuck you! Go home and watch Kurosawa. You wanna work here — make money!” — more

Tagged: bradley cooper, ed helms, todd phillips, zach galifianakis
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Midnight in Paris


on May 30, 2011

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It is no secret that the last decade has not been kind to the great filmmaker, Woody Allen. Whether is it a loss of touch or focus, one could argue that Allen hasn’t made a particularly good film since 1989’s Crimes and Misdemeanors — while he has had minor successes in the past decade, there is no question that he has been a shadow of his former self. The bigger problem may be that over the past twenty years, a filmmaker as aged as Allen may have put out 6 or 7 films, but the prolific director has released 22 since 1990. In our Summer Movie Preview of May, I certainly misjudged Midnight in Paris, giving it a predicted C+ akin to my grade of last year’s release of You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Midnight proves to be much better than I anticipated, coming as close to classic Woody since, well, classic Woody. — more

Tagged: adrien brody, michael sheen, owen wilson, rachel mcadams, woody allen
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Attack the Block


on May 26, 2011


A few months ago when I last guested on the Nerdy Nothings Podcast, we quipped about good alien invasion movies. While there have been some great films of the genre, many of the biggest have been the worst — from the mediocre Independence Day to the horrid Battle: Los Angeles. Instead, the best invasion films that come to mind are usually those that depict isolated incidents in small towns or at remote arctic research stations. Attack the Block takes this small-scale approach and absolutely dwarfs the big budget blockbusters through sheer entertainment. — more

Tagged: attack the block, joe cornish, nick frost
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Meek’s Cutoff


on May 25, 2011

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The Oregon Trail conjures a sense of nostalgia for a generation that has never even came close to experiencing anything like it. But thanks to the floppy disc video game from the 80s, fording a river and catching malaria feel like the good ole days. Coupled with myths of cannibalistic groups and old movies, we recognize the dangers of the trek, but its never felt quite as real as in Kelly Reichardt’s lastest, Meek’s Cutoff. — more

Tagged: Kelly Reichardt, michelle williams, paul dano
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The Silent House (La Casa Muda)


on May 23, 2011

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Gimmick films always start with a disadvantage. It’s not surprising that most films which are completely one shot (no editing) or try to be completely real-time often fail (or, at the least, cheat). The most notable film to attempt this, Hitchock’s Rope, actually wasn’t one shot (due to a lack of the technology) but instead tried to “hide” the edits. The newest film in this style claims also to be the first horror film to do so. With The Silent House, the gimmick is the least of its problems. — more

Tagged: Gustavo Hernández, movie review, the silent house
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