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Archive for July, 2013

Review: “Foodfight!”

July 30, 2013 1 comment
Foodfight!Directed by: Lawrence Kasanoff
Produced by: Lawrence Kasanoff, Joshua Wexler, George Johnson
Written by: Brent Friedman, Rebecca Swanson, Sean Catherine Derek (screenplay) Lawrence Kasanoff (screenplay & story), Joshua Wexler (story)
Edited by: Ray Mupas, Craig Paulsen, Ann Hoyt, Sean Rourke
Production Design by: Jonathan A. Carlson
Music by: Walter Murphy
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Wayne Brady, Eva Longoria, Hilary Duff, Larry Miller, Chris Kattan, Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Stiller, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, James Arnold Taylor, Edie McClurg
Year: 2012

 

Starting production all the way back in 2001, it’d be tempting to call Foodfight! the Duke Nukem Forever of animated movies – with that game’s developer-hopping, financially constrained, 14-year-long development cycle from c. 1997 all the way to its miraculous resurrection and yet disastrous release in 2011 already something of a legend worthy of its own film adaptation – but that would imply that anybody who doesn’t work in marketing actually anticipated this corporate mascot-infested Toy Story rip-off’s release. Read more…

Review: “Office Space”

July 23, 2013 1 comment
Office SpaceDirected by: Mike Judge
Produced by: Daniel Rappaport, Michael Rotenberg
Written by: Mike Judge
Edited by: David Rennie
Cinematography by: Tim Suhrstedt
Music by: John Frizzell
Starring: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Stephen Root, Gary Cole, Diedrich Bader, John c. McGinley, Joe Bays, Alexandra Wentworth, Richard Riehle
Based on the Milton animated shorts by Mike Judge
Year: 1999

 

Funny story about this movie and me: There was a time when I had only ever seen the beginning of this movie, and then, for a time, also only the ending, but never the middle. I always managed to catch this playing on TV at some inopportune moment when I would never be able to finish it or when it had already been on for a while and was just shy of wrapping up. (It’s actually the movie that has convinced me to never again let a TV viewing be my only means of watching a movie ever again.) Like Braveheart, this was one of those movies when people would stare at me blankly, mouths agape, and then ask for confirmation as to what I had just admitted: “You’ve never seen Office Space?!” Read more…

Review: “Pitch Perfect”

July 17, 2013 2 comments
Pitch PerfectDirected by: Jason Moore
Produced by: Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman
Written by: Kay Cannon (screenplay)
Edited by: Zach Chemberlene
Cinematography by: Julio Macat
Music by: Christophe Beck, Mark Kilian
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Adam DeVine, Ben Platt, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Utkarsh Ambudkar, John Michael Higgins, Elizabeth Banks
Based on the novel Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin
Year: 2012

 

Even though this movie is irritatingly responsible for bringing the Ace of Base song “The Sign” into my mind and never letting it get back out, I was surprised when I rented the movie on a whim earlier this year and found something I didn’t totally expect: a movie that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. I mean, I had seen the reviews for it were generally positive, which was a big factor in my curiosity, but I was still skeptical that this movie, which was so obviously, clearly trying to coast on the popularity of Glee in my eyes, was actually worth watching. It’s nice sometimes to be reminded that I can be wrong, however. Read more…

Theatrical Review: “Pacific Rim”

July 16, 2013 6 comments
Pacific RimDirected by: Guillermo del Toro
Produced by: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Guillermo del Toro, Mary Parent
Written by: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Edited by: Peter Amundson, John Gilroy
Cinematography by: Guillermo Navarro
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Ron Perlman, Ellen McLain (voice)
Year: 2013

 

In a year that’s been packed to the brim with follow-ups and counterparts to fan favorites, so far, I have to say that, as much as I may have loved movies like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and even Star Trek Into Darkness, I can declaratively state that one of the best things I’ve seen so far was this giant machines vs. giant monsters film that, despite alluding to anime like Gundam and giant monster movies like Gojira, is a completely original thing. This makes it all that much more of a tragedy, as in its first weekend, it has already fallen behind two sequels – Despicable Me 2, which had already been out for longer than a week but at least has a built-in family audience, and Grown Ups 2, which by all means really shouldn’t be a thing that exists based solely on the amount of figurative and literal human waste that went into making the first, let alone be more popular than something as magnificent as Pacific Rim. (Seriously, all you who looked forward to watching a sequel to the glorified home movie that was the first probably have some kind of issue. Seek help. Also, I hate you.) Read more…

Review: “Ballet Shoes” (2007)

July 12, 2013 4 comments
Ballet Shoes (2007)Directed by: Sandra Goldbacher
Produced by: Piers Wenger, Michele Buck, Damien Timmer, Patrick Spence, Heidi Thomas
Written by: Heidi Thomas
Edited by: Adam Recht
Cinematography by: Peter Greenhalgh
Music by: Kevin Sargent
Starring: Emma Watson, Yasmin Paige, Lucy Boynton, Richard Griffiths, Emilia Fox, Marc Warren, Victoria Wood, Eileen Atkins, Peter Bowles, Heather Nicol
Based on the novel Ballet Shoes: A Story of Three Children on the Stage by Noel Streatfeild
Year: 2007

 

Remember that scene in You’ve Got Mail, where Kathleen’s store shuts down and she goes to the Fox Books and tearfully helps out a Fox Books customer desperately looking for “the Shoe books” that the store clerk has no idea about? “I’d start with Ballet Shoes because it’s my favorite, although Skating Shoes is completely wonderful,” she sobs. It’s one of the best scenes in that movie, because it shows how passionate Kathleen was about the job she had just lost and how the books she sold weren’t merely a means to a profit, but a means to make the lives of others better.

When I requested that my friends recommend some movies for me to review on Facebook, feeling rather uncreative and unchallenged in my own choices lately, this was the first of the recommendations that was something I hadn’t ever even considered watching before. (My recent review of Oscar was recommended in person and inspired my Facebook solicitation, which led to my reviewing The Road, as well, though I already owned that.) Read more…

Review: “The Road” (2009)

July 8, 2013 1 comment
The RoadDirected by: John Hillcoat
Produced by: Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz, Paula Mae Schwartz
Written by: Joe Penhall (screenplay)
Edited by: Jon Gregory
Cinematography by: Javier Aguierresarobe
Music by: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker, Michael Kenneth Williams, Garret Dillahunt
Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy
Year: 2009

 

(Portions of this review appeared in one of my previous articles, with thoughts and quotes expanded upon, updated, and edited throughout.)

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, The Road is a depressing, relentless story of this nameless father and son traveling across a desolate, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Here is an apocalypse where any sort of hope at all comes from what remains with you in the present, right in front of you, because tomorrow is no longer a certainty, and people are no longer to be counted on to help. For this father, his son is the only source of hope that he clings to, and it is his sole ambition to keep the boy safe from harm, even if that means the safest route is a quick and painless death. Read more…

Independence Day Review: “Live Free or Die Hard”

Live Free or Die HardDirected by: Len Wiseman
Produced by: Michael Fottrel
Written by: Mark Bomback (screenplay and story), David Marconi (story)
Edited by: Nicolas De Toth
Cinematography by: Simon Duggan
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Cliff Curtis, Maggie Q, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jonathan Sadowski, Kevin Smith
Based on the Wired article “A Farewell to Arms” by John Carlin
Year: 2007

 

People understandably lament the quick devolution that John McClane has undergone over the course of the four movies that have followed the original. The quick-witted everyman cop trying to win back his wife has become more known for performing ridiculous stunts and frequently being in the wrong place at the wrong time and yet just the right man for the job. The issue was already apparent in the incredibly dull Die Hard 2, and by the third film, the coincidences of his involvement become too glaring to ignore unless you suspend your disbelief and pretend like this is something that regular cops have to deal with every now and then in the Die Hard world. (Considering the ties that were later made to the TV series Chuck, I wouldn’t put it past them on that point, though.)
Read more…

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