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REVIEW: Free Willy

April 9, 2014 Leave a comment
Free WillyDirected by: Simon Wincer
Produced by: Lauren Shuler Donner, Jennie Lew Tugend, Richard Donner, Arnon Milchan
Written by: Keith A. Walker, Corey Blechman
Edited by: O. Nicholas Brown
Cinematography by: Robbie Greenberg
Music by: Basil Poledouris; Michael Jackson (theme)
Starring: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Jayne Atkinson, August Schellenberg, Michael Madsen, Michael Ironside, Mykelti Williamson, Michael Bacall, Keiko
Year: 1993

 

Man, I remember a time when I could watch this movie and not think of all the horrors that went on at SeaWorld, don’t you? Thank you, Blackfish, for making the message behind Free Willy so devastatingly real now that I’m a grown man. I hate you.

All kidding aside, however, this was probably one of the first pieces of media with an activist message kids from my era ever watched outside of a “very special episode” of one of their favorite TV shows. (And that was probably the episode of Fresh Prince where Carlton bought the gun after Will was mugged.) Free Willy was the movie that dared us to care about the remarkable relationship between a troubled young boy named Jesse who just desperately needs someone to love him and set a good example for him and his unexpected friendship with a tenacious whale who was taken away from his own family and put on display for a world that doesn’t fully understand him. Read more…

Special Review: “Daredevil” / “Daredevil: Director’s Cut” – Blind Judgment

September 4, 2013 3 comments
DaredevilDirected by: Mark Steven Johnson
Produced by: Avi Arad, Gary Foster, Arnon Milchan
Written by: Mark Steven Johnson
Edited by: Armen Minasian, Dennis Virkler
Cinematography by: Ericson Core
Music by: Graeme Revell
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, Leland Orser, Erick Avari, Derrick O’Connor, David Keith, Scott Terra, Coolio
Based on characters created by Stan Lee, Bill Everett, Frank Miller, Marv Wolfman, John Romita, Sr., and Jack Kirby
Year: 2003 (Director’s Cut: 2004)

 

Is it safe to come out now? … It’s been about two weeks since the news broke that Ben Affleck was playing the new Batman in the Man of Steel follow-up – a proposition that would seem to suggest that, yes, he would also be playing him in future films, as well, both standalone and, more significantly, together with other heroes in a Justice League film. At the time the news broke, I had been taking a nap after a long, hard day’s work and saw that a friend on Facebook had posted about it. Facebook being what it is, I had to check for myself for confirmation before I fully bought in. Sure enough, this was true. And the internet was not happy – at all. Any goodwill (…pun?) that the actor had earned as a director seemingly went out the window as everyone started reminding everyone else that he was once in movies like Armageddon, Surviving Christmas, and – more damningly – Gigli, the infamously awful Bennifer rom-com that was more known for its awful script and Jennifer Lopez’s turkey impression than it was for being a competently made film. That’s not exactly the makings a prestigious career. Read more…

Special Review: “Man on Fire” (2004) – In Memory of Tony Scott

August 31, 2012 4 comments
Directed by: Tony Scott
Produced by: Lucas Foster, Arnon Milchan, Tony Scott
Written by: Brian Helgeland
Cinematography by: Paul Cameron
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams, Lisa Gerrard
Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken, Giancarlo Giannini, Radha Mitchell, Marc Anthony, Rachel Ticotin, Mickey Rourke
Based on the 1981 novel Man on Fire by A.J. Quinnell (Philip Nicholson)
Year: 2004

 

While I had already seen a few of Tony Scott’s films well before this one — Top Gun, Crimson Tide, and Spy Game specifically — it wasn’t until his 2004 adaptation of A.J. Quinnell’s novel Man on Fire that I truly became aware of Tony Scott as a director and, more specifically his signature style: the high contrast, gritty visuals combined with high saturation of color, the energetic and often hectic editing, and the often broad portrayal of the characters featured in his films by big name actors… Man on Fire may not have been the first Tony Scott film I’d seen, but it came out at a time when I was transitioning into my interest in cinema beyond just the entertainment value. I remember when I first rented Man on Fire, which was also the last time I had seen the film before just this past week, how enamored I was with the movie’s sleek and arresting visuals, which extended into the film’s extensive use of subtitles, and the story’s relentless and violent portrayal of a damaged man being finally broken. Read more…

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