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REVIEW – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Directed by: Ron Howard
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, Simon Emanuel
Written by: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan
Edited by: Pietro Scalia
Cinematography by: Bradford Young
Music by: John Powell, John Williams (theme)
Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany, Jon Favreau, Erin Kellyman
Year: 2018

 

So… this movie was probably one of the most troubled of the recent Star Wars movies – if not any of them. Infamously dealt a blow when original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired late in production for problems behind the scenes that have still not been made entirely clear, the buzz surrounding Disney’s second “anthology” film began to turn sour in the minds of many fans anticipating its release, with many of them also taking issue with the fact that Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo just wasn’t going to measure up to the iconic performance we got from Harrison Ford – in the original trilogy and then reminding us how great he was just a couple years ago by also returning to the role in The Force Awakens. The hiring of Ron Howard, an overall reliable director with an old school sensibility and even experience working with Lucasfilm in the past (Willow) did seem to lift some spirits, but right up until Solo’s release (and particularly in the wake of the backlash that the ambitious and apparently heretical The Last Jedi received) it seems like everyone – fans both hardcore and casual – were preparing for this one to be a complete disaster.

Not me, though! I thought it looked damn fun. And, you know what? It really is! Read more…

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REVIEW: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

December 17, 2015 2 comments
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)Directed by: Ron Howard
Produced by: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Screenplay by: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Edited by: Dan Hanley, Mike Hill
Cinematography by: Donald Peterman
Music by: James Horner
Original song by: Mariah Carey, James Horner, Will Jennings, performed by Faith Hill
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon, Josh Ryan Evans, Clint Howard, Anthony Hopkins (voice)
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Year: 2000

 

I’m not really certain what makes studios think that live action adaptations of things that belong in animation are good ideas, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say it’s because they make money. Obviously, that trumps artistic expression, more often than not. And that’s how you end up with things like The Cat in the Hat starring Mike Myers. These movies are at least technical marvels, when sufficient effort is put into them, and the environments in How the Grinch Stole Christmas are really quite incredible and well realized. The makeup effects are also mostly impressive, too. That being said, I’ve only once ever seen a live action adaptation or extension of a property that I ended up liking more than the original, and that was this year’s live action Cinderella. Still, that’s one exception, and none of this can overshadow the fact that Dr. Seuss’ book was already perfectly adapted decades ago by Chuck Jones in the 26-minute-long, 1967 animated TV special, complete with the perfect look and tone, and, best of all, with absolutely zero filler to pad out the original book. The same cannot be said about Ron Howard’s admirable but misguided adaptation. Read more…

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