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REVIEW – The Iron Giant

November 16, 2016 Leave a comment
The Iron Giant.jpgDirected by: Brad Bird
Produced by: Allison Abbate, Des McAnuff
Screenplay by: Tim McCanlies
Story by: Brad Bird
Edited by: Darren T. Holmes
Cinematography by: Steven Wilzbach
Music by: Michael Kamen
Starring: Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Aniston, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, Vin Diesel, James Gammon, M. Emmet Walsh, Cloris Leachman
Based on the novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
Year: 1999

 

Disney may have reigned at the box office in the 1990s, but by the end of the decade, the quality of their non-Pixar-produced films was undoubtedly beginning to slip, and so it’s no real wonder that other studios – particularly DreamWorks – were taking notice and trying to take a bite out of their share of the box office. Despite having the backing of a major studio behind it, however, Warner Bros. Animation struggled to find its footing with theatrical releases during this era. Space Jam, the studio’s first in-house feature film production, was a considerable success, but it relied upon familiar Looney Tunes characters and Michael Jordan (and an already existing and popular advertising campaign for shoes that already merged the two brands) to basically have the film market itself. Later films wouldn’t be able to use that crutch, however, and anemic advertising strategies for films like Quest for Camelot, Osmosis Jones, and even Looney Tunes: Back in Action – which no longer had the brand popularity and the basketball star to rely upon – did little to drum up ticket sales, and none of the films achieved the critical acclaim to even make them legit cult classics. There was, of course, one film released in between all this, however, that, despite the botched advertising (some of which, for some reason, used Scorpion’s “Rock You Like a Hurricane”) and underperformance, did manage to eventually make a name for itself not just as a cult classic, but as truly one of the most underappreciated animated film classics. Read more…

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THEATRICAL REVIEW: Swiss Army Man

July 8, 2016 1 comment
Swiss Army ManDirected by: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan – as “Daniels”
Produced by: Eval Rimmon, Lauren Mann, Lawrence Inglee, Jonathan Wang, Miranda Bailey, Amanda Marshall
Written by: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan
Edited by: Matthew Hannam
Cinematography by: Larkin Seiple
Music by: Andy Hull, Robert McDowell
Starring: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Year: 2016

 

I’ve never been so moved by a movie with this many farts since… well, probably ever…. Read more…

REVIEW: Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)

October 28, 2015 3 comments
Let the Right One InDirected by: Tomas Alfredson
Produced by: Carl Molinder, John Nordling
Screenplay by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Edited by: Tomas Alfredson, Daniel Jonsäter
Cinematography by: Hoyte van Hoytema
Music by: Johan Söderqvist
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Ika Nord, Peter Carlberg, Karin Bergquist, Mikael Rahm, Henrik Dahl, Patrik Rydmark, Rasmus Luthander, Mikael Erhardsson, Johan Sömnes, Elif Ceylan (voice)
Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Year: 2008

 

Movies about troubled youths and movies about vampires are pretty easy to come by, but mix the two together, and you’re more often than not going to end up with something that draws more comparisons to Twilight than an actual horror film. Back in 2008, however, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson partnered up with author John Ajvide Lindqvist to adapt Lindqvist’s acclaimed novel Låt den rätte komma in into a film that managed to shed any pretenses of sexy romanticism and juicy interpersonal drama and maintained a level of maturity and somber, dreadful sorrow that’s far more appropriate to both subgenres of storytelling – this, despite the fact that the film’s protagonists were far younger than either one of Twilight’s glittering nitwits. Read more…

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy

August 13, 2014 3 comments
Guardians of the GalaxyDirected by: James Gunn
Produced by: Kevin Feige
Written by: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Edited by: Craig Wood, Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne
Cinematography by: Ben Davis
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Honsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Peter Serafinowicz, Laura Haddock
Based on the comic book by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Year: 2014

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no stopping the superhero hype train, and, to be honest, I’m quite happy with what’s come about ever since the X-Men and Blade franchises revived the concept and The Dark Knight Trilogy raised the bar and made these movies into this prestige thing (no pun intended) that seemingly everyone from B-list has-beens to A-list Oscar winners were hyped to be a part of, these types of films have really come along way, and despite some embarrassing lows (Green Lantern, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), most of what has come out has been mightily enjoyable – particularly from Marvel Studios, who has managed to turn several B-list superheroes into some of the most engaging and entertaining action heroes of all time. Now, apparently, it’s time for the C-listers to have their chance in the spotlight, as Marvel has gone deep for their latest film, Guardians of the Galaxy. Read more…

REVIEW: Zombieland

October 3, 2013 2 comments
ZombielandDirected by: Ruben Fleischer
Produced by: Gavin Polone
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Edited by: Peter Amundson, Alan Baumgarten
Cinematography by: Michael Bonvillain
Music by: David Sardy
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, [redacted]
Year: 2009

 

As a sort of American counterpart to the immortal and Halloween annual favorite of mine, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland is surprisingly not very derivative of its then-5-year-old cousin from across the Atlantic and managed to carve out its own little niche of fandom (though there are undoubtedly overlaps between the two films). Whereas Shaun (now possibly the most referenced title on this blog) sought to contrast everyday life and troubles amidst the interruption of a zombie apocalypse, Zombieland is rather more about the adaptation to a new way of life post-apocalypse. Rather than take a bleak outlook, however, the film acknowledges that, much like in real life, the horrors and tragedies of the world are often offset by the little things that, more or less, make up for all the crap. Read more…

Review: “Hesher”

December 1, 2011 3 comments
Directed by: Spencer Susser
Produced by: Natalie Portman, Spencer Susser, Morgan Susser, Lucy Cooper, Johnny Lin, Scott Prisand, Win Sheridan
Written by: Spencer Susser & David Michôd (screenplay), Brian Charles Frank (story)
Starring: Joseph  Gordon-Levitt, Devin Brochu, Rainn Wilson, Natalie Portman, Piper Laurie
Music by: Francois Tetaz, Metallica & Motorhead (incidental music)
Year: 2010 (Sundance), 2011 (wide)

 

I’m going to admit to something: I really don’t know what this movie was going for. It’s as conflicted as its titular character is, and that’s not really a compliment. I admit that I went into Hesher not really knowing what to expect. I knew there was going to be a dark sense of humor throughout undercutting a surprising amount of drama, but what I didn’t expect was the strange, almost pointless reason for its being – again, kind of like Hesher himself. Read more…

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