Monday, December 22, 2014
     

Movie Review

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"Star Trek Into Darkness" is that all-too-often rare sci-fi movie that has spectacular special effects, a screenplay with an actual storyline, character development and surprise plot turns.

J. J. Abrams ("Star Trek," 2009; TV's "Aliens," "Lost"), directs a screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman ("Transformers," 2007, 2009; "Star Trek," 2009) and Damon Lindelof ("World War Z," "Prometheus," "Cowboys & Aliens," TV's "Lost") that mixes action set pieces and character-driven scenes.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

One of my favorite things about the horror genre is that it gives women a chance to explore our darker sides. The less than flattering clichés of the Virgin and the Whore still thrive in your standard slasher movie - but those same tropes are played with and torn apart by other, smarter horror films, like "Scream" or "The Cabin in the Woods" (where the "dumb blonde" in that case is actually an intelligent brunette wearing doctored, stupefying hair dye).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Iron Man 3" will please fans of the franchise, which is said to be coming to an end with word that Robert Downey Jr. doesn't want to reprise his role as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, although he is rumored to be on board for "The Avengers 2" (2015).

As Stark says at the conclusion – well the near-conclusion (for more on that, see this column's Credit Readers Anonymous) – of "Iron Man 3": "I am Iron Man."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Oblivion" is a stunning sci-fi thriller that transports you to another world: Earth in the not two-distant future.

The year is 2077, intones Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) in the prologue. An alien invasion has made the planet uninhabitable, he tells us. Surviving humans have fled to Triton, a moon of Saturn.

Jack Harper is a kind of space-age mechanic. Only, instead of repairing cars, he repairs drones, which have been developed into all-purpose super-fast, super-lethal security forces. The drones are like a three-dimensional Pac-Man and they destroy any targets in their path.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"The Place Beyond The Pines" is a complex drama with three parallel plots telling three interlocking stories. Each is about an individual's choice, and the truth or consequences that result, depending on the choices made.

"Pines" is an indie film crime caper that is of chief interest for its clever if somewhat convoluted screenplay and a bevy of stellar performances by some of the United States' best hot young movie stars.

Friday, April 26, 2013

The number "42" will be known even farther and wider because of the biopic about Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player to play Major League Baseball.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I missed this film the first time around and finally caught up with it, thanks to re-release in the wake of the awards season. The intervening months were an interesting time for this movie. It debuted to rave reviews, quickly becoming the "film to beat" at the Oscars. Then the tide turned, as critics zeroed in on the "Zero Dark Thirty" torture scenes. Emblematic is the Jane Mayer article in December 14th's New Yorker.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Why would anyone want to see "Jurassic Park" in 3D when director Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1993 movie has been available in multiple formats for two decades?

Two words: Steven Spielberg.

And you thought I was going to say: T- Rex.

Oh, T-Rex is big and frightening -- especially in 3D.

However, T-Rex wouldn't exist in "Jurassic Park" if not for Spielberg, perhaps the United States' best contemporary director who can and does direct all genres (for contrast, see "Lincoln").

"Jurassic Park" is "Jaws" of the jungle.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"The Croods" has its own kind of, ahem, "crood" charm.

Yes, there's lots of punching and smacking, fighting, rolling around, chasing, ugly faces, insults and did we say? fighting.

And that's just the Crood family of cavemen or is it cave persons? and doesn't include the prehistoric creatures.

Admittedly, I resisted seeing "The Croods." It was a case of 3D-animation feature overload. Also, I may have been wondering how "The Croods" could improve upon TV's "The Flintstones" (1960 - '66) for me the tabula rasa of prehistoric humor.

Monday, March 25, 2013

At one point in "Oz The Great and Powerful," Oz (James Franco) says to China Doll, a Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) character voiced by Joey King, "One rule in show biz: Never work with kids or animals," adding, "I already have this ... ," as he gestures to another CGI character, Finley, a monkey in a bellhop suit voiced by Zach Braff.

To that show-business adage, it could be added, "Never work with CGI characters."

At least in "Oz the Great and Powerful," for James Franco and other live-action actors, it's a losing battle.