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by Jason Gargano 11.14.2008
at 04:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Eternal Neuorsis of Charlie Kaufman's Mind

According to The New York Times recent “Holiday Movies” calendar, 12 films are scheduled to open in New York City today. In contrast, just two new films are set play in a Cincinnati movie house: Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York and the latest Bond flick, Quantum of Solace.

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by Jason Gargano 11.26.2008
at 02:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Wednesday Movie Roundup: Turkey Shoot

The first disappointment of the holiday movie season has reared its head — Baz Luhrmann’s much-anticipated Australia fails to deliver on its high expectations. The Aussie director's long-gestating follow-up to Moulin Rouge founders despite the presence of bona-fide movie stars who can also act — fellow Aussies Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman — both whom deserve better than this well-meaning but bloated pastiche of numerous old-school genre epics.

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by Brandon Barb 05.11.2012
at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
the-avengers

'The Avengers' Hits All The Right Notes

Marvel’s big budget movie raises the bar high for comic book movies

If you haven’t gone to the theater to see The Avengers yet, you should go this weekend. On second thought, you should go now — just wait until you’re done reading this.

As a long time Thor fan, this movie has been on my calendar for months. Going into The Avengers I was excited but tried to keep my expectations from getting out of control. Fortunately, I didn’t need to do that because the movie is that good. A lot of that credit has to go to writer/director Joss Whedon. Some of you might recognize the name because he created the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

The movie could have fallen apart from the beginning with so many big characters — both figurative and literally speaking — on screen at once. With Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk taking part in the story, any number of things could have gone wrong. Characters could have been underutilized — having four strong stand alone characters could have made them feel not like a team at all — but in the span of just a few hours, Whedon and company have created a giant leap for comic book fans and movies.

Whedon was the right person for the job because, based on his past work, he knows how to generate great characterization and interaction. He knows how to tell a story through the characters and not through the special effects, which was needed in a situation like this. Whedon, the other writers and the actors were able to make these comic book characters more human, so to speak.

The interactions between Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) were some of the best moments in the movie. Some of my favorites were Stark poking Banner to see if he will Hulk up, Thor giving a great one-liner about his brother Loki and Stark verbally sparing with Loki toward the end of the movie.

The story is simple enough: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wants to take over and rule Earth and the Avengers have to stop him. The major battle doesn’t take place until the end of the movie, but then again it does take up the final 30 minutes or so.

With Loki as the main villain in the movie it helps to have seen last year’s Thor. It isn’t a must to but it does help set up the relationship between Thor and Loki. Watching all of the individual movies helps with understanding some of the character traits in The Avengers, though the last the two Hulk films don’t really do much for the character except see him smash through tanks and cities.

While Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Hulk are the main heroes, there is a strong supporting cast around them. Scarlett Johansson is Agent Romanoff/Black Widow and Jeremy Renner is Agent Barton/Hawkeye, both agents for S.H.I.E.L.D. Clark Gregg returns as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson, and How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders is Agent Hill. The guy who brings all of these characters together is Nick Furry, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Tom Hiddleston is terrific as Loki. He is sinister, brutal and devious — after all, he is the Norse god of mischief, deceit and lies. I hope he returns in some fashion in the next Thor movie or the next Avengers. Robert Downey Jr. is back to his witty, sarcastic ways and he has some of the best lines in the movie. Mark Ruffalo is able to finally bring some credit to the Bruce Banner/Hulk character.

The Avengers is a great way to kick off the summer movie season. It combines wonderful action sequences, well done comedy and heartfelt drama in the span of 142 minutes. Whedon was a perfect fit for this movie because he understands character and doesn’t rely on flashy explosions like some directors. If you like flashy explosions there are a decent amount in The Avengers but there is also some of the best character development/interaction I’ve seen in a Marvel movie.

 
 
by Stephen Carter-Novotni 03.31.2009
at 08:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

New Star Trek Trailer

Is anyone else as jazzed as I am about the new Star Trek film? It looks like a thrilling ride.

It's due in theaters May 8, and there's already a sequel planned.

Live long and prosper

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by Jason Gargano 08.26.2011
at 01:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Horror: Hollywood's Breadwinner

I just finished reading Shock Value, Jason Zinoman's entertaining look at “how a few eccentric outsiders gave us nightmares, conquered Hollywood and invented modern horror.”

The book celebrates a genre and group of filmmakers often ghettoized when compared to the better-known New Hollywood revolution of the 1970s, a rightly celebrated period and movement — roughly between Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) — that was investigated in Peter Biskind's equally entertaining Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

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by Jason Gargano 08.07.2009
at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Goodbye, John Hughes

John Hughes, the writer and/or director of such 1980s staples as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, died of a heart attack yesterday at age 59. That sucks for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that few filmmakers made popular entertainments with as much heart, authenticity and wit as Hughes, and fewer still did it in the largely vapid genre of teen comedy.

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by Brandon Barb 04.13.2012
at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
the-raven-movie

Movies In Question: 'The Raven' and 'Stooges'

John Cusack an odd choice for Edgar Allan Poe; Larry, Moe and Curly finally go big screen

When I first saw the trailer to the upcoming John Cusack movie The Raven I wasn't quite sure what to think. At first, I was excited because it is a movie based on Edgar Allan Poe’s work, but I'm still skeptical. The English major side of me jumped for joy (but then remembered he was an English major and went back to brooding).


Everything was fine until John Cusack walked in from the shadows. Don't get me wrong, his movies are some of my favorites and I love his work, but Cusack playing Poe is a strange combination. Maybe they wanted to have the same dark character they saw in Identity. There are a few people that I could see playing Poe. Off the top of my head, Sam Rockwell, Edward Norton and Gary Oldman are three guys who could pull off the dark character that Poe was. At least Cusack resembles Poe in the movie.

Maybe it is just the trailer that turns me off to Cusack filling the boots of the late American poet. In it, Cusack’s delivery is dry and stiff. I don’t feel any kind mystery that surrounds Poe. Some of his writings are real disturbing when looked at closely, but with Cusack the character appears to be deflated. I guess this hesitation comes from Poe being one of my favorite writers. For all I know, the trailers don’t do the movie justice, which I hope is the case. Cusack is known for his obscure roles and disturbed characters, so this is probably a perfect fit.

The premise for the film has been done before, but since it's Edgar Allan Poe it gives the movie somewhat of a different angle. Some man is committing murders based on stories written by Poe, and then Poe has to figure out who the murderer is with the help of Detective Fields played by Luke Evans. If you're worrying about spoilers, don't be — all of that is in the trailer. I think I know who the murderer is already, but it’s Hollywood so anything can happen.

Movies based off of literature are good as long as they keep true to the source material. It will be interesting to see what happens with The Raven. It feels like a mixture of the Sherlock Holmes movies and the Johnny Depp picture From Hell. We will all find out on April 27.

Another movie is being released today and me torn as to whether to watch it or not. The idea of a The Three Stooges film has bounced around for years, but now it has finally limped its way to the screen. Leave it to Hollywood to take a beloved comedic classic like the Stooges and churn out a mediocre-looking movie.


There have been many names were attached to this project, including Jim Carrey, Justin Timberlake, Andy Samberg and Paul Giamatti. Actually filling the shoes of the Stooges are Sean Hayes as Larry, Will Sasso as Curly and Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe. To me the only choice that makes sense is Sasso because he made a name for himself with physical comedy on Mad TV.

I’m surprised this is actually a movie, because it just looks horrible. I don’t want to watch it but I probably will end up in the theater because the original Stooges are a great gift to slapstick comedy — I’ll even give Curly’s replacement Shemp a nod and say he wasn’t that bad, either. But any movie that incorporates the Jersey Shore should just go straight to DVD.

The tagline for the movie is “Just say Moe” but someone should have told the Farrelly brothers to just say no. They are known for great comedies like Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary and Me, Myself & Irene, but their trek into classic slapstick comedy appears to be anything but. As much of a fan as I am of the Stooges I hope I'm wrong with this one, and that at least Will Sasso is just as good as he was on Mad TV.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 01.14.2011
at 12:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Winona Ryder Edition

There was a time when Winona Ryder could do no wrong. Simultaneously intelligent, beautiful and creatively savvy, Ryder burst onto the scene with a series of late-1980s roles informed by a refreshingly offbeat sensibility best exemplified by her adorable goth-girl breakthrough in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice and her career-defining performance as Veronica in Heathers, a scathing black comedy that still holds up 20 years later.

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by Jason Gargano 11.06.2008
at 04:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Politics: The Movie of the Year

Has there been a movie this year that even comes close to generating the drama and suspense that marked the 2008 presidential campaign?

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by Jason Gargano 10.30.2008
at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

Joaquin Phoenix Calls It Quits

Sure, he’s always been uncomfortable in the spotlight — but retirement?

Joaquin Phoenix told an E! reporter at a recent red-carpet Hollywood event, “This will be my last performance as an actor. I’m not doing films anymore … I’m going to play music.

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