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by Jason Gargano 08.05.2011
at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: The Perils of Technology

Jaws was on TV the other day. Though too young to have caught its initial 1975 theatrical release, I've since watched it at least a half-dozen times, each exposure inevitably sucking me back into its simple but exhilarating story all over again.

This time I was struck by how different Jaws is compared to the sleek, sequel-laden, CGI-driven summer fare of today. Watching a drunken Quint (a thoroughly convincing Robert Shaw) stomp aroundJaws' grimy, pathetic boat — which is a character unto itself — is welcome aesthetic shift from the alienating pixelated mayhem of Thor, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Captain America and the like.

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by Jason Gargano 03.06.2009
at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Zoo Crews, Watchmen and Vampires

While I recognize and appreciate the undeniable creative juice expended in their creation, I admit to a blind spot when it comes to comic books (aka graphic novels to the genre’s serious devotees). I outgrew the form shortly after the death of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, which went out of print after a 20-issue run in the early 1980s. (Don’t ask how much I spent on a recent, eBay-procured mint copy of the first issue.)

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Which brings me to Watchmen, probably the most anticipated movie our young, quality-deprived year to date.

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by Jason Gargano 12.10.2010
at 01:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: 'The Tourist' Sucks Edition

We've got another thin week for new movie releases — unless you're excited about the latest Narnia film, which I'm not. Even the new Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie thriller — which I was initially eager to check out despite the warning sign its studio raised by not screening it in advance for critics — is getting thoroughly trashed by those unlucky enough to have seen it. That leaves Wild Target, another film its distributor (the indie outfit Freestyle) didn't screen in advance, as the lone possible saving grace. No pressure.

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by Jason Gargano 01.06.2011
at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

The Mixed Messages of 'No Strings Attached'

I try to stay away from movie trailers as much as possible — either because they rarely give you an accurate idea of what a movie is truly about or because they reveal the entire thing in two minutes. (On the other hand, I suppose I'd rather spend a few minutes with something like Tron: Legacy or The Tourist than sit through two mind-numbing hours.)

An example of the first reason is on display in the difference between the theatrical trailer version of No Strings Attached (which is set to open wide Jan. 21) and its much racier red band version.

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by Jason Gargano 10.08.2008
at 03:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Dubya Gets Stoned

Oliver Stone has been out of sorts ever since he gave people an aneurysm with the over-the-top, frenetic football extravaganza Any Given Sunday (1999).

Now that I think about it, U-Turn (1997) blew, too. In fact, it’s been since the underrated (and under-seen) Nixon (1995) that Stone had me fully engaged.

Recent years have been especially tough on the onetime provocateur: World Trade Center (2006) seemed a naked attempt to prove he could make a standard studio picture after the unqualified disaster that was the bloated, thoroughly disjointed Alexander (2004). How far had Stone fallen? I didn’t even bother to catch World Trade Center or Alexander during their theatrical run — an unthinkable occurrence back when even his less successful films were at least intriguing in their mix of testosterone-laden spectacle, pungent dialogue and formal dexterity.

All that said, I can’t wait to see what Stone does with W., his take on the presidency of George W. Bush (as played by what looks to be an inspired Josh Brolin).

The movie opens Oct. 17

Here are a few trailers to tide you over.


 
 
by Jason Gargano 11.11.2011
at 03:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Friday Movie Roundup: Lighten Up, Leo, Edition

When willLeonardo DiCaprio lighten up? It doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon.

Asked recently if he would consider doing something besides the heavy dramatic lifting of recent years (see Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Departed, Body of Lies, Revolutionary Road, Shutter Island, Inceptionand now J. Edgar), the 37-year-old actor responded with this to-the-point rebuttal: “Why would I want to do something I would consider a profound waste of time?"

Alright, then.

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by Jason Gargano 05.06.2011
at 01:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: Special-Effects Dude Edition

Versatile special-effects maestro Shane Mahan knows his summer blockbusters — he's worked with everyone from Steven Spielberg and James Cameron to Tim Burton and Jon Favreau.

"They are the best communicators, and I think they’re also the best visionaries,” Mahan says. 

Mahan is something of a visionary himself.

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by Jason Gargano 03.19.2010
at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Friday Movie Roundup: The Most Dangerous Man in America

The post-awards/pre-summer movie season trudges on with a curious collection of releases in a variety of genres: we’ve got another romantic comedy starring Jennifer "I Do Movies to Get a Boyfriend" Aniston (The Bounty Hunter), a futuristic thriller (Repo Men), a family-friendly teen thing (The Wimpy Kid Diaries) and even a 3-D IMAX documentary (Hubble).

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by Staff 11.11.2011
at 03:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Join 'Take Shelter' Discussion Saturday Night

On Saturday night (Nov. 12) after the 7:30 p.m. screening of Take Shelter at the Esquire Theatre in Clifton, CityBeat contributing editor Steven Rosen will lead a discussion into the film's meaning — and what really occurs at the mysterious ending.

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by Jason Gargano 11.16.2011
at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Last Chance for 'Margin Call'

Wall Street meldown drama closes Thursday

The economic meltdown of 2008 has now yielded a decent amount of feature-length films on the topic — from mediocre fictional dramas (Oliver Stone's Wall Street 2 and John Wells' The Company Men) to an effective, semi-tangential documentary (Alex Gibney's Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) to a solid docudrama (Curtis Hanson's HBO-backed Too Big to Fail).

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