WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Adaptation of Norwegian Joe Nesbø Thriller Is Good Lurid Fun

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Pulp — there it is again — the good cheap stuff is back and, not surprisingly, it has found its way onto the big screen. Jo Nesbø, the Norwegian bestseller trawling these murky shores, provides the basis for a solid anchoring with Headhunters.   

Film: The Hunter

0 Comments · Monday, April 16, 2012
Is there a more underappreciated American actor than Willem Dafoe? The 56-year-old Wisconsin native has been in more than 75 movies since his breakthrough roles in To Live and Die in LA and Platoon.  
by Brandon Barb 04.13.2012
at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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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.
 
 

The Arts as Hero

A research project gives rise to a film about Cincinnati’s thriving arts scene

2 Comments · Tuesday, April 3, 2012
“I’ve seen the future,” Prince sang back in 1989 on the soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Batman, “and it will be …” Gotham City was on the cusp of change; a hero had arrived on the scene to usher in the new. Cincinnati has been waiting, always on the verge of its own bankable opportunity to step into the future as a lively and engaged urban market. Every city needs a hero.   
by Brandon Barb 03.30.2012
at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Worth the Hype: A Look at 'The Hunger Games'

Don't compare the latest young adult book-to-film to 'Twilight'

When I go see a movie, it better be a great one — at least a good one so that I didn’t waste an evening. Being in my final year of college I don’t exactly have all the time I want to go out to the theater. There have been numerous movies that are already out on DVD that I missed out on seeing on the big screen, the most recent example being The Rum Diary.There is another reason that I visit the theater maybe two or three times a year, and that is the price of tickets. My student status means what little money I have goes to more important needs. Going to see a movie should be an enjoyable event not a troublesome occasion that breaks your bank account. Tickets, dinner and movie snacks can get incredibly expensive which is why I’m glad there was still a little tax return money left when I went to see The Hunger Games. I know this is a little late in regards to the movie’s release, but better late than never.Going into the movie I had not read any of the books. I know that is sacrilegious in some circles — even the English major in me was furious. But I am not here to talk about the book, even though I did subsequently pick it up, so that could happen in a few days.With that being said, I didn’t have any preconceived notions of the story, characters or setting. In some cases that is the best way to be introduced to a series. With a clean slate, that allows little room for disappointment. The only thing that I was really disappointed about was the use of the shaky camera, mainly in the opening and final scenes in the arena. Apparently director Gary Ross felt that using shaky cam work would help give a better portrayal of Katniss Everdeen’s point of view and gave a sense of urgency to the movie. My only advice is that if you get motion sickness, be careful with this one.At risk of sounding cheesy, everything else about the movie was great. Jennifer Lawrence did an excellent job of being the badass Katniss is. Woody Harrelson kept his string of great roles going; in some scenes he stole the light away from Lawrence and company — at least in my eyes. Maybe I’m just too big a fan of Zombieland.There was one thing that went unnoticed though. Peeta, played by Union, Ky., native Josh Hutcherson, turned into a wimp in the arena. A big deal was made of how much weight he could throw around, even showing him picking up a spiked metal ball and hurling it across the room. I was expecting him to throw a heavy boulder at someone Braveheart-style. Instead, we were shown that he all he could do was camouflage himself to look like a rock. At least in the book he killed someone.The only bad part of The Hunger Games was having to sit through a trailer for the final Twilight movie. That whole series is like watching pieces of wood trying to act. There have been comparisons of the two book/film series but there is one difference between them: The Hunger Games is actually good.The Twilight books are horribly written ­— I wasn’t able to get more than 20 pages into the first one before I had to stop — the English major in me came out again, rejoicing like the Wicked Witch was dead. Then the Twilight movies completely destroyed every bit of vampire lore ever created. Vampires don’t sparkle and they can’t go out in the sun. I guess I don’t get the appeal of Twilight because I’m not a teenage girl. The choice of actors/actresses was strange as well, mainly because they give the same performance in each movie they are in. Check out Taylor Lautner’s terrible action movie Abduction for a piece of wood with abs’ best impression of acting. With that, I think I need to stop with the Twilight comments before it gets out of hand.Though I picked up the Hunger Games book after I watched the movie, I can now say the filmmakers stayed true to the source material. There have been other movies with the same concept of a group of people fighting to death — The Running Man, Battle Royale and The Condemned are only a few. The story has been done before but it still manages to stay fresh. I’ve been going on and on, go see the movie for yourself or better yet read the book, it would only take a day or so to get through it.
 
 

A Dangerous Method (Review)

David Cronenberg allows actors’ methods to shine

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Danger has been a factor in the recent films of David Cronenberg, but the tension and anxiety has been focused on the physical, the threat of bodily harm and the need to determine where said harm would originate.    

Wendy And Lucy (Oscilliscope)

2008, Rated R

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It’s tempting to label this melancholy wisp of a film as a wake-up call for a nation gone bankrupt (in more ways than one). But Wendy and Lucy is far too subtle for that: It makes Marley and Me look like Porky’s. Kelly Reichardt’s follow-up to the excellent Old Joy tells the simple story of a girl, Wendy (Michelle Williams, whose compelling, vanity-free performance is the film’s glue), and her dog, Lucy (Reichardt’s own dog).  

Come Again?

The second coming in the age of sequels and reboots

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 20, 2011
What better time, it would seem, to explore the life of God as Man? Our heroes are darker, more conflicted beings, grappling with ethical quandaries and the nature of morality. Machines have become more human as we have begun to mix and co-mingle with them. If we cannot re-imagine Jesus now and make him relevant, then when?  

Back to the Beginning

Reinventing the creation myth behind franchise films

1 Comment · Wednesday, May 20, 2009
We’ve gotten so jaded about the hackneyed, hyperactive “franchise films” that Hollywood floods us with each summer — X-Men Origins: Wolverine, anyone? — that we fail to recognize when the movie business comes up with a good new idea.   

Patti Smith: Dream of Life

Palm Pictures, 2008, Unrated

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Steven Sebring spent 11 years working on this film about Rock icon/poet/activist Patti Smith, as worthy a subject for a documentary as anyone in Pop music. But his project at some point overwhelmed him.  

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