Friday, November 29, 2013

Frozen movie review.

With a legacy spanning decades, Walt Disney Pictures has made some of the most beloved, iconic, and memorable animated features in history. Like any company, they’ve had their ups and downs, but when they got it right, they got it right. Any kid who grew up in the nineties is already familiar with their Renaissance era, which gave us their wonderful musical hits such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. This signature formula wouldn’t be revisited until years later with the release of The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, and then again with the subject of today’s review, Frozen.

In what has been a weak year in animated features, Frozen was always that one glimmer of hope that I held onto so tightly. After releasing to enthusiastic early reviews, what was my verdict upon seeing Frozen? Not only do I think this is their best animated feature since Lilo & Stitch, and their best musical since The Lion King, it’s one of their all time greatest animated efforts. From the second it began (marked by graceful Norwegian choir), I was in love with Frozen.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie review.

It’s been a year and a half since I first raved over The Hunger Games, the first installment of the film series based on the books by Suzanne Collins, of which I am a fan. An at once exhilarating, as well as brutal and emotional film, it also serves as an allegory of governmental oppression and society’s disturbing thirst of exploitative reality television. Clearly, anyone attempting to follow in the footsteps of Gary Ross was going to have a difficult task.

But attempt they did. Catching Fire, now under the direction of Francis Lawrence, goes even bigger than its predecessor. Despite being a fan of the first film, and of the books by Collins, I had reservations about how this second book would be adapted to satisfaction without rehashing material. Worry not. Bigger, better, and more brutal than the first, Catching Fire properly continues a great story and delves even deeper into the societal commentary.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Conjuring movie review.

This review’s a month late, but better late than never

Anybody who knows me knows this: I cannot stand modern horror. I’m sure there are great, smaller products that I haven’t gotten around to, but aside from a few selective titles (including 28 Days Later and The Others), I struggle to think of many mainstream horror films which aren’t terribly written, passively acted, or just flat out not scary. Most horror films have succumb to this atrocious and cheap cliché of jump scares, which usually exploits human reflex with startling images and loud noises as an illusion of being legitimately scary. However, this cannot be said of The Conjuring. Believe the hype, this movie is legitimately frightening. Clearly taking influence from the age of horror films such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror, the film details the true story of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who take up the case of a family tormented by the spirits inhabiting their new home in Rhode Island.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Before Midnight movie review.

It’s been a long journey for Jesse and Celine, the main characters of Before Midnight. An effort of clear dedication and passion from Richard Linklater, his “Before” trilogy has earned a spot as one of the most beloved trilogies of all time. Featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as the main characters, Before Sunrise introduced the two star-crossed lovers' first evening together in Vienna, and nine years later in Before Sunset, reconnecting in Paris. Flash forward to 2013, and we are now able to follow their lives once more in Before Midnight.

I’ll be honest that I hadn’t seen any of these films until a few days ago, but what I saw has made me sorry I didn’t get to it sooner. With each new installment, this series has only gotten better, and with Before Midnight, they've created the ultimate culmination to one of the most realistic portrayals in romance of all time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ender's Game movie review.

In 1985, author Orson Scott Card published his acclaimed novel Ender’s Game, a science-fiction book following a young boy who goes through military training to prepare for war against an enemy alien race. Having little familiarity with the book, I wasn’t sure what to expect of this film adaptation.

Much of the press around the film has been controversial. This has less to do with the movie, and more to do with Card, and his views on gay marriage. Many have subsequently boycotted the film while the studio has made a point to create distance from Card’s beliefs. While his views are nothing short of ridiculous, that will not be the point of today’s review.

This film adaptation, which has been in development for years, felt custom tailored to make me despise virtually every second of its running time. While I wish I could offer some word of recommendation, I have nothing complimentary to say of this movie.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Animation catch-up: Despicable Me 2, Planes, & Turbo.

I won’t pretend to think this year in animated features has been a great one. I know many probably had issues with the medium in 2011, but trust me, this year for animation is easily worse. Not only is it the worst year for the medium since 2006, it’s one of the worst years in animation I can remember. I’ve already gotten around to a few of these films, but today, I decided to finish up some reviews of movies I saw earlier in the year, but I’ve been holding back for a while. Some I saw by my own free will, while others I was coerced into seeing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Monsters University movie review.

Sometimes, even the mighty fall hard. It’s not that Pixar’s recent movies have been bad (I’d dare say that Brave is a great film underrated by most critics), it’s the fact that they just don’t hit the same heights that we’ve come to expect of the company. From 2007-2010, they made four movies back to back that all amounted to a level of perfection no other company could boast, so it’s clear they were only setting themselves up for disappointment. Monsters University, their most recent animated release, and a prequel to their excellent Monsters Inc., is a film that has me torn. Let me make one thing clear: I actually liked this movie, but I found myself wanting to love this movie more than I did. Be that as it may, the fact still remains that I actually liked this movie. While it’s certainly nowhere near the top tier of their best films, I still found myself charmed and tickled all throughout the film.