Archive | April 2013

Oblivion


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America the beautiful

Set in a hypothetical future America of gorgeous destruction, Oblivion delivers amazing effects, but a just decent story.

When I first saw previews for Oblivion, I didn’t think it would follow in Inception’s or Looper’s footsteps in being a film with incredible action scenes that are outshined only by its mind-bending plot twists. And I was right, it didn’t.  The film’s story (which supposedly “borrows” elements from many other sci-fi movies, but we won’t talk about that) is a great idea executed poorly. Still, the picture focuses on personal sentimentality brought by a war rather than the futuristic, CGI-reliant ticket-selling war itself, and the risk is a refreshing reminder that action movies can have equally entertaining moments of calm, too.

Not to detract from the film’s action scenes. Rationed rather than overused but still effective, the action scenes travel in whirlwinds spinning 900 miles an hour with stray lasers, explosions and rockets swirling in the computer generated debris. One of the highlights is exploring a post-apocalyptic America (vaguely recognizable by several half-standing famous monuments) in Tom Cruise’s sleek Bubble Ship (the blueprints for which were found discarded next to a leftover Star Wars prop storage unit). Cruise excels at action scenes, as always, and is at his dependable level of solid but not spectacular acting (not that the script calls for an award-winning performance).

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The Purge


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The Purge advanced screening: Cleansing Hollywood of its sins

The Purge is better than you probably expect, and you’re probably already hyped for it. It’s rare that a film has writing, directing, and acting work with perfect synchronization to establish a solid image for the film. It would have passed as a stirring horror/thriller based on concept alone, but it refuses to rely only on its marketable premise to attract viewership. Finally, we can enjoy a horror movie without feeling like we’re being baby-talked to.

The Purge toys with the concept of an America in which all crime (as long as it is not at the expense of a prominent government figure) is legalized for 12 hours, one night a year. During this time no help is available; police and hospitals are preoccupied hiding in their own homes. Purging night has helped whittle crime rates to a measly 1% of what it used to be, and helps Americans unleash pent-up aggression. It’s a foolproof system.

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The Purge advanced screening


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I went to an advanced screening of The Purge that producer and Blumhouse CEO Jason Blum was present at this Wednesday. The movie? Fantastic. My full review will be up some time soon. Hopefully my review will not be influenced by all the goodies I received.

You’ve heard of Jason Blum. He’s the man behind Insidious, Sinister, Dark Skies, Lawless, and the entire Paranormal Activity series. And more. He’s instantly recognizable as a celebrity when he walks in the room – we non-Hollywoodized farm workers could never hope to get our skin to match his perfect shade of tan. And don’t even talk to me about the meticulous perfection of his windswept hair, a style I’ve been pursuing my entire life.

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42


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I don’t know about you, but I’m feelin’ 42

The story of Jackie Robinson is inspirational and ‘Murica! enough that the film 42 could have been a Power Point presentation of black and white historical photos accompanied by a drawling narrator and it would have had audiences bawling nonetheless. Unfortunately, 42 depended on the Robinson’s inspirational tale and virtually nothing else to keep audiences cheering. Though the movie is admittedly well acted, Robinson’s story is the only remarkable thing about the film itself.

The biopic covers the first two seasons of Robinson’s career as a professional ball player, first playing for the Montreal Royals then for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson (portrayed by Chadwick Boseman) was the first ever African-American player to be professionally signed. The film focuses on his achievements on the field, and his personal struggle to tolerate the adversity of being the only non-white ball player in a close-minded nation.

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Evil Dead


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You are all going to see Evil Dead tonight

If Evil Dead had lowered its pretentious tagline to something a little less ambitious, such as “the most terrifying film you will experience that came out in the early 2010s”, it might not be at all inaccurate.

In the wake of horrific failures such as Sinister and The Last Exorcism Part II, Evil Dead will feel like clouds parting way to reveal a beautiful heaven to horror movie fans. (Or the ground opening to reveal a fiery Hell; whichever fanatics prefer.) Considered the fourth installment of the Evil Dead franchise (though ‘remake’ would more accurately describe it), director Fede Alvarez and director of the original trilogy Sam Raimi plan to team up and reboot the series. A sequel is already in the works. In the eternal words of Bruce Campbell, “Groovy.”

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Spring Breakers


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Gimme a break

Started from Disney now they here

Started from Disney now the whole High School Musical cast here

In retrospect, I think and desperately hope Spring Breakers was a satire. If so, you know what, good job Selena and Vanessa, you contributed to a piece of intelligent layered filmmaking during your careers. (No disrespect to High School Musical or Wizards of Waverly Place or whatever).

But the fact that the movie could potentially be making fun of itself doesn’t exactly make it good. It was still filmed in a woozy documentary-style haze that distanced “story” and “characters” from the audience. The “story” moves at the pace of a drunken snail and is largely told through random repeated sound bites and images. And most importantly, this “story” I’ve been referencing doesn’t exist. Not even with quotations around it. The movie is just bikini-clad girls running around with guns and then James Franco shows up halfway through and joins them in their brainless wildness.

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