Archive | June 2013

Monsters University


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Dropout

Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. was released centuries ago in 2001 and drew tears from little kids long after they outgrew the age where it was socially acceptable to cry in public (maybe just me). Now that these little kids have all grown up and left for college it made sense for the monsters (who were fully grown at the time) to age backwards and do the same, right?

Actually no, of course not. That’s a freaking stupid idea.

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Man of Steel


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Hollywood’s kryptonite

On the superhero film spectrum, Man of Steel lies much closer to the recent Batman trilogy than, say, the current Iron Man films in terms of subject approach and tone. Christopher Nolan (director of the Batman trilogy) produced this latest Superman revival, this time grounding our hero in a dark, moody New York City-based metropolis, familiar in tone to his most recent superhero trilogy. Clark Kent is easily the most powerful superhero; however Nolan and director Zack Snyder compromise our hero’s near-invincible physicality in favor of ostracizing him from the species he is fighting to save. Superman doesn’t feel invincible in the newest rendition; in fact he appears quite vulnerable, a theme that helped Snyder and Nolan make this version of Superman a great one.

In a Star Wars-y opening sequence, the planet of Krypton, home to the Kryptonians (who look pretty indistinguishable from humans if you ask me) is preparing for its apocalypse. The core of the planet has become unstable and will soon destroy itself, while General Zod (Michael Shannon) is leading a rebellion against the Kryptonian government. Scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and his wife Lara (Ayelet Zurer) send their newborn son Kal-El to Earth as their last hope to save their son and their species.

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This Is The End


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RIP my sides

If you left the theater for This Is The End with any complaints about acting, cinematography, lighting, or any other technical aspects of film, you watched it wrong. Directed, written, and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the film brings Rogen together with many of his past costars and basks in their own outlandish corner of the comedic universe. At its roots the movie is nothing more than a group of friends (who happen to be famous comedians) who one day decided it would be a good idea to come together to film a 106 minute-long inside joke. Luckily, they’re all beguilingly hysterical enough to, in their own specific charm, sell the film to almost anyone with the least amount of appreciation for humor.

The film’s “story” would be just okay had it been approached conventionally. Instead the actors play overdramatized versions of themselves, a simple twist that made the film as entertaining as it is. Jay Baruchel (who’s a real living actor I guess) visits his BFF Seth Rogen in Los Angeles, his least favorite place on the planet. Jay is one of those hipsters who think hating on LA is cool, but Seth Rogen forces him to attend a mansion-opening celebrity party hosted by his other BFF and common costar James Franco.

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Star Trek Into Darkness


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Captain Kirk to the rescue

I want to preface this very delayed review by saying I’ve never paid attention to anything involving Star Trek before I saw this movie and I was still very gripped by it. I don’t know how closely Into Darkness followed the original television series (or any of the subsequent hundred thousand spinoff series) but some of the ideas that went into this film made my brain pop like a physically strained puffer fish. From what I gathered, their organization, the USS Enterprise, protects species from extinction (whether due to natural calamity or intentional genocide) without letting said species know they exist and are meddling, or something. Breathe if I’m wrong.

This movie was good enough to compel me to watch the first of the new J. J. Abrams’d film series, so I can confidently say, after hours of research, Into Darkness picks up where its predecessor left off. Newly Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), as hyperactive and controversially opinionated as ever, risks his position as captain to save half-human half-Vulcan Spock (Zachary Quinto admirably sporting a bowl cut) from the center of an exploding volcano during a mission to save a creepy race of alien and their neon-red CGI jungle. Spock is incapable of being grateful for the rescue, as the Vulcan part of him forbids any human emotion, which makes Captain Kirk vewy angwy. 

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Now You See Me


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Is this your card?

Oh. It isn’t?

For a movie about sly street muggers performing supposedly death-defying stunts, Louis Leterrier’s Now You See Me doesn’t play very smoothly. You may not believe your eyes when the star-studded cast and gripping story premise fail to deliver a memorable show. Or who knows, maybe you will. “The closer you are, the less you see,” Jesse Eisenberg casually mentions about a dozen times throughout the film. Maybe it’s best to squeeze in close for this one.

Cast aside, the best thing about the film is its mostly intriguing story. Four talented street-level magicians (Eisenberg as an illusionist, Isla Fisher as a daring escape artist, Dave Franco as a pickpocket, and Woody Harrelson as an intrusive mentalist) are selected by an anonymous gray hoodie’d mastermind to perform some of the world’s greatest magic as the Four Horsemen (which, if you ask me, is a #super cool name). One year after tricking tourists into paying their rent, the Horsemen are snagging millions of dollars from international banks in front of massive live audiences, drawing the attention of both adoring fans and the FBI.

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