REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda [2008]

“Can you handle the crazy feet?” Pixar is where it is at for me animation-wise in Hollywood. Maybe that makes me a snob, but something about their films resonate on a level that the others can’t even begin to touch. Sure Shrek and Madagascar are funny, but besides the off-belly laugh, they are kind of shallow and hollow. With that said, I went to check out Dreamworks new foray into computer graphic cinema, Kung Fu Panda. Admittedly, I knew very little about this thing other than the fact that Jack…

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REVIEW: The Strangers [2008]

“Is Tamara there?” I am all for the torture porn genre—the Saw films are entertaining, yes even the fourth, and I thoroughly enjoyed Hostel. First time writer/director Bryan Bertino has decided to throw his cap into the ring with the new film The Strangers. Supposedly based on true events, the movie ends up running similarly to Haneke’s Funny Games, except without the social commentary and instead more contemporary scare tactics with masks, (I’ll admit that seeing the faces of the killers as human beings is far scarier because you can…

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REVIEW: The Visitor [2008]

“Thinking just screws it all up” When I first saw the trailer for the new film The Visitor I knew I wanted to see it solely on the basis that Richard Jenkins was going to be the star. I’ve loved this guy in everything he has done, mostly small to medium supporting work; it’s great to see him get the chance to carry an entire movie. Of course there was more to like: the music seemed fantastic, the storyline something with some dramatic weight, and the fact that it was…

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REVIEW: A Man for All Seasons [1966]

“I trust I make myself obscure” Considering my only entry point into the history of England during the reign of King Henry VIII comes from the first season of Showtime’s “The Tudors,” (a quality program, perhaps a tad too salacious than absolutely necessary), I was more than obliged to take a friend up on his offer to watch the Oscar-winning A Man for All Seasons. The world is full of coincidence and having this film come up now seemed perfect. I have been awaiting the conclusion of season two before…

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REVIEW: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [2008]

“So much time wasted in human life waiting” I’ll tell you, nothing gets one’s heart pounding more than a nostalgic theme song score playing during a film. Nothing is more iconic than John Williams’ music when it comes to Indiana Jones, unless you count the humor, the adventure, the whip, and the hat. Steven Spielberg even goes out of his way to show the silhouetted professor place said hat upon his head before we even catch a glimpse of the man himself. From the start, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom…

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REVIEW: Good Bye Lenin! [2003]

“It was a really hot October” It is quite interesting that I have been privy to three movies dealing with amateur filmmaking within a very short span this year. While Be Kind Rewind and Son of Rambow utilized the form for comedic purposes, the German film from 2003, Good Bye Lenin! differs slightly, even though humor is the main result. With a pretty creative premise, a pro-East German woman falls into a coma during the eight months of the fall of the Berlin Wall and her son and daughter must…

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REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian [2008]

“They used to dance” After three years, Andrew Adamson returns the world of Narnia to film fans everywhere with Prince Caspian. Shot out of order from the stories themselves, this is the obvious second choice cinematically. With the ever-looming challenge of young actors aging at such a fast pace, he needs to get all the tales concerning these kings and queens done before they become way too old. As it is, both Edmund and Lucy appear much older than the previous work, but it never detracts from the proceedings. This…

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REVIEW: Son of Rambow [2008]

“I blame the parents” If you are in the mood for a story from the heart, about friendship and identity, growing up in a world foreign from your sensibilities and against what it is you want to be, despite the need to conform, Son of Rambow is just the thing. Be aware, however, that this is a British film with story at its core. There are slow moments throughout, but only in a bid to enhance the overall work. People walked out of my screening saying that they were bored—this…

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REVIEW: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe [2005]

I remember the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis very fondly from my elementary school days. Never having read the Lord of Rings until college, once the films began to be made, Narnia was my one outlet into fantasy. Yes, there were a couple BBC productions that our librarian showed us while reading the epic saga, but being over a decade ago, having a reboot seemed like a perfect idea. Piggybacking on the fantasy train during the mid-2000’s was a no-brainer and who better to direct than family friendly man…

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REVIEW: Redbelt [2008]

“There’s always an escape” David Mamet is back with his new film Redbelt. After four years away from Hollywood, producing the television show “The Unit,” Mamet has followed up his solid thriller Spartan with a drama of intelligence that only he can capture. Complete with the trademark, metered language—every word timed and delivered with precision—this tale may be billed as a mixed martial arts actioner, but it is so much more. The sport itself lends heavily to the plot for sure, but rather than with its moves and choreography, it…

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REVIEW: What Happens in Vegas [2008]

“Oh Lovebiscuit; Yes Tickle-Monkey?” I went into the screening of What Happens in Vegas thinking I was in store for a train-wreck; I mean the trailer looked horrible. I suffer the pain for all of you readers, though, in the hopes that you won’t have to live the same fate. In actuality, the movie ended up being a same-old, same-old rom-com that had some laughs, but overall just plodded along to its inevitable conclusion. Being that this pair of New Yorkers, married after a night of heavy drinking in Vegas,…

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