REVIEW: 300: Rise of an Empire [2014]

“Fear his freedom!” This is what a copy of a copy looks like. It pretends to be equal to the original—and in some aspects proves to be exactly the same—yet arrives seven years after everything its groundbreaking ancestor provided was expanded and evolved upon. I loved 300 and gave it a perfect score despite some issues because it was so fresh and exhilarating. It showed how the capabilities of cinema could be pushed even further than Frank Miller‘s other adaptation Sin City, breathing life into a dark and gruesome graphic…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2014: ‘Noah’, ‘Nymphomaniac,’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ ‘Enemy’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Has summer started early? Big blockbusters like Divergent, Noah, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Need for Speed are releasing in March—I guess they must therefore be the studios’ lesser…

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REVIEW: 47 Ronin [2013]

“Now know the depth of my lord’s honor” There have been numerous iterations of Japan’s unofficial, national legend about forty-seven ronin who avenged their master’s death at the start of the eighteenth century spanning movies, ballets, television productions, operas, bunraku, and kabuki plays. Known as Chūshingura, the true story has been embellished over the centuries to ensure each new generation told about these brave warriors understood the themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and honor being a Japanese citizen entailed. Whether or not the first account some fifty years after the actual…

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REVIEW: Immortals [2011]

“Witness hell!” With the most recent forays into mythology coming in the form of a boring Troy and misguided Clash of the Titans, seeing the name Tarsem Singh attached to Immortals brought a smile to my face. Originally titled Dawn of War and War of the Gods before settling on its current name, the director sought to deliver a bloody epic in the style of a Renaissance painting—the flowing light of the Gods’ capes and fluid motion of action a real treat. And if you’ve seen his previous work The…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: Valhalla Rising [2009]

“The boy said he was from hell” Sometimes a movie comes along that is almost indecipherable, but for reasons unknown, still can’t be shaken from my consciousness. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising is one such example. It concerns a one-eyed, mute Norse warrior’s quest to discover his lot in life and/or death … I really don’t know which. It could have been the fatigue of being the fourteenth movie seen in less than four days at the Toronto International Film Festival, or perhaps it was intentionally vague to utilize its…

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REVIEW: Монгол [Mongol] [2008]

“Never betray your Khan” Genghis Khan, sympathetic king of the people? If Sergei Bodrov is to be believed: yes. His tale of Khan’s ascent to power from childhood, Монгол [Mongol], tells of how he kept his ideals and the laws of Mongolia intact to unite a country from greed. After a battle, he takes an even share as those fighting under him; he respects his men and their families above survival. “Fight your enemy until the end” becomes one of his rules, and he himself lives by it. Sure, as…

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Top 25 Films of 2007

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 114 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Away From Her directed by Sarah Polley . #24: Cassandra’s Dream directed by Woody Allen . #23: The Cake Eaters directed by Mary Stuart Masterson #22: Grindhouse directed by Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez #21: Stardust directed by Matthew Vaughn . . #20: Reign Over Me directed by Mike Binder . . #19: El Orfanato [The Orphanage] directed by J.A. Bayona…

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Top Ten Films of 2007: The Year of the Adaptation

It was a year of many genres. We had some musicals, a few dramas, comedies galore, a little sci-fi, and a couple bio-pics sprinkled in to satiate the kiddies and Oscar voters. If anything, I guess one trend seemed to rise above, that being the adaptation, whether from plays (Sweeney Todd), novels (Zodiac), or comics (Stardust). I always try to read first, but the shear amount this year prevented me from doing so, therefore I can’t quite say if they were all successes or not. In the end, after seeing…

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REVIEW: Beowulf [2007]

“Sins of the father” Let’s start this out with the fact that my College Professor of World Civ had us read The Epic of Gilgamesh rather than the one adapted here with Beowulf. So, I went into the film without really knowing anything of the story besides the monster Grendel and the obligatory pride as a curse, creating your own demons, etc. As shown onscreen, it is obvious that the yarn is an ancient one. Besides the archaic traditions—Queens are inherited as the wife of all who take the crown?—it…

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