REVIEW: Vampire Academy [2014]

“The clarity of the darkness beckons” The target demographic for Vampire Academy? Teenage girls. The only demographic that could truly, completely enjoy it? Teenage girls. With that said, however, it knows this and isn’t afraid to embrace it. Honestly, for better or worse, that’s exactly what it should strive towards because it’s why Hollywood green-lit the big-screen treatment in the first place. The fans of Richelle Mead‘s series of books upon which it’s based want the sassy divas, mystical princesses, and darkly brooding man meat to pine over. That’s why…

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REVIEW: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones [2013]

“What does that symbol mean?” Another Young Adult fantasy fiction trilogy to throw into the Hollywood machine, Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments gives Sony a property looking for broad appeal via its similarities to the darker Harry Potters, the overwrought love triangle in Twilight, and a PG-13 filtered “True Blood” collection of every supernatural species you can imagine (besides zombies of course, duh, stupid). It’s a world of Shadow Hunters—angel descendants who battle demons to protect the Mundanes (Muggles) unaware of the fight like you and me. Using ancient runes…

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [2013]

“Dead camper walking” Much like he did on Harry Potter, director Chris Columbus ushered Rick Riordan‘s young adult world of demigods to film with sure-handed exposition and a fun flair for the fantastical—if not necessarily visual excitement. The Lightning Thief introduced its hero Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) just as he became aware of his true identity and the power at his disposal. A sprawling adventure followed with he and companions Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) wherein a plethora of Greek myths got thrown our way in an…

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REVIEW: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone [2013]

“Pretend I’m still here and tell me all about it” I’m a big magic fan—always have been. Armed with a set of tricks needing extensive instructions before allowing my parents to feign astonishment at my implementation, I watched every David Copperfield special and even went to a weekly magic class one summer as a kid. There is something about making the impossible possible through hard work and dedication that is utterly satisfying. Who wouldn’t enjoy witnessing the look in someone’s eye when they’ve been genuinely surprised by a flawless illusion…

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REVIEW: Beautiful Creatures [2013]

“You can either run or shoot” Just like clockwork the Twilight series has found a successor. Trading vampires and werewolves for witches, authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s Caster Chronicles‘ has hit theatres with much less fanfare but perhaps more intrigue. Gatlin, South Carolina’s secrets are a mixture of Hogwart’s affinity for the Muggle world and Bella’s supernatural-heavy Seattle backyard—the casters possessing a division of light and dark like Voldemort’s Death Eaters and Dumbledore’s students as well as rites of passage similar to those of Jacob’s pack and Edward’s ‘vegetarian’…

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REVIEW: The Perks of Being a Wallflower [2012]

“We are infinite” Adolescent tomes depicting the trials and tribulations of high school are many; the ones infused with psychological trauma and bouts of depression their majority. But while most find the need to talk down to audiences by over saturating themselves in comedic anecdotes rather than humanity, it’s the rare instance of authenticity that speaks to you. It’s not because you too were damaged and friendless, but merely because you understand. We’ve all coped with the struggle of starting fresh at a new school with a foreign curriculum, acquaintances…

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REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 [2011]

“His name is Voldemort, Filius. You might as well use it. He’s going to try and kill you either way.” Every story must come to an end and the saga of Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is no exception. Splitting the final novel of J.K. Rowling’s epic tale of wizardry into two films makes it so the words are given justice and very little is left out, but just as Part 1 lacked a complete arc, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is even less its own entity. To…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2011: ‘Pooh’ and Friends Trump ‘Monte Carlo’

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that 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. Photoshop: the Bad, the Really Bad, and Some Success You see it a lot these days—the dreaded floating head Photoshop hack job. July 2011 is no stranger to the…

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REVIEW: Red Riding Hood [2011]

“All sorrows are less with bread” Why, in movies, does a thrown axe/sword/dagger/knife always land squarely in the back of one’s opponent as he’s about to maim? Can’t it comically thud to the ground, short the half revolution necessary to inflict injury, allowing the antagonist to look at the camera with a twinkle in his eye before clawing the heroine’s face off? I know its Hollywood and audiences have preconceptions about good versus evil and all, but realistic physics mixed with plausible probability may help something called authenticity. But what…

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REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 [2010]

“To a perfect pureblood society” The time has arrived for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga to come to a close. After an admirable job condensing each increasingly thicker novel to sub-three-hour durations on film, the decision was made to have frequent screenwriter Steve Kloves split the last chapter in two to ensure every single detail is retained so the tale itself can be given the justice it deserves. The book was definitely my favorite of the series and as the end cap contains a surplus of exposition, mystery, and character…

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [2010]

“It’s like High School, but without the Musical” Who else could have the catchy pop beats to lull a trio of mythologically inclined heroes into a trance, keeping them from their task at hand, than Lady Gaga? Director Chris Columbus made the right call on that one as he takes the plunge into yet another popular fantasy series, hoping to achieve the success he had in starting the Harry Potter saga. My main gripe with the first two films there was that he stayed too true to the source material,…

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