Blog Archives

…Dig Up

Universal’s “The Mummy” reboot is meant to be the first step into their new “Dark Universe.” While this first film stumbles quite a bit, the universe it establishes still maintains some of its intrigue.

From the very beginning, it’s clear this film is not actually about the mummy. While some backstory is provided on Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), the title character, the movie’s title feels like a horrible tease for those who’ve enjoyed past ventures into Hollywood’s reimagining of Egyptian lore. Read the rest of this entry

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…Transcend

Noah-posterApologies for the misleading title, but this post will not be a review of Johnny Depp’s latest box office flop. After last summer’s upsetting “Lone Ranger”, the previous summer’s “Dark Shadows”, and the summer before that’s Pirates 4, I’ve begun to lose faith in Mr. Depp’s script-picking abilities.

So in order to fill the gap in our summer of blockbusters, I thought I’d focus on movies with higher standards, more specifically, those focused on a higher power.

Read the rest of this entry

…Rise Above

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Director Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” has a lot riding on its very broad muscular shoulders.

Besides being the relaunch of the much-loved Superman franchise, it is also the first film in a new combined DC Comics film universe (Green Lantern, you’re not invited).

Those are some big expectations, but “Man of Steel” carries them with strength and character.

The film makes no secret of Clark Kent/Kal-El’s (Henry Cavill) alien roots, and opens with the last days of his home planet, Krypton.  This Utopian society’s quest for perfection has led to its demise, and allowed for anarchist Emperor Zod (Michael Shannon) to overthrow the reigning council.

It’s a heavy way to start an action flick, but despite its big budget and action scenes, this isn’t your typical summer blockbuster. Read the rest of this entry

…Sing About Tomorrow

les-miserables-movie-posterWhat is there to say about Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s “Les Misérables,” that hasn’t already been said?

Not much, but I’ll try my best.  First off, I’ll assume that you either know the story, or you probably don’t care.  So, I’ll just jump right into the review portion.

This highly anticipated musical film had a lot to prove. It’s biggest advantage is also its biggest disadvantage—it’s beloved, by millions.

After the release of its first trailer expectations sky rocketed, and against all odds, the film does not disappoint, for the most part. Read the rest of this entry

…go beyond the barricade

I first saw “Les Misérables” just nights before its third American tour came to an end.  I knew nothing about this show, beyond the basic melody of “On My Own” and a very basic understanding of Victor Hugo’s novel.

Needless to say I was blown away, and now six years later, I’ve seen four different productions of the show and been equally blown away by each. Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” was no different.

The tale of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) and the score of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alan Boublil are at once epic and intimate.  This film captures that beautifully.

Through grand sweeping shots, mixed with extreme (mostly single-take) close-ups for the big numbers, this film manages to make a beloved classic in the world of musical theater’s translation to the screen, as seamless as anyone could really hope for.

There are changes, but they all serve the purpose of transferring the tale to the screen.  While on stage, the first time viewer is expected to learn the story as you go along.  The film audience is given a bit more help.

The lack of intermission also required a shift in song placement, and others were added and moved around for the sake of the story. But at the end of the day we’re left with a movie that captures just as much emotion as the staged production it set out to be.

Not to mention, this film is chock-full of brilliantly talented performers.  Of course, the nominated Mr. Jackman and Anne Hathaway (as Fantine) are more than deserving of the praise they’re receiving.  But at its heart “Les Misérables” is an ensemble piece and all of the other parts are just as brilliant.

At the end of the day it’s not perfect, as much as I appreciate the intent of the close-ups, they are a bit overwhelming at points, and some of the effects (especially one certain death) may leave you wondering what kind of film they wanted this to be, but the moving moments far outweigh the eyebrow raising ones.

Lovers of “Les Misérables” will continue to sing its praises and oh so many more can now experience the sweeping beauty of this tale for the first time. What more could you ask for?

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