Two determined superspies, two venerable movie franchises. The more venerable one, James Bond â€“ by some standards, the longest-running film series in history â€“ fattens its library this weekend with the release of Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, who plays the suave secret agent for only the third time. Fighting in the defending champâ€™s corner is The Bourne Legacy, featuring a lead character so new, heâ€™s not even named Bourne. Jeremy Renner plays the genetically enhanced secret warrior Aaron Cross, outrunning various government creeps who are trying to assassinate their own man to protect their black-ops program. […]
When we Baby Boomers were kids, our toys had lives of their own to us. Now that our children are young, itâ€™s their video game characters that seem real to them. So, having once cherished my Davy Crockett coonskin cap and toy rifle, it was easy for me to see poetry in Toy Storyâ€™s Woody, a childâ€™s inanimate cowboy doll by day, and a fretting, insecure, full-blooded character, when no one was looking at night.
My 10-year-old son Jack never had a doll like Woody to play with, but he did grow up with video games and movie characters, including Mario and Luigi. So naturally, Disney, which teamed with Pixar to bring us Toy Story, has jumped into the breach with a similarly themed movie for the Millennials. The new film, Wreck-It Ralph is also about the secret lives of childrenâ€™s play-things once humans are out of the way. And the same John Lasseter who skyrocketed to prominence as Toy Storyâ€™s writer-director is overseeing Ralph as executive producer. […]
Iâ€™ve tried to warm up to the motion-capture films Robert Zemeckis has been drawn to recently (Polar Express, Beowulf, Mars Needs Moms) and failed, mainly because it feels as if they have not yet sufficiently warmed up to me. But despite his recent, animated Crapfest from the Uncanny Valley, these two live-action, survival dramas â€“ Flight and Cast Away â€“ are among my favorite films.
When it comes to drama about the human condition, theyâ€™re both a cut above. And they have something else in common too: Each tries pretty successfully to create the scariest jet crash ever seen on film, at the time it went before the cameras. […]
So I mean, if it were me, and I’d just gone on my first vacation to Europe and gotten targeted by the first person I met in France and subsequently kidnapped by sex slave-traders and basically had the most harrowing experience of my life, I probably wouldn’t be going back to Europe any time soon. I donâ€™t care how bad-ass my dad is, or even that heâ€™s played by Liam Neeson. But then, I’m not perky teenager Kim Mills, nor am I Maggie Grace, who has now co-starred as Kim Mills in two movies, despite being more than ten years the character’s senior, so what do I know? […]
Rumpled bureaucrats stand around a cramped room, surrounded by state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, barking orders at the underlings and whispering tensely among themselves as they watch a muscular super-agent and his female companion out-gun, out-run, out-fight and out-think them at every turn.
Where else could we be but Bourne again? (Sorry.)
Yes, that’s right, the lucrative franchise, loosely adapted from Robert Ludlum’s novels, that closed out its initial trilogy with (the now inappropriately titled) Bourne Ultimatum (2006) is back. The hooks for The Bourne Legacy are a mostly new cast, including lead actor, the screenwriter of all four taking over directing chores as well, and that other than the occasional photo, there’s not an actual Bourne in sight. […]
Welcome! Sit yourself in this chair and donâ€™t worry when we strap your limbs down securely and tape electrodes to your head. Thereâ€™s nothing to be worried about!
In the both of the Total Recalls weâ€™ll be comparing in this review, a visit to such a patientâ€™s seat launches a mind-bending sci-fi espionage adventure for the seemingly ordinary Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990 original, Colin Farrell in the just-released update). Both big-budget movies unspool roughly the same story and feature plenty of slam-bang action, a nightmare vision of a bleak future, and not a little violence. They also play with the idea of implanted memory. Can we really be sure weâ€™re truly experiencing the here and now? […]
We’ve know it’s coming all year â€” a super heavyweight championship â€” and now it’s finally here in the beat-down heat of summer.
Fresh off the super-fan orgy at San Diego Comic-Con, we have the Sony 3D reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man against the third and final installment of Warner Bros.’ The Dark Knight Rises (July 20).
It’s Ali and Frazier. Well, technically, it’s DC and Marvel and Sony and Warner Bros. Oh, and Batman and Spider-Man.
These two awesome franchises â€” both successful with critics and hugely so at the box office â€” mean to fight it out in the cool, air-conditioned movie palaces of our globally warmed summer. […]
In 2002, in the wake of Shrek and Monsters, Inc, 20th Century Fox launched what was soon to become one of its most successful childrenâ€™s franchises, Ice Age. With few expectations and little fanfare, it became a surprise worldwide, animated hit, rivaling both those other films, if not in total box office, then certainly in audience loyalty. Its two subsequent sequels, Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006) and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) proved that unquestionably.
This week, Fox launches Installment 4, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and what was once a total surprise is now laden with great expectations. Unlike the original straight-ahead journey of our unlikely, but charming heroes, Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo) and Diego (Denis Leary), along with the indomitable prehistoric squirrel, Scrat, and his acorn, audiences are hoping and expecting this new outing to be nothing less than extraordinary. […]
What a difference a decade makes. Why, in that period of time, it’s possible to forget you’ve ever seen a specific movie, almost like it never existed.
Well, no, it’s not like that all, of course. Those of us over the age of thirteen do clearly remember the blockbuster films we saw just ten years ago. The question Columbia Pictures seems to be asking with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man is whether or not it matters. […]
Once upon a time, animated princess movies were populated by passive heroines waiting to be rescued by noble but bland princes. Disney has made strides toward addressing this anachronism, giving us, among other notable efforts, Mulan (1998), which features a different kind of female lead, one whose strength, cleverness and courage â€” not her looks or brawny boyfriend â€” save the day. Of course, the company has long relied on female protagonists of every stripe, dating back to its first animated feature, Snow White, and running the gamut through Bambi, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and on and on. Rival studio Pixar, on the other hand, has never featured a girl or woman in a lead role â€” until now. […]