In the battle of the varied mythological creations, Vampires have for centuries captured the imagination of people around the world. Novels, films, theatrical productions and poorly-decorated costume shops have enjoyed success based upon their existence, proven or not. Likewise the Werewolf, natural enemy of the Vampire, whose moonlit howl still sends a tremor down the back of even the most hardened myth-lover. Bringing these two epic creatures together in one film franchise has most of the female population of our planet all in a tizz. Why? Are the men they encounter in the real world really that bad?
The Smackdown DespiteÂ what some UFOlogists believe — that Hollywood has been enlisted in some kind of unofficial “disclosure” drive about space visitors — don’t look for commercial films to tell you the actual truth about […]
Both films adapt difficult and brilliant works of childrenâ€™s literature and manage to exceed any expectations, evoking and exploring themes only hinted at in the original texts. Both films achieve a technical excellence and rare beauty that thrills and ignites our passion for storytelling on the silver screen. Both films accurately capture the complicated and often overlooked dark sides of childhood; adults see what they want to see and recall what they want to recall. Children can seem to them simplified little people, easy to control. Children feel their feelings deeply and powerfully though; the less they are seen, the more powerfully they ache to be seen clearly. Attention deficit is the usual diagnosis when children misbehave; children want to be seen and heard and attended.
Roller derby is just one level up from the fake world of professional wrestling, but it’s still a real world. “Kansas City Bomber” isn’t as slick as its competition here, but it feels more real. Do teams really exist in Austin, Texas the way “Whip It” says? Probably not. Ellen Page is good as always, but she feels slight and miscast, seeming like someone who wouldn’t make it five minutes in the world of Raquel’s sport. And, speaking of Raquel, it’s the role of her career. She’s athletic, sexy, aggressive. Before you dismiss it, the uniforms in “Whip It” are far more teasing than anything in “Kansas City Bomber.” When it comes to physical action, it’s done better in “Kansas City Bomber.” Actresses in both films learned to skate, but it was Raquel who played it hard and rough, doing most of her own stunts and breaking her wrist in the process. On the other hand, “Whip It” has Kristen Wiig playing the Raquel single-mom role and she’s awesome.
Prison movies have a long and proud history in Hollywood, keeping us in rapt attention to the plight of the modern-day inmate. While Hollywoods idealized prisoner is traditionally the wrongly accused, or the murderer with a heart of gold, there are some films so perfectly realized by a filmmaker that they transcend the genre and become classics in their own right. We have two to put in the ring together that share more than a screen setting. Both 1999s “The Green Mile” and 1994’s “The Shawshank Redemption” sprang from the original imagination of Stephen King and were brought to cinematic life by director Frank Darabont. As we approach the ten-year anniversary of “The Green Mile,” it’s probably time to ask if either film deserves our critical version of a lethal injection? Take our advice: order up what would be your perfect last meal and kick back for a double-header of life behind bars!
Even as “Inglourious Basterds” and its fast re-write on World War II storms the theaters, let’s put a couple of extremely controversial German films in our gun-sights as they re-visit the gory days of April 1945 when the Russians ripped apart Berlin. It’s a twisted “Upstairs/Downstairs” Smackdown… “A Woman in Berlin” is a story nobody in Germany or Russia wanted to talk about in the fifty years since the book it’s based on was published — namely that the invading Soviet soldiers raped up to 100,000 German women turning Berlin into “one big whorehouse.”
Nora Ephron cooks up more than Beef Bourguignon in this deceptively slight comic biography; thereâ€™s more food for thought than I ever expected. I knew that the magnificent Streep would deliver another masterful tour de force, and that she certainly did. Her performance percolates and bubbles, her laugh wells up like water from a spring, an indomitable and slightly ungainly life force inviting us in to share her electrified air. Her Julia Child is vocally impeccable, but her eloquently wordless moments tell us more than any others. A moment shared with Tucci after her sisterâ€™s letter arrives stands alone, saying everything about the Childsâ€™ childlessness with no dialogue needed. Streep inhabits this giant among women (and men), her quick mind and undauntable spirit burning brilliant with deeply felt life. Streepâ€™s performance lights up the screen and nestles somewhere in the chair beside you, making you realize how much you love food and Julia Child and being alive. There simply arenâ€™t enough glowing adjectives in my usually adequate vocabulary to praise this national treasure. She and Stanley Tucci portray an unusually loving marriage that inspires and amuses, capturing something true and real, a human connection well beyond biopicâ€™s usual parameters. And the food is beautiful; itâ€™s food porn, not quite â€œBig Nightâ€ caliber but up there with the rest of the genre. And, yes, the Julie sections of the film are nowhere near so compelling as the Julia story for reasons so obvious as to be almost unworthy of listing, but list them I shall for theyâ€™ll serve my greater purpose later on in this little rant.
People trapped inside the cold steel of big machines. Check.
Ticking clocks relentlessly counting down to disaster. Check.
Battles of will between A-list actors. Check again.
Director Tony Scott must have known he had a good thing in 1995’s Crimson Tide and was looking to repeat it with this year’s re-make of the classic The Taking of Pelham 123. As far as action directors go, Scott (brother of Ridley) is in the very elite. He makes movies that are almost always worth the price of a ticket at the cineplex. The best are tense, scary, hard-edged ones where his screenwriters give him high stakes and the dialogue to support them (often for Denzel Washington) and then he paces the hell out of the film itself. We have a real fight on our hands with some Scott-on-Scott violence. […]