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Monday
Mar102014

Author of Divergent the Book Loves 'Divergent' the Movie. I'll Try To Avoid A Cynical Response

Ahh, to be the author of a successful YA novel, movie studios beating down your door for the rights to the book and that book getting turned into a big budget film starring the hot young actress of the moment. There is just one problem.  If your name isn't Twilight or The Hunger Games, then your movie adaptation has shit the bed.  The next one up to bat is Divergent and the author of the book wants you to know, the movie is awesome.

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Thursday
Mar062014

Critical Hit's Month-Azaki Part 3: Princess Mononoke'

Everyone has their favorite Miyazaki film. Mine just happens to be Princess Mononoke, the one with the most explicitly japanese aesthetic, but the most western-friendly storyline.  Art can be strange sometimes.  Here's one more dose of irony: Princess Mononoke was a big inspiration for the art of Snow White and the Huntsman, a movie I completely despised.  Anyways, here's the latest episode of Critical Hit, talking about the action fantasy.  Next up will be our podcast about The Wind Rises. Enjoy!

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Tuesday
Mar042014

Oscar Night Debriefing

The Academy Awards can be a mixed bag.  On one hand, they are are one of the prime celebrations of the industry that I love so much.  On the other, they gave Best Picture to The Hurt Locker. Yeah, I still hate that movie.  Nonetheless, the Oscars this year were pretty damn good.  The Academy has been having trouble finding a reliable host for years, but they've found it with Ellen Degeneres.  She was biting and witty, but lacked the mean-spiritedness that Seth MacFarlane was criticized for.

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Monday
Mar032014

Movie Review: 'Non-Stop'

Non-Stop

Starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Rated PG-13


I like Liam Neson.  I like that he decided to flip the switch on his career and sort of reinvent himself.  I actually like the A-Team damn it!  With that being said, I am very frustrated by some of the roles Liam Neeson takes (minus the A-Team).   I feel like his path with the Taken films, Unknown and now Non-Stop, he’s basically playing the same character.  It’s his John McClane if you will, for which he’s quite good and which makes what I’m about to say that more frustrating…these action films that he has chosen to reinvent himself in have all been awful…AWFUL.   Maybe I’m being too harsh and not enjoying them for the escapist 2 hour fun they all intend to be and given the money that each film has made, he clearly has an audience willing to accept the very thing I have a hard time with.  It’s all in the little details that can make your film The Fugitive or that Segal movie where he played some sort of environmental agent who happens to be an expert killer/martial arts expert on the side who doesn’t believe in violence (On Deadly Ground in case you were wondering).  Neeson’s films seem to be stuck in the latter area.  

Non-Stop wears its ambitions on squarely on its sleeves.  But the movie is the hoist to its own petard.  Those ambitions, along with way too many movie sleight of hand moments wreck that ambition.  The movie throws plausibility out the window.  But if a movie really believes in what its selling you, then those moments can be forgiven.  Non-Stop doesn’t believe in what its selling you and ends up being more concerned with letting Neeson do what he does best,  paying no mind to anything else.  It’s a nice trick, as Neeson is very captivating on screen.  But its time to put on the big boy pants and realize that Neeson + good story = something awesome.  I can’t think of an easier equation, can you?   The good news is Non-Stop is better than either Taken film or Unknown.  But refer back to my comment in the first paragraph…that’s not really a compliment. 

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Thursday
Feb272014

Movie Review: '3 Days to Kill'

3 Days to Kill

Starring Kevin Costner, Amber Heard, Hailee Steinfeld
Directed by McG
Rated R


Before I or we move further with this review, I would like you to take a minute to look at the resume of one Luc Besson.  Go ahead, click on his name and take a peak…I’ll wait.  He’s one prolific dude huh?  Just looking at his writing credits over the past few years, something tells me he doesn’t spend a lot of time laboring over a script…turn and burn is a good term to use.  But that also leads to most of the movies he’s involved with (along with his production company Europa) are moderately priced  easily disposable action movies that could be good, but always seem to feel incomplete and way sillier than any action movie has any right to be.  But Besson, like Paul W.S. Anderson, has the power of the overseas market to help him continue to fund his projects.  McG, the director who clearly looks upon Besson’s earlier directorial efforts as inspiration, hasn’t had the productivity as Besson but like Besson, his star shot up pretty quickly only to fizzle just as quick.  So what should these two do but team up for yet another disposable action movie right?

The result is 3 Days to Kill, a movie where the title is 100 times cooler than what actually ends up on screen.  But I’ll admit, this movie had me on the hook for the first 30 minutes.   To the point where I actually thought to myself that this may end up being a 4 Abiding Dude film.  How quickly my mind changed as the movie dragged on.  Besson clearly loves the human condition and the struggles that come with that, but he struggles with it when it comes to actually trying to convey that with his writing.  That can be a big problem when your movie, with the word kill in the title, suddenly turns into a family drama, with some action sprinkled into round out the running time.  I could mention McG (I will in a minute) or Besson’s co-writer on 3 Days to Kill, but you can tell this is Besson’s baby, so I’m placing most of the blame with him.

 

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