Monthly Archives: December 2011

Mission Impossible 4: Amazing fun without costing brain cells

Numerous films barely remain lively after their sequels, much less reach their fourth installment without going straight to DVD.  Seeing Tom Cruise, closing in on fifty, return to the screen as super spy Ethan Hunt hardly seems a selling point, but The Incredibles director Brad Bird brings us a film that hearkens back to when action films produced real stunts and real thrills.  In the words of James Lipton, it’s a delight. Continue reading

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fails to live up to feminist roots

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is David Fincher’s second film featuring computer wizards emotionally remote, and both narratives leave one feeling similarly disconnected when the credits roll.

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Young Adult teaches mixed life lessons

The last time we saw director Jason Reitman he provided an incisive look into the life of an aging bachelor and the consequences of the lifestyle in Up in the Air.  Reitman’s latest film Young Adult,  with a screenplay by Juno writer Diablo Cody, is a similar analysis of solitude approaching middle age. This time around, it involves more booze, trashy television, and denial. Continue reading

Cinema magic and spectacle stunning in Hugo

3D films have hit a steep decline since Avatar director James Cameron was able to swindle theater owners into converting to 3D projectors.  Rather than new projects, a string of recycled 3D offerings has been appearing in theaters: Disney has failed to properly compete with the computer animated films of Pixar or even Dreamworks, so they’re opting to re-release their hits from the 90s in 3D.  Even Cameron himself has been working on Titanic‘s 3D conversion instead of making another film.  Who would have thought that Martin Scorsese, a director known for portraying the most unsavory of gangsters, would be the one to remind us of the possibilities of 3D?

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Fright Night re-make’s cast gives it bite

The 1985 horror film Fright Night is an imperfect classic:  The oscillating tones of hilarity and horror are undermined by goofy over-dramatic synth soundtrack (yet still charming), as the whiny Charlie Brewster decides what to do about the vampire next door.  Due to these imperfections in the original, the recent remake is a worthy re-telling of the 80’s original. Continue reading