action

Last year’s Oscar Stand-off between The King’s Speech and The Social Network was acted as a practical coronation for David Fincher as a God to the film critics and fanboys of the world. After almost twenty years working as a director, he’s delivered gritty classics like Fight Club and Seven – films that have garnered the die-hard support of a Cult Classic, while accumulating mainstream acceptance that takes him from the Underground to almost being a household name.

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Tower Heist

by mr sparkle on November 4, 2011 · 0 comments

in Film,Media Rack

I am of the opinion that Brett Ratner is underrated. This is not because I find his films very defensible, this is because whereas Brett Ratner is known for being an annoying piece of hot shit, his movies are distracting enough to not merit walking out of.

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Two years ago, a little film called Zombieland hit, and Hollywood took notice. Despite not being based on any franchise or copywritten property, the original (if you consider another zombie film to be “original”) managed to do pretty good at the Box Office – a rarity for horror-comedy hybrids – and it wasn’t too bad, either. And in retrospect, it’s clearly done a lot to contribute to the popularity to freshmen members of the A-List, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone.

Today, Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer follow-up 30 Minutes or Less hits theaters and, while it’s an action-comedy rather than a horror-comedy, it’s more or less a similar experience to his first film.

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From what I hear, I am not the only one who has a hard time appreciating Michael Bay’s filmmaking. His past two Transformers movies have had the balls (wrecking or otherwise) to take on something as mind-punchingly stupid as a race of genocidal alien robots that turn into cars – something not even native to their own planet – without a drop of shame. But fearlessness alone can’t make a film work, and his films are also plagued with needlessly complicated plots and forceful character development that ends up not working at all. The results have been mixed to put it kindly.

None of these issues are addressed with this third, potential trilogy-capper Transformers film, subtitled Dark of the Moon; and yet it is unquestionably the best film in the series. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say, without extenuating reservations, that I liked it.

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Fast Five

by mr sparkle on April 29, 2011 · 0 comments

in Film


Ten years ago now, an unassuming car genre movie became a surprise hit. But even then, when The Fast and the Furious made an unseen $144 million dollars, no one could have expected it to spawn a fourth sequel, with a fifth already being written before its predecessor hit theaters. But a lot has changed since then – what started as a film about underground racing has turned into an international action franchise that, in some countries, is outgrossing the traditional Summer-Opening Blockbuster.

But the Fast and, normally, Furious franchise doesn’t need to be as relatively subtle as its beginnings would suggest. Just the opposite, they define the summer movie of a bygone era, where you don’t have to play with genre or superpowers – all you need is beautiful people doing cool shit.

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Hanna

by mr sparkle on April 8, 2011 · 0 comments

in Film

The most immediately shocking thing about Hanna might be the movies that preceded it in director Joe Wright’s filmography. The young filmmaker’s other three films have been Pride & Predjudice, Atonement and The Soloist – all three have a varnished, classic feel to them; and though Atonement played with some technique, they all felt like they could have been Harvey Weinstein’s horse in the Oscar race any given year. Just look at their plots – one is based on a classic english novel, another is about teaching a man with mental disabilities how to function in the world while examining his troubled past.

On the other hand, Hanna is about a teenage girl who was trained by a secret-agent father to murder.

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Unknown

by mr sparkle on February 18, 2011 · 0 comments

in Film,Media Rack

Just over two years ago, Liam Neeson picked up a phone and told a stranger that he had “a very particular set of skills,” skills that he had “acquired over a very long career,” and so on and so forth, in the surprise hit Taken. After pulling in $226 million worldwide, it’s not a surprise that Warner Brothers would want to capture some of that unlikely blockbuster and put it to use in a film of its own. Hence, we get Unknown, about an American played by Liam Neeson (including Neeson’s hardy, faulty American accent) traveling in a major European city trying to find the most important woman in his life and return everything back to normal.

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The Mechanic

by mr sparkle on January 28, 2011 · 0 comments

in Film,Media Rack

Despite being too young to even remember the 80s, I have to admit to feeling nostalgic about it a lot of the time. Cinematically, there wasn’t a lot going on, but its seemingly inexhaustible supply of “One man, one mission,” forgettable action movies is something I occasionally long for nowadays, if only because we never get this type of serious B-movie actioner anymore.

Luckily for me, that’s exactly what The Mechanic is.

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Art, or more specifically, film, is at its best when it provokes thought.  Movies like Fight Club can make us question what we value and whether it’s worth a shit.  Or look at The Godfather Part II,  a film that examines power and loneliness, how they work and where they can leave a man.  Then there are films like The Seventh Seal, a film that questions life and death – what do they really mean?  We walk out of these movies refreshed with a new stance on life and how to experience it.  They lead to wonderful discussions in which we can further examine our collective experiences.

Then there are movies like MacGruber that, while they may totally lack a single ounce of intelligible thought, are just fucking funny.  And that’s enough.

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Robin Hood

by mr sparkle on May 14, 2010 · 2 comments

in Uncategorized

I’ve been asked by several friends and family members over the past week – “What’s the buzz on the new Robin Hood movie?”  Before I saw the movie, I simply replied that I hadn’t heard anything yet, but I expect at least decent things from its helmer, the iconic Ridley Scott.  He may have never matched the greatness of his early features Alien and Blade Hunter; but he’s always put out interesting work.  To say that movies like Black Hawk DownBody of Lies, and Matchstick Men will go down as his lesser works says a lot about the filmmaker.

So even though I thought the trailers presented little need for a retelling of the Robin Hood tale,  I trusted that Scott would make it worth my time.

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