Movie Review – ‘Cars 3’ Desperately Tries Not to be Cars 2

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If you haven’t been brought up to speed over the last eleven years of Cars history, I’ll help you out. The Cars movie only exists to sell toys. And if you’re parent, it’s likely you know this pretty well by now. Pixar makes bank selling Lightning McQueen and Mater toys. However, as a film franchise, it’s one of the worst Pixar properties in their long and successful film history. Of all their movies, Cars 2 is the only critically panned Pixar film to date.

Usually, when a sequel gets panned, a studio ends it and moves on. But since Cars is a merchandising cash cow, it was only inevitable they’d release the third installment and make it a trilogy. As a side note, it’s a little sad their worst property has a trilogy before The Incredibles. But I digress.

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Movie Review – ‘Captain Underpants’ Overflows with Potty Humor, Delighting Kids and Ignoring Adults

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When I was in third grade, I really wanted to see the movie Blank Check. My parents, on the other hand, weren’t so thrilled. Eventually, I convinced them to rent it for me and I loved it. As expected, they didn’t. Honestly, in my childhood mind, I didn’t understand why. But then I re-watched it this year and it all made total sense. Blank Check is geared entirely to kids in every way imaginable with no logical reasoning built into the story whatsoever. And who remembers Blank Check? No one.

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Movie Review – Despite a Familiar Plot, ‘Alien: Covenant’ is a Worthy Installment

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Alien
has always been one of those hallmark, eye-opening sci-fi movies, not just for its frights but also how it stretched the genre. It’s been decades since the first movie hit theaters and now we’ve had multiple installments. Of those movies, I would argue only three are good: Alien, Aliens, and Prometheus. All the others are either bad or just plain awful.

Alien: Covenant essentially improves on the flaws of Prometheus, uses a tried and true formula that works, and ratchets up the gross and violent scare factor, making it all-in-all a pretty solid film with a horrible Achilles heel; It depends too greatly on past plots and formulas, making it feel like a rehash of all the things we’ve seen in the past. They’re just done better this time.

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Movie Review – Controversial ‘Ghost in the Shell’ is the First Good Anime Adaptation

Anime to live action adaptations have a troubled history. Unless I’m forgetting something, I don’t believe there has ever been a successful or well-done adaptation of an anime movie or television show. Of the most recent ventures, Dragonball: Evolution and Speed Racer were both critical and box office failures, and that’s putting it nicely.

Ghost in the Shell, then, had quite the mountain to climb to overcome past grievances and honor both the original anime movie while introducing the story to non-anime audiences. While it’s not perfect by any means, struggling to go as deep as the original, it still keeps the soul of the movie rather than settling for a shell, but also knows when to be its own thing. The end result is a satisfying science fiction that many people will enjoy.

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‘Dunkirk’ PG-13 Rating is Nolan’s Boldest Move Yet

Christopher Nolan has never shied away from bold decisions, creating unique cinematic effects like Inception‘s mind-bending hallway scene, casting oddball actors like Heath Ledger as The Joker, and telling stories in mostly non-linear and splintered fashions. In the past, his creative instincts have led him to great success both critically and financially. Now, he’s making another bold move, and no it’s not casting One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles (though, that is head scratching), it’s creating a PG-13 war movie.[Continue Reading]

Erosion of Courage (Reflections on ‘The Interview’ Cancellation)

Staying Behind the Legal Picture Line at the DMZ

A view from behind the yellow line (for photography) in South Korea’s Demilitarized Zone across to North Korea

As I looked across the Demilitarized Zone (a layered valley of autumn-tinged fields and soldiered fences) my heart sank with a heavy realization: Korea had more than governments, economics, armies, allies and living conditions dividing it; the landscape glowered at me as the greatest separation. North Korea was (and is) treeless.

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Movie Review — ‘Big Hero 6’ — Maximum Heroics

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The first Disney animated film to be based on a Marvel Comics’ property, Big Hero 6 proves that you don’t need a well-known superhero to produce a well-done superhero movie.

From the opening scene, sweeping across the grand fictional amalgam of a city, San Fransokyo, to the final fight, Big Hero 6 is a fun ride.

Movie Review — ‘Transcendence’ Has Intrigue, But Too Many Flaws

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I am fully aware that I am in the minority opinion on this film as well (I went against the grain on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Raid 2). I don’t get how so many could hate this film so much, but it was absolutely panned by critics. I actually was mildly impressed with Wally Pfister’s directorial debut — he is the long-time, constantly award nominated Director of Photography for Christopher Nolan — Inception, The Dark Knight, etc. are amongst his works. Pfister transitioned to the director’s chair for the first time in his storied career with Transcendence — it was an interesting ride, but not without its faults.

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