Monsters, Inc. — Review

5 of 5 stars
Monsters, Inc.

I’m trying to imagine the pitch for Monsters, Inc. when Pete Doctor first decided it should be a thing. Maybe it went something like this: “Hey fellas, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we make a movie about monsters who scare the living nightlights out of children, and then harvest the screams as a kind of natural energy to power their world? Families will love it.”


Funny thing is, families did love it. They still do. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Monsters, Inc. is widely regarded as one of Pixar’s finest offerings. So with a sequel (Monsters University) scheduled to hit…

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Zero Dark Thirty — Review

4.5 of 5 stars
Zero Dark Thirty

In 2009, director Kathryn Bigelow gave us The Hurt Locker, a tour de force Iraq war film that blew the socks off audiences and critics alike. Her latest film, Zero Dark Thirty, is generating a similar buzz. Tense, intelligent, and well acted, this compelling dramatization of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden has earned Ms. Bigelow a heaping of praise – and some controversy to go along with it.

“You’re Going To Kill Him For Me.”

Jessica Chastain leads the cast as Maya, a young CIA operative dedicated to uncovering the whereabouts of bin Laden. With an elite team of intelligence…

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Django Unchained — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
Django Unchained

Django, have you always been alone?
Django, have you never loved again?
Love will live on, oh oh oh…

Life must go on, oh oh oh…
For you cannot spend your life regretting.

So sings Luis Bacalov in the opening titles of Django Unchained, the second in a series(?) of revisionist history/revenge epics from the ever-controversial Quentin Tarantino. Inglourious Basterds handed the reigns of vengeance to a band of Jewish Nazi-hunters (thereby conjuring up a far more incendiary conclusion to WWII than the one where Hitler cried ‘Uncle!’). In this case, the injured party who gets bloody…

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District 9 — Review

5 of 5 stars
District 9

It’s been twenty-eight years since aliens made first contact, but they didn’t come as saviors, rulers, or destroyers (sorry, Mr. Wells). They came as refugees.

Unwelcome Guests

In 1982, a massive spacecraft stops directly above the South African city of Johannesburg, bearing in its belly the sickly remnants of an alien race. The aliens – disdainfully referred to as “prawns” - are exiled to District 9, a rigid containment zone on the fringes of Jo’burg, while world leaders argue about how to handle their unearthly visitors. Years go by with no decision reached, and as human-alien…

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The Words — Review

2 of 5 stars
The Words

Rory Jansen (played by Bradley Cooper) is a writer who has it all: a loving wife (played by Zoe Saldana), critical acclaim by the bucket-loads, and a best-selling novel.

Problem is, he didn’t write it.

Now, in the aftermath of his success, the young author’s theft returns to haunt him. Secrets he thought were safe come to light. “There’s more than one way to take a life,” we’re told, and the truth of that statement hits Rory like a freight train. His sin has found him out.

An Underwhelming Acheivement

If you’re intrigued by this story, I don’t blame you. It intrigued me, too. The…

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Coriolanus — Review

5 of 5 stars

Riots. Famine. War. Politics. Scandal. And Shakespeare.

Ralph Fiennes works both sides of the camera in a stunning directorial debut that reimagines one of the Bard’s lesser known works in a 21st century setting. Coriolanus is the answer to those who wonder if Shakespeare still matters.

A Remarkable Reimagining

Fiennes stars as Caius Martius “Coriolanus”, a proud and illustrious Roman general suddenly pitted against his own people. Rebelling against the schemes of his manipulative mother, Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave), and banished by the republic he has protected at all costs,…

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Batman (1989) — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
Batman (1989)

Tim Burton’s Batman is a strange animal: too dark to be enjoyed as pure camp, and too absurd to be viewed as serious entertainment.

Discarding the outright goofiness of 1960s TV series, Burton takes a grimmer, gloomier approach to the Batman mythos. The result is both fantastically stylish and frustratingly hollow: a celebration of style over substance that dazzles the eye without ever engaging the mind or heart.

The Super

Batman won an Oscar for Art Direction & Set Decoration, and it’s not hard to see why. The elaborate gothic-industrial design of Gotham City is slick and atmospheric…

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter — Review

3.5 of 5 stars
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

You thought you knew him. America’s 16th President. The Great Emancipator. Writer of the Gettysburg Address. Wearer of top hat and chin curtain beard. But as he declares in opening lines of this “However history remembers me, if it remembers me at all, it shall only remember a fraction of the truth.”

The rest of the truth is this — Honest Abe was a vampire hunter, driven to action by his mother’s death at the hands (or should I say teeth) of the undead. Bet you didn’t learn that in history class.

And before we go any further, I may as well make an introduction: Abraham Van Helsing, meet…

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The Amazing Spider-man — Review

4.5 of 5 stars
The Amazing Spider-man

2012 has been a terrific year for superheroes at the movies.

May brought us Marvel’s The Avengers, in all its hilarious, exciting, Hulk-smashing glory. July gave us The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter in Chris Nolan’s epic trilogy, and the biggest, boldest Batman film of them all. Both of these cinematic behemoths garnered critical acclaim, with good reason. But there’s another piece of comic book filmmaking that deserves applause, and that is The Amazing Spider-Man.

Does it reach the same mind-boggling heights as Batman and The Avengers? Not quite. Does it live up to its title? Oh…

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Skywalker, Meet Mickey Mouse

Skywalker, Meet Mickey Mouse

When the news broke yesterday that George Lucas was passing off the Star Wars baton (or should I say, lightsaber) to Disney, I didn’t know what to think. I still don’t.

Allow me to clarify: I do know this is a big deal. I do not know if I should be happy about it.

On the one hand, it’s something of a relief to know that Lucas won’t be running his grubby fingers all over the franchise anymore. The guy did well with the first three films, but his handling of the prequels was so criminally poor it blew our minds in all the wrong ways. As a friend of mine put it, “If I ever met George…

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