Tag Archives: adventure

AMAD-Horror Edition: Pig Hunt

2 Oct

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Oct 3rd,2009–

cinemagrade b-Sou-eeeee! You boys just took a wrong turn! Right through the wild backwaters of cinema and into the dingy, scat-littered lair of Pig Hunt. This is one crazy movie. Expecting some sort of Sy-Fy channel opus about a cgi giant hog, what I found instead in Pig Hunt was an off-kilter action flick with plenty of beasts, babes and ‘billies of the Northern California variety. James Isaac isn’t a director that inspires confidence–his only other movies are Jason X, Skinwalkers, and House III: The Horror Show–but his newest is actually so crazy, so demented and over-the-top insane that it achieves a kind of grandeur. Absurdity and oddness for its own sake are the mark of Pig Hunt. If John Waters ever made a horror movie it might feel a lot like this. Continue reading

Now Playing: ‘Surrogates’ explores our technological obsession

26 Sep

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September 26th, 2009–

cinemagrade b-In the new Bruce Willis techno-thriller Surrogates, humanity’s collective desire for ease, comfort and convenience prove to be its undoing.   Adapted from the graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, Surrogates shows us a future where our reliance on technology has become the ultimate crutch. Instead of a dreary, rain-soaked dystopia, the world of the film is a bright, shiny, peaceful place. From a material and cultural standpoint, everything looks like sunshine and kittens. Something is missing though. Continue reading

Movie Review: ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ Proves Faithful

1 Sep

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cinemagrade b Robert Schwentke’s adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s sci-fi drama The Time Traveler’s Wife both improves and dillutes its source material in almost equal measure. The result is a good movie–probably working better for starry-eyed romantics than logic-based sci-fi fans–that eludes greatness by playing it just a little too safe. However, navigating Niffenegger’s tangled and thought-provoking melodrama couldn’t have been easy and I’m grateful that the German director drew from it this sweet, sensitive and occassionally beautiful little movie. Continue reading

Movie Review: Aww Crap!! I Really Liked ‘G.I. Joe’!

1 Sep

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G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (PG-13)

Ok, so now that I’m back from Myrtle Beach and vacation, I’m going to try to get things caught up here at the blog and then launch into a more structured schedule for the rest of the year. First things first, though. I got a chance to see several new movies over the break, and I’ll be putting the reviews for all of them up over the course of today and tomorrow.

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Let’s start with arguably the most surprising movie I saw last week—G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I had briefly contemplated seeing this proudly obvious feature-length toy commercial a few weeks ago when it was initially released. Some friends were going, and a project prevented me from joining them.  Jen was not interested in the least, so we skipped it. Afterall, there were plenty of other movies out that we wanted to see and there was no need to take a chance on something that was likely a disappointment.

Fast-forward to mid-afternoon last Wednesday, in 95 deg South Carolina heat, after several days of swimming, shopping, mini-golfing, and wandering about. Outdoors it felt hot enough to roast a chicken, so we headed over to the Carmike Cinemas at Broadway and the only movie that worked for our timeframe was G.I. Joe. Add to that the fact that matinee prices in SC are 5.50 and we decided to take the plunge.  

And to my delight—and a little dismay—I really liked it. After the final scene had played, and the lights came up over the techno-rock-rap credits tune, I turned to find an equally surprising sight; my wife was smiling and she too had enjoyed it. It would be easy enough to chalk up our entertained state to our surroundings, the fact we were on vacation, or that the nearest similar film, Transformers, had been an epileptic violation of every storytelling rule ever set down. But no, that’s not the case. Continue reading

Cinematropolis Review:16 minutes of ‘Avatar’ in 3-D! Pretty Darn Impressive!

22 Aug

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August 21st, 2009—

UPDATED: Read my full AVATAR review HERE.

 Well, now I’ve actually seen some of James Cameron’s Avatar the way it was intended to be seen—on the Imax and in 3-D. Let me just say that the venue really does make a difference. Like most of the rest of us, I watched the teaser trailer online yesterday and I was underwhelmed by what I was seeing. As a sci-fi geek and a genre hound, I was expecting something more breathtaking, more original, and, I dunno—more daring. On the computer screen, even in HD, the film looked like little more than a cartoon.  The story appeared a basic amalgam of every “outsider meets a new culture” film I’ve seen and the environments and wildlife were interesting but I wasn’t any more convinced by the animated landscapes than the cluttered cgi worlds of the Star Wars prequels. In fact, one of the only reasons my wife and I ended up going to the preview tonight was so I could write about it here. I was curiously ambivalent otherwise. Continue reading

Now Playing: ‘Ponyo’ swims the dazzling sea of Miyazaki’s imagination

13 Aug

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Ponyo(Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea) (G) 100 min. Directed and Written by: Hayao Miyazaki.  Featuring the voice-work of: (English version) Ponyo: Noah Lindsey Cyrus, Sosuke: Frankie Jonas, Koichi: Matt Damon, Lisa: Tina Fey, Gran Mamere: Cate Blanchette, Fujimoto: Liam Neeson. With Betty White, Cloris Leachman and Lily Tomlin. Art Direction: Noboru Yoshida. Cinematography: Atsushi Okoi. Chief Animator: Katsuya Kondô. Original music by: Joe Hisaishi.

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 Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo is a welcome breath of fresh air for the world of animated film. For starters, the Japanese master’s latest is a delightful throwback to a not-so-distant time; the era of hand-drawn 2-dimensional, cell-animated films. While it’s true that cell animation is still a viable means of expression internationally, American theaters have not seen such product  in quite awhile. Thankfully, Walt Disney, prompted byPixar head John Lasseter, is attempting to reverse that. Tomorrow, Ponyo will be given a wide-release in theaters (the largest a Miyazaki film has had here in the West) and in November, the mouse-house will release The Princess and the Frog,  its first traditionally animated film(I’m not counting the opening of Enchanted or all of those DTV cheapies) since 2002’s  pathetic Home on the Range.

Ponyo offers all audiences, both the newcomer and the Miyazaki faithful, something both artistically beautiful and conceptually original. Created in a simple, elegant style with water-color pastels, this fantasy is driven by its vibrant, otherworldly visuals and by its creator’s keen sense of child-like wonder and knack for off-kilter, human details. Skewing to a younger audience than some of Miyazaki’s other animated ventures, like Princess Mononoke or  Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo is an honest-to-goodness family film; it isn’t just appropriate for all ages, it has the potential to entertain all ages. Continue reading

Now Playing: ‘Big Man Japan’ trades zero for hero

29 Jun

 

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 Giant monsters tromping around wrecking cities sounds like alot more fun than it actually is. I’ve been listening to nearly every beleagured friend who has seen the new Transformers movie complain; ‘it’s just giant things punching each other–that’s it!’ Well, duh. In their case, though, I have the perfect remedy; Hitoshi Matsumoto’s Dai Niiponjin, or the english translation, Big Man Japan. Continue reading