Tag Archives: movies

Movie Review: ‘The Hurt Locker’ is a masterpiece of suspense

10 Apr

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The Hurt Locker (R) 130 min. Directed by:Kathryn Bigelow. Written by:Mark Boal. Starring:Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Feinnes, David Morse, Evangeline Lily. Cinematography:Barry Akroyd. Original music by:Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders.

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Despite the glut of films centered around it over the past few years, the Iraq War has not exactly made for compelling cinema.  Tangled in extreme political stance or statement, or designed around a general cluelessness about the way the actual battle itself is being fought, previous pics like The Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs and Redacted were dead on arrival. Now, Kathryn Bigelow, director of Point Break and Near Dark, enters the Iraq conflict with The Hurt Locker;an expertly crafted thriller that leaves behind politics and posturing and brings the viewer onto the grimy, narrow streets of downtown Baghdad. With a singularity of vision and a documentarian’s eye for extreme and seemingly inconsequential detail, Bigelow transcends not only her own previous films but typical action cliches  to deliver one of the most suspenseful and intense cinema experiences I’ve ever had.   Continue reading

Now Playing: Percy Jackson, Frozen and a pathetic excuse for Valentine’s Day

12 Feb

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Morning all. How’s it going? I just put up a review of the new Wolfman and have a few more treats coming up today, including a top ten, a Retro review and The Weekly Creepy. However, in an effort to give you a look see into a few more of the new films opening today, I’m putting up links to my work over at Atomic Popcorn where I take a look at Percy Jackson, Adam Green’s Frozen, and Valentine’s Day. I’ll  post a link and the trailers for each below, complete with the matching Cinematropolis rating.

Check them out! Continue reading

Now Playing: Ah-ooo! Geek ‘Wolf’ in London!

11 Feb

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The Wolfman (R) 103 min. Directed by: Joe Johnston Written by:  Andrew Kevin Walker & David Self  Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving Cinematography: Original Score: Danny Elfman

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There is a scene in the new Wolfman where Emily Blunt runs through the foggy night forest, pursued by Del Toro’s slobbering beast. She runs as far as she can, and finds herself balanced precariously at the edge of a treacherous cliff that overlooks a roaring waterfall. Behind her, the monster comes loping and snarling through the underbrush. She has nowhere to go, so she turns pleadingly to face the attacker, her hands concealing the weapon behind her back.

I love moments like this, and the beautifully lush cinematography, Elfman’s shrieking gothic score, as well as Blunt’s wide, staring eyes make it a thing of haunting beauty. When I was a kid, this was the stuff of my dreams and nightmares. In fact, that’s the biggest problem with all of Joe Johnston’s The Wolfman. Less a  rendition of the original 1940’s classic and more a high-gloss version of a geeky fan-boy’s interior fantasy life, this Wolf is a total howler. It’s still fun but the odd subtext trumps the dark tragedy of its predecessor. Continue reading

Sam Raimi to Direct ‘The Shadow’?

1 Feb

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Monday February 1st, 2010–

Ok, there’s not alot of real news to this one, but thats just fine as it allows more conjecture on our part here. After being ousted from that giant Spidey snafu (which is probably just as well for him), Raimi is a director in the midst of several projects, and he’s been linked up to produce this one over at Paramount since 2007. With a script by Slavash Farahani, it is now being rumored that Raimi himself might direct this latest incarnation of the 1930’s pulp hero. Will this happen before or after World of Warcraft? Continue reading

Now Playing: Mad Mel returns from the ‘Edge of Darkness’

29 Jan

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January 29th, 2009–

The best thing that can be said for Martin Campbell’s new thriller of Edge of Darkness is that it’s a gritty and welcome return for the fallen Mel Gibson who stars as Detective John Craven. That’s not a back-handed compliment either. Even before events in his private life shattered his rep, Gibson hadn’t exactly been lighting up the cinema with his onscreen presence. His ability was never in question but his choice of films often felt like paychecks to help finance his own personal directorial visions. He’s a gifted and canny director, but I haven’t really bought one of his performances since 1999’s Payback.

Now, in a variation on that role—add in a heaping helping of Liam Neeson’s grim, determined father from Taken—Gibson comes back to the acting fold with a character that walks the line between justice and vengeance so erratically one feels compelled to check the credits and make sure his name isn’t Max Rockatansky. Continue reading

Zelda Rubinstein Heads into the Light at 76

28 Jan

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Sad news today folks.

Actress Zelda Rubinstein, best known for her role as the clairvoyant Tangina in 1982’s Poltergeist, has passed on at the age of 76. She had been hospitalized in Los Angeles since December after experiencing the failure of 2 major organs. She died yesterday of natural causes at the Barlow Respitory Hospital in Los Angeles.

My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. Continue reading

Bartleby Abroad: Giant Pig takes a ‘Chaw’ out of Korea

26 Jan

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Chaw (NR) Running Time: 121 min. Directed by: Jeong-Won Shin Starring: Tae-Woong Eom, Yoon Jae-Moon, Yu-mi Jeong, Earl Wayne Ording  Cinematography: Barry Stone

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Before launching into Jeong-Won Shin’s B-movie bonanza Chaw, I believe a word of caution is in order. For those expecting a schlocky horror film like Razorback or possibly a suspenseful creature feature  like The Host, temper your expectations now. And for anyone who only observes star ratings, you might want to really read the review before deciding on this one.

Because, on the level, Chaw is an amazingly buffoonish piece of work. Continue reading

Monday Brew: Supernatural gets a sixth, Buried is exhumed by Lionsgate, Gremlins coming in 3D?

25 Jan

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Monday 25th, 2009–

Sam and Dean to keep fighting the good fight in Season 6 of Supernatural

 

In a bit of news that I suspect will make many Supernatural fans happy, it has been reported by a source over at Cinema Spy that CW is planning on renewing the horror-based series that has been one of the networks tent-pole shows in recent years. Despite show creator Eric Kripke stating that he always envisioned the series as lasting five definitive seasons, it appears now that Sam and Dean will continue their battle against evil for at least one more year. As a recently converted fan of the show (my wife and I just finished the fourth season and are anxious to catch up with the fifth), my main question is where will it go from here? Continue reading

Bartleby’s Best Films of 2009

24 Jan

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Yes sir, I know I’m quite late with this, but this past month has been loaded down with surprises—both good and bad—that have drawn my attention away from the blog. Hopefully, this will be the last bit of procrastination the site sees for awhile. The plan is to get back into a daily posting framework, and if that’s successful, move to a legitimate website sometime in February. Until then, here’s my belated list of  2009’s best films.

I’ve heard many complain that this past year was a weak one cinematically speaking, and in a late scrabble to identify the potential ‘award winners’ for Oscar season many are coming up short with candidates. Well, bah! to that I say. Regarding the medium of film as a whole, I see 2009 as nothing less than a fantastic success.

Continue reading

Now Playing: Denzel is God’s samurai in ‘The Book of Eli’

15 Jan

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The Book of Eli (R) 118 min. Directed by: Albert & Allen Hughes Written by: Gary Whitta Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson Cinematography: Don Burgess Original Score: Atticus Ross

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The apocalypse has never looked better or felt sharper than it does in The Book of Eli, the newest end-of-the-world thriller from the previously MIA Hughes Brothers.

Bearing the brunt of the movie’s gritty but hopeful through line comes Denzel Washington, striding through the ashy, barren wastelands of an America gone to permanent ruin. He’s carrying with him what he believes is the hope of humanity. Unfortunately, the opportunistic despot, Carnegie (played by a deviously bloated Gary Oldman) also desires it, and the rest of the picture develops into the modern American equivalent of a samurai movie. You can cite the western if you want, but Eli’s poise, resolve and code of combat suggest the bushido of a wandering ronin. Throw in brutal but fluid action sequences, an interesting and thought provoking spiritual subtext, and you have the best post-apocalyptic thrill ride since The Road WarriorContinue reading