45 posts categorized "Fantasy"

May 17, 2012

BATTLESHIP

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ColeSmithey.com class=“Battleship” is yet another headache-inducing failure of a spectacle movie based on a video game — which, in this case, is based on a popular ‘70s board game.

Slow out of the gate, and laced with awful clichés, the story involves an alien invasion that happens to coincide with an international series of oceanic war games. 26-year-old Alex Hopper (Taylor Kisch) is a screw-up younger brother to by-the-book-Navy-man Stone (Alexander Skarsgard). Stone forces Alex to join the Navy after Alex commits one fuck-up too many. Still, Alex has the leggy love of Samantha, daughter to his ship’s commander Admiral Shane (well-played by the ever reliable Liam Neeson).

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The action takes place in the waters off Oahu, where five giant alien craft deliver more torpedoes and invincible soldiers than you can count. An especially effective weapon in the alien arsenal is a giant gyroscopic spinning razor-wheel machine of unfathomable destruction.

A subplot involving an African American war vet with high-tech prosthetic legs adds a real-war shade to the cartoonishly overblown action that passes for a story. We never get any sense of the alien side of the equation. Everything is battle for battle sake. They never once utter the famous television commercial for the board game, “You sank my battleship.” The movie could have used the humor.

ColeSmithey.com

“Battleship” is a loud and booming-blow-‘em-up movie made for a 12-year-old target audience. Adults should sit this one out — that is, if you don’t want to be exposed to a two-hour long headache.

Rated PG-13. 130 mins.

2 Stars

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

 

March 25, 2012

MIRROR MIRROR

   Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

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ColeSmithey.comForever Young
Snow White Makes a Comeback
By Cole Smithey

Director Tarsem Singh takes ample advantage of the chance to reinvigorate the Grimm Brothers’ popular fairy tale “Snow White” with a visually lush live-action adaptation that brilliantly captures the imagination. These images sing. Lilly Collins (daughter of musician Phil Collins) embodies Snow White, who watches her 18th birthday pass without a celebration. Collins’s poised performance is a revelation.

ColeSmithey.com

With Julia Roberts’s gleefully cunning Evil Queen Clementianna in charge of the castle, Snow White needs all the help she can get from a band of midget bandits. The helpful brigands live in the forest between the castle and an impoverished town the Evil Queen has bilked of its economic recourses. Screenwriters Melissa Wallack and Jason Keller make no bones about smuggling their topical social message into the text. Discontent among the peasants percolates with rebellion.

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Visual fascination gives way to episodes of slapstick humor—some involving the wicked Queen’s foolish servant Brighton (Nathan Lane). Armie Hammer’s Prince Alcott is an affable fall guy for the film’s carefully crafted jokes, which focus upon him as an object of desire to be fought over between the Evil Queen and Snow White—the kingdom’s lawful Queen.

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Energized by Tarsem Singh’s signature eye for fantasy landscapes (see “The Cell”), “Mirror Mirror” lights up like the Aurora Borealis: the castle and its surroundings are breathtaking. Elko Ishioka’s masterful costume designs go a long way toward fulfilling the sense of grandeur Singh incorporates into his regal interpretation. Such dynamic sophistication for an adaptation of a childhood fantasy might sound like an iconoclastic idea, but it works like a charm. Similarly, if a Bollywood-styled ensemble song-and-dance celebration seems an unlikely coda, stay through the closing credits.

ColeSmithey.com

Over the course of 11 years, and just four films, Tarsem Singh has created a cinematic vernacular as fertile as fantasy maestro Guillermo del Toro. While not as prolific as del Toro, the India-born Singh is equally predisposed to thickly layered tales of provocative fantasy. Singh’s 2006 adaptation of Valeri Petrov’s “The Fall” has earned a loyal cult following for its surrealist landscapes, inventive costumes, and bold compositions. Most recently, Singh liberated “Immortals” from the camp confines of its dubious predecessor “300.”

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At a time when animation rules children’s cinema, it’s refreshing to see a live-action fantasy film imbued with such vibrant imagination. Kids’ fantasy movies have to stand up to many repeated viewings without indoctrinating young ones into questionable behavior. Indeed, “Mirror Mirror” goes to great pains to keep every plot movement and line of dialogue true to an ethical backbone. Lily Collins crafts a graceful portrayal of a postmodern feminist heroine. Delicate but not frail by any means, Collins’s Snow White is a redoubtable icon for little ones to marvel at.

Rated PG. 95 mins.

4 StarsColeSmithey.com

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

 

November 23, 2011

THE TWILIGHT SAGA BREAKING DAWN: PART 1

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

ColeSmithey.com

This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

ColeSmithey.com

 

 

ColeSmithey.comAuthor Stephenie Meyer keeps plugging those Mormon "teachable moments" in this dismal continuation of the soft soap melodrama series which, like its vampire hero, refuses to die. With the glow of the franchise considerably on the wane director Bill Condon performs mercenary by-the-book helming duties. Condon’s efforts do little to energize the material's "after-school special" television trappings.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 - Plugged In

No matter how ordained-by-marriage their union might be, human Bella and vampire Edward evidently have no business getting conjugal together. That's the overriding message that arrives when the sleep-inducing drama surrounding the lovers' big moment of pent-up sexual release finally comes around.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2' Ends the Series - The New York  Times

In keeping with the franchise’s former installments the CGI werewolves still look like crap, and the romance is still oh so tortured even as the actors shed all resemblance to the teenage culture to which the films are pitched. In the context of America's continued puritanical obsession with sexual repression, the "Twilight" movies come across as so much Kool-aid propaganda. Now that Bella is giving birth to an evil spawn, she's bound to regret not using birth control on her wedding night. Psych.

Kristen Stewart reflects on hate from Twilight fans

Rated PG-13. 117 mins.

1 Star

Cozy Cole

ColeSmithey.com

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