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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

Sin City2DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez

CAST: Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Bruce Willis, Powers Boothe, Rosario Dawson, Dennis Haysbert, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie Chung, Jaime King, Julia Garner, Stacy Keach, Juno Temple, Marton Csokas, Lady Gaga

REVIEW:

Sin City was one of the coolest movies of 2005 (or any other year).  Adapted by Robert Rodriguez with painstaking accuracy from Frank Miller’s hyper-stylized, ultra-violent graphic novels, it was a blast of visually inventive, kinetic, wildly over-the-top sadistic fun.  For various reasons which vary depending on whose version of events you listen to, it took a whopping nine years for the much-discussed sequel to finally return to Basin City, and like many follow-ups that take this long to see the light of day, it’s dubious whether it was worth the wait.  It would be overly harsh to call A Dame to Kill For a trainwreck (though its disastrously abysmal box office returns would argue otherwise), but while it’s diverting, much of the freshness has evaporated.  Like other inferior sequels, it remixes a lot of familiar ingredients but without that undefinable “spark”.  Dame is not really “bad”, but while it apes its predecessor’s style, it largely lacks its panache, despite moments of flirting with recapturing it. Continue reading

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

guardians-galaxy-movie-previewDIRECTOR: James Gunn

CAST: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper (voice), Vin Diesel (voice), Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin

REVIEW:

And now for something completely different:  Despite being an adaptation of a comic series, Guardians of the Galaxy represents a risk and a departure for Marvel by basing a major summer would-be blockbuster (and hopefully a new film franchise) around a band of heroes who aren’t household names, and sending Marvel’s film adventures into space.  The resulting product is sufficiently quirky and far off the beaten path to leave it to be seen how well mainstream audiences will take to it, but Guardians of the Galaxy is engaging for the most part, and also represents something different from your run-of-the-mill comic book superhero movie.  There’s maybe a dash of Star Wars, and at least in the oddball tone, maybe a pinch of a more coherent The Fifth Element, but overall this isn’t that much like anything we’ve seen before. Continue reading

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Planeta-dos-Macacos-7DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves

CAST: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kirk Avecedo, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Nick Thurston

REVIEW:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL REVEAL ASPECTS OF THE FILM’S PLOT

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a follow-up to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the second installment in a prequel/reboot series inching things closer to the 1968 original film, surpasses its predecessor by such a wide margin that it reduces it to an extended prologue and set-up.  Few sequels surpass the originals; even fewer do it this far.  Rise had various fascinating moments but was less than the sum of its parts.  Dawn takes things introduced in Rise and goes much farther and deeper with them, and is an all-around stronger motion picture. Continue reading

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

x-men-days-of-future-past-set-pic1DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer

CAST: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore

REVIEW:

Like some of the best comic book superhero movies (Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Captain America: The Winter Soldierand its own predecessor X-Men: First Class), X-Men: Days of Future Past, taking its name and some plot elements from a well-known X-Men comic storyline, mixes things up and takes the genre in unconventional directions.  The result is perhaps the strongest installment the X-Men film series has churned out yet, equaling or surpassing First Class.  Taking back his seat in the director’s chair from the likes of Gavin Hood and Matthew Vaughn, Bryan Singer has kept the fresh life First Class breathed into the floundering series going and taken it even further.  Days of Future Past, as its quirky title suggests, does something very different with the familiar characters, but as with its aforementioned cinematic cousins, different’s not a bad thing, especially when more generic comic book films are churning out left and right these days. Continue reading

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