THOR: RAGNAROK

The God of Thunder returns and he’s bringing the pyrotechnics to Marvel’s latest installment of sound and fury. Thor: Ragnorak, the 17th installment in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, continues the latest trend of Marvel movies: irreverent humor, ironic heroes, and plenty of neon razzle-dazzle. And while these tricks entertain — and Thor is generally a good time — none of the frosting helps Marvel’s ongoing issues with bloated storylines, uncompelling villains, and bland third act battles. Picking up sometime after the events in Doctor Strange and opening in a Norse underworld, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battles a hoard of demons led by Sutur, … Continue reading THOR: RAGNAROK

Movie Beat – 12.25.13

47 Ronin – A ronin is a master-less samurai, a drifter, a wanderer who makes his way from village to village, performing meaningless tasks for room and board. Kai (Keanu Reeves) joins up with a bunch of other ronin, 46 to be exact, to defeat a bunch of evil spirits and demons plaguing the land. Kou Shibasaki, Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tadanobu Asano, and Min Tanaka co-star. Writers Hossein Amini and Chris Morgan retell the legendary tale with direction from Carl Rinsch. Out in wide release from Universal Pictures.   August: Osage County – Holidays mean family time. Some of … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.25.13

Movie Beat – 12.13.13

American Hustle – It’s all about the con, not the con-artist, but the con. Every business, every transaction, every dream levied is a con in one way or another, and director David O. Russell is out to show everyone how deep the con goes. Christian Bale and Amy Adams are the con artist, Jennifer Lawrence is his ex-wife, Bradley Cooper is the FBI agent needing a little help, Jeremy Renner is the politician who is conning everyone, and Eric Singer and David O. Russell are the writers who concocted this whole shebang. Out in limited release from Sony Pictures.   … Continue reading Movie Beat – 12.13.13

Movie Beat – 10.18.13

2 Jacks – A modern and comic spin on a classic Leo Tolstoy story, “Two Hussars” set in Los Angeles. The Jacks are both movie directors, with the son following in the father’s footsteps whether he likes it or not. It’s a cutthroat business, this movie business, and it takes a cutthroat individual to make it happen. Danny Huston plays Jack Sr., Jack Huston is Jack Jr., Sienna Miller and Jacqueline Bisset play the girl, and Billy Zane and Rosie Fellner add to the cast. Bernard Rose directed and Breaking Glass Pictures gives this one a limited release.   12 … Continue reading Movie Beat – 10.18.13

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS

Star Trek Into Darkness - Poster

Star Trek Into Darkness begins with an action set piece, dropping the audience right in the middle of chaos. Reminiscent of a James Bond or an Indiana Jones pre-credit sequence, Spock is trying to diffuse an erupting volcano while Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy run from an angry mob. Director J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof beg you not to ask any questions about what in the hell is going on, just go with it. Why are these natives chasing Kirk and Bones? Because Kirk stole something of theirs. What did he steal? Who knows, probably some significant religious scrolls. How is Spock going to stop this volcano from erupting? He has a super ice-cube of course! Details are not the important part of this scene, what is important is the presence of action. It lets the viewers know right up front what kind of movie they are in for. Abrams and company present us with a bargain, “We will give you two hours of action, just please don’t ask any questions.”

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Movie Beat – 05.17.13

33 Postcards – Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) is a Chinese orphan with a sponsor down in Australia, Dean Randall (Guy Pearce). They write back and forth for ten years, and Mei Mei grows up dreaming of Dean’s perfect life, his perfect family, and the perfect skyline of Sydney. Her choir travels to Australia for the Australian Choir Festival, and Mei Mei uses this trip to visit her beloved pen pal. When she meets Dean, things aren’t quite so hunky-dory as he is a convict with a very shady past. Mei Mei still sees some family as a hell of a lot better than no … Continue reading Movie Beat – 05.17.13