REVIEW: Super 8

Super 8
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Written by: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler and Riley Griffiths

Science fiction might be a genre that appears to always be looking ahead, embracing the latest 3D technology, CGI backgrounds or scientific discoveries; but at its core it has always looked at its influences and initial pioneers to give direction to stories that span light years, universes or complex human-political analogies away.

With the names J.J. Abrams and Steven Steven Spielberg attached to a summer monster movie, it appeared we’d be expecting the same expectations-breaking story: big blockbuster, big effects, big noises and big disappointment. Collaborations like Spielberg and Bay’s Transformers series didn’t give us much hope, but Abram’s recent works like Star Trek certainly did. A young gun with a visual track record and a producer with the know-how is a great comparison to Peter Jackson apprenticing Neil Bloomkamp with his District 9, which isn’t the only comparison Super 8 draws with the movie.

To put it briefly: instead of attempting to rewrite the genre as Abrams has done with TV, they flip the pages back, finding the core and simplicity in great story telling with a soft $50 million budget. Continue reading

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Written by: Wes Anderson (screenplay), Roald Dahl (book)
Starring: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, and Bill Murray

The world of awkward young males and disapproving father figures often associated with the world of Wes Anderson is polarizing.  You have those who absolutely despise his style and those who absolutely love it.  Typically I fall into the former.  For all his faults, though, he does have a style.  Had I seen Fantastic Mr. Fox before Mr. Anderson’s other features, I’d have wondered what he was getting at with all of the others.  This is his best, most assured, most mature work , and it’s a stop-motion animation adaptation of a children’s novel.

It becomes perfectly clear in this film that all of the characters in Anderson’s other movies really were just cartoon characters.  Now that they are in the literal sense, their absurdest actions look and feel right.  The stop-motion techniques of the animation greatly help flesh out the emotion and style.  The camera work is amateur in the best sense of the word, making this feel like chaos that came together at the last minute.

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DVD Must-watch: Spike Jonze’s Oscar snubbed Where the Wild Things Are

Image courtesy of Screen Rant

The biggest crime perpetuated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Peter Travers of Rolling Stone prefers “Farts and Biases” and I tend to agree) this year is ignoring Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are. Today, you have the opportunity to partially correct that mistake by going out and renting or buying the film yourself and seeing what great work he has done.

Jonze had the audacity to adapt a 12-page, mostly illustrated children’s novel to the silver screen.  Guess what?  He succeeded admirably.

Wild Things is a beautifully told vision of childhood.  The fears, anxieties, tribulations and joys told through the eyes of a young boy named Max (portrayed by terrific child actor Max Records) are all brought to vivid, beautiful light in this film.

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