REVIEW: Godzilla

Godzilla

Godzilla
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Max Borenstein (screenplay), Dave Callaham (story)
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe

The 1998 iteration of Godzilla will always hold a special place in my 7-year-old heart.  It is one of the first PG-13 movies I remember seeing in the theater, and the first thing I wanted to do afterward was go out and buy all of the Godzilla toys (yay, product tie-ins!).  Of course, watching that version years later isn’t good for much else but that memory.

Because of that movie, however, I also rented countless other old Godzilla movies, where the nuclear dinosaur faced off against city-eradicating nemeses like Mothra, Rodan, Bollante, Gigan, Mechagodzilla and, of course, King Kong.  I watched those showdowns indiscriminately alongside the English language remake of the original, reenacting the battles with toys and imagined skyscrapers.

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REVIEW: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: John August (screenplay), Tim Burton & Leonard Ripps (story)
Starring: Charlie Tahan, Catherine O’Hara, Winona Ryder and Martin Short

Frankenweenie is Tim Burton’s second bad movie of 2012, a tragically misguided comedy that is marketed at children but may have trouble finding an audience outside of Burton’s die-hards.  As its title suggests, it is that infamous story of creating life out of body parts, with man’s best friend replacing discarded human remains.

Various parts of other old horror movies creep their way into Frankenweenie’s black-and-white stop-motion world, though the lightheartedly morbid humor and Burton’s stock character types mark it as his.  The emo avatar standing in for him this time is young Victor Frankenstein (Charlie Tahan), a curious scientist-in-the-making whose dog Sparky is hit by a car after retrieving the home run ball in the game Victor’s dad (Martin Short) made him play.

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REVIEW: Splice

Splice
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali
Written by: Vincenzo Natali & Antoinette Terry Bryant
Starring: Adrian Brody, Sarah Poley, Delphine Chanéac, and Brandon McGibbon

In Splice, we begin our descent into the murky waters of the cloning issue by rising up, in first-mutant perspective, to see our creators.  Through the murky blue-tint of the screen, we see doctors interacting much like they would on any of the countless hospital TV shows on air.  It feels natural, and commonplace.

This is one of the important strengths of Vincenzo Natali’s unique film.  It shows us the everyday lives of two doctors, Clive Nicoli (Adrian Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Poley), whose lives are anything but conventional, and then turns their respective worlds upside down.  The camera does not hint at the abnormal life forms as in Alien.  Rather, it blends the clone Dren (Delphine Chanéac) in with her creators.

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