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Friday, Apr 11, 2014
Granted, Rio 2 is never dull and provides colorful images to ogle, but the end result is as empty as the calories in a candy bar. It's beautiful, if banal.

By the old standards, all an animated film needed was a particular quest, a friendly protagonist, and an evil villain to get by. Cinderella had her desire for a better life and a horrible wicked stepmother (and stepsisters) to stand in her way. Snow White had a nasty “who’s the fairest” competition with a conceited wicked queen, while everyone from Hansel and Gretel to Dorothy Gale had to contend with wicked witches of one kind or another.


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Friday, Apr 11, 2014
Taking the unknown Indonesian martial art form and marrying it to a simple (the first film) and overly complex (the second) scenario, Gareth Evans has reinvented the action movie once again.

Every once in a while, a film genre needs a reboot. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of onscreen action. Go back 80 some years and you could watch matinee idols wield swords with carefully choreographed expertise. Five decades ago, car culture demanded high speed chases. In the late ‘70s, the Hong Kong efforts of the Shaw Brothers started washing up on our shores, only to be incorporated into Hollywood’s desire for more kinetic onscreen spectacle. Auteurs with names like Cameron and Woo reworked the combination of camera and conceit until someone named Greengrass decided to shake the camera, providing a nauseating POV that few fans thought they would see in the cinema.


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Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014
In celebration of his 40th year as a published author, we present these five unfilmed, and five already available Stephen King books that are crying out for a cinematic (re)configuration.

Forty years ago, on 5 April to be exact, a book entitled Carrie was released to limited fanfare. Written by a then unknown scribe named Stephen King, while he was struggling, it was actually his fourth complete novel (but first to be published). With an initial run of 30,000 copies, few could imagine the cottage industry it would help fuel. While the hardcover was hardly a hit, the paperback sold over one million copies. King quit his job as a teacher to concentrate on his new career and the rest, as they say, is one of the greatest runs in horror prose history. The mild mannered man from Maine with a wealth of internal demons and a demented way of expressing them would go on to sell a staggering 350 million books, many of which have been adapted into successful (or in many cases, schlocky) movies. In fact, during the ‘80s and ‘90s, hardly a year went by when another King effort made it onto either the big or small screen.


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Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014
By jumping right into the whole Dark Knight/Clark Kent pairing, DC once again shows how clueless it is regarding the handling of their heroes.

Over the weekend of 4 April, HBO premiered last Summer’s divisive DC tentpole Man of Steel. For those unfamiliar with the property, this was Warner Bros. attempt, with help of Dark Knight maestro Christopher Nolan (in a producer’s role) of bringing Superman back to the big screen. After 2006’s equally contentious take by Bryan Singer, Superman Returns, many saw limited possibilities for harnessing Krypton’s last hope into a Marvel like movie dynasty. Indeed, while that comic label became a billion dollar multinational conglomerate, director Zack Snyder was still trying to map out a strategy that would make our greatest American hero “super” again. Some say he succeeded. Others had serious reservations. Overall, the film was a big enough hit that Warners ordered a sequel and that’s when the shitstorm happened.


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Friday, Apr 4, 2014
Tain't funny, McGee, but it's sure strange.

Husband-and-wife comedy team Jim and Marian Jordan starred in one of the most popular radio shows, Fibber McGee and Molly, for over 20 years. The characters starred in three RKO films, the first of which is Look Who’s Laughing (1941) in the Lucille Ball RKO Comedy Collection. Freshly available on demand from Warner Archive is a double-feature containing the last two films, Here We Go Again (1942) and Heavenly Days (1944), both movies named after Molly’s catch-phrases. To borrow another catch-phrase, “Tain’t funny, McGee”, but these movies sure are weird.


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