There’s a danger in adapting a true story for the screen. For an audience that’s been weened on the traditional, three-act Hollywood film, it would be a frustrating, fruitless experience to watch a literal adaptation of someone’s life. Real lives don’t have neat dramatic arcs. Real people tend not to learn their lessons. Somewhere along the line, liberties must be taken. Events are shuffled and condensed. Characters are cut and composited. All in an effort to give structure to what seems like chaos. So, how much of that story stays true? It’s an intriguing question. Fortunately, The Iceman is so engrossing, you won’t have time to think of it. Read more
Archive for Feature Film
“Star Trek” is one of those properties with such a rabid fan base that every new movie/show/book feels like it’s predestined to fail. To the uninitiated, Trekkies seem like a group that can never be satisfied regardless of what’s done to please them. Some find such devotion intimidating and instead of joining the party, choose to avoid anything “Trek” related, altogether. The truth is, people are passionate about “Star Trek” and don’t want to see it treated carelessly. So it was somewhat surprising that when director J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise in 2009, he was not only able to satiate the old fans’ hunger for a new film, but also attract people who’ve never heard of a “Tribble”. Now, four years later, the sequel “Star Trek: Into Darkness” flies into theaters. Can Abrams again appeal to both sides of the lunchroom or will fans be divided by his treatment of the beloved sci-fi series? Read more
I’m going to throw this out there right now: I hated “The Hangover Part II”. HATED it. I thought it was incredibly lazy filmmaking: just set the first film in Bangkok because that’s a crazier setting than Vegas, then do everything over nearly beat for beat. It was also too self-aware, as sequels can be. You know the characters, so there’s less reliance on the quality of a joke. For example, Alan can eat a piece of poop and we would laugh because it’s Alan… not because it’s funny. Well, I’m probably alone in my feelings for that film because it did extremely well. People wanted more of the same from the Wolfpack. Well, this Memorial Day weekend, those people will be thrown for a loop as Warner Bros. releases “The Hangover Part III” – a much darker installment than anybody could’ve seen coming. Read more
Summer has started and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has again bathed in baby oil and flung himself at the big screen. This time he reprises his role as Agent Luke Hobbs in Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furious 6″. Featuring pretty much everyone who’s ever starred in the street racing series, “FF6″ serves as a link for the previous five films and gives us a glimpse at where the films are heading. Director Justin Lin also returns to the franchise he resuscitated with the fourth installment and it’s clear from the first racing scene that he’s not afraid to take her into the red. Read more
The worst thing in the world for a writer is “the start”; staring at that blank page and wondering how you’ll ever fill it all with words. Never mind how you’ll fill it all with good words. So imagine trying to adapt something like “The Great Gatsby”, one of the great American novels, for the big screen. Sure it’s been done before (Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay in 1974) with so-so results, but how do you tackle something that big and make it good? Well, Warner Bros. might have figured it out: put Baz Luhrmann, the visionary behind the ultra-stylized, hyper-kinetic “Moulin Rouge!” in charge. Read more
A franchise is only as good as its last installment. “G.I. Joe” nearly died at the gate with a lackluster premier and “Batman & Robin” actually killed off what had been a particularly healthy brand of films until Christopher Nolan swooped in to save the day. Thus far, Marvel has managed to be the Pixar of superhero franchises with each film bringing in big box office and converging into the mega-hit “Avengers”. So, that could be the reason why “Iron Man 3″ is so important: it’s the first post-”Avengers” film released by the studio and what very well may be the final installment of the popular series. Expectations are sure to be higher than any one film can deliver, but if anyone can beat the odds it’s Robert Downey Jr., right? Read more
Anyone familiar with weight lifting scenes in movies has no doubt heard the mantra “No pain, no gain!” Some might argue this could be Michael Bay’s personal mission statement as he’s gained quite a bit for himself by inflicting pain on the intelligence of moviegoers everywhere for nearly two decades. Personally, I don’t mind his films with their hyper-active visuals and no-brainer storylines, as they’ve set the standard for what has become the modern American popcorn movie. This weekend, his latest Summer blockbuster, “Pain & Gain” opens… one week before the Summer movie season actually begins. Maybe Paramount wants to see men pumping iron before Iron Man pumps all the cash out of next week’s box office? Read more
Some people love Tom Cruise. Others… not so much. I fall into the first camp, thinking that pretty much anything the guy touches will be (at least) entertaining. My guess is that studio heads may fall into the second camp, or think the majority of people do, anyway. How else could you explain “Oblivion”, the big-budget, sci-fi Summer blockbuster that was released in mid-April? Helmed by “Tron: Legacy” director Joseph Kosinsky, the picture has a sleek, futuristic visual style that would’ve wowed Steve Jobs and has the biggest movie star in the world fighting space aliens. What happened? Why isn’t Cruise’s Jack Harper going toe-to-toe with the likes of Tony Stark, Dominic Toretto and Jay Gatsby? Maybe because ”Oblivion” isn’t the movie you think it is. Read more
Cinema Judgement Day contributor, Schnookems, just came back from “The Place Beyond the Pines”. I’ve heard a lot about this film in recent weeks and am looking forward to seeing it myself. Also remember, if you’ve seen a movie that you’re feeling passionate about and would like to review it for the site, feel free to email us here. Now without further ado… Schnookems!
I just saw Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines; an interesting film divided into three stories that are all interwoven with each other over a couple decades. The picture isn’t yet in wide release, but it will be on April 12th and it’s not like anything you’ve seen in theaters lately.
Channing Tatum won me over with his performances in “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike”… or at least the Directors and Editors did. If you want to see the blind leading the blind, go no further than 2009′s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”. In that film, Hollywood’s worst director, Stephen Sommers, succeeds in getting a performance from Tatum that’s as plastic as the toys it was based upon. Throw on top of that a script full of plot holes, bargain basement VFX and Marlon Wayans and you’ve got yourself a war on good taste. Fortunately, Paramount Pictures 86′d Sommers and brought in the next wave of Joes. “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” should’ve instead been titled “Resuscitation”, because that’s exactly what it does: breathes life into a franchise that all but had its dog tags sent home. Read more