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Sunday, November 3, 2013

DVD Review: Monsters University

One of my absolute favorite Pixar films is Monsters Inc. When I first watched it back in 2001, the movie's charm and charisma swept me away. I loved how Team Pixar was able to assemble a story that explained (in a childlike fantasy way) how the world of monsters intersected with the world of human children and also include a strong emotional connection between the film's two main characters, Mike and Sully, and their little ward Boo. After Finding Nemo it's my favorite Pixar movie of all-time.

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: Elysium: The Art of the Film

Books about the art design of mainstream movies can be lavish tomes filled with conceptual drawings and paintings, but the better ones devote a decent amount of space on their pages to the artists that thought up these fantastic worlds. This approach was done for Titan Books most recent coffee table release, Elysium: The Art of the Film, which details the creation of director Neill Blomkamp's dystopic world of 2154. At 176 pages, Titan's Elysium tome covers the art design from the film in a good way that won't leave you regretting your purchasing decision, if you crave to know more about the influences and reasoning that went into the Elysium universe.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: World War Z

I didn’t think that World War Z would turn out to be an enjoyable movie. The signs of a troubled film production were there: substantial changes in the screen story from the source material; extensive reshoots of the movie’s ending; big budgetary overruns; and rumors of the director and the star clashing to the point that they had stopped speaking to each other.

But the final product works. World War Z is a decent movie.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 proves that Hollywood can make a better second sequel than the first one. In the case of this franchise, Iron Man 2 wasn’t a bad movie, but it also didn’t escape the confines of what was safe and predictable. Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash villain was fun to watch on-screen but the road to that film’s resolution surprised no one, and that cockatoo of his just weirded me out.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Review: Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration

I’ve never been much of an admirer of Tarzan, the savage apeman creation of writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. While I can’t say that I didn’t like the character, I was always more into science fiction and thus my interest lay with Burroughs’ other, lesser known creation, John Carter of Mars. That’s not to say that I didn’t hate Tarzan, it’s just that he (and his adventures) seemed one-dimensional and pretty tame. After all, what’s there to do in deepest darkest Africa except fight wild animals?

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Review: Skyfall

[This early review of Skyfall is submitted by CA reader Dalton's Chin Dimple, an avid fan of James Bond]

I am going to try and remain as spoiler-free as possible and not discuss anything that hasn’t already been revealed in teasers, trailers and the cast interviews for Skyfall. I will also avoid mentioning anything that would take away your enjoyment of the film. Let me say straight off that I could see this James Bond movie being divisive. I think people will either love it or hate it. I don’t think many people will come out in the middle.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is a movie that comes along infrequently, a product of the commercial Hollywood system but done with a definite art house style approach to its creation. Clocking in at nearly three hours long, this ambitious movie tries to tell multiple stories that weave across a tapestry of five hundred years of human history, from the 19th century to the 24th. Throughout all of the eras the same ensemble of actors return to play different characters in the different time periods, sometimes swapping roles between hero and villain, black or white or Asian, and even male or female.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: Savages

Do believe some of the hype: Savages is a return to old school Oliver Stone, the guy that brought us such violent excursions into human psyche as the 1983 Scarface and Natural Born Killers. However, Savages isn't as sharply edged as those earlier stories, and it also contains one serious and major storytelling flaw that nearly costs the film all of its good qualities.

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man: Tag-Team Movie Mini-Review

The Amazing Spider-Man hit German theaters this week. Atrejub and I went to see it. Here are our individual takes on it.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

DVD Review: John Carter

After first reviewing Disney’s John Carter movie three months ago upon its theatrical release, I wanted to take a second look at the film again once it hit home video. Did I find the movie more appealing to me upon a second viewing? No, I didn’t, but neither did I find it diminished either. I stand by my original review and observations of John Carter: that it’s a serviceable sci-fi pulp escapist film, one that doesn’t draw you into its hero or world the same was as James Cameron’s 3D descendant Avatar.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Prometheus

Director Ridley Scott returns to the universe he helped create in Alien, the 1979 science fiction horror classic. Those fans of Alien that have analyzed the development of that film know about the mercurial, ever-changing course that its production took, and how a disagreement over the movie’s budget nearly forced Scott to scrap plans to build the set for Alien’s greatest reveal, that of the fossilized creature sitting in its pilot’s chair onboard its crashed vessel. Without that set and creature, the Space Jockey, there would never have been a Prometheus, the sidequel/prequel Scott has now made.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: The Avengers

I liked The Avengers a lot.

That said, I worry that writing a review while still riding my Avengers high will shortchange readers. I've been waiting my entire life to see a live-action Avengers movie, and I've been in a state of pleasant confusion ever since I saw the first set pics. I still can't believe an Avengers movie has been made--much less that I could ever be given the opportunity to see it. 

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review: Wrath of the Titans

When they announced a remake of the 1981 Harryhausen stop motion Clash of the Titans I did cringe.  However, with Raiders of the Lost Ark screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan behind the script, I held back my cries of ‘nooooo’ and waited to see it.  I was pleasantly surprised and quite enjoyed it.  The strong cast led by raspy voiced Sam Worthington did indeed help. Still, I was surprised that it merited a sequel. Friday brings you Wrath of the Titans and this time the Titans are pissed and out for blood.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: John Carter

It was in 1917 that John Carter first traveled to Barsoom. Nearly 100 years after the publication of that first tale Disney has made an expensive movie titled John Carter, one that takes several elements from the first three books that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote about his Martian hero. Did director Andrew Stanton pull it off, and realize the epic look and feel that captured the imaginations of millions of impressionable kids that grew up to be Hollywood filmmakers and science fiction novelists?

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Review: The Hammer Vault

There are just not enough gorgeous coffee table hardcover books that feature Christopher Lee about to sink his Dracula fangs into a beautiful sleeping woman. The Hammer Vault is the first to my knowledge that features this painted visage on its cover, which is in fact a reproduction of the movie poster artwork for Hammer Films’ 1957 release of Dracula, which starred Lee in his first role of many as the Count.

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