- Your Voice
Hey kids, comics! The upcoming Amazing Arizona Comic Con has events planned that will appeal to kids of all ages – like a plethora of Walking Dead activities, a screening of “The Image Revolution” film, and attempts by comic creators to break Guinness world records – but all day Sunday, Jan. 26, they will have special focus on the junior set of the comic-fan demographic.
You know that quiet, weird family who keeps to themselves and lives on the outskirts of the city? Every outlying burg or small town has at least one of these crazy clans of outcasts (or at least they do in the movies), and the film, We Are What We Are, sets out to prove that those eccentric folks are even more demented and wacky than you imagined they were.
There are dozens of reasons to slam the new Jason Statham film, “Homefront”, the least of which is its misleading movie poster that has the British action star swathed in the stars and stripes of the American flag, which, when coupled with the film’s title, persuades one to believe that this is patriotic post-war flick of some kind – it’s not. But, nevertheless, it’s still a pretty good old-school action flick and on that level it’s a decent way to spend a Saturday afternoon with a bag of popcorn.
“The Hunger Games” hype-machine is back in full force with everything from local car dealerships to makeup companies and Subway sandwiches jumping on the Everdeen bandwagon. It’s ironic that this movie which attempts to make a statement on the negative influence that media has on society is so successful at manipulating those very institutions, making this film franchise a pop cultural juggernaut capable of mowing down its cinematic competition and common sense with unreasonable and unstoppable force.
The new film “The Book Thief”, based on the bestselling book by Australian novelist Markus Zusak, depicts a Holocaust-lite version of World War II era Nazi Germany and inadvertently poses the question, “Can a cute Nazi kid steal your heart?” The answer, like those conflicted times, is not as black and white or as simple as it may seem.
“Thor: The Dark World” is part two of “phase two” of the Marvel cinematic universe, but, lest ye become too confused with the comic-book giant’s attempt to make its movie world as convoluted as its comics, forget all that nonsense and just enjoy this film for the breathtaking battle between good and evil that it is – with some sappy-fun romance thrown in for good measure. This film rocks (and I don’t mean just the short-lived appearance of the Kronan).
What’s this? A time-travel movie without a time-machine, a souped-up Delorean, or any other sort of time-warping gizmo technology? Heresy! Well, no, the British film, “About Time,” is actually a pretty decent movie, and hopefully it will make you think more about life, love and how you spend your valuable time on Earth than the story’s self-imposed rules regarding space and time; rules that it haphazardly breaks – repeatedly.
I’m a big fan of both director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) and writer Cormac McCarthy (The Road), so I was very excited when I heard that Scott was directing McCarthy’s first original screenplay, “The Counselor.” Although the film didn’t turn out to be quite the masterpiece I was expecting, it’s still better than your average crime-thriller, with some wild and unexpected eroticism thrown in to boot.
There is an intelligent and intriguing tale waiting to be told about the ever-expanding world of information technology that we live in and the security pitfalls that come with reliance on that technology. The Fifth Estate awkwardly attempts to tell that story, but unfortunately ends up being just a bungled biography of WikiLeaks and its notorious founder, Julian Assange.
It’s not every day you get to meet a living cinema legend. And it’s even rarer that said legend turns out, in a good way, to be the polar opposite of what you expected him or her to be. Case in point is Danny Trejo, the iconic bad-ass and tough-guy with well over two-hundred screen credits to his name, who in real-life is one of the nicest and most personable movie stars you could ever imagine.
This October, one of the greatest zombie stories ever told returns with all new thrills, chills and undead drama. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as a small band of survivors struggle to stay alive and find safety in a world where danger lurks at every turn. Oh, by the way, no, we’re not talking about the new season of The Walking Dead.
“The Grandmaster” tells the story of the legendary martial-arts master, Ip Man (or Yip Man or Yip Kai-man), or as he is known in the United States, the guy who trained Bruce Lee. It is a kung-fu film that is heavy on the drama and light on the mysticism, making it one of the classiest martial-art movies I’ve seen. It may not have as much fighting as some genre fans would like, but the action sequences it does have are extremely well produced.
If you are not familiar with the annual “Burning Man” event, thinkWoodstock meets Mad Max, although its organizers and proponents frown on painting the event into any kind of corner. The “about” section of the event’s website says that “trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind.” Nevertheless, the new documentary film, Spark: A Burning Man Story, attempts to explain the alleged unexplainable.
I was dreading seeing this movie, another home invasion slasher-flick, that was originally on the festival circuit two years ago. It is a late-summer release that was sure to be just another glob of bloody goo slopped into the horror genre’s chum bucket. But, wow, was I shocked at how much fun I had watching this movie. You’re Next surprisingly turned out to be one of the best movie experiences I’ve had so far this year.
In 2008, the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States was the culmination of hundreds of years’ worth of civil rights efforts; but all you have to do is turn on the evening news to see that our country still has a long way to go before there is ever going to be absolute equality of race – if we ever reach that point. Lee Daniels’ The Butler covers the life of one man who experienced the civil rights battles of the last century from both the foot soldier’s perspective and as a humble observer in the highest echelon of government.
If you are an Apple or Macintosh fan, then you are probably going to appreciate the new film about the company’s founder and visionary, Steve Jobs, a lot more than I did – or, depending on the movie’s accuracy, maybe not. Nevertheless, as a PC guy (and John Hodgman) fan I still found “Jobs” to be an interesting biography and history lesson about the man and the business during the pre-iPod days. Ashton Kutcher also delivers a very good performance as the iconic Apple mastermind.
The vulgar, obscene and ultra-violent teenage heroes and villains of the “Kick-Ass” universe have worn out their welcome in mine. Maybe I’m just having a “get off my lawn” moment, but with Kick-Ass 2 the foul-mouthed, social-media obsessed, teenage-wannabe-hero routine has grown thin and this new film was mostly an irritating waste of two hours.
The new crime-comedy We’re the Millers showcases all sorts of crude and obscene humor, trying desperately to earn a hard “R” rating, but the story lives in a world where cartoon-like gangsters buy, sell and steal drugs, but no one ever uses them, and where strippers dance but never actually disrobe. If you think the incessant use of the “F” word is funny, then you will probably enjoy this film, but it is mostly just half-baked humor that breaks badly.
Neill Blomkamp, who wrote and directed the very good “District 9,” is one of the few film creators working today who actually tries to make meaningful science-fiction movies; and with his latest effort, Elysium, he once again wraps his thought-provoking views of the world’s ills in an action-packed and visually stunning package that is palatable even to moviegoers who don’t agree, understand or even care about the message.
Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Even though I surprisingly loved last month’s Turbo movie, about a speedy super-snail who dreams of competing in the Indianapolis 500, my tolerance for computer animated racing films is about tapped-out for the 2013 film year. That said, even though the new Disney film Planes suffers from a slight case “jet-lag,” it’s not a completely wasted trip.
I haven’t seen the original Despicable Me film, but even though I’m a newbie to the super-villainous animated franchise, and was just a little lost with the initial set-up for this sequel, Despicable Me 2 is fiendishly funny and a fantastic film for the whole family. I enjoyed this movie so much that I’m definitely going to be seeking out the first one on video and I’m also already looking forward to next year’s prequel, Minions (which is currently slated for December, 2014.)
I love the character of Superman, and although he may not be my favorite comic-book hero I still admire what he symbolizes and his rich pop culture history. So needless to say, I had very lofty expectations for Man of Steel, the latest movie redux of the Superman mythos. Unfortunately, my dreams of an exciting reboot of the film franchise, one that might potentially lead to aJustice League movie, have been laid lower than an ant in the miniature city of Kandor.
The latest cinematic satirical look at the apocalypse, This is the End, comes from the narcissistic angle of Hollywood stars playing themselves, or at least caricatures of themselves, as they deal with the end of the world by getting high and exuding childish humor as if it were just another day on the playground. Some of this is funny, but it’s mostly just pretentious and inane.
Some movies are so bad that they are unintentionally funny, but those films at least have that accidental humor going for them. Not so with The Purge, a humorless film that from its initial conception to its final on-screen completion is as awful and downright dumb as any movie I can remember having ever seen.