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Archive for March, 2009

Star Trek (Poster)

I’ll be honest, I was never into Star Trek as a kid; George Lucas owned my heart from the age of 11-14. Yet, JJ Abram’s relaunch of Star Trek this summer looks absolutely incredible. This also has to be one of my favorite posters…ever.

Perfection.

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Robert Downey Jr. pretty much owns.

Director Guy Ritche has been known to deliver great material, but he’s been declining with his past few films, notably RocknRolla. I didn’t get a chance to see it, so I don’t have words of my own on that subject, but I heard it was a disappointment. Yet, Sherlock Holmes hopes to be a return to form. And by the way, the poster’s very, very cool.

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Coraline

Coraline is the paragon of an artistic jewel. It’s a wonder to watch, and I was blessed with the pleasure of seeing it in 3D. While I’ve heard the 2D version is still a spectacle, 3D is unbeatable. The stop motion animation, carefully blended with the specialty of 3D, is handled so meticulously, creating a fluid vision of haunting and fantastical imagery that could only come out of the deeply imaginative and childlike mind of Henry Selick.

Coraline Jones, appropriately voiced by Dakota Fanning, is a curious child with unfortunate, work-driven parents. After being ignored by those two bastards in their newly bought apartment complex, Coraline decides to explores. She meets a few eccentric neighbors, all of whom are remarkably unique and memorable. She also comes across a concealed door.  At first, this door, when opened, is bricked off, but it becomes wide open at night, turning into a passageway to an alternate world. This is a world in which everything is perfect; her parents are kind, her neighbors are more accessible, the food is better. The only problem is that everyone has buttons for eyes. She later finds out that her Other Mother is even more of a bitch than her actual mother because she wants to steal Coraline’s soul and add it to her collection.

The visuals are the paramount of this flick; it’s able to deliver storytelling in the most stunning and unusual way. The gothic oddities thrown in by Selick must be observed with an open eye. At first, I wasn’t sure where the story was going; it took me a bit of time to realize what Coraline truly was, but when I finally did, I definitely liked it. I sat back and just enjoyed what I was watching.

So this movie might instantly hook you in the opening sequence, or it might take you a half hour like it did with me. Either way, give it a look.

My expectations for this film were ungodly high, and the first thirty minutes weren’t quite what I expected. Only because of that was I disappointed, and that’s not the film’s fault at all. Also, it’s nearly impossible to think of this movie without comparing it to A Nightmare Before Christmas. With time, Coraline will be regarded dearly as a great picture, but is it as good as Nightmare? I’m going to have to say…..no. Yet, my opinion could change over time.

8.5 out of 10

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This is the Oscar winning documentary about Philip Petit’s remarkable high-wire performance between the World Trade Center twin towers. Man On Wire, an absolutely riveting story, displays the desire (some would even argue that it’s an obsession) of a man, the labor of his team throughout the entire preparation, the risks that could ensue, and the relationships between the co-conspirators.

The documentary is presented as a heist film. Right from the beginning, it’s pretty evident that what the team is doing isn’t exactly legal. In fact, most of the co-conspirators compare it to the scale of a bank robbery. The main task of the team is to sneak in equipment for rigging a wire across the twin towers in the middle of the night, and the job, itself, is  preceded by months and months of preparation. The impossibility of the entire gig overlooks Philip from the moment he first sparks the idea of walking between the two towers, and it’s quite astonishing to see it miraculously get done.

There’s this combination of rush and bewilderment throughout Man on Wire. Director James Marsh makes a great decision of combining real and reenacted footage, providing stylish and compelling storytelling. Even the interviews with the co-conspirators are all pretty animated; they’re filled with emotion and excitement, as if 1974, the year in which this all happened, was just yesterday. Each vivid description and scene puts you right there with the entire team. Most documentaries create this boundary for the viewer; the audience simply observes what’s happening from behind the lens. Yet, Man on Wire, drags you inside their dangerous world, and the audience is no longer a witness but a player in what’s going on.

Man on Wire is also successful in beautifying the Twin Towers. Although their destruction isn’t mentioned in the film, their legacy is prevalent. Added with their beauty is the stunning feat of walking on a tight rope between the two structures. Seeing the real footage of Philippe Petit’s amazing feat is pretty breathtaking, even if it simply is just film. There were several instances in which I got chills.

What is also ostensible is the danger that comes from doing this. We see the difficulty of dealing with Philippe’s lofty character flaws. He’s a bit of a selfish man who drags his friends into something that could kill him. The interviews with his friends display their fear of possibly having a hand in his death, but their excitement of participating in a historical work of art as well.

*SPOILER ALERT*
There are some things revealed towards the end of the film that could definitely turn off viewers. The aftermath of his successful act is the arrest of all the conspirators. When they are set free, Philippe decides to abandon his friends and celebrate with a stranger, admitting to have sex with her, which would be infidelity considering he was in a relationship at that time. At this point, the audience is clearly exposed to the selfish side of Philippe. He says that he abandoned his friends in the most beautiful way. Some, however, would definitely disagree with him. Abandonment is horrible in any way. It’s interesting to see how the film portrays Philippe. Throughout most of the movie, we’re given this immaculate image of him, but then it is revealed that he, too, is human-very prone to mistakes.
*END SPOILER*

Although Philippe Petit’s morals are up for questioning, it shouldn’t take away from what he gave to New York. And it shouldn’t take away from the film, itself. This documentary’s subject matter is astonishing, and the way it is presented is intense and fun.

A problem I had is that the documentary failed at explaining some aspects of the job. They didn’t go into great detail as to how they got the wire between towers. They mentioned it very casually, but I would’ve enjoyed a fully detailed explanation. Also, we’re never given any information on how they received the money to do this. Funding seemed like it was an issue, but the film didn’t characterize it as a problem.

This documentary drags you into this intense job, as if it were a heist. It’s edgy and mesmerizing to be a part of. It will definitely open your eyes to what is out there in the world, and what can be accomplished. The message is succinct and very profound.

8.5 out of 10

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Ang Lee is truly a master of his craft; Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon are both unforgettable, and without him, they might not have become some of the most important works in cinema history.

Now, with Taking Woodstock, Lee will most definitely deliver a very real vision of 1969. It’s going to be a great ride, and I’m happy that it will be driven by Demetri Martin, a great comic who deserves a lead role in what seems to be a great movie.

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*Sighs* I’m kind of disappointed in the poster…But it isn’t taking away my deep excitement for this.

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Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is it! Where The wild Things Are is the movie I’m most looking forward to this year, and this trailer just affirmed my notion. I’m a bit of a sucker for both Spike Jonze and Arcade Fire, so the blend of the two worked perfectly in this amazing preview. I’m not ashamed of admitting that I got chills.

There are amazing people at work on this one.

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