Tearjerkers: Five Movies Guaranteed to Make You Cry

When Zack Snyder’s (Watchmen, 300) new film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole opened, it put an end to the speculation about what attracted this visceral, violent action-adventure director to a children’s film about talking owls.  Unfortunately, while the questions have been answered, the result is a film that’s not exactly sure of itself either, and its lack of focus means it will disappoint many different camps of viewers. If you’ve been attracted by the visuals glimpsed in the trailers, rest assured that they are out in full force throughout the film.  Josh Tyler of CinemaBlend.com applauds the film for taking 3D to a level beyond that of even Avatar, allowing for sunlight washing out of the screen and rain flying into it.  However, he also criticizes the basic message of the story, which suggests that thought and logic is the path to unfeeling cruelty.  In the film, this is represented by the main antagonists, the Nazi-like Pure Ones race of owls. As you might guess, there are some serious themes in this film, and this also limits its appeal for its (supposedly) intended audience: kids.  As Clint O’Connor of the Plain Dealer says, although the film is promoted as being from the studio that made Happy Feet (which it is), it “looks like a kids movie directed by the guy who made ’300′”which it also is.  However, while Rotten Tomatoes as a whole puts the film at 48%, the “Top Critics” percentage is higher: 58%.  Ultimately, this is a surprisingly dividing film, Click Here, and your enjoyment will ultimately depend on what you expect when you walk in to the theater. Legends is based on a children’s epic fantasy series called Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky.  With 15 total books in all, there’s quite a few titles for fans of the movie to check out when they’re done (the movie covers the first three volumes of the series, The Capture, The Journey, and The Rescue).  In addition to the fifteen main novels, there are five accompanying books, three of which deal with the Wolves of the Beyond.  These characters are not seen in the film, but live in a dire landscape called Beyond the Beyond.  Coryn, a character from later in the series, ventures into this area in order to prove himself to the Guardians.


What’s a Gaffer?: Lesser-Known Movie Credits

Reading the movie credits, it is apparent that it takes a lot of people to make a film. Aside from the typical jobs like director and actor, there are plenty of jobs that might make you raise an eyebrow. You can rest assured that each person listed has a pretty important job on set.

Many of these jobs are related to the electrical work on stage. For instance, a gaffer is an electrician who handles all the plans and grips on set. He or she will pay attention to the type of lighting the Read the rest of this entry »


Don’t Open That Door!: Common Mistakes of Movie Characters

One of the most common mistakes movie characters seem to make is wearing high heels in the first place. Heels are fine for going on a date, but who wears them camping? They always have to run, and they always seem to fall down and sit there rubbing their ankle and screaming while waiting to be butchered.

This goes right along with mistake number two, running through the woods and making as much noise as possible with the rustling and crying as they run. Climb Read the rest of this entry »


From Quirky to Cool: The Films of Johnny Depp

Few actors have portrayed a more wide variety of quirky characters than Johnny Depp. He seems to search for roles in which he can display a character’s “individuality.” In his latest effort, “The Tourist,” he plays a relatively normal math-teacher. But a quick look back shows that, for Depp, normal in not the norm.

Of course his quirkiest role was as poor Edward Scissorhands… or was that Willie Wonka…or Captain Jack Sparrow… you get the idea. Even when his Read the rest of this entry »


A Star is Born: Memorable Movie Debuts

Not every actor makes a strong impression the first time out. As filmmaking has evolved, glamour has become less a part of the “star quality” that draws people to the theater. Today, it’s more about acting chops, and that sometimes takes a while to develop. Moviegoers who saw the Coen Brothers’ version of “True Grit” were treated to an impressive acting debut recently in the person of Haliee Steinfeld, who plays the precocious Mattie Ross.

In her first outing Steinfeld showed that she can carry a scene, as when she bargains for her murdered father’ Read the rest of this entry »


Anime Films You Can Actually Watch with Your Kids

As many adults know, there are plenty of anime movies out there not suitable for children, but what many don’t know is the plethora of anime for children that adults will also enjoy. Some titles that are family friendly include the many works of Hayao Miyazaki’s, such as “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Ponyo”, which mostly center on children discovering a world beyond their own, Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Steamboy” (though this does have some violent scenes toward the end), and Hiroyuki Morito’s “The Cat Returns”. Miyazaki’s main characters are for the most part girls aged Read the rest of this entry »


Sequels in 2011: Part I

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules (March 25): Although the first adaptation of the popular middle-school graphic novel series garnered mixed reviews, Roger Ebert rated the film three-and-a-half out of four stars. The sequel is based on the second book in the series and revolves around main character Greg Heffley and his torturous older brother, Rodrick. When Rodrick finds Heffley’s original diary (the recorded story of the first film), the conflict between the brothers is ratcheted up to the next level. The actor who plays Greg, Zachary Gordon, has appeared in television shows as varied as How I Met Your Mother, Ni Hao, Kai-lan, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, all available from Direct TV Indiana dealers, along with all other Direct TV locations.
  • Scream 4 (April 15): Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson return to their popular horror series with the intent of starting up another trilogy. David Arquette, Courteney Cox, and Neve Campbell return from the first trilogy, this time joined by Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, and Rory Culkin. The film will parody the endless commercialization of the horror industry. Read the rest of this entry »

“The Green Hornet” poised to strike next year

Anybody under the age of 40 had to be asking themselves why we’re getting a new “Green Hornet” movie when they first found out. That’s after they looked him up to find out who he was, of course. The pulp-fiction hero of the ’30s and ’40s hasn’t had a presence in mainstream pop-culture since the 1966-1967 television series, which was more notable for introducing Bruce Lee to American audiences than anything else. For some reason, though, starting in the 1990s, big-name writers started batting around screenplay ideas, with George Clooney attached at one point to play the lead. The result, after more than a decade, is Michel Gondry’s The Green Hornet. Read the rest of this entry »


Take a trip away from Hollywood with some indie and foreign films

With big American blockbusters dominating the current theater scene, it’s important to remember that there are still some independent and foreign films on the market worth your time. Here are a few that might catch your interest.

  • The Secret in Their Eyes is an Argentine mystery by director Juan Jos Campanella. While set in 1999, it flashes back to 1974 when a federal agent begins to investigate the murder of a young woman. Campanella had previously directed episodes of House and Law & Order, but this film shows him at his best, and has already won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Don’t let this one pass you by.
  • City Island is a limited-release American comedy film set in the Bronx location of the same name. Stars include such big names as Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, and Alan Arkin. The plot follows an Italian family named the Rizzos hiding some big secrets, like an illegitimate son and what the daughter is doing when she’s supposed to be in college. Overall, this film focuses on the importance of family, and could provide a smart and touching alternative to the standard family fare. Read the rest of this entry »

Remakes and adaptations in theaters now

Hollywood has been entranced by remakes for about a decade now, and comic books have also become increasingly popular sources of inspiration. Here is a look at some of the films out now that you may recognize from somewhere else.

  • The Karate Kid is a remake of the 1984 film by Rocky director John G. Avildsen. The new film comes from the director of Agent Cody Banks, Harald Zwart, and stars Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith. The film looks like a classic tale of overcoming adversity and standing up for yourselfwith a healthy dose of kung-fu added in.
  • The A-Team is another 80′s remake, this time of the popular television show which ran from 1983-1986 and launched the career of Mr. T. The military thriller follows a unique Army Special Forces unit attempting to recover their good name, and features cameos by some stars from the original show like Dwight Schultz and Dirk Benedict. For a slice of summer action, it will definitely fit the bill. Read the rest of this entry »

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