Film Review: Carrie

Film Review: Carrie

Carrie opens in theaters everywhere today, October 18. Check your local listings for showtimes.

In the current climate of remakes, reboots and sequels, it was only a matter of time before we got to Carrie. Sure it was remade as a garbage television film in 2002, there was a sequel that should never be spoken of, and, strangely enough, two musicals; but this is the first full-on theatrical remake to hit the big screen. However, unlike the reimagined Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, Carrie was a standalone film with a firmly closed ending. Perhaps the ongoing bullying debates allow for an opportunity to do something more with the film. Maybe there is more to say, or a different way to position it within our post-Columbine context.

Maybe not.

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Film Review: Hugo

Film Review: Hugo

‘Hugo’ is director Martin Scorsese’s first foray in a long while that is in complete unfamiliar territory. For starters, this is his first film absent of Leonardo DiCaprio in 10 years. Secondly this is the first Scorsese picture intended for all ages. Notice I didn’t say “intended for kids.” I don’t think Scorsese set out to make a kids movie, I think he definitely set out to make a movie that could be enjoyed by anyone of any age (kids included!).

Adapted from the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, the film tells the story of a boy who lives alone in a Paris train station, and a curious toy shop owner. Hugo (Asa Butterfield), orphaned at a young age lives in secret, running around in the background keeping the station’s clocks in order – a job he took over from his drunken Uncle who adopted him after the passing of his father.

The one possession he still has from his father is a mechanical man, an automaton. A project he was working on with his father. Hugo believes that the automaton holds a secret final message from his father, and is working tirelessly to fix it.

Hugo acquires parts by stealing them from the toy shop, owned by Papa Georges (Ben Kinglsey). When Papa Georges takes Hugo’s notebook as payment for what he’s stolen, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), Papa Georges goddaughter, begins to help Hugo – beginning their wonderful adventure.

Scorsese films are known for their amazing cinematography and camera work. Whether its the long tracking shots in ‘Goodfellas,’ or the swooping shots of planes in ‘The Aviator,’ Scorsese and his DP Robert Richardson love moving the camera. In the opening of this film, they use every trick in the book. It’s mind-blowing. The seamless movement through practical, and CG sets, all while closely following Hugo looked amazing – this scene alone is worth the price of admission.

Asa Butterfield proves himself to be a talented, wonderful actor. The emotions he displays, especially in the pivotal moments of them film are quite believable. Moretz, who at a young age already has a great catalog of work under her now has another amazing film under her belt. It was also great to see Sacha Baron Cohen in something other than his own characters.

I’m not the greatest proponent of 3D films. I don’t like it for a lot of reasons. But I have said, if there is any director who could do anything amazing with the medium, it’d be Scorsese. I was right. This film is hands down, the greatest 3D film I’ve seen. The way the depth and dimension is used exceeds what we saw in Avatar. Subtle things like dust in the train station, or light from a film projector surrounding a characters head – everything looked amazing.

When I first heard that Scorsese had signed on to direct this film, I was scratching my head. Having now seen it, its obvious why he was the perfect director for this film. Not just because of the advanced themes and amazing story – the film calls back to one of Scorsese’s greatest passions, the cinema of yesteryear. The film features, and is inspired by so many great films, from ‘The Great Train Robbery,’ and ‘Safety Last,’ to ‘Intolerance.’

There is no reason why every single person of any age should not see this movie. Amazing cast, amazing story, amazing cinematography, this film is a great reminder that, yes, there still can be great films that can be enjoyed all.

Trailer: Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

Trailer: Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

I’ve been looking forward to the Scorsese’s adaptation of ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret” since I first heard about it. Despite my general reservations for 3D, if there is one filmmaker that can truly do something unique with it, its Scorsese. The film stars Chloe Moretz, Asa Butterfield, and Sacha Baron Cohen

Check out the trailer here.

The trailer is a little on the goofy/sappy side with its titles, but I’m not the target market for it. I do think this is going to be a great kids film, I get a great vibe from the sweeping shots in the trailer that if anything, it’ll be a beautiful looking film. I can’t wait!

Review: Kick-Ass

Review: Kick-Ass

In an age of dramatic, brooding, dark super hero movies, ‘Kick-Ass’ stands out as a stellar reminder that sometimes, there are movies that are made just for fun. Movies made to appeal to an audience that just wants to see a fun story, and a bunch of bad guys get their ass kicked. I tried hard to not say this, but simply put, ‘Kick-Ass’ lived up to its title.

Based on a comic written by Mark Millar and drawn by John Romita, ‘Kick-Ass,’ is the story of one teenagers goal to become a superhero.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Vaughn and Jane Goldman, ‘Kick-Ass’ tells the story of Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a regular teenager who asks, “why has no one ever decided to become a super-hero.”

Following a mugging, Dave decides to create an alternate identity, ordering an interesting looking green wet-suit, and naming himself, Kick-Ass. After some serious mishaps, Dave realizes the answer to his question, as he quickly steps into something way over his head. His character states early in the film, if their can be Villains, why can’t their be super heros?

The villain is the leader of the New York crime syndicate, Frank D’Amico (played by an excellent Mark Strong), whose drug dealings have become threatened by another team of vigilantes, enter Hit-Girl (Chloë Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage).

As Kick-Ass gains notoriety, D’Amico believes its the masked vigilante is at the source of all his problems, but there is much more at work here.

The film simply is entertaining as all hell. All the situations are pulled from the best comic book stories, but set on a backdrop that is grounded more in “reality” (I use that term loosely) than most comics, which makes for some fun situations. The need to become a hero, the moment of realization, the transformation to a super hero, the arch-nemesis – all these standard super-hero/comic book movie moments are here.

Perhaps the only negative thing I have to say about Kick-Ass is regarding the CGI. At times the effects were a little on the rough side. But, given how enjoyable everything else was, this was quickly forgiven.

‘Kick-Ass’ is ‘Superbad’ meets Comic-book movie, its hilarious, the action shot and edited extremely well, and the story line captivating. The actors were fun to watch, Strong, Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Cage were all excellent and memorable. But I have to specifically mention Chloë Moretz. Her character was half [insert a Dakota Fanning character here] and half Linda Hamilton (a la T2) on speed. She is hilarious, extremely bad-ass (yes I called a 13 year old bad ass), and her performance is completely convincing. She had a part in last summers ‘500 Days of Summer’ and has popped up in a few other films. Based on her performance here, she is certainly someone we are going to see a lot more of  in the next few years. Moretz is set to be in Scorsese’s next film ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’ and given her ability to act, its no surprise.

‘Kick-Ass’ won’t win any awards, but that’s not why they made it. They made it so people like me can go to the movies, and leave with a huge smile on my face. Check it out when it hits theaters April 16th.