Tag Archives: movies

Black Swan – mini review

Saw Black Swan tonight. It was everything I wanted it to be… almost. Intense, dark, sexy, twisted. I enjoyed it, but in the end I was a little bit “that’s it?”.

Black SwanWhy?

Story. Again. Sure, all the parts are there, but the whole wasn’t greater than their sum. I’m not sure the characters did anything they didn’t need to do to move the simple core of the story forward. The universe, and the lives of the characters, didn’t seem to be any bigger than the frame of the film.

Was I guessing at what was real and what was not? Yup. But did the truth turn out to be anything utterly unexpected, anything other than either the simple A or B the trope sets up? Not really.

Glad I saw it. I’d rather see films like this than unimaginative remakes that take no chances. That’s why I like Aronofsky.

But ooh, so close! Missed it by that much!

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Paranormal Activity 2 – the sequel

Paranormal Activity sequel promises to out-boo its predecessor – will it succeed?

Paranormal Activity 2 the sequelIf you read my exhaustive review of Paranormal Activity, you know I was a big fan of (99% of) the film.

Paranormal Activity is the movie The Blair Witch Project wanted to be and Cloverfield didn’t even try to be. Discuss amongst yourselves the relative success or failure of The Last Broadcast, REC or its American remake Quarantine.

But we all also know that more often than not, sequels tend to disappoint (unless the audience’s requirements are low – Hello, Twilight). Continue reading

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kickass superhero movie adds to the unsuperhero genre

New Kickass superhero movie expands sub-genre of regular-guy superheroes

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Lion’s Gate’s KICKASS is the latest entry to the burgeoning unsuperhero genre that I wrote about a few months back. What’s an ‘unsuperhero’? It’s a guy (or gal – er, woman) who takes on the mantle of superheroic responsibilities, with no actual superheroic powers.

It’s a sub-genre with a history, from early comers like John Ritter’s Hero at Large: Continue reading

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Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief – A lesson in storytelling?

(aka: Percy Jackson: The Story Thief)

Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” – a review about mismanaging story

*** NOTE: Spoilers galore. ***

I am not one of those “the movie is never as good as the book” guys. Ever read Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the source material for Blade Runner)? You couldn’t help but make a better movie than book, as the book is laughably bad. And Blade Runner is one of my all time favorite films.

And I’m not in love with Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as a book. It’s engaging enough, and full of big ideas, but somewhat lacking in story structure.

So why am I so struck by the failure of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief the movie?

I think, the more I ruminate on it, it’s because the mistakes seem so rooted in fundamental story issues, and seem to favor the weaknesses of the book over its strengths.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE BOOK *** spoilers *** Continue reading

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on defining "high concept"

high concept movie
Every so often I see a conversation about “high concept” films or screenplays that goes something like this:

“That was a high concept film.”

“High concept? It was a bunch of explosions and giant robots! What’s so high concept about that?

“That’s poster-child high concept. By definition.”

“No, high concept means a concept with high aspirations… concepts with a higher calling.”

“High concept” does sound like it’d be more applicable to The Seventh Seal than to 2012. And those who lament Hollywood’s penchant for 90 minute action-figure commercials based on video games from the ’70’s might resent the apparent hijacking of the term to mean its exact opposite, somehow projecting value on the valueless by virtue of its semantic favoritism. But it is what it is… the term is firmly embedded in the lexicon of the industry, and now means precisely the opposite of what it sounds like it means.

So I dug up some old notes I’d written a few years ago, and thought I ‘d repost it here, to sort of bubble it back up to the top of the conversation. A few of the links are no longer any good, but you’ll get the point. Continue reading

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