Category Archives: reviews

Dying To Do Letterman Premieres at Cinequest

6 Mar , 2011,
Chip Street
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No Comments

Liver cancer and comedy prove a perfect match.

**UPDATE**

Dying To Do Letterman invited to qualify for Academy Award – raising funds at Kickstarter.

Live Your Dream Or Die Trying

At 35, comedian Steve Mazan learned he was dying of liver cancer. So he did what any sane person would do: he dedicated the next year of his life to earning an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Five years later, last night, the story of that one year quest had its premiere at the 2011 Cinequest film festival as Dying To Do Letterman. And I was lucky enough to be there.

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Black Swan – mini review

16 Feb , 2011,
Chip Street
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No Comments

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!

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

19 Feb , 2010,
Chip Street
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14 comments

(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 ***
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where the wild things are – review

11 Nov , 2009,
Chip Street
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6 comments

1where_the_wild_things_are_poster22

Where The Wild Things Are – a disappointing imbalance of dramatic and thematic intent.

I knew going in. I’d heard the reports, seen the reviews, and I knew.

“It’s awfully dark,” they’d say. “It’s not a kid’s movie.”

“But it’s a kid’s book,” I’d say. “It’s about a boy who imagines a land with friendly monsters. How can that not be for kids?”

But in my mind I thought maybe at least it would be an interesting adult take on a kid’s story. And it was a tossup between WTWTA and Jim Carrey’s new 3D Scrooge extravaganza from the people who brought you the robotic and unengaging Polar Express. So I opted for WTWTA.

Ah, but they were right. And I was wrong. And here’s why.

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Paranormal Activity: the review

27 Sep , 2009,
Chip Street
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12 comments

paranormal-activity-movie-poster1Paranormal Activity horror film review

“Once every five years, a guy makes a movie for a nickel that can cross over to a broad audience,” says “Paranormal Activity” producer Jason Blum, who, as a senior executive at Miramax Films, had a producing credit on “The Reader” and acquired the supernatural thriller “The Others.” “And there are about 3,000 of these movies made every year, so this film is about one in 15,000.”

THE BUZZ

You’ve heard the buzz. Paranormal Activity, “the little indie horror film that could” about a couple who videotapes a demon haunting them in their home, made in a week for $11,000 by a guy with no filmmaking experience (Oren Peli, a video game programmer) gets seen at a horror fest (Screamfest), scares Spielberg so bad he won’t keep the DVD in his house (marketing hype, anyone?), and gets picked up by DreamWorks for the full court press. (LATimes story here)

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