Archive for Reviews

Written By: Dan Geer

jyn_erso

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a movie that is literally going to change everything we thought we knew about Star Wars. As a prequel to Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, it will change the way you view that story completely. It pushes the boundaries of camerawork and editing beyond what the saga films did (and will continue to do). This is the first standalone Star Wars film, and is highly experimental in a number of ways, which is risky, but well worth it as long as one is open to Star Wars not really feeling so much like your typical Star Wars episodes.

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Written By: Dan Geer

Batman v Superman

This is it. The first time both Superman and Batman share the big screen in a live-action film is finally here. Ever since Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comic book series first made its way into the hands of tens of thousands of superhero geeks around the world back in 1986, we’ve all wished and hoped for a live-action book-to-film adaptation of Miller’s story. While of course Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is not that story, it still brings us DC’s two most popular comic book heroes together for the first time in a live-action movie that is very much inspired by Miller’s story, and that is something we need to step back, breathe, and be grateful for. Even ten years ago, I would’ve completely denied it as a possibility that we would ever get a film like this. Yet somehow, here we are – and it brought a big smile to my face.

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Written By: Dan Geer

X-Files_Cast

After so many years of waiting, wondering whether or not Fox’s hit series The X-Files would ever get a third film, Fox decided that a limited series event for television was a better way to go, green-lighting six more episodes instead. Needless to say, fans were ecstatic. While we didn’t get a movie, we actually got more than we ever asked for, which was fantastic. More mythology, plus stand-alone stories for Mulder and Scully to investigate. It is hard to believe that it has already come and gone!

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Written By: Dan Geer

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Wow. Simply wow.

It is so hard to put into words how it really feels to finally see Episode VII of the Star Wars saga. It’s been 32 years since Return of the Jedi, and over a decade since Revenge of the Sith, which we thought was going to be the very last Star Wars film we’d EVER see. As far as we knew, George Lucas was done. And he’s still done, but just not in the way we all thought.

Lucas of course made the decision to step out of the Star Wars sandbox and let other talent play in it, which caught us ALL by surprise. Selling the Lucasfilm rights over to Disney, Lucas handed the company over to long-time friend and film producer Kathleen Kennedy to lead the charge into a whole new era of Star Wars – one that takes us back to its roots. And it all started by bringing back The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan to pen the screenplay, and hiring J.J. Abrams to direct. I couldn’t have imagined a more brilliant team to kick off the sequel trilogy  – a trilogy NO ONE thought would ever happen.

This review will not spoil anything for the reader. It is best to let the film unveil it all. Instead, let us just focus on what we can expect, in terms of tone, characters and story. After all, what you’re really reading this for is simply to know one thing: IS IT GOOD?!!!!

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Written By: Dan Geer

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

Hammer Films’ The Woman in Black was a very surprising throwback to classic gothic horror. Director James Watkins really understood the genre, filling up the big screen with just the right amount of creepy atmosphere and “jump out of your seat” moments. Nothing was overdone. The film hit just the right balance when it came to executing the fright factor, never letting us see too much. The camera work and lighting (or lack thereof) were so well done, that the eye plays tricks on the viewer when watching, often making us see eerie spectres that aren’t even there. The film simply had a great look to it, as well as a compelling story.

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Written By: Dan Geer

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Watching The Hobbit Trilogy has been kind of like munching on a really good appetizer after you’ve already thoroughly enjoyed your filet mignon. We’ve already been blown away by The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, director Peter Jackson’s masterful film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s time-honored novel – a novel that perfected the world that was first established by Tolkien in The Hobbit twenty years prior. It’s one of the greatest sequels ever written. So it is probably inevitable that many will be underwhelmed with The Hobbit film trilogy as a whole after seeing The Battle of the Five Armies. Audiences have already been given the climax to the story, particularly with The Return of the King, and are now being asked to go backwards and enjoy the beginning just as much. That’s just not possible.

So while it is difficult to avoid comparing The Battle of the Five Armies with The Return of the King (or The Hobbit Trilogy to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, for that matter), in the end we really should only be judging this final film in The Hobbit Trilogy on its own merits, and question whether or not it is a worthy ending to the story being told in this trilogy. To critque it any other way just doesn’t make sense. With that in mind, I’m delighted to say that this film is indeed a worthy conclusion, and actually connects to The Lord of the Rings Trilogy quite seamlessly. That’s really all we should expect.

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Written By: Dan Geer

thorin

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of Peter Jackson’s epic Middle-Earth Trilogy, was a film that took its time in getting to the point. By taking its cues primarily from J.R.R. Tolkien’s 300+ page novel, and referencing The Lord of the Rings appendices and other various notes from the well-renowned author that tie in with The Hobbit, Jackson managed to stretch out the first third of the story into a nearly three-hour film.

While many found that this approach enriched various aspects of the story that weren’t described in elaborate detail in the book (or glossed over entirely), others found the film to be quite tedious to sit through, snobbishly proclaiming that Jackson is taking a tightly-written young adult novel and turning it into a over-bloated cash cow over the course of three long films. Of course, many of those criticisms stemmed from the fact that many had no idea that this trilogy is based on more than just The Hobbit, and/or don’t understand the fine tuning that needs to be done when translating a book to film. Nevertheless, for better or for worse, A Unexpected Journey indeed had a slower pace.

So those who were nodding off during the first film for this very reason may be happy to know that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug gets a move on with the story quite quickly, tossing us right into the action by picking up right where the first film left off, with Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and his company of dwarves on the run from Azog the Defiler and his goon-squad of orcs as they make their way toward The Lonely Mountain in hopes of fulfilling their quest to reclaim their dwarven homeland of Erebor and the treasures held captive within by the dragon Smaug.

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Written By: Dan Geer

Not since Disney’s Return to Oz in 1985 have we visited the world of author L. Frank Baum’s classic series of Oz novels on the big screen. Needless to say, many fans of both Baum’s works and the original 1939 musical, The Wizard of Oz, have been waiting a long time for someone to take on the series again, and to do it justice at that. Of course, other fans may just want to leave well enough alone out of fear of ruining a classic. After all, the 1939 musical is one of those films that has stood the test of time for decades and still resonates with families all over the world today, and so to create a film that acts as a quasi-prequel to such a beloved classic is simply asking for the most harshest of criticisms. It’s inevitable. How could anyone possibly produce a new film that does justice to Baum’s novels and director Victor Fleming’s original 1939 film? Believe it or not, Disney may have just pulled it off with Oz the Great and Powerful.

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Written By: Dan Geer

Back in 1993, Chris Carter was a new name to the television business when he delivered the pilot episode for The X-Files, a science-fiction series that raised the stakes for what could be done with fictional storytelling on TV, and gradually became one of the Fox network’s biggest hits. By the time the show’s third season rolled around, it was clear to Fox that Chris Carter had practically become a household name, and that any new series with his name on it could potentially give the network its next groundbreaking success. In light of this revelation, Fox decided to give Carter another crack at developing something entirely new for the network that might captivate audiences just as much, if not more than The X-Files. Millennium was Carter’s bold response to that challenging proposition.

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Written By: Dan Geer

Eleven years ago, director Peter Jackson and his highly-skilled team of writers brought to life what many thought for decades to be impossible with the live-action adaptation of author J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. When it concluded in 2003 with The Return of the King, many (including myself) deemed it to be the greatest trilogy of films ever made in the history of cinema. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seemed to agree with that sentiment, with all three films receiving a nomination for Best Picture (something that almost never happens with fantasy films), and The Return of the King landing a clean sweep of eleven Oscars, including Best Director and Best Picture. It was one of the most historic moments in film history (The Oscars have never again been as interesting), and it was just a great thing to see the creative people behind the making of these films get rewarded for the incredibly hard work and tremendous love they put into the trilogy over the years.

So it goes without saying that Jackson’s return to Middle Earth nearly ten years later with The Hobbit Trilogy has been met with expectations higher than the peak of Mount Doom – expectations that are more than likely impossible to live up to completely. It is thus necessary to inform the reader on just what exactly to expect this time around, as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journeyis not quite on the level of genius as 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, but is nevertheless a fun adventure and welcome return to Jackson’s incredible vision of Tolkien’s imaginative and captivating fantasy world.

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