Archive for June, 2012

22nd June
2012
written by Adam

Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the wide eyed and wild red haired daughter of Scottish Royalty is an aspiring archer and independent young woman looking to make her own way in the world. But, when her parents, Fergus and Elinor (Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson), deem that it’s time for Merida to be traditionally courted and married against her own will, a locking of horns ensues. Unfortunately, it’s a disagreement that could undo the entire kingdom and hurt the ones closest to the center. Now it’s up to Merida to look deep inside, find her strength, and mend the tear that could otherwise destroy everything before it’s too late. Visually interesting, Disney’s Pixar just keeps getting better and better in their animation abilities, this time paying dramatic attention to hair and textures, and that alone is quite stunning. But as screenplays go, where Pixar has normally pushed boundaries and found compelling ways of telling a story, Brave just comes across as a mediocre. At its core the story is sweet, has some comedic points, but doesn’t really show us anything dramatically new– even through the feminist empowerment lens. And, from my totally unscientific eye count, zero tears appeared to be shed by the screening audience, surprising considering that Pixar films consistently tug our heart strings just so. On the flip side, La Luna, the opening short before Brave, does offer genuine heart and soul and is not to be missed. Perhaps more of a rental or matinee, Brave is rated PG.

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8th June
2012
written by Adam

Searching for story ideas three writers for a Seattle based magazine decide to investigate a bizarre personal ad— a man searching for a partner looking to time travel, someone who’ll bring their own weapons, who’ll be paid upon return and also accept the fact that their safety will not be guaranteed. But, what initially starts out as a goof story turns out to have much deeper ramifications. As Darius (Aubrey Plaza) gains the trust of the potential time traveler, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), journalist Jeff (Jake Johnson) explores his own past with an old flame from high school (Jenica Bergere), and intern Arnau (Karan Soni) blossoms in his own time, it all seems cathartic and innocent enough. But wait, could it be that Kenneth’s plans for time travel might actually work? Then what? Exploring the possibilities of love, fate, physics, trust, and our own abilities to accept change or deny it. Based on an actual personal ad and the fictional possibilities that could extend from such an ad, the film represents a down to earth and honest approach to cinema; sometimes gritty artistically, but genuine in its message none the less. Shot entirely in the Seattle area, Safety Not Guaranteed also represents a bold step forward for filmmakers in Washington State, proving it can be done, and done well. Still, I hold a few reservations, while the chemistry between Plaza and Duplass develops in its own quirky way, interactions between Johnson, Soni and Bergere feel less developed and believable. Even then, this gripe is easy to dismiss as awkward twinges dissolve into comedic genius from one scene to the next. In short, there’s a lot to like about the film, and, with a plot that will make you question your own beliefs and life trajectory, this is one definitely worth putting on your hit list. And, note for the ciniphile geeks, director Colin Trevorrow tells me the birds heard in outdoor sequences are actually the same birds from Endor. Apparently Skywalker Studios did some of the audio post production and there are several hat tips throughout the film, fun. Safety Not Guaranteed is rated R.
If you’d like to hear my entire interview with Director Colin Trevorrow, here are the raw and unedited files um’s coughs and all. What a talker!
Colin Trevorrow Interview Segment 1
and
Colin Trevorrow Interview Segment 2

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1st June
2012
written by Adam

Born into royalty the kind, gentle, loved, and humane princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is locked away in a castle tower while her wicked stepmother, Ravenna (Charlize Theron), wreaks havoc amongst the kingdom. Using black magic to prolong her beauty and power Ravenna has sapped the life of many across the land. But magic has its limits, and, when Snow White stands between Ravenna and immortality the game is afoot. Now an escapee of her tower prison Snow White is sought by The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the queen’s brother Finn (Sam Spruell). Through the dark woods the Huntsman becomes a protector, meanwhile Finn remains as cruel as ever– but help is nearby as Snow White and The Huntsman are aided by a group of dwarves (Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, and Brian Gleeson). Still the queen’s wrath grows more fierce with every passing minute, surviving her dark army and returning peace to the land is of the highest importance. But how can the fairest of the fair be done and undone, who will survive, and what of Snow White’s possible prince William (Sam Clafin)? Right off the bat let me be forthright in saying I have not been a fan of Kristen Stewart, Twilight has kind of sucked my soul dry on affection, but wait, what’s this, a non-Twilight role that’s mystical and mythical and you know what, I think I liked it. And, even if I had an issue here or there about Stewart’s chops, Theron’s almost over the top howling evil persona more than makes up for any short comings, fantastic! Meanwhile Hemsworth isn’t really challenged in this role, he’s basically Thor with an axe, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, he’s just not challenged by the role, that’s all and I bought it. And the dwarves; holy smokes, downright brilliant, if I wasn’t so preoccupied with trying to figure out how human sized actors were crammed into tiny little bodies (CGI and movie magic) I’d say they were nothing short of perfect. Cinematography and all computer graphics felt real and interesting and if ever there was a case for a film to be shot in 3D this is it, surprisingly, the film isn’t in 3D, go figure. James Newton Howard’s masterful score crowns this achievement with a compelling and interesting soundscape to suck the viewer in even deeper. What I’m saying, we’ve got a winner, despite a few snicker points here and there. Snow White and the Huntsman is rated PG-13.

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