Review: The Hunger Games

28 03 2012

I usually don’t have a problem separating an adaptation from its source material. The second season of Game of Thrones starts in a few days, and so far I’ve been able to enjoy both the books and the TV show as their own separate things, without getting caught up in the changes from the books. With The Hunger Games I found myself having a hard time thinking about the movie independent of its source. I enjoyed the book but I didn’t love it, so I couldn’t figure out why I kept seeing the movie in terms of “the book did it better,”  but after a while it occurred to me: The movie follows the book too closely, and does so without doing anything to establish its own tone or unique take on the material. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jeff Who Lives At Home

15 03 2012

I have a low tolerance for “indie movies.” Not all independent movies, nor the kind of movies the public might unfairly dismiss as quote-unquote indie because it happens to have indie rock on its soundtrack (see: anything from Jason Reitman), but movies that seem to go out of their way to present themselves as quirky or offbeat. Jeff Who Lives At Home rides a very fine line, and I was constantly right up to the edge of annoyance for much of the film, but it ultimately lands on the right side. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: 21 Jump Street

14 03 2012

I can’t imagine many people expected much of anything from the big-screen adaptation of 21 Jump Street. It’s bad enough that it’s yet another movie reboot of an old TV show, as these are almost universally terrible, but turning (what I understand to be) a relatively serious series into a R-rated comedy just sounds crazy. It’s a bit of a surprise, then, that it’s the best movie of 2012 so far. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Haywire

19 01 2012

I can’t think of many times that I came out of a movie wishing it had less story. With action movies, in which those silly elitist notions of “story” and “character” are often passed over in favor of more explosions, it’s almost always the opposite (this week on Stating The Obvious with Pete…). Haywire, clocking in at a brief 90 minutes, is one of the rare movies that could have actually used less.

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Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

26 10 2011

I love it when a movie trusts an audience to figure out things for themselves. Early on in Martha Marcy May Marlene the relationship between our multi-named protagonist and her sister is perfectly summed up in just a few lines of dialogue. They don’t directly talk about their past or how they feel about each other, but everything you need to know is conveyed through their choice of words and the simple flow of the conversation. The whole movie is handled in this fashion without exception. It’s refreshing. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Three Musketeers (2011)

21 10 2011

Three Musketeers wants to be Pirates of the Caribbean really, really bad. It goes for the same tone, the score is borderline plagiarized, and it adds in fantasyish elements to an established story in a way that feels similar (eh, bit of a stretch but still). While going for a ripoff probably isn’t the best approach, this is certainly the time to try and become The Next Pirates. On Stranger Tides was arguably the worst of the franchise, sinking even lower than the first two sequels (though inexplicably making a metric ass-ton of money in the process). Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Footloose (2011)

10 10 2011

I saw the original Footloose back in high school but I have practically zero recollection of it (beyond vague memories of Kevin Bacon being likable in a Kevin Bacony kind of way). It was before my time anyway, so being an 80s movie that wasn’t directed by John Hughes I don’t have any fondness or nostalgia for it. That means for me the Step Up generation’s remake has to pretty much stand on its own. I actually have the original sitting on my DVR but I also have Suburban Commando recorded so I think we know which takes priority. Read the rest of this entry »


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