Posts Tagged ‘ Columbia Pictures ’

Men in Black

Men in Black posterNYPD officer James Edwards was just doing his job, chasing down a criminal through the streets of New York when something strange happened — the perp blinked two sets of eyelids.  The rest of the police department doesn’t believe James, but somebody does — a mysterious man in in a black.

The man in black is known only as Agent K, and after some convincing, he recruits James to be part of the Men in Black — a secret agency that monitors, screens, and covers up alien activity on the planet earth.  James becomes Agent J, dons his own black suit, and partners with K to find out what threat is sending scores of formerly happy aliens running back home.

The answer?  A bug, a violent, parasitic alien who feeds on other life forms, and wants to obtain the Galaxy to help his race win a war with the Arquillians.  As if that weren’t trouble enough, the Arquillians regretfully announce that to keep the bug from obtaining the Galaxy, they will destroy earth if the bug isn’t stopped before their deadline, which is just hours away.

Can K and J work together to stop the bug, deliver the Galaxy, and save the earth before the whole planet and every man, woman and extra-terrestrial on it are blasted into oblivion?

The Good

Honestly, the movie is more a fun ride than anything else.  It is absolutely hilarious from beginning to end, with fun characters, just enough of an arc to make the story feel worthwhile, and a bittersweet ending that tugs at your heartstrings.  There’s not much thematic substance to the story.

There are a few messages.  J learns to take the world just a little more seriously, and that everything is not a game.  The two agents learn to cope with each others’ vastly different viewpoints and are willing to lay down their lives for each other and for the people of earth.

Mostly, though, it’s just to make you laugh — lighten your spirit.  And it will.  It’s loads of fun.

The Bad

Unfortunately, it’s not as clean as I could wish.  The main problem is language, of which there is a whole lot throughout the film.  It’s on the mild side as bad words go, but there is an awful lot of it.

A morgue worker in an extremely short skirt, Laurel, is romantically attracted to Agent J, an attraction which he returns.  While nothing really ever happens between them, they flirt a few times and in one scene she tries to tell him that she’s being held hostage, and he thinks that she is propositioning him.

There are also a lot of scary/disturbing elements, especially the villain — the “bug.”  Disturbing enough in his natural giant cockroach state, he’s more bothersome still after killing a farmer and using the man’s empty skin as a disguise.   It’s not shown in gory detail, but the result is still pretty disgusting.  Aliens’ heads are shot off and grown back, one character is eaten alive by the bug, and two alien characters are murdered.  There’s a lot of that sort of violence — nothing really downright graphic, but some stuff that’s just plain gross.

The Art

The highlight of the film is definitely the acting.  Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are a riot together, and they completely make the film worthwhile.  Minor characters are also well-acted, but the heart of the story is the two agents and their hilarious relationship.

The visual effects are decent, especially for the time the film was made.  Danny Elfman’s score is memorable and fitting, the plot, while complex, is well-paced and engaging.

If you don’t mind the swearing and the alien weirdness, this is a delightful film to laugh away a couple hours with.  If you have a problem with language in films, this is definitely one to skip.  Hopefully, this review will help you decide whether or not this classic is a movie you care about seeing.

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Krull

Krull posterWhen the world of Krull is invaded by a powerful creature known as “The Beast” and his army of “Slayers,” the kingdoms know it is time to bury their differences and unite against the attackers.  In the hopes of joining their two rival kingdoms, Princess Lyssa and Prince Colwyn decide to marry to form an alliance.  But on their wedding night, the castle is raided, and Lyssa is stolen away to the Beast’s Black Fortress.

Colwyn sets off to find her, with the help of an aged prophet.  Along the way he meets a clumsy, shape-shifting magician, a band of robbers, a seer, and a cyclops, and comes up against the Widow of the Web, the murderous Slayers, quicksand, evil creatures, the Black Fortress itself, and eventually, the mighty Beast.

Can Colwyn claim victory over the forces of evil and rescue his bride?  Can Krull be freed from the clutches of the Beast?  And in the face of fear and danger, can faithful love prevail?

The Good

There is a great deal of good in this fun and delightful film, which I’ve heard was the first live-action epic fantasy.  For one thing, it is very clean.  There is no sexual content, graphic violence, language, or crude humor.

Many excellent themes are presented also.  The love story is an unusual one, as the couple has decided to marry as a political alliance rather than romantic feelings, but later find that they love and admire each other.  The marriage ceremony that is begun is an interesting one, featuring a flame that the woman gives “only to the man she chooses as her husband.”  Through all the pressure and danger, she refuses to give in to the Beast’s pressure to choose him as her husband, remaining faithful to her vows.

Colwyn also shows great faithfulness and true love.  When Lyssa begs him to let her fight alongside him in the raid, he refuses, saying that if she loves him she will protect herself as best she can.  And then when she is in danger, he risks his life and all that he has to rescue her and bring her safely home.

Courage, loyalty, honor, kindness, and self-sacrifice are virtues that are extolled throughout the story.  Lyssa and Colwyn are loyal to each other, Ergo shows small kindnesses to little Titch, Rell is willing to die for the others.  They are all willing to lay down their lives in any way they can to free their land from tyranny.

The Bad

While there is no goriness, there is a great deal of violence.  A large castle raid at the beginning kills everyone inside except Colwyn.  Nearly all the characters have died by the end, some of them in rather disturbing ways.  One character is crushed to death by a large stone door closing, while another is stabbed by a slowly extending spike in the terrible Black Fortress.  A giant white spider chases a character across a web, another character is sucked under and killed by quicksand, and still another is poisoned by the fingers of a very evil looking shapeshifter.  Plus there are some things, such as the Beast and his terrifying fortress, that are just plain scary.

There is some mild kissing in a couple places, and at one point Colwyn is tempted by a beautiful woman to “keep her company for one night,” but he refuses to betray his bride.  One robber is said to have several different wives, one in each city he visits, which is portrayed as somewhat humorous.  A character who is said to have loved Ynyr, the Old One, long ago, admits to having borne his child, and later killed it.

There is a great deal of magic throughout the film, which is not ever explained.  There are prophets, enchantresses, shapeshifters with evil powers, magic fire, curses, magic artifacts, and more.  It is neither mentioned as coming from a demonic source nor a divine source, but simply exists naturally in the world, so viewers should weigh that against their own view of magic in fiction before deciding to watch the film.

The Art

James Horner’s score is magnificent, though admittedly extremely reminiscent of his score for The Wrath of Khan.  The film’s design is breathtaking, especially the surrealistic and disturbing interior of the Black Fortress, and it is well cast and well acted.  While the story wanders about from time to time and has some elements that are not fully explained or set up, it is an overall compelling narrative that is enjoyable from beginning to end.

I enjoyed this film immensely, not only for its considerable place in film and fantasy history, but also for its delightful tale of epic adventure and faithful love.

The Adventures of Tintin

“A man’s been shot on our doorstep!” “Again?”

What boy could resist a gorgeous model of a triple-masted, double-deck sailing ship? Tintin can’t – especially when someone runs up to him and warns him that by buying the ship he’s asking for a lot of trouble. Trouble indeed – within twenty-four hours Tintin has had his flat ransacked, witnessed a drive-by shooting, and been kidnapped. Well, when you’re adrift in the middle of the ocean on a ship with a revengeful gentleman who’s happy to dispose of you, you can’t really turn back and go home. So Tintin sets off with his faithful dog and a drunken sailor to escape and uncover a mystery involving pirates, sunken treasure, and a centuries-old plot for revenge.

And so begins The Adventures of Tintin, a wild tale of nonstop action, adventure, and mystery. An instant favorite, Tintin is a great adventure to lose yourself in. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, but the journey may not be for everyone. Here’s why.

The Good

Tintin is basically pure fun. There isn’t much moral substance, but there are a few subtle themes. Determination and discipline are stressed as necessary qualities; Tintin and his drunken friend Captain Haddock learn that they cannot allow failure or bad habits to define their lives. Additionally, there are several moments of self-sacrifice, where the good guys are willing to set aside their goals to save someone’s life; most notably, a sea captain reveals the location of his hidden cargo to spare his crew from pirates.

The main appeal of Tintin, however, is that it’s clean enough to be innocent. There’s only a smattering of mild language and light crude humor, nothing repulsive that ruins the fun. It’s an adventure teens and adults can go on without consequence.

The Bad

There are a few elements, however, that might disturb some, particularly younger children. Violence is the main issue; Tintin’s adventure is pretty perilous, and there are several near-death experiences. There is ample fighting with swords, guns, and fists, resulting in some blood and a few casualties. Tintin is drugged once. At sea, ships are destroyed in pirate raids and many men drown, which is perhaps the most disturbing image of the movie.

Also worth noting is Captain Haddock’s drinking problem. The man is almost perpetually drunk and is constantly downing some form of drink, including medicinal alcohol. His habit is not portrayed as admirable; Tintin thoroughly disapproves, and whiskey gets the Captain in trouble on occasion. However, his drunkenness is also played up some for laughs, and once Tintin’s intelligent dog gives the Captain some alcohol to help stimulate his memory.

In Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed Tintin. The crazy adventure captured my interest and held it fast, and the cleanliness made it an instant favorite. I highly recommend it as a good film to relax with, but the violence and drunkenness are worth noting. While these elements may not be suitable for all, anyone who can handle the intensity is in for a fantastic ride. Hold on tight, because we’re jumping off this ship and heading on a quest to find the last scroll before the bad guys do. You coming?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs PosterQuirky backyard inventor Flint Lockwood has a plan to revive his dreary hometown – invent a machine that converts water into food. Unfortunately, his machine needs more electricity than his house can provide, so he hooks the machine up to the town’s power station. When the machine turns into a rocket and destroys the town’s new tourist attraction before disappearing into the sky, Flint thinks his inventing days are over for good – until a colorful storm rolls into town. And suddenly it’s raining cheeseburgers.

Based loosely off of the classic children’s book by the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a fast-paced, brightly-colored story that’s absolutely ridiculous – and that’s precisely what makes it wonderful. The film combines slapstick action, exaggerated characters, and a generous dose of humor in the perfect recipe to bring the far-fetched premise to life.

The Sweet

One of the best things about this film is its refreshing approach to a worn-out theme. Flint is your classic oddball geek with no social graces; no one understands him, including his father. However, instead of proving his father wrong, Flint comes to respect his father and calls on his wisdom for the final victory. Meanwhile, Flint’s father encourages his son to use his talents to do what’s right. The wonderful relationship is very wholesome and a delight to see.

The film has a strong theme of responsibility. Flint is challenged by his father to clean up after his mistakes, while the burly local policeman rallies the town to own up to their part of the disaster. The passionate cop has a warm devotion to his family and a strong desire to protect his son, making him a very admirable masculine character.

In addition to having an enjoyable premise, the film features some expert writing. The story is well-paced and logical despite the ridiculousness, with the dialog and characters being brilliantly done. To sweeten the deal, the movie is surprisingly clean, featuring very little objectionable content.

As the icing on the cake, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs has absolutely stunning art. The animation is spectacular; the lovably exaggerated characters fit the mood of the story perfectly, while the bright colors are true eye candy. The rich score completes the picture.

The Sour

The movie isn’t spotless, however. There is a smattering of mild language and some immodesty. Most notably, a young man revisits his time as a baby celebrity by wearing just a diaper for a significant part of the film.

Additionally, there is a romance between Flint and the anchorwoman who comes to televise the food weather. Like the rest of the film, the romance is exaggerated and humorous, making it largely innocent – but there are a few nerdy kissing scenes.

In Conclusion

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a treat to watch not only for the delicious art, but also for the hearty writing. If you’re looking for a film that captures the charm of the original picture book, you aren’t going to find it. This movie is gleefully ridiculous, and it knows it. But if you’re up for some crazy but wholesome fun, grab your umbrella – the weather’s great.

The Adventures of Tintin

To tell the complete truth, I was hesitant to see Tintin. Even though I love movies and I adore going to theaters, for some reason I didn’t feel like going to this one. My family persuaded me to come along and I am so glad that they did. Tintin ended up becoming one of my favorite movies of 2011 and it beat Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2 as my favorite animated film of the year.

Growing up, I had never read the Tintin books so I have no history with the series nor did I have any preconceived notions as to what the movie should be like. Simply speaking, I had no idea what to expect (besides the fact that I knew a Spielberg/Jackson collaboration would be nothing short of amazing) and I was pleasantly surprised.

The story follows the adventures of Tintin, a young reporter who, with the help of his faithful dog, Snowy, investigates a mysterious story. While he is searching for answers, Tintin is caught up in a fantastic adventure and ends up traveling all over the world and meeting many colorful characters.

The Good

I loved how adventurous Tintin is. He is brave and is an amazing role model for young boys today. While some people might not appreciate the violence or Tintin’s use of a gun, I loved how it gave boys the adventure of fighting and protecting in a completely honorable and wholesome way.

The story is fun and fast-paced; action-packed and very amusing. My seven-year-old brother was literally on the edge of his seat the entire time and my dad and I were laughing throughout the course of the film. The Adventures of Tintin was a fabulous way to spend an afternoon.

The Bad

The MPAA rated this film PG for “adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking.”

In my opinion, this was a wonderfully clean film devoid of the hidden agendas that are so often prevalent in even children’s movies today. Nevertheless, I would not recommend it for very young children because of the intensity and violence in some scenes. There are also some bad attitudes present that would be best discussed with younger viewers. Captain Haddock is an alcoholic and, while it isn’t exactly depicted as a positive trait, it isn’t strongly declared as wrong.

Another major theme of the film centers upon revenge and living up to a legacy and family history. The Bible clearly teaches that revenge is wrong, but a decent job was done in depicting it as unfavorable. As for striving to be like family members, we are called to live and become more like Christ. All men are sinners and we shouldn’t be concerned about what they would think of us. We solely should be worried about how Christ sees us. This film does a pretty good job, however, of showing how the mindset of pleasing man can destroy a person. One of the characters became a criminal and the other became a drunk because they couldn’t live up to the expectations of their deceased ancestors.

There is one use of minor profanity.

The Art

The animation was beyond stunning. While the entire visual experience was brilliant (the best animation I’ve seen since The Owls of Ga’Hoole) the acting and the music were incredible as well. The vocal skills of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, and Daniel Craig were first-class and really brought their characters to life. John Williams’ score was fun and lively with Indiana Jones undertones. In fact, this film had an Indiana Jones-feel throughout most likely resulting from Spielberg’s directing and Williams’ music. Every aspect of “camera” work was exciting and creative. If you simply go to see this movie for artistic reasons, you won’t be disappointed.

In conclusion, no matter your age, gender, or interests, The Adventures of Tintin is a fun film that anyone would enjoy. Spielberg and Jackson put out a superb movie which I cannot wait to see again.

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