X Men: First Class

Casting a movie sequel made from a popular book or previous film is a fabulous way to waste time online. Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy are currently locked in fierce debate over the wisdom of Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss Everdeen, and every other part in that film has been dissected and/or applauded in the comments section of each cast announcement. (To which I would like to add: Lenny Kravitz as Cinna?! WTF?) Sitting alone at my keyboard, it’s easy to second-guess and complain about this, but I have to admit that occasionally the casting directors come up with a choice that makes me remember why I am but a lowly blogger and not involved in movie-making. I speak, of course, of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in the latest mutant prequel, X-Men: First Class. Continue reading

Super 8

You really can’t go wrong with a movie that features a bunch of dorky, misfit kids. The age of the audience doesn’t matter because geekiness transcends maturity, and everyone remembers lunch room snubs and ill-advised haircuts. Even kids who were popular seethed with insecurity and angst – they just hid it better than the rest of us. Then throw in a mysterious alien and a power-hungry government official and you have a proven formula that has been the template for such classics as E.T., The Goonies and Stand By Me. Some people might argue that The Goonies was a weird little film that doesn’t belong on that list, but only a heartless bastard would root against little Sean Astin – he needs to survive so that he can grow up to be Sam Gamgee. Continue reading

Midnight in Paris

I am one of those fans that Woody Allen must hate, because the news of a new film of his fills me with dread. My conversations are peppered with quotes from Sleeper and Take the Money and Run, and I can and will recite entire passages from Love and Death (Sonja: I guess you could say I’m half-whore, half-saint. Boris: Here’s hoping I get the half that eats!) His early classics (everything pre-1990) hold up amazingly well and are still as fresh and funny as the day they first appeared. But expecting his current films to be like the old ones is unfair to Woody and unrealistic as well – no artist wants to keep revisiting work they created some twenty-five year ago. And interestingly (and probably not coincidentally), this theme shows up in his newest film, Midnight in Paris. Continue reading

A Critical Juncture

As the temperature finally climbs above the wooly sweater mark, the days shift from cold and wet to hot and damp, and the summer movie season explodes like an early Fourth of July cherry bomb. The numbers coming in are huge – The Hangover II had the biggest Memorial Day weekend opening in movie history for a comedy or an R-rated film. This deliberately gross flick grossed $200 million globally. That means countries around the world now believe all Americans look like Zach Galifianakis. Continue reading