How “The Fast and the Furious” franchise is still operational after 12 years is beyond me. The series should’ve crashed-and-burned after 2006’s dreadful third installment, “Tokyo Drift,” which saw the primary cast bail on the fast cars that made them famous.
A lack of success outside of Universal’s lucrative property brought the main players back for a fourth outing in 2009 that proved to be a surprise smash at the box office. Since then, the franchise has been on fire. The last film, “Fast Five,” won over more than just audience approval; this time around, the critics were on board, as well. (It also brought Joseph back to the series in all his hype-loving glory.)
It’s everything you ever dreamed it would be. The elaborate costumes, the overblown sets, the dazzling effects, the quick and furious cuts, the smoothly incorporated soundtrack – all the hallmarks of director Baz Luhrmann are apparent in “The Great Gatsby.” Read more
“I remember that first scene between Leo and Claire so well. Leo glancing at her through the fish tank. The visuals are so rich, and they were both so young and beautiful. Both were dressed to perfection – Claire’s dress and that armor Leo was wearing. And that song in the background (“Kissing You,” Des’ree). It’s just a magical moment. That whole soundtrack is phenomenal.”
-Jose Rodriguez on “Romeo + Juliet”
It’s difficult to remember now, but when the first “Iron Man” blasted into theaters in 2008, the Marvel film was a bit of a shocker. Audiences were expecting standard superhero fare, and what they got was a smart, witty blockbuster that earned some of the best reviews of the year and had a sensational box office run.
Maybe that’s why when “Iron Man 2” debuted in 2010, the reception was unenthused, to say the least. The sequel isn’t guilty of being a poor production, but rather just a lackluster outing where completion of the project on time seems to have taken precedent over creativity.
Director Shane Black knows this is the series’ shot at redemption, and he wastes no time in infusing this third installment with the charm with which the first film won so many over. Robert Downey Jr. and company are back, loaded yet again with plenty of sly one-liners that are intended for more than just small chuckles. Read more
Everything I seemed to read going into The Place Beyond the Pines tended to focus mainly on the buzzword “ambitious”. For Trance, the buzzword was “stylistic.” While I liked The Place Beyond The Pines much more than Trance, I think they both deserve a lot of praise more for what they tried to do than what they actually succeeded in doing. Read more
No matter how much I cover the film industry, I never cease to be amazed by how naïve I can be in certain situations. Take the recent acquisition of Lucasfilm by the Walt Disney Company. I hailed it as being a superb decision both fiscally and creatively for the Star Wars franchise.
That rationale was built on what I felt was a valid assumption that after George Lucas had tortured his beloved creation with a series of lame prequels in the early 2000s, Disney would very quickly swing in to save the day and administer first aid to the many wounds sustained. Instead, surgery hasn’t even been performed, and Disney is already sending out bills for the procedure. Read more
Even though Clayton and I already previewed all the films premiering in March, April, and May 2013, the recent release of new movie trailers had me wanting to share each one on my Facebook wall. But instead of all that spam, I thought I’d embed them all in one post with some bits of commentary. Needless to say, as the three weeks of law school final exam cramming is upon me, I can’t wait for summer. And a big part of that is summer movie season.
But first, I have to share the newly released first look at the Hunger Games sequel, which is taking over Thanksgiving weekend given the conclusion of Twilight and Harry Potter franchises. I’ve watched it several times and it gives me goosebumps each time. It’s fascinating to me how they’re growing the films beyond the Katniss-narrated structure of books… and I think the payoffs will continue to be positive. Ridiculous how little they’re trying to spoil and therefore, how little of the substantial plot is revealed. AND YET, every second has me more excited. Read more
Wise Guise contributor Sutter Vaught returns today with a wonderful review of Terrance Malick’s latest film, To the Wonder. He has previously pontificated on the similarities between Don Draper and Jeff Winger, while also debating Joseph about Christmas films in the First Annual Wise Guise Christmas Movie Fantasy Draft. Enjoy!
I went into To The Wonder with high expectations. Dangerously high expectations. In my book, The Tree of Life was hands down the best movie of 2011, and The Thin Red Line is the greatest war movie ever. I’m pretty admittedly an all-around Malick fanboy, although The New World didn’t really do it for me. And so I was looking forward to this one so much that I was inevitably setting myself up for a disappointment.
Alright folks… it’s been a while since I’ve done a Netflix streaming suggestions post so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve been watching lately.
Recently we had Josh Smith drop some wisdom on us about the Netflix original series House of Cards. But I’m admittedly slacking on that series at the moment. I think I’ve watched like 4.5 episodes so far.
Here’s what I have been watching and would recommend: Read more
When news broke about Roger Ebert’s passing, I can’t say I was shocked. Stories on the film critic’s health for the last few years had rarely been good, and even when we received reassuring words, his weak appearance caused more concern than confidence.
Still, Ebert was a god among film critics who seemed invincible. His reviews served as a source for the definitive word on whether a movie was worth our time or not. It had been that way for the last few decades, in fact. Most of us born in the late 1980s recall the majority of positive ads on films featuring the famous “Two Thumbs Up!” phrase coined by Ebert and his film-reviewing partner Gene Siskel. Read more