Archives for posts with tag: movie reviews

VIFF 2013

Looks like the old man has been busy judging by the vast number of reviews that have been coming down the pike. So fresh from a cinema filled weekend at the “Vancouver International Film Festival” (for more info go to http://www.viff.org) here’s my dad Michael Coleman with the good and bad on everything from violence to paperclips – enjoy!

CINEMA OF OUR TIME

VIFF 2013

“Dormant Beauty” – A political examination of how divided Italians are about the issue of euthanasia, “Dormant Beauty” is a grueling experience. From the jumbled and unrelated multi-threaded story lines to the bleak dark cinematography, audiences can count on either falling asleep or tuning out. Handled with little flair, the emotionally heavy subject and films’ message ends up getting lost in the quagmire – this beauty will make you dormant. 1/5 stars

VIFF 2013

“The Future” – Showing damaged people moving forward in their screwed up lives can be powerful, but in “The Future” it’s just plain dull. With disinterest creeping in slowly, “The Future” makes the mistake of losing the audiences’ attention with poor direction, music that irritates and shots that act as filler. Both pretentious and convoluted, not even the great Rutger Hauer (he gets the star here) could save it this one. 1/5 stars

VIFF 2013

“Fanie Fourie’s Lobola” – Despite Mandela’s ideals, racism and South African life are forever linked, but the stereotypes and daily behaviors of it are skillfully handled in this delightful Romeo and Juliet themed film. When a white Afrikaner man meets a black Zulu woman the sparks fly and he must pay a lobola (aka dowry) to her father. It’s their love that keeps you interested in getting to the happy ending that Shakespeare’s wasn’t. Do they get there? See the modern twist on the dowry of old. 4/5 stars

VIFF 2013

“Miss Violence” – Right from the shocking opening sequence, “Miss Violence” traps you in a whodunit web and then peels away the layers of its dysfunctional family story with skill. Starting subtly by appearing mundane, it wonderfully builds to a mind numbing conclusion that lingers. A brilliant depiction of man’s inhumanity to man, “Miss Violence” is a must see for those with a strong stomach. 5/5 stars

CANADIAN IMAGES

VIFF 2013

“Chi” – What is it like to die of cancer? Anne Wheeler’s doc is a moving depiction of the life force – or chi – being sucked out of her friend, Babz Chula. And while chi is the ying and shows itself in flashes of energy, determination and resilience in the spirited Chula, it’s the yang that creeps forever forward to its inevitable conclusion. A real tear jerker handled with style, compassion and mostly love, “Chi” is a fitting tribute. 4/5 stars

DRAGONS & TIGERS

VIFF 2013

“Anatomy of a Paperclip” – A more unique film this year you will not see. At first “Anatomy of a Paperclip” is repetitious to the extreme, but this clever, quirky and ever weird film eventually wins you over for one reason – Tomomatsu Sakae in brilliant Buster Keaton-esk deadpan performance. Plagued with bandits, a bullying boss at the paperclip factory, fickle women, kanage juice and a butterfly fantasy, Sakae’s contributions captivate – you can’t take your eyes off him. 3/5 stars

Stay tuned to Starpulse.com for more reviews and fest coverage via Michael Coleman from the “Vancouver International Film Festival.”

VIFF 2013

Photo Credits: Photos Courtesy of Vancouver International Film Festival

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

The first Percy Jackson didn’t really light up the box office. 88 million domestically would make the sequel a little bit of a gamble. So why would they choose Freudenthal to direct? There is absolutely nothing about either Hotel for Dogs or Diary Of A Wimpy Kid that would make me believe that he could handle an ambitious sequel. He is not Chris Columbus, and the film feels it too.

Percy (Logan Lerman) is still struggling with issues of not being able to see his father, or speak to him. He’s off living at the Demi-God camp with everyone else. We learn the story of the camp, and how a young demigod girl that was the daughter of Zeus, died, which caused Zeus to create the force field around the camp to protect the demigods. Of course, this is massive foretelling, as that field breaks, and Percy learns about the Sea Of Monsters, and how the Golden Fleece can help save the demigod camp.

Percy isn’t the first to be chosen to go after the golden fleece. That honor goes to Clarisse (Leven Rambin), a badass daughter of Ares who thinks Percy is a joke. But when Percy finds out that Luke (Jake Abel) is still alive, and going after the fleece so he can revive Kronos, he realizes there is a prophecy that puts him in that place anyway. So he decides to grab his gang and go. His gang includes his Hermoine and Ron from the first film (Alexandra Daddario and Brandon T. Jackson), and new entry Tyson, who is also a son of Poseidon. He’s not a human though, he’s a Cyclops. Can Percy and the gang get to the fleece before Luke, or will Kronos be reawakened and destroy the world?

The sequel is inferior to the original. Definitely. The first film did have some artistic merit brought to it by Columbus, but the sequel lacks any finesse. This is a paint-by-the-numbers sequel, and they apparently refused to pay the actors from the original to return. Percy no longer has a mother (Catherine Keener) or a father (Kevin McKidd). Pierce Brosnan apparently got fired too, and replaced with Anthony Stewart Head. Stanley Tucci replaces the actor they cast briefly in Dionysus’s role in the first film. The budget was really tight here.

Luckily, the special effects team weren’t shorted. I thought the effects here were more believable than in the higher-budgeted Jack The Giant Slayer. I saw this film in 3D (an absolute waste), so it did look “grainy” in some shots, but I often find that with 3D films that were probably done post-conversion. I would not recommend this as a 3D venture. They don’t throw things at the screen, which leads me to believe it was an afterthought. Unless you just LOVE pop-up cinema, skip it.

I feel like this should have been a better sequel. They entrusted a shaky franchise, essentially, to a manchild. And he did what we would all expect him to do with it. Nothing. You could have picked a random film student to get the same result (possibly better). I left disappointed, but still hoping for a third Percy film. The writing is solid, the characters are likeable, and I would enjoy continuing following them on another journey. Just as long as Thor isn’t directing.

FINAL GRADE: C+


STARRING: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Douglas Smith, Leven Rambin, Jake Abel, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Stewart Head, Nathan Fillion, Yvette Nicole Brown, Missi Pyle, with the voices of Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Ron Perlman, and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

WRITTEN BY: Marc Guggenheim

DIRECTED BY: Thor Freudenthal

Photo Credits: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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