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Category Archives: Current Movie News

Returning to the Yellow Brick Road

Oz-the-Great-and-Powerful-to-be-released-in-March-2013           The Wizard of Oz is by far one of the most enduring and best-loved films in cinematic history. Seen by generations of children, it continues to delight and entertain even 75 years later. My own five year old grand-daughter has recently become a fan of Dorothy Gale and her band of travelers off to see the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
Needless to say when I heard that Disney was releasing a prequel to the greatest fantasy film and story of all time, I was eager to see it and find out all I could. I was there on its opening day, March 8th and sat in the theater with both young and old and revisited the yellow brick road.oz-great-powerful09

After watching the film I sat in the theater as everyone left and studied their responses and actions. When the film ended, the theater goers began to applaud, and rightfully so. And as they departed I heard words like, “awesome movie”; “So visual”; “perfect prequel”; and from one young movie goer, of about 7 or 8…”Mommy I want this movie!”

What I saw and felt was a little mixed. Awesome movie? Not what I would say awesome, but I would say it was very good. The story was true to the 1939 classic, in that it didn’t over tell the story or use difficult characterizations to tell its story…or did it? It moved quickly and didn’t have a slow pace, but a continual flow to the film and action, as well as the story.  A young Oscar Diggs, a small time traveling magician, played by James Franco, wants to be more than just a man, his dream is to be a great man, however his ways of getting there are lacking to say the least. When he is swept away in a hot air balloon by a swirling tornado he lands in the land of Oz and his life is changed forever. Sound familiar? Using the technique reminiscent of the 1939 classic, the films starts in black and white and once in Oz, the world takes on Technicolor.  Once he lands, he is met by the young and beautiful witch, Theodora, played very convincingly by Mila Kunis. She explains to him that he is the prophesied Great Wizard that is to take back the throne of Oz and save it’s people. He on the other hand looks at her as another one of his beautiful trophies and steals her heart. Literally. As the film develops, you begin to feel for young Theodora and when you meet her sister Elvanora, played, again expertly by Rachel Weisz you realize very quickly that she is the evil one…or is she? Michelle Williams, as Glinda the Good also shines in this role and can see through Oscar but believes he can still save Oz and it’s people, but she has to convince him.

hr_Oz_The_Great_and_Powerful_211    One of the best parts of the film for me was when Theodora begins to realize she was duped by this “Wizard” and her sister takes this opportunity to capitalize on her misery and brings about her sisters transformation to evil. I felt a little of Margaret Hamilton in her performance as she became the Wicked Witch of the West.

The film was very well made and I see it being nominated for special effects, cinematography, costumes and make up. The computer engineered graphics are at it’s best, but then this is Disney, so it should be. The world of Oz is faintly reminiscent of the Oz that I remember as a child. Even the little jokes regarding how the Munchkins,love to sing was enjoyable. Unfortunately, due to Warner Bros. owning the rights to the Wizard of Oz, some things were not used or replaced, such as the ruby slippers were reverted back to their orignal color from the books of Frank Baum, to silver. Other things we carefully placed such as Oscar’s troupe being Baum Brothers Circus, the horses of a different color in the fields. the poisoned poppy fields and even the Wizards Throne Room. There was even a lion…

Overall I really enjoyed the movie, from beginning to end.  Does it match up to the classic? No, not in the sense of what the Wizard of Oz has come to be cherished as, but it is a good match for its prequel. Sam Raimi did an excellent job of directing, and the characterizations were well done, my favorite being Mila Kunis.  I really enjoyed returning to the yellow brick road.   I plan on seeing it again this weekend in 3D, which I am sure will even be more visually stimulating. Like the young movie goer, who told his mother he wanted this movie, I too want this movie for my library.

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Posted by on March 14, 2013 in 2013, Current Movie News, Fantasy, Reviews

 

Viewed in 2012

I watched a lot of movies in 2012, however most were older movies, movies I had seen before, and movies I watched to review…so I didn’t see too many new releases this year.  To be honest there were not that many that really looked all that good, well until October when the good stuff started coming out. So here are a list of movies ( in the order best to worst) that were released in 2012 that I  actually got to see…

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Lincoln- By far the best movie I saw this year, and pretty close to being the best movie I have saw in the past five years, or at least since The Departed, There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men. Daniel Day-Lewis should get his third Oscar for this role. Sally Field was amazing as always, Tommy Lee Jones was superb, and James Spader was my favorite. Not to mention the cinematography and directing and the score. Best movie of the year, and should win the Oscar.

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Prometheus – As most know that read this blog, Sci-Fi is not one of my most favorite genre of films, but this film was one of the best sci-fi films since Avatar. Ridley Scott amazes me every time I see one of his films. It was dark, yet had moments of lightness. It was exciting from the beginning to end. Most of the acting was top notch, and the cinematography and special effects were right on spot. This is a sci-fi film I would watch again and again.

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Hunger Games – The acting was excellent and the story was great (not as good as the books, but adapted well) This movie kept me poised on the edge of my seat, even though I knew how it was going to end, or lead into the next film. Great movie, well worth the ticket price and the time spent in the theater.

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The Avengers- I actually have already seen this film twice. Once in the theaters and then when it came out on DVD. An exciting, fun and even funny film. I love Robert Downey Jr., and even though Scarlett Johanssen and Jeremy Renner’s parts were small and did not get much film time they took advantage of thier roles. I along with thousands of others enjoyed this film, as it is now the third highest grossing film (according to WikiPedia) of all time with well over 1.5 billion in sales

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Dark Shadows- Johnny Depp…what can be said about him that hasn’t already been said, and why hasn’t this man won an Oscar yet?  I loved this film. Being a fan of the old TV show, I was delighted in the big screen adaptation and hope they have more to come. Funny, quirky, delightful and perfectly cast with Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfieffer.

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Snow White and the Huntsman–  I quite enjoyed this film. I am not a Kristen Stewart fan, and really do not think this role is suited for her, but it was passable. As for Charlize Theron, she was remarkable as the evil queen and pulled off the role with expertise, but then when does she play a bad role? An enjoyable film, worth seeing again.

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Pitch Perfect– Loved it, Loved it, Loved it. Funny and predictable, but I rolled laughing in some parts and the music was pretty good too.

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Wrath of Titans– This film was ok, not as good as the first in the series (but much better than the original)

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John Carter– An unexpected surprise. Some reviewers did not like this film, but I personally enjoyed it and thought it was well put together and great cinematography.

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The Amazing Spider-Man– Disappointed is the word comes to mind. I like the Toby Macguire film much better. This Spiderman was darker, (as Spider-man should be) but just wasn’t into this one as well. Again, Sally Field was awesome!

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Magic Mike– I went to this film for one reason only…Channing Tatum and was pleasantly surprised Matthew McConaghey. Matthew seemed to be the only one acting in this film though, the others were just eye candy, but Matthew’s role was actually Oscar caliber in my opinion. Not a cineamatic masterpiece, but was it really meant to be?

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Ted– Funny? Yeah, at times. Distasteful? Quite so. Vulgar? Most definitely. Even though seeing a Teddy Bear…well doing it was somewhat uncomfortable, this film had it’s moments. Mark Wahlburg pulled it off though, just wish he would have been a little more revealing than that damn Teddy Bear!

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Sparkle – Not as good as the original, but still a good film. I had forgotten just how good of an actress Whiteny Hueston could be. She was good in this film. Jordan Sparks can sing, but act? Not so much, but Carmen Ejogo who played Sister was the best in the film. She was excellent.

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American Reunion– Same plot 10 years later, very predictable, somewhat funny, but it actually was fun to see some of the actors and how they have aged. Some are better actors, some have not changed in looks or their acting abilities, but overall a decent film.

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Joyful Noise– Dolly Parton is just too sweet not to like. She is corny, and seems to play a somewhat similar version of her charecter in Steel Magnolias. Queen Latifah was just okay, again she seems to play the same charecter in most of her films. Was this a joyful noise? Yeah, but it could have used a little more music and a little less bad acting.

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Rock of Ages– Sad. This film was hyped and hyped and totally missed the hype. Tom Cruise was totally unbelieveable and the entire film lacked. Was not impressed and actually fell asleep while watching this movie.

Those are the films released in 2012 that i have seen.  There are others I am still wanting to see, such as Argo, Les Mis, Django Unchained, The Dark Knight Rises and Zero Dark Thirty to name a few…see you at the theaters!!

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2012 in 2012, Current Movie News, Reviews

 

Robert Altman

February 20, 1925

November 21, 2006
Acclaimed Award winning director dies at 81
 
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Posted by on November 21, 2006 in Current Movie News

 

Oscar Update

A break from Horror Month with an update on my Oscar Predictions for Best Picture.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2006 in Current Movie News, Oscar Watch

 

VAMPIRES!

Over at The Film Experience Blog, our friend Nathaniel will be hosting a BLOG-A-THON, On October 30, asking bloggers to post a blog that day on one of my favorite movie genres, VAMPIRES!

So of course I will be taking part in the blog-a-thon, but I need your help in the post. I want you, my readers to tell me what Vampire Movie or which Actor/Actress that portrayed a Vampire you would like for me to highlight. So post your comments, send me your e-mails and then look for my Vampire posting on October 30!

Also in connection with Halloween, (one of my favorite holidays) I’ve changed my blog template just a bit and the entrie month of October my postings will follow the Horror Movie genre. So come and share a hauntingly good time!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2006 in Current Movie News

 

Pirates at 1 Billion$

I must be one of the eight people left on the planet that has not seen this movie yet.

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2006 in Adventure, Current Movie News, Fantasy

 

Oscar Update: September

BEST PICTURE
Little Children
Babel
Last King Of Scotland
Flags of Our Fathers
Bobby

BEST DIRECTOR
CLINT EASTWOOD, Flags of Our Fathers
ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ INARRITU, Babel
MARTIN SCORSESSE, The Departed
EMILIO ESTAVEZ, Bobby
BILL CONDON, Dreamgirls

BEST LEADING ACTOR
SEAN PENN, All the King’s Men
RYAN PHILLIPPE, Flags of Our Fathers
FOREST WHITAKER, The Last King of Scotland
MATT DAMON, The Departed
BRAD PITT, Babel

BEST LEADING ACTRESS
HELEN MIRREN, The Queen
SCARLETT JOHANSSEN, The Black Dahlia
ANNETTE BENING, Running with Scissors
MERYL STREEP. The Devil Wears Prada
NICOLE KIDMAN, Fur

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
MICHAEL CAINE, The Children of Men
JACK NICHOLSON, The Departed
BRIAN COX, Running with Scissors
MICHAEL PENA, World Trade Center
EDDIE MURPHY, Dreamgirls

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
JUDI DENCH, Notes on a Scandal
ABAGAIL BRESLIN, Little Miss Sunshine
ANGELINA JOLIE, The Good Shepherd
CATE BLANCHETT,Notes on a Scandal
JENNIFER HUDSON,

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2006 in Actors, Actresses, Current Movie News, Oscar Watch