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Film Review: The Impossible (2012)

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Theatrical Reviews | Comments Off

Making a film centering on the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami heartfelt but not overly sentimental is no easy task, but The Impossible (2012) does an admirable job doing so.  It is a harrowing disaster movie but not of the consumerist buy an essay paper big-budget, action-packed studio-produced blockbuster type; rather it is a sobering tale of survival and humanity above special effects and cheap thrills.  Although the filmmakers changed the main characters from Spanish to British vacationers, the “based on a true story” helps ground the film’s more mawkish moments.  Despite its occasional manipulative nature, The Impossible is a traumatic but life-affirming film with excellent performances from its cast.

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Film Review: Les Misérables (2012)

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Theatrical Reviews | 1 comment

Victor Hugo’s masterful novel Les Misérables has been adapted into countless productions across several media, perhaps most notably with the musical sensation that arrived in the 1980s.  Since then, Hollywood has looked to find a way to make a feature musical film – thankfully for fans of it and cinema-lovers everywhere, director Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables (2012) is as good as an adaption one will get from the musical source material.  It is a bold, painstakingly designed production with outstanding performances, most notably from Hugh Jackman and a never-better Anne Hathaway.  Although it oversteps its majestic scope and becomes grandiose at times, one should not fault the film for unabashedly wearing its heart on both sleeves.  Indeed, it is an emotionally raw and intimate portrayal of the story thanks to numerous close-ups and magnificent musical numbers.  As long as you do not despise musicals and can enjoy a good piece of filmmaking, you will at the very least appreciate if not love Les Misérables for its grand ambition, impressive technical artistry (i.e. striking imagery), marvelous performances and the story’s emotional resonance.

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Film Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Theatrical Reviews | Comments Off

Nearly ten years after the conclusion to the incredible Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy,  Peter Jackson invites audiences back into the fantastic world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth via The Hobbit: Un Unexpected Journey (2012), which is just part one of three based on the novel The Hobbit.  It is a wonderfully nostalgic and expectedly spectacular adventure, but much of the magic that made the LOTR so exceptional is missing or less apparent here.  In particular, the movie suffers from a bloated runtime and admittedly lighter and weaker source material, among a few other criticisms.  Nonetheless, An Unexpected Journey is still a technically advanced, fabulously enjoyable and faithful (to a fault) return to Middle-Earth, despite its narrative shortcomings.

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Film Review: This Is 40 (2012)

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Theatrical Reviews | Comments Off

Judd Apatow has written and produced many comedies in recent years, but he has surprisingly directed only three features prior to This Is 40 (2012), including its quasi-prequel and his sophomore effort Knocked Up (2007).  Since then, he has shown some development as a writer-director, and this film is certainly his most personal and honest one, even if it is not the most funny (though it is quite hilarious at times).  Despite the overlong runtime and its inherent issue of trying to make viewers sympathize with a struggling upper-middle class family, This Is 40 is a largely sincere and humorous, albeit quite raunchy, slice of familial life picture that almost any family can relate to given the fairly universal problems the characters face.

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Film Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 in Theatrical Reviews | Comments Off

Looking for an immensely entertaining, emotional and truthful crowd-pleaser?  Look no further than Silver Linings Playbook (2012), director David O. Russell’s follow-up to The Fighter (2010).  With his sensitive yet sharp script, based on Matthew Quick’s novel of the same name, this romantic comedy lives up to its genre title with sincere romance, genuine humor and best of all it handles the drama of mental illness rather gracefully.  Furthermore, the film features one of if not the best all-around ensemble cast of 2012, with each actor putting forth their best effort in years or ever.  Silver Linings Playbook is an edgy, captivating and truthful adult romantic dramedy that will charm its way into your heart; indeed, it is one of my favorite films from 2012.

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