Author Archives: Jason

The Grinch (2018) Review

A CHARMING, MODERN

RETELLING OF A HOLIDAY CLASSIC


 

The stories and books of Dr. Seuss have enchanted readers around the world, seeing multiple generations enjoying the imaginative worlds that Seuss created and of its playful rhyming tales and colorful characters. Of the plethora of books that have been published by him, none is more famously known that Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Since its initially publication release back in 1957, the children’s picture book has received critically praised from its readers, becoming one of the more beloved and recognizable books of Dr. Seuss’s catalogue. Additionally, the book (over the years) has received two adaptations in bringing to Seuss’s story of the Grinch and his wicked deed of stealing Christmas to a new media outlet. The first was the 1966 animated TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which was directed by Chuck Jones, with narration by Boris Karloff and the first rendition of the now widely-recognizable “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” sung by Thurl Ravenscroft (with lyrics by Dr. Seuss himself). The second iteration of the Seuss’s book came in 2000 with the live-action adaptation titled How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which was directed by Ron Howard and comedian actor Jim Carrey playing the role of the Grinch. The difference between the two iterations has been continuously debated with many favoring the 1966 TV special cartoon over the live-action theatrical motion picture, which did face mixed reviews from critics and moviegoers. Now, Illumination Entertainment (as well as Universal Pictures) and directors Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney present the third iteration of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas with the animated film The Grinch. Is it “third time’s a charm” for this well-known children’s story is it just simply a redundant holiday retread? Read more

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) Review

DARKNESS RISES AND

THE LIGHT TO MEET IT


 

In 2016, five years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 concluded the “boy who lived” cinematic adventure saga of witches and wizards, J.K. Rowling returned to her magical “Wizarding World” for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel / spin-off endeavor to the eight-part Potter films. The feature, which was directed Harry Potter alum David Yates and starred Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Alison, Colin Farrell, and several others, focused the introverted protagonist character of Newt Scamander, a magizoologist wizard, who travels to New York City (circa 1926) and accidentally releases some of his creatures loose in the city, while stumble upon a larger threat that sees to expose the wizarding community to the non-magical (i.e. No-Maj). While they were some skeptics and critics out there, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ultimately was a success, finding its audience who enjoyed the feature (the movie was well-received positive reviews) and the film did collect $814 million at the worldwide box office against its $175 million production budget. The success of Fantastic Beasts proved that moviegoers (around the world) will still hungry for more adventures in this spin-off series in Rowling’s Wizarding World, with the studio (shortly after the film’s releases) expanded upon the idea of future installments from three Fantastic Beasts installments to five installments. Now, two years have passed and its time to return again to the Wizarding World as Warner Bros. Pictures and director David Yates presents the second chapter in the Fantastic Beasts saga with Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Does this last adventure for Newt Scamander (and company) finds a cinematic narrative of entertainment or is it an uneven return to the Rowling world of witches and wizards? Read more

Hunter Killer (2018) Review

A ENTERTAINING AND LARGER-THAN-

LIFE SUBMARINE THRILLER


 

Military action movies have been a prime staple within the action film genre. Exploring various branches of the military (army, navy, air force, SEALS, etc.), these movies are primarily focused (much like the genre itself) on action premise, relying on tried and true aesthetics of military action / violence to showcase the film’s narrative. While some are a bit nonsensical (i.e. going with the flow of the film’s premise), stories of war, secret missions, occupation, and tension between nations are these movies “bread and buttered”, making the effort to show the grizzled action (on all forms of the military branches) as well the espionage side of opposing government / nations on matters of military strength (i.e. to defend, to invade, or to hold their ground) against warring enemies or rival team members. Additionally, military action features have also weaved into other genres (drama and sci-fi) in order to expand upon its storytelling. Some of the best and recognizable military action movies includes 1978’s Apocalypse Now, 1986’s Top Gun, 1987’s Full Metal Jacket, 1995’s Crimson Tide, 1998’s Saving Private Ryan, 2002’s Black Hawk Down, 2002’s The Sum of All Fears, 2017’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, and 2018’s 12 Strong. Now, Summit Entertainment (along with Original Film and Millennium Entertainment) and director Donovan Marsh present the latest military action thriller endeavor with the film Hunter Killer. Does the movie swim gracefully or does it sink laboriously fast? Read more

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Review

A HOLLOW AND SUGAR-COATED

ENDEAVOR


 

It is a well-known fact that Disney has taken up the mantle of translating its legendary / timeless animated feature films into live-action remakes. While this staging might have had a sort of rocky start (i.e. 2010’s Alice in Wonderland and 2014’s Maleficent), the “house of mouse” has mostly refined their cinematic tastes and nuances for high quality live-action movies along these lines, entertaining both critics and moviegoers with live-action films like 2015’s Cinderella, 2016’s The Jungle Book, and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast. However, while Disney continues this “live-action” trend of reimaging its animated tales (with plenty more planned on the horizon), the studio has also continued to provide live-action non-animated Disney movies to its catalogue, including 2005’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful, 2014’s Into the Woods, and 2018’s A Wrinkle in Time. Now, Walt Disney Studios and directors Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston embark upon the reimagined tale of the classic Nutcracker story with the movie The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Does this movie find its “magic” in its enchanted worlds or is it a visual hodgepodge mess of better similar endeavors? Read more

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Review

WHEN QUEEN WAS KING


 

Queen. The name speaks volumes to many and many know of what it means in the world of music entertainment. Whatever you may call them…. icons, legends, or celebrity rock stars, the British rock band known as Queen have become famous across the world, dating all the way back in the 1970s. For almost two decades, the band, which consisted of Freddie Mercury (vocal), Brian May (lead guitar), Roger Taylor (drums), and John Deacon (bass guitar), dominated radio waves, producing hit after hit and skyrocketing into universal acclaim in the world of music; winning awards, topping charts, and becoming one of the world’s best-selling musical artist. In the realm of filmmaking, Hollywood has also taken a particular shine towards Queen and their music, with many theatrical motion pictures that feature the band’s iconic songs, including 1982’s Wayne’s World (Bohemian Rhapsody), 1986’s Highlander (Who Wants to Live Forever), 1992’s Peter’s Friend (You’re My Best Friend), 1994’s D2: The Might Ducks (We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions), 2001’s Moulin Rouge! (The Show Must Go On), 2003’s Ella Enchanted (Somebody to Love), and many, many others. Now, 20th Century Fox (along with New Regency and GK Films) and director Bryan Singer (and Dexter Fletcher) presents Queen’s story underneath a cinematic guise with the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Does this latest biopic drama rise to its musical occasion or is it all sound and no theatrical storytelling to the infamous band’s tale? Read more

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