Like many animated films about a hero that’s an oxymoron, Turbo tells the story of a snail who dreams of being a racecar driver. But unlike other films of the same ilk – Ratatouille (2007) which is about a rat who dreams of being a chef, for example – Turbo doesn’t quite make the cut. Whereas Pixar always fills their movies with heart, imbuing their animated characters with the pathos of the most inspiring human beings, Dreamworks Animation too often trades story for big name actors and sells their soul for cheap laughs. That’s not to say they don’t make generally entertaining features, occasionally fantastic ones (How to Train Your Dragon), just that more often than not their films provide a few laughs and no more. Sadly, Turbo is one of these. Read More
Currently, there is a lot of talk going around about a few articles by some prominent film critics which kick around the idea of the "Death of Cinema." I haven't read all of these articles -- there are quite of a few of them -- but I have read film critic David Denby's article "Has Hollywood Murdered the Movies?" and it is this article that I would like to speak of. Contrary to the popular belief held by enraged bloggers everywhere, Denby does not actually think we are experiencing the "Death of Cinema." This would be clear to everyone who bothered to read it all the way through as he comes straight out and says so in the final paragraph: "So are American movies finished, a cultural irrelevance? Despite almost everything, I don’t think the game is up, not by any means."
What he is talking about, is the way that film making has changed and why he thinks this is ultimately a negative change. Denby discusses how movies have come to focus less on creating character driven stories that we care about and more about roller coaster ride of spectacle. He cites movies like The Dark Knight Rises and Transformers as films that are, admittedly, exhilarating to watch but based on essentially hollow emotions (a point with which I agree). We enjoy them in the theatres and leave abuzz, he notes, but within a few days they've slipped completely from our minds. Read More
If there is one thing that End of Watch is not, it’s cliché. What is it is a highly entertaining fast paced ride-along with two wise cracking, ass kicking LA cops. Played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala are two of LAPD’s best – or worst depending on whom you ask. They’re the kind of guys you want on the case if you’re in danger but not the kind of guys you want to work with; they’ll run into a burning building to try and pull you out but they’re a little trigger happy and aren’t so fond of paper work. “This is a ticket book,” explains their sergeant, “use it.” “I would,” jokes Zavala, “Except I don’t know how to write. So…” These characters are a stark contrast to writer/director David Ayer’s previous films (Training Day, Street Kings), which often focus on corruption within the system. The two are pretty good guys and the most they share with Denzel Washington’s corrupt cop character from Training Day is a love of wiseassery. The worst that can be said of them is that they may enjoy doing their jobs – busting people that is – just a bit too much. Aside from this, the two are incredibly likeable and the chemistry between them is fantastic. After 20 minutes of riding a long in their car, laughing at their jokes, and enjoying their banter it’s hard not to love ‘em...