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By Sandra Olmsted
As the year ends, the studios inundate us with blockbusters and art films galore, and visions of stars dance in our heads. We don our winter coats and dash away to the movies.
by Sandra Olmsted
When watching director Sacha Gervasi’s film Hitchcock, remember that this is only one version of the Alfred Hitchcock’s life and that it only covers a short but very stressful period, both domestically and artistically, in Master of Suspense’s life. While the list of what Gervasi and screenwriter John J. McLaughlin exaggerated or fabricated in speculating about Hitch’s mental state while financing and making Psycho is long, what they got right, such as using Hitch’s style of playing with guilt, suspicion, and dark impulses, is more interesting. The results is a fascinating portrayal of a creative temperament struggling against the ravages of age and the business and financial pressures of making art.
Although Rise of the Guardians is loosely adapted by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire from William Joyce’s book series “The Guardians of Childhood” and from Joyce’s short film “The Man in the Moon,” the theme is taken from the most famous line in President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” In the film, first-time feature director Peter Ramsey weaves the story of Jack Frost (voice of Chris Pine), the mysterious, lonely imp who brings winter and enjoys the inherent fun in all things icy, slick, and cold, but who longs for a family and home and for children to believe in him and, therefore, see him.
The heady cocktail of the new James Bond adventure has a lot to recommend it: nods to earlier incarnations of Ian Fleming’s cinematic 007, a peek inside Bond’s psychology, and a theme of old vs. new spying. Director Sam Mendes fulfills most expectation by including most of the standard Bond film elements such as beautiful Bond girls; a nail-biting, popcorn-munching opening scene; big, exciting action sequences; tangled-plot espionage; exotic locales; a John Barry score; and a great villain, Silva. Javier Bardem perfectly embodies Silva as the quintessential Bond bad guy, while Daniel Craig returns for his third time as Bond to somewhat mixed delight.
by Sandra Olmsted
As in many childhood stories and earlier cartoons, and Toy Story was by no means the first, children’s playthings and the characters from books come to life at night in Wreck-It Ralph. Director Rich Moore and screenwriters Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee update the idea in their film with video game characters bursting out of their games after the arcade closes and having very relatable struggles, mostly work related since the characters all have specific jobs in their games. The good guys and heroes are contented, even if they have “the most tragic backstory ever,” but the ones, especially Wreck-It Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly), who must be bad, because “it’s in their code.” They are so unhappy about always being the bad guy and being treated badly, that they even have a support group.
by Sandra Olmsted« Previous Entries Next Entries »