Month: January 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

 The tale of Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm, is one of the most well-know fairy tales of all time. So, Hollywood has made a couple of adaptations of the classic fable, with each version adding something new to the story. But in 2010, Disney released a remake of “Alice in Wonderland” which included some very dark material. Since this film was a box office success, Hollywood has since then made several adaptations of classic fairy tales with dark material in them. Most of these dark fairy tales have had a mixed critical and financial success. Enter “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”, the latest addition for movies that take fairy tales and put dark material into the subject matter. The end result is incredibly stupid. The movie fails in every aspect and is another clear example that Hollywood doesn’t need to take classic fairy tales and put dark material into them. “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” is just a stupid retelling of a classic story.  The story is your basic Hansel and Gretel story. Two children are abandoned in the woods by their father to escape the clutches of their evil stepmother. The children then arrive at a house made of candy where a decides to fatten them up and eat them. The two children escape the evil witch by turning her tricks against her and burning her...

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Movie Review of ‘Shane’ (1953)

Shane may be a vehement western due to its adherence to a number of the genre’s tropes, but it’s a film which belies its genre. By the 1950s, the American western genre had become predictable, with westerns growing to the point of being interchangeable, but 1953’s Shane is bolder and smarter than more formulaic genre offerings from the same period. This is a film which focuses on storytelling and depth of character, not to mention its technical credits are superlative. Added to this, Shane is imbued with themes of family value, loyalty, courage and friendship, and its hotly-debated ending remains as powerful as ever. Though the film is perhaps overrated in some circles, it remains a landmark achievement which inspired multiple movies in the decades to follow. The titular Shane (Alan Ladd) is a skilled gunslinger with a secretive past. Riding into an isolated Wyoming valley, Shane encounters the homestead of farmer Joe Starrett (Van Heflin), his wife Marian (Jean Arthur) and son Joey (Brandon De Wilde). It fast becomes clear that he has ridden into a land feud between the homesteaders and cattle ranch boss Ryker (Emile Meyer), with Ryker wanting to re-establish control over the entire valley and drive the homesteaders out. Shane takes Starrett’s side in a confrontation with Ryker’s men, and subsequently decides to live and work on Starrett’s farm. Joey grows to idolise Shane, who seeks to stay out...

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Snakes on a Plane

 It all started out as a joke on the Internet. Someone dubbed over actor Samuel L. Jackson in his upcoming movie by making him say a dirty word in a scene that didn’t need it. The joke then spread across the Internet gaining a lot of popularity. Everyone laughed at this short scene and upon hearing the premise of the film, they laughed at that as well. The movie was finally released in the late summer of 2006 with the title of “Snakes on a Plane”; you know you want to laugh. But surprisingly, a lot of people, despite the movie being a flop amongst all of the hype, has gained a somewhat cult following. Is this just a movie that deserved its 15 minutes of fame, or is it something else? The answer is that it deserved the 15 minutes of fame and the film needs a more critical overview. “Snakes on a Plane” is just your average modern B-movie that the Internet hyped way too much over.  The plot has a vacationer named Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) who unexpectedly stumbles upon the murder of a local politician by gangster Eddie Kim. After that unfortunate mishap, Sean is then interrogated by a federal agent (Jackson) who says that he will testify in court against Kim. Eddie Kim, on the other hand, realizes the danger that he is in,...

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From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

Since the first From Dusk Till Dawn was all about subverting our expectations about the genre that it initially laid out for us, it makes sense for the sequel to do the same thing. Here, we’re initially promised a heist movie, with all of the tropes that this genre carries. We get to meet the crew, see their different skills in action, and so on. But something happens in Texas Blood Money that we do not expect — or do expect, considering you’ve probably seen the first one. This is no ordinary heist movie, you see. There is still a heist element, but Texas Blood Money is far more interested in being a low-grade knockoff of The Thing, which isn’t a bad horror film to take inspiration from. One by one, group members become changed into (spoilers if you haven’t seen the first movie) vampires, and end up waiting until they can get another member one on one so that, yes, they can also be turned. That entire idea might not be unique to The Thing, but it’s pretty clear what’s being ripped off here, especially because certain scenes play out in exactly the same fashion. The problem is that what made The Thing worth watching was the tension caused by never knowing exactly who was infected. Here, we know who is and who isn’t for the entirety of...

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Movie Review of ‘Alphaville’ (1965)

Avid sci-fi addicts looking to check out 1965’s Alphaville will likely wind up disappointed. This is not a traditional science fiction movie, but instead a hardcore Jean-Luc Godard flick carrying sci-fi undertones. Compared to a commercial product like Minority Report, Alphaville looks woefully under-produced and cheap, but only superficially. At its core, this is an thoughtful treatise on technology and society that intertwines film noir and sci-fi, and its ostensibly slipshod appearance is a part of the satirical slant. Godard originally wanted to name the film Tarzan vs. IBM, a title which perfectly encapsulates the essence of Alphaville. This is a story of a rugged spy battling a dystopian society, and the character of Tarzan was a rugged, individualistic caveman who competed against futuristic technology. An American secret agent, Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) travels to the outer space city of Alphaville disguised as a journalist named Ivan Johnson. Alphaville is a dehumanised, dystopic society controlled by fascist supercomputer Alpha 60, which was created by Professor Von Braun (Howard Vernon). Alpha 60 seeks to conquer further societies, ruling under an iron fist in a police state where creativity and individualistic expression are replaced by ruthless logic. Caution’s assignment is to infiltrate the city and assassinate Von Braun, looking to free Alphaville and destroy Alpha 60 before the computer wages nuclear war on other galaxies. Alphaville wears its influences on its sleeve, containing elements from George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World....

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