Review

Marvel has enjoyed a pronounced measure of success with their films of late. Captain America, X-Men: First Class, and especially The Avengers have proven worthy of all manner of flashy adjectives. And now we arrive at Marvel/Sony’s reboot of the character for which flashy adjectives are often indivisible from his name. The unfortunate irony is that any number of films on Marvel’s slate from the last year are more deserving of the descriptor “amazing” than Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man. That’s not to say the film is a total disaster, but in the company’s current climate of quality, passable is not acceptable.

read more...

It’s gotten to the point where studio period and fantasy epics are as ubiquitous as sequels, remakes, and superheroes. This of course creates a paradox in that the entire reason for the existence of these films is their flash and spectacle. If Wrath of the Titans, a sequel to a remake focusing on a mythological superhero, has taught me anything, it’s that it might be time for these movies to vanish to the ethereal plains…at least for a little while. The latest in a string of underwhelming, despite themselves, period epics, Wrath is a tedious chore as messy in its visuals as it is frustratingly poor in its construction. The story here is that Perseus (Sam Worthington), having saved the world from both Medusa and the Kraken, is called into hero service again when his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) is taken prisoner by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez). The two conspirators plan to use Zeus’ power to release the sinister father of gods: Kronos. I use the word “story” loosely because whatever moments in the film aren’t the chapter distinctions in “How Not to Write to Write a Screenplay” are simply cribbed from Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”; more accurately from someone reading “Baby’s First Edith Hamilton” picture book. The screenwriters flipped through it, carelessly flopping their fingers on the most eye-catching beasts, exclaiming, “this one, and this one, and this one…put them all in there.” At this point, one intelligent assistant offered, “guys, those aren’t even Perseus stories.” That […]

read more...

In 1995, HBO produced a film called The Tuskegee Airmen chronicling the heroic story of the first squadron of African-American fighter pilots during WWII. The HBO version stars Laurence Fishburne, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, John Lithgow, and Cuba Gooding Jr. I don’t mention this film because of its obscurity, or to thereby prove my film knowledge by pointing it out. I offer this film as favorable alternative to wasting two hours of time on the irrecoverable nosedive that is Red Tails. I’ll say it again, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen is beyond heroic and deserves multiple competent cinematic revisits. These were men who fervently, and with their very lives, defended a country that made policy of oppressing and mistreating them. Not only that, but they also proved to be one of the most effective and successful fighter battalions of the entire war. The larger themes of honor, duty, and sacrifice so inherent and alive in their story are reduced to After School Special platitudes in the George Lucas-produced and Anthony Hemingway-directed Red Tails. Instead of genuine traits, all of the characters occupy loosely-fitting archetypes mined from the most trite of “guys on a mission” tropes. That guy is the hot-headed glory hound, that guy is the goofy one, that guy has a drinking problem, that guy is in love, that guy looks like Denzel Washington. Okay, that last one is actually specific to Red Tails but it no less proves to be that actor’s only marketable skill.

read more...

Editor’s Note: If you don’t want some of the finer points of The Muppets spoiled for you (uh, including the ending), maybe sit this one out (on a boat somewhere, possibly? with an attractive lady pig and a nearby rainbow?). However, if you’re more concerned with spoilers regarding the film’s copious cameos, you’ve got the frog-green light to read this one. I am a cynic. That’s not so much a startling admission as it is recognition of the ugly little monster that sits on my shoulder every time I go into any given screening these days. This monster whispers in my ear the titles of all the Hollywood films over the last few years that have displayed a lack of originality, poor acting, and a general lack of heart. It tempts me to predispose myself toward negativity and force the movie to win me over. That same monster was sitting on my shoulder even as I sat down to see The Muppets, a film to which I had very much been looking forward. That monster was there despite how much I loved The Muppet Show when I saw it in rerun as a kid and despite my having worn out my VHS copy of The Muppet Movie many years ago. Ultimately, this film not only silenced that little monster, but it clobbered it with one of Miss Piggy’s left hooks and replaced it with a familiar singing frog whom I had forgotten how much I truly missed. As it turns […]

read more...

Editor’s Note: You can watch the episode at the bottom of the post. Hooray! The second to last episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy finally gives us a battle between fan favorite characters Scorpion and Sub Zero, and it also finally gave us our first images of a character using super powers during a fight. The first half of this storyline was almost all build, putting Scorpion and Sub Zero on a collision course that would come to a head during this fight in the woods. Though the fight is a little short for all of the build it got, it did manage to be satisfying because of its inclusion of essential gameplay moments. First off, we get to watch Sub Zero use his ice powers in battle, and the results are pretty fun. The effects work on the ice creations aren’t the most impressive or polished that I’ve ever seen, but they’re perfectly acceptable and don’t take away from the battle by looking shoddy or cheesy. I particularly liked how there’s always a slight trail of smoke and snow behind all of his power bursts. The real cool part about it was just seeing him go on the offensive with moves that you can use in the games.

read more...

Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones got my attention by having Gregor Clegane cut off a horse’s head, and this week’s had me staring slack jawed as Daenerys Targaryen ate a raw, bloody horse heart while all of the Dothraki surrounded and cheered. I’ve never seen so much horse brutality in all of my life, but at least Game of Thrones has made it count. Clegane’s casual decapitation of his steed really hammered home how dangerous and evil he was at his core. And Dany’s choking down of a bloody heart this week showed how strong and determined she can be when backed against a wall. She needs the Dothraki to be loyal to her, so she does whatever it takes to earn their respect; even if it’s taking part in a horrific, bloody ritual. Her brother Viserys, by contrast, feels that respect is owed him due to his royal bloodline. Where Dany digs down and finds strength when faced with adversity, Viserys pouts, yells, and makes an ass of himself when he doesn’t get what he wants. It has been said that due to his weakness, Viserys’ older brother Rhaegar was the last dragon. Daenerys might soon prove that train of thought wrong.

read more...

This week’s episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy is all about the build. And finally, we get the introduction of what were always my favorite characters back in the day, Scorpion and Sub Zero. The episode begins feeling very authentically like a Kung-Fu movie. Images of nature are shown while a voice over narration tells us about the history of a powerful clan of warriors. Their leader, Hanzo Hasashi, is one of the most feared fighters on the planet. We learn early on, as his myth has grown through the ages he eventually started being known by another name: Scorpion. Boom, shot of Scorpion in full ninja garb, he throws his patented kunai on a rope straight at the camera, and we have our title card. What an effective way to gain my interest. The episode then cuts to a frantic chase through woods. A man is being pursued. There is implied danger at every turn. There are glimpses of movement from all sides, but no clear shot of what threat lurks. Finally, his attacker pounces, and it’s revealed that the man being chased is Scorpion, and the one doing the chasing his young son Jubei. For the large chunk of this episode we get father/son bonding between Jubei and Hasashi. Despite the fact that he is very young, Jubei wants to be a warrior like his father, a plan that doesn’t sit well with his mother. She wants him to be a singer, and in fact she wants him to […]

read more...

As always, the episode itself is embedded at the bottom of the review. This episode of Mortal Kombat: Legacy quite thankfully abandons the cheese of the last two in order to switch gears and introduce the character of Raiden. Raiden is one of the characters that I remember best from my youth playing the original Mortal Kombat video game. He had one of those big, ridiculous Chinese straw hats, he could teleport to the other side of the screen, and he could shoot lightning out of his hands. That’s some pretty cool stuff, eh? But how would it translate to live action? Turns out pretty well. This is a decidedly different take on a lightning God coming down to Earth story than we recently got in the big screen movie Thor. When Thor came down to Earth the circumstances of his place of landing led to him getting a cute new girlfriend. Mortal Kombat: Legacy goes to significantly darker places. When Raiden lands on Earth he does so on the property of a mental institution. It’s not too long after he proclaims himself as being Lord Raiden to the guards that he finds himself spending the rest of the episode strapped down, pumped full of drugs, and lobotomized.

read more...

At the end of the fourth episode of Game of Thrones I felt like the feeling out process was over and that the fifth would be the one in which characters finally started playing their cards and coming into direct conflict with one another; and boy was that true. This episode felt so much different than the previous four in the series. Fewer characters get face time, the focus is narrowed, and the war between the Starks and the Lannisters steps up to take center stage. The pacing has been pushed forward, there are fewer scenes of pondering and pontificating, and the violence has been amped up to gross levels. Awesomely gross levels, but gross levels nonetheless. With this episode it feels like the writers are taking a step back from explaining themselves so much, and from this point on the viewers are going to have to hold on and keep up. Most of the people who I talk to about this series have said that they really love it, but there have been a few holdouts that think it’s a little too sleepy. If you’re one of those bored naysayers, and this episode didn’t manage to wake you up, then I suggest you cut your losses and find yourself another series to watch. For the rest of us… did you see The Mountain cut off that horses head?!

read more...

Mortal Kombat: Legacy has done a great job of changing things up and staying interesting so far. The first two episodes of the series looked like excerpts from a big budget action film. Then the third was a parody of celebrity news and reality TV. This episode keeps up the intrigue by starting out with some animation. It begins with a fairy tale voice over telling us about the history of some sort of mystical land. We get castles and mountain backdrops, and it’s all presented in a stylish, almost water color looking animation. I thought it was an interesting thing to do for a series that has been, up to this point, all about keeping things set mostly in our modern reality. But then the animation transitions into live action and everything goes bad. So bad that, by the end of this episode, I was left feeling a lot less confident about the direction Mortal Kombat: Legacy is going in.

read more...

When Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) was quite young, her parents died and she was left in the care of her aunt. The aunt took none too kindly to Jane’s outspokenness and her free spirit and promptly sent her to a finishing school where education was synonymous with corporal punishment. Years later, having survived her sentence at that school, she is employed as the governess for the daughter of the wealthy Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender). A love blossoms between them, but a terrible secret threatens to tear them apart. Melodrama ensues. I may very well invoke your judgment and scorn with the following admission: I don’t like period romance films. That being said, I happily volunteered to review Jane Eyre. No, this was not rooted in a sadistic desire to rip the film to shreds but rather the result of a very deceitful piece of marketing. If you haven’t seen the trailer, and you are as ignorant of the story of Jane Eyre as I was, it sells you on an atmospheric horror film set in the Victorian Age. They go so far as to appropriate the Goblin score from Suspiria and lay it over the three seemingly supernatural moments of the film. Turns out, now that I’ve seen the movie and had a few gaps filled in for me, there is a pseudo ghost story interwoven into the fabric of Jane Eyre, but this adaptation does nothing to cultivate it so the trailer is an out and out lie. But […]

read more...

American truck driver Paul Conroy is having what you might call a bad day. After taking a contract in Iraq delivering supplies, his convoy gets attacked and he blacks out. When he awakens, it’s a clear case of out-of-the-frying-pan-and-buried-in-a-coffin. At his immediate disposal are a lighter, a cell phone, and a limited supply of oxygen. He receives a message on the phone that he must use the phone to muster together a $5 million ransom or be left to die. A brief synopsis, but one befitting of a film like this. Buried sounds like little more than a pitch film; selling itself solely on a gimmick. But when thinking of accusing the film of taking the easy road to getting greenlit, it is vital to remember that this man-in-a-box movie is precisely that: a man in a box. The simplicity of the concept is incredibly self-limiting and presents a challenge so seemingly insurmountable that Buried had a plethora of opportunities to fail. Fortunately for the audience, director Rodrigo Cortes and star Ryan Reynolds expertly navigated this minefield.

read more...

The Last Exorcism is the story of a Louisiana pastor called to the aid of a family living way out in the sticks. The family is aware that Cotton, the pastor, has been performing exorcisms for many years and they are in need of his special talents. The daughter of the family, Nell, has been acting so strangely of late that her father is convinced that she is possessed by the devil. Cotton sees this as an opportunity to reveal the enormous hoax that is church-sanctioned exorcism and brings along a camera crew to document both the flimsiness of the family’s possession claims and the charade of the exorcism ceremony. What he discovers in that tiny backwoods town is something far more real and far more terrifying than he is equipped to handle. Calling The Last Exorcism the best exorcism film since The Exorcist is not only a mouthful, but that seemingly flattering moniker may be more of a backhanded compliment than the film deserves. I for one wholly endorse this, admittedly, sensational claim but I don’t think it’s one the film should wear as a badge of honor (whether the praise come from me or someone of much greater note and worth). The fact is that exorcism films have been few and far between since Linda Blair first showered us in green, soupy terror in 1973. Of the meager handfuls that have cropped up in these near forty years hence, only a smidgen of them have seen theatrical release. […]

read more...

30rock-suntea

Jack, disgusted at a rift in the Geiss family, vows to get a vasectomy so as to never have kids and convinces Tracy, who’s frustrated at his son Tracy Jr. (Bobb’e Thompson), to do the same. Liz learns the rules of New York real estate.

read more...

30rock-goodbyefriend

After Liz chides Tracy for acting like a child in front of everyone, he becomes obnoxiously professional on set and pushes Liz’s view that no one deserves special treatment back in her face.

read more...

30rock-theones

Elisa returns to 30 Rock with a dark secret that she doesn’t want Jack to know out of fear he won’t love her anymore and Jenna goes to desperate measures to try and re-connect with a cute EMT that actually enjoys her show.

read more...

30rock-jackie

In order to build up hype for Jenna’s Janis Joplin biopic, “Jackie Jormp Jomp,” Jack decides to fake Jenna’s death.

read more...

30rock-goodbyefriend

When Liz meets a pregnant teenager who’s thinking about giving up the baby once it’s born, she befriends the girl in an attempt to be first in line for adoption consideration.

read more...

30rock-larryking

An adult photo that Liz took of herself comes back to haunt her when she accidentally leaves the cell phone with which she used to take it in a cab.

read more...

30rock-valentines

Liz and Drew (Jon Hamm) finally go on their first date, which, unbeknownst to Liz, is Valentine’s Day. Jack plans to spend the evening at an exclusive restaurant with Elisa (Salma Hayek), but his plans are put on hold when she insists, being the devout Catholic that she is, on first attending church.

read more...
NEXT PAGE  
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3