King Kong (2005)

credit: King Kong (2005)

credit: King Kong (2005)

Who doesn’t have a secret love of higher primate related mayhem? The answer is me. I personally have an intense distrust of normal sized primates, so don’t get me started on the giant ones. They have opposable thumbs, sharp teeth, and big brains. If evolution was a merciful natural phenomenon, she would have given them one or the other. Alas, she is not. That being said, I’ll delve into my long history with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of King Kong (view trailer here).  I first saw this 2005 remake of the iconic 1933 film of the same name when it premiered while I was still in college. While I have some fond memories associated with this historically accurate period piece, I’ve become substantially more critical of it with my advancing age. (more…)

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12 Angry Men (1957)

twelve_angry_men

Credit: 12 Angry Men

We’ve all gotten them and, no matter your lifestyle, most of us share the same immediate sense of dread upon opening the envelope. Of course I’m talking about jury summons, one of the small prices we pay for civil liberty and so forth. Anyway, director Sidney Lumet attempts to show us the wonders that jury dodgers could be missing out on in 12 Angry Men (view trailer here). As the title implies, this 1950’s classic focuses on twelve male jurors as they struggle to find a verdict on a murder trial involving an unassuming young man and his fate. (more…)

The Lost Weekend (1945)

Credit: The Lost Weekend

Credit: The Lost Weekend

There is an other-worldly quality to Billy Wilder’s 1945 The Lost Weekend.  This comes in part from the theremin music playing behind the “e-string of the violin”, something that modern audiences will associate with science fiction films like The Day the Earth Stood Still. But the feeling runs deeper than that as well; like Klaatu, Don Birnam, an aspriring writer and professional alcoholic, is adrift in a world not his own. (more…)

Under the Skin (2013)

credits: Under the Skin

Credit: Under the Skin

While I absolutely love well-filmed movies, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not the biggest fan of movies that use beautiful visuals as a substitute for an actual story. I feel that there are a lot of films out there that are just gorgeous to look at, but have little if anything going on under the……hood. After viewing the initial trailer of Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, I was afraid that it would it fall into the same category. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this independent British-American movie. Almost every scene in Under the Skin is beautiful, helped in no small part by the gorgeous Scottish countryside. Even a scene that essentially involves the death of an entire family is visually breathtaking due to it being set on a dreary beach under a crumbling hillside. (more…)

Prometheus (2012)

credit: Prometheus

credit: Prometheus

What can be said about Ridley Scott’s Prometheus? Turns out that we both have a lot to say about this loose prequel to the Alien Franchise. If you’re a hardcore fan of this film and can find absolutely no fault with its many, many faults, then stop reading here. After leaving the theatre, both Ash and I were shocked and appalled that this two hour romp through space with incompetent scientists was directed by the same mind that brought us the masterful Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. (more…)

The Machine (2013)

TheMachine

credit: The Machine

Though it is clear early on that Caradog James’ 2013 film The Machine  (watch the trailer here) owes much to Blade Runner (including some epic Vangelis-like synth music), it quickly takes a different tack. This is good as far as it allows the movie to pave its own way, but unfortunately results in a lesser story. (more…)