Movie Review: Frozen

IMDB, FrozenAdventure, 102 Minutes, 2013: “Frozen” on IMDB

Hey kids, it’s time to dig up Hans Christian Anderson and carve another chunk from his desiccated flesh! Sure, we’ve left him alone  for awhile, but it’s time. We’ve been gouging at the Grimm boys for a while. We even did some Japanese imports! The crew over at Pixar’s been good to us but, dammit, we need a new princess to feed the machine! And this is a two-fer!

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Movie Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

IMDB, Jack the Giant SlayerAdventure, 114 Minutes, 2013: Jack the Giant Slayer on IMDB

A retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” the movie plays fast and loose with the particulars of the story but stays comfortably in the genre.  It adds a beautiful, strong-willed princess; a heroic, selfless knight; a devious royal advisor and ups the giant-ante considerably.  Instead of our hero outwitting a single giant we get a whole big bunch of giants!

Here the giants – who have a sweet-tooth for people meat – have faded to legend because the magical beans that bridge their world to ours have been keep safe for hundreds of years.  Of course the beans resurface, the beanstalk grows and Jack and the Princess are caught in the center of everything.

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Movie Review: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

IMDB, Hansel & Gretel Witch HuntersAdventure, 114 Minutes, 2013: Hansel & Gretel: With Hunters on IMDB

This is directly in line with other high-firepower, low-respect updates of old-world classics like 2004’s “Van Helsing” [IMDB] or 2005’s “The Brother’s Grimm” [IMDB].  The formula gets tweaked but is basically the same: a hot guy and a hotter gal take on monsters with completely unrealistic steampunk firepower.

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Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

IMDB, Mirror MirrorFantasy,  106 Minutes, 2012: Mirror Mirror on IMDB

Do you know the story of Snow White?  No?  Don’t worry – neither do the people who made this movie.  There’s a mish-mash of references to the original story and the Disney version but mostly it’s stuff that they just plain made up.  Like most family films today there are a lot of modern references and a healthy dose of feminism.

It isn’t really Snow White but it’s still pretty fun and my daughter loves it.

There’s some silly eye-rolling moments (most of them really out-of-place verbal references) but there’s also some genius.  One sequence in particular, a multi-dimensional battle where the Dwarves and Snow White must defend themselves against magical marionettes is beautifully executed.  The stilt-equipped dwarves were also pretty well done.

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Movie Review: Hide Aways

Fantasy,  98 Minutes, 2011: Hide Aways on IMDB

James Furlong has a serious problem.  The men in his line are afflicted with strange magical powers that tend to hinder more than help.  His grandfather would go blind for 37 minutes if he thought about sex.  His father disables machines near him when scared.  James has it worse, however: whenever he’s hurt everything (and everyone) near him dies.

Mae-West O’Mara has a serious problem.  Her family has struck the genetic jackpot and has chalked up deaths to nearly every kind of cancer there is.  Mae-West’s issue is intestinal tumors which, despite several operations, will be taking her life very soon.

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Movie Review: Bat $#*! Crazy

Horror, 128 Minutes, 2011: Bat $#*! Crazy on IMDB

[This is the first review for this edition of  my semi-regular “my-wife-is-visiting-relatives-so-I’m-watching-loads-of-crappy-movies” film festival.]

This one has some serious aspirations; it begins with a quote by Franz Kafka!  After starting with a rather banal conversation to set the stage we head off into the first of many (many) extended montages rife with tracking shots, motion stills and annoying techno music that try very (very) hard to be artistic (and even succeed at it every once in a while).

It’s clear that the writers/directors had some actual good ideas to play with.  The main hook is a periodic voice-over from a child relating a fable about a crow and wolf.  The fable (which I believe is original to the movie) is engaging and entertaining.  Unfortunately it simply doesn’t reflect the story being told as much as its prominence would suggest making it feel out-of-place and tacked-on.

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Movie Review: Red Riding Hood

Fantasy, 100 Minutes, 2011: Red Riding Hood on IMDB

A modern retelling of “Little Riding Hood” this movie works in a lot of ways.  The setting is gorgeous and spooky and the build-up is well drawn.  The dialog and acting are (I hope) meaningfully stilted: this is a fairy-tale after all.

You will have to toss aside all you know of the original story however (either the saccharine modern tellings or the darker original).  There’s almost none of it present here.  The characters are present, in one form or another, but nothing truly resembling what you may expect.

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