Movie Review: Jesus Henry Christ (2012) (PG-13)

Jesus Henry Christ is preposterous, pretentious, venomous, and maddeningly unclear about what it wants to say and how it wants to say it. Much like the philosophy of art for art’s sake, the film’s quirkiness has no intrinsic value; it’s weird simply for the sake of being weird. We’re tempted to think that it takes a moral position, given the narrative usage of feminism, militant antiestablishment rhetoric, atheism, racial and gay intolerances, nontraditional family values, and the rewards and deficits that come from being a genius. In fact, the story is divorced from pretty much any sense of morality; all the beliefs listed above are not examined convincingly and are included primarily to be made fun of. In spite of all this, the film ends on such a mechanically upbeat note that it might as well have served as the ending to a sitcom episode.

Movie Review: The Lucky One (2012) (PG-13)

Faithful readers will know that film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels aren’t exactly my cup of tea. I enjoy a good romance as much as the next person, but I’ve found his particular style to be predictable, soppy, and emotionally manipulative. With that in mind, I find myself in the position of reviewing his newest adaptation, The Lucky One. While hardly recommendable, it is admittedly better than I thought it was going to be. It has all the reliable hallmarks of a Nicholas Sparks story – a Southern setting, a sudden love between perfect strangers, characters with troubled histories, outside forces that threaten the blossoming relationship, a sentimental conclusion – and yet it worked just a little harder at allowing me to see past its contrivances. It wasn’t hard enough, but progress is progress.

Movie Review: Think Like a Man (2012) (PG-13)

So far as I can tell, the intended purpose of Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man was to give women relationship advice from a male perspective, which in turn would help them find the right man. While I have no opinion on his words of wisdom, I do have a thing or two to say about Think Like a Man, a film that injects Harvey’s book into the plot of a romantic comedy. Silly and uninspired, it doesn’t analyze his concepts in plausible, satisfying ways; instead, it applies them to manufactured vignettes in which the men are immature brats and the women are conniving and manipulative. There is no truth to any of the characters in this movie. They serve primarily as comedy relief, goofballs we’re made to laugh at instead of with.

Movie Review: Chimpanzee (2012) (G)

The Disneynature documentaries had me initially. Their first two releases, Earth and Oceans, were marvelous films; I was especially taken with the latter, not only because it was a spectacular showcase of underwater footage but also because it raised awareness about the negative and positive effects we have on the environment. But then came last year’s African Cats, and while the visuals were undoubtedly stunning, I believed the filmmakers went too far in their efforts to make it a dramatic narrative, which sort of goes against what documentaries set out to do. Now we have Chimpanzee. Although it suffers from some of the same problems as African Cats, namely the use of inherently manipulative narrative techniques, the film is a definite improvement. If they keep it up, Disneynature might have me again completely by next year.

Movie Review: Darling Companion (2012) (PG-13)

Watching Darling Companion, I could tell that director/co-writer Lawrence Kasdan knew what he was after but had some trouble finding it. Strangely enough, this is surprisingly reminiscent of the film itself, which tells the story of a group of people having a great deal of trouble finding a lost dog. All the characters know that they want to find him, but actually reaching this goal will prove to be a tremendous physical and emotional challenge. It’s a well-intentioned movie, utilizing a reliable relationship plot and terrific actors that give decent performances, although I felt something overall was missing; it lacks the necessary style capable of elevating its merely entertaining and heartwarming premise into something more meaningful.

Movie Review: The Moth Diaries (2012) (R)

In the same vein as Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, The Moth Diaries is a dark brainteaser – a gothic psychological thriller that continuously challenges the audience’s perception of reality without coming to any definitive conclusions. Here is a film in which we cannot trust most of what we see or hear; we’re being toyed with, and whatever deductions we make stem entirely from what we personally bring to the experience. I know this is the case because many scenes are intentionally structured to be interpreted in two ways. That writer/director Mary Harron pulled this off without making it seem mechanical or contrived is something of a great achievement. We’re obviously being manipulated, and yet it’s done with such passion and cleverness that we find we don’t much care.

Movie Review: Goodbye First Love (2012) (Not Rated)

Because it makes no grand gestures, Goodbye First Love is a deceptively simple movie. Essentially, it tells the story of a young woman torn between two men, both of whom she loves deeply but in completely different ways. Its simplicity is cleverly masked by a rather unconventional style, which is about as far removed from a Hollywood romance as it can be. The film flows rather organically, with most of the traditional cinematic enhancements stripped away. It’s less about plot and drama and more about character. It may not be immediately apparent, but we are witnessing a person on the road towards maturity. This isn’t to suggest she began at innocence, nor that she will end up understanding everything; all we know is that she’s in the process of becoming.

Episode Recap: The Legend of Korra: Welcome to Republic City

This is a play by play recap of the network premiere for the first episode of The Legend of Korra. Korra is the new avatar. Already proficient in firebending, waterbending, and earthbending, she now needs to learn airbending from Master Tenzin.

The Top 10 Most Violent Movies Ever Made!

What is the most violent movie ever made? You’ve seen this question asked many times all over the internet. After months of extensive research I have put together this guide of the top ten most violent movies ever made. WARNING: These movies are very disturbing! Please read at your own risk!

Dragons – Fact or Fiction?

Dragons are prevalent in the folklore of many countries. Is there an explanation of why they are believed in by so many cultures?

Movie Review – Defending Your Life

Very clever and sufficiently funny, in the full-length feature film Defending Your Life, Albert Brooks is brilliant and Meryl Streep has seldom been better. When Brooks character is killed in a car accident, our leading man finds himself falling for the love of his life (ironically enough) while undergoing what amounts to a civil trial to determine if he learned the essence of life which seems to be the criteria for going on to heaven or being cast back to another earthly existence in another attempt to “get it right.” Judgment City, a seemingly perfect utopian purgatory of sorts is the setting for this trial process, of which Streep is undergoing the same scrutiny. Increasingly, it appears as if our leading man will ever see his leading lady again, as she is repeatedly commended for her stellar existence on earth. At every turn, Brooks character is portrayed as a wimp, a pushover, dishonest and fearful.

Tyler Perry: Filmmkaing Against the Odds

Tyler Perry faces much criticism for his role as Medea all while creating a memorable directors library. His ups and downs are more about the image of African Americans more than about his quality of filmmaking.