I've hated some movies this summer for betraying their source material to deliver a generic but cutting-edge action movie. There's nothing cutting-edge about this failed comedy-adventure that embarrasses everyone connected with it, not just the titular hero.
The Heat is lukewarm at best (he said, going for the obvious.) The film is long, the plot is weak, and the emotional connection all but nonexistent, but there is a fair number of laughs. I root for this film to succeed, if only so that more female-led movies can come out of the Hollywood testosterone zone.
World War Z is a pretty good movie; it starts incredibly strong and just barely holds itself together through to the end. A tribute to the power of narrative momentum. Also, Marc Forster knows how to cut a tense action scene.
On the Pixar scale, this breakneck comedy is below the Toy Story films and epics like Nemo and Up. I'd put it on a par with A Bug's Life, the Incredibles, and its predecessor, Monsters Inc. Inventive, fun, but not as magical and jaw-dropping as, say, Wall-E. Yet infinitely better than every other shiny gewgaw Hollywood will dangle in front of your eyes this year.
Another bleak war movie thrust upon a fun franchise, Man of Steel has a well-cast (but criminally underwritten) Superman and Lois Lane and some interesting twists on the legend--but ultimately fails as a Superman film. It briefly pretends to have a heart, but it doesn't, and thus misses much of what makes Superman fly.
Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing does Shakespeare proud, in an intimate production that's at once low-key and grand. A highlight of 2013 whether you're a fan of the extended Whedonverse (represented thoroughly by this versatile cast), a Shakespeare lover, or just someone who likes damned fine movies with craft, comedy and passion.
After Earth feels like a simplistic lecture on life from someone of no intellectual acumen. You almost like it when you see that it's trying to be inspirational and about a family healing/reconnecting. Then you notice how poorly it's all executed, and you remember that you don't like it. Upside: Only 100 minutes!
There was probably no winning with this movie. Couldn't repeat an improbable setup for a third time, apparently couldn't come up with a premise that wasn't overly dark, overly violent, and just much less funny than the earlier installments. And couldn't resist cashing in one more time, anyway.
J.J. Abrams' second Star Trek film is more coherent than the first and every bit as compulsively likable. He still has an amazing cast, and he gives them all moments to shine. The film lags elsewhere, squandering villains and underselling Kirk's character arc, but Abrams shines with moments that briefly capture the spirit of the original series.
The third Iron Man movie is a lackluster effort that hammers maybe three good ideas into the ground for more than two hours. If you're a fan, you'll ... I can't say you'll be "satisfied," or "you'll have a good time," but you probably won't come out angry--unless you paid extra for the worthless 3D. But why don't you expect more?
Eisner Award-winning author Greg Rucka is know for his gritty noir-influenced style, his critically acclaimed runs on mainstream titles like The Punisher and Batwoman and for his proclivity to write multi-faceted, bad-ass female protagonists
We recently sat down with Rucka as he ends a decade-long collaboration with Marvel and DC and throws himself full force into his creator owned projects, including Queen and Country and LAZARUS.
Who or what were your influences as a writer?
That’s not a short-answer question. There are honestly too many to count. I can go from Joyce Carol Oates to Raymond Chandler, Hemingway to Douglas Adams,...
A deservedly saintly presentation of the Jackie Robinson story occasionally wields narrative as a blunt instrument, just to make sure no one misses Robinson's struggles and dignity. A fine cast and a laid back style that feels as retro as the period setting help craft a film that's a likable history lesson.
Kurt Busiek's Astro City is a creator-owned comic book that started back in 1995, with Busiek providing writing, Brent Anderson on pencils and Alex Ross providing covers and character design. A critical and commercial success from the beginning, Astro City has been somewhat hampered bu an irregular publication schedule and it has struggled to find a long-time home with a publisher as the many of the smaller publishers have merged or been bought as the industry consolidated. After a recent health scare, Busiek announced that Astro City would be published by DC comics as an ongoing monthly title Badmouth managed to get Busiek to answer five questions about Astro City and working on a creator-owned comic.
Admission has a strong cast and the admirable goal of making an adult movie about adult things, but the plot is implausible, and there's a slackness to the entire affair that's never quite overcome, despite a lot of individually nice elements.
Stoker is not a satisfying moviegoing experience, which isn't to say that it's a bad piece of cinema. If you go to the movies expecting a story (and I generally do), you might feel underserved. But if you're moved by style, performance and mood for their own sake, there's much to like in this off-key, slow boil tale of suspense.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone feels like a familar card trick: The patter may entertain you, but at heart, there's nothing new, and that's a letdown even when the magician is really skilled at his craft.
Interesting look at postwar Japan and how an American general investigated whether to hang Emperor Hirohito for war crimes or paper over the ugliness to better rehabilitate Japan. While we know how that worked out, and while the nature of the general's investigation might be slightly fictionalized (and a romance angle entirely invented, it seems), the film is still an interesting, sober portrait of a rarely considered historical moment.
Sam Raimi is probably the best choice to helm a Wizard of Oz prequel. He brings a love and respect for the source material along with a great cast to produce a film that has less heart than the 1939 classic, but still hits some good beats, and manages to slip a few surprises into a tale that should be all foregone conclusions. Worth seeing, and arguably kid-safe.
Steven Soderbergh is an excellent director, but not even his cool, quietly commanding style can save a flawed script full of the laziest plot holes I've seen in ages, nor can it overcome the disappointment of starting out as a potentially fascinating critique of pop culture before devolving into a parody of every bad movie Richard Gere made in the '90s.
Giants Beware is a polished piece of cartooning that reads like its writer was raised by sitcom reruns. Any kid will love it, while adults might find the charm wearing as thin as a "Friends" marathon. Which is not to deny its definite charms, or undercut my hopes that this writer and artist do more work together, and soon.