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Monkey Shines: "King Kong" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 20 December 2005 18:00

Naomi Watts and King KongKING KONG

The most telling detail in Peter Jackson’s grand, overlong, monstrously enjoyable King Kong remake is, considering the scope of this production, a relatively minor one. Having been captured by the natives of Skull Island, the ingénue Ann (Naomi Watts) is presented – tied and shrieking – as a sacrifice/gift to the enormous ape, who emerges from the jungle, frees Ann from her bindings, and grasps her in his giant paw. (Kong doesn’t grace the scene until roughly an hour into the movie, and the moments leading up to his arrival are a miracle of sound design and visual suggestion; Kong’s appearance is absolutely worth waiting for.) Like a petulant toddler who doesn’t want to share his toy, Kong quickly races back to his jungle retreat with his new plaything in hand, and the force and velocity of the ape’s movements make Ann resemble nothing so much as a human rag doll, her body limp and her limbs flailing.

 
Contest Nets Bluebox Filmmakers New Laurels, Development Deal PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 20 December 2005 18:00
Technically, Scott Beck won mtvU’s “Best Film on Campus” contest earlier this month. You’d just never know it from talking to him. Beck’s trailer for his feature film University Heights won the competition – he wrote and directed the movie – but he never claims the project exclusively as his.

 
The Perils of Art Films and the DVD Experience: "Yes," "Palindromes," and "The Ballad of Jack & Rose" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 20 December 2005 18:00

Joan Allen in YesLast week, I received an e-mail from a reader asking whether I thought Ang Lee’s wildly acclaimed Brokeback Mountain would be playing in the area any time soon. She also referenced Capote and The Squid & the Whale – two other small-scale, independently financed films with a whole slew of end-of-the-year accolades and no current release date set for Quad Cities venues – and concluded her correspondence with a cry often heard from we Midwestern art-film fans: “Are we not grown-up enough to see these films?”

 
For the Children, or Merely Childish?: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe" and "Syriana" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 13 December 2005 18:00

Tilda Swinton and Skandar Keynes in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the WardrobeTHE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, & THE WARDROBE

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, director Andrew Adamson’s imagining of the first book in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, is almost childishly clunky, but it’s nearly impossible to dislike. Geared, as it appears, toward a very young audience – I’d say seven or eight – the movie is sweet, and it’s sincere, and it displays a welcome touch of fairy-tale simplicity. Despite the rather prosaic nature of its presentation, Narnia is one of those movies that, if it catches children at the right age, might linger in their memories for some time to come; it’s just magical enough to suggest how magical it should have been. For kids who are finally seeing their beloved Narnia novel translated to the big screen, Adamson’s Narnia will be good enough. It just doesn’t have much to offer the rest of us. Adamson is co-director of the Shrek movies, and he does a fair enough job with the movie’s CGI wonders; the lion Messiah Aslan (voiced, to the surprise of no one, by Liam Neeson) moves with regal grace, and the beavers who accompany the Pevensie children on their quest seem to be, for kids in the audience, enjoyably frisky characters. But all throughout the film, I had the nagging feeling that, if he was allowed, Adamson would have happily computer-generated his humans, too.

 
What the "Flux"?: "Aeon Flux," "Bee Season," "The Ice Harvest," and "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D" PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 06 December 2005 18:00

Charlize Theron in Aeon FluxAEON FLUX

By all rights, Aeon Flux should be godawful. (Certainly, Paramount is treating it like it is, as the studio opted against pre-release screenings for fear of lousy advance notices.) Set some 400 years in the future, director Karyn Kusama’s film – a big-screen vehicle for MTV’s Liquid Television character – takes place after 99% of the earth has been eliminated by a virus, the most humorless 1%, apparently, having been left to roam the earth. Charlize Theron’s Aeon leads a Spandex-clad revolt against the government, and the movie is, for the most part, a joke; the effects are particularly shoddy, and as they recite their clunky dialogue, you feel badly for several performers – when they were being feted as Oscar nominees, did Theron, Frances McDormand (in a red fright wig), Sophie Okenedo and Pete Postlethwaite ever think it would come to this? (The film’s one impressive performance comes from Marton Csokas, who’s like a more rugged version of Kevin Spacey.)

 
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