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Tag Archives: Rated PG

A rundown of the biggest films to hit so far this summer…
            A great improvement on the first Captain America film in 2011. Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo have honed their craft shooting parody action scenes on NBC’s Community and Winter Solider greatly benefits from this. Possibly the first film in the Marvel extended universe to have any actual stakes, this will hold us over nicely until Guardians of the Galaxy/Ant-Man/Dr. Strange hit theaters in the coming years.

FilmFire review:
4.25/5 forms


            Another fun but non consequential romp from Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield. Ridiculous and cringe worthy coincidences litter this film all the way through but it doesn’t stop it from being very entertaining. A lot of universe building stuff à la Iron Man 2. Paul Giamatti is wasted in a sea of third act villains.

FilmFire review:
3.25/5 forms


            A total joy to watch. Intense slow burn through the beginning stages of the film until we get what we’ve been waiting for. Bryan Cranston shines but is the only relatable character in the movie. The lead actors are terribly written and given less than nothing to do, but it doesn’t stop the film from being wildy enjoyable. Insane ending climax that is brutally satisfying.

FilmFire review:
4/5 forms


            A return to form for Bryan Singer, his first time directing an X-Men film since 2003. Fast paced and much more enjoyable than any of the X-Men movies from the last decade, Days of Future Past is a a ton of fun to watch. It manages to successfully combine the old and young casts into one film without seeming bloated with characters, something Sony should learn to do with their rambling Spider-Man franchise. The interesting take on time travel mechanics makes it a joy to watch.

FilmFire review:
4.5/5 forms


            A complete butchering of the original fairy tale, there’s almost nothing of merit here besides Angelina Jolie chewing scenery. Completely takes the evil out of the witch and sanitizes all of the dark and broodiness from the original. She doesn’t even turn into the dragon. Maybe fun for families with little kids, but this is another case of Disney cashing in.

FilmFire review:
2/5 forms


It’s about as magical and wondrous a movie as I’ve seen with more laughs per minute than any movie in recent memory. The LEGO Movie is an absolute delight.
-Josh Hylton, Dark Horizons

A film every bit as imaginative, colourful and cleverly constructed as their plastic inspiration
-Tyler Hanley, Radio Times

O.K., I’m just going to come right out and say I have no idea what’s going on.

The Lego Movie is hilarious, exceptionally animated, completely original, and delivers a great message regarding creativity vs conformity. It is jam-packed with so many funny moments and lines, it’s impossible to catch everything with just one viewing. This film expertly walks the fine comedic line that provides equal entertainment for both children and adults. If you are looking for negatives, you won’t find them in this film.

Trust your instincts…Unless your instincts are terrible.

This film is an absolute blast to watch from beginning to end, but it isn’t just full of hollow laughs and throwaway gags. That a movie ostensibly made for children has any plot to speak of is impressive in and of itself, but the storyline that is constructed throughout The Lego Movie actually leads to a very well executed emotional payoff. It ends in a very heartfelt and genuine place while keeping you laughing from start to finish.

The Lego Movie incorporates the best mix of stop motion and cgi visuals you will see. So much is going on at any given time it almost becomes sensory overload, but in a good way. There are hidden easter eggs, site gags and jokes in the background of just about every scene. The rewatchability factor is bound to be sky high. Even better, the filmmakers take no shortcuts here as the entire world is made of up lego bricks of some kind (including water, fire and smoke).

SPACESHIP!!!

A tribute to Lego made by enthusiasts, not an ad for Lego made by hacks.
-Tim Brayton

Any movie exculsively about a toy line should probably end in disaster. The fact that this film didn’t become a 90 minute glorified Lego commercial is a real tribute to directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who have become known for successfully adapting curious properties to film (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street). The Lego Movie is no exception. No one was exactly demanding a film based on a system of interlocking bricks, but they did it and they did it their way. To great success.

Great. I think I got it. But just in case… tell me the whole thing again, I wasn’t listening.

Go see The Lego Movie 100 times in the theater. It’s fantastic fun and you won’t regret it. “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” about this film!

FilmFire review:
4.75/5 forms


There’s plenty to like in Snyder’s hectic, rowdy film. But by the time we reach the bludgeoning excesses of the last half-hour it’s hard to shake the sense that this was an opportunity at least partially missed.
-Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

DC still has much to learn from rival Marvel in the filmmaking realm, but Man of Steel at least offers hope. Hope, and a slight headache
-Tyler Hanley, Palo Alto Weekly

Every person can be a force for good, free to forge his own destiny.
Superman has never been one of my favorite characters. I don’t care much for any of the previous film incarnations of the Superman mythos, in fact I think Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns from 2006 is pretty atrocious. To me, he always seemed more of a god than a superhero. I much prefer characters like Batman or the X-Men who are more human and relatable, with actual weaknesses. Given all of that, I was extremely excited for Man of Steel. The trailers were mesmerizing, the cast is phenomenal, I bought in to the hype and was ready to love this updated take on the hero.

Unfortunately, this film is a bit of a mess. Most of the individual scenes are fine by themselves, but there is an extremely jarring pacing between them. The film opens with an overlong sequence on Krypton explaining how baby Superman found his way to Earth. Not only is it a very confusing and abrupt way to begin, the events of what happened don’t entirely get explained until much later on.

The film cuts to various flashback sequences that break up the main storyline in somewhat awkward ways. All these flashbacks are excellent and really help flesh out Superman’s character, but when it comes to the the main plotlines that are driving the movie forward, they are real momentum killers.


General Zod is getting angry.
The pacing is a real issue, but the film still does a lot of great things. The cast, in particular, is incredible. If this wasn’t a summer movie based on a superhero, Michael Shannon would be considered for some major acting awards for his off-the-wall crazy take on General Zod. Russell Crowe redeems himself after his humiliating Les Mis performance with an eloquent portrayal of Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian Dad. Though he doesn’t have nearly enough screen time, Kevin Costner does his usual great work playing Jonathan Kent, adoptive Super Father. Lastly, Henry Cavill puts on a really fun performance as the Man of Steel himself, putting Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) to shame.
You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.
Man of Steel is a really dark film. For being a seemingly fun summer blockbuster with aliens who wear capes, it’s strangely lacking any sort of comedic touch or light hearted moments. If it’s not diving into gritty moments from Kal-El’s backstory, it’s showcasing the absolutely brutal fight sequences between Superman and Zod’s army.

Speaking of the fight sequences, they are almost insane to the point of being incomprehensible. The complete utter destruction and mayhem these characters cause is fun to watch, but quickly becomes mind numbing after the third or fourth time a ripple effect from a sonic boom destroys a skyscraper.


Nope, no religious imagery here
Overall, I was entertained. It certainly doesn’t live up to the crazy positive hype and outstanding marketing campaign over the last year, but it is still leagues better than Bryan Singer’s failed attempt at a reboot in 2006. The cast is great, the action is bonkers and there are some really well done individual sequences. Unfortunately, the sum isn’t quite equal to the parts here and it feels like at least a slight disappointment. Hopefully we can just chalk this up to growing pains and a slow start to what should eventually become a fully realized DC Cinematic Universe concluding in a Justice League film.
My father believed if the world found out who I really was it’d reject me. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?

FilmFire review:
3.5/5 forms


This thought-provoking tale of survival on the high seas works on a variety of levels, but best of all it is a visual feast — brimming with wondrous, memorable images.
-Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

A thought-provoking religious parable. Profound, haunting and beautifully made.
-Fr. Chris Carpenter, Movie Dearest

Life of Pi, the latest from Taiwanese director Ang Lee, is an absolutely stunning piece of film-making that should be seen by everyone. Lee masterfully adapts the 2001 novel of the same name about a young Indian boy (Pi, short for Piscine Molitor, the name of a swimming pool complex in Paris he was named after) whose zookeeper Father takes the family on a voyage across the Pacific after deciding to relocate to Canada. What transpires isn’t exactly a surprise to anyone familiar with the source material, as the ship encounters high seas, floods and capsizes, leaving Pi as the lone survivor surviving human…

Stranded on a lifeboat…full of escaped wild animals.
As Pi explains later in life, “This is the story that will make you believe in God”.

Why you need to see Life of Pi:
  • A MUST-SEE in 3D.
    Done the right way and filmed with actual 3D cameras instead of a poor post-conversion to boost ticket prices (see: Clash of the Titans, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.), Life of Pi  has some of the most mesmerizing 3D imagery you will see in a theater. Other than possibly 2011’s Hugo, this is the very best use of 3D in a film to date.
  • SPECTACULAR VISUAL EFFECTS.
    The special effects in Life of Pi  are so life-like it’s incredible. There are a wide range of things happening in this film that couldn’t possibly be shot in real life with real cameras and it is impossible to tell. Wild animals attack, massive lightning storms surge, magical islands are discovered..and it all looks as genuine as practical effects.
  • IT IS SPIRITUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY PROFOUND.
    If all this sounds great so far, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Life of Pi  isn’t just a substance-less visual spectacle, it is a spiritual and emotional journey that manages to entertain while exploring the truths of religion. So much more than just bells and whistles, this film digs deep into heavy themes and ends with a very satisfying and profound thesis that blends perfectly with the spectacular action taking place.

  • Animals have souls… I have seen it in their eyes.

    If every unfolding we experience takes us further along in life, then, we are truly experiencing what life is offering…

    It’s important in life to conclude things properly. Only then can you let go. Otherwise you are left with words you should have said but never did, and your heart is heavy with remorse.

    All of life is an act of letting go but what hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.

    It was a time filled with wonder that I’ll always remember.

    Above all… it is important not to lose hope.

  • ANIMALS!
    There are tons of animals in this movie. Animals are fun and awesome to watch. However…if you have a weakness for this sort of thing, bring the tissues. These animals are wild and like to kill and eat each other. That’s what they do, and it can get kind of gruesome.
  • GOOD OLD-FASHIONED ADVENTURE.
    On top of everything else, it’s just a great high seas adventure tale. If you don’t want to find any deeper meaning in it, you don’t have to. It entertains on all levels. On the surface, it plays as a classic castaway-esque narrative of trying to survive at sea. And it is very good at it. Come for the adventure, or come for the spirituality. Your choice.

So, those are a lot of reasons to see Life of Pi. Here are a few more: If you want to see an astonishingly realistic bengal tiger snatch beautifully colored flying fish out of air from a lifeboat, or a breathtaking phosphorescent blue whale leaping over a sea of illuminated jellyfish in three dimensions, this movie is for you. It’s practically for everyone besides maybe small children and people who hate animals.

See it and see it in 3D. The glasses are annoying but that’s okay, it’s worth it. It’s rare that I would classify a film as an “event movie” that’s worthy of seeing opening night with the crowds in 3D, perhaps even multiple times, but Life of Pi  is one of them. An emotionally rewarding film that is also a staggering feat of technical genius. Don’t miss this.

FilmFire review:
4.5/5 forms


The movie’s subversive sensibility and old-school/new-school feel are a total kick.
-Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

It’s impossible not to feel a strong sense of nostalgic amusement, if not sheer delight, at the comings and goings of all these characters.
-Dave McGinn, Globe and Mail

Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of how one video game villain became fed up with being the bad guy and quit his job. Fix-It Felix Jr. (presumably a take on the retro Donkey Kong Jr. arcade game) is the game that Ralph calls home, where his job is to “wreck” a skyscraper whenever a quarter is played in the machine. When Ralph realizes the characters of the game don’t like or appreciate him, he decides to quit and embarks on an unfamiliar journey.

Having the potential to be a truly different kind of animated film, after this initial setup, there isn’t a whole lot of new ground broken. A very unique beginning to the story kind of turns into a series of sugar coated (literally) takes on bullying, greed, acceptance, jealousy and other tropes that we have become somewhat accustomed to in animation from everyone not named Pixar.

Ralph: It’s hard to love your job, when no one else seems to like you for doing it…

Although gorgeously animated with top-notch voice acting (John C. Reilly was born to play the voice of Ralph), Wreck-It Ralph fails to break out and live up to it’s potential, instead relying on playing it safe after the first act and sticking to a very traditional story line.

There isn’t a whole lot more I have to say about Wreck-It Ralph, it’s an above average animated movie but really doesn’t hold a candle to the recent offerings of Pixar. It’s worth checking out if only for the beautiful job on the animation as well as the gallery of really cool retro video game characters (see above) that make appearances throughout.

FilmFire review:
3.5/5 forms