Dan Studney

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Jack the Giant Slayer Review


Good

We may sigh heavily at the thought of yet another fairy tale blockbuster, but the filmmakers and cast here demand a bit more attention. And sure enough, it's refreshingly smarter and funnier than we expect. There are still the problems of unnecessary 3D and far too many digital characters, but the restless pace and the witty performances make it a lot of fun to watch.

It's Jack and the Beanstalk with added action mayhem, as orphaned farmboy Jack (Hoult) sells his horse for a bag of supposedly magic beans. When one inadvertently gets wet, a massive beanstalk manages to propel Princess Isabelle (Tomlinson) into the realm of the giants, reawakening a legend that had died off centuries ago. So the King (McShane) enlists Jack to join a rescue team of guards (including McGregor, Marsan and Bremner) and Isabelle's intended, the shifty Roderick (Tucci). Up above the clouds, they encounter two-headed giant Fallon (Nighy) and his nasty horde. But rescuing Isabelle is only the first problem they face.

The freewheeling plot zips along without pausing for breath, encompassing massive set pieces and more gritty battles as well as small moments of drama and romance. Meanwhile, Jack and Isabelle cast lusty glances at each other, even when they're in physical peril. Director Singer brings out the energy of the characters to keep us involved, playing on the vertiginous angles of the settings while playfully deploying fairy tale imagery in the sets, costumes and landscapes. it's understandably why he decided to digitally create the giants rather than have actors play them, but this leaves a hole where the monsters should be. Aside from Nighy's more obviously performance-captured face, all of them look like dead-eyed cartoons, which essentially turns the film into a medieval Transformers movie.

Continue reading: Jack the Giant Slayer Review

'Jack The Giant Slayer' Premiere

Dan Studney - Premiere of 'Jack The Giant Slayer' at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 26th February 2013

Premiere of New Line Cinema's 'Jack The Giant Slayer' held at TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals

Dan Studney - Premiere of New Line Cinema's 'Jack The Giant Slayer' held at TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals - Hollywood, California, United States - Tuesday 26th February 2013

Dan Studney

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical (2005) Review


OK
The only way to do it would be with kitsch, and sure enough this musical remake/spoof of the infamous 1936 exploitation film Reefer Madness is packed to the gills with kitschy humor. How you feel about the film will depend on your tolerance for extremely broad humor, hammy overacting, and songs about the Five and Dime. Some legitimate talent is attached here, which helps to detract from the gawky unwatchability of lead Christian Campbell, but on the whole it comes off as a punchline in search of a joke.
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