For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison, with whom he made E.T. nearly 35 years ago. Another story of an unlikely friendship, this film is even more wondrous and earnest, and also much more reliant on effects. But it's also hugely involving, with a terrific cast and of course a delightful story with a wry sense of humour.
It's set in a timeless London, where Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) lives in an orphanage. One night she spots a stealthy giant (Mark Rylance) prowling the city streets, so he grabs her and takes her back to Giant Country so she can't reveal his secret existence. As she gets to know him, Sophie discovers that he's an outcast in his own community, half the size of the nine giants (including Jemane Clement and Bill Hader) who live around him and bully him mercilessly because he doesn't eat human beans. This has earned him the nickname Big Friendly Giant, which Sophie shortens to BFG as she accompanies him into a colourful parallel world in his job collecting dreams and nightmares. Then when the bullies' threats grow stronger, Sophie comes up with a plan to get help from the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and her staff (Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall).
Continue reading: The BFG Review
After the gorgeous Ravenna (Theron) marries and then murders a benevolent widower king, she locks his beautiful daughter Snow White (Stewart) in a tower.
All the better to continue draining the youth from the entire kingdom. But just as she prepares to take the now of-age Snow's heart, Snow escapes into the woods, and Ravenna hires huntsman Eric (Hemsworth) to find her. Of course, Eric switches sides when he finds her, joining with Snow's childhood sweetheart William (Claflin) and a gang of dwarves to end the evil queen's reign.
Continue reading: Snow White And The Huntsman Review
Why all the misdirection from Shyamalan? Well, here's the truth: The Village isn't a really a traditional suspense flick at all. The first full hour is largely comprised of a romance - or various romances - between its stars. Joaquin Phoenix is a quiet lad named Lucius living in an 1897 village formed in a clearing in the woods in Pennsylvania, where some 30 or so folks reside. Bryce Dallas Howard (the girl who looks like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill) plays his eventual girlfriend, Ivy, the blind daughter of the town's leader of sorts, Edward (William Hurt). Lucius and Ivy take a long while to fall in love - meanwhile we slowly learn about the village. Here, they grow their own vegetables, they do a mean square dance, and then there's the matter of the monsters in the woods.
Continue reading: The Village Review
Sadly, the answer is neither, though an overexcited populace spoon-fed on a year's worth of hype is likely to lean toward the latter owing to severe disappointment. It's hard to blame them.
Continue reading: Unbreakable Review
Van Helsing ends up as a high-concept adrenaline rush that never stops generating lesser concepts over its elongated 145-minute run time. Wheels start turning when Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) funds the creation of the Frankenstein monster (Shuler Hensley) to power a machine that will allow the vampire's offspring to live. The prince of darkness is trying to please his voracious brides, while the final descendent of a line of Transylvanian vampire hunters (Kate Beckinsale) is trying in vain to stake the brute before he ends her life. The wild card in this mix is Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman), a hired gun with a guilty conscience working for the Catholic Church to vanquish various evil beings.
Continue reading: Van Helsing Review
While you might be expecting a cool-headed mystery about the origins of crop circles, Signs is actually a bizarre mix of V, Independence Day, and Panic Room. Even stranger, it's actually watchable, though at times I was ready to slap Mel Gibson for his stilted performance, which frequently drags down the movie as he pontificates.
Continue reading: Signs Review
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