FILM REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

14 Jul

GRADE: A

BOTTOM LINE: Epic.

Every critic is allowed at least one freebie — one film or TV show or book that triggers a purely emotional response, entirely resistant to logic and objectivity. While I may not make a living criticising anything, I’d still like to think I take a critic’s approach to the reviews I post here. As a result, I feel no guilt or embarrassment admitting that Harry Potter is my freebie.

I’ve devoured everything Potter-related for the past 14 years of my life. Ever since that fateful September day in 1997 when our school librarian sat my third grade class down and started reading the first book out loud, I’ve been obsessed with the series. I lived on Harry Potter fansites and chat rooms. I wrote Harry Potter fanfiction. I went to Harry Potter conventions. Hell, I even have a Harry Potter tattoo (and I’m planning another one… and maybe more after that).

Book fanatics such as myself usually take one of two perspectives when it comes to the films: 1) anything associated with Harry Potter is flawless, and thus the films are masterpieces, and 2) the films are a load of shit because they don’t even come close to doing the story justice. All my life I’ve been of the latter-minded group. I hated every single one of the movies with a burning passion, even while I made plans to see them at midnight months in advance.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II made me realise the error of my ways.

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FILM REVIEW: Horrible Bosses

8 Jul

GRADE: B

BOTTOM LINE: An incoherent plot and uninspired comedic situations squash any life the film’s A-list cast might have brought to the project.

SNL continues its takeover of Hollywood in Warner Bros.’ latest comedy, Horrible Bosses. Although director Seth Gordon aims for a raunchy, crude sense of humour similar to that of Bridesmaids and Hangover, Horrible Bosses‘s main selling point is its stellar cast, which includes SNL alumni Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis, as well as Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston. Unfortunately, the cast is the only element of the film worth boasting about, as the jokes are stale and the script slides into desperation multiple times. Worst of all, the film commits the number one crime for mainstream movies: it packs all its best moments into the trailer, leaving little to savour in the theatre.

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FILM REVIEW: Friends With Benefits

25 Jun

GRADE: B+

BOTTOM LINE: Funny, raunchy summer rom-com with a hip cast that the under-25 crowd will love.

It’s been a good year for sex. Between No Strings Attached, Hall Pass, and Friends With Benefits, it seems relationships are out and emotion-free fornication is in. Yet regardless of the somewhat stale premise, Friends With Benefits is as enjoyable and down-to-earth of a romantic comedy as you’re going to get in theatres these days. It really amounts to no more than a smartly cast version of No Strings Attached, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth watching.

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FILM REVIEW: Green Lantern

17 Jun

GRADE: C-

BOTTOM LINE: Green Lantern’s light is almost nonexistent in this lifeless comic book adaptation.

Another summer, another string of superhero movies. With Thor and X-Men: First Class already out of the way, we move on to the only DC Entertainment offering this year: Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern.

With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, DC has yet to show the potential Marvel Entertainment has shown in its line of comic book adaptations. Sadly, after an aggressive publicity push by Warner Bros., it turns out Green Lantern is nothing more than one more disappointing addition to the DC film library.

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FILM REVIEW: Beginners

14 Jun

GRADE: B

BOTTOM LINE: Offbeat romantic comedy that respectfully explores the roots of human joy and sorrow.

After taking a slight departure from their usual “type” with Hanna, Focus Features’ latest offering takes them back to what they’re known for: quiet, charming dramas. Directed by Mike Mills, Beginners is similar to other indies like A Serious Man and 500 Days of Summer in that it derives poignance from focusing more on how character and structure interact than plot.

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FILM REVIEW: The Hangover Part II

24 May

BOTTOM LINE: A raunchy summer comedy set in Thailand that pales in comparison to the original.

The wolfpack is back, and they’ve learned from their Vegas adventures.

After storming the box office in 2009 with raunchy comedy The Hangover, director Todd Phillips has delivered The Hangover Part II, an adequate follow-up to the original that cautiously replicates the unapologetically improper humour and beloved characters that made Hangover a summer smash. Make no mistake, though — the sequel pales in comparison to the original. If Hangover was the iPod, Hangover 2 is the Zune: it replicates all the features, but can’t capture the novelty that made the former so revolutionary.

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SCRIPT: The Fame Monster

9 May

I’m insanely behind on reviews (sorry! I meant to get Thor and Something Borrowed up before their release dates, but finals took over my life), so I figured I’d post something of my own to keep this blog alive.

This is Act I of a script I’ve been working on this semester for my feature writing class. It’s called The Fame Monster, and it’s supposed to be a (very inaccurate) biopic about Lady Gaga. I have the rest of the screenplay outlined, but we only had to turn in Act I for the final, so here it is. It’s still rough, as I haven’t received notes on it, but hopefully having this in the works this will kickstart my writing this summer!

DOWNLOAD: The Fame Monster – ACT I