Friday, June 10, 2011

Super 8 (***)

Written and Directed by JJ Abrams


The similarities are obvious. The allusions are there. There's a reason people continue to talk about Super 8 as if it's some hybrid of The Goonies, Close Encounters, and E.T. That's not just because of the content (group of child protagonists, unfamiliar - possibly dangerous - alien visitors, the late 1970's), but because of the atmosphere. There was a certain mixture of adventure and innocence that came along with all those films from the 70's and 80's and Super 8 does its best to capture that feeling. It's one hell of an effort, a story straight out of the early Spielbergian fantasies equipped with the more sophisticated special effects of today.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Midnight in Paris (***1/2)

Written and Directed by Woody Allen


In the world of American cinema, there are two constants: over-saturated summer films and Woody Allen. The 75-year-old filmmaker has just about made one film per year since 1969. Through he 70’s and 80’s, he was the most proficient and consistent filmmaker of his time, continuously churning out modern classics like Love and Death, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Crimes and Misdemeanors. Over the last two decades, it has been more hit-and-miss, with a lot of spectacular misses during the 2000’s. His latest film, Midnight in Paris, though, may be his best film in a very long time, with its return to familiar thematic material and its injection of great, dyanmic performances.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Hangover Part II (**)

Directed by Todd Phillips


I guess no one should ever question a winning recipe, and lord knows the filmmakers behind this sequel to The Hangover have any qualms with it, even though it tastes so familiar. The Hangover Part II is a near carbon copy of its predecessor in all types of ways, matching the smutfest humor of the original while still having the audacity to go even further. I'm not totally sure why director Todd Phillips decided this time to take minor detours into more sadistic material, but it almost kind of works since it's the only thing that stops it from being the exact same movie.