Fans of the book will probably come away feeling satisfied at this big screen adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s landmark science fiction novel but there is also no doubting that the final product feels inherently cramped, truncated and altogether missing a large dose of heart. Editing the dense source material into a two hour feature film was always going to be a Herculean task and though director/writer Gavin Hood does an admirable job of hitting all the major plot points the fact remains that it might have served the source material better if this project were instead a 10 episode HBO show where the complex nuances, allegories and character development would surely have added to the rich tapestry that Card had crafted.
I’m probably going to be in the minority here but Wilson Yip’s A Chinese Ghost Story remake of the 1987 classic of the same name, originally staring Joey Wong and Leslie Cheung, is more than a competent take on the tale that will achieve its primary goal – in bringing the story to a new generation of fans who, have no compunction to ever rent or buy a movie older than five years of age. That is not to say this new version is in any way better than the original but it does at least attempt to mix things up with a radical revision to the primary love story that puts a new spin on old material. Some will like it and others will rant at the dying of the light that this new version is sacrileges but they would be missing a decent tragic romance that at least is much more restrained than other recent fair that attempts emotional manipulation with the razor sharp skill of an abattoir butcher (I’m looking at you, The Sorcerer and the White Snake).
While there is no doubt that Ron Moore’s rebooted Battlestar Galactica was a massive hit with both fans and critics the same can’t be said about its subsequent incarnations as Caprica tanked in the ratings while the prequel Blood and Chrome never even received a season order as its pilot was unceremoniously dumped onto the Internet to premiere as a series of webisodes. It is actually a somewhat startling series of events since, at one point, it seemed as if the reboot would be able to spawn myriad spin-offs much like Star Trek did not so long ago but as it stands today, this incarnation of Galactica is officially dead and buried.
Game of Thrones thankfully avoids a sophomore slump managing to successful build upon the foundation so lovingly crafted in the first season. Nevertheless, Season 2 feels very much like the middle chapters of a very long book, intent on focusing even more on character interaction while slowly building tension till the final few episodes and, as a result, the pace feels decidedly more sedate even though there are literally a ton of twists and turns hurled at viewers in every single episode.
It’s taken me ages to get around to writing this review and though the show will soon be entering its fourth year I’ve finally finished penning my thoughts on the season that started it all. Game of Thrones has oft been described as being, “that medieval HBO show that’s like The Sopranos,” which is rather an insult to both series as though it does share some similarities, the fact remains that the two shows are incredibly different.
Director Kasper Barfoed’s The Numbers Station is an incomprehensibly boorish cinematic experience that feels totally devoid of ambition. I despise using sports metaphors, yet this is the sort of movie where everyone seems to be content in getting base hits rather than aiming for a home run. This general lackadaisical attitude permeates every aspect of the film from murky ill-lit environments to John Cusack’s bored visage to even the screenplay which is so shoddily constructed from genre spare parts that it feels as if it is about to break down in virtually every scene. It is no surprise that the movie has been graced with a limited global rollout as box office prospects are decidedly dim even from rentals.
Director Roland Emmerich is well-known for his grand disaster movies from an alien invasion in Independence Day to the world basically ending in 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow, this is a man who clearly revels in blowing things up in an epic scale which is why his newest film White House Down actually feels like an indie movie as there’s not as much destruction going on. Sure, the White House and a few other buildings get knocked around a bit but that’s nothing new considering Emmerich has made a career out of blowing up the White House and this time around the focus isn’t global calamity but rather in concocting a movie that feels inspired by Die Hard except with a more family-oriented PG-13 rating. It just doesn’t work.
Unless a miracle happens Keanu Reeves will probably never win an Academy Award for Best Actor but if Man of Tai Chi proves anything it is that Reeves might have a different career path behind the camera once his wooden acting days are over. Reeves has never been considered as an acting giant but give the man some credit as his laid back attitude works depending on the material he is given. Man of Tai Chi has Reeves doing double duty playing the film’s major antagonist as well as being its director. Yes, this is his directorial debut and while it isn’t anything special there are a few hints that perhaps Reeves really has been paying attention to all the good directors he has had the pleasure of working with.