I simply could not pass this up. The has to be the best insider tease for Volkswagon I’ve seen. This is supposed to air as one of this years Superbowl ads. Let us know what you think.
I alway enjoy stories that, with the right storyteller and the correct presentation, allow the reader or viewer to celebrate the birth of a hero and follow them through their life to the tragedy of their death. War Horse is one such story. Albert Narracott, played by Jeremy Irvine – a relatively new actor who’s just beginning to show his stripes – witnesses the birth and maturity of a beautiful and strong horse that commands a little too much attention wherever it goes. Albert’s father – a drunk played by Peter Mullan (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Trainspotting, Session 9) – nearly shoots the horse after putting his farm on the line to keep it for Albert who assures his father that he can train the horse to plow the field on their property even though it’s the incorrect breed to do such work. His mother, Emily Watson (The Waterhorse: Legend of the Deep, Corpse Bride, Red Dragon), watches from a nearby fence as Albert gets the horse to till the stoney land of their property before telling off their condescending landlord, David Thewlis (Harry Potter Movies 3 – 7 Part 2, Kingdom of Heaven, Anonymous). Albert’s dad eventually sells the horse to the army in order to keep his farm as the first stages of WW: I begin to unfold. As the bond between Albert and Joey – Albert’s name for the horse – strengthens, it’s difficult for Albert to say goodbye especially when horses are essentially disposable to the army. Joey’s tale really begins during the lonely arc of his life where he is subjected to numerous tribulations throughout wartime England and Germany. After a failed charge by the English army headed by Captain Nicholls portrayed by Tom Hiddleston (Unrelated, Archipelago, Thor) German soldiers take control of Joey and use him for hauling heavy artillery uphill as horses with muddy hooves and bloody knees collapse to his left and right. When a horse falls, it is immediately disposed of with a gunshot to the head and removed from the line. With the help of a German officer who is determined to rescue his younger brother before he sees the front lines of combat, Joey escapes only to be briefly adopted by a Belgian girl – Celine Buckens, another fresh actress – before he is repossessed by the desperate ground forces of the German army as they take everything else from the girl and her grandfather, played by Niels Arestrup (The Big Picture, Farewell, A Prophet). There’s little love in this accurate vision of WW: I. Steven Spielberg delivers an honest and artful view of the trenches, the perpetual threat of death surrounding the body-strewn war-grounds, and the ominous booms of artillery fire surrounding each of Joey’s changing owners as he is shuffled around the deadly battlefields of Europe. Two years after the war begins and Albert is of age, he enlists in the army where he and the other English soldiers relentlessly race a mounted machine gun near an adjacent trench only to be bombarded with mustard gas. Spielberg is delicate as he expresses the gruesome woes of pre-advanced technological warfare during the sixth largest war in world history. As the gas fills the trenches, Albert’s best friend from home, Robert Emms (Anonymous, Monday Monday, The Street) is consumed and the camera fills with the white cloud before dissolving to Joey’s short-lived attempt at trying to escape from the German forces where he ends up tangled in barbed wire in the middle of ‘No Man’s Land’. The cinematography and use of European landscapes is magnificent. Based on the original novel by Michael Morpurgo, War Horse is a sincere movie, appropriate for ages 13 and up that, even though it is a war film, doesn’t require a tough stomach to get through.
– Benjamin Allen
4 out of 5 stars (3.80)
The Adventures of Tintin opens with a classic Sherlock Holmes style plot where Tintin, voice-acted by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, King Kong, Jumper), purchases a seemingly innocent model boat known only as the Unicorn for one pound. Not one minute later, two strangers try to purchase the model, the first claiming that Tintin could be in danger if he keeps it. The second is a man named Mr. Sakharine, voice-acted by Daniel Craig (The Quantum of Solace, Cowboys and Aliens, The Golden Compass), who asks Tintin to name his price for the boat while the disgruntled former owner of the replica watches in awe at having missed ‘name your price’ by one minute. Tintin is a sleuth, and a curious reporter who can’t allow a potential story to go unwritten, so he keeps the boat and begins studying it. It’s here that shadows start following him wherever he goes. Tintin is a movie for all ages until one of the first characters we’re introduced to gets shot behind Tintin’s front door, distinguishing the film’s PG rating. A clue left behind by the deceased player leads Tintin to Mr. Sakharine’s place of residence where Tintin gets swept into the high seas with his fox terrier, Snowy hurrying to keep up while humorous twin English police officers, channeled by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg (Frost and Pegg: Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Paul), attempt to capture a thieving pickpocket played by Toby Jones (Captain America: the First Avenger, The Mist, The Rite) who adds to the complexity of the situation. Having been captured aboard a large merchant boat, Tintin befriends the wily Captain Haddock whose boisterous nature is brought to life through Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Flushed Away, Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Haddock is a drunkard who, as he sobers up, remembers less and less about his life to the point where he can’t even remember Tintin after the two have travelled for days through ocean, air, and desert, making the task of getting Haddock to remember an important story his grandfather told him as a child next to impossible as Sakharine hurries to collect the final of three scrolls Haddock’s grandfather left to guide his heir to his treasure’s final resting place.
Actors beware: the animation is pristine and every detail of each character is mapped so well – the lines and creases in the characters’ facial inflections, the hair hanging from Haddock’s cheeks, and the intricate fluff of ginger on Tintin’s forehead – at times it’s hard to believe you’re watching an animated feature. Writers Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Dr. Who, Coupling), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Grindhouse, Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World), and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block, Adam and Joe’s American Animated Adventure, Adam and Joe go Tokyo) bring a unique and nostalgic blend of mystery, storytelling, and action to the table that we so rarely have the opportunity to experience with today’s distracted, high-paced society. It’s all done under the imaginative direction of Stephen Spielberg who provides the perfect medium for translating the 1930’s comic to a soon-to-be modern day classic. The Adventures of Tintin is a fun family movie that, while noisy and explosive, does not venture deep into the realm of violence, and remains entertaining for viewers young and old. However, for those who are wary: Captain Haddock might pick up a bottle or ten.
4 out of 5 Stars (4.30)
Martin Scorsese isn’t known for directing family-friendly films. In fact, if it doesn’t have the mob, gangsters, violence or Leonardo Dicaprio, he usually isn’t interested. Well, he’s finally done a 180 with his new movie “Hugo”, and he might have created one of his best films yet. I was completely unfamiliar with the source material for this film, a book by the name of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, and really didn’t know what the story was about except for the fact that there was a clockwork boy, two real children and Ben Kingsley in it. What I discovered after viewing is one of the most creative, artistic, and charming homage films that I have ever seen.
As the film begins, we meet the movie’s namesake Hugo Cabret, played brilliantly by Asa Butterfield. Hugo is an orphan who goes to live with his uncle in a Paris train station. His uncle works at the station and maintains all of the clocks throughout the premises. Hugo has learned how to fix clocks and other mechanical items from his father and when the father dies he leaves Hugo with a broken automaton that Hugo continues to try and fix so as to still remember his father. At first glance, you begin to think the entire film will be about Hugo, the automaton and their adventures, until Hugo meets up with a strange and mean man running a toy shop, played expertly by Ben Kingsley. Hugo needs some tools to help to fix his automaton and decides to steal them from the toy shop owner until he is caught by the owner and must work off his debt to him by working in the store. While working in the store, Hugo befriends the toy owners ward Isabelle, played charmingly by Chloe Grace Moretz. Through their friendship he discovers that the toy owner is in fact the film maker Georges Melies, the iconic director of many silent films including the famous “A Trip to the Moon” where a space capsule hits the moon in the eye. As Hugo learns more about Mr. Melies, they begin to inspire each other and Hugo learns that Mr. Melies actually built the automaton that Hugo has been trying to fix. We get a brief history of the directing and acting career of Georges Melies and his wife and why they stopped making their fantastical movies.
I got the impression the Martin Scorsese was very inspired by the works of Georges Melies. Every detail is so perfectly and lovingly brought to life in every aspect of this movie. The acting is absolutely superb and the 3D helped me to feel like an extra on the set. I would hope that Mr. Scorsese will continue to make films like this one that would appeal to the entire family. This is absolutely one of the best films I’ve seen this year and I left the theater with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. The film really is an inspiration and speaks to everyone to never let go of your dreams and what you love to do. I really hope that more people go out to see this film so that more films of this kind can be made. We have enough of the brainless kid films that do nothing but provide a few laughs, and is forgettable five minutes after viewing it. Do yourself a favor and start the new year with an inspirational film by one of our most gifted movie makers.
J.Chandler: Grade A
John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is one of my favorite horror films of all time. It had the perfect combination of a stellar cast, great story, insane special effects and plenty of images that can haunt you long after you’ve seen the film. When word came out that they were going to work on the prequel to this amazing film, I couldn’t have been more excited. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to flesh out the story even more and discover the origins of the infamous “thing” and what happened to the other site that is briefly visited in the original film. Unfortunately, my expectations were greater than the film itself.
Next year will be the 30th anniversary for the original movie. In those thirty years, special effects have come light years from where they were back then. However, despite all of the advances, the special effects in the original movie far surpass the ones in the new movie. There is something to be said about practical special effects. While watching the original, there is no doubt in your mind that the actors are reacting to the models, animatronics or whatever they were using to create the crazy mutations the Thing does throughout the film. You knew that everything on the film was real, and wondered how on earth they were able to create such realistic and terrifying creatures. In the new film, there was a lack of creativity in the creature itself. It always seemed to look pretty much the same every time they ran into it. Also, I could tell that the actors were just trying to imagine what they were supposed to be looking at because it was going to be added on later by a computer. I just don’t see why they wouldn’t just do practical effects in the new film to keep them as similar as possible. Surely just because you can now create these things on a computer, doesn’t mean that they are better than creating something real, not only for the actors sake but also for the viewers.
The other thing about this film that irked me was the origin story they created for the creature. Apparently it crashed landed here centuries ago and was frozen in the ice until this team discovered the ship it landed in. This just seems like a complete cop out and the easiest thing they could have thought of to tell the audience how this thing got on earth. Maybe they could have made it some kind of science experiment gone wrong or a creature that’s been on the planet since time began that was found in the ice. I was just hoping for something more original than what they used to explain this.
I should have learned by now that usually the best ideas for sequel and/or prequel movies can only be made into great films by finding a director that has a love of the story and the knowledge to see it through. I need only reference this summer’s amazing “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” to prove how it should be done. Unfortunately I had my hopes up that this movie would rock, because the premise made such perfect sense. But, at least I still can view the original “The Thing” to wipe all memory of this one from my mind.
J.Chandler: Score: C