Archive for February, 2014

ghostbusters_poster


Director: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis (uncredited)
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis
Release Date: June 8th, 1984
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

 

 

 

This last Monday, Harold Ramis passed away from a rare vascular disease at the age of sixty-nine. For a lot of people, this “Harold who?” may seem to have very little impact on their lives; but if you’re a fan of comedy, a fan of anything funny, you’ve likely either encountered Ramis already, or have watched those heavily influenced by his body of work. And if you grew up in the 1980s like I did, you couldn’t avoid him even if you didn’t have a funny bone in your body. He wrote and acted in some of the funniest films of all time: Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, and of course, Ghostbusters. If you think this reads like Bill Murray’s resume rather than Harold Ramis’s, you’d be half right: the two worked together, with Murray often being the star (or scene-stealing bit part, such as his groundskeeper in Caddyshack) of the movies Ramis wrote. Ramis never hogged the spotlight, allowing others to shine, but those movies he appeared in would not have been the same without his uncomfortable, dorky-yet-human characterizations. In honor of Ramis’s passing, I’m going to review my favorite of his films today: Ghostbusters.
(more…)

1984 cover

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The three slogans of the Party sound eerily like the propaganda and doublespeak we hear on the nightly news. Not surprising, seeing as the term doublespeak is a play on George Orwell’s created language, Newspeak, which is his way of playing with how the signifier necessarily affects the signified in our everyday speech. If we no longer have the words to express dissent, dissent dies. And for Winston Smith, finding the right words to express himself is a matter of living a short while as a free man, versus living a life as another cog in the machine. Nineteen Eighty-Four is not only one of the most prescient novels of the twentieth century, it’s one of the greatest novels of all time.

(more…)

TWD_412_GP_0919_0122

Daryl sees Eugene’s mullet, and raises him a goatee

It looks as though we’re going to get another one of the post-mid-season finale focus episodes this week, again looking primarily at only one or two groups. The bad news is that this part of Season 4 is starting to lose a little direction; the good news, is that it both allows for the kind of character development we weren’t seeing during the group’s long hiatus at the prison, and the constant movement has led to some fine moments of tension (especially with regards to Rick last week). What can we expect from this Sunday’s episode? Click through after the break to get my thoughts.

<<Spoiler Alert: This Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Episode 412 “Still” will discuss events from earlier episodes in the series, as well as discussing events that may be upcoming. Read only if you’re all caught up!>>
(more…)

The Princess Bride (1987) 3

Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: William Goldman (Book and Screenplay)
Starring: Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant, Peter Falk, Chris Sarandon
Release Date: October 9th, 1987
Runtime: 1 hr. 38 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

Released the year I graduated from high school, twenty-seven years ago, I didn’t actually see The Princess Bride until it came out on VHS; however, from the first time I saw it, it became one of my go-to movies, one of those films that, if I’m surfing through the channels and see it on, I’ll stop, sit back, and enjoy it to the end. There are only a handful of films that are in this category for me, and although it isn’t technically or artistically one of the best films out there, it’s one of my favorites, and can hold its own, thank you very much.

(more…)

frozen-poster-small

Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writers: Hans Christian Andersen, Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, Shane Morris
Starring: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathon Groff, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk
Release Date: November 27th, 2013
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

Walt Disney Studios’ winter 2013 release Frozen is the latest in a string of animated films the studio has put out over the last several years (other titles include Brave, Tangled, and Wreck-it Ralph). This time around, they rely on the tried and true Disney formula of basing the story on a beloved fairy-tale, in this case Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” As usual, Disney plays with the story enough to make it their own, and adds in some music and dance numbers for good measure. How does this particular interpretation hold up?
(more…)

the-walking-dead-poster1

Last week saw us catching up with several of the scattered survivors from The Governor’s attack on the prison, and the addition of three new characters right at the very end of the episode. Abraham got to speak one line, and a pretty badass line it was; how about the other two, Eugene and Rosita? What do these newcomers bring to the table? And how will the game change over the back half of Season Four? The title for tonight’s episode – “Claimed” – suggests ownership, and perhaps disagreement; claims lead to counterclaims, and sometimes more than one person wants the same thing bad enough to fight for it. Click through after the break to see how things turn out.

<<Spoiler Alert: The following review will discuss at length plot points of The Walking Dead S04E11, “Claimed.” Read more at your own risk.>>
(more…)

TWD_411_GP_0923_0040

Eugene: business in the front, party in the back

Last week’s Rashomon-esque story showed us several groups of survivors as they slowly wend their way back together, and took a break from the Rick/Carl/Michonne triumvirate. This week looks to add some spice to the mix, as we have a trio of unexpected returnees, and a trio of fresh faces that are guaranteed to change things up. Seems things are coming in threes, doesn’t it? Click through after the break to see what might be coming up this Sunday.

<<Spoiler Alert: This Sneak Peek of The Walking Dead Episode 411 will discuss events from earlier episodes in the series, as well as discussing events that may be upcoming. Read only if you’re all caught up!>>
(more…)

Spook-cover2

Spook is the second Mary Roach book I’ve read in the last year or so, and I picked it up based on how much I enjoyed the other one, Packing for Mars – you can read my review of it here. This time out, Roach investigates the ultimate question: what happens to us after we die? Her research takes her everywhere from pseudo-scientific cattle scales used at the turn of the last century, to modern university research departments, and lots of places in-between. So where do we end up? Click through after the break to find out.
(more…)

the-lego-movie-poster

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Writers: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Chris Pratt, Liam Neeson
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Runtime: 1 hr. 40 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

Warner Brothers’ new animated release The Lego Movie marks the first time the popular toy has been the focus of a feature length film. While Lego has enjoyed a string of successful video games over the last several years, how well do building blocks translate to the big screen? Click through to find out after the break.
(more…)

the-walking-dead-poster1

Tonight’s Episode number 410 of The Walking Dead is called “Inmates,” but it might just as well have been titled “Scattered.” It follows the plight of four of our groups of survivors, thrown to the four winds by the events of the Mid-Season Finale. There are surprises aplenty, and new characters to meet, so let’s get started after the break.

<<Spoiler Alert: The following review will discuss at length plot points of The Walking Dead S04E10, “Inmates.” Read more at your own risk.>>
(more…)