Archive for the ‘ Action & Adventure ’ Category

The Instant Critic travels to Dirt

Greetings, fellow film enthusiasts!

In case you missed last week, the poorly done Limitless caught our attention.

This week, we head into the world of computer animation to take a look at a Johnny Depp-led feature!

RANGO (PG, 107 minutes – features the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fischer, Ned Beatty and Bill Nighy)

After years at sea with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, director Gore Verbinski successfully ventured into the world of computer animation with the brilliantly madcap Rango.

The story is as ingenious as they come. After being stranded in the desert, Rango the lizard (Depp) comes across the town of Dirt, a miniature Dodge City filled to the brim with stock Western characters. After the town’s water supply goes missing, Rango falsely dons the persona of a gung-ho sheriff and leads the townsfolk on a quest to find the culprit.

The vibrant animation pops out of the screen, as do the zany cast of critters. The screenplay thrives on originality, offering a wondrous alternative the typical theatrical fare.

Depp’s voice work on the character shines, though. He and Verbinski are always such an effective duo.

The film qualifies as a rarity – a zany, sharp excursion into sheer creativity. This film deserves your immediate attention.

If you are feeling like the silver screen would be more satisfying than the one on your computer this weekend, I wholeheartedly recommend The Hunger Games. I’m sure I don’t have to do too much persuading on that front.

The film Undefeated, a documentary filmed in Tennessee, focuses on a Memphis high school football team looking to win its first playoff game. The film compels and moves in a way that stands unique. If you are through with the Districts for now, I hope you give this powerful documentary a try. The film is currently showing at the Green Hills 16.

What say you? Do you prefer watching a movie in the theater compared to your computer? Let us know in the comment section.

Next week, we will wrap things up with the final post of the semester.

Until then, may your popcorn be fresh and your movie wonderful.

The Instant Critic

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The Instant Critic covers the High Rise flood

Hello, fellow film enthusiasts!

In case you missed last week, two sequels took center stage.

This week, I’ve decided to veer slightly off the normal game plan to write about an event that affected many a “Lipscombite” last night.

Around 2:30 in the morning, I arose from my solemn slumber to hear the sound of shuffling shoes and sirens. I heard voices repeating claims of a necessary evacuation from the dormitory.

An evacuation? In the middle of the night? Serious claims, indeed.

I shook off my wishes to stay in bed, woke my roommate, got dressed in a hurried fashion and made my way down the stairs.

Once outside, I noticed the catalyst for the commotion. Two massive fire trucks sat near the High Rise dormitory. Campus security guarded the entrances to the building, preventing anyone from reentry.

As I stood in my Lipscomb T-shirt, Nike gym shorts and Rockport church shoes, I began to grasp the gravity of the current situation. A huge pond of water had taken over the grassy plain in front of the High Rise lobby.

I believed we had a leak on our hands.

Once I gained better knowledge of the situation, I put on my journalist’s cap and went to work. Scouring the campus looking for possible interviewees, I stumbled upon one or two well-qualified candidates.

One, a first-floor resident, gave me keen insight on the commotion of the evening. The other, an official of the university, gave me the actual statistics of the events.

10 feet of water flooded the mechanical room of High Rise, caused by an 8-inch pipe’s untimely burst.

I spent the next two hours or so gathering extra quotes, taking startling pictures and trying to gain a better understanding of the possible ramifications of what had just occurred.

Was the damage severe? Did any students lose any personal belongings? How long until I could climb back into my wonderful bed?

Only time could tell.

If you have ever seen the found-footage thriller Cloverfield, you might be able to understand the feeling for many High Rise residents.

Strangely awoken in the middle of the night by an unseen terror, many students wondered throughout the campus throughout the morning, unsure of what had happened and what was to come.

Some students made their way into Allen Arena, but quickly after, the arena was evacuated. Students had to make their way into the campus activity center.

Lights flickered, students fled to the nearest Waffle House and some made runs to Wal-Mart to gather necessary supplies for the remainder of the morning.

Some students just simply sat, wondering what forced them from their beautiful sleep and what was to come.

For a short while, uncertainty and pandemonium took hold of the Lipscomb campus.

The Cloverfield monster might as well have shown up. He would have been more than fitting for the occasion.

As I walked, my feet began to angrily pulse with a fury only feet lacking socks could convey. “The Rockports” are fine and dandy until socks leave the equation.

I felt as if I was walking on a solid block of finely carved wood only made for the best Dillard’s shoppers.

As soon as the situation came to a quick standstill, I left school, making the third trip to my car on the evening to both charge my iPhone (a blessing, really) and grab a quick breakfast.

As the sun began to rise over High Rise, the story began to take shape. Students (including yours truly) were slowly filtered into the dorm to obtain the necessities needed to carry out the morning’s activities. I grabbed my computer, threw on a pair of jeans, got my phone charger and of course, put on a pair of glorious socks.

Glorious, glorious socks.

I proceded to find a spot in the student center, where power still remained, and watch the events of the evening unfold on the morning news while checking my computer for anything that required my attention.

“Crazy, crazy, crazy,” I thought to myself.

A few breaking updates and a few interviews later (including one with Dr. Lowry himself), the smoke cleared. The building opened for business after many hours of uncertainty, and High Rise residents finally entered their once tumultuous home to take a well-deserved nap.

The draining, dreary night had finally passed. The four major news crews packed their bags after a long night of coverage, the students of other dormitories slowly emerged to find their classes cancelled and this journalist finally made it back to his room.

Be thankful for the brave men and women who put forth tireless effort to help relocate the weary High Rise residents back in their beds. Heroes, if you ask me.

I know I’m thankful that once I tie up a few loose ends coverage-wise and finish this post, I will once again my reunited with my wonderful maiden – sleep.

As for a movie, take a day off. Catch up on some older posts, maybe. The choice is yours.

I’ll be happy to take some requests for next week’s post. I’m like you. I can’t wait to discuss some awesome films again.

For now, last night’s events remain the topic at hand.

Until then, may your dorm’s pipes be tightly wound and your sleep wonderful.

An exhausted but grateful Instant Critic

The Instant Critic sees the sequels: Reviews of Iron Man 2 and Ghostbusters 2

Welcome back, fellow film enthusiasts!

In case you missed last week’s post, two fascinating documentaries took center stage.

This week, we will head into the world of the sequel.

IRON MAN 2 (PG-13, 124 minutes – featuring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell)

In honor of the new trailer for The Avengers, let us take a look at Iron Man’s second big screen outing.

Iron Man 2 endured unnecessary criticism during its time in theaters. Some complained the film felt “rigid” or “unoriginal,” while others hailed the final product as “a lackluster follow-up to a true American gem.”

Yada. Yada. Yada.

Iron Man 2 serves its purpose to a fine degree of excellence. The sequel raises the stakes for Tony Stark, introduces an effective set of villains and bridges the film with the upcoming assembling of The Avengers – a superhero team consisting of such heavy hitters as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Agent Nick Fury.

Mickey Rourke creates a storm of fury as the vengeful Ivan Vanko, the disgruntled heir to a fallen legacy. Sam Rockwell adds to the villainy as Justin Hammer, Tony Stark’s conniving rival.

Director Jon Favreau deserves a pat on the back for maintaining the same spirit of fun that made the original a blast. Downey Jr. will always deliver as Stark, and Paltrow serves as a brilliant foil for Stark’s antics.

Iron Man 2 deserves your attention for providing a successful sequel to the original film.

GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (PG, 108 minutes – featuring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson)

While a third outing for the men with the Proton Packs might be far from reality, the second adventure for the busters qualifies for added fun to the series.

This time around, the gang must reunite to stop Vigo the Carpathian, an ancient evil who desires to return from the grave.

While the sequel does not live up to the original classic, you can still find plenty of enjoyment.

The joyous sensibilities of Ghostbusters find their way into the new installment, and the set pieces this time around almost match the grandiosity of the original.

Murray and crew also provide some excellent laughs.

While Ghostbusters 2 may not hold a scary bone in its body, humor flows in abundance.

I do recommend giving this silly sequel a try.

What say you? Are you a fan of sequels? Are you disgusted by the lack of original content in Hollywood? Let me know in the comments section!

As always, the lines are open for a few requests. Please let me know if there is a movie on Netflix Instant that you would like to see reviewed. I will feature the review with next week’s post.

Until then, may your popcorn be fresh and your movies wonderful.

The Instant Critic

The Instant Critic steps into the Grid: Reviews of Tron: Legacy and The Pixar Story

Welcome back, fellow film enthusiasts!

In case you missed last week, I offered my two cents on two movies featuring horses.

By popular demand, this week’s post will take a look at a stellar adventure and an intriguing documentary!

TRON: LEGACY (PG, 125 minutes – featuring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde)

A sequel to the 1982 gem, Tron: Legacy excels as being a visual treat as well as a moving narrative.

The story takes place inside the Grid, a fictionalized computer world where Kevin Flynn (Bridges) has been trapped since the early 80s. His son, Sam (Hedlund), stumbles upon a portal that takes him into the Grid, igniting a series of events that will reunite father and son just in time for a battle of epic proportions.

Those looking for rip-roaring action have found their match. The film’s strongest moments come from the eye-popping visual effects. A certain light-cycle battle in an arena of thousands will leave you breathless.

The score, orchestrated by the techno duo Daft Punk, brings an added fury to the film.

Bridges channels his inner mellowness for Kevin Flynn, and Hedlund provides a strong, anchoring performance as Sam.

Tron: Legacy makes for a wonderful sequel, but the film also works extremely well as a standalone feature.

Now, let’s go from the Grid to Emeryville.

THE PIXAR STORY (G, 88 minutes – featuring interviews with John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and George Lucas)

There is not a film studio that comes close to rivaling Pixar.

Any film that bears the Pixar logo enchants our imaginations in ways that most studio fare cannot.  Over the years, audiences have been spoiled by the astronomical levels of quality a Pixar title brings to the table. Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and Monsters Inc. are just a few of the classics the studio has produced.

Care to see how this humble studio came to be?

A good documentary always tells a story that can rival the fictitious creation of a Hollywood screenwriter. A great documentary almost seems fictitious itself. I am happy to say that The Pixar Story falls into the latter category. This fascinating documentary gives viewers an engaging look into the storied past of the famous studio.

I do not want to spoil the surprises the documentary has to offer, but did you know the late Steve Jobs had an impact on the studio’s beginnings?

The Pixar Story is a success because the viewer will truly feel as if they have been granted an exclusive backstage pass into the world of Pixar.

What’s your take? Do you agree with my praise for Tron: Legacy?

How about The Pixar Story? Let me know in the comments section.

Next week, I’ll be taking a look at a pair of Oscar-nominated documentaries.

Until then, may your popcorn be fresh and your movies wonderful.

The Instant Critic