I’m Smurfing Done with “Smurfs: The Lost Village”

In 2011, The Smurfs came to us from Sony Pictures Animation. In 2013 we got a sequel. Both movies were panned, and now Sony has decided to reboot the Smurfs again. Smurfs: The Lost Village is directed by Kelly Asbury, who also directed Shrek 2 and Gnomeo and Juliet. The writing duo includes Stacey Harman, who did work on The Goldbergs, and Pamela Ribon, who worked on Moana and is currently attached to Ralph Breaks the Internet.


Psycho as Not-so-Scary Video Art

I often wonder why people pay money to spin around in a teacup or turn upside down on a roller-coaster. Why willfully commit yourself to nausea and headaches when your feet can stay put on the ground?  You say fun; I say torture.  I approach horror cinema with the same skepticism.  Why open your eyes to nightmares when nothing so scary need occupy your mind?


The Zookeeper’s Wife Lacks Tragedy

I can’t imagine a more fitting title for The Zookeeper’s Wife. Hearing the title alone, one would have no idea that this was a film about the Holocaust. It’s about a zoo! Animals! Maybe even a love story!


Not Enough Spark

Spark: A Space Tail, written and directed by Aaron Woodley (with additional written material by Adam Rotstein, Robert Reece and Doug Hadders), has been a mystery to me. I didn’t know what to make of the film. It premiered nearly a year ago at the Toronto Animation Arts festival. There were no advance reviews, and only a nebulous plot synopsis. All I knew was that it was a Canadian-Korean production from ToonBox and Redrover, the same people who brought us The Nut Job.


Personality in Electromagnetism: The Glamour & The Squalor

Car speakers emit radio waves with a long travel logged history.  When we turn up the dial on a finger-worn sound system, our heads bop to a sound bit morphed into electromagnetic energy — a wave particle caught up in the ionosphere, thrust back down again and ricocheted at the speed of light from one aerial antenna to the next.  By the time these notes reach our numb ears, they carry more than empty air.  Once our carpool starts singing the lyrics, we’ve forgotten even what station transmits each new note.  The next best single transports our minds like the long-form radio wave — away from car parts and gasoline, beyond wired batteries and tuning dial.


The F8 of a Franchise

I went to the bathroom during this movie (and I never do that). I usually get pissed off when I see other people leave the theater before the lights come up, but watching Fate of the Furious, I had no problem stepping out for a minute. The kicker is that I wasn’t in a hurry — I walked calmly to and from the restroom and even stopped to fix my hair on the way out. For reference, when I drank a little too much ICEE during my second viewing of The Force Awakens, I flat out sprinted to the bathroom and didn’t stop to wash my hands. When I returned from my lengthy restroom excursion, my friend informed me that I hadn’t missed much — ”just some gushy stuff.” By “gushy stuff” I mean anything other than fast cars being driven aggressively, which I maintain should be the only thing on screen at all times.

your name

Another Take: Japan’s Smash Hit “Your Name” Lives Up to the Hype

On the date I’m writing this — April 7, 2017 — two animated films were just released in US cinemas. One of them was Smurfs: The Lost Village, the reboot from Sony that’s trying to cover up their last disastrous reboot from 2011, a film that I will have to see some time this weekend. The other was Your Name. Boy, am I glad I chose to see Your Name today! The release honestly took me by surprise.

Big Brother: 1984 at Cornell Cinema

So, I had never seen Michael Radford’s 1984, and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. And, boy did I have an interesting time. In light of recent political events, select cinemas across America, as well as one in Canada, showed the 1984 film adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 to protest Donald Trump on April 4 (the date the film starts). Originally written as a protest against London’s unjust system during the Cold War against communism, do the ideas still apply today? Are the extremes and ideals even relevant?


Raw: What Are You Hungry For?

I should have known what I was getting into the second I bought my ticket to see Raw. The Cinemapolis employee handed my friend and I customized Raw barf bags and band-aids. Yikes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JfTnHHm3O8

I decided to see Raw without knowing much about it. As someone who is a borderline hypochondriac and easily freaks myself out at times, I do not often (ever, really) see horror movies.


Do Not Read This Review of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name

For some reason, movie critics like to use the descriptor “the new Miyazaki” to refer to Makoto Shinkai, director of the blockbuster anime hit Your Name (titled Kimi no Na wa in Japanese). All questions of the quality of Shinkai’s movies aside, this is a completely bizarre comparison because there is very little in common between the work of these two men, besides the fact that they both direct animated Japanese films. Shinkai does introspective romantic drama, while Miyazaki (very, very broadly) does fantasy coming-of-age. Regardless, a combination of the enduring comparisons to Hayao Miyazaki and the film’s own runaway success has led the easily-embarrassed Shinkai to say, “I don’t think any more people should see [Your Name],” in a Japan Times article.  Perhaps Shinkai was glad that, despite its massive commercial and critical success, Your Name wasn’t nominated for an Oscar after all. The premise of Your Name is a body swap scenario: two teenagers, one a boy, Taki, living in the Tokyo metropolis and the other a girl, Mitsuha, living in the countryside, begin to inhabit each other’s bodies during their dreams, creating plenty of opportunities for romantic and comedic hijinks.