A Review of “The LEGO Movie”

When you’re a young film buff, just starting to dig in to cinema’s massive canon, there’s this feeling that comes with each film you watch. It’s a kind of high, really. It’s a mixture of bliss and astonishment, of wonder and revelation. In the few years you’ve lived up to this point, you’ve never experienced such an elaborate array of thoughts and emotions from a film. You understand what people mean when they say that films are “great,” and there’s nothing that you want to do more than consume as many of these great films as you possibly can. Cinema is your drug, and you’ve just taken your first hit.

But as with all drugs, the strength of the high fades as time goes on. You’re able to intellectually recognize “greatness” in films, and there’s still a fantastic wave of joy that comes with watching them. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t watch movies anymore. But in the back of your mind, you know that you’re never going to get that original feeling back. The more films you watch, the harder it becomes for a film to surprise you, and becoming an adult means dampening that part of your brain that gets excited about absolutely everything that’s new. That’s just the way that the world works.

Why do I mention all this? Well, for a long time it’s what I assumed was true. It’s not true, though. I know that now. Because a couple days ago I saw The LEGO Movie, and I felt something inside me that I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. I felt like I was seeing something new.

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Best Picture Odyssey: “Captain Phillips”

This is going to be a much shorter review than the other ones in this series, for a couple reasons. First, and probably most importantly, I haven’t seen this movie in a very long while. It came out in October, the second earliest release of any of its fellow nominees (bested only by Gravity) and it’s not exactly the kind of film that ingrains itself in the cultural zeitgeist for very long after it comes out. To be honest, I don’t remember it very well. I mean, I remember scenes and shots and moments. But if I had any in-depth opinions on it, they’re long gone. There is another reason that this is going to be a short review, though. I spent most of this week thinking about another movie, one that I liked a lot more than this and one that I have a lot more to say about. That review will go up in a day or so. But anyway. Captain Phillips. Let’s do this.

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On Magic Beans and Screenwriting Rules

Rian, I love your stuff, but I can’t disagree with you more on this point. You can’t blame the guy for having such a strong opinion on this issue, of course. His film Looper has two “magic beans” by this definition, and it’s a popular point of contention among its detractors. Do I agree with those detractors? No. I really like Looper, and though I haven’t watched it in a while, I’m of the opinion that Johnson’s story is so strong that he gets away with breaking this rule.

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Best Picture Odyssey: “Philomena”

Ugh, do I have to?

That sounds like a negative judgment, but it’s not. In fact, I think this is a pretty good movie, all things considered. But it’s not a really interesting type of good. It’s so generically effective and engaging that talking about it is kinda boring. Well, here goes nothing.

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A Review of “I, Frankenstein”

I struggled for a long, long time with how I wanted to open this review. The problem with writing a genuine, honest critique of a film like I, Frankenstein is that it’s too damn easy. I could do a serious exploration of all the movie’s faults, but this movie is so terrible that it doesn’t even deserve it. What did you expect? It’s f**king Frankenstein, people. That is the title. I could put some effort into this review, but the movie sure as hell didn’t, and I’m not getting paid, so why even bother?

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Best Picture Odyssey: “Her”

Are we too invested in our technology?

I’ve always brushed that question off as the standard generational denigration that’s existed for as long as the concept of change. The idea that “things were better back then” has always been fallacious, because it implies that people living “back then” weren’t also complaining about how terrible things had become. The critiques of the current youngest generation have always been based on their (okay, our) perceived over-reliance on technology. “People are so attached to their smartphones that they can’t look around and experience real life!” has been the battle cry of crotchety old fogies since the first behind-the-times cable news report on this newfangled thing called “texting.” It always seemed ridiculous. Continue reading Best Picture Odyssey: “Her”

Fixing “Frozen”: An Autopsy in Eight Parts

I didn’t hate Frozen. It’s a sweet charming film, and the way that it subverts classic Disney princess tropes is brilliant and certainly worthy of praise. Despite that, I had plenty of problems with it. In this article, I’m going to detail those issues and attempt to come up with solutions. I wish this film was better than it is, and I can think of a few ways to make it better. There are two big things and then a few little things, so I’ll break it into sections. And there are some spoilers in here, so don’t read this until you see the film.

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