And it's expectations that director Peter Jackson has clearly found himself having to address in this movie. Given that all three films in the series were shot simultaneously, Jackson doesn't have much opportunity to introduce new stuff with each movie. We're well familiarized with the main characters and the primary settings, so much of the weight falls on the new people and creatures introduced in this episode to carry the story.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Review
Say what you will about using lame source material, Scorcher is laughably bad in its own right. As with Core, our meddling has caused some kind of tectonic trouble, and if the gap between two plates opens wider than 44 centimeters (yeah, whatever), then we will literally have "hell on earth" as earthquakes and volcanoes sprout up all over the planet. Uh huh. And so our hero geologists (including John Rhys-Davies, whoa nelly!), under the direction of President Rutger Hauer(!!!), are tasked with finding a solution. Naturally, that involves setting off a nuclear bomb somewhere. In the case of Scorcher, it means detonating the nuke in central Los Angeles. Sounds like an improvement to me, but whatever, after quietly evacuating the tens of millions of people who live there, a wrench involving our military co-hero (Mark Dacascos) and a kidnapped daughter gets thrown at us, not to mention crossed signals between the military dudes tasked with getting the nukes set just so.
Continue reading: Scorcher Review
How do you satisfy a legion of fans, some of whom have been waiting almost 65 years to see their absolute favorite work of literature put to film? More often than not, you don't, and though Peter Jackson's production of The Lord of the Rings is painstakingly faithful and earnest, it is almost a foregone conclusion that the movie will never quite be good enough for the obsessed fans (see also the 1978 animated Lord), just is it will be far too obtuse for those who haven't read the books.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring Review
Unless you're a "Lord of the Rings" superfan, you'd better brush up on "Fellowship of the Ring" before seeing the sequel "The Two Towers," because director Peter Jackson just jumps right in to the middle of the story without much in the way of introductions or explanations.
He assumes you know who Hobbits Merry and Pippin are and why they've been abducted by the Uruk-Hai, the beastly minions of unseen supernatural villain Sauron (you know all about them, right?). He assumes you recall where "Fellowship" left off with human warrior Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Elfin archer Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and why they're trying to rescue Merry and Pippin.
He also assumes you know that hero Hobbits Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Austin) are still trying to reach the kingdom of Mordor, where they are to cast the dangerously omnipotent Ring into the volcanic fires of Mount Doom, thus keeping it out of the hands Sauron, who would use its dark psychic powers to lay waste to the world.
Continue reading: Lord Of The Rings:
the Two Towers Review
In the entire three hours of the audacious, transporting, spectacularly cinematic first "Lord of the Rings" installment, there are only two very brief moments that don't come across as being 100-percent a part of the mystical, dark and magical realm of Middle Earth.
These moments are not because of bad performances (there aren't any), negligent directing or special effects gaffes. In fact, from the digitally dialed-down stature of the actors playing hobbits to the frightfully demonic hoards of living-dead orcs (minions of the supernaturally evil antagonist), the effects are seamless.
These moments of doubt are merely scenes that take place in such plain locations (e.g. a non-descript river bed) that they seem far too familiar and Earthly in a movie of underground troll cities, ominous mountains called Doom, idyllic ancient forest hamlets of immortal elves, and hobbit's homes burrowed into impossibly green hillsides.
Continue reading: Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring Review
When Jackie Chan was in his low-budget, Hong Kong action-comedy prime, it was easy to forgive his better movies for simplistic plots and mediocre (sometimes downright bad) acting because enjoying them came down to two things: Chan's comedic charm and the dangerous, awe-inspiring, ingeniously choreographed fights and stunts that he always performed himself.
When Chan started making $60- to $100- million Hollywood films, it was reasonable to begin expecting more, but the star just hasn't lived up to those higher expectations except when sharing the load with ad-libbing, scene-stealing Owen Wilson in the buddy pictures "Shanghai Noon" and "Shanghai Knights."
But "The Medallion," which is a Hong Kong production made with Hollywood money, feels like the return of good ol' cheesy, charismatic, pardonably haphazard Jackie Chan -- even if the daredevil actor has finally begun accepting the inevitable ravages of age and injury.
Continue reading: The Medallion Review
By the time hobbit hero Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) finally -- finally! -- struggles to the top of Mount Doom, where at the climax of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" he must cast into its volcanic fires the malevolently omnipotent Ring that has been slowly consuming his psyche for three movies now, many of the nit-picky things that have gotten on my nerves throughout all the "Lord of the Rings" flicks had come to a head.
So many times now has Frodo's whiney, obsequious traveling companion Samwise Gamgee (Sean Austin) begun boo-hoo-hooing that I started rooting for him to be chucked into the lava along with the jewelry. One too many times has a lucky coincidence saved our hero, as when in this picture he's captured by the demonic, bad-tempered Orcs, only to be rescued moments later when his two guards -- the only two guards in an entire tower it seems -- are conveniently distracted by fighting with each other.
And once too often has director Peter Jackson assumed that the previous installments will be fresh in minds of the audience. That's a pretty safe bet for his fan base, but for the unobsessed, "Return of the King" -- like "The Two Towers" before it -- has many what-did-I-miss? moments. For example, in one of two climactic battle scenes, a never-identified army of fearsome face-painted foes riding atop gigantic elephants appears on the flank of the protagonists' battalion, prompting the question, "Who the heck are these guys?" (Apparently they were in the second movie too, but pardon me for not having seen it since last year.)
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King Review
Need I provide a pithy introduction to The Two Towers, the second installment in The...
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Unless you're a "Lord of the Rings" superfan, you'd better brush up on "Fellowship of...
In the entire three hours of the audacious, transporting, spectacularly cinematic first "Lord of the...
When Jackie Chan was in his low-budget, Hong Kong action-comedy prime, it was easy to...