By every possible scenario, Men in Black 3 should absolutely not work. The original Men in Black, released in 1997, was a box office blockbuster that caught everybody by surprise. On the other hand, its first sequel, released ten years ago, was a out-and-out disaster. Despite still being a box office success, many moviegoers felt cheated by what was essentially a rehash of the first movie with a weak villain (played by the usually capable Lara Flynn Boyle). Despite the issues with the second film, I was willing to give the new sequel a chance. After all, I already knew that if it was at least a step up from Men in Black II, then it would have already done its job. Well, surprise, surprise, the new sequel is not only a step above the previous movie, but it is also something else: A film almost as good as the original.
A common thread that runs through all of Bret Easton Ellis’ books is the exploration of hollow persons. People who are generally well-off financially yet dead on the inside, so numb to the world around them that even acts of horrific violence and depravity can’t faze them more than momentarily. Ellis has populated his stories with these characters, often set in the 1980s to satirize the excessiveness of the time period. While reading all the books back-to-back is probably not recommended, the author manages to find enough variety and different themes to explore to make them all have some value. If he seems one-note, one does not look closely enough. Read the rest of this entry »
Dragons. Are there any cooler creatures in all of mythology? Unfortunately, in the world of celluloid, these great creatures of imagination have not really gotten their due. (At least, not in live-action cinema; why I have not yet seen How to Train Your Dragon is still beyond me.)
Is there any live-action film in which dragons have truly come off as cool as they deserve? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire wasn’t too bad, but the dragons aren’t the stars. As I impatiently await the day when Peter Jackson brings his vision of the ultimate dragon, Smaug, to life in The Hobbit, I think about other dragon-themed movies that I have enjoyed in the past. None of them are deserving enough to be called “great”, but I’m very forgiving of movies I want to like. In one of these cases, I was the perfect age to see a dragon with real presence brought to life on the big screen – even if the movie he inhabited was far from perfect. Without further adieu, I present, in ascending order on my Flickchart, my picks for Guilty Pleasures starring dragons.
There is perhaps no one better at writing about the contemporary “average Joe” than the English born Nick Hornby. This could very well be one of the reasons that his novels adapt so well to the screen. We see characters that remind us of both people we know and ourselves, and we become enthralled by their stories. We want them to find happiness, we want them to achieve some measure of their dreams, and we want them to grow emotionally as people. If they can do it, then there’s no reason we can’t as well.