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"Star Trek Into Darkness" is like fan-boy fiction on a $185 million budget. It's reverential, it's faithful, it's steeped in "Trek" mythology.
A Valley woman's dying wish was fulfilled this Mother's Day weekend, thanks to the Dream Foundation.
If you watch the trailer for “Renoir” – a new period drama from French filmmaker Gilles Bourdos – a variety of adjectives are bound to come to mind: conventional, humdrum, lackluster. Sure, they’re trying to sell the story of one of the all-time great painters in a mere two minutes, but nothing about it grabs your attention – let alone, compels you to sit through the actual film. Luckily, this is not exactly the case for the movie itself, which is exquisite to look at but unfortunately devoid of any real insight into Pierre-Auguste Renoir. You come wishing to learn about the artist and his work, but instead leave dwelling on the film’s more engaging supporting characters.
It’s been nearly 10 years since his science-fiction indie “Primer” left audiences spellbound, which makes the arrival of Shane Carruth’s “Upstream Color” an even more momentous occasion.
Practically a childhood right of passage, “A Wrinkle in Time” is a book a lot of adults can credit with sparking a love for science fiction and fantasy — or at least introducing words like “mitochondria” and “tesseract” to their vocabulary. Whether you want to acquaint your own kids with the beloved story or just take a trip down memory lane, you can see the stage adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s 1963 Newbery Medal-winning book in Tempe.
It's a given at multiplexes these days that despite switch-off-your-cell-phone announcements and the occasional grumbling protest, whatever's onscreen will have to compete with tiny pockets of light from audience members unable to stay off their handhelds. Watching those glow patches come and go during "Disconnect" reinforces the film's position on how desensitized we've become to these technological intrusions. Not that Henry-Alex Rubin's schematic multi-strand drama is at all shy about articulating its themes.
Early in the sleek sci-fi thriller "Oblivion," Tom Cruise, as a flyboy repairman living a removed, Jetsons-like existence above an invaded and deserted Earth, intones his home sickness.
Just about everyone has them — family stories. Yours may be a sweet account of how Grandpa proposed to Gram, or only a whisper of something bad that happened that no one ever seems to want to talk about.
The same local dance company that takes audiences deep into vampire territory each autumn with its acclaimed "A Vampire Tale" is going into uncharted waters.
The judge in Jodi Arias' murder case on Thursday denied a defense motion to order jurors sequestered for the remainder of the trial during a bizarre week when one panelist was removed and videos emerged of Arias' parents telling authorities she has mental problems.
It may not be as mainstream a form of expression these days as, say, Instagram, but poetry, that old-fashioned art of arranging language to create an emotional response through meaning, sound and rhythm, is alive and well.
If a big, dumb action movie knows it's a big, dumb action movie and revels in that fact, is that preferable to a big, dumb action movie making the mistake of thinking it's significant, relevant art?
That's the question to ponder — if you can think straight and your ears aren't ringing too badly — during "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." This sequel of sorts to the 2009 blockbuster "G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra" seems to have some cheeky fun with itself, from Bruce Willis cheerily revealing the arsenal he's hiding in his quiet suburban home to RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan essentially showing up and playing himself. A major city is obliterated with the touch of a button and several others are in peril as the world hinges on nuclear destruction in what amounts to a hammy game of chicken.
Nothing matters really. This is a movie based on a Hasbro toy, after all — it's all spectacle and bombast. But at least "G.I. Joe" is aware of its vapidity compared to, say, last week's "Olympus Has Fallen," in which North Korean terrorists took over the White House in self-serious fashion but our secret-service-agent hero found time to make wedged-in, smart-alecky quips on the way to saving the day.
That's not to say that this "G.I. Joe" is good, aside from a couple of dazzling action set pieces, but at least it's efficient in its muscular mindlessness.
The elite military team of Joes, now led by Duke (Channing Tatum, returning from the first film), is sent to Pakistan to recover some nuclear weapons. But they find themselves double-crossed by their own government, led by an imposter president, and lose many among their ranks in a massive ambush. The survivors — Roadblock (Dwayne Johnson, reliable as ever), Flint (D.J. Cotrona, who's given no personality) and Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki, in full makeup for covert ops) — must find out who's running the country and get to the bottom of this villain's dastardly plan.
Turns out it's master of disguise Zartan, part of the enemy group Cobra, who's posing as the president while the real commander in chief is locked up in a bomb shelter. (Jonathan Pryce plays both roles; he's far too qualified for even one of them.) The three Joes realize they need help to bring him down, so they round up the far-flung Snake Eyes (Ray Park), the petite warrior Jinx (Elodie Yung, whose character trains with the Blind Master, RZA) and the reluctant Storm Shadow (Korean superstar Byung-hun Lee, an athletic and elegant specimen).
They also need some firepower, so they track down Willis' Original Joe, Gen. Colton, who provides his own personal gun show. (You'd never know there's a gun control debate in this country from watching this movie; it's all very macho and rah-rah. The flip side is, none of the casualties from all this sophisticated weaponry results in any blood. This is an astonishingly violent PG-13 movie.)
"Retaliation" initially was scheduled to come out last summer, but the studio pulled it and delayed its release to convert the movie to 3-D. With a director like Jon M. Chu, who's shown a flair for integrating 3-D with the dance extravaganza "Step Up 3D" and the concert film "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," why not just shoot it that way in the first place? As it stands now, the extra dimension doesn't add much, and often is used in that simplistic, tried-and-true way of flinging things at us from the screen: bullets, throwing stars, etc.
There is one absolutely astounding extended sequence about halfway through, in which two teams of ninjas face off in a battle on the sheer cliff faces of the Himalayas. Using cables and zip lines, it's as if they're running, leaping and practically dancing on walls in the sky — a breathtaking piece of choreography in its own right, regardless of the dimension through which it's viewed.
"G.I. Joe Retaliation," a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality. Running time: 110 minutes. Two stars out of four.
Motion Picture Association of America rating definition for PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
The Oscars were announced a mere week ago and pundits are already making bets on whom to expect in the 2014 lineup. While it may seem premature, I can’t say I blame them – we have yet another killer batch of films in-store, one that will surely give 2013’s nominees a run for their money. “Fruitvale,” “August: Osage County,” “Wolf of Wall Street” and a couple dozen more are in the pipeline, all of which you’ll want to keep on your radar for fall if they weren’t there already.
I am trying to find a way to legally copy DVDs we own to an external hard drive for storage connected to my laptop. When we take long road trips it would be nice to not have to haul all our movies along. — Bill
This week's "Jack the Giant Slayer," a 3-D retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk legend, contains all the elements of the classic tale: farm boy, beans, giants, etc. But along for the ride is a new character, Princess Isabelle, played by Eleanor Tomlinson.
If you had told me a month ago that my Oscar predictions would look anything like this, I probably would have advised you to go do a little more research. “Argo” poised for the Best Picture win sans a Best Director nod? Unthinkable. Emmanuelle Riva and Naomi Watts as viable Best Actress contenders against youthful powerhouses like Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain? You’re pulling my leg.
“Snitch” is a movie that knows what it wants to say, but fails to get its message across in an unconventional fashion. The film is loosely based on a “Frontline” documentary about Joey Settembrino, an 18 year old who was sentenced to a minimum of ten years in prison for selling LSD. The government offered Joey a reduced sentence in exchange for the names of drug dealers high up on the totem pole. Since Joey was unwilling to cooperate, he had no other alternative but to serve his time. James Settembrino, Joey’s father, did everything he could by independently digging up dirt on drug abusers and drug distributors. His attempts to free his son were futile for the most part though.
By now it's clear that nothing and no one can kill Bruce Willis, whose fifth film in the "Die Hard" franchise, the horribly titled "A Good Day to Die Hard," opened last week.
SAN FRANCISCO — What happens when you ask a group of food world luminaries to come up with their picks for Best Food Scene in a movie?
Potted Potter — The Unauthorized Harry Experience — A Parody by Dan and Jeff: Take a fly-over of the seven Harry Potter books in this funny retelling of the popular fantasy series, featuring the main characters, a fire breathing dragon and a game of Quidditch.
“I’ll always have part of my heart there,” director Sam French says, discussing his move back to Los Angeles after working for nearly five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and French is swamped with interviews following the recent Oscar nomination for his live-action short film “Buzkashi Boys,” a portrait of two young teenagers living in modern-day Afghanistan who dream of playing the dangerous blood sport “buzkashi.”
New York Times bestselling author, J.A. Jance, will be at Mesa’s Red Mountain Library, 635 N. Power Road, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday. Jance will be hosting a book signing to promote her latest mystery novel “Deadly Stakes.”
"Warm Bodies," the latest permutation of the zombie screen phenomenon, places heart over horror and romantic teen angst over sharp social commentary.
“We didn’t really want to waste anyone’s time,” Jason Tippet says of his new documentary “Only The Young,” which he co-directed and shot with close friend Elizabeth Mims. Humble and laidback, but always quick to throw in a playful jab at the other, you couldn’t find two better people to capture the throes of 21st century adolescence.
Now that his reign as The Governator is officially over, Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to shoot bad guys, sell one-liners, and butcher the English language again.