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Archive for 'Films'

Star-Crossed Horizon: A Review of Tomorrowland

Special to Locus Online


Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland is a film that one yearns to love, but not a film one can actually love …. One wishes to argue that that this film needs to be cherished and celebrated because of its resoundingly optimistic message about the future, driven home by an uplifting and emotionally powerful conclusion that constitutes by far the film’s best sequence; but sadly, the more one thinks about that message, the less resonant it seems.

Mad Maxine and Her Marvelous Machines: A Review of Mad Max: Fury Road

by Gary Westfahl I must begin by acknowledging that my memories of the first three Mad Max films – Mad Max (1979), Mad Max II (aka The Road Warrior) (1981), and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) – are fading and fragmentary, so I cannot provide a detailed exegesis on how this fourth film continues, expands […]

Methuselah’s Daughter: A Review of The Age of Adaline

Special to Locus Online


The Age of Adaline proves to be surprisingly attentive to the demands of science fiction, and amidst its emotional turmoil the film is also striving to thoughtfully explore the possible effects of human immortality. It thus qualifies as a worthwhile addition to a long tradition of science fiction stories about immortality.

Dead, and a Rival: A Review of The Lazarus Effect

Special to Locus Online


To epitomize the experience of watching The Lazarus Effect, then, imagine a new film adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith (1925) in which Dr. Martin Arrowsmith, after years of quiet, painstaking medical research, somehow makes a mistake and ends up creating the Incredible Hulk.

A Myriad of Texts, Reloaded, or, The Cliché-Hoarder’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Review of Jupiter Ascending

Special to Locus Online


Readers of this review, at this point, might feel that I am relentlessly berating the Wachowskis for displaying a lack of originality. Yet I am theorizing that the film might have originated when one of them said, “Hey, let’s remake The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but take out all of the jokes.” And that represents a genuinely original idea. More grievously, though, the Wachowskis also removed something else from The Hitchhiker’s Guide, and from every other film that they borrowed from, and that is their messages.

The Tolkienator, or, Thorin Hacks Again: A Review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Special to Locus Online


One might characterize this film as a charming 30-minute rendering of the last six chapters of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) padded out with two hours of repetitive slashing, stabbing, bludgeoning, and beheading. Tolkien, one imagines, would not be pleased.

“The Revolution Will Be Televised”:
A Review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Special to Locus Online


I have been studying the films of the unfolding Hunger Games saga as a revealingly successful effort to reflect the attitudes and opinions of the teenagers and young adults in their target audience. And, in a manner that is both fascinating and annoying, this new film offers additional insights into the minds of America’s future leaders.

2014: A Grand Ole Odyssey: A Review of Interstellar

Special to Locus Online


It requires considerable courage to make a film that, as I will argue, undertakes to both emulate and refute 2001: A Space Odyssey; and while I ultimately found its argument unpersuasive, the film is still provocative and, one might say, intelligently misguided in ways that are unfortunately rare in today’s filmmaking marketplace.

“A Hunger for Games?”: A Review of The Maze Runner

Special to Locus Online


The Maze Runner, as one hardly needs to say about any major film that achieves wide release, is a fast-paced, involving adventure with excellent special effects, and there are even hints of an imperfectly realized effort to achieve a sort of profundity not found in the novel.

‘A Black-and-White Movie, in More Ways Than One': A Review of The Giver

Special to Locus Online


While one can complain at length about the ways that the film fails to do justice to Lowry’s novel, published for readers in 1993, a film adaptation also has to be considered on its own terms, as an original creation designed for viewers in 2014. And, as it turns out, the film actually has some interesting things to say about the young people who were undoubtedly envisioned as its major audience.


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