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Archive for 'Films'

“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.

‘Carrying That Weight’: A Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

by Gary Westfahl The original series of Planet of the Apes films took on the character of a cycle, as apes from the first two films traveled back in time to instigate the events that were seemingly leading, in the fifth film, to the emergence of the world of the first film. Dawn of the […]

“If You Get It Wrong, You’ll Get It Right Next Time”:
A Review of Edge of Tomorrow

by Gary Westfahl From one perspective, Edge of Tomorrow is simply the latest, and strangest, in a long series of films about D-Day, strategically released on the seventieth anniversary of the daring assault that led to the Allied victory over Germany. Again, we observe American and British forces landing on the beaches of Normandy, confronting […]

Dinosaur Train Wreck: A Review of Godzilla

Special to Locus Online


Why is it that American filmmakers, blessed with enormous financial resources, state-of-the-art special effects, and long experience in making successful films, have been consistently unable to make a good Godzilla film, a skill long ago mastered by the Japanese?

The Colossus of Northern California: A Review of Transcendence

by Gary Westfahl One of the quirks of renowned magazine editor John W. Campbell, Jr. was his fondness for story titles consisting of a single abstract noun, as illustrated by classics like Isaac Asimov’s “Reason” (1941) and Clifford D. Simak’s “Desertion” (1944) and obscurities like Norman Spinrad’s “Subjectivity” (1964) and Joseph P. Martino’s “Persistence” (1969). […]

“No Easy Way to Be Free”:
A Review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

by Gary Westfahl Like The Hunger Games (2012) (review here), its wildly successful precursor, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a film that makes few demands on its expected audiences of young viewers. They are expected to bond with plucky heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), whose affections are intriguingly torn between sweet boy-next-door Peeta Mellark […]

Winners and Losers: A Review of Ender’s Game

by Gary Westfahl In several respects, Ender’s Game represents precisely the sort of film that I have been calling for in recent reviews, since it rejects the simplistic and unrealistic world view of melodrama, refuses to divide the universe into virtuous heroes and despicable villains, and explicitly endorses efforts to understand and reconcile with apparent […]


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