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‘Star Trek’ (2009) Film Review: Warpspeed wow!

Something old reboots as a glorious new. Reinventing a classic sci-fi series is prone to becoming victimized by the blackhole of franchise re-openings, but what this new "Star Trek" presents is a flaring shine of a supernova from start to end. The plot may be preposterous, but the way the film is constructed provides a genuinely rollicking adventure - a fine escapist entertainment that has just validated the tagline, "Live long and prosper." From the first stunning visuals of a pre-Enterprise time

‘Rio 2’ Film Review: Perfectly fine, perfectly forgettable

"Rio 2" is a delightfully bright and breezy bit of computer-generated entertainment. As an acceptable family fare, this sequel maintains that blockbuster flavor that is expected of such an animated flick. It mostly hits the sweet spot when it comes to eye-popping visuals and feisty song-and-dance sequences. However, its predictable narrative plays too safe that it simply crafts nothing more than a fine commercial blend of heart-warming and toe-tapping moments for its target demographic. For this second installment in the "Rio"

‘Sky High’ Film Review: Soaring HS heroes and sidekicks

This is a Disney hybrid superhero movie: "The Incredibles" meets "X-men" via "Harry Potter." If you think Hogwarts is the only secret school for extraordinary kids, well there's also the heroic children's world of "Sky High." This film is a hybrid superhero flick: "The Incredibles" meets the "X-Men" via "Harry Potter." It may be a Disney flick with a big celebration of superhero cliches; but it is entertaining enough for its target market. As a derivative, it never claims to be genuinely superior to its more successful blockbuster sources. Despite having a

‘Corpse Bride’ Film Review: A charming grave fairy tale

This Tim Burton offering presents a morbid and romantic trip between the cold dwelling of the living and the colorful underground world of the dead. Behind its eerie theme, Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" presents a morbid and romantic trip between the cold dwelling place of the living and the colorful underground realm of the dead. Fun, genial, expressive, and charming, this semi-musical stop-motion piece is set at death's door, saluting the liberating power of true love and sacrifice. The story revolves around

‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ Film Review: A travelogue drama

This movie features a heartwarming episodic tale of four best friends and their adventures from miles away. At first, this teenybopper movie may seem like a typical adaptation riding on the popularity of the young adult book and best-selling novel "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" by Anne Brashares. Apparently, it’s a heartwarmingly episodic travelogue drama featuring four best friends spending their first summer apart and sharing a magical pair of jeans fitting each of them perfectly — despite the differences

‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ Film Review: A chocolific, expressionistic confectionery

Director Tim Burton breathes new life to Roald Dahl's 1964 sweet tale and turns it into a new celluloid confectionery. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a gothic yet colorful fantasy filled with the eccentricity only Burton gets to achieve in the Hollywood mainstream. Burton is undeniably a patron of German Expressionism with the film's pale make-up, weird props, sets and costumes, exaggerated moves, and out-of-this world characterizations. He creates a dream world inspired by some dark and cartoony elements. The

Blu-ray Review: ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition

The 1971 fantasy musical "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" releases its "40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition" featuring a three-disc set with one Blu-ray disc and two DVDs. This screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" tells the story of an underprivileged boy who finds one of the five golden tickets to visit Willy Wonka's famed chocolate factory. He and four other lucky children find themselves in an unusual adventure with the world's greatest chocolate maker

‘Kingdom of Heaven’ Film Review: War and religion

Ridley Scott makes another epic — this time, streamlined in the middle of the conflicting religious beliefs of the Christians and the Muslims. A fiction inspired by historical accounts, "Kingdom of Heaven" renders a cinematic vision of the Crusades of the 12th Century. Balian (Orlando Bloom), the young, grieving blacksmith from a small village in France, finally yields to the invitation of his estranged father, Baron Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), to go to the Holy Land of Jerusalem. With the hope of relieving

‘Inside Out’ Film Review: Happy + Sad

“Inside Out” is a powerfully moving animated piece exploring the importance of emotions in people's lives. Daring to explore the existential crises of the human mind and the feelings affecting one’s life, this formidably ingenious film works similar to a thesis or research project. With a material that strikes as a reflection on the power of emotions, it targets the family audience, particularly those with ages ranging from pre-teen to adult. Packaged as a motion picture set inside someone's head and how

‘Into the Blue’ Film Review: Soaking deep into the blue

"Into the Blue" is sizzling hot with bikini bodies and uncompromising Caribbean sceneries -- but that's about it. "Into the Blue" runs out of air with its contrived plot and its mere interest on showcasing sexy bodies on screen. This Hollywood flick sinks aimlessly into the deep waters of the Bahamas. The treasure isn't priced well. It’s long soaked and buried deep into the blue. Director John Stockwell seems primarily concerned with the superficial side: showcasing the major characters in a bikini fashion

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