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‘The Legend of Zorro’ Film Review: The Dela Vega heroes

"The Legend of Zorro" tones down a bit by fronting the more human issues about family relationships in its storytelling, as compared to the visually purist, action-filled premise driving the storyline for such an action genre offering. Yet, this follow-up to “The Mask of Zorro” doesn't lose its own touch of valuable action and playful camera work. The pompous stunts, grand production design, and outstanding cinematography often keep the spectators' eyes nailed to what happens next. The film captures the audience right from

Blu-ray Review: ‘Schindler’s List’ 20th Anniversary Edition

The 1993 cinematic masterpiece "Schindler's List" arrives on a three-disc combo pack dubbed as its 20th Anniversary Edition. This DigiPack release contains one Blu-ray disc and two DVDs housing the film's Blu-Ray, DVD, UV digital, and iTunes digital copies, as well as a handful of extras. This Steven Spielberg opus stars Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Embeth Davidtz, Caroline Goodall, and Jonathan Sagall. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with 6 other wins out of 12

‘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

‘Beowulf’ (2007) Film Review: Motion-capture statement

"Beowulf" ambitiously blends CGI, motion-capture, and 3D technologies to bring a new level of hyperreality for the viewers to enjoy. Everybody knows, or at least, has already heard about the epic poem "Beowulf" in school, or perhaps, with the prior 2005 live-action offering "Beowulf and Grendel" starring Gerard Butler as Beowulf. This time, the Robert Zemeckis-helmed "Beowulf" utilizes the latest motion-control technology available to tell a tale approximately 1,400 years old in an astonishingly new way -- a sensory animation experience

‘Pacific Rim’ Film Review: Monstrously nostalgic metallic mayhem

"Pacific Rim" is epic action art for those who love robots and monsters. This monsterfest is a hybrid of just about every major cinematic genre. It showcases the grandest traditions in war, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, alien, monster, and robot movies. Full of mechanized mayhem, it taps into that primal fondness of seeing two big things tearing each other apart. It may be a generic, familiar, and cliché-ridden piece with cardboard characters, but it still wins its target audience over through the visceral

‘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

‘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

‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Film Review: Burning the sophomore flame

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is a smashing sci-fi commentary that is in many ways full of good old-fashioned escapism. It is often full of well-paced action, fluid drama and subtle romance, as well as ornate costumes and seamless CG effects. It is every bit an intense and gripping piece of entertainment with no line or character getting wasted on screen. Cleverly helmed by Francis Lawrence, this follow-up to the 2012 blockbuster film takes the popular franchise into a deeper

‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Film Review: The entertaining fire-breathing excess

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" entertains with its fiery wave of action and adventure. However, it remains hamstrung by its own middle chapter narrative problems. Clearly forced into a trilogy stretch for the cash-cow potential of a single book, this second "Hobbit" film proves that one can have too much of a good thing when it comes to delivering a quota of thrills, but still end up as yet another ponderous placeholder for the grand finale. At the very least,

‘The Wolverine’ Film Review: The Contemplative Adamantium

"The Wolverine" is a fairly solid standalone offering that redeems itself from the significantly weaker "X-Men" spin-off "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Somber and restrained, this film presents a refreshing noir reboot for the franchise. Compared to other "X-Men" blockbuster movies, it utilizes a contemplative tone and a deliberately slower pace, while clearly managing to keep the momentum for another brewing sequel. Interestingly, this dark and slow-moving character study doesn't feel much like a summer superhero movie, which isn't actually a bad thing.

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