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‘RKO 281’ Film Review: A film about a film about a man

"RKO 281" offers a vividly compelling presentation of the troubled history behind Orson Welles and his magnum opus "Citizen Kane." This historical drama about the so-called “boy wonder” helming a film inspired by the life of a powerful man highlights the ego clashes and politics surrounding Hollywood. As a cinematic offering, it frames itself as a dramatically sound genesis of what is often described as “The Greatest American Film of All Time” through its amalgam of fictional recreations and historical accounts partly based

‘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

‘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

‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith’ Film Review: The force of tragedies

“Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” serves as the final chapter to the culturally historical galactic empire saga from the real master behind the force George Lucas, along with his dedicated behind-the-scene heroes from the "Star Wars" of the 1970s and 1980s ("Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" in 1977, "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, and "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" in 1983) to the prequels produced two decades after ("Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" in 1999 and

‘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

‘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

‘Shrek the Third’ Film Review: The slapstick third

While it offers nothing new on the table, this third movie of the "Shrek" franchise compensates with its laid-back familiarity and comedy. The Shrek Franchise The best thing about the "Shrek" movies is that you are offered a patented comic blend of fairy tale tradition and pop-culture references. These recreate a comic flavor and moral implications for its wide commercial range of movie viewers. The franchise's main charm is its organic ability to mix fairy tale sweetness and pop-culture tradition with a

‘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

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