Monthly Archives: April 2011

25 posts

Movie Review: Fast Five


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There are plenty of car chases, explosions, fistfights, and gunfights to hold the proceedings together, which is lucky considering the plotting is so wafer thin. As ridiculous and sometimes plain dumb a film as Fast Five is, I have to give it credit for going all the way and at least making an entertaining flick to kick-start the summer blockbuster season.

Movie Review: 13 Assassins


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His new film, 13 Assassins is certainly his most mature work to date, and with few exceptions, it plays much like a traditional chanbara, or samurai period drama. There are hints of classic Kurosawa, as well as the blood-soaked infusion of more explicit action flicks like Samurai Rebellion and the Musashi saga.

The Weekly Listicle – Car (and Chase) Movies That Don’t Run On Diesel


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This week Fast Five – which, as its title rather subtly implies, is the fifth film in the enormously (and bewilderingly) successful The Fast and the Furious franchise – opens nationwide and car culture gets another sugary sweet adrenaline rush. We here at The Fourth Wall are celebrating car movies and car chases this week to give you, our faithful readers, worthy alternatives in a Vin Diesel world.

The Weekly Listicle: Three Rings Of Circus Movie Mayhem!


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The circus is a complicated enterprise, and its symbolic value in storytelling has many faces. It may tell of freedom and the charm of living as a nomad and artist. It may speak to the weariness of the road, and the ability of a lifestyle to trap those who do not know how to break free. It may celebrate the solidarity of those cast out from society. Or in the end, it may simply deal with the hideous antics of clowns. In any form, the circus plays upon the most fundamental feelings of wonder and fear, and makes children of us all once again.

Video Game Review: Homefront


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What’s a publisher to do when faced with the fact that gamers across the world have shot, stabbed and blown up pretty much any decent faceless, non-morally ambiguous enemy in the oversaturated first person shooter genre? After all, what hasn’t been done?

San Francisco Ballet Announces 2012 Season


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As each ballet season draws to an end, the speculation about the next year’s offerings begins. Well, San Francisco Ballet fans don’t have to wait any longer. This week, SFB released the upcoming season, and it looks to be amazing!

Theater Review: Catch Me If You Can


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Without question, the true stars of this musical are the gorgeous chorus girls who glide along the stage with dazzling grace. Choreographer Jerry Mitchell recalls a bygone era creating magic with an array of kick lines and fan dances. The male chorus also displays energetic power, but really, nothing can compare to those smooth gleaming gams. They hypnotize with effortless feminine beauty.

An Interview with Writer/Director Julian Gilbey


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I like to think of myself sometimes as a bit of a Method director, so what the characters are gonna do, I wanna do. Now, when I say “method”, I don’t mean with the kidnapping, no, no – that’s more the fictional side of things! No, it was with the climbing and the mountaineering. … Now that’s not to say we didn’t have quite a lot of wingeing for the opening sequence up the mountain, and you know, the crew got scared, and a rock almost fell on somebody; that’s just bad luck, and mountains are not a safe environment.

Book Review: The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories by Joan Aiken


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The pieces in this collection are tight knots or loose koans—sweet little puzzles. Told with the disarming guilelessness of parables, Aiken’s stories slip the apparent structure of their bounds at the last moment. For example, “The Monkey’s Wedding,” while describing the scrabble for the eponymously named painting, also explores the open-ended drama of a fractured family.

The Trap of Indoctrination in Gaming


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The committee’s been out of session lately. Unlike some almost government shut downs, this wasn’t due to a bunch of politicians arguing over partisan issues, but rather events far more mundane: I got sick. The most common thing the world really. But then I got hooked on something far more […]

Movie Review: Scream 4


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Scream 4’s tagline “New decade, new rules” may be specious. The rules of surviving a slasher film are the same as they’ve always been – don’t drink or do drugs, don’t have sex, and never say “I’ll be right back,” or you’ll end up the next victim with your guts on the floor. Fortunately though, horror master Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson’s reunion brings back the same wit, glee, and panache of, if not the original movie, at least the second one. (Let’s forget Scream 3 ever happened, shall we?)

Art Review: Health for Sale, Philadelphia Museum of Art


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Designed for short-term use to promote public health or sell the latest “miracle” drug, medical posters have often been ignored. Traditionally, these posters have ranked well below the “stars” of Ars Medica collections, such as books of hand-tinted herbal remedies or anatomical drawings from the 16th century. But each of the prints in Health for Sale tells an amazing story, often confounding the expectations of the viewer.

2011: Armageddon Comes Early To Hopeless Film Geeks


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Before the year is out, we may see all the weirdest and most controversial filmmakers of the age rise from cult obscurity and perpetrate further prime-time shenanigans. If this is so, then the time has come to dig out and review your most private and precious DVD collection – all the offbeat and obscure movies to which you would not subject your friends, family, or significant other to for fear of ridicule and ostracism – searching every beautiful and artfully stylized frame for hidden signs and clues. We, the scholars of the screen, must prepare the world.

San Francisco Ballet: Six for Two


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Chic, black Sandra Woodall costumes and the predominately white lighting plan by David Finn serve to pare the work down to its visual essentials, allowing Tomasson’s choreographic design to stand on its own merits. From the unusual slow opening section featuring Yuan Yuan Tan and Tiit Helimets (one of this season’s more felicitous pairings) to the brisk male solo danced by Joan Boada, all the action is in service to the music. Especially effective is the 3rd Movement trio danced by Dores Andre, Elizabeth Miner, and Joan Boada. Fluid and flirtatious, it is a real charmer.

The Weekly Listicle: stoners, slackers, and shenanigans, oh my!


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Our very own Dan Fields reviewed Your Highness last weekend. Dan and most other critics and audiences came to the conclusion that it was particularly worthless. Which is unfortunate. The trailers looked like probable hilarity! What, you say? Natalie Portman in a bikini! James Franco with shaggy hair and in […]