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California Literary Review » movie adventure California Literary Review

Movie Review: Oblivion

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Matthew
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Newlin

April 19th, 2013

Director Joseph Kosinski, who helmed the vapid and cartoonish TRON: Legacy, uses every frame of Oblivion as a canvas on which he can project the massive adventure he wants audiences to experience. Kosinski, who made a sizable impression on the industry with his commercial work, has a background as an architect and his eye for details and contrasting imagery is front and center in this film.

Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

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Matthew
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Newlin

March 28th, 2013

Unable to fathom who would actually enjoy a movie like that, I wondered how I was going to write a critical analysis of such a terrible piece of Hollywood junk. So, for my review of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, I have invited a special guest to help me discuss the movie and break down what worked and what did not. Please help me in welcoming my 12-year-old self, Matt.

Movie Review: The Croods

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Brett Harrison
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Davinger

March 19th, 2013

An overprotective father, Grug prefers to keep his clan holed up inside a cave until they need food while Eep wants to explore the world outside, to her father’s dismay. After sneaking out one night, she encounters fire-maker/idea man Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his pet Belt.

Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

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Matthew
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Newlin

March 8th, 2013

But, where the 1939 movie was an unbelievably forward-thinking work of art that inspired filmmakers for decades, the movie we get in 2013 does nothing to advance the medium and only capitalizes on the technology of its predecessors. Director Sam Raimi takes no risks and his lack of inventiveness ruins what could have been a very entertaining prequel.

Movie Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

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Brett Harrison
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Davinger

March 1st, 2013

Magic beans are magic beans — not some genetically altered strain developed by an evil alchemist. Good is good and evil is evil. This is the movie’s most positive quality. For so many years, it has felt as if we’ve watched movies play dress up, putting on costumes of somberness, 21st century cynicism, and faux-complexity…

Movie Review: On The Road

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Brett Harrison
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Davinger

December 14th, 2012

Salles treats the material with a needless seriousness. It brings the bodies of the chapters of the book, but not their souls. It shows sex-and-drug fueled parties without imbuing them with the spirit of those moments and thus they become very repetitive and boring.

Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

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Matthew
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Newlin

November 21st, 2012

In Rise of the Guardians, we discover that not only are Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny real, they also comprise an ancient league chosen to protect mankind’s children. The Guardians, as they are called, are made up of some of the most beloved characters from our childhood who, as we grow older, become less and less real.

Movie Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

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Julia
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Rhodes

November 17th, 2012

Here’s where the movie diverges from the book. In Meyer’s version, there is no battle. There are “warring” factions of vampires standing in a snowy field giving each other the side-eye, and then it’s over. What kind of end to your “saga” is that? Condon and writer Melissa Rosenberg devised a brilliant scheme; a gruesome vampire/wolf melee has most of the series’ important characters dying horrible deaths.

Movie Review: Skyfall

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Matthew
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Newlin

November 9th, 2012

Our latter-day Bond, played to perfection by Daniel Craig, has re-energized the character created by novelist Ian Fleming and encompasses both the class and style typified by Bond in the early years of the now five-decade old franchise. The super spy’s latest outing, Skyfall (a.k.a Bond 23), is not only a humble homage to the earliest films (Dr. No, Goldfinger), but also a gigantic leap forward in terms of the character’s mythology which has been, up until now, rather blurry.

Movie Review: The Expendables 2

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Dan
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Fields

August 18th, 2012

The Expendables 2 operates as a parody of a sequel to an already outrageous film, but it would be nice if it it stood more solidly on its own merits.

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

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Brett Harrison
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Davinger

July 4th, 2012

When I first left the theater, I was ambivalent about this movie but hopeful about the sequel. The franchise has good leads in Garfield and Stone, and now that the origin is out of the way, the filmmakers may be more willing to take this Spider-Man in their own direction. Nevertheless, there’s something disheartening about a movie whose primary reason for existing seems to be as a placeholder for a sequel.

Movie Review: Brave

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Dan
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Fields

June 23rd, 2012

This is not your typical Disney princess rendition of romance. In fact, it has no essential connection to losing one’s heart to a prince. Adventure is Merida’s first love, and above all she longs for the freedom to determine her own fate. Her high spirits make her the apple of her father’s eye, but also bring her into constant clashes with her mother, whose sole aim is to cultivate some courtly bearing in the fiery young lass.

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

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Julia
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Rhodes

June 2nd, 2012

After a kiss reawakens Snow White (though it may not be the kiss you’re expecting, which is slightly obnoxious), she rallies her men with a speech – and I do like Stewart, but this scene is horrible – and rides off to war with them. While previous Snow Whites have been pretty little princesses, this one wears leather pants beneath her skirts and looks “fetching in maille.” It’s one of the movie’s redeeming factors. And who should be the one to defeat the dark queen, but the princess herself? For Stewart, who’s been stuck playing weak, pathetic, husk Bella for years now, the role must’ve seemed a brilliant departure.

Movie Review: The Avengers

by
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Julia
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Rhodes

May 5th, 2012

Not to compare actors to superheroes, but this cast could easily have exploded in our faces; like their characters, each of these actors is famous in his or her own right. Some are A-list while others hover just below, and it takes a persuasive genius (shall we call Whedon a Nick Fury of sorts?) to gather them and get them to fight for a common cause.

Movie Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

by
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Dan
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Fields

April 28th, 2012

Meanwhile, the West Indies are buzzing with the imminent Pirate Of The Year Awards. The most fearsome captains are caught up in furious last-minute plundering for a shot at the coveted prize. The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is one such contender, but his lovable antics and luxuriant beard are beginning to pale against his modest record of villainy. To distinguish himself from his flamboyant rivals, he must lead his loyal crew of knuckleheads into an adventure like none other. Who could imagine that a chance encounter with Charles Darwin, sailing homeward on the Beagle, would provide the opportunity?

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