Monday, November 19, 2012
Your Thanksgiving guide to the movies: Red Dawn, Rise of the Guardians and more
Make use of the lethargy that comes with eating too much turkey at the theater.
Life of Pi
Ang Lee is a relatively new director for the American audience but something tells me as soon as audiences see his work in Life of Pi, the Taiwanese-born director will become a household name.
Based on the 2006 book of the same name, Life of Pi follows a young Indian man after he survives a harrowing shipwreck that took everything from him in its wake.
Lee’s movie takes on an ethereal artistic direction that is very much the most visually appealing movie of the year, if not the past decade. While the movie may be in 3D format, Lee’s seamless storytelling makes the viewer forget their 3D glasses were ever worn.
Suraj Sharma plays the young Pi. Sharma, also relatively unknown name, makes a breakout performance as the shippwrrecked youth. Life of Pi’s story forces Sharma to reach deep within himself and display a character so absent of mind and basic humanities that, at points, it’s hard to watch.
Considering that a bulk of the story revolves around the young Pi and his fate on the trepid Pacific oceans, there are not many supporting characters to mention. However, Lee and the visual department do a superb job of crafting the tiger that Pi is shipwrecked with.
The tiger, which may or may not be a metaphor for Pi, is the source for much conflict in the film, as Pi struggles to keep both their hungers at bay.
While the movie may have a far-fetched concept, the underlying lessons attached to Life of Pi make the payoff worthwhile. Life of Pi opens Nov. 21.
Silver Linings Playbook
It’s not often that Bradley Cooper takes a serious turn in acting, but when he does it’s a treat for all of us.
Cooper sheds his “heartthrob” status in exchange for a deeper role in Silver Linings Playbook, a brilliantly penned story that follows a recent mental hospital exoneree and the adaptations he’s forced to make outside the walls of a mental hospital. Cooper landed himself in said hospital after walking in on his wife and her boss in the shower.
Jennifer Lawrence, per usual, is at the top of her game as Tiffany, an equally crazy counterpart to Cooper, who lost her husband in war. Together, Lawrence and Cooper make for a quirky, completely crazy couple that end up competing in a ballroom dance competition as the film nears completion.
The real heart behind Silver Linings Playbook comes from its story. Based on the 2008 book of the same name, Playbook is a rare look into the American family that often goes untouched on the silver screen.
David O. Russell is back in the director’s chair after his Oscar worthy performance for The Fighter and once again impresses with his adaptation of the story. While the film may not be near as gritty as The Fighter, there are times in Playbook where the two films closely resemble each other.
Robert De Niro turns up in the film as Cooper’s father. De Niro’s character has severe obsessive compulsive disorder and an even worse gambling problem, which makes him just as crazy as his certifiable son. De Niro’s slow burning acting skills are perfect for the role. Expect for the veteran actor to make a strong case in the Supporting Actor category at the Academy Awards come February.
Silver Linings Playbook opens Nov. 21.
In 1984, when the original Red Dawn was released, Cold War tensions were at their peak and burgeoning actors Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen were on their way toward superstardom. The Russian invasion of the United States featured in the movie’s plot was not as unlikely as it seems today.
Flash forward almost 30 years and an invasion of the United States seems less plausible. Nonetheless, the recent of reproduction of Red Dawn poorly makes the case for a North Korean invasion.
While paratroopers and tanks roam the streets of Spokane, Wash., a ragtag group of teenagers gather together with an Iraq war veteran, played by Chris Hemsworth, to rebel against the North Korean invaders.
By picking off random officers here and there, blowing up check-in stations and generally irritating the new government of Spokane, the teen resistance fighters, known by their school mascot’s name the Wolverines, try to unite their city against the attack. The movie is almost exclusively intense, long-lasting action scenes filled with fire fights and incredible stunts.
“Dude, we’re living Call of Duty,” one Wolverine said.
Red Dawn relies heavily on these well-executed action montages, making up for the flat but supposedly romantic and sentimental dialogue scenes. Both Hemsworth and on-screen brother Josh Peck struggle to convey any semblance of sibling chemistry or rivalry. Connor Cruise, son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, delivers the most emotional lines and scenes of the movie and exemplifies the themes of sacrifice and national pride that run overtly throughout the film. For fans of the original Red Dawn, the remake provides an entirely new perspective and an even thinner plot, but still holds the same emotional message conveyed in the 1984 flick.
“When you’re fighting in your own back yard, when you’re fighting for your family, it hurts a little less and it makes a little more sense,” Hemsworth’s character said in the film.
The intense action scenes, a characteristic of director and renowned stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, make up for the lackluster acting — resulting in an entertaining but superficial remake of the ‘80s cult classic.
Red Dawn opens in theaters Nov. 21.
Rise of the Guardians
Rise of the Guardians forces its audience, whether children or adults, to do one thing — believe.
With a cast consisting of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost one would be lost without a slight bit of confidence in the existence of these fictional beings. Rise of the Guardians rests on the premise that these characters exist to protect children from evil. In this case, the Bogeyman.
Fueled by darkness and nightmares, the Bogeyman — who goes by the name Pitch — has devised a plan to make children lose their beliefs in Santa Claus and company — thus making them lose their powers and allow Pitch to return to the position he held during the Dark Ages.
Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine, plays an integral part in the film as he is asked to be a guardian despite the lack of belief children hold for him.
While the story behind Rise of the Guardians is sometimes too taxing to swallow, the visuals accompanied with the film are perhaps the best of any animated film this year. The film takes advantage of 3D format and transforms falling snow and Santa’s workshop into life-like recreations that are full of wonder.
For the kids, it is a must see. For adults, it just may make you believe once more.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Daily Campus