Tag Archives: Movies

‘Alice’ sitting comfortably in box office wonderland

“Alice in Wonderland” © Walt Disney Pictures
“Alice in Wonderland” © Walt Disney Pictures

Jessica Meneghin

Staff Writer

If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of people who have already stepped through the looking glass and into Tim Burton’s 3D Wonderland, you probably have just one question:

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

“Alice in Wonderland in 3D,” Tim Burton’s film-attempt at the legendary Lewis Carroll writings, does not answer this pestering riddle for you. What the movie does do is the absolute best to-date job of re-visioning Carroll’s classic story, in its entirety, for the big screen.

In other words: exactly what Tim Burton set out to do.

While “Alice” was still in its infant stages, Burton told the internet magazine, the “Sci-Fi Wire,” that he’d never seen a version of the fabled story where he felt like they had “gotten it all.” He said he thought trying to make the stories work as a whole, and as a movie would be “interesting.”

He also compared the stories to drugs for children.

“It’s like, ‘Whoa, man,’” he said. “The imagery; they’ve never quite nailed making it compelling as a full story…so I think it’s an interesting challenge to direct.”

“Interesting” is perhaps not as appropriate a word as, say, “crazy”; especially once you consider the fact that Burton had never read the original novel, and was largely unfamiliar with anything Carroll-related, until this “Alice” project fell into his lap.

At a Feb. 20 press conference, he admitted, “I’m from Burbank, so we never heard about ‘Alice in Wonderland’ except for the Disney cartoon, the Tom Petty video, Jefferson Airplane…”

This recent trip to the box office even awarded Burton a new top domestic grosser, as “Alice” has now earned a healthy 10 million dollars more than his old top-earner, “Batman.”

For three weeks in a row now, and with the sixth-biggest third weekend of all time, Tim Burton’s latest vision has been drifting peacefully in box office wonderland.

And with worldwide ticket sales now topping 565.8 million dollars, it doesn’t look like “Alice” is going anywhere anytime soon.

Shutter Island makes audiences shudder

Kayla Dimick

Staff Writer

   “Don’t you get it? You’re a rat in a maze.”

   Since its release date of February 19, the new psychological thriller “Shutter Island” has had audiences quaking in their boots.

   The film, set in 1954, is directed by academy award-winner Martin Scorsese and follows the story of U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio).

   Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are investigating the whereabouts of an escaped murderess and patient.

   The story takes place at Ashecliffe Hospital, an institution for the “criminally insane,” which is located on the remote Shutter Island near Boston.

   After the institute’s refusal of important documents that are crucial to the case and their vague answers to important questions, Daniels begins to question what his actual purpose is on the island.

   “Shutter Island” is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane.

   “Shutter Island” takes viewers on an emotional roller coaster, ranging from scared, to angry, to sad, to just downright disturbed. Plus, it has something for everyone.

   For the sentimental, it has a heart-breaking back-story.  For the thrill-seekers, it has unexpected surprises that’ll make you jump. For the mystery lovers, it contains boatloads of plot twists.

   Combine this with two parts stellar acting, and for the ladies, good looks by DiCaprio; two parts innovative direction by Scorsese; two parts of the unexpected-yet-well done casting of Ruffalo, who usually frequents chick-flicks and a dash of the intriguing plot originally from the mind of Lehane. Mix until frothy.

   According to the Motion Picture Association of America, “Shutter Island” is rated “R” for disturbing violent content, language and some nudity.

   If you do see “Shutter Island”, which is highly, highly recommended, don’t go alone. Bring a friend. Or two. Or three.

Dear John

Savannah Wilcox

Staff Writer

   Eyes dripped with tears as Dear John stole the hearts of many women worldwide. Dear John is a novel written by New York Times Best-Selling Author Nicholas Sparks.

   With the 32.4 million dollars debut on Friday, Feb. 5, Dear John proved to be one of the best love stories of the year.

   Starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried, these two play the role of John Tyree and Savannah Curtis, the prized love affair lurking in the hearts of women everywhere.

   John is a soldier in the Army Special Forces, who falls in love with Savannah Curtis, a college student on spring break, while he is at home on leave.

   This movie represents a story of passion, love and long distance relationships. Tears will flow while watching this endless love story, especially while enduring the surprise ending of the story.

   Dear John touched the hearts of many as it surpassed Avatar at number one in the box office opening weekend.

   Dear John is a romantic film based on life after love, and the hardships that may pass with every relationship formed in a lifetime.

   If you have not seen it yet, get your hands on a movie ticket soon, and do not forget your handkerchief.

Avatar Mixed Bag

Avatar has won numerous accolades, broken world records and pioneered new special effects technology, but movie goers hoping for revolutionary writing will be disappointed. Written, produced and directed by James Cameron (Titanic, The Terminator Series), and starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang.
Cameron’s latest offering sees Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) play Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-marine who ships out to the alien world Pandora to take part in an experiment started by his dead brother.
On the lush jungle world, a nebulous and unnamed corporation harvests the poorly named, extremely expensive and rare element ‘Unobtanium.’ The corporation hires military forces, led by Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare at Goats) in a turn as transparent antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch to fight the dangerous Native creatures.
The world is home to a myriad of wonderfully designed and animated creatures and scenery, and a large blue humanoid native race. The natives revere nature, which stands at odds to the corporate interests.
Jake Sully soon finds himself between the two worlds, when he inhabits the body of a genetic hybrid between the two species. Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters II, the Alien series) guides him as Doctor Grace Augustine, a cynical, but caring scientist.
The film takes much from tales like “Dances with Wolves”, “Pocahontas” and other similar tails, without adding anything substantial. Often times the characters seem flat, and the dialogue stilted, with slower scenes tending to drag on dramatically.
It does, however, showcase remarkable special effects and visual design, reminding us why James Cameron is so lauded for his films. The action scenes where masterfully done, if sometimes overly long, with a climax that is breathtaking. Those who go expecting a thought provoking film will leave disappointed, but those who know what to expect from Cameron hopefully won’t regret having seen it.

Eli Brings Enlightenment

In a society where all you have to guide you is believing “The Book of Eli” enlightens you.
Directors Albert & Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents) return with “The Book of Eli” starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.
In the Hughes Brothers’ latest screen spectacle Denzel Washington (American Gangster) plays Eli, a man trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world where people have forgotten what is really important: having faith.
In this world it has come to the point where even the most basic of resources are fought for and people will do anything in their power to get what they need, this includes even going as far as killing for water.
Eli is a lone wolf, but when he meets up with a girl played by Mila Kunis (That 70’s Show, Family Guy), he changes his ways. The young lady is being forced to do unspeakable things, and after much pleading by her mother, Eli agrees to do what he can to save her so that she won’t have to cope with everything her mother is forced to endure.
“The Book of Eli” has the same look to it at times of classics from the past such as “Mad Max,” but with a deeper plot and better character development.
If you have liked other titles from The Hughes Brothers go into this movie with an open mind. The “Book of Eli” has the same trademark dialogue and scene feel, however it breaks new ground in the sense that it deals with a subject that is different from what they have done before.
“The Book of Eli” gives a whole new feel to the idea of religion; you have the fanatic religious leader but he takes his beliefs and tries to make his followers do everything for him and not for what they should.
Some people will go into this movie and come out feeling offended and others will get the deeper message that it tries to convey in that you don’t have to “see to believe.” This movie may not win any awards or other accolades, but hopefully you can go in and come out not feeling like you have wasted two hours of your life.
I give it 3.5 out of 5.