It’s an accepted fact in the cinema world that sequels are rarely better than their predecessors.  The case has been argued for everything from “The Godfather Part II” and “Aliens,” to “Scream 2,” but. despite all the heated debate, no consensus has ever been reached that any of those movies is better than the first.  So, it gives me a certain amount of pleasure to believe that “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is the first truly authentic example of this rarest of phenomenons I’ve ever seen.  Not only does “Dawn” blow “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” out of the water inRead More →

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho tale of post-apocalyptic insurrection, “Snowpiercer,” arrives in the states on the heels of a minor controversy, after domestic distributor and notable meddler Harvey Weinstein famously attempted to wrestle final cut of the film away from Bong and edit it down for purposes of length and pacing.  Bong fought back in a public dispute and won, maintaining final cut of the film.  Much has been made of Bong’s bravery for going head-to-head with one of Hollywood’s most ruthless titans.  But having seen the film for myself, I wonder if maybe Weinstein was right to interfere: “Snowpiercer” is a glorious mess, aRead More →

I really like the “Transformers” movies.  There, I said it.  I’m sure it won’t be long before some figurative hit has been put on my movie life for saying such a thing, so I’ll consider a cinema version of the witness protection program before I find myself floating at the bottom of the Hudson wearing nothing but a smile and cement film reels for shoes. It feels dangerous, and a little thrilling, to come to terms with the idea that maybe Michael Bay isn’t quite the devil I once thought he was.  There was a day when I sided vociferously with the more literate filmRead More →