The “Hunger Games” have finally arrived. Much like the characters in this movie everyone is anxious to enjoy how interesting this film is only to realize that the premise is handled as blandly as one could fear. Considering the whole premise is about a game where 24 youths hunt and kill each other this movie is exceedingly boring. I couldn’t help but wish for the film to be over before they even entered the games (as in one game). When the “games” started I realized the option of walking out became even more appealing.
Primrose Everdeen’s sister is drafted into some ridiculous game she volunteers to fight the good fight instead, thus saving her sister. Each of the twelve districts is expected to hand over one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 per year to compete to the death. She takes on this task to save her sister and enters a new world of ridiculous fashion and eventually some terribly shot action.
John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a man searching for a cave of gold and doing his best to stay out of other people’s battles no matter how much of a warrior he might be. When he accidentally finds his cave a series of events unfold that transport him to Mars. While there he is discovered by Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) a 12-foot tall green barbarian and eventually saves Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) who will need much more of his help to save her planet.
“John Carter” is a traditional sci-fi story with all the cheesy moments it’s 1917 roots has to offer. It’s not bad cheese, but fun, sometimes light moments of being just a tad too nerdy or moments of situational humor. The film is an entertaining romp through a unique vision of Mars and its inhabitants. There is solid action and the characters are easy to connect with, even the 12-foot tall four-armed alien.
“The Secret World of Arrietty” is another Studio Ghibli film. It is a film based on the novel and old TV series, “The Borrowers”. Little people live in a house with big people and try to get discovered, though you know they will. The question is if the big people will be mean to them or not, but with Miyazaki writing you know that they will always be kind and gentle… and there is the problem.
Visually, the film looks like many of Studio Ghibli’s other works. This pretty much means design and animation is not the issue. They certainly have a style that works for them and they know how to use it. Direction is solid enough, considering the screenplay, and voice acting (I watched the Japanese version) is solid.
Brandon Routh is just about as charismatic as they come. Like the “Superman” film he was in or not, Routh is a good actor and one the Balcony supports. That being said he co-stars in a short film against some werewolves and zombies and sells the fact that they are screwed in the most entertaining of ways. The short film may not be more than a showcase for the two leads involved, but it did hold our asses to our seats until it was over, so kudos to Bendavid Grabinski!
Now go check out the short film’s site and the short film held within @ Fo Industries!
This past Saturday EMP in partnership with SIFF held their 7th annual sci-fi shorts festival, Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival. As they put it, "The festival brings together industry professionals in filmmaking and the genres of science fiction and fantasy to encourage and support new, creative additions to science fiction and fantasy cinema arts."
There were 20 animated and live-action short films in all. The quality of these independent short films was really great. "Time Freak", "Chorebot" and "Terminus" to name a few where examples of the extremely well crafted films showcased. We couldn't be happier to have seen these films getting exposure to a sold out theater and watching them on the big screen. Anyone who is a fan of Science Fiction and lives, or can travel to, Seattle owes it to themselves to attend next year's event. There are a few films that can already be found online like "Terminus" (below) and we are sure that there will be more over time. Keep an eye out for them!