Category: "Musings"

Terminal Illness: How Hollywood Has Handled Life’s Toughest Subject

Perhaps this point could be debated, but nothing is more cruelly unfair than serious illness. You can blame murder and war on people, but unless you’re a conspiracy theorist, you can’t sanely blame anyone when someone develops cancer or a similarly vile or fatal illness. Yes, some are preventable, but many simply aren’t. Depressed yet? […]

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Netflix Separates Mail from Streaming: What to Do Now?

This morning, if you are a Netflix subscriber you were apologized to, so let me start off by apologizing for not covering the big Netflix news this summer, which now matters all the more after the most recent announcement. The company’s announced change in pricing structure, which takes effect this month (for me on Wednesday […]

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A History of Box-Office Magic: Will Anything Top ‘Harry Potter’?

$168 million in its first weekend. $92.1 million in its first day. $43.5 million in its first public screenings. These are incredible numbers, but allow me to cast a small memory charm on you for a moment. The success of “Harry Potter” goes well, well beyond the current and long-term success of “Harry Potter and the […]

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Most Surprising and Disappointing Movies of 2011 So Far

Personally, the mid-way point in the year is not so much a time for putting together lists of the best films of the year thus far. If you want my take on the best, just look at the scores I’ve given movies released in 2011 so far and you’ll find my top picks (although I’ve […]

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Comedy Sequels: Why History Proves “The Hangover Part II” Will Disappoint

Here’s a trivia question for you: name one first sequel to a pure comedy (the second film in a comedy franchise) that was better than the original. I will give you a few hard returns to think about it. … … … Yup, it’s a trick question. There are none. And that’s a matter of […]

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The Evolution of Alien Invasion Movies and What Makes Them “Human”

Whether or not life exists outside of our planet is one of humanity’s defining questions. Ever since Copernicus and the early astronomers proved that the Earth revolved around the sun, not vice-versa, the thought that humans might not be the focal point of the universe became a real possibility. Then, in 1920, Edwin Hubble discovered […]

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Natalie Portman has found her spotlight

Natalie Portman has long been a respected actress, but coming off a Golden Globe win and on the brink of a second career Oscar nomination, the 29-year-old has finally hit her stride and could quite possibly become one of the more in-demand actresses of the next decade.

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The short life expectancy of modern comedians

It’s tough to be funny in the 21st Century. Doesn’t it seem that almost every big movie comedian of the last ten years becomes either annoying or keeps playing the same character way too quickly? I challenge you to find a prolific comedian with an immaculate record, especially north of the year 2000.

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Best of 2010: The Year in Review

I’ve already shared with you the top genre films and my top 10 films of 2010, so now it’s time to take a close look at the year 2010 as it was for movies. Most movie-lovers, myself included, look back in disappointment at this year. The first-half slate of new movies was excruciatingly weak and […]

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What happened to (good) Christmas movies?

They don’t make them like they used to — as archaic as that expression makes me sound. Heck, they don’t even make them at all, practically. Last year, I featured my five favorite Christmas movies, but none of them, naturally, come after 1996. I’m not really complaining about this. Almost every “Christmas movie” that has […]

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Making Family Films Focking Funny

Who ever thought a film about a nurse named Gaylord Focker meeting his future in-laws, one of whom is ex-CIA, would ever pave the way for a comedy trilogy? The simple idea to capitalize on the tension of the in-law relationship made “Meet the Parents” a hit with audiences back in 2000 and consequently its […]

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How “Shrek” Changed Animation Happily Ever After

Today marks the release of “Shrek: The Whole Story.” No, no, this is not a new “Shrek” film, thank goodness — the last film came out in May, it’s over (unless you count the upcoming “Puss in Boots” spinoff). Anyway, today you can buy all four chapters together in a box set — just in […]

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Mila Kunis keeps proving she’s multi-talented

She spent 10 years as a moderately recognized TV actress, but it only took Mila Kunis three years to shoot to full-fledged movie star. In 2008, Kunis found herself alongside Jason Segel and Kristen Bell in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” which launched her from recognizable to unstoppable. At 27, Kunis has proven to be one of […]

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Which independent films have a shot at the 2011 Oscars?

An irrefutable truth these days is that independent films get more exposure — and more love come awards season. After all, “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Hurt Locker” were the last two films to win Best Picture. Now that this category is heading toward its second year of 10 nominees, the odds are greater still that […]

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Disney says it’s finished with fairy tales

Although I firmly believe Hollywood can never say never, it appears that Disney, at the moment, has no interest in continuing its revitalized push for big-screen fairy tales. Ed Catmull of Pixar — who along with John Lasseter oversees the Disney house-brand animated films — told the LA Times: “Films and genres do run a […]

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