The Lovely Bones

Dan Movie Reviews

As his follow-up to King Kong, Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson, along with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, adapted the 2002 award-winning novel, The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.  The story, which takes place in December 1973, focuses on 14-year old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), and her rape and murder by secluded neighbor George Harvey (Stanley Tucci).  Now in a Heaven-like limbo, Susie watches as her family deals with their loss, and her father (Mark Wahlberg) tries to solve her …

Sherlock Holmes

Dan Movie Reviews

In Guy Ritchie’s re-imagining of the classic Arthur Conan Doyle sleuth, Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. plays the titular character, and Jude Law plays Dr. Watson.  The film starts in 1891’s London, where Holmes and Watson manage to stop Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) from successfully enacting a human sacrifice ritual as part of the dark arts.  During the three months between Blackwood’s capture and his execution date, Holmes has grown bored, Watson has become engaged, and soon the mysterious Irene …

The Princess and the Frog

Dan Movie Reviews

While the last few years have focused on exclusively computer-animated projects, like Meet the Robinsons and Bolt, Walt Disney Feature Animation finally returned to the classic art of 2D hand-drawn animation this past year, with The Princess and the Frog.  Directed and written by The Little Mermaid’s John Musker and Ron Clement, the film is loosely based on the classic fairytale of "The Frog Prince", but with a few twists.  First, the story and action is set in early 20th …

2012

Dan Movie Reviews

With 2012, Roland Emmerich – the current king of modern disaster films – takes on the theory of the end-of-the-world as prophesied by the ancient Maya to take place on December 21, 2012.  Starting in 2009, Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an American geologist, discovers from his counterpart in India that the neutrinos from a massive solar flare are heating up the Earth’s core, like a microwave, and that this will cause catastrophic results.  Over the next three years, the President …

The Road

Dan Movie Reviews

No Country for Old Men was the first exposure I had to the works of Cormac McCarthy, and while I only saw the Oscar-winning film version by the Coen Brothers, I could tell that this guy had some seriously bleak imagery in his head that he was putting forth.  His post-apocalyptic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Road, was adapted into a feature film, directed by John Hillcoat, and it was bleaker than I would have expected. The movie – like the …

A Christmas Carol

Dan Movie Reviews

Charles Dickens’ classic tale of redemption, A Christmas Carol, has had numerous film adaptations made over the years.  Probably the best and most revered one is 1951’s Scrooge, starring Alastair Sim as the stingy curmodgeon Ebenezer Scrooge.  Now, director Robert Zemeckis – who has eschewed traditional filmmaking techniques for motion-capture technology – brings us a new version of the holiday classic, re-imagined as a 3D “multi-sensory thrill ride”.  That’s a bit of a stretch, really, but this 3D animated version …

The Hurt Locker

Dan Movie Reviews

The Iraq War can be a rather contentious subject for a film, especially with Hollywood’s typical anti-war approach, which has consistently failed at the box office.  So it was refreshing when a film not only tried to take an apolitical approach to the war, but really focused on a group of men who are fighting a unique aspect of it.  Following a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, The Hurt Locker is a tense film from beginning to end, …

Where the Wild Things Are

Dan Movie Reviews

After many troubled attempts, Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book, Where the Wild Things Are, has finally made the leap to the big screen.  The story is about Max (Max Records), a lonely kid with an overactive imagination, who runs away after a fight with his single mom.  He travels by boat across the sea to an island, where he encounters the Wild Things.  Max convinces them he is a king, so they won’t eat him, and he eventually bonds with …

The Invention of Lying

Dan Movie Reviews

In The Invention of Lying, we are exposed to an alternate reality where humans are unable to lie.  As a result, there is no such thing as fiction, and Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is a writer for a lecture-film series, and is stuck with writing about the Black Plague, which no one cares about. After a horrible blind date with Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner), where she pointedly admits that she has no interest in him, he’s fired from his job …

A Serious Man

Dan Movie Reviews

It’s nearly impossible to describe a Coen Brothers film.  In the case of A Serious Man, it can’t be categorized into any particular film genre. Part drama, part comedy, the film opens with a seemingly unrelated prologue that takes place in 19th century Poland, involving a Jewish man, his wife, and a strange traveler.  From there we meet Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a Jewish professor who is raising his family in the suburbs of Minneapolis in the late 1960s.  His wife …