The Karate Kid

Dre at the tournament during his final match.

I have a new plan. A cunning plan, even. I’m going to start watching and reviewing every TV show or movie from the 1980’s that was ever considered financially successful and/or a cult classic. Then, when someone gets around to remaking, say, Airplane! or Night Court for the big screen, all I have to do is change the actors’ names and maybe a few other details, and my review will be all set! It’ll be a huge timesaver, sort of like the way newspapers keep updated obituaries ready for celebrities.

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Splice

Elsa and Dren come face to face for the first time.

As the credits were rolling and everyone else was scampering to leave the theatre — though they were really short credits, bizarrely, so they almost didn’t have to bother — the woman who’d been sitting two rows behind me said to her friend, “That was so ethically questionable.” She has a point, even though twenty minutes before that she and her friend were both laughing so loudly that anyone happening by would have assumed there was a comedy playing on the screen. Sadly, though, that particular scene did have its laughable aspects, so I can’t entirely blame them.

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Dastan and Tamina huddle in a tent in a sandstorm and talk strategy.

Thanks to Hollywood’s generosity and thoughtfulness, people like me (who haven’t owned a game console since the Nintendo 64 was the latest thing) can still find out all about the new, hot games — if they’re willing to wait until they’re no longer new and hot, since it takes a while to get one of these movies released, of course. This is one such movie, and apparently the subtitle is important, since The Prince of Persia is apparently quite a different animal than The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the second one being the game sequel to the first one.
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Robin Hood

Robin charging into battle against the French.

I — I don’t know where to start. It’s all so strange.

I’m best at the Tudor time period, but I’ve also read a lot about Eleanor of Aquitaine and her sons because — let’s face it — Eleanor was the coolest European noblewoman ever. She told the King of France to take a hike, and he did. Eileen Atkins makes a pretty good Eleanor, don’t get me wrong. The acting’s good all around. But the history. Oh, the history.

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Iron Man 2

Iron Man gleaming in the sun, repulsor ray at the ready.

The thing about sequels (usually) is that they get more expensive and more outrageous. If you destroy ten cars in the first movie, you have to wreck thirty in the next, and if you make it to four or five, you’re destroying two-thirds of the annual output of Detroit. And the ways in which the cars are wrecked get exponentially weirder. A pile-up on the freeway isn’t enough anymore. A few sequels down the road (so to speak), filmmakers apparently feel required to throw them at airborne helicopters or have them melted down by an erupting volcano or something.

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Nightmare on Elm Street

Jackie Earle Haley as the new and not really improved Freddy Krueger.

I never saw the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I know, what kind of movie critic does that make me, right? It’s considered something of a classic of the genre, and here’s me, not watching it. It isn’t because I thought it was bad, though; it’s because I’m such a complete coward about scary movies. But I gathered up my courage, thought of you, my 49 loyal fans, and headed out to the theatre, fully prepared to have to cover my eyes for at least 30 of the film’s 95 minutes.

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The Losers

The Losers, as envisioned in the comic book and the movie.

You know, movies based on comic books are hard to review, too. I like comic books, graphic novels, all that kind of stuff, so I suspect I probably tend to like movies based on them a little more than the average non-comic-reader. I think it makes me second-guess myself when I’m trying to rate them. As usual, I tried my best to avoid reading other people’s ratings, but sometimes things sneak past me and I catch a phrase like “very mixed reviews” that leaves me wondering if I’m being too generous.

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The Wisconsin Film Festival, 2010, Part II: Return of the Killer Festival

Juan and Malamadre bond, in a scary sort of way.

This one’s based on a book, too, only just one book this time: Celda 211, by Francisco PĂ©rez Gandul. It’s set in Spain, mostly in and around what looks to be a very large, very high-security prison, so right there I knew it was going to be just as bad as Red Riding, if not worse. And it was kind of worse, at least on average, since this time they only had about two hours to work with.

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Red Riding

1974's reporter, Eddie; 1980's detective, Peter; and 1983's lawyer, John

Every year, I go to the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, and wallow in the excitement of having literally hundreds of movies available to watch that I might never have seen otherwise. This was the twelfth year, and it’s huge now compared to what it was like the first time I went, way back in the third year, I think it was. Then, it was actually humanly possible to watch all the films over the two and half days of the festival. Most of them were shown at least two or three times.
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