Me = One Happy Geek!
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Guillermo del Toro; based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien
Cast: Martin Freeman & Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Ken Stott as Balin, Graham McTavish as Dwalin, William Kircher as Bifur, James Nesbitt as Bofur, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, Dean O’Gorman as Fili, Aidan Turner as Kili, John Callen as Oin, Peter Hambleton as Gloin, Jed Brophy as Nori, Mark Hadlow as Dori, Adam Brown as Ori, Andy Serkis as Gollum, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Sylvester McCoy as Radagast, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Running time: 2 hours 49 minutes
IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903624/
Plot: Sixty years before The Lord of the Rings, happily respectable hobbit Bilbo Baggins finds himself on a dangerous quest with 13 dwarves and the legendary wizard, Gandalf.
There are two versions of me reviewing Peter Jackson’s latest trip to Middle-earth. One is the proud geek who became an obsessive J.R.R. Tolkien fan after seeing Jackson’s movie of The Fellowship of the Ring. The other is the professional film critic of 15+ years whose job is to analyze every cinematic effort I see (whether I really want to or not).
What It Is
A strange Disney-produced fable about an infertile couple (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton) who find a little kid (CJ Adams) in their garden. He’s basically everything they ever dreamed of, although he has leaves growing out of his legs and seems to possess magical powers. So, you know, not exactly what they imagined.
Oh, and it was co-produced by Ahmet Zappa, who also came up with the story idea. I’m not even sure what to say about that.
Why I Saw It
I was going to be on the radio that week, and needed another movie to review. Later, I thought, “Why should I limit myself to just talking about how bad and weird this movie is? I can write about it, too!”
What I Learned
- Somewhere in America, a factory worker and a museum guide can afford a big house with acreage.
- Adoption agency caseworkers are the most patient people on earth.
- Never, ever make old people laugh.
- If you are obsessed with having a child, and one somehow appears in your home overnight, no one will bat an eyelid. You can even enroll him in school with no questions asked.
- Nobody in this country understands soccer.
- Ugly, unwieldy pencils are the new pet rocks.
Director & Writer: Leigh Scott; inspired by the book series by L. Frank Baum
Cast: Paulie Rojas as Dorothy Gale, Billy Boyd as Nick, Eliza Swenson as Billie, Christopher Lloyd as The Wizard, Lance Henriksen as Uncle Henry, Sean Astin as Frack, Ethan Embry as Frick
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes
IMDB Page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1592287/
Plot: Children’s author Dorothy Gale discovers that her books are based on her own repressed childhood experiences, which are starting to impact her daily life in New York City.
Note: There will be a Q&A with producer Nick Everhart (a UMKC graduate), actress-composer-producer Eliza Swenson, & actors Paulie Rojas (Dorothy) and Noel Thurman (Glinda) at the AMC Studio 30 in Olathe at 8pm on February 24th, and another at AMC Town Center in Leawood at 4:45pm on February 25th.
Imagine making up a modern-day Wizard of Oz story and shooting it in the backyard with your friends. Now imagine someone gave you a special-effects budget and the services of several experienced character actors. You’d probably end up with something like Dorothy and the Witches of Oz, which combines the “gee, let’s put on a show!” ethos of low-budget filmmaking with the ambition of something much bigger.
If you thought Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 was too slow, prepare to have your need for speed satisfied.
From a ride on a dragon’s back to the epic final battle at Hogwarts, Part 2 rarely pauses as it roars to the series’ finish.
Troll Hunter is a bizarre mashup of Grimm’s fairy tales, Godzilla movies, The X-Files and The Blair Witch Project. If that sounds like fun, it is. Up to a point.
It’s always tempting to grade movies on a curve this time of year.
Awards season is over, the summer blockbusters haven’t rolled out yet and the best we can hope for is bland watchability at the multiplex.
Beastly is tolerable enough for a March release. Yes, that is damning with faint praise.