Directed by: Ava DuVernay Starring: Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine Rated: PG for thematic elements and some peril. Since its first publication in 1962, Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wrinkle in Time” has been continuously in print. It’s an enduring classic of science fantasy, a young-adult-ish novel that’s accessible to just about everyone. Adapting it for the big screen is a tall order, and director Ava DuVernay has thrown herself into her work with undeniable passion. DuVernay has said it’s meant to be viewed by children and those with a child’s wonder, and she’s right. Some folks will love it and some will be dismissive. It depends on the attitude you bring to the film. This is a coming-of-age story. Our heroine Meg (Storm Reid) sets out to save her father (Chris Pine), who’s been missing for four years. Along the way, she breaks through
Directed by: Guy Ritchie Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Tom Wu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Neil Maskell, Annabelle Wallis, Eric Bana Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content and brief strong “King Arthur” is pretty much everything you could want from a medieval Guy Ritchie film. More magic and castles, but still lots of action, sharp and fast dialog, and a gathering of loosely-connected plot elements into a tight finish. It’s a very loose adaptation of the story of King Arthur, but it succeeds at what it aims for: smashing Ritchie’s style together with a mostly straight-forward medieval fantasy story. Think of Richie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movies, but Arthurian rather than Victorian. The film starts with some backstory – an attempt at world domination by a Mage, the betrayal and murder of King Uther (Eric Bana), the King’s only son left to be found and raised by commoners.
Directed by: Tim Burton Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Stamp Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril Tim Burton’s newest film (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) features neither Johnny Depp nor Helena Bonham Carter, and doesn’t even have Danny Elfman doing music. His normal level of kookiness is also somewhat absent. To top things off, he stuck his foot in his mouth during a recent interview and said some pretty racist stuff. Folks trying to decide whether to see “Miss Peregrine’s” will need to weigh not only considerations of book adaptation and tone, but also whether his remarks affect their comfort with paying to see his film. All of this aside, the film is pretty good. The book it’s based on is very popular, and fans of the book will need to be okay with major changes between page
Directed by: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Sheridan Smith, Alexandra Roach. Rated: PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality. If you saw 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman,” it should be pretty easy for you to decide whether to see the new film “The Huntsman: Winter’s War.” It’s not really a seqel, it tells a parallel story with some of the same characters. As with the first movie, there’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike – and they’re pretty much all the same things as in the first film. If you didn’t see the first film, there’s not a whole lot to enjoy about this one except the visuals, which are admittedly pretty stunning. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is separated into two stories. The first centers on Freya (Emily Blunt), sister of Ravenna (Charlize Theron) – the evil queen from the
Making what is essentially a prequel to one of the most beloved films of all time is a risky business. “Oz, The Great and Powerful” gives us the story of how the titular wizard in “The Wizard of Oz” got to where he is when Dorothy meets him. It’s not a perfect film by any means, but it has all the magic and charm we can expect from a Disney film.
Fans of Middle-Earth, rejoice! A new movie is out, ready to take you to that land of Elves, Hobbits, and Dwarves. It’s also making use of the new high frame-rate technology available for 3D projection, so if you’re a film tech nerd, it’s doubly exciting. This isn’t a non-stop action thriller, of course; as with “The Fellowship of the Ring,” it’s setting a trilogy in motion and starts off slow. Still, there’s a lot to love for all but the anti-fantasy crowd and hardcore Tolkien purists.
Kids movies that take the time and trouble to be enjoyable by and accessible to grownups have a special place in my heart, especially when they’re fairly smart and creatively designed. “Rise of the Guardians” falls into this camp, and I enjoyed the first hour and twenty minutes enough to forgive the last ten for not living up to their promise.
It seems like just about every movie whose protagonist is a young woman has to have a love interest for her. In some cases (Disney, I’m looking at you), the young woman’s entire adventure revolves entirely around getting her man. Not exactly inspiring for young girls who are more interested in adventures than in boys.
There’s a lot to like about “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and a lot to dislike. This grittier take on the familiar fairy tale is likely to divide audiences into those who demand intelligence (or at least not willful stupidity) from movies and those who just want to be taken for a fun ride. If you’re in the latter group, you’re in for a good time.
Disney has a knack for producing movies that aren’t terribly demanding, but are very entertaining for kids of all ages, including grown-up ones. “John Carter,” loosely adapted from the Edgar Rice Burroughs book “A Princess of Mars,” is just such a flick. If you’re the kind of person who can’t set aside science and enjoy a grand adventure on the surface of Mars, this is not a movie for you.