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Archive for 2013

Rise of the Guardians (2012) reviewed by Emily Johnson

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Cast: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Jude Law, Isla Fischer, and Hugh Jackman

Director: Peter Ramsey

Synopsis: Chris Pine stars in this lively animated tale based off the book The Guardians of Childhood by William Joyce. In this adaptation, Jack Frost joins Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, the Sandman, and the tooth fairy to defeat the bogeyman that threatens to destroy the imagination of children everywhere. Along the way, Jack questions his identity and finds his purpose as a guardian of children.

Reviewer’s Rating: 3/5 reels


Peter Ramsey unites classic characters in this fun-filled movie. Jack, North, Tooth, Sandman, and Bunny bring to life the characters that have filled legends and stories for the past century.

This film was a great family movie that kept you entertained while maintaining clean humor and fun plot twists. Ramsey did an excellent job of including one-liners that kept the adult audience laughing, but at their wittiness instead of their crudeness that is often found in other movies.

This all-star cast did an excellent job providing the voices for their characters. Although there were several points in the film where Alec Baldwin slipped out of his Russian accent for the voice of “North,” I think it may be in part to the writing of the script itself and not the fault of the actor. The accented voice of Hugh Jackman also adds a great element to the character of “Bunny” who is often referred to as a kangaroo because of his Austalian accent.

Although the film had it’s great moments, the majority of the time the plot was predictable and the script was dry. There were few moments in the storyline that you weren’t expecting as you followed the arch. I feel this is almost to be expected of a film geared toward children, but nonetheless I was left disappointed. The script writing also left something to be desired, several times I felt that the writers could have added powerful dialogue between the characters, but instead most of the film is single sentence replies.

Despite some of its shortcomings, Rise of the Guardians is a great family film that will put a smile on your face.

By Emily Johnson

Man of Steel (2013) reviewed by Brian Alvarez

Man of Steel (2013)

Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

Director: Zack Snyder

Synopsis: A young boy learns that he has super powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must come out to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.

Rating: 5/5 Reels


The film Man of Steel is a great portrayal of Superman in the real world. In comparison to Superman Returns (2006), this version of Superman in my point of view is well done.

The set construction along with the costume designs were all great. It’s a timeless movie, a story for everybody and really exciting to watch. It’s about the potential for everyone to do good.

Chris Nolan and David Goyer developed a story of a realistic Superman that exists in the real world. To take a character and modernize him to fit this world was brilliant. Basically they let the audience participate in the experience that makes up Superman; they made him relatable and grounded him.

Working on set with a single camera is a difficult task to complete—long hours and character development. They basically landed Superman in America in an era of 2012-2013 to make it feel as real as possible to again help a contemporary audience relate to a super hero.

Another area of development is the costume, they did not stick with the traditional costume, and they removed the underwear from the original. By removing the underwear from the costume they made Superman fit to this era and made him more relatable to the audience of this time, and not only for him but for the rest of the cast. Every cast member from the story has the same skin suit but with more armor or other features. The "S" stands for more than what most people think. It's the most popular symbol on this planet other than the cross. The significance of this symbol in Krypton means hope. 

The message that Superman’s father leaves to the audience is to lead to the front, be a hope, and don’t hide what you are. The action of this film has been more amplified and much more of a fight than a drama film. I would take it as The Incredible Hulk meets Superman Returns; most of his films don’t use that much action or violence.  

By: Brian Alvarez

Step Up Revolution (2012) reviewed by Youmi Song

Step Up Revolution (2012)

Cast: Kathryn McCormick, Ryan Guzman

Director: Scott Speer

Synopsis: Kathryn McCormick stars as Emily, who is a daughter of wealthy father, and she wants to become a professional dancer. She soon falls in love with Sean (Ryan Guzman), a young man who leads a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mob, called “The Mob.” When a wealthy business man threatens to develop The Mob’s historic neighborhood, The Mob turns their performance art into protest art, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause.

Reviewer’s Rating: 3/5 Reels


Step Up Revolution is a fourth movie of the Step Up series. As already showed in previous movies, this movie captivates the audience through the brilliant dances and performances. In particular, Step Up Revolution makes the audience admire the movie because of more developed mob dance scene and well-organized performances. Moreover, the filming techniques and presentation of the film in 3D really adds to the movie. It improves the perception of spaces, objects, and curves. Drops of perspiration and water and each movement are very well presented in 3D.  In the movie, five performances are shown, and they are all fresh. The dance performances make the audience excited the next performance.

The film’s main background moves to Miami which has a hot sun and beach. This background helps the flash Mob to dance which reminds the audience of music videos and shows. Also, Miami seaside setting helps to beautifully describe Sean and Emily’s romance.  

From Step Up first to fourth, the film’s stories are similar, so these make the audience predict the development of the story. Thus, when the actors do not dance, tension is decreasing. However, as the title of the film, Step Up “Revolution,” says the story points out the problems of society. Even though the audience can assume the story, meaningful and coherent content make them to sympathize the story.

The director, Scott Speer, shows the voice of vulnerable people in society by showing people who live in slums and wealthy hotels concurrently. Moreover, by describing romance between the two main characters, Sean and Emily, who are from different environments, the film tells the audience that people can connect each other through what they like. Also, through a young perspective, the film says to the story more freely. 

Step Up Revolution is not that long of a movie with 99 minutes running time. Even though the development of the story remains an inconvenience, this movie is enough to capture the audience’ mind with spectacular performances and powerful messages. Also, this movie does not allow the audience a chance to be bored, but it makes the audience excited.

Despite the predictable plots, this movie is worth it to watch especially for those who want to feel passionate dances and performances.

By Youmi Song

Before Midnight (2013) reviewed by Joshua Ibanez

Before Midnight (2013)

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick, Walter Lassally, Athina Rachel Tsangari


Director: Richard Linklater


Synopsis: We continue our journey into the lives of Jesse and Celine in the third installment of Richard Linklater’s Before “trilogy.” The film takes place nine years after the Before Sunset conclusion. Jesse continues his success as a novelist while Celine is just picking up her career in Paris. After dropping his son Hank at the airport to Chicago, Jesse feels distressed that he’s not a part of his son’s life anymore. From the villa to the luxury hotel in Greece they have a series of dialogues about love, relationships, and long-term commitment as they encounter the struggles of keeping the intimacy alive in their relationship.    


Reviewer’s Rating: 3/5 Reels





While it attempts to be edgy and deep, the film left much to be desired in its definition of love. The inherit problems in Jesse and Celine’s relationship seems to all stem from selfish desires. They’re not married and much of their relationship ethics are based on an “open relationship.” Their love is built on a connection between two human beings in love; that is, as long as there is some benefit to gain from one another. Basically, the film focuses on the “rebirth of love.” In that, nothing really is resolved, but problems are meant to simply disappear.  


However, there are some redeeming qualities to the film that are especially compelling. Linklater focuses not so much on quick changing scenes into dramatic climaxes but engages us by allowing us to watch time slowly unfolding. This avoids the normal powers of cinema and gives us feeling of actually walking, eating, and talking with the characters; interacting with them as if you were a part of their lives.


In one scene in particular, we see Celine and Jesse sitting down by the sea in Greece watching the sun slowly set below the horizon. During the last moments before the sun sets Celine says in Jesse’s arms, “Still there, still there, still there, gone.” Here Celine says something that perhaps encapsulates the entire movie and provides a profound implication for what relationships represent for her and Jesse. The idea here is that love, though lingers, will eventually disappear just like the sunset and be reborn the next day. However, real relationships require work and mutual self-sacrifice that is not based on narrow commitments but on a self-giving love for the good of the other person.   






Reviewed by Joshua Ibanez

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