All in Movies

What is the purpose of a movie? Is it meant to be a visual novel, opening the minds of it's viewers through interesting plot progression and deep characters, or can it merely be a sound and light show entertaining its viewers with innovative score and art direction? This was the question I kept asking myself while watching Tron: Legacy. Can style be so good that it trumps substance?

From director, Todd Phillips, who brought you such hits as ,Road Trip, Old School, and last years' critically acclaimed, The Hangover, Due Date is guaranteed to bring laughs. The film tells of Peter (Robert Downey Jr.) and Ethan (Zach Galifianakis), both of whom venture from Atlanta to Los Angeles by car; Peter strives to appear home in time for his wife to give birth to their first child, hence the title of the film, and Ethan is in hopes of becoming an actor, out in Hollywood. The actors work very well with one another as well as the script. The short tempered Peter is a successful architect who has very little patience. Ethan is none other than the typical character which Zach Galifianakis is famous for playing. In fact, throughout the movie, the character of Ethan is very reminiscent of Alan in The Hangover. With that said, Galifianakis is also able to defy his boundaries as an actor, in this film, and at times showcases a far more serious, very in tune with himself, actor.

When a film is produced for $15,000 and makes a return investment of almost thirteen thousand times that, a sequel isn't just in the cards, it's essentially guaranteed. Thus, "Paranormal Activity 2" has materialized into theaters, surprising no one. And yet, it is surprising because it also happens to be one of the rare horror sequels that can truly hold a candle to its predecessor.

This place is 12.4 miles long, 258 blocks, and runs through the heart of the greatest city in the world... yeah, that would be New York City's Broadway, the main focal point of the documentary, "A Broad Way." The concept, created by Robert Liano and Tom Coppola, placed a filmmaker on every corner of Broadway simultaneously for one hour on June 6, 2006. To do this, they were granted the largest film permit ever issued by the city of New York. Each filmmaker shot their own mini-film on their assigned block, allowing each story to be told from a different perspective. The hundreds of hours of raw footage were then masterfully edited into one vision by Hofstra's own, Professor Carlo Gennarelli. This footage included dozens of interviews from residents that are affected in negative and positive ways by their lives on Broadway. To most of us, Broadway is synonymous with the Theater District but "A Broad Way" shows us that Broadway is filled with diversity, from the stockbrokers in the Financial District, to tourists in Times Square, to families living uptown in neighborhoods like Washington Heights.

                  The predictability factor of Greg Berlanti's "Life as We Know It," starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, is reminiscent of the film's title. It's not quite a brain teaser to ponder how the lives of Holly Berenson and Eric Messer will play out. It's the classic tale of the laid back, free-spirited boy who meets the sweet, yet uptight, girl, who both fall perfectly into the cliché "hate turned to love" relationship paradigm we see in romantic comedies time and time again.

One's reaction to a film such as "Howl" is dependent upon whether or not one finds validity in the efforts of the Beat generation.

"Howl's" narrative is separated into four segments interspersed with one another: Ginsberg's initial reading of the poem in San Francisco, animation that interprets the content of the poem, the obscenity trial that ensued, and an interview with Ginsberg conducted by an anonymous interlocutor.

"You Again" proved to be an aptly titled film because for the majority of the film, those words described the sentiment felt. In case you weren't aware, girls in high school are catty and mean, the nerds get revenge and the sworn enemies always learn to find the best in each other by the film's end. This is nothing new. And while "You Again" is funny, it relys on a plot that has been laughed at before and using slapstick comedy to try and disguise bad writing.

Several decades of pop culture provide a surfeit of examples of quiet young ladies earning the attention (both negative and positive) of their high school classmates. Olivia Newton John bags the class bad boy in "Grease," while Lindsay Lohan climbs the social ladder by way of sabotaging the queen bee in "Mean Girls." Then there is Emma Stone, who, in, "Easy A," has fake sex for gift cards and falls in love with the school mascot. Whatever works, I suppose.


Yasujiro Ozu's "Late Spring"revolves around the daughter of a professor, Noriko, who resides with her father and resolves to be his caretaker, as well. Noriko, who has reached the age of thirty-two, is hounded by her matchmaker aunt to be wed immediately, since she is gradually passing her expiration date and is in peril of becoming a spinster. Noriko's father, Skukichi, an aging and taciturn professor, decides to appease the aunt and concurs with her decision to press Noriko into a nuptial agreement with a potential husband that the aunt has selected personally. All that remains is Noriko's decision, whether she is to remain with her father or continue her life with another man.

Robert Rodriguez's "Machete" is gruesome, gory, hypersexual and tasteless…that being said, it's also one of the most irreverently fun movies of the year. A spin-off of a fake trailer in 2007's Rodriguez/Tarantino joint venture, "Grindhouse," "Machete" takes its cues from its point of origin. "Machete" simultaneously pays homage to, and mocks, the over-the-top, cartoonish and downright amateur elements of B-movies of yore, bombarding viewers with improbable plot twists, scantily-clad women (Lindsay Lohan among them) and most importantly, buckets and buckets of blood to match the highly-stylized murder sprees.

In theory, "The Losers" has many of the elements that should, by any means, make it a standout popcorn flick: a diverse, eclectic ensemble, a revenge story and some stirring action sequences. It even has the inherent advantage of stellar source material, having been adapted from Andy Diggle's Vertigo comic series of the same name. Yet, director Sylvain White ("Stomp the Yard") has managed to create a stupidly fun, but rather anemic action movie that fails to combine the aforementioned elements into a convincing and coherent whole.