Movie Reviews

James Bond, super spy, ladies man and pop culture phenomenon, first appeared in a series of 14 novels written by Ian Fleming (1908-1964) and published from 1953 to 1966. Bond's first appearance in a major motion picture was in 1962 when Fleming's sixth novel, Dr. No, was adapted for the big screen. The film featured Sean Connery as James Bond and Ursula Andress as his leggy, blonde love interest.

Orson Welles (born George Orson Welles in Kenosha, Wisconsin on May 6,1915) was an actor, director, writer and producer who worked in many different mediums, including radio, television, film and theatre. He is perhaps best known for his first film, Citizen Kane, in which he starred as Charles Foster Kane, a wealthy newspaper baron, and his 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds.

Bruce Campbell is an extremely gifted character actor with a knack for selecting odd, often sci fi – related roles that no “serious” actor would touch. The man has a filmography as long as your arm, which includes movies like Bubba Ho Tepp, where Campbell plays a geriatric Elvis doing battle with an evil mummy in a nursing home, to doing the voice of mayor Shelbourne in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. He currently plays the role of retired navy SEAL Sam Axe on the television series Burn Notice.

Hollywood has never been kind to the colonized peoples of the Middle East (Arabs, Persians or Kurds). They have been portrayed as sexual predators (a stereotype most famously portrayed by silent film era heart-throb Rudolph Valentino in the 1921 film The Sheikh), terrorists (True Lies, The Siege, Rules of Engagement, Executive Decision, The Kingdom) and authoritarian parents (Towelhead, Babel).

February 7: Loveable stoners Harold and Kumar are back, celebrating Christmas more than a month behind schedule. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas revisits what made their trip to White Castle an underground classic. The equation looks a little like this: Harold + Kumar + weed + mission = mission impossible. The film re-enters the pair’s life with Harold off the weed, on Wall Street and estranged from Kumar, who is keeping the home “fires” burning. When a parcel for Harold arrives at their old pad, Kumar decides to deliver it in person.

Hollywood has a strange fascination with stories that take place in dystopic futures.

October 4: Submarine is a coming-of-age comedy set in Wales during the early ‘80s, telling the story of 15-year-old Oliver Tate and his trouble with women. The first is his mother. She seems to be bored of his father and to falling for a schmarmy neighbour. The other is Jordana, the odd girl he has managed to convince into a relationship. Coming-of-age films are hard to nail. There has to be just the right amount of nostalgia to counter the obnoxious narcissism of adolescence, and while movies like Juno and Easy A are fun, teenagers are rarely that witty.

September 6: Hanna tells the story of a 16-year-old girl whose ex-CIA father has trained her to be an assassin. The pair has spent most of her life in northern Finland, isolated from the rest of the world, until he sends her big mission – to kill another agent. A cross between Run Lola Run and the Bourne movies – with a little bit of fantasy and sci-fi thrown in the mix – the film is straight up entertainment that is perfect for back-to-school brains. Saoirse Ronan’s otherworldly quality is put to good use as Hanna, especially as she finds herself a stranger in strange lands.

Thor is the Norse God of Thunder, the son of Odin (the all-father, head of the Viking pantheon). Thor is described as fierce-eyed and red-haired, father of numerous gods and goddesses and the bearer of Mojihir, the magical mountain crushing hammer.

Royalty has been portrayed many different ways in many different films. Royals have been variously presented as benevolent (Mufasa in the Lion King), mentally ill (King George the Third in the Madness of King George), polite (Jack Skellington in the Nightmare before Christmas) and, of course, completely evil and underhanded (Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi, The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland). There are, however, very few films that portray Kings and Queens as ordinary people just as flawed and vulnerable as the rest of us.