Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom: Great Man, Mediocre Movie

by Ethan Alter November 27, 2013 11:03 am
<i>Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom</i>: Great Man, Mediocre Movie

A modern-day hero whose life is still a source of inspiration, Nelson Mandela has been the subject of numerous films over the years, in which he has been portrayed by such actors as Dennis Haysbert (Goodbye Bafana), Morgan Freeman (Invictus) and Terrence Howard (Winnie Mandela). The majority of these films have opted to laser in on a specific period of his life or, as in the case of Winnie Mandela, present his experiences through another person's eyes. What makes the newest entry in this burgeoning biopic sub-genre, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, somewhat unique is that it takes a pillar-to-post approach, packing his entire life into two-and-a-half hours. Director Justin Chadwick's ambition appears to be nothing short of creating the Gandhi or Malcolm X of Mandela movies: the definitive dramatized account of this extraordinary man's biography.

Pacific Rim: Go Big or Go Home

by Ethan Alter July 12, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Pacific Rim</i>: Go Big or Go Home

It's a shame that Roland Emmerich's botched Godzilla remake already bogarted the tagline "Size Does Matter," because that phrase handily sums up the experience of watching Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim. In a summer that's been dominated by spectacles that feel small and self-contained despite the enormous wads of cash thrown at the screen, this is the first movie to come along that thinks big. Actually, "big" doesn't quite cut it. Try "giant," "gargantuan" or just plain "ginormous." And I'm not just talking about the size of the Kaiju (monsters) and Jaegers (human-powered robots) that are locked in near-constant battle amidst the windy, stormy Pacific seas. Unlike most America-centric Hollywood super-productions, Pacific Rim takes place on a grand, global stage, sporting an internationally diverse cast and a watery battlefield located far from the shores of the U.S. of A. Handed the opportunity to make the biggest movie of his career, del Toro meets the challenge head-on and delivers the one blockbuster so far this year that actually deserves -- nay, demands -- to be seen on an IMAX screen, extra ticket price bump be damned.

Trailers Without Pity: Prometheus

by Ethan Alter May 11, 2012 12:41 pm
Trailers Without Pity: <i>Prometheus</i>

Next to The Dark Knight Rises, no summer blockbuster has us more intrigued than Prometheus, Ridley Scott's belated return to the science fiction genre and the Alien franchise that rocketed his career into the stratosphere some three decades ago.

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