Movie Reviews: Jack the Giant Slayer, Lincoln, Rock of AgesMarch 8th, 2013 by Michael Kwan
Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
Continuing on the trend of old fairy tales redone for a modern audience, Jack the Giant Slayer gives us a slightly different take on Jack and the Beanstalk. Instead of simply going up alone and discovering some treasure, he goes up with some of the royal guard to fetch a princess.
While there are adventurous romps involved, Jack left something to be the desired. There was something about the CG giants that bothered me, lacking the kind of humanity that we get from a Smeagol (or Gollum). The violence, while minimal by adult standards, might be a bit much for children. The story is ultimately predictable and the conclusion doesn’t provide any sort of real satisfaction. The pacing probably would have been better if it had been cut by about 20 or 30 minutes. The Giant Slayer isn’t horrible, but it does end up being more ho-hum than fee-fi-fo-fum.
I watched this movie with three other people and I was the only one who stayed awake for the whole thing. That should tell you something about Lincoln, a movie that follows the 16th President of the United States as he fights to pass the 13th Amendment. It was after watching this film that I was inspired to write my post on what freelancers can learn from Abraham Lincoln.
If you’re a political buff or one that really enjoys the intricacies of American history, then there is a lot to enjoy in this movie. Daniel Day-Lewis does an utterly amazing job portraying Honest Abe, as does Sally Field as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Yes, there is quite a bit of American bravado here, particularly when it comes to some of the more moving speeches by Abe; you can always hear them coming as the music gets all dramatic. For my part, though, the more intimate and thoughtful conversations Lincoln has are far more compelling.
This movie is long and it’s lacking in any sort of real action — he’s no vampire hunter — but there is a lot of substance here if the subject matter interests you. That and I couldn’t stop laughing at Tommy Lee Jones in a wig.
Rock of Ages (2012)
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane.
When you think of musicals, you probably think about Broadway. Rock of Ages changes that by giving us what is effectively a rock musical. There’s a small town girl who’s trying to make it in the music business, she gets mugged and meets up with a modest boy who works at a club run by a funny-looking fellow played by Alec Baldwin. And then there’s Russell Brand for some reason. The real star, not surprisingly, is Tom Cruise playing another over-the-top role, just as he did in Tropic Thunder. This time, he’s a Jon Bon Jovi-esque rock star named Stacee Jaxx.
Realistically, though, none of the story really matters all that much. We’re here for the music and, I have to say, it’s pretty good. We go back to the golden age of rock, mashing together two or three songs at a time for some strange creations. Ever wonder what “We Built This City” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” would sound like together? Maybe “Juke Box Hero” with “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” is more your style? They also do songs by Def Leppard, Journey and yes, Bon Jovi too.
It all feels a little odd and the narrative is far from compelling, but Rock of Ages can be a good time for those who are willing to put up with the ultra-corniness of a rock musical.
Filed under Arts and Entertainment.