Chicken Little – Movie Review (**)

(Originally posted on on 11-11-05)

Disney seems to think that Animation for Animation’s sake is all that matters.  That they can slap the semblance of a story together, input the whole thing into a render farm, pop out a templatized feature length product and just by the simple fact that they epoxy their Brand name to it, it instantly should make it a quality animated film in the grand tradition of their storied past.  While Pixar preaches “Story, story, story” (now whether that will continue to be true in the future is still to be seen…), Disney is all about the Brand.  And that fact about Disney is nowhere more evident than in Chicken Little, the newest animated mass market twinkie from the Mouse House’s piece work animation assembly lines.

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LOTR: Of Hobbits, Rings, and Book to Film Adaptations

(Originally posted on on 2-13-02) 

I freely admit I got caught up in the hype. Before I saw it for the fourth time I reread the books – something I haven’t done since Junior High School. I will see Fellowship of the Ring many more times in the theater I am sure (I mean, I saw The Phantom Menace in the theater five times when it was released and I didn’t even like it), but the film is not the book.

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The Last Kiss – Movie Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 9-17-06)

I seriously went into this movie planning to come out the other end not caring for it a whole lot. Chalk it up to my overtly cynical nature (which, personally, I prefer to call “hard earned pragmatism”), but my general faith in Hollywood is fairly limited. My entire expectation going in to this movie was for it to be a good stab at Hollywood unsentimentality, but to sell out in the end (just like Garden State did).

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Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – Movie Review (**1/2)

(Originally posted on

Before I begin my review, in the interest of full disclosure, I feel it important to say that even though I am of that generation that grew up with the original Star Wars movies, they were never formational films for me. Actually, Seven Blows of the Dragon was a much more important film in my youth than all three original Star Wars films put together. Granted, I have gone to every movie opening day (with the exception of Episode IV – A New Hope), but that has been more to maintain whatever geek cred I may or may not have had at the time of the various releases than any fanatical need to be the first in line. Now, having said that, I will break this up into what didn’t work for me first, and then close with what did work for me.

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The Bourne Ultimatum – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 8-5-07)

You know, I probably think way too much about why some Book to Film Adaptations work and why some don’t. My general preference is for the book over the film. For instance, the Peter Jackson adaptation of the Lord of the Rings worked extremely well, probably as well as any adaptation ever, however, I still find the books far superior even though they were ultimately much lighter in feel and leisurely in tone and pace. Ultimately, they just delivered a deeper moral and the resolution was purer and more heartbreaking at the same time. One of the few exceptions to this rule has been the Bourne films. I have found them to be stronger, more intuitive, and with a more accessible moral than is found in the books that were their original inspiration.

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Flash Fiction Story: Rhododendron by Ben Fuller

(This is a short story that I wrote for a Flash Fiction group that I participate in on Facebook. The theme was “Rhododendron”. It was posted originally on on 2-1-12)




“Yes,” Pete said as he stared back at Mike for a beat longer than was probably absolutely necessary. “Seriously.”

Mike laughed and said, “Man, that is so completely lame.”

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Attack the Block – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 9-11-11)

The plot is the simplest and most dependable in the industry. Our little group of heroes are surrounded by the enemy with no easy way to escape, so they hunker down and figure a way out. Only this time our heroes are a group of adolescent hoodlums, the enemy are feral aliens with sharp glowing fang-y teeth, and they are trapped in their tenement building in a British ghetto.

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Madagascar – Movie Review (**1/2)

(Originally posted on on 6-7-05)

Madagascar, the Dreamworks’ animated film about a small group of zoo animals that escape the big city to live in the “wild”, is exponentially better than Shark Tale, however, that probably isn’t saying a whole heck of a lot. Shark Tale, quite frankly, should never be confused with the standard for quality. In order to set a good baseline against which to make a fair comparison you really need to start with something that is perfectly average in all that it achieves, not great, but not horrible, something that just is what it is – for better or for worse. With that in mind it is probably more appropriate to start off this review by saying that Madagascar, the Dreamworks’ animated film about a small group of zoo animals that escape the big city to live in the “wild”, is every bit as good as Shrek 2.

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Kingdom of Heaven – Movie Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 5-12-05)

Kingdom of Heaven is a great example of how Ridley Scott likes to take a grand, sweeping canvas and paint a small picture of an individual in metamorphosis. The story revolves around Orlando Bloom as Balian, a blacksmith suffering a crisis of faith after his wife has committed suicide following the loss of their child during birth. Into his life rides Liam Neeson as Godfrey, the father he never knew he had. Godfrey has come to ask Balian’s forgiveness and to offer him his rightful place by his side as his heir. Together they head off to the Crusades where, they believe, a man can earn his way back into the good graces of God.

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Walk the Line – Movie Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 3-9-06)

I am disillusioned. There is a reason that I do not, as a rule, enjoy Celebrity Biographies. They all follow the same template; difficult childhood, sudden extreme fame with unimaginable privilege, followed closely by seduction and addiction, then the hurt and damaged relationships with those that cared and, finally, redemption through true love. Compelling, eh? VH-1 had a great multi year run recounting this same formula. I know this story backwards and forwards. I believe that I am absolutely jaded enough to expect it to pop up around every corner. But, really, if I am so jaded, why didn’t I see it coming in Walk the Line?

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