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‘Alice in Wonderland’ Delights With Plenty Eye Candy


By Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic

Base ball can be an exciting game; the crowds, the history, the rivalry all add to the experience. Scoring a point can take a true fan, and make his heart soar, or sink. If you strip all of these things away from the sport though, you are left with a pretty boring day of just touching the bases: a phrase, which sums up this version of Alice in Wonderland exceptionally well.

In fact, if you had copies of Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, and Jabberwocky, all laid out on a desk, and a mind to combine them into one narrative, you probably could do a better job than Linda Woolverton as writer.

The story is an elision of the three, famous fantasies of Lewis Carroll, but respects none of them. Sure, some of the dialogue is funny, but not enough to characterise it as such. How is this for a premise: Alice is convinced that her adventures in Wonderland as a child were a bad dream, has had this recurring dream for thirteen years, but remembers none of her experiences when
she actually returns as an adult. Combine that with the fact that there are no twists, the characters never evolve, and their actions have no, real consequences, and you are left with no thing more than eye candy.

The eye candy is visually delicious though, and there is plenty of it. Tim Burton uses the 3D technology from start to finish. Some times it can seem unnecessary such as for ordinary dialogue, and other times it can bring life to an awe inspiring, aerial view of the castle. After seeing it for the third time though the effect wears off, and you realize that 3D technology is only new, and interesting when the director keeps the shots fresh.

via The Insider
After the 3D experience grows stale, you also may notice that the Jubjub bird, and the Bandersnatch seem to be straight out of Pokemon ( Moltres ), or the Never Ending Story ( Falcor ). This is unfortunately not his most imaginative work.

Mia Wasikowska debuts on the big screen as Alice. There is not much to make of her in this role; Alice is stiff in this telling of her story, but should we blame that on the actress? Can we blame the writing? Is that on Victorian era England, or should we blame it on the boogie?

Whosever fault it is, at no point is the audience invested in what happens to Alice, or why as Wasikowska marches through the the end credits.

Johnny Depp once again rules the silver screen as the Mad Hatter. Some parts of the performance will seem very familiar, if you have seen any of the Pirates of the Carribean series, but that in no way diminishes the authenticity of the character. He brings a taste of humanity, and personality to the otherwise mercurial Hatter. Helena Bonham Carter brings a different flavor of zanity, and vulnerability to the Red Queen, and between the two of them they salvage what otherwise would have been a direct, DVD release.

The remaining characters all do their part. Crispin Glover resurfaces in another, difficult role as the Knave of Hearts. Ann Hathaway goes a little too far with the White Queen, but still performs well, and Stephen Fry transforms the Cheshire Cat from playful to sensual, while keeping its haunting quality.

All told though, the performances are not strong enough to make Alice in Wonderland a good film. Without a coherent, involving story to tie every thing together, this production devolves into a group of characters, and flashy scenery. Then it rounds third to trot us into home base, right back where we
started.

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Movie Review: ´Public Enemies´


By Jonathan D.  Smalls, Film Critic

Some movie goers argue that modern films pale in comparison to the performances of years past. There is some merit to that argument.

The quality of the story telling seems to have deteriorated with the advent of explosions andother techical stuff. The story of John Dillinger, however, warrants another retelling in film. The 1973 film, Dillinger, lacked an intimacy and pacing, which the new film in theaters July 1, Public Enemies, brings to the silver screen.

Famed personalities from all corners of the performing world appear as supporting actors and cameos as a testament to the quality of this film. Big or small, every one wants to put their name on it and with good reason. Their talents are cumulative and their contributions come together for a richer performance, featuring familiar faces like Channing Tatum and Steven Dorff to thespians who frequent the States less often like Stephen Graham and Marion Cotillard. There is no weak link in this chain of actors. This casting is more like a team than a loose association of self serving talents: each member contributes appropriately to the greater good of the final product.

public-enemies-rodajeThe film ultimately climaxes on the well documented end to the days of John Dillinger as an outlaw with an emotional, final scene. Here is a spoiler alert: your heart will go out to “my Johnny” after witnessing his scene with Manhattan Melodrama.

The facts are undisputed, so the story arc of the two films is substantially the same. The difference lies with Bryan Burroughs and his new book of the same name. Adapted for the screen and directed by Michael Mann his interpretation smooths the narration and humanizes the characters in a manner not seen before. The story is split between the pressures on the nascent FBI as it struggled to prove its worth as a law enforcement agency and the sensational life of mobsters, fast cars and violence. The dialogue and interaction is rich and believable, giving a star studded cast plenty of material to work with and grow into.

Dillinger has been produced and filmed twice before, once in 1945 and once in 1973. With Public Enemies however the legend of John Dillinger finally has the flow, timelessness and believability which may make this the last time for all of time.

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