The weekend is upon us and with it brings the first big event movie of the year, along with a lesser known film, both of which I enjoyed.
Oz the Great and Powerful
Last week we got a new take on the old tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. This week sees the release of a prequel to the beloved Wizard of Oz. Director Sam Raimi tells the story of how carnival magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) finds himself whisked away to a magical land where he meets three beautiful, but potentially dangerous, witches.
Almost immediately upon arriving, Oscar – or “Oz” – is greeted by Theodora (Mila Kunis) who tells him of a prophecy that a great wizard would arrive to save the land that bares his name from the clutches of the evil witch who is also her sister. While deciding just what to do about this, he meets the other two sisters, Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams). Just which of the sisters are good and which are wicked, however, seems to be more complicated than first impressions suggest.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and thought it was pretty fantastic. There were a few parts that you could see Disney poking their nose into the script and saying “lighten the mood” or “keep the story accessible” but the end product isn’t overly tired and is surprisingly creepy in parts given that it only has a PG rating.
This is the first film of the year that I feel like I can 100% recommend seeing in theaters – I enjoyed Jack the Giant Slayer as well, but I realize that it wasn’t for everyone. Disney has succeeded in coming up with the first real event movie of 2013 that can be enjoyed by all.
Read my full review here.
Dead Man Down
When a damaged young French woman (Noomi Rapace) observes her neighbor (Colin Farrell) killing a man, she takes the opportunity to coerce him into taking care of a piece of business for her as well. Soon she realizes that his is a more complicated story than she thought and finds herself caught up not only in her mission of revenge, but his as well.
This is not going to be a film everyone is going to enjoy. Director Oplev brings his European flavor to this, his first American film, while trying to make something US audiences will enjoy. Occasionally those two influences cancel each other out, and sometimes it seems a little too foreign for the average mainstream movie-goer.
Personally, I rather enjoyed it. It’s not as memorable as some, but definitely worth the watch. I have a feeling I will be in the minority, giving it a positive review, but I encourage you to give it a chance.
Read my full review here.