Monster mash-up stars season’s usual favorites

Monster mash-up stars season’s usual favorites

October is here at last—my favorite month, when the weather in Arizona at long last cools down, and monster-movie season heats up. This season, animated monster pictures for kids are quite the thing. There are three to choose from in theaters now: Frankenweenie Tim Burton’s gives the boy-and-his-dog movie a macabre but touching spin in […]

McConaughey lethally convincing as ‘Killer Joe’

McConaughey lethally convincing as ‘Killer Joe’

What happens when the hit man you hire to murder your mother falls in love with your younger sister? That’s the major dramatic question of William Friedkin’s new film Killer Joe, opening this weekend at Camelview. The answer isn’t pretty. Chris (Emile Hirsch), a small-potatoes Texas drug dealer, lives with his mother.  His slow-thinking father […]

Former Harkins theater is site for new MCC venue

Former Harkins theater is site for new MCC venue

Despite the stereotype of the academic world as an ivory tower where manual labor is studiously avoided, the shovels have been flying lately on the campus of Mesa Community College—the newest part of the campus, that is. Dignitaries from the school, city government and the MCC community dug in the dirt Aug. 6 during groundbreaking […]

‘Super-villainy’ as real in life as in film depiction

‘Super-villainy’ as real in life as in film depiction

Just as it was difficult to discuss 2008’s The Dark Knight out of the shadow of the heartbreaking loss of Heath Ledger, so it’s likely to be difficult, for a while at least, to discuss The Dark Knight Rises out of the context of the horror at the multiplex in Colorado. As it happened, I […]

Spider-man spins a new web of intrigue

Spider-man spins a new web of intrigue

Andrew Garfield looks like a spider—a daddy longlegs. That is to say, he looks like a daddy longlegs with the head of a Byronic poet. As the title character in The Amazing Spider-Man, the young actor, who previously made an impression as Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network, commands an inhumanly svelte torso, like a […]

There’s fun for all ages in newest ‘Ice Age’

There’s fun for all ages in newest ‘Ice Age’

The original film which began the Ice Age franchise, in 2002, was a rather low-key, almost poignant affair, by animated kids-movie standards. It was the story of three prehistoric mammals—Manny the mammoth, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, and Sid the sloth, voiced respectively by Ray Romano, Denis Leary and John Leguizamo, trying to return a foundling […]

Star power dims with pair of recent losses

Star power dims with pair of recent losses

The departure of Andy Griffith early this month is kind of a biggie for me—watching The Andy Griffith Show after school with my brother ranks among the happiest memories of my younger years. Griffith was a seriously skilled performer, and shrewd enough to know that he’d look better yet if he surrounded himself with terrific […]

Pixar’s ‘Brave’ no cookie-cutter cutie

Pixar’s ‘Brave’ no cookie-cutter cutie

The newest Disney princess, Merida, loves to ride her horse and shoot arrows, often at the same time. She has wild red curls and a puckish smirk, and she climbs cliffs in a way that I hope the young audience members of Disney/Pixar’s Brave don’t try to imitate. Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald, takes after […]

Solid performances, witty plot ‘Guaranteed’ here

Solid performances, witty plot ‘Guaranteed’ here

Source material for film has ranged from, at the prestigious end, masterpieces of world literature and drama and momentous historical events, down the slide to pulp fiction and comic books to, in recent years, old TV shows and video games and even theme park rides. I suppose it was inevitable than sooner or later somebody […]