Author: J. Scott Shreve

127 Hours

Overview: An adventurous man becomes trapped in the Utah desert while canyoneering. Fox Searchlight Pictures. 2010. Rated R. 94 Minutes. The Will to Live: 127 Hours explores the strength of human instinct and spirit. Based on a true story, director Danny Boyle chronicles Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) harrowing experience of survival. While canyoneering in Utah, Ralston becomes trapped by a rock in a narrow canyon and struggles for five days to find a way out. Through those five days viewers see a dramatic change in Ralston; from arrogance, to anger, doubt, acceptance, desperation, and finally exaltation. An experienced, but...

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Overview: Scott Pilgrim meets the girl of his dreams, but in order to date her he must first defeat her seven evil exes in a fight to the death. BOSS BATTLE! Save your game and heal first. Universal Pictures. 2010. Rated PG-13. 112 Minutes. XXXXXXX: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is the movie that the 8-bit generation has always wanted. Director Edgar Wright adapted the film from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel series. He takes the comic book hero plot, mixes in a garage-band rock vibe, and pays grand homage to old school video games. Remember the Super Mario...

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Slumdog Millionaire

Overview: Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, recalls the life story of Jamal Malik, a poor youth from the slums of Mumbai, as he nears winning a million dollars on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. Fox Searchlight Pictures/Warner Bros. 2008. Rated R. 120 Minutes. The Rich: Most of Slumdog Millionaire is structured through three layers of narrative:  A police interrogation, a million dollar quiz show, and the flashback scenes that are triggered by the two different lines of questioning.  Flashback scenes are marked with a vibrant and expressive technique that makes them seem like...

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Inception

Overview: A man capable of influencing dreams must perform what is thought to be impossible; planting an original thought in someone’s mind without them knowing. Warner Bros. Pictures. 2010. Rated PG-13. 148 Minutes. A Unique Mind: Writer and director Christopher Nolan’s mind works on its own special level. Previous films from Nolan (Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight) have shown his ability to work well with mental and psychological elements. Inception takes these elements and expands on them exponentially. Nolan’s greatest gift, on full display here, is his ability to concoct this complex, layered labyrinth of ideas and successfully...

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American Beauty

Overview: Tired of his mundane, suburban existence, Lester Burnham becomes enamored with his daughter’s attractive friend and decides to change his life around. DreamWorks Pictures. 1999. Rated R. 122 Minutes. The Good: Kevin Spacey won an Oscar for his performance as Lester Burnham, and that performance is one of the few bright spots in this film. Burnham is going through a mid-life crisis and Spacey captures the essence of that perfectly with his despondent facial expressions and monotone voice. As Burnham’s outlook on life becomes more positive, Spacey makes the transformation seamless as an air of confidence begins to...

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