Clash of the Titans

/100

Ray Harryhausen's Stop-Action Medusa in <i>Clash of the Titans</i>

I review Clash of the TItans (the golden oldie, not the screwy newie) on Blu-ray Disc at FilmFreakCentral.net:

Clash of the Titans saw Ray Harryhausen’s special-effects efforts reach a technical apex, with his glowering, snake-haired Medusa and smoothly articulated Pegasus winning deserved plaudits. But the old-fashioned filmmaking style felt dated at the time—consider that this po-faced sword-and-sandals adventure arrived in theaters on the same day as Raiders of the Lost Ark and you’ll get an idea of the magnitude of this unfailingly earnest film’s crisis in tone—and it proved to be Harryhausen’s swan song.

Up

90/100

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Because Pixar is known for so reliably hitting balls out of the park, every time, it’s hard to think of what possible angle to take in a review as its latest slugger, Up, trots merrily around the bases of the multiplex, dances its way toward the hefty box-office returns that await at home plate, and basks in the warm glow of the adoration of millions of fans. For three years now, there have been stories in the financial press alleging that Pixar’s latest is due to underperform because a) nobody wants to see a silent movie about a lonely robot; b) children don’t want to play with plush rats; or c) nobody loves old people and fat kids. That’s one reason why it’s such good sport to watch the movies rake in the dough year after year.

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Angélique and the King

/100

Angelique and the KingAngélique (Michèle Mercier) roars back to life in this lively third installment in the five-film series, which sees her becoming a crucial instrument in the affairs of Louis XIV, and thus the subject of much palace intrigue. When Angelique accepts a diplomatic assignment to the Persian ambassador Bachtiary-Bey (Sami Frey), she’s rewarded with Peyrac’s estate — now she has two manors — but ends up as a kind of political prisoner, the captive of Bachtiary-Bey, who intends to rape and perhaps murder her. Rescued in the nick of time (by a Hungarian prince!), she returns to the king’s court, where she’s regarded with dismay by the king’s wife and actively scorned by the king’s current mistress, who senses impending obsolescence. The second half of the film is the most brashly inventive part of the series so far, including one recurring character’s death, another’s return from the grave, multiple attempts on Angélique’s life, and even a black mass.

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