Brandon A. DuHamel

Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jun 10, 2016  |  0 comments
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Based on Michael Lewis’ non-fiction book, The Big Short brings together the ensemble cast of Steve Carell (who plays Mark Baum, a character based on the real-life Steve Eisman), Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling as a number of Wall Street moneymen who discover the fraud underpinning the mortgage lending practices of the big banks and independently make moves to profit from the impending collapse of the system. Additionally, the film makes comical use of celebrities, playing themselves, to explain some of the technical financial jargon in layman’s terms. Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining subprime mortgage-backed securities is my personal favorite.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Apr 22, 2016  |  0 comments
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After he and his film Seven Years in Tibet (1997) were banned from China, director Jean-Jacques Annaud returns to the country for his visually stunning Wolf Totem, an adaptation of Jiang Rong’s semi-autobiographical novel.

Set during China’s Cultural Revolution of 1969, Wolf Totem is an environmentalist tale that follows Beijing student Chen Zhen (Shaofeng Feng), who is assigned to China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to teach its nomadic shepherd population. Instead, Zhen becomes attached to the land, its people, and the balance between them and their most feared enemy, the wolves.

Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Apr 08, 2016  |  0 comments
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Older anime fans in North America will likely remember Gatchaman, the classic 1972 series created by Tatsuo Yoshida, as Battle of the Planets (1978). Battle of the Planets was a tamed-down version of Gatchaman that removed elements of graphic violence and profanity and changed plot points related to the transgenderisim of the villain in order to avoid controversy with parents. It also rode the wave of Star Wars’ success by adding in scenes reminiscent of the space opera to mask deficiencies introduced by the changes and eliminations (only 85 of 105 episodes were used). Slightly younger audiences may be even more familiar with a subsequent mid-’80s adaptation, G-Force: Guardians of Space, which more closely followed the original series.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Feb 12, 2016  |  0 comments
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The post-apocalyptic dystopian film is a staple of science-fiction filmmaking, but most of the films inhabit a similar space. Director Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah is one of the rare ones that change the formula. Z for Zachariah, based upon Robert C. O’Brien’s novel, still relies on some unknown radioactive, presumably nuclear event as the catalyst that brings down society, but the story is not focused on this. Instead, it is a character study about three people in one idyllic valley in the Southeastern United States spared by the disaster.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jan 15, 2016  |  0 comments
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Directors Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill (Earth) return to Disneynature with the beautifully filmed documentary Monkey Kingdom, which follows a troop of macaques living in the ruins of a Sri Lankan temple. The story hones in on a female named Maya and her newborn son Kip. The lowborn Maya must work her way through the complex hierarchy of the macaques in her struggle to survive and feed her son.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Sep 11, 2015  |  2 comments
Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970, to a world unconcerned. Manned space flights were routine and no longer covered on TV. It wasn’t until a fateful explosion left the crew potentially stranded in space that anyone cared about the mission and its three-man crew. Ron Howard’s 1995 historical docudrama about the ill-fated mission won two Oscars for its taut editing and its brilliant sound design. Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Jim Lovell catapulted him into the stratosphere as a serious dramatic actor, and Bill Paxton also put in one of the strongest performances of his career as Fred Haise.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Jun 18, 2015  |  1 comments
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The incredible true story of Olympian and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini languished in Hollywood for decades. It was initially licensed as a project for Tony Curtis, who later abandoned it to star in Spartacus. Then came Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, Unbroken, which caught the attention of producer/director Angelina Jolie and others, and Zamperini’s moving story has finally found its moment to shine.
Brandon A. DuHamel  |  Dec 16, 2014  |  0 comments
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Helmed again by James Bobin, Muppets Most Wanted lets us know from the beginning that it won’t be quite as good as the last Muppets film. Of course, they do it Muppet-style, with a big musical number announcing, “We’re doing a sequel—and everybody knows that the sequel’s never quite as good.” Sure, Muppets Most Wanted is their eighth theatrical film, but who’s counting?

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