Tag Archives: Abigail Breslin

Review: Ender’s Game

Enders_Game_Poster1Gavin Hood’s “Ender’s Game” is like a CliffsNotes version of a book that still reads well.

Asa Butterfield leads as Ender, a young boy who’s plucked from his family on earth and enrolled in Battle School in space. There, under the supervision of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford), Ender is trained to become a leader within the International Fleet so the humans can squash an alien race called The Formics and eliminate the threat of future invasions once and for all.

Orson Scott Card’s book takes place over the course of five years. Ender is recruited when he’s just six-years-old and the narrative concludes when he’s 11. The concept of a six-year-old showing signs of militaristic prowess can be tough to digest, but Card then gives Ender such a thorough and thoughtful build throughout the book that by the time Ender reaches his final exam, you know he’s ready for it. Gavin Hood, however, does not have that luxury.

Click here to read more.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Your Guide to the “Enderverse”

Enders_GameIf you haven’t read Ender’s Game, the futuristic scenario about a boy whisked off to train to battle aliens can be a lot to digest. Here are the basics of Ender’s Game so you can kick off your studies at Battle School at the top of your class.

THE FORMICS

Years prior to Ender’s story, humans come face to face with an alien race called the Formics. An insect-like species, the Formic social structure consists of a hive queen and workers. The Formics invade Earth intending to colonize it but a human general, Mazer Rackham, defeats them. Assuming the Formics could be regrouping for another attack, the International Fleet (IF) is on the hunt for military prodigies to ship off to Battle School and train to become humanity’s last line of defense.

BATTLE SCHOOL

Kids are plucked from their families all across the globe and shipped off to this military school far off in space to cultivate tactical skills and build an army to fend off the Formics. The curriculum consists of standard classroom courses, free play time and a familiar boarding school-like camaraderie, but above all else is the unprecedented competition that takes place in the rotating room at the facility’s core called the Battle Room.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features

‘Ender’s Game’ Set Visit Part 2: Battle Room Basics

Enders_Game_Battle_RoomIf you’ve read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, you know one of the biggest challenges for writer-director Gavin Hood was bringing the Battle Room to life.

When Ender (Asa Butterfield) is recruited by the International Fleet, he’s sent into space to Battle School to learn how to defend the planet against the Formics, an alien race that nearly decimated humanity and is expected to return. While there are classes in Battle School, the central element of the curriculum is actually a game.

While on the film’s NASA Michoud Assembly Facility set in New Orleans, producer Linda McDonough explained, “They have two different ‘gates.’ They accumulate points by hitting each other with these lasers. The lasers don’t injure you; they freeze parts of your suit. But if either team is able to get a man through the other team’s gate, they completely win the battle.” Now just picture all of that in a zero-gravity environment.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features

MHHFF 2013 Review: Haunter

Haunter_PosterHaunter could have been an ugly little blemish on Abigail Breslin’s resume, but instead she turns it into a chance to prove herself, solidifying that she’s got the acting chops to take a predictable narrative, poor supporting performances and loads of familiar camera tricks and make them watchable.

The year is 1985 and it’s the day before Lisa’s (Breslin) 16th birthday. She wakes up, eats pancakes, does the laundry, has macaroni and cheese for lunch, plays her clarinet and indulges in a meatloaf dinner with her mother (Michelle Nolden), father (Peter Outerbridge), and little brother Robbie (Peter DaCunha). Afterwards, they watch TV, Lisa goes to bed, and then she wakes up does the whole routine all over again. No, Lisa isn’t excessively schedule oriented; she’s trapped, forced to live a single day over and over again. Unable to convince her parents that there’s something seriously wrong going on, Lisa takes matters into her own hands and does a little digging in order to find out why they’re trapped in that one day and how to get out.

Haunter isn’t a bad movie, but it’s barely adequate. There are signs of inspired characters, clever ideas, and unique execution techniques, but they’re all curtailed by wooden performances, a predictable narrative, and loads of very familiar visuals.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Ender’s Game Set Visit, Part 1: Creating Three Worlds

Enders_Game_PosterHow do you make a movie set in the future about a six-year-old recruited by the military to wipe out an invading alien race? If the answer were simple, perhaps Ender’s Game would have been adapted to film far sooner. Orson Scott Card’s novel was first published back in 1985, after which the rights sat at Warner Bros. for 12 years, the film never making it past the development stage. Finally, the rights lapsed and Linda McDonough and her producing team snatched them up to make the movie their way — independently. As she proudly points out, “We think we may be the largest independently financed film ever put together.”

Directed by Gavin HoodEnder’s Game features a young boy named Ender (Asa Butterfield) who’s plucked from his family on Earth and shipped off to Battle School to train with the International Fleet (IF) in the hopes that he’ll be able to save the human race from the alien Formics by using their own colony, Eros, as a vantage point.

If you were keeping track, that makes three key locations — Earth, Battle School, and Eros. Even though Ender’s Game isn’t some $200 million mega budget project, the filmmakers were still hell-bent on creating fully realized versions of each realm, down to the tiniest detail.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Features

Review: The Call

The-Call-PosterDirector Brad Anderson and writer Richard D’Ovidio definitely have something here, but “The Call” falls into B-movie territory with a mix of notable highs, but also a handful of rock bottom lows.

Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is an all-star 911 operator, but when her call with a home invasion victim ends poorly, she feels responsible and opts to step away from the call center. Six months later, Jordan is busy training an incoming class of operators when a call comes in from a young girl who’s been kidnapped. When the operator who receives the call panics, Jordan must put the past behind her, step in and do whatever she can to bring Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) home alive.

The life of a 911 operator is surprisingly thrilling. The day-to-day happenings as presented in “The Call” are likely far slicker than in reality, but it makes for an ideal central environment for film. We all know and have possibly used a 911 call center, but for those who don’t work in law enforcement, the inner workings of the facility are probably a mystery. D’Ovidio uses the unknown to his advantage, dishing out the bear minimum, satiating curiosity while keeping the information digestible. Anderson and editor Avi Youabian take it from there, turning what could easily have been a stagnant, dull presentation of that call center and giving it life through an appropriate amount of camera movement and some stellar editing. Anderson excels on the opposite end of the spectrum as well with solid action coverage and a number of memorable shots that highlight the true horror of the situation, too.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Tribeca Review: Janie Jones

World, watch out for Abigail Breslin. Thanks to nine years of work, we know she’s a talented actress, but Janie Jones really proves she’s on another level. The film not only reveals her as an incredibly talented singer, but as an actress who can take a subpar script, breathe life into it and make it somewhat enjoyable.

Breslin is Janie Jones, a 13-year-old with an addict for a mother (Elisabeth Shue). When mom decides to get clean, she opts to leave Janie with her father, semi-rock star Ethan Brand (Alessandro Nivola). Too bad Ethan doesn’t even know he has a kid. Despite being unconvinced he’s really the father, when Janie’s mother bails, Ethan is left with no choice but to bring Janie aboard his tour bus.

Janie isn’t troublesome in the least; it’s her father that causes all the problems. Not only does he stomp around unwilling to accept the fact that he has a child, but his drinking gets out of control as does his attitude. When his escapades become too much to handle, Ethan’s band and manager decide it’s time to part ways leaving Ethan and Janie alone.

Click here to read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews