We’ve officially run out of dangerous vehicles for movies. Now that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his fixed gear, steel frame bicycle have pedaled onto the action movie scene, we’ve reached a crucial moment. We may have run out of exciting, dangerous vehicles to use as pegs for great action stories. Bikes were the last, albeit unexpected, frontier. As a seven-year veteran of New York, I’m well aware that anyone who chooses to dodge in an out of traffic on a bike (let alone one without breaks) is taking their life in their hands. It’s truly a terrifying daily activity, and this weekend’s Premium Rush solidifies that. But that’s it. What else have we got left? We’ve covered everything from VW Bugs to Greyhound busses, to skateboards and fishing boats. I’m calling it. It’s time to move onto the next logical vehicle: the Zamboni. Or the zip line, or the Segway, followed swiftly by the pogo stick. The possibilities are endless, really. Naturally, we've got an idea of what that might look like: ZAMBONI: The Movie Tagline: “All heat, no speedometer.” Starring: Danny McBride as the Zamboni Driver Premise: Jeff (McBride) is just your average Zamboni driver, living for the thrill of melting ice with his high-powered vehicle, though it generally runs at a glacial pace. But when terrorists hijack Jeff’s ice rink for their own sadistic purposes, the average Joe is forced to take matters into his own hands. It’s time for evil to find out what life is like on a vehicle whose speed is without measure. * *Literally, Zambonis don’t have speedometers. Zipper Tagline: “Zip this.” Starring: Shia LaBeouf as the zip line guide and Crispin Glover as the villain Premise: Chet (LeBeouf) thought he was getting a pretty sweet deal: summer job in Alaska, giving zip line tours to the jubilant, chatty cruise line passengers dumped on shore by day, partying with his fellow hot, young tour guides around campfires at night. But when a greedy business developer (Glover) hatches a seedy plan to destroy the zip line forest to build shiny, new condos, Chet is forced to stop him. By any means necessary. Steel Spring Revolution Tagline: “Earth to Aliens: It’s time to bounce.” Starring: Kellan Lutz as the Pogo Champion Premise: Extreme pogo is not just a good time, it’s a way of life. And when an alien invasion threatens to destroy Pittsburgh during the annual Pogopalooza* completion, it’s up to Biff (Lutz) and his friends to use their gravity-defying skills to defeat the intergalactic foes. *Pogopalooza is a real competition that takes place in Pittsburgh. All The President’s Wheels Tagline: “D.C., meet your unlikeliest hero.” Starring: Jason Schwartzman as a D.C. Segway tour guide Premise: American History expert Bob Benson (Schwartzman) was laughed out of academia by his colleagues when a simple fact-checking mistake rendered his book on the life of Herbert Hoover the joke of the entire historian community. Now, he gives Segway tours of Washington’s National Treasures. That is, until he is the sole witness to a major heist on the National Gallery, and with his silent, upright vehicle, finds the courage to teach the thieves that no one messes with America. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler More: 'Premium Rush' and Four Other Wildly Misleading Titles Joseph Gordon-Levitt Talks 'Premium Rush' Joseph Gordon-Levitt, It's Time to Start Taking Your Shirt Off
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.