Arts

Oz the Great and Powerful

2.5 / 5

“MEDIOCRE” IS THE perfect word to describe Oz the Great and Powerful. The story was good. The movie provided a great prequel to The Wizard of Oz—which was the whole point—but the film’s actual execution was nothing spectacular. What should’ve been a great cast with great acting just ended up as poor performances by otherwise decent actors. James Franco was corny, Mila Kunis was over the top, Rachel Weisz seemed bored, and Zach Braff was undervalued. Basically, the cast made this movie appealing, but they’ll likely all regret having made it.

The CGI was good, if you’re into it, but there was no balance between the real and surreal. Another issue in this film was its rating ambiguity. The movie is rated PG, and rightfully so—it is a kids’ movie. However, it hovers between being too mature for kids under the age of 10 and too corny for anyone over 12. The graphics give the impression that you should see it while you’re stoned, but the cheese factor makes the humour borderline unbearable.

In short, this movie was OK. The plot provided some cute tie-ins from The Wizard of Oz, but there were also characters and plot points that didn’t exist in the original film or that left questions unanswered. If you want to watch Oz the Great and Powerful, see it on cheap Tuesday—or better yet, make it a rental.

—Spencer Van Dyk

Admission

3.5 / 5

AT ITS CORE, Admission is a movie about rejection and how someone deals with it on an academic and personal level. Thankfully, this potentially harsh theme is made bearable thanks to the film’s genuinely charming mix of comedy and drama.

Saturday Night Live veteran Tina Fey stars as a hardworking Princeton admissions officer, whose job pretty much involves crushing the dreams of 99 per cent of the bright-eyed youths who are looking to get accepted into the prestigious Ivy League school. Her rigid sense of professionalism is put in jeopardy when she becomes personally involved with the principal of an alternative high school (Paul Rudd) and one of his brightest and most troubled graduating students.

What follows is a fairly predictable series of events, but the film’s strength lies in its thoroughly likable leads and its cast of eccentric supporting characters who all have their own unique comedic quirks. The film also scores major points for making a dry subject like academic admissions selection fascinating to watch, since it’s a process full of manipulative rhetoric, unbreakable bias, and tense political intrigue.

Even though the film sags a bit in the middle and gets bogged down by some distracting sub-plots, Admission still rises above its potential for mediocrity and becomes quite endearing in the end. If nothing else, Fey’s latest starring vehicle will act as a nice cathartic exercise for anybody who ever felt they were unfairly rejected by their school of choice and are looking for some cinematic payback.

—Kyle Darbyson