Glossy, superficial thriller about an unearthed time capsule which bears an encoded message containing the dates, causalities, and coordinates of every major disaster up through the apocalypse. For a movie like this to work (i.e. Close Encounters) it needs to be rooted in some fact. Unfortunately the script, which starts out mildly interesting, lapses into silly nonsense. Nicolas Cage continues his downward spiral of bad films, with a disinterested performance. Perhaps he’s thinking about how much money he’s going to make from this dopey blockbuster.
Archive for July, 2009
Dystopian society in which all citizens must die at the age of 30 unless rewarded with continued life in a confusing ritual known as Carousel. Michael York is Logan 5, a Sandman entrusted with tracking down and killing people who try to flee from participating. Illogical film (Logan’s true motives are unclear throughout most of the film) is redeemed by unintentionally hilarious futuristic 70s-style set design and costumes. Sci-fi action film has spectacular start but ends up a dreary bore. Nevertheless, co-star Jenny Agutter is captivating and a pre-Charlie’s Angels Farrah Fawcett is beautifully vacuous in a minor role.
The plot is simple: Three sailors strike out onto the streets New York to enjoy their 24-hour pass. But what follows is a perfect combination of comedy, dance and song. Flawless MGM musical from the golden age of Hollywood is an adaptation of a 1944 Broadway stage musical. The talent here practically jumps off the screen. In fact, the ensemble cast radiates so much camaraderie, you wish you were hanging out with these people in New York too. Thankfully, because of this musical, you can….for 98 minutes anyway. A joyous classic.
An unbearably intense, white knuckle ride of a film. Action thriller places the audience on the front lines of the Iraq war as we follow follow three members of an elite Army bomb disposal team. Stunningly acted, this film gives an honest, straightforward portrayal of us what it’s like for these soldiers to deal with death every day, from bombs to snipers. The incisive, penetrating script was written by journalist Mark Boal, who adapted his own wartime experiences with a bomb squad. Film packs an emotional wallop you will not soon forget. Without question, the most important film dealing with the Iraq War thus far, and one of the most important films about war EVER.
Part 6 of the children’s fantasy series finds our hero seeking information that will ultimately help him in his quest to destroy Lord Voldemort. Regrettably, the magical adventure has become a romantic soap opera of budding romance and broken hearts in this installment: Harry Potter and the Attack of the Raging Hormones, if you will. Script’s frequent use of jargon and reference to characters off-screen, can also be a frustrating experience for those unfamiliar with the book. On the positive side, more complex character development this time around and the cinematography is spectacular. Unfortunately a final revelation at the end invalidates the entire film.
From the stars of the MTV sketch comedy show “The State” comes this alleged parody of 80s teen comedies. In reality this summer camp film plays more like the genuine article than an ironic caricature. The film is structurally weak. The look of the era is nicely captured, but scene after scene is so sloppily written and put together, there isn’t much of a point. Director David Wain would ultimately write & direct the excellent Role Models, but you’d have to have been psychic to see that talent here.
Romantic comedy juggles multiple storylines about various characters struggling in relationships. Gigi Phillips, who misreads the interest men have in her, is at the center of it all. Ensemble film has its moments, but overall, the plot is extremely trivial. To make matters worse, this lightweight soap opera is stretched to a tedious 129 minutes.
Earnest tearjerker about a girl who, genetically created as a bone-marrow donor for her cancer stricken sister, sues her parents for the rights to her own body. Manipulative drama is emotionally involving, but it’s too superficial to properly deal with the interesting moral and ethical questions it raises. The soundtrack of light adult contemporary rock that plays every time something important happens, undermines the quiet power of every scene. And the final courtroom revelation is a cop out which negates the entire film.
Melancholy romantic drama about suicidal, socially awkward Leonard who is torn between the sensible, attractive daughter of a family friend, who loves him and the lively, but self destructive, next door neighbor he is drawn to. Moody character driven film is rather soporific at times, but is ultimately grounded by the performances, particularly actress Vinessa Shaw who is nicely understated as the likable Sandra. Film marks the 3rd time director James Gray and Joaquin Phoenix have worked together.
Manhattanite with a shopping addiction and in serious debt, unintentionally gets a job as a financial advice columnist. Oh the irony! Schizophrenic mess of a film warns against the dangers of consumerism while it lovingly celebrates expensive designer labels, often in the very same scene. Isla Fisher is pleasant enough in the title role, and actor Hugh Dancy does his best Hugh Grant impression as magazine editor, Luke Brandon. Superficial, formulaic story brings to mind several other, more enjoyable films. Poorly written chick flick is shockingly based on a bestselling novel.