Archive for April, 2009

Sliding Doors

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on April 30, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketRomantic fantasy presents two alternate realities which hinge on whether or not a woman catches a London train. Unfortunately, neither storyline is particularly engaging. Very intriguing idea ultimately deteriorates into a dull melodramatic soap opera. Gwyneth Paltrow’s performance as the woman who’s life branches in two directions, is compelling, but Jeanne Tripplehorn as the “other woman” gives a distractingly bad performance. Bouncy pop soundtrack is a plus.


Posted in Adventure, Animation, Family, Romance, Science Fiction with tags on April 29, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketPixar’s 9th feature film is a heartwarming animated tale of a lonely robot on a desolate, uninhabited earth in the year 2700. Sweet, charming story about environmental preservation, consumerism, befriending your fellow man and most of all, true love. The greatest tribute to simply holding hands since that Beatles song. Dazzling!

Frozen River

Posted in Crime, Drama with tags on April 28, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketDown on her luck single mother resorts to smuggling illegals into the U.S. in an effort to make ends meet. Film details a side of life in upstate New York, near the Canadian border, rarely seen. Bleak, understated mood and wintry scenes intensify the grim subject matter effectively . Melissa Leo gives a perfectly natural performance and she’s matched by Misty Upham who plays her unlikely partner in crime.


Posted in Drama, Thriller with tags on April 25, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketHappily married asset manager’s idyllic life is jeopardized when a sexy office temp forms a dangerous fixation on him. Umpteenth variation on Fatal Attraction is hilarious as unintentional comedy. The lazily written script has Derek, the main character, behaving in idiotic ways that will have you shouting at the screen. Beyoncé’s “Oh no you didn’t!” performance is good for several laughs as well. All in all, not quite the camp fest that could have elevated this thriller into the sublime, it still is enjoyable enough. The film’s climax is worth the price of admission alone. Ali Larter makes the most of her underwritten character.

State of Play

Posted in Drama, Mystery, Thriller with tags on April 24, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketAmerican adaptation of the hit British miniseries about an investigation into the murder of the research assistant (and mistress) of a prominent rising congressman. Everything from the authentic performances to the intelligent script, feels right in this political thriller. Although its glorification of the press can be a bit obsequious at times, this is a welcome throwback to the classic films of the 70s like All the Presidents Men. Actual Washington, D.C. locations add to the superior production values.

The Spirit

Posted in Action, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Thriller with tags on April 23, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketGraphic novelist Frank Miller freely adapts Will Eisner’s crime fighting character much in the same style as his earlier Sin City . Crime film concerns a supervillain who is prepared to wipe out an entire city in his quest to become immortal. Beautiful cinematography and outstanding production design cannot compensate for the poorly written script and campy acting which derail the film. Samuel L. Jackson’s hammy performance is the nadir. Why all the costume changes? Story is uneven in tone from beginning to end.

Black Book (Zwartboek)

Posted in Drama, Thriller, War with tags on April 20, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketJewish woman poses as a Nazi during World War II in order to persuade a German commander to release a member of the resistance. Dutch film director, Paul Verhoeven, returns to his native roots to direct this entertaining epic drama. Interesting mix of classic storytelling and graphic doses of sex and violence are combined to form a most compelling tale about espionage and revenge. Dutch stage and film actress, Carice van Houten, plays the film’s heroine in an unforgettable performance.

The Transporter

Posted in Action, Crime, Thriller with tags on April 16, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketUnderworld courier-for-hire’s life is complicated when he discovers his latest parcel is actually a beautiful Asian woman being sent to a nefarious American known only as Wall Street. Sturdy action film set in France has explosions, fast cars, an attractive girl and a captivating action hero. The fight scenes are the best part about the film. It’s a dependable, if not terribly coherent, potboiler.

The Tale of Despereaux

Posted in Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy with tags on April 12, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketAnimated fantasy from Universal Studios about how the lives of a mouse, a rat, a servant girl and a princess intertwine within a dispirited kingdom. Features beautiful animation. Unfortunately the story is a chaotic mess that juggles multiple characters and shifting story lines, unsuccessfully. What should have been a sweet, whimsical story to watch, feels like a labored, heavy handed chore.

Observe and Report

Posted in Comedy, Crime, Drama on April 10, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketScattershot comedy about a mall security officer who competes with a police officer to catch a flasher terrorizing the mall. For a comedy like this to work, it must be grounded in some reality. Unfortunately, our lead character commits one violent act after another with no consequences, all in the name of random silliness. Ronnie Barnhardt is a such deranged, bi-polar misfit, it’s unclear why after causing such mayhem, he even still has a job. The usually stellar Anna Faris is wasted.