Archive for 2006

The Holiday

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Romance with tags on July 15, 2010 by Mark Hobin

Glossy romantic comedy features two women who swap homes temporarily, one in England the other in LA.  What happens to British Iris in the US is far more compelling than what happens to American Amanda in England.  Credit goes to Kate Winslet for her engaging performance.  She elevates everyone around her.  Even Eli Wallach seems magnetic as a screenwriter from Hollywood‘s golden age.  Unfortunately, the trite story is too formulaic to be interesting.  Comedy-drama feels more like a product being marketed and sold by a Hollywood factory that anything bearing genuine warmth and emotion.  Cameron Diaz is particularly cloying.  She makes goo-goo eyes and talks in her cutest voice that says “love me because I’m so pretty”, but really comes across a snoozy bore.  Half of a good movie.  I see no  justification for that overindulgent 2 hour and 16 minute running time either.

Jesus Camp

Posted in Documentary, Drama with tags on August 24, 2009 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketDocumentary about a Pentecostal summer camp for children. An effective documentary is unbiased, allowing the viewer to form their own opinions. Unfortunately, this is clearly not the agenda of the filmmakers. Clips from Mike Papantonio’s radio show are frequently inserted to editorialize against the camp.  The use of “evil” music every time the camp’s director is on screen doesn’t point to an even handed approach either. Nevertheless, this is still a window into a community we often do not see and much of it is fascinating. That the subjects were manipulated by the directors to cast evangelical Christianity in an unflattering light, contaminates what should have been an interesting film.

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.

Tristan & Isolde

Posted in Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance with tags on December 1, 2008 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketUtterly rote romantic drama which retells the medieval legend of Tristan and Iseult. The script is not compelling, the story drags, and the leads barely register any passion whatsoever. If you must see a movie about star crossed lovers, see Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet instead.

The Good Shepherd

Posted in Drama, Thriller with tags on October 19, 2008 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketAt almost 3 hours, this period film about the beginnings of the CIA is an ambitious, but ultimately tedious spy drama. There are moments where the film shows signs of turning into a first rate thriller. It ultimately remains a character study of a very stiff and unemotional man, inspired by the true-life story of CIA founder James J. Angleton. Intelligent and realistic, but not particularly exciting.

A Very Serious Person

Posted in Drama with tags on August 28, 2008 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketCharles Busch wrote and directed this comedy drama about a male nurse who arrives to care for a terminally ill woman and forms a warm friendship with her sensitive 13 year old grandson. Poignant film can be overly precious at times, but ultimately benefits from the engaging and sincere performance of P.J. Verhoest, its young star.

The History Boys

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on August 12, 2008 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketPhotobucketEnglish high-school students seek to earn the scores needed to enroll in Oxford and Cambridge in writer Alan Bennett’s witty screen adaptation of his Tony award winning play. Ensemble film wisely features the talented original London cast, however the film’s moral confusion is unsettling.


Posted in Comedy, Fantasy, Romance with tags on July 21, 2008 by Mark Hobin

Quirky, reverse “Beauty and the Beast” comedy is well filmed with fantastic production values. Talented cast deserves better story that slowly progresses to its inevitable conclusion.

For Your Consideration

Posted in Comedy with tags on July 8, 2008 by Mark Hobin

Another funny Christopher Guest “documentary.” Whole cast is excellent, but Catherine O’Hara is especially good.

Notes on a Scandal

Posted in Drama with tags on June 27, 2008 by Mark Hobin

Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett are two schoolteachers locked in a battle of wits. Both actresses command your attention. You cannot look away, no matter how uncomfortable things get.