Instead of focusing on Michael Jackson's private life or his particular oddities, This Is It is really all about the music and a farewell tour that'll never see the light of day, a move that ultimately casts Jackson, and his legacy, in a more favorable light.
Jane Campion has made a career off of tortured love stories, yet Bright Star is different (even opposite, and superior). Her past films have been about tortured people who destroy their circumstances. This, conversely, is a bittersweet arc of pure people who are tragically tortured by circumstances.
Rather than develop the more cerebral aspects of the story in the rushed, 88 minutes of Surrogates, director Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3) substitutes action where thoughtful dialogue and exposition would have been more helpful.
In The Invention of Lying, Ricky Gervais brings to the screen a story with some genuine laugh-out-loud potential. But its sharp, unexpected turn only serves as the actor/director’s personal atheistic soapbox.
- January 19, 2010 |
Kate Beckinsale’s career once looked promising, but her willingness to take paycheck jobs like Whiteout isn’t helping her career. Was she so blinded by the story that she couldn’t see how disastrous the final result would be?
- January 19, 2010 |
Key to the success of the The Hurt Locker is that its agenda is neither pro-war nor anti-war. Instead, the film is a look at the psychology of the men who go to war, and especially of those who willingly take part in the most dangerous aspects of conflict.
Given our culture's continued obsession with seeing ordinary people "make it big" and “achieve their dreams of stardom," it was only a matter of time before the '80s flick Fame got a modern-day makeover.
Instead of giving the storyline the gravitas it deserves, Post Grad quickly goes Little Miss Sunshine with way too much screen time dedicated to the main character's quirky family, the sort only dreamed up for movies in the first place.
Sam Rockwell has performed well in supporting roles in several powerful dramas recently (Frost/Nixon, Snow Angels), but Moon is his coming-out party—an announcement that he's ready for the big leagues.
The Final Destination is the fourth film in the horror franchise about people who try to cheat death, but it's the first installment filmed using Real-D 3D technology. The three-dimensional presentation takes the decimation, decapitation and disgust to depressing levels.
- January 05, 2010 |
Considering that an animated account of "the end of the world as we know it" was already done so well and winningly in last year's Wall·E (Pixar), 9 just doesn’t add anything new to the perilous conversation.
- December 29, 2009 |
With his latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore has delivered his least convincing, sloppiest work. The holes in his theory about capitalism being "evil" are so gaping that it's difficult to give credence to his more salutary points.
- December 29, 2009 |
While adherence to romantic-comedy genre rules and staples lacks the inspiration of its premise, the refreshing spin of (500) Days of Summer is found primarily in first-time director Marc Webb’s style.
If you can overlook the lowbrow attempts for a laugh, there’s a very good message hidden deep, deep down in the very bad comedy of All About Steve. Unfortunately, 98 minutes is far too long to waste trying to find it.
In an inspired genre mash-up of sci-fi, horror and documentary styles, District 9 looks to tackle relevant themes related to the War on Terror (and the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, specifically) through a parabolic lens.
Extract is better than some of the coarse R-rated comedies this year, but it's also surprisingly insubstantial given its moral content. The film does offer a few mild laughs, but the potentially offensive material is abundant throughout.
- December 21, 2009 |
The Hangover continues the trend toward outrageous, raunchy R-rated comedies. That domain, dominated by writer/director Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin), can make room for director Todd Phillips among its list of big names.
Proving he's far more blood-thirsty than any of the vampires wholeheartedly embraced by pop culture these days, famed director Quentin Tarantino leaves no opportunity for over-the-top, gratuitous violence unturned in his latest work, Inglourious B*sterds.
By the end of Taking Woodstock, despite some worthy craftsmanship, this look at how Woodstock came to be actually has the inverse effect of its likely intent: less historically significant without much of a story to tell.
Juxtaposing a far more ominous tone with the clumsy romantic entanglements of its teenage protagonists, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is easily the funniest, darkest and most ambitious film of the successful series.
- December 08, 2009 |