While “extraordinary rendition” is certainly a provocative topic in a post 9/11 world, the team behind Rendition doesn’t mind choosing the most simplistic, even manipulative, methods to getting its message across.
- February 19, 2008 |
This left-wing propaganda film preaches the following message: If you are stupid enough to send your son to war in Iraq, there’s a high chance he will do drugs, torture the enemy for fun and turn so psychotic that he’ll learn to cooly murder his fellow soldiers for no good reason.
- February 19, 2008 |
In Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, not only does Perry offer an important view of wealthy, professional African-Americans, but he also deals with marital woes in a sensitive manner. It’s dramatic, at times, and occasionally uncomfortable to watch.
- February 15, 2008 |
Echoes of the prodigal son parable abound in the latest crime film by director-screenwriter James Gray. Although the plot isn’t brilliant and suffers from obvious contrivances, it’s still an engaging spectacle.
- February 14, 2008 |
Those hoping for a simple boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-and-girl-get-back-together-and-live-happily-ever-after story will get far better comfort food with No Reservations—even if it’s more of a heart-wrenching drama than a by-the-numbers romantic comedy.
Unlike Miss Potter, the whimsical biopic that centered around the little-known love life that inspired Beatrix Potter’s work, Becoming Jane doesn’t have much in the way of actual history to back up its premise.
Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, Gone Baby Gone beckons us to play God right along with the protagonist and ask ourselves what hard decision we would make about the life and well-being of a little kidnapped girl.
Much like Hugh Grant’s foray into more serious fare with 2002’s About a Boy, John Cusack, another consummate bachelor in real life, proves he’s got dramatic range and emotional gravitas in the otherworldly drama Martian Child.
Last year’s Little Miss Sunshine proved there was an audience for a quirky indie film about a dysfunctional family. And naturally, when a film like that meets with unexpected success, it’s not long before copycat efforts follow—like the largely unimpressive Introducing the Dwights.
If you’re looking for a straightforward narrative—and musicals aren’t your thing—you’ll want to bypass Across the Universe. But if you’re a big Beatles fan and love all things ‘60s, this is definitely worth the trip. Goo goo g’joob.
- February 07, 2008 |
With the white-knuckle suspense of Flightplan, the “keep it real” radio host vibe of Talk to Me, and the terrifying psycho-thriller shock effect of Mr. Brooks, The Brave One is a well-crafted, entertaining film marred by excessive foul language, violence and a dark worldview.
These days we certainly seem to be mad about Jane … Jane Austen that is. Yet it's hard to imagine either the author or her fans particularly enthusiastic about The Jane Austen Book Club, the latest entry in the ever-growing list of Austen-themed films.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford examines how entertainment culture exploits historical truth. The result is a beautiful, slow-paced examination of the wages of sin, and the conflicted role of the public and its view of history.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age is a fascinating, nearly perfect film. It’s always wonderful to tie history to entertainment, and the history of Europe in the 1500s is very exciting. The movie unfolds the age-old conflict between Protestants and Catholics, and shows how each side is praying for victory.
This film by writer/director Jeffrey Blitz pulls back the veil on high school debating, showing us the popular rapid-fire speech pattern called “spreading.” He also portrays what it’s like to be in high school, without all the clichés that plague other school films.
- February 01, 2008 |
With some surprisingly good messages and some decent acting from a new cast, it’s a shame that Daddy Day Camp is such a bad sequel. The plot is predictable, and loaded with the two Hollywood “requirements” for kid films: body humor and bratty children.
- January 30, 2008 |
What would happen if a space shuttle crashed on earth, carrying an alien virus on the thousands of scattered parts? Answering this question, The Invasion borrows from the old Invasion of the Body Snatchers without totally copying the film. And it’s good and creepy!
The target audience for Blonde Ambition is a mystery. With such patently silly production values, it seems geared to young girls and fans of Jessica Simpson. But its language and sexuality make it only appropriate for older teens or adults.
Trade, an uneven drama about human trafficking, deserves begrudging respect for raising the public’s awareness of troubling subject matter. The film nevertheless suffers from awkward melodrama and feeble dialogue.
While bordering on the cheesy and laying the cute on thick, The Game Plan is still a fairly solid choice for amusing family entertainment. What’s refreshing is the noticeable lack of curse words and rude humor typically used to cover up plot holes.
- January 22, 2008 |