Even with pop music at the center of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, the filmmakers behind the second big-screen installment of Alvin and the Chipmunks kept the cultural references to a minimum and chose to make a family flick that's really all about the kids.
- December 22, 2009 |
In yet another instance where a trailer doesn't remotely match the tone of the actual film, (yes, the only funny bits were there, but the end product is far more dramatic), Did You Hear About the Morgans? is a surprisingly flat rom-com that doesn't make the most of its cast.
- December 21, 2009 |
The intense publicity, as well as several ecstatic early reviews, have set the bar very high. But Avatar doesn't come anywhere near clearing that bar—not in the performances, not in the lavish visuals and certainly not in the film's entirely derivative storytelling.
Even with five Oscar-winning actresses delivering fantastic performances without really having that much to work with, the screen adaptation of Broadway musical Nine may have the star wattage but ultimately does little in the way of actually illuminating the audience.
The Young Victoria is not the best film currently playing, or even a particularly good one, because the story has a split personality. But some beautiful interior shots and costuming compensate somewhat for this period piece's identity crisis.
Disney gets nostalgic and tries capitalizing on everything that's worked so well in the past, while taking advantage of new technology. Not only are there plenty of show-stopping musical numbers, but the colorful, hand-drawn animation has never been more spectacular.
- December 11, 2009 |
Directed by Clint Eastwood, Invictus is the story of South Africa's political transformation in the late twentieth century and the role its rugby team played in bridging the racial divide. How could it go wrong? By not generating the requisite momentum for a triumphant story about cultural and ethnic identity.
- December 11, 2009 |
If I had a vote, The Messenger would be one of the 10 Oscar Award nominees for "Best Picture," and Ben Foster, Samantha Morton and Woody Harrelson would all receive acting nominations. It should not be missed and is that good. Seek it out.
- December 07, 2009 |
With director Jason Reitman's trademark satirical bite, plenty of romantic turbulence and great starring turns from leads George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Twilight's Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air tugs at your emotions one moment and has you laughing out loud the next.
There's nothing like the holidays to remind everyone about what's really important in life. But sometimes the delivery of a valuable message about the importance of family simply gets lost in translation, which is exactly what happens in the ho-hum dramedy Everybody's Fine.
Just in time for Christmas—and for President Barack Obama's newly announced strategy for the war in Afghanistan—comes Brothers, director Jim Sheridan's (In America) remake of a Danish drama about sibling and generational conflict among one military family.
The movie version of Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a story of a father and son trying to survive after an apocalyptic event. Although God is discussed, he is never embraced, yet The Road shows the importance of the power of hope to overcome bitterness and cynicism.
Old Dogs could've used a few new tricks, namely a stronger, less-schmaltzy script, a more convincing friendship between protagonists played by John Travolta and Robin Williams, and well, a few more laughs that don't involve bodily functions.
It's nearly impossible to overstate how wonderful this movie is. Living up to its title as well as any film of recent memory, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox is a whirlwind of madcap humor, surprising emotion and true artistry.
With a strikingly different tone than its swoony, spooky counterpart, New Moon actually answers the age-old question that most romantic comedy scripts never have the opportunity to: What happens after the girl actually lands the man of her dreams?
While recycling old ideas was basically status quo, surprisingly enough, borrowing from other otherworldly space-age flicks including Stars Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. and Alien actually elevates Planet 51’s overall enjoyment factor.
Not only are there Oscar-worthy performances here from newcomer Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique, who is, hands down, one of the scariest villains since Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight, but director Lee Daniels gets the story just right by not shying away from the ugly truth of poverty, illiteracy and abuse.
In addition to an old-fashioned love story complete with a gloriously throwback aesthetic, An Education poses the age-old question of which educational experiences are really the most important: what happens in the classroom or in "the real world."
- November 11, 2009 |