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Old 07-27-2007, 09:44 PM   #151
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The Simpsons Movie
Directed by David Silverman
Written by James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Ian Maxtone-Graham, George Meyer, David Mirkin, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully, Matt Selman, John Swartzwelder and Jon Vitti
Starring Hank Azaria, Albert Brooks, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Tom Hanks, Pamela Hayden, Julie Kavner, Harry Shearer and Yeardley Smith


The Simpsons is the longest running primetime animated television sitcom, having aired 400 episodes over the course of 18 seasons. The show, created by Emmy Award winning cartoonist Matt Groening and broadcasted on FOX, is a satire on Middle American families and set in the fictional town of Springfield. The show has garnered 23 Emmy Awards, 22 Annie Awards and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. In 2007 arrives the much rumored about and highly anticipated big-screen version, entitled The Simpsons Movie.

The Environmental Protection Agency has learned that Springfield is the most polluted city in the United States, after Homer Simpson (Dan Castellaneta) disposes of a newfound pig's excrement in the town's recently cleaned-up lake. To combat the pollution, Russ Cargill (Albert Brooks), the Head of the EPA, receives authorization from United States President Arnold Schwarzenneger (Harry Shearer) to seal off the entire town of Springfield with a giant-sized dome.

Homer and his family manage to escape the wrath of Springfield's residents through a sinkhole in their backyard, which leads them outside of the dome and off to Alaska, where the family hopes for a new start. But a television advertisement featuring Tom Hanks promoting a new Grand Canyon to be located where Springfield presently sits leads the Simpsons clan back to Springfield, in an effort to save their hometown.

After years of discussions and with eleven writers helping to contribute to the final product, The Simpsons Movie hits theaters as a full-length production sure to please longtime fans of the popular television series, but ultimately ends up feeling like an over-extending regular episode of the show. The movie provides constant laughs throughout the film's first two acts, but the picture's overall thin premise results in a formuliac and melodramatic ending, and no major finish.

Despite what it lacks in animation quality compared to today's motion picture world, The Simpsons Movie makes up for it by delivering the pop culture jabs, irreverent characters and hilarious moments that so many animation films strive for, but rarely achieve in the same fresh and charming way that this movie manages to. And the movie's PG-13 rating allows the flick's writers and voice actors to get away with a little more radical and offensive behavior than the television version does, but it's also nicely balanced and never goes too far.

The film's biggest challenge is trying to pack too many stories and too many characters into such a short runtime, with jokes from several of the television show's supporting cast constantly being bantered about, while numerous plotlines introduced are eventually either rushed or simply left in the dark. Individual storylines for each of the the Simpsons family members are brought to life, but entirely insignificant given the lack of detail and attention paid to them.

A clever and funny adaptation of the hit television show, The Simpsons Movie never quite takes off and won't live up to exceedingly large expectations, but the film still has the appropriate amount of sight gags and slapstick humor that will appeal to its already established fan base.


**.5/****


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Old 07-28-2007, 02:35 PM   #152
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Wow 18 seasons for Homer and family. Can't believe they out did Ben, Adam Hoss and Little Joe as Sunday nights longest lasting TV familys. I still think Hopsing could kick anyone's ass in Springfield.

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Old 07-28-2007, 09:24 PM   #153
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The Number 23
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Written by Fernley Phillips
Starring Jim Carrey, Lynn Collins, Danny Huston, Logan Lerman, Virginia Madsen and Rhona Mitra


The 23 Enigma is the Discordian belief that all events are connected to the number 23. American novelist and philosopher Robert Antown Wilson collaborated with Robert Shea on a seminal work of fiction entitled The Illuminatus Trilogy!, in which Wilson uses the number 23 as a means of confirmation bias -- meaning an individual's way of interpretating a preconceived idea. Director Joel Schumacher and debut screenwriter Fernley Phillips have brought the 23 Enigma to the big-screen, with the release of this year's The Number 23.

Animal Control Officer Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) receives a book for his birthday from his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen), entitled "The Number 23" from author Topsy Kretts. After receiving a dangerous animal bite from a stray dog, Walter is forced to spend time at home recuperating, and he uses the downtime to begin reading his new book which details the life of a detective named Fingerling, who soon becomes preoccupied with the number 23 after discovering its importance in a recent murder and suicide.

While perusing the book, Walter begins to notice some distinct similarities between himself and the character of Fingerling, and is also able to correlate the number 23 with significant and personal information of his own, including his address and social security number. Walter and his family soon begin a personal investigation into the book's author, hoping to unravel the true story behind the number 23, and any real-life murders that the book may have been associated with.

A convoluted and overproduced psychological thriller, The Number 23 has an inticing premise and a strong cast, but director Schumacher (Phantom of the Opera, Phone Booth) goes overboard with his jarring camera tricks and his overstated cinematography in order to establish any likeness to mood or suspense, and never allowing the actual storytelling to take center stage. The movie is told in two separate universes, with one discovering the world that Topsy Kretts has penned and the other following Walter's obsession with the author's material. The two alternate universes are then wrongfully blended together by use of Schumacher's saturated and unsettling directorial habits.

The screenplay from Phillips doesn't help Schumacher in the slightest, constantly tossing out conspiracy theories and plot twists in an effort to engage viewers throughout, while neglecting to develop the characters who actually become the heart of the story as the narrative starts to unravel. The film's final act is stretched beyond belief, taking what was already a preposterous but predictable ending and turning it into a long didactic moment for those audience members who are slow to grasp the proceedings, or in all likelihood, had already tuned themselves out of the movie.

Without question, Carrey (Fun with Dick & Jane, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) has done his finest work to date with dramatic material, but faulters in this serious role by turning in an incredibly stale performance in a leading part that could have used a wide-range of emotions. The rest of the movie's actors are extremely limited, with the entire weight of the picture resting squarely on Carrey's shoulders, who appears in nearly every scene.

A murky and disappointing suspense drama, The Number 23 begins with some promise, but culminates in a rather lame and frustrating fashion.


*/****


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Old 08-08-2007, 03:44 PM   #154
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Slow Burn
Directed by Wayne Beach
Written by Wayne Beach
Starring Jolene Blalock, Taye Diggs, Chiwetel Ejiofor, LL Cool J, Bruce McGill, Mekhi Pfifer, Ray Liotta and Guy Torry


Award-winning Filipina-American screenwriter and novelist Sabina Murray received an Independent Spirit Award nomination in 2005 for the Vietnam related-drama she penned entitled The Beautiful Country. The movie is the lone screenplay from the successful author, but her novel "Slow Burn" was adapted by writer and director Wayne Beach (The Art of War, Murder at 1600) into a film that was produced and shot back in 2003. Nearly four years later, Slow Burn arrived in theaters in 2007.

District Attorney and mayoral candidate Ford Cole (Ray Liotta) and his assistant Nora Timmer (Jolene Blalock) have received a ton of admiration for cleaning up their city, and for being able to infiltrate some of the city's largest gangs. But his office is soon expected to face a tremendous amount of scrutiny, after Timmer murders cabdriver Isaac Duperde (Mekhi Phifer) in self-defense, after she alleges the man entered her place intent on raping her.

Cole questions Timmer on her relationship with Duperde, after a friend of the deceased and former police officer named Luther Pinks (LL Cool J) arrives to the police station and informs Cole that Nora and Isaac have had an on again-off again relationship for several months. And as Cole begins to piece the puzzle together, he soon discovers that it is actually his office that has been infiltrated, and that he may have close ties to the city's most notorious gang member.

A gang-related thriller occuring in one-days timeframe, Slow Burn contains several engaging moments, but never manages to develop any solid footing. The movie tries so hard to be a rehash of Brian Singer's The Usual Suspects, that once this flick begins with its resolutions, Beach has decided to tack on so many convoluted contrivances and plot reversals that go far beyond absurd, it will leave its viewers shaking their heads.

And prior to the movie's conclusion, Beach's script is bogged down with an abundance of inane dialogue that serves more as exposition than actual conversation. The screenplay also enables most of the movie's ensemble to tell their side of the story, which are loaded with cliches and simply strings the movie's audience members along, while forgetting to complete numerous subplots and minor, yet interesting, character developments that manage to appear in the varying versions shown.

Liotta (Wild Hogs, Smokin' Aces) delivers his finest performance since 2002's Narc, while Blalock (TV's Enterprise) does a decent job as the lone female castmember of any significance. LL Cool J (Last Holiday, Mindhunters), Phifer (Dawn of the Dead, TV's E.R.) and Guy Torry (Runaway Jury, Don't Say a Word) all turn in the type of performance you would expect, while the movies more talented actors Taye Diggs (Rent, TV's Day Break) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, Inside Man) are severely limited in their roles, and could have added a lot more to the picture.

Although it begins with an arousing start, Slow Burn is quickly brought down by its ineffective twists and turns that result in a heaping mess of an ending.


*.5/****


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Old 08-08-2007, 04:58 PM   #155
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I just saw Little Miss Sunshine. Cute movie with a good message, IMO.
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:20 PM   #156
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The Host
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Written by Baek Chul-hyun and Bong Joon-ho
Starring Ko Ah-seong, Bae Doona, Park Hae-il, Byeon Hee-bong and Song Kang-ho


South Korean film director Bong Joon-ho made his directorial debut in 2000 with Barking Dogs Never Bite, a dark comedy about a college professor who abuses and kidnaps barking dogs from his apartment complex. Joon-ho followed up that film with the 2003 flick Memories of Murder, which earned the filmmaker the Grand Bell Award for Best Director. His third and most successful film is The Host, which broke box-office records throughout its domestic run in South Korea in 2006. The monster movie then found its way overseas to the United States in 2007.

American military pathologists have disposed of numerous formaldehyde bottles in the South Korean sewer system, and this foolish action soon leads to the development of a large creature in the Han River. This mysterious monster sparks interest in locals, as a crowd soon gathers, and several spectators are eventually attacked by the creature once he emerges from the water. One of the onlookers who seemingly gets devoured is a young child named Hyun-seo.

Hyun-seo's family grieves over the loss of the young schoolgirl and are quickly taken away by government representatives who fear for the safety of the rest of the family members who may have come into contact with the creature, who the government claims is the host of a deadly virus. But Hyun-seo manages to reach her father through his cell phone, leading her family on a chase from the government and to a sewer she and others are currently trapped in.

An enjoyable monster movie with some well-staged scenes, The Host loses some of its effectiveness by the use of entirely too much comic relief once the picture's panic and adrenaline rush starts to kick in. Bong Joon-ho does a fine job establishing several tense and distressing moments, but the movie's misplaced humor and its political satire jabs do detract from the film's strongest elements and are never mixed together in a satisfying way.

The screenplay, written by Joon-ho and Baek Chul-hyun, is wonderfully detailed and filled with several complex characters, all of whom are deeply flawed. The storytelling delivers a sense of urgency and dread, and as an audience member you truly care about the well-defined family members on the search for Hyun-seo, but their is a ridiculousness that shines through because of the film's witty banter, which truly serves no purpose to the heart of the movie.

The action is intense, and despite a minimal film budget of around $10 million, Joon-ho and his special effects team have managed to create a monster that never crosses the threshold of being considered over-the-top, while the creature also manages to contain enough of a terrifying appearance and nature in order to avoid becoming campy, laughable and distracting like the giant crocodile Gustave in this year's earlier flick Primeval.

A well-made and an exciting picture on some levels, The Host has enough extra baggage being drug along on the side that prevents it from becoming an easily recommendable film.


**/****


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Old 08-11-2007, 09:45 AM   #157
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The Hills Have Eyes II
Directed by Martin Weisz
Written by Jonathan Craven and Wes Craven
Starring Flex Alexander, Daniella Alonso, Ben Crowley, Eric Edelstein, Michael McMillian, Reshad Strik, Jessica Stroup, Jacob Vargas and Lee Thompson Young


The Hills Have Eyes was a 2006 remake of Wes Craven's 1977 film of the same name. The movie, produced by Craven, followed a suburban American family traveling through the New Mexico desert on their way to California, only to be attacked by a group of deformed cannibals after their vehicle breaks down. The Hills Have Eyes grossed over $41 million, and led to the release of the sequel The Hills Have Eyes II in March of 2007.

A group of United States soldiers and scientists have been sent to Sector 16 in the New Mexico desert, where half of the Carter family was viciously murdered by the deformed cannibals who inhabit the area. While exploring the mining community and attempting to set up surveillance equipment, the soldiers and scientists find themselves brutally murdered at the hands of the same grotesque and violent mutants.

There bodies are discovered by a unit of National Guard trainees, who were in the midst of bringing supplies to those looking to install the monitoring systems in the desert. The trainees spot a distress signal coming from one of the hills, leading the National Guard team to embark on their first ever search and rescue mission. But the clan is unprepared for the vicious cannibals that they will have to encounter in order to survive.

A cheap and poorly constructed horror flick, The Hills Have Eyes II was rushed to theaters in an attempt to capitalize on the minimal success of the 2006 remake, and ends up disappointing in comparison by simply increasing the level of gore and violence, while forgoing any interesting storytelling. The film constantly tosses out cheap scare tactics and too many similar, improbable death scenarios that merely buy the filmmakers more screen-time before they have to deliver their highly predictable finish.

The movie, which is written by Craven (Pulse, The People Under the Stairs) and his son Jonathan, fails to create any compelling characters that the audience can sympathize with once the grisly attacks begin to occur. Unlike the 2006 flick which featured an innocent family who is misled into the desert and is forced to fight against the twisted group of beings they knew nothing about, this time around the characters come off as complete dolts by apparently having little knowledge and having been ill-prepared for the maniacal creatures they are attempting to spy on.

The first theatrical release for music video director Martin Weisz, The Hills Have Eyes II becomes the epitome of what is wrong with the horror movie genre: the film uses quick camera cuts and obnoxious music cues to wrongly set the mood or suspense for the picture, while also combining it with a generic premise, a ton of misplaced humor and an ensemble of third or fourth-tier level actors who are truly embarrassing to watch when trying to convey a sense of dread.

Another pointless and uninspired horror sequel, The Hills Have Eyes 2's only true scare is the realization that the filmmakers have left the door open for a possible third film in the updated series.


1/2-a-star/****


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Old 08-11-2007, 10:44 AM   #158
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I Know Who Killed Me
Directed by Chris Sivertson
Written by Jeff Hammond
Starring Garcelle Beauvais, Brian Geraghty, Lindsay Lohan, Neil McDonough and Julia Ormond


Lindsay Lohan made her motion picture debut in 1998 in Disney's remake of The Parent Trap, which also starred Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson. Lohan went on to star in the teen flicks Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, before transitioning in her career to more adult roles over the last year, with work in the late-Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion, Emilio Estevez's Bobby and this year's Georgia Rule. In 2007, Lohan tackles her first adult film leading role in the alleged thriller I Know Who Killed Me.

Lohan stars as teenager Aubrey Fleming, who is shocked and stunned to learn that her missing classmate Jennifer Toland has been the victim of a gruesome murder. The following night Aubrey's friends and her boyfriend Jerrod Pointer (Brian Geraghty) become deeply worried when she doesn't show up to the movie theater for a late-night flick as expected. Instead, Aubrey is discovered days later laying on the side of the road, and apparently left for dead.

But Aubrey is able to make a full recovery, despite the loss of one of her legs from what appears to be a night of torture that closely resembles the events that led to the death of Jennifer Toland. But Aubrey doesn't recall any of her family members and friends, claiming that she is actually an exotic dancer named Dakota Moss. Dakota starts to piece together the mysterious puzzle of what she thinks has happened to Aubrey, and why the mix-up has occured between the two of them.

A heavy-handed and overly ameaturish film, I Know Who Killed Me unquestionably marks a career low for Lohan. The movie, in which Lohan's career almost comes full-circle with her playing two characters ala her work in The Parent Trap, is a sleazy attempt to showcase Lindsay in scantily-clad clothing writhing around a stripper's pole and using alcohol, drugs and odious vulgarity as a means of making her seem more adult-oriented and relatable.

Prior to her recent off-screen problems, Lohan has been a young Hollywood starlet who has actually been able to make a name and a career for herself based off of her actual on-screen abilities, which recently looked to provide a promising future for the star. But this flick is a gigantic misstep, and the actress's poor material selection for her first grown-up film role is unpleasant to watch, as this entirely incompetent and incoherent movie does nothing more than exploit and misuse Lohan's true talent.

The picture should have been a direct-to-DVD mess, as it is one of the more wrongly handled low-budget torture tales to arrive in theaters. Debut screenwriter Jeff Hammond loses track of most of the movie's characters, and all of the script's shocks and surprises miss the mark. Director Chris Sivertson never improves upon the film's troubled script, immutably basking the screen with colors of red and blue that never serve as any honest form of symbolism, and actually diverts your attention away from the story's happenings.

A trashy and terrible film from beginning to end, I Know Who Killed Me is a movie made up entirely of awful acting, awful directing and more than awful storytelling.


1/2-a-star/****


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Old 08-11-2007, 11:36 AM   #159
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Sicko
Directed by Michael Moore
Written by Michael Moore
Starring Michael Moore


Controversial Academy Award winning filmmaker Michael Moore was the driving force behind two of the highest-grossing documentaries of all-time: 2002's Bowling for Columbine, which explores the motives behind the massacre at Columbine High School and other violent acts with guns in our nation's history, and 2004's Fahrenheit 9/11, which was a harsh critique on the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq. Three years later Moore returns with another politically charged and controversial documentary, Sicko.

In the movie, Moore investigates the American health care system, focusing primarily on the industry's for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. Throughout the film, Moore highlights both insured and uninsured Americans who were either denied health care by insurance companies or hospitals, or have had an extreme amount of financial struggles from the costs they have had to endure when trying to battle against serious illness.

Moore also spends a tremendous amount of time on comparing America's for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies with the universal or non-profit health care systems in Canada, Cuba, England and France. Moore also interviews 9/11 rescue workers who volunteered to help with the devastation and the saving of lives following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but were denied government funds to help them through the diseases and illnesses they developed because of their efforts.

A disturbing documentary that serves as both propaganda and as a much needed wake-up call, Sicko is truly an affecting and entertaining picture. Unlike Moore's last two documentaries, he spends a larger part of the film behind the camera and offers up less of the smarmy and cynical statements that have always made his movies a slight turn-off. Instead, Moore wisely allows the personal stories and the interview subjects to convey to the audience their feelings and the effects they have felt from this nation's health care system.

These stories and the interview subjects are intensely effective and bring to light several issues that should transcend political backgrounds and ideologies, and instead speak to the basic human emotions. And while Sicko is based around a dreary and unfortunate topic that allows Moore to attack those he wants in his not-so-subtle way, Michael also throws in a dash of humor that makes the problems and the fight against them that much more powerful.

Moore's liberal agenda is clearly present and unavoidable, yet despite the knowledge that the movie surely contains some misrepresented facts and the typical misleading editing that almost always accompanies this genre of film, the lack of grandstanding by Moore on-screen has allowed the finer points to stand out, and Michael has succeeded once again in making a motion picture that raises more than a few flags.

An accomplished and entertaining documentary, Sicko ranks as Michael Moore's best documentary to date.


***.5/****


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Old 08-11-2007, 07:12 PM   #160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobynosker View Post


Sicko
Directed by Michael Moore
Written by Michael Moore
Starring Michael Moore


Controversial Academy Award winning filmmaker Michael Moore was the driving force behind two of the highest-grossing documentaries of all-time: 2002's Bowling for Columbine, which explores the motives behind the massacre at Columbine High School and other violent acts with guns in our nation's history, and 2004's Fahrenheit 9/11, which was a harsh critique on the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq. Three years later Moore returns with another politically charged and controversial documentary, Sicko.

In the movie, Moore investigates the American health care system, focusing primarily on the industry's for-profit health insurance and pharmaceutical industry. Throughout the film, Moore highlights both insured and uninsured Americans who were either denied health care by insurance companies or hospitals, or have had an extreme amount of financial struggles from the costs they have had to endure when trying to battle against serious illness.

Moore also spends a tremendous amount of time on comparing America's for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies with the universal or non-profit health care systems in Canada, Cuba, England and France. Moore also interviews 9/11 rescue workers who volunteered to help with the devastation and the saving of lives following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but were denied government funds to help them through the diseases and illnesses they developed because of their efforts.

A disturbing documentary that serves as both propaganda and as a much needed wake-up call, Sicko is truly an affecting and entertaining picture. Unlike Moore's last two documentaries, he spends a larger part of the film behind the camera and offers up less of the smarmy and cynical statements that have always made his movies a slight turn-off. Instead, Moore wisely allows the personal stories and the interview subjects to convey to the audience their feelings and the effects they have felt from this nation's health care system.

These stories and the interview subjects are intensely effective and bring to light several issues that should transcend political backgrounds and ideologies, and instead speak to the basic human emotions. And while Sicko is based around a dreary and unfortunate topic that allows Moore to attack those he wants in his not-so-subtle way, Michael also throws in a dash of humor that makes the problems and the fight against them that much more powerful.

Moore's liberal agenda is clearly present and unavoidable, yet despite the knowledge that the movie surely contains some misrepresented facts and the typical misleading editing that almost always accompanies this genre of film, the lack of grandstanding by Moore on-screen has allowed the finer points to stand out, and Michael has succeeded once again in making a motion picture that raises more than a few flags.

An accomplished and entertaining documentary, Sicko ranks as Michael Moore's best documentary to date.


***.5/****


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Really? Total surprise. I wouldn't have thought this would be a good flick. Humm...
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Old 08-12-2007, 03:38 PM   #161
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Toby, I rented a flick last night called The Darwin Awards. have you seen it yet, if so what did you rate it?
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Old 08-13-2007, 07:01 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by Dano
Toby, I rented a flick last night called The Darwin Awards. have you seen it yet, if so what did you rate it?
I have not seen it yet, but I have heard very mixed things about it.

Let me know what you think...
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Old 08-13-2007, 10:23 AM   #163
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Hot Fuzz
Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Starring Bill Bailey, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Martin Freeman, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy and Simon Pegg


The 2004 independent picture Shaun of the Dead was a critical success both in the United Kingdom and the United States, and has developed a cult-like following among fans. The zombie-themed romantic comedy was written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, who had previously found success together with their hit British television show Spaced. The duo elected to join forces once again in 2007, with the creation of the satirical action flick Hot Fuzz.

Sergeant Nicholas Angel (Pegg) is the most talented police officer with London's Metropolitan Police Service, but his tireless dedication to his job leads to some jealousy felt by his superiors, who decide to transfer Angel to the small village of Sandford. Upon arrival, Angel has trouble adjusting to what appears to be an easy going and crime free small-town lifestyle in Sandford, where his partner Danny Butterman (Nick Frost) spends the majority of his time watching cheesy action movies and drinking at the local pub.

Several mysterious deaths soon begin occuring around the village, which elicits the attention of Angel, but the townspeople of Sandford and the rest of his police force pals claim all of the deaths were accidents and not murders. But Angel refuses to drop his investigation into the various deaths, and quickly begins to unravel the motives and the identities of those behind the outrageous, non-accidental killings.

Less of a parody and more of a homage to the Lethal Weapon-style buddy cop movies, Hot Fuzz is entertaining for the most part, but also slightly disappointing in the fact that it misses its target nearly as often as it hits it. The movie's fun action sequences in its final act are a joy to sit through, as they are so ridiculously over-the-top and are executed in a wonderful mocking fashion, but the movie's tremendously slow build, its lacking of any interesting character development and its failure to deliver clever pieces of dialogue make arriving to the climax a bit hard to handle.

And while the movie is supposed to be an exaggerated send up to the already amplified and overstated action flicks of the likes of Michael Bay, Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Silver, Hot Fuzz ends up making the crucial and unforgiveable mistake of starting to feel exactly like the movies it sets out to lampoon by showcasing easy to design cartoon characters, fruitless one-liners and too many moments were the gags cease to exist and a misplaced seriousness starts to kick in.

That's not to say the movie doesn't succeed at certain times, as director Wright and stars Pegg and Frost obviously have a great working relationship and chemistry formed with each other that comes across on-screen. Their dead-pan delivery and well-executed filmmaking style makes this parody seem like a much smarter and clever version of The Naked Gun, as opposed to the embarrasing slapstick nature of disposable comedies like Epic Movie, Scary Movie or Not Another Teen Move.

A fun film that pays more respect to the bad-action film genre than it does spoofing it, Hot Fuzz is a slightly uneven picture that begins to run out of steam before the true fun in the film begins.


**/****


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Old 08-13-2007, 03:03 PM   #164
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Away from Her
Directed by Sarah Polley
Written by Sarah Polley
Starring Julie Christie, Olympia Dukakis, Gordon Pinsent, Kristen Thomson and Alberta Watson


Sarah Polley is a former child star and an accomplished 28-year old actress and singer that has received acclaimed recognition in her home country and abroad for her work in the films The Sweet Hereafter, My Life Without Me and The Secret Life of Words, which also starred Tim Robbins and Julie Christie. In 2007, Polley makes her directorial debut with a film she wrote based upon Alice Munro's short story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain," entitled Away from Her.

Grant (Gordon Pinsent) and Fiona (Christie) are now entering their 44th year of marriage, and Grant has become concerned for his wife who is becoming more and more forgetful by the day. Together, the two decide it would be best to enter Fiona into a treatment facility for Alzheimer's Disease, which forces the couple to become separated for the first lengthy amount of time in their lasting relationship, while Fiona begins her orientation period.

But once Grant can begin to visit his wife in the treatment facility, he discovers that Fiona has not only forgotten all about him, but she has shifted all of her affection and love towards that of another man, who is actually a patient in the facility. As Grant's marriage to Fiona and his personal happiness begins to crumble the more the two unfortunately grow apart, his love for his wife leads Grant to make a self-sacrificing decision in order to ensure Fiona's happiness.

A poignant and eloquent piece of filmmaking, Away from Her's beauty arrives through its delicate and straightforward narrative style that has been wonderfully crafted by Polley. The emotionally devastating effects of Alzheimer's Disease serve solely as the backdrop to what eventually becomes a challenging test of love and fidelity that hits all of the emotional chords located within the heart and within the brain.

The subtlety found in Polley's script allows the movie to stray far away from the Lifetime Original Movie it could have become, and instead develop into the engaging, touching and powerful drama that she set out to make. The picture is not told in linear fashion, which allows an audience member's mind to race a few steps ahead in the story, but Polley directs the small-scale movie with a beautiful grace and allows her actors to completely own their roles.

Academy Award winner Christie (Finding Neverland, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) is superb as Fiona, carefully losing herself and the audience in her role, while co-star Pinsent (The Good Shepherd, The Shipping News) is truly terrific as Grant, capturing the sadness and confusion of a distraught husband in fantastic fashion. Stellar performances from supporting cast members Olympia Dukakis (3 Needles) and Kristen Thomson also add greatly to the movie's fine ensemble.

A compassionate and elegant character study, Away from Her is one of the more remarkable and oustanding films of the year.


***.5/****


Upcoming Movie Reviews:
I Think I Love My Wife, You're Gonna Miss Me, The Salon and Cashback
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:44 PM   #165
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I Think I Love My Wife
Directed by Chris Rock
Written by Chris Rock
Starring Steve Buscemi, Edward Hermann, Samantha Ivers, Chris Rock, Gina Torres and Kerry Washington


Chloe in the Afternoon is a 1972 French film by director and screenwriter Eric Rohmer. The movie was the sixth and final film in Rohmer's series of the Six Moral Tales, and follows a young lawyer named Frederic who begins to ponder the notion of cheating on his wife Helene when a former friend named Chloe arrives at his office and begins to hint towards wanting a passionate relationship with him. 35-years later, comedian Chris Rock has written, directed and starred in a remake of Chloe in the Afternoon, entitled I Think I Love My Wife.

Rock (Madagascar, The Longest Yard) plays Richard Cooper, a married man and father of two who is madly in love with his wife Brenda (Gina Torres), but has become extremely bored in their marriage, which no longer includes any sexual activity for the couple. Cooper admits to often fantasizing about other women that he comes into contact with on a daily basis, but has never once considered acting on the impulses.

But an encounter with his friend's former girlfriend Nikki Tru (Kerry Washington) leads Cooper on a dangerous path, as the attractive and free-spirited Nikki takes Richard down a road of temptation that begins to threaten his successful career. Yet, it's not until Nikki's friendship develops into a deliberate seduction that Richard begins to feel conflicted and he soon finds his will, morals and marriage tested.

An overly familiar but watchable flick, I Think I Love My Wife's biggest problem comes from Rock's inability to find a suitable mix between the movie's comedy and melodrama. Once the film's tone shifts towards a dramatic element, the actors and the plot's half-truths about relationships make the film worth considering, but all is eventually lost amidst the unneeded crude language and the unwarranted, horrendous conclusion.

Rock follows up his directorial debut in 2003's Head of State with a much more serious and mature picture that shows that he has grown as both an actor and a film director, but his writing still leaves a lot to be desired. None of the characters in the film are ever provided much depth or backstory for their actions, and the lack of probing into their decision making serves as a hindrance to the story, and makes it less compelling.

Instead of focusing his story on the problematic relationship with Richard and Brenda, Chris directs the majority of the story towards Nikki, who should serve as the least likeable character in the picture, but comes off as the most relatable. And while this remake seems to have also been heavily inspired by some of Rock's schtick in his 2004 HBO Comedy special Never Scared, most of the humor in the flick is tiresome and shows a true lack of originality on Rock's part.

An uneven look at a troubled marriage and a world of temptation, I Think I Love My Wife is a standard relationship film that is better than Rock's previous work, but still below average for most.


*.5/****


Upcoming Movie Reviews:
You're Gonna Miss Me, The Salon, Vacancy and Cashback
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