August 19, 2008

...Heights (2005)

And writing of Elizabeth Banks (which I did yesterday) I found a little comedy and a little drama about four people and the happenstances in a 24 hour period called Heights, a film of which I had never heard. The film stars Glenn Close as Margo Channing (almost), Banks as her daughter, James Marsden as Banks's gay fiance, and Jesse Bradford as a gay-bor of the couple and it, and they, are all charming. The film starts on a low keel but steadily builds to a really sweet denouement: a great risk from Banks and a great kiss between Marsden and Bradford.

August 18, 2008

...4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

I don't know why anyone would bother hiring Jessica Alba just to put her in a blonde wig - or for that matter, to act. That's what they did in 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, a really boring movie (with a pretentious name) in which the aforementioned acting-challenged Alba and her cinematic sweetheart (Ioan Gruffud) have zilch in the chemistry department. Hire Elizabeth Banks for Christ's sake and maybe the film would work.

August 15, 2008

...Dan In Real Life (2007)

Forced cute siutations do not a romantic comedy make and Dan in Real Life is pretty boring until Emily Blunt enters gving the last half of the film some much needed steam. Steve Carell is good and Juliet Binoche is suitably flighty but the story is a little cloying and the movie is marketed in North America as something it is most definitely not. Still, I cried at the end and what more can you ask of a rom-com with a little indie feel (even one that is surprisingly similar to Sandra Bullock's While You Were Sleeping.)

August 11, 2008

...Day of the Dead (2008)

Mena Suvari takes quite well to her role as a bad-ass solider in Day of the Dead, a remake of the 1985 George A. Romero original and faux-sequel to the 2006 remake of Dawn of the Dead. Suvari impresses with her handling of the weaponry and is reason enough to watch this. But if you're a zombie fan, double the pleasure - even carrying with it the status of straight-to-video it's pretty good despite the fact that the only thing that remains, remake-wise, are the characters' names.

August 9, 2008

...Blonde Ambition (2007)

It's not that Jessica Simpson is bad in Blonde Ambition, a dreadful mashup of Working Girl and Ugly Betty, it's that there are people willing to give her money to make films when there are other actresses so much more interesting. She is bland, not especially talented as an actor (but can pass), has weird lips, and through attempts to channel Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and Reese Witherspoon shows no flair and not much spark. A cameo by Penny Marshall (the director's aunt) and a romance with Luke Wilson make the film mildly watchable.

Here's your one chance Fancy don't let me down
Here's your one chance Fancy don't let me down

August 8, 2008

...Pitch Black

Pitch Black is an old-fashioned yarn with some new-fangled creatures trying to get some B-rated actors (one with a character twist I saw from a mile away). It's not enthusiastically engrossing but the story keeps moving and it does have one A-lister in Radha Mitchell. No, not Vin Diesel.

August 7, 2008

...The Other Side of Bonnie and Clyde (1968)

Warren Beatty's Bonnie and Clyde is vilified by some for its glorification of the criminal couple's exploits and The Other Side of Bonnie and Clyde sets the record straight, according to the estate of their nemesis lawman (and movie villian) Frank Hamer. Actual video footage from the criminal couple's massacre, photographs, interviews, lame dramatizations, and a polygraph machine that sits silently between the interviewer and the ex-criminal he is interviewing (you gotta see it to believe it) form the story arc that is at once familiar yet most probably more in line with the truth than the classic film. If Bonnie and Clyde (the couple) are your obsession, you won't want to miss this; it gets a lot less necessary after that.

August 6, 2008

...The Sarah Silverman Program, Season One (2006)

Although Sarah Silverman in a stand-up comedy setting is brilliant, The Sarah Silverman Program (Season One anyway), her faux-reality show, is less so; maybe it's lacking in the truth that the foxy Jew usually skewers with abandon. I found her sister Laura, an actress I remembered from Lisa Kudrow's The Comeback, a lot more interesting as the six shows dragged on. It's strictly for fans of either of the Silverman gals, TAB drinkers and poop joke lovers.

August 5, 2008

...Mamma Mia (2008)

Mamma Mia is par excellence but due to the personal nature of the subject matter I couldn't limit this review to three lines. Click here for a doctoral thesis with history, pictures, clips, and yes a review. But see Mamma Mia first.

August 4, 2008

...I Am Legend (2007)

Every part that Will Smith tackles comes out looking and sounding like Will Smith and I Am Legend is no different. The mainstream apocalyptic zombie story (taken from the classic science fiction novel by Richard Matheson) gets some steam going in the second half when Smith's character gets to interact with others but it takes a bunch of time getting there. And here's a semi-spoiler for all you dog lovers so don't read further if not interested:

there's a sad scene halfway through the movie that might make you turn away or turn it off.

August 3, 2008

...Batman Begins (2005)

I am not a fan of the comic book into film genre but I thought if I was going to be forced into seeing the most successful movie of all time, The Dark Knight, I should first see Batman Begins. All it made me realize is that I have no desire to see The Dark Knight. Next.

August 2, 2008

Bonnie and Clyde (1968)

Bonnie and Clyde has been, and still is, one of my top ten favorites of all time. It's got Faye, Warren, Arthur Penn on the megaphone and Theadora van Runkle on the needle and thread - am I missing something here? It is thrilling, stunning to look at, classic and worth multiple viewings because they rob banks.

August 1, 2008

...In The Valley of Elah (2007)

In the Valley of Elah is an excellent film (from Paul Haggis of Crash) about the Iraq war that doesn't feel like a film about the Iraq war. The film is a slow boiler and engrossing in its story of a father's search for his missing son. Good stuff with a shocking final scene from a film that never lets you down.