City of Ember Images

A marketing guy peddling the upcoming City of Ember sent me some images from the film and asked if I'd be interested in posting them.


Below are the images with the marketing text the marketing guy marketed to me. Click on any of them to be taken to the movie trailer.

As I've stated before, it looks like its going to be good - then again, we're in the marketing phase of the release schedule - they're paying people to make it look good right now. Check out the images, view the trailer and see if it interests you.

Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan, (Atonement)) with the "Instructions of Egress" that unlocks the mystery to finding a way out of the City of Ember.

Gives you a good idea about the set design (Martin Laing (Titanic, Pearl Harbor) really give the movie an epic and unique post-apocalyptic aesthetic. Another tidbit, it was filmed in a former paint hall in Belfast, Ireland's Titanic Quarter. Other filming sites included Englands, Romania, Prague and Berlin.

Last but not least-- Bill Murray (Scrooged) plays as the villainous Mayor Cole. I'm really looking forward to his work in this film! He has such great comic timing, and I'm sure he'll do well to make this film good for all audiences, young and old.

...and here's a widget from the official site.

So, there it is. Thanks to the marketing guy for the images and the summarizations of what they are showing.

Carnival of Cinema: Episode 76 - Blog in the City

Welcome to the Carnival of Cinema, a weekly display of some of the best cinema-related posts from around the globe. This week we have plenty of great links cooking for you, let's take a look at what we have.

Starting this off this week, FincherFanatic is a fanatic for all things Fincher - David Fincher (Fight Club, The Game, Zodiac). With the release of a teaser trailer for David Fincher's latest, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, FincherFanatic has a whole new production to be fanatic about.
Head over to his site THE WORKS AND GENIUS OF DAVID FINCHER to see the trailer and read what he has to say.

We have more Indiana Jones posts this week. The first one comes from Pacheco of BOHEMIA CINEMA. He has a great post about the state of the cinematic union and tries to focus people's complaints on modern film - using Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as a platform.

Next up, Glowing Face Man has a post explaining the personal traits of Indiana Jones that leads the guy to attract all the ladies. Click over to GLOWING FACE MAN: AWAKEN THE BADASS WITHIN to see how Indy gets the girls.

So, if you want to be just like Indy and get ladies interested in you, all you have to do is become fictional and turn into Harrison Ford.

Hey guys, while you're sitting there watching Indiana Jones, your girlfriend is sitting the theater next door learning how to act like a materialistic, East Coast slut.

Sex in the City
is in cinemas. Per usual, MANNY THE MOVIE GUY is all over the latest release. This week Manny has a review of the chick flick supreme.

Joe from INTERMISSION AT WORK has a post this week that could be about me watching Sex in the City in the theater this weekend: Jerk at the Movies #2. Actually, it has to do with someone performing evil in a theater bathroom. I guess he really means "#2".

Maybe instead of seeing Sex in the City, perhaps you should stay home and watch a different lady. WESTMINSTER WISDOM's Gracchi has a review of the classic Musashino fujin (The Lady of Musashino). At least its a movie that may just make your life a little better instead of numbing your brain.

From Japan to South Korea...

Yeu woo bi (Yobi, the Five Tailed Fox), gets reviewed on MES CRAZY EXPÉRIENCES. Head on over and see what Linda has to say about this film.

Like opinions? Good, we have more.

Didn't see 10,000 b.c. in the theater? Then you're just like everyone else. Michael from REVIEW BLOG thinks you should reconsider your decision to avoid this critically maligned flick.

More opinion...

Over at Thom Turner's blog THOM, Thom announces that he's seen all of the best picture nominees. He has a cornucopia of opinion going on over there.

Jean Brunet wants to toss in some thoughts as well. Over at SIZZLING POPCORN, Jean provides a review of Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream. Has the master director made another classic or is it another snobbish bore? Check out Jean's review and check out the trailer is below.

If you're going to do a sequel, you may as well stick with what we know works - Shakespeare (although, to be fair, ol' Billy lifted some of his plots, so he was more into doing remakes).

Hamlet 2 is coming. Jean Brunet also has an interview with the filmmakers Pam Brady and Andrew Fleming.

And now for something completely different.

Silveral of CELEBRITY NEWS & GOSSIP thinks that being a director may just be the best in the film industry.

Oh yeah? Try being the director when your film flops. It ain't so rosy then.

Let's close this week's collection with a look at some technology.

This week, Steve Farber of DEBT FREE takes a look at legal movie downloads.

…and CUT!…and PRINT!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions! The Carnival of Cinema is ongoing with submissions being taken through each Wednesday and posting every Friday.

Have an opinion or article about the film industry? Have you reviewed a film or DVD? Have any tips on breaking into the biz? Send submissions HERE!

Other carnival editions:
The Carnival of Cinema: Episode V
The Carnival of Cinema: Episode VII

Movie Trailer: Australia

This sprawling movie, taking place during World War II and obviously set in Australia, tells the tale of a couple (Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman) who drive a couple thousand cattle across the country. As they travel, they witness the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese forces.

It looks good but Nicole Kidman is on screen. She has a batting average that is on par with Dan Ackroyd and Pauly Shore - Bewitched, The Golden Compass, The Others, Eyes Wide Shut, Practical Magic, The Invasion, Billy Bathgate, Batman Forever, and on and on. You have to wash your hands after you handle her resume for fear of contracting E. coli. Having Kidman in the production is not a good sign. I'm hoping she's there simply because she's pretty and Australian.

Make your own judgement, check out the trailer below.


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Screenwriters: Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom), and Ronald Harwood (Being Julia)
Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet)
Actors: Hugh Jackman (The Fountain), Nicole Kidman (The Human Stain), David Wenham (300), Bryan Brown (F/X) and Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior)

Movie Trailer: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

So, they're making Star Wars into a cartoon...

Why not, Lucas made the whole franchise into a soulless video game years ago.

Visit the official site


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Screenwriter: George Lucas (story)
Director: Dave Filoni
Actors: Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane), and Anthony Daniels (Star Wars)

1408 (2007)

Should I see it?

***Spoiler Warning - I make a reference below which may ruin the film for some readers***

Well meaning doesn't mean well done. Based on Stephen King's short story, the film centers around Mike Enslin (John Cusack), an author who investigates the paranormal. Enslin arrives at the Dolphin Hotel where room 1408 is rumored to be bristling with supernatural activity. In fact, a number of people who have stayed in the room have gone mad and committed suicide. Despite the ominous warnings from the hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), Enslin demands to stay the night in the haunted room.

The first act does a great job of setting up the film and shows great promise. The whole production stumbles off the path as it goes along. This is due, in part, to the ghostly figure not being properly explained and since Enslin is the only character in a single hotel room in danger, his torment becomes somewhat tedious. Essentially, we're asked to watch a man go crazy for an hour and a half. As dramatic as this sounds, it doesn't make for good viewing. The movie has to go to great lengths to keep itself viable and in this it loses its credibility. By the end, the out of control script, which should have been creepy and symbolic (the hotel room becomes his personal Hell), is simply exhausted and leaves an empty finale that doesn't satisfy.

Click on the receding hairline to view the trailer

Related Reviews:
John Cusack movies
Eight Men Out (1988)
The Thin Red Line (1998)

Other Critic's Reviews:
Celluloid Heroes
A Nutshell Review

Movie Trailer: City of Ember

The film looks impressive enough, but does it have a story to match? Based on the novel by Jeanne Duprau, this film tells the story of an underground city whose electricity has been set to cease. Some teens search clues explaining the city's origin in hopes of saving the population before the lights go out. This has a great deal going for it. The plot is interesting and is centered on a deadline - deadlines are great plot devices. The cast is strong, the screenwriter Caroline Thompson has a good track record with not only adaptations (Black Beauty, The Secret Garden, Buddy) but also with quirky material (Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family). The only unknown element in the production is director Gil Kenan. Kenan handled the well-received animated feature Monster House but hasn't released a live-action picture yet.

Just taking it on looks alone, I have to admit, I'm looking forward to it.

Visit the official site
Screenwriter: Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands)
Director: Gil Kenan (Monster House)
Actors: Bill Murray (Caddyshack), Tim Robbins (Code 46), Martin Landau (Ed Wood), Saoirse Ronan (Atonement), and Mackenzie Cook (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

Babel (2006)

Should I see it?

Short Review: C'mon, who doesn't love a bunch of millionaires telling us how crappy the world is? Sounds like fun.

The film opens with a boy masturbating after seeing his sister naked and then the piece actually manages goes south from there. Alejandro González Iñárritu's smug and unpleasant work proves that being critically acclaimed doesn't necessarily mean you've made something worth seeing. Much like his previous film 21 Grams, which I recommend, this effort weaves a chain of seemingly unrelated events into one narrative mash. Also like 21 Grams, this film seems completely unaware how self-important it is. This feels less like a movie and more like a rambling lecture where the speaker isn't making any sense but darn it, when they find a point, they mean it!

Related Reviews:
Other self-important movies
North Country (2005)
The Constant Gardner (2005)

Other Critic's Reviews:
In Film Australia
Cinema without Borders

Movie Monday is Posted

Missy Frye of OBSERVATIONS FROM MISSY'S WINDOW has posted the latest edition of MOVIE MONDAY. Movie Monday is a post carnival.

Click on the Crazy Melvin to check out the links.

Movie Trailer: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

You have to give them one thing, it looks pretty. The original The Mummy was smartly tongue-in-cheek and played its cinematic fluffiness well. Brendan Fraser returns as adventurer Rick O'Connell (one of the lousier heroic names of recent memory) in this third in the series. The sequel The Mummy Returns was a huge mess and failed to catch the charm of the first movie while also failing to be entertaining in its own right. The third in the series, The Scorpion King, was just embarrassing. Most franchises would have been deep-sixed after such an effort and relegated to straight-to-DVD productions with casts populated by nameless actors. This attempt to reignite the franchise has the mixed blessing of losing the misdirection of director Stephen Sommers (Van Helsing) only to have him replaced with Rob Cohen, a director who is quite adept at creating utterly thoughtless flash n' crash spectacles (xXx, Stealth, The Fast and the Furious).

Look for this to be pleasing to the eyes and quick paced but missing any real wit or intelligence. See the trailer below.

Visit the official site


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Screenwriters: Alfred Gould (Shanghai Noon) and Miles Millar (Shanghai Knights)
Director: Rob Cohen (The Skulls)
Actors: Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled), Jet Li (Unleashed), Michelle Yeoh (Sunshine), Maria Bello (The Cooler), Luke Ford, and John Hannah (The Hurricane)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Should I see it?

Short Review:
Lord of the Rings Lite.

There was great concern among Christians when it was announced this film was to being made that Hollywood would water down the Christian allegory in order to fit the entertainment industry's long accepted practice of secularizing all things. Since playing down the Christian elements would not only neuter the message of the story, but also massively change the narrative, there was a great deal of trepidation prior to the details of the production becoming public. This was a reasonable concern given Hollywood’s use of Christianity as a cultural diaper for the last forty years. After all, they even secularized Jesus with the release of of Godspell, you'll notice if you actually force yourself to get to the end that, just like the play, Christ is not resurrected. Here's a hint to everyone, no resurrection - no Christ - that's how it works. When Andrew Adamson (ironic name) was brought on the write/direct many people’s concerns doubled. Will the guy who created the children’s postmodern classic Shrek be able to have a discerning eye for this overtly Christian piece? The answer is thankfully yes.

Adamson’s background in animation comes in handy throughout this film as most of the characters are indeed animated. If you are not familiar with the story, four British children, trapped in a mansion come across a wardrobe, which leads to the strange land of Narnia. There they find that the animals talk and a great war is brewing between absolute good and absolute evil. This is a war, in which, they are destined to be the central figures. The part about talking animals is what has kept this film from being produced for the longest time. The technology has finally caught up to the story and all of the animation is spotless. The animation of Mr. And Mrs. Beaver to Aslan himself is fun to watch.

Despite this brilliant eye candy, the film still lacks a coherent signature design as one finds in Lord of The Rings or The Harry Potter series. Narnia is lessened by the fact that it makes its debut in the shadows of these comparable franchises. This is troubling since it is a solid story with a needed message. C. S. Lewis wasn’t the storyteller J. R. R. Tolkein was or J. K. Rowling is today. For this reason the movie seems to be a little off step. The story and movie are more geared directly to smaller children so the narrative and dialog lacks the intelligence of Tolkien’s grand work and lacks the whimsy of something like Harry Potter. Lewis’ story is a grim one but still manages to keep itself restrained enough to be open to the minds of children. This film follows this path. For the first three-fourths of the film the images and story are mild and simple. To adults it may be a little distracting how assumptive the narrative is at times. The war in Narnia and its participants are pushed bluntly and Adamson presumes we’ll take them at face value. We don’t get to know much of the characters outside of some cursory details. This makes the story go somewhat pale during the down moments when we have to spend time with these people.

What occurs in the final act however changes everything. The war sequences and the revealing of Aslan’s sacrifice to the triumphant conclusion are wonderfully handled. The simplicity of the narrative moves from being somewhat burdensome to being a fantastic tool as the movie lays out the complicated allegory of Aslan as Christ with great ease and conviction. The film manages this important piece strongly (although, I would have been more satisfied with a better production design.)

In the end, Adamson brings Lewis’ Christian allegory alive and more importantly has brought it to a massive audience. Looking beyond my petty concerns, this is a good film that brings to the medium a beautiful and important story. This is a good rendition of the greatest story ever told.

Related Reviews:
Epic movies
Ivan Groznyy I (Ivan the Terrible: Part One) (1944)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Other Critic's Reviews:
In Film Australia
Rolling Stone

Carnival of Cinema: Episode 75 - Raiders of the Lost Blog

Welcome to the Carnival of Cinema. We're back this week with another collection of some great cinema-related posts. Each week you can count on the Carnival to give you a variety of movie reviews, film commentary and industry advice from writers from around the world.
Let's kick things off with the big cinematic deal this week, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones...great, another aged actor tacking on another sequel to his dusty franchise. This is exactly what the world needs, Indiana Jones getting winded when he gets up too fast, chasing the bad guys in his immaculately washed Lincoln, and hoping to resolve the main conflict of the plot so he can get back to the buffet for an early lunch.

Newman of NEWMAN'S OWN MOVIE CORNER has sat through Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and his response? Well, he says its " exciting and expertly crafted addition to the Indiana Jones series." Want to know more? Check out his site.

MANNY THE MOVIE GUY follows up with a review of Grandpa Ford's new flick. Additionally, he has some prizes from the film such as trading cards, action figures, books, courtesy of Paramount Pictures. If you head over to his you can see if you can win some of the marketing materials.

Let's turn to the big cinematic deal last week, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Newman is back with another review. For this one he says it is "...a worthy follow-up, if a bit less enchanting than its predecessor." Want to know more? Check out his site.

Next up, Nigel Beale takes on Prince Caspian. He manages to see it as a battle between Anglo Saxons versus Latinos. He also seems surprised that the film based on the book by British and Christian author C.S. Lewis, would include Christian imagery and British characters. Is Narnia the Falklands, go over to NIGEL BEALE NOTA BENE BOOKS and find out.

And on the subject of racist screeds, "Racism is only funny in...Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, not in the real world...or in the blogosphere." Go find out what A_x from ANONYMOUS X is talking about.

Let's turn to the big cinematic deal (well...kinda, it was a stink bomb) two weeks ago, Speed Racer.

Linda from MES CRAZY EXPÉRIENCES gives her opinion on the Wachowski Brother's disaster film. She follows this up with a look at Oechul (April Snow).

Let's turn to the big cinematic deal three weeks ago, Iron Man.

LIVIN' THE DREAM (ONE LOSER AT A TIME)'s Christina M. Rau is all about the Iron Man. She says:

Wanna to know what the heck that's all about - head on over to her site and read for yourself.

Let's turn to the big cinematic deal seven hundred and four weeks ago, Interview with a Vampire.

Tamkia M. Murray fires up her Freaky Friday feature with a post about the Brad Pitt/Tom "Not Gay" Cruise incredibly unmasculine (yes I know its not a word) vampire flick.

She also posts about Jurnee Smollett
, an actress who should have won best actress when she was eleven. To read these posts, click over to Tamika's site

Let's turn to the big cinematic deal next week, Sex in the City: The Movie.

Naomi Steven's DIARY FROM ENGLAND posts about the film's world premiere.

Sex in the City, as Peter from Family Guy said "So it's a show about three whores and their mom."

What about Sex in Gotham City? D of ENTERTAINMENT BUFF takes on the touchy subject of Batman and his many cinematic loves.

Looking for updates on The Clique Movie? Head over to THE CLIQUE MOVIE UPDATES, there Donna C. has updates on The Clique Movie.

Lacking a proper transition, I'll just keep moving forward.

Gracchi over at WESTMINSTER WISDOM make their return to the Carnival this week with a pair of reviews. First he looks at and shows his love for Industrial Britain form 1931. He says "This just blew me away!" He also tackles The Station Agent, which he calls a "meandering meditation" - "meandering" is right. Obviously a strong non-endorsement.

Speaking of meandering, where the heck is the projectionist?

Don't understand what I'm talking about? Madeleine Begun Kane does. Why? She had to deal with a wandering projectionist during a screening of the film War, Inc. For a story of disorganization and inept presentation skills, go to her site MAD KATE'S POLITICAL MADNESS and she'll tell you all about it .

When she's done tell you all about it, head over to TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT where Silveral will tell you all about Disney and how it ain't the same as it used to be.

There's more that isn't what it used to be, namely a whole bunch of floundering careers from the outskirts of the entertainment industry. Harrison has a list of twenty-five D-List actors on CUSTOMIZED GIRL BLOG. Harrison then comes in with a list of twenty-five stupid but yet awesome vehicles.

Bringing things to a close this week is Carnival newcomer Nandita. She chats about the libel case between Princess Irina Youssoupoff and the makers of the film The Princess. Go to her site LAW MATTERS for more.

…and CUT!…and PRINT!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions. Another great week of posts. Do you have an opinion or article about the film industry? Have you reviewed a film or DVD? Have any tips on breaking into the biz? Send submissions HERE for next week’s edition.

Be the first blog on your street to post in the
Carnival of Cinema.
Some other Carnival editions:
Carnival of Cinema Episode VIII
Carnival of Cinema Episode IV
Carnival of Cinema Episode X
Carnival of Cinema Episode XII

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

Should I see it?

Short Review:
Not the greatest movie ever made.

This film follows the quick rise of Francis Ouimet, who goes from caddy to playing in the 1913 U.S. Open. We follow the young man from his meager beginnings as a caddy through to the big game where he is set up against golf legend Harry Vardon. The match up is akin to an unknown twenty-year-old amateur finding himself playing against Tiger Woods today.

The first act of this film may dissuade you from going further. The opening act is clunky and forced. Director Bill Paxton who is usually referenced via his thirty years of acting work by people saying “you know, that guy - what’s his name, you know…that guy from Aliens, “Game over man!”, yeah him!”, tries far too hard for much of this film. The opening act pushes the class struggle Ouimet and Vardon cope with throughout their careers. The old notion of class is a serious part of this piece and has its place. Neither Vardon or Ouimet are “gentlemen” and they are reminded of this deficiency constantly throughout the film. They are viewed as talented pawns for those in high society. The drumbeat of class issues throughout the first act makes it difficult to get through. Once through these clumsy efforts the film quickly becomes fun and well paced. The U.S. Open, and the events directly surrounding it, are very well done and make this a worthy movie overall.

The biggest problem with the film is Paxton getting in the way of his own work. There are a plethora of overly complicated shots and special effects that are clearly not needed and distract from the real action on the screen. Paxton pulls out at least a dozen shots where the camera “follows” the path of a flying golf ball by putting us directly behind it (reminiscent of Scorsese’s obtuse pool table camerawork in The Color of Money.) The numerous special shots Paxton lays out do not necessarily add to the piece and implies he didn’t feel the game itself was interesting enough on its own. The game was interesting. It is the ultimate real life underdog sports story.

The story is helped along a great deal by some superb acting by Shia LaBeouf as Francis Ouimet. LaBeouf carries the piece and brings an honest performance to the screen as the young man who finds himself in the middle of an historic event. He is a great conduit for the audience to understand the enormity of Ouimet’s success. There is also a fine performance by Stephen Dillane as the legendary Harry Vardon. Dillance gives a quiet performance as the master golfer and plays well against LaBeouf. Supporting these two are solid performances from Stephen Marcus as TedRay and twelve year-old Josh Flitter as Ouimet's caddy Eddie Lowery. Flitter's performance is notably good in its confidence and in his delivery. He and LaBeouf have some playful moments together on screen that left me wanting more interactions from the duo.

This is a good sports film and probably the second best golf film ever made (sorry, Caddyshack simply will never be beaten.) Given a sturdier director, this could have been a far better production. This is a shame given how good this story is and how inspiring it can be to see. While an enjoyable film, with a more adept hand, the story of Francis Ouimet could have been the greatest sports film ever made.

Related Reviews:
Another golf movie
Bobby Jones: A Stroke of Genius

Other Critic's Reviews:
Hoosier Review
The Village Voice

Movie Trailer: The Foot Fist Way

This looks like it could be very funny. Belligerently stupid characters are always a hoot. The film has a red band trailer meaning this trailer is a little misleading since it drops the plethora of cursing that the film actually contains. Having seen this cleaned up version along with the red band version, I'm not totally sold on this one. I'd say, regardless of the well presented endorsement , approach this one with caution when it hits theaters on May 30th.

Visit the official site


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The Hoax (2006)

Should I see it?

Director Lasse Hallström seems to have a problem developing his stories into something more than a chain of events. This film, like Hallström's other efforts (Casanova, What's Eating Gilbert Grape) is interesting enough but it fails to have any real depth or meaning. Where Hallström succeeds is in the charm of his film. This is probably mostly due to the topic, the film is about a failing writer who attempts to execute a broad scam on the publishing industry. Clifford Irving (Richard Gere), along with his conflicted cohort Dick Suskind (Alfred Molina) cons McGraw-Hill executives into believing they have the official autobiography of Howard Hughes. The story takes place in 1971 when Hughes' legendary status was at its height. There is always a naughty charm to con films and Hallström does a solid job of getting the audience to enjoy the con.

This film runs into the same problem Spielberg ran into with his conman movie, Catch Me if You Can, answering the question "who cares?". The film fails to deliver much beyond its basic narrative. There's no grand statement, no memorable scenes and no real purpose beyond simply delivering a story. The audience will get an inherent vicarious thrill from watching a con going down, but, in reality, the filmmaker is asking us to support a lie. When the liar doesn't have a good reason for us to a) support him or b) like them, then there's trouble. Watching something get away with a crime can be fun in the same way playing a prank can be fun. But like playing a prank, the fun is often abruptly cut to size by the consequences. The final act, where the conman gets his punishment, reminds the audience that this was about an evil being perpetrated. While its good that doing evil is shown ending in punishment, this lets all of the air out of the story.

I enjoyed a good portion of this movie despite the fact that Hallström does become unfocused. Gere's performance, while not brilliant, is lively. In addition, Molina does well in his supporting role and he mixes well with Gere's dominant presence. Overall, however I can't recommend the movie because it doesn't give me a good enough reason to do so. If you enjoy stories about cons you'll find something interesting here. If you're into well-written characters and narratives, you'll come up short.

Related Reviews:
Alfred Molina movies
Luther (2004)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Other Critic's Reviews:
Screen It!
Cinema Blend

National Treasure (2004)

Should I see it?
My wife: Yes, absolutely.
(hint: go with her recommendation)

Short Review:
Nicholas Cage gives a spotless impression of someone acting.

My long-suffering wife really likes this movie. I, on the other hand, found it forced and annoying. I was hoping for a simple no-brain action film. I received my no-brain action film in addition to an intrusive musical score, weak scripting and absolutely no inventiveness. I know this is supposed to be a vacuous popcorn McMovie and not subject to deep scrutiny, but even under the lightest of standards I found it to come up lacking. Then again, my long-suffering wife enjoyed that she didn’t have to give it a second thought – she really liked it.

Look at similar movies like The Rock or Armageddon. These are big, fat stupid movies but they were done properly. They didn’t get too tripped up in their own narrative and were focused like a laser. They begin at point “A” then move directly to “B”, no fussing with the minutia. This script stops consistently to allow Cage to explain what he is doing and thinking. The motivations of characters should be as self-evident as possible. When explanation is needed, screenwriter(s) Jim Kouf (among others) handles the complex history well. My complaint is that he has to handle it too often. My long-suffering wife thinks that it was interesting and enjoyed the whole film.

I really did want to enjoy this film. I love it when I can sit back and turn my brain off and enjoy a stupid Hollywood film. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into this film even when I wanted to. For me, it was like trying to get to sleep while a dripping faucet keeps tapping. I’d sit back and start to find something I liked and then ‘ping’, the overbearing musical score would kick in. I’d try to ignore it and settle back down – ‘ping’, I’d realize Nicholas Cage has been playing the same role for over ten years – he doesn’t even bother to comb his remaining hair any differently for his various roles anymore. - 'ping’, Cage would piece together unrelated pieces of the puzzle in mere seconds and come to a wild conclusion that would drag the narrative kicking and screaming to the next scene. Dragging the metaphor out, my wife slept like a baby.

Overall, I can’t recommend this film. You can do far better for your money. Then again, I can’t see the forest for the trees with films like this. My long-suffering wife likes this movie immensely. She highly recommends this movie as a good dumb diversion. Given that I’m a loud-mouthed curmudgeon who can’t stop and smell the cinematic flowers - perhaps you’d be better off listening to her.

Related Reviews:
Nicholas Cage movies
Lord of War (2005)
World Trade Center (2006)
Ghost Rider (2007)

Other Critic's Reviews:
Entertain Your Brain
Movie Vault

Movie Trailer: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Spielberg's apology for the abomination that is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is still a far cry from the brilliance of the original, Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is a safe, almost childish movie made to placate the simplest of tastes. There's nothing thrilling, original or really memorable about this outing. The whole piece comes across as being stock work that fills a commercial need more than making cinematic history.

There is little about this sequel that is taken seriously and since it tracks the same narrative structure of Raiders, it winds up being a dim parody of the original film.

Click below to view the original trailer.

Visit the offical site

Jeffrey Boam (The Lost Boys)
Director: Steven Spielberg (War of the Worlds)
Actors: Harrison Ford (Regarding Henry), Sean Connery (The Hunt for Red October), Denholm Elliot (Scorchers), John Rhys-Davis (The Medallion), Alison Doody (Major League II), and River Phoenix (Stand by Me)

Movie Trailer: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Short Round is the prototype of Jar Jar Binks.

What do you do when you create one of the best films in history? Jettison everything people loved about your film and replace it with an emotionally retarded love story, comical chase sequences, with everything topped off with a scene of a guy getting his heart torn out.

That last point is what makes this one of the more important movies in cinematic history. Its not because it shows George Lucas' inclination to utterly decimate every positive thing he has ever done, but rather the reaction to the violent imagery in this film. The violence in this film (along with that in Red Dawn) lead to a great deal of concern among parents and eventually the government. To stave off any governmental intrusion into the workings of Hollywood, the MPAA released the PG-13 Rating. This was meant to be a middle ground between PG (family friendly) and Rated-R (adults only) movies. The result of this rating has been a blurring of the lines between what is for adults and what children should see. This is known as "ratings creep", which means filmmakers have been able to, over time, push content that was once allowed in Rated-R movies into movies that can be seen by kids. And we wonder why the culture has gotten so coarse so quickly.

Back to the movie - it stinks, it stunk when it was released, it still stinks today. Don't believe me, check out the trailer, it stinks too.

Return to the Movie Trailer Page

Screenwriter: Willard Huyck (Howard the Duck), and Gloria Katz (Howard the Duck)
Director: Steven Spielberg (Jaws)
Actors: Harrison Ford (Firewall), Kate Capshaw (Dreamscape), and Jonathan Ke Quan (Encino Man)

Rescue Dawn (2006)

Should I see it?

Interesting moments and a good performance help this aimless movie but ultimately it is still rather dry and toneless. Christian Bale (Batman Begins) portrays Dieter, a US fighter pilot who is shot down and taken prisoner in a jungle POW camp in Vietnam. Bale is as intense as ever and gives a notable performance. His supporting cast Steve Zahn (Sahara) and Jeremy Davies (Saving Private Ryan) both seem like they're mimicking someone else's performance. Each has a character who has been wallowing in a dank prisoner camp for years and have lost hope. Both actors can't muster believable performances showing the psychological strain of their characters. The off kilter performances combined with Werner Herzog's emotionless directing saps this movie of any feeling of depth or meaning.

At its heart, this is a traditional prisoner of war movie and there are no surprises or original angles. Perhaps I'm a tad jaded from years of watching movies and seeing a dozen movies just like this one, but yeah, I get it - POW camps in Asia and the Pacific are horrible places. Beyond showing us how hard life is in a POW camp, Herzog has nothing else to say. These men are in one of the most intense psychological pressure cookers imaginable and Herzog fails to show it. This is like leading us to the shore of the ocean and explaining the water is cold but then failing to explain the beauty and danger of the ecosystem under the waves. There's a whole world there and its not interesting enough to him to show it. The resolution of the film comes predictably and without any great sense of triumph.

I understand that as a film geek I'm supposed to cheer any time Herzog (Grizzly Man) gets anything on film. The slavish clamoring to applaud this particular film is misguided. I advise you to skip this film and find something else to watch. POW films are depressing and hard to see. If the director is going to ask us to watch people being tortured and our heroic servicemen suffer, they better make absolutely certain their film is top notch - not a listless bore like this one.

Related Reviews:
Werner Herzog movies
Aguirre: The Wraith of God (1972)
Grizzly Man (2005)

Other Critic's Reviews:
DVD Verdict
Monsters & Critics

Movie Trailer: Raiders of the Lost Ark

With all of hoopla surrounding the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I thought it would be good to look back to the original. The rest of the Indiana Jones movies are slathered in cheese and stupidity - c'mon they jump out of a dang plane in a liferaft and slide down a mountain.

Here's to doing it right the first time.

Click here to return to the Movie Trailer Page

Screenwriter: Lawrence Kasdan (Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi)
Director: Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan)
Actors: Harrison Ford (Clear and Present Danger), Karen Allen (Starman), John Rhy-Davis (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), Paul Freeman (Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius), and Denholm Elliot (Noises Off)

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

Should I see it?

Short Review: It should have been called Watch Hard.

It is as dumb as it looks, and that's saying something. This is a great deal like watching someone who doesn't have a sense of humor desperately trying to be funny and then not stopping once they've failed.

The fact that this was made, meaning that it was financed and insured, and trained professionals labored over its creation, and then deposited into our cinemas the same way a cat makes deposits in its cat box, can't be a positive sign for the health of our civilization. Its trash like this that makes me wish we'd just all stop what we're doing and start this culture over from scratch. I'm calling for a do-over.

I'm a fan of John C. Reilly but this is simply a dismal and worthless mess. If anyone holds up the DVD case and asks if you want to watch it you reaction should be as follows:

1) Slap the other person
2) Pull the DVD from their greasy mitt
3) Throw the offending DVD from your sight
4) Slap the other person again

Related Reviews:
Lousy comedies
Clue (1985)
Evan Almighty (2007)

Other Critic's Reviews:
My Film Review
Culture Dogs

Albert Einstein?

This thing has been freaking me out all day. Think you see Albert Einstein? Back away from your computer and see for yourself.

HT Theo of Last of the Few who gave a HT to Jeffrey Nihart

The Carnival of Cinema: Episode 74 – The Creature from the Blog Lagoon

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Carnival of Cinema. Per usual we have a large collection on some of the web’s best cinema-related posts sent in front around the world.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?

I love the smell of fresh reviews in the morning…

Its summertime and that means that every weekend brings the fruition of months long marketing campaigns for big budget movies for the masses.

The McMovie of the week this week is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. It’s big, its flashy, its based on a classic book – but does it stink?

MANNY THE MOVIE GUY kicks things off with a review of the film. Is it better than the first?

Manny is giving away collectible prizes from the film courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures. Head on out to his website to see how you can win some stuff.

Second in line to tell us about Prince Caspian, Dirty Harry from LIBERTAS has an early review of the movie. He really lays it out for you, so if you’re interested in seeing the film but maybe didn’t love the first outing, check out his review.

Last week’s movie of the week was Speed Racer – is that lemon still in theaters?


Taking a look at Speed Racer, a_x of ANONYMOUS X has a less than appreciative reaction to the Wachowski Brothers’ ode to their own ability to spend lots of money on needless special effects.

Next to kick Speed Racer in the shins is LaRae of THE CRITICAL CRITICS. With lines like “Speed Racer is one of the most impeccable examples of why the writer and director should not be the same people.” You know it ain’t pretty.

Too serious for its own good” is what Newman says about ol’ Speedy. Click over to his site NEWMAN’S OWN MOVIE CORNER to read his review.

Is there anyone out there who liked this movie?

Well, yes there is. Riley from ALL RILEYED UP has some nice words for the lambasted flick. When she says “Go, Speed go!” she’s cheering him on, not demanding he scurry away.

“Go, Speed go”? Its sounds more like “Blows, Speed blows!”

Gautam Valluri closes out our collective hammering of the Wachowski Brothers’ cinematic pratfall. He has a full review over at his site BROKEN PROJECTOR.

While you’re there, you’re also going to want to check out his thoughtful essay on Federico Fellini's Neo-realist classic I Vitelloni. See, you go in to read about the goofy, moronic flick and you leave learning brainy stuff about international cinema. It's a good thing.

The big movie of the week two weeks ago lasted one week longer than planned because Speed Racer was so crappy. Iron Man hit theaters and hit them in a huge way. Haven’t seen the movie about the big bucket of bolts? We have some reviews to let you know if it’s worth the money and hassle of dragging yourself to the multiplex.

Rickey Henderson of RIDING WITH RICKEY reviews this ““Iron Mensch” movie that the kids seem rather keen of…

Next up, over at MCF’S NEXUS OF IMPROBABILITY, MCF admits that if Iron Man were to be more like him he’d have to be called Hairy Man or perhaps Fleshy Man. He also takes a look at the movie as well – it’s not all self-deprecating remarks about his soft physique.

Another flick currently in theaters, at least for now is Ashton Kutcher’s latest effort What Happens in Vegas. Oh…a movie named after a tag line from a commercial – bad omen. Is it as stinky as it looks? Ask Joe from INTERMISSION AT WORK, he’s the guy with the review. Click on over to read it.

Joe also ponders the questions, "What movie has the best theme song?"

My answer? Naked Gun: The Files of Police Squad.

But then again, I'm a moron.

Looking back a few weeks, Kevin Spacey’s 21 did moderately good at the box office. THE WHITED SEPULCHRE claims about the film “this is the only, and therefore the best, movie on blackjack I've ever seen.”

Well, if we’re going to get that specific then Silent Runnings is the best movie I’ve ever seen about a space aged, homicidal, eco-hippy.

What about a movie that hasn’t even come out yet? Okay, we have that too. Over at Dylan’s site DISNEY, ETC., he has everything you need to get you up-to-speed on Pixar’s upcoming feature WALL-E.

If what's coming up is what's got your eye you have to head over to SATELLITE TV GURU, there Kevin Fleming has a list of the five best places online to watch movie trailers.

Let's drop the reviews for a while and focus on a creepy hallucinatory rabbit.

Sarah of SARAHSPY has the scoop on the sequel to 2001's Donnie Darko. From the sounds of things, this sequel will be awful. Click over to see if you concur.

Moving along, in light of all of the attention given to Ben Stein's Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Greg Laden reposts his review of the documentary Flock of Dodos which also takes on the Intelligent Design debate. To read more, go over to Greg's site GREG LADEN'S BLOG.

Now, we have the only post in Carnival history to refer to Alan Bates' private parts.

Apparently he and Oliver Reed wrestle naked in Women in Love...apparently, I have one (or is it two) more reason(s) not to see the movie. Nigel Beale has a post about Reed and his works, including the aforementioned Women in Love and Gladiator. Go to
NIGEL BEALE NOTA BENE BOOKS for the full post.

Let's go international

Spanish directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza's [Rec] gets the business by Vincente over at CRITICKER MOVIE

French brainy director Michael Gondry's
La Science des Rêves (The Science of Sleep) is the focus of MES CRAZY EXPÉRIENCES' Linda.

According to Michael Leahy, "
European cinema is on the rise in Europe". Well, I'd hope so. If they're not going to watch their films then who will? For more on what's going on in the EU, run over to Leahy's site SCREENPLAY EUROPE.

Its not all about Europe and America - Linda from
MES CRAZY EXPÉRIENCES also gives her thoughts on Korean director Ho-joon Kim's Eorin shinbu (My Little Bride).

In addition, Allie chats up a documentary about life in Swaziland titled Without the King. Never heard of it? You will when you go over to Allie's site ALLIE'S ANSWERS.

Heading back to the States, Seattle, Washington goes nuts for the annual Seattle International Film Festival. This is for good reason, it's always chock full of interesting and fun films to see that might not otherwise be seen in a cinema. Don't believe me? Go ask Reba Hass. She written all about it on her site TEAM REBA REAL ESTATE.

...and CUT and PRINT!

Thanks to everyone for their submissions! The Carnival of Cinema is ongoing with submissions being taken through each Wednesday and posting every Friday. You can submit your work HERE.

The other editions:
The Carnival of Cinema: Episode III
The Carnival of Cinema: Episode IV
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