Movie Trailer: Forever Strong

Seems like a typical sports flick to me. Other than it deals with rugby, there is nothing new here.

"I want you to be forever strong on the field so you can be forever strong off the field." [eyes rolling]

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video




Screenwriter: David Pliler
Director: Ryan Little (Saints and Soldiers)
Actors: Gary Cole (Office Space), Sean Faris (Never Back Down), Neal McDonough (Minority Report), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), Penn Badgley (John Tucker Must Die), and Arielle Kebbel (The Grudge 2)

Movie Trailer: Transporter 3

Looks like more of the same. A paper thin plot set up to unleash a series of peril littered with broken logic and impossible physics. Jason Statham is a solid dumb movie leading man and works well in this kind of production. Then again, there's someone out there who is the world's best person at cleaning porta pottys. It doesn't mean it's a good idea to show up and watch him work.







Screenwriter: Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) and Robert Mark Kamen (Taken)
Director: Olivier Megaton (Exit)
Actors: Jason Statham (Death Race), Robert Knepper (Hitman) and François Berléand (The Amateurs)

Movie Trailer: Eragon

Yes, the film is awful as the trailer implies. Actually, the trailer is the crowning achievement of this whole production. Based on Christopher Paolini's novel, this film is so disjointed it looks like they made the movie by accident. The characters are so thin they give each other papercuts when they shake hands. Don't let the impressive cast list fool you. I haven't seen a cast this wasted since the post-finale interviews for Cheers.


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Click here to read the review



Screenwriter: Peter Buchman (Jurassic Park III)
Director: Stefen Fangmeier
Actors: Jeremy Irons (Casanova), Robert Carlyle (The Full Monty), John Malkovich (Of Mice and Men), Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond), and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy)

Movie Trailer: Bridge to Terabithia

Based on Katherine Paterson's book, this film tells the story about a couple of outcast kids who create an imaginary world called Terebithia. They make themselves king and queen of their fantasy land and then reality comes in and kicks them both squarely in the gut.

The film sputters through without much inspiration. It is as if the writers felt the premise itself was strong enough to sell the production so they did not bother to develop characters or firm up the tension of their scenes. Overall, it is lifeless and borderline irritating.


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Screenwriter: Jeff Stockwell (The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) and David Paterson
Director: Gabor Csupo (Rugrats Go Wild)
Actors: Josh Hutcherson (RV), AnnaSophia Robb (The Reaping), Zooey Deschanel (The Happening), and Robert Patrick (Balls of Fury)



Doomsday (2007)

Should I see it?
Absolutely not.

Doomsday

Dumbsday.


Related Reviews:
Other stupid movies
Mindhunters (2004)
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)


Other Critic's Reviews:
ReelViews
eFilmCritic

Movie Trailer: The Secret Life of Bees

Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah both in the same movie? Pinch me I must be dreaming!

How contrived can this get? A girl, pursued by her abusive father travels across racist South Carolina in the early 1960's with her mopey African-American girlfriend. They arrive at the door of August Boatwright, a maternal black woman, who lives on an idyllic property with her sisters. The women raise bees (bees live in societies ruled by a mother figure - get it?) and worship the Black Madonna which is a figure from the Middle Ages which has been adopted by the neo-pagans as a symbol of universal mother. I know this is based on an award winning novel but please, this plot reads like a checked off list of things that make Oprah's audience misty eyed.

Alright, so I may not be the main target demographic for this flick.



Visit the official site






Screenwriter: Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball)
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Actors: Dakota Fanning (Hounddog), Queen Latifah (Taxi), Alicia Keys (Smokin' Aces), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda), Paul Bettany (Firewall), Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), and Hilarie Burton

Movie Trailer: Nights in Rodanthe

Finally, a movie about rich, self-absorbed, white people working through problems - let their voices be heard!

Special kudos go out to Viola Davis (Disturbia) who standing in for Whoopie Goldberg as the rich, white woman's singular black friend. She's wise and just urban enough to give that Oprah vibe without being so urban she's threatening to the suburban audience. You go girl!

What's James Franco doing here? Isn't he heading second tier flicks now (Flyboys, Annapolis), why take a turn with the wounded son role? Isn't there some teen from a television drama who could take this on to punch up their film resume?

Is there really any reason to see this film after watching the trailer? As I've said before, be wary of any film that gives you the whole narrative in the trailer.








Screenwriter: Ann Peacock (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), and John Romano (Intolerable Cruelty)
Director: George C. Wolfe
Actors: Diane Lane (Hollywoodland), Richard Gere (The Hoax), James Franco (Flyboys), Scott Glenn (The Silence of the Lambs), and Christopher Meloni (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle)

Carnival of Cinema: Episode 90 - Blogging Saddles

Welcome to the 90th edition of the Carnival of Cinema. Each week we display the best film-related posts submitted from around the world.

This week we have a plethora of great articles so let's get down to it.


With all of the political hoopla happening in America right now, its fitting we start things out with a post about politics in film.

Josh Xiong of the BRITANNICA BLOG considers if The Dark Knight actually qualifies as a neo-conservative narrative.

Fighting terrorists, identifying evil and calling it by name, utilizing private funds to better humanity, self-reliance, etc... doesn't sound like a leftist yarn to me. Then again, the ways things are going right now the guy from the far left talks like he's from the middle right and the guy from the middle right acts like he's from the middle left and ignoring the far right. Meanwhile the bulk of us are left squarely in the middle crying with our pockets turned inside out - I have no idea what's going on anymore.


Next on the conservative front is the SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVE Darrell who takes a look at movies with a dystopian theme. Darrell told me this post was inadvertently inspired by a post from this site. Not sure how to take that.

Why is it that when filmmakers show the future it's always dank, littered with crap and oppressive. Everybody's got to be so dang miserable about everything. Things are great and they're getting better. People living 100 years ago would kill to have the rich, full lives we yawn at today.


Since we can't get our view of the future rights, let's take a look at our past.


MANNY THE MOVIE GUY
offers up a list of his top movies from the summer of '08. Click over and see his list.


Not to be outdone, Hercules Rob of THE ENTERTAINMENT BLUR submits his list of the top movies from the summer of '08 as well. Once you're done with Manny's list, hop on over to Rob's place and check out what he has to say.


Keeping the historic trend, Margaret looks at Goodbye, Mr. Chips over at her site THE EARTHLY PARADISE. She says of the film "Goodbye, Mr. Chips follows the protagonist through his entire life, showing the audience the disappointments, tragedies and triumphs that make up a teacher's life. It's an indisputable classic."

There you go, its indisputable. Get over it.

This week Missy is enchanted with Enchanted. What did she find so enchanting about Enchanted? Head on over to read Missy's observations on OBSERVATIONS FROM MISSY'S WINDOW.


What better way to follow up a post about Enchanted than with a post about Ah-nold.


That's right, Herr Schwartzenegger gets his due. Scott Davis the Austrian musclehead's top ten movies on his site ZOMBIECHATTER.


Next up, Linda from MES CRAZY EXPÉRIENCES tackles a duo of flicks. First she offers up her opinion on My Boyfriend is Type B. Linda also takes on GTO the Movie.


The final review of the week comes from our final Canadian of the week, Sean Kelly. Sean posts on the new comedy Hamlet 2 on his site SEAN KELLY ON MOVIES.


Moving away from the movie reviews, we turn to where we plant our considerable backends.


Okay, that wasn't fair. I have no idea how considerable your backend may be. I shoudn't assume everyone has the same bloated, puffy frame I carry around. Not everyone is a rolly lunk.

Either way, David Boyd of CLEARLY-AV discusses the ultimate home cinema furniture. Click over to his site and see the great furniture you can recline your slim, healthy body across.

I'll be checking out the product details to verify weight restrictions.


We close this week with a great post from Marc Eastman. Marc explains that Paramount as corporate policy has effective Head over to his site ARE YOU SCREENING? for more.


...and CUT and PRINT!


Thanks to everyone who submitted this week. If you have a cinema-related post you'd like to get into next week's edition of the carnival FOLLOW THIS LINK.





Other carnival editions:
Carnival of Cinema: Episode II
Carnival of Cinema: Episode III
Carnival of Cinema: Episode XI



Movie Trailer: Body of Lies

Ridley Scott has a great track record, and if nothing else this movie will be well pieced together. The trailer seems to tip us too much information however. Scott will obviously have a deeper movie than what is suggested here, but enough of the narrative is given away to make me wonder if they weren't a little too generous.







Screenwriter: William Monahan (The Departed)
Director: Ridley Scott (Gladiator)
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic), Russell Crowe (Mystery, Alaska), and Mark Strong (Sunshine)

Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Should I see it?
Yes, if morality ain't your thing.

Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels

Guy Ritchie’s international debut production about a gaggle of low life Londoners who are forced into a life of crime after losing a high stakes poker game is a celebration of all that is bad in the human condition. However, this film does a good job of selling its story. With its clever camera angles, editing and story Ritchie weaves a story that satisfies...while it also debases its audience. This film introduced Ritchie's fresh voice to the world. Too bad said voice seems to be cursed by Tourettes.

Related Reviews:
Jason Statham movies
The Transporter (2002)
The Bank Job (2008)



Other Critic's Reviews:
Film Threat
Roger Ebert


Movie Watching Tip: Nudity in Film

Christians and other people concerned about cultural issues cite nudity as one of the absolute no-no's when watching movies. From what I've seen, I'd say 90% of cinematic nudity is completely unneeded. More times than not the offending bits simply don't need to be seen and could just as easily have been suggested. There are instances where I believe nudity is called for, Schindler's List, and Body Heat are good examples.

Don't be a bigger boob than the one you see on the screen, don't just soak in the skin, give what you're seeing some thought. Nudity in film is like violence, sexual activity, drug use and other questionable issues, it should only be used to enhance the story or advance the plot. When used gratuitously it only serves to cheapen the film and its audience.

Mercy Streets (2000)

Should I see it?
Yes.


Short Review:
In the genre of Christian films, this is a great achievement. As a film amongst the throng of the rest of American cinema, this is just another low-budget, heist film – but without the swearing.

Mercy Streets
There were many parts of this film I did like. The film makers are talented and made a lot out of very little. Their story, while implausible, did have enough elements to keep it cooking. While there were some pacing issues, the film as a whole is good and deserving of a watch.

What keeps the film from being great is its refusal to commit to its characters. The film revolves around the misdeeds of a pair of con men and a set of identical twins. The con men, as well as one of the twins, who himself is a criminal, are at their cores unbelievable. The reason for this is because the villains are played too timidly. In what I assume is an effort to keep the movie "Christian-safe", the bad guys were merely ill-mannered. The characters rang a little hollow because of the lack of realism. This is one of the chief symptoms of Christian film. Christians just can’t seem to see that telling the truth of humanity – even in its violent and foul-mouthed misery – is their charge. We are fallen, we need to show what that really means in all of its ugly detail. Do I condone needless violence, cursing and sexuality in film? No. It is a matter of judgment and restraint – two things Christians are supposed to excel at.


Related Reviews:
Christian films
The Hiding Place (1975)
Babette's Feast (1987)


Other Critic's Reviews:
Film Threat
Rotten Tomatoes

Publish Post

Movie Trailer: Fast and Furious

If you're dumb enough to watch this trailer and get excited you may as well go see it on opening night. I think it's fair to assume you won't be doing anything important.

Honestly, watch this trailer. Was there no one involved who at any time thought "geez, wouldn't they just get the trucker to stop by blocking the road instead of this incredibly complicated and life threatening plan?" I understand they want to have fancy stunts to go along with their video game soundtrack but couldn't they at least conceived something that is remotely logical?

Besides $1.4 million in gas? That's the big prize? This is gas we're talking about not uranium. Anyone who can afford to pull of a heist in the Dominican Republic and transport the fuel elsewhere can already afford to fill up their gas tanks.

This is a remarkable trailer - usually the producers hold off on all of the stupid stuff for the actual movie. They usually don't lead with their dumb foot forward.







Screenwriter: Chris Morgan (Wanted)
Director: Justin Lin (Annapolis)
Actors: Vin Diesel (Find Me Guilty), Paul Walker (Running Scared), Michelle Rodriguez (Girlfight), Jordana Brewster (The Faculty), and Laz Alonso (The Last Stand)

End of the Spear (2005)

Should I see it?
No.


Short Review:
A beautiful, well-shot disappointment.


End of the Spear

The story of the film is well known. A group of five missionaries go into the jungles of Ecuador to interact with the Waodani tribe. This tribe is a stone age group who is embroiled in vicious blood feuds that have resulted in untold violent deaths. The Waodani tribe, based on the lies of one of their members, slaughters the missionaries. Later, the wives and children of the missionaries commit themselves to bringing the Waodani to Christ and into civilization. Through the sacrifice of these families, the Waodani leave their savage killing behind and begin to prosper in ways they would never have dreamed.

This is an inspiring story of peace, Christian sacrifice and redemption. This film is none of these things.

On the positive side, this is a gorgeous film with lush scenery. It tends to go downhill from there. The acting is abrupt and far from convincing. The exception to this is Louie Leonardo who portrays Mincayani a strong-willed Waodani warrior who initially refuses the Christian’s efforts and who was a central figure in the killing of the missionaries. Leonardo provides Mincayani with a stoic stance that gives the character the only real natural presence in the film. The rest of the cast either blends into the scenery or overplays their parts. This is not really the actors fault. The script is clumsy and pulls the narrative along too quickly. The actors are stranded holding thin characterizations and uninspired dialog.

As a whole, this piece misses the mark because it doesn’t spend enough time with the characters. This is striking given that this is such a human drama. A group kills a father. The wife and son of the slain man then turn the other cheek and spend their remainder of their lives helping those who took their loved one. This incredible story of peace defines drama. Unfortunately, the script by Bill Ewing, Bart Gavigan and Jim Hanon never fleshes out this drama. We are provided with series of events without tension or depth. The central point is the conversion of the tribe to Christianity. They leave their pagan beliefs behind and begin to infuse the Christian doctrine of peace and sacrifice into their culture. This change is most important for Mincayani, who is shown as being the leader and main antagonist against this new way of seeing the world. The film spends its time building up to his conversion and when it arrives it is mentioned and then skipped. We see his pain over the death of his child, then we fast-forward years to see him wearing jeans and eating a prepared meal with his family at a table. What? Isn’t this like showing the Enola Gay dropping a bomb and then fast forwarding to show Japan in the 1980’s with its burgeoning economy and expanding prosperity? There’s a couple of details left out. Usually I believe films by Christians get too obtuse about presenting conversions. Generally, this is the place where most Christian films fall flat on their faces. The absence of it in this film is a critical mistake. Hanon and company push it aside in favor of a forced scene between Mincayani and the son of the missionary he killed (Steve Saint, now a grown man.) There is much made of the Saint forgiving Mincayani for the murder and this is offered as the moment of importance. While it is certainly a vital piece of the story it misses a point. Mincayani’s salvation isn’t found in Saint’s forgiveness. It is found in Christ's sacrifice on his behalf. To skip over the change in Mincayani’s relationship with God in favor of the change in his relationship with Saint is a mistake and removes a key piece of the dramatic puzzle.

Speaking of Christians being too obtuse in their handling of films, this production does a good job of trying to tell a story instead of preaching. The lives of Christians in many cases can offer good promotion of the faith instead of hitting the audience over the head for ninety minutes. An example of this is when the father (Nate Saint) is asked by his son if he will defend himself if the Waodani attack him. The father calmly responds "No son, we can't. We're ready for Heaven, The Waodani are not." This simple statement sums up Christian thinking without delving into the theology behind it. This film is well managed in showing Christians acting their faith in a way that doesn't come across as pushy.

Since we hold the bar low for them, as a Christian film this is well done. It is technically handled in a professional manner and it doesn't get overbearing with its theology (until the end). However, compared to your usual, everyday movie, it's lukewarm. Director Jim Hanon based this fictionalization on his brilliant and far superior documentary Beyond The Gates of Splendor. This is clearly a case of stopping while one is ahead. My advice is to put off this film in favor of the documentary. I’d further suggest purchasing the documentary to support these filmmakers. You can purchase a copy of the film by clicking on the image below.




Related Reviews:
Christian films
Beyond The Gates of Splendor (2002)
One Night with the King (2006)


Other Critic's Reviews:

PopMatters
Hollywood Jesus


Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2002)

Should I see it?
Yes.


Short Review:
And I thought my family reunions were tense!


Beyond the Gates of Splendor

With the 2005 release of End of The Spear along with this documentary, the world is reminded of the deeply moving story of salvation, forgiveness and redemption of the Waodani tribe.

In this well paced and constructed documentary, we are told the story of five missionaries who engage the Waodani at a time when the tribe was embroiled in violent attacks against one another. The Stone Age tribe would kill and torture over nothing and the introduction of missionaries into this situation led to tragedy. Each of the five missionaries: Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youdarian, Ed McCully and Peter Fleming were slaughtered by the Waodani. Over the course of their lifetimes, the wives and children of the murdered missionaries not only returned to interact with the Waodani, but they have lived among them. The families of the slain missionaries through acts of Christian forgiveness and understanding that many of us cannot fathom have not only helped save the Waodani, but have become family with these people. Think of it, you kill my father or my husband but I still forgive you and we will become like brother and sister. Moreover, I will introduce you to Jesus Christ and through him you will be saved.

The story is laid out patiently and thoroughly. The interviews of the families of the missionaries along with those of the Waodani are fascinating. To see how the Waodani used to behave (casual murder, infanticide and torture) to how they are one generation later is stunning. This story is enthralling and uplifting. The horror of the murders being able to be turned into the salvation of a small culture is a lesson for us all.

Overall, this is a very good documentary. Its subject matter is entrancing regardless of your religious background. This story of forgiveness and understanding will speak to your heart and mind. For Christians, this film will have particular meaning since it shows to power of God to turn that which was meant for evil into good in his name.


Related Reviews:
Christian films
Mercy Streets (2000)
The Hiding Place (1975)


Other Critic's Reviews:
Reel.com
Hollywood Jesus



Movie Recommendations #1 Comedies

With this week's recommendations I look at some comedies that are worth a second look.

Idiocracy (2006)

A misfire at the box office and under appreciated by critics, this movie is about an average guy (Luke Wilson) who is put into hibernation wakes up in a Darwinist nightmare where only the dumbest in our species survived and he's now the smartest man on Earth.

Written and directed by Mike Judge, this film is a sharp piece of satire nailing our Wal-Mart culture. At one point, Joe, the average guy, sees what's playing at the local theater. It's a film call "Ass" which consists of nothing but a naked butt farting. The mentally dulled audience is cackling with joy over the image. The look of disbelief on Joe's face when he sees this is the same one I get when someone tells me Tarantino's films are great.

The movie is crude, its very crude, but its called for - that's the whole point. Judge expounds on our culture and takes it to an overblown version of its logical trajectory. This isn't a film for everyone. If you got the point behind Judge's other material, Beavis and Butthead, Office Space and King of the Hill you'll probably find something here as well.




Lost in America (1985)

Albert Brooks is an acquired taste but one that is well worth developing. His dry delivery is misleading, his humor is sharp and biting. Most people know him as the voice of Marlin in Finding Nemo or possibly as displaced news anchor Aaron Altman in Broadcast News. Throughout his sporadic film career, he's made some simply brilliant comedies. If you are a budding screenwriter, or comedy writer you need to familiarize yourself with his body of work. Seeing him in action is a treat and a lesson in how to deliver a comedic line.

This film follows Brooks and Julie Haggarty (Airplane!) as a married couple in the 30's who decide to drop out of society, liquidate all of their assets and travel the country in a Winnebago. I won't ruin the fun of the movie, but suffice to say, their dreams of being yuppie road warriors come crashing down.





The Hammer (2007)

Adam Carolla is one of those guys people seem to love or hate. I've noticed that his appeal seems dependent on which side of the gender divide you're on. His sarcastic, nasally delivery may irritate some people but, I think the guy is pretty good.

This film is a good vehicle for Carolla's blue collar wit and displays him well. He plays Jerry Ferro, a forty year old loser who gets a second chance at the boxing career he left behind in his youth. Will Ferro finally get his life together, get the girl and succeed at boxing? Well, of course he does, this film will win no prizes for narrative originality. Where the film shines is with the approachable script and Carolla's charismatic performance. Everyone I know who has seen this film has had the same reaction I had, pleasant surprise. It's a simple movie and offers a simple pleasure.



Movie Trailer: Role Models

It took four people to write this movie. That's right, it took more people to write this movie than it took to fly a ship to the moon.

Actually, while probably crude in spots, this looks like it may be humorous. Paul Rudd and Ken Marino are funny guys and David Wain...well, he can be funny (not necessarily my taste - but he has a pretty good track record.) If they can keep themselves from dipping in the lowbrow jokes and stick with the character-based humor, this could be good.





Screenwriters: Timothy Dowling, Ken Marino (Diggers), Paul Rudd, and David Wain
Director: David Wain (The Ten)
Actors: Paul Rudd (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy), Ken Marino (Reno 911: Miami), Seann William Scott (The Rundown), Elizabeth Banks (Invincible), and Kerri Kenney (Balls of Fury)

Movie Trailer: Frost/Nixon

I'm sure Frank Langella gives a fantastic performance as ol' Tricky Dick Nixon. The performances are probably going to be the only thing about this production that will be of any interest. It seems a little forced to be pushing a film about a journalist kicking Nixon in the shins. This trailer makes me ask "why?" Why does this film need to be seen? Why was it made? What's the point? Now, granted I'm a conservative guy so I have some sizable bias here, but seeing the vindictive, self-important "journalists" talking about how Nixon needs to get the "trial that he deserves" seems a little hollow when I recall how blind the same media was towards President Clinton's rape allegations, drug use allegations and all the rest. When are we going to get a movie showing the Ken Starr office's battle to impeach a President who thought he was above the law? We won't but we will dip back thirty years to dredge this up. Hopefully we'll get another McCarthy Era movie out as well.

This may be a good movie, Ron Howard is fronting the thing, but this shoots up my media bias red flags big time.







Screenwriter: Peter Morgan (The Queen)
Director: Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code)
Actors: Kevin Bacon (Hollow Man), Sam Rockwell (Matchstick Men), Frank Langella (Superman Returns), Patty McCormack (Shallow Ground), Michael Sheen (Blood Diamond), and Oliver Platt (Casanova)

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Should I see it?
Yes.

The Hunt for Red October

One of the Cold War great thrillers. Alec Baldwin (back when he was interesting) and Sean Connery head up a great cast that brings Tom Clancy’s book to life. This is one of those film that is possible to fully enjoy even after multiple viewings.


Other Critic's Reviews:

FilmCritic.com
DVD Verdict


Movie Watching Tip: Death in Film

When a character dies in a film, pay attention to how it is handled. Is the death treated lightly? As a joke? Is their passing momentarily noted and then quickly forgotten? The way death is handled in a film will give you an indication of the worldview of the piece as a whole. It's also an indicator of quality, it's more common to see death treated with more respect in better films. If death is treated as frivolous, it may be an indicator you need to consider what other serious topics are being reduced by the film maker.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Should I see it?
Absolutely - see it today.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

I consider this to be one of the films everyone should see once before they die. It is darn near flawless. Jimmy Stewart gives one of his best performances as Jefferson Smith, a simple man who is appointed to the U.S. Senate by local bosses. The idealistic Smith runs into the cynicism and cruelty of American politics and sets out to do the right thing in the face of overwhelming opposition. Supporting Stewart, Jean Arthur and Thomas Mitchell shine in their roles as Washington insiders who are amazed and concerned for the naive Smith.
Frank Capra was a national treasure and his films remind us of how wonderful film can be when handled properly.

Related Reviews:
Jimmy Stewart movies
Its a Wonderful Life (1946)
Winchester '73 (1950)


Other Critic's Reviews:

Reel.com Classic Film Guide

Soylent Green (1973)

Should I see it?
Yes.

Soylent Green

Phew! This is not age well. If you can see past the antique sets and fashions you will find a slightly heavy handed but still enjoyable story. Although the technical flaws of the movie may serve to keep many younger viewers away. Sure, if this were released today, it would be roundly criticized as over-agendized* posturing, but there's something about this old flick that I found worth the hassle.

Charlton Heston leads this film about a police detective who uncovers a horrible conspiracy in a world destroyed by Global Warming (yes, they were whining about it back then too). Heston gives his usual grand style of performance and generally upstages everyone else around him. His broad style is a little too large for this role and he gets in the way of some of the scenes. Overall, his performance works and the film doesn't suffer too greatly from his excesses.


Related Reviews:
Charlton Heston movies
The Omega Man (1971)
Tombstone (1993)


Other Critic's Reviews:
Old School Reviews
The Movie Hamlet


Movie Trailer: The Departed

Martin Scorsese's remake of Infernal Affairs excels in many areas. If for no other reason you should see it for strong performances from Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. While none of them achieve career bests here, they still are outstanding. One caution is the ending. Whoa does it stink. What a let down.

Looking to the trailer - geez, over two minute run time and it doesn't ruin the film. Impressive. Although, how many random songs can we stuff into 120 seconds?


Visit the official site





Click on Jack to read a full review



Screenwriter: William Monohan (Kingdom of Heaven)
Director: Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull)
Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator), Matt Damon (The Good Shepherd), Jack Nicholson (The Shining), Mark Wahlberg (Shooter), Martin Sheen (Wall Street), and Vera Farmiga (Running Scared)

Protocols of Zion (2005)

Should I see it?
No.


Short Review:
This film loses its focus faster than Michael Jackson walking by Boys Town.

Protocols of Zion

Leftist filmmaker Mark Levin (The Last Party, Soldiers in the Army of God) directs this rambling look at the rise of antisemitism in America after 9/11. Levin opens his film at Ground Zero with a number of people reciting the new libel that Jews were warned about the attacks and did not show up for work that day, which led to no Jewish deaths that horrible day. In other words, if the Jews didn't do it, they were at least in one the planning. He the introduces the audience to the old Russian compliment to bigotry The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. This is a book that claims to be the blueprint of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. From this fascinating beginning Levin loses his way and starts on a meaningless journey.

The film’s basic premise is never supported and actually investigated in any meaningful way. Levin spends his budget on a film that literally stands for nothing. It makes vague accusations that antisemitism is on the rise in America but doesn’t show this in action. The bulk of the film is Levin talking about the hatred of Jews in an anecdotal fashion but never puts the effort into trying to uncover the actual reasons or motives behind the hate.

The great crime of this piece is that Levin never questions his opening propositions. Never does he ponder if it possible that America isn’t growing in its antisemitism. He works off an assumption, doesn't provide concrete evidence to support his claim and then pontificates as if he's dealing in fact. This lack of questioning makes this whole piece little more than a personal home movie with good editing.

In a piece that claims the hatred of Jews is on the rise, it says something that Levin had to go to a skinhead, a prison and into a meeting of Palestinians (after a Palestinian leader had been killed) in order to find people who hated Jews. There are no soccer moms, no national talk show hosts, no filmmakers shown acting up. There are no responsible people interviewed, just the fringe kooks. If the hate is on the rise, Levin should have been able to pick people at random. He didn’t because he can’t. He talks with fringe anti-Semites in America and then plays footage from The Eternal Jew (1940) (a German film that equated German immigrant Jews with rats) and scenes from Egyptian television showing the blood libel (Jews using a Christian child’s blood to make Passover matzos.) One of the reasons this film is so unfocused is that Levin is unable to prop up the stated reason for the film. He cannot fill an hour and a half with actual American antisemitism. He pulls in foreign examples, his father’s decades old memories of the Catholic “monsters” next door and bitter outsiders.

Looking at this film, Levin should be thrilled that the worse case he can find is harsh language. With the history of Russian pogroms and The Holocaust being mentioned, seeing someone get threatened by Evangelicals admitting that Jews need to turn to Christ in order to get into Heaven seems a little out of place. Hatred is a problem in this country but that's because we've populated it with human beings. If anything, hatred is harder to find in America than elsewhere around the world. Sure people have problems getting along but we don't have death squads, camps or pogroms.

One thing that struck me about the film is how unaware Levin appears to be about the open bigotry in his own piece. The only African-Americans in the piece are wild eyed Muslims or prisoners. Arabs as similarly represented. Christians are welcoming, but are conniving to stab Jews in the theological back. When someone takes a jab at Jews in the piece, Levin is quick to retort. When Jews casually throw out vitriol at Christians or Muslims Levin is quick to nod with a smile. At one point two Jewish men rabidly denounce The Bush Administration for wanting to go into Iraq to start Armageddon, be taken up in The Rapture and bring the return of Jesus because the administration believes they will all go to Heaven. The men then spit out that if George Bush gets into Heaven they don’t want to be in there with him. Levin has nothing to say about these words in a film where he is concerned about outlandish lies.

The inconsistencies of Levin and his friends and family is stunning in its causal nature. Make no mistake, Jews have their own unresolved issues with bigotry and hatred and those issues are seen in this production. It is difficult to see a Jewish man complain about antisemitism while walking past a picture of Che Guevara hanging on a wall in his own house. A line of thinking that leads to The Holocaust is one thing to this man, but his line of thinking (Marxism) that has led the slaughter of millions of other people is worthy of a portrait in his living room? Levin himself claims that the roots of antisemitism are Christians. The anger over the death of Christ is the genesis of the hate. He doesn't offer any background for this statement he simply makes it as though it was a random point. He is welcome to make this point, my call is for him to back up his strong words. It is unbearable for Muslims to make irrational claims about the Jews but Levin is comfortable throwing that bomb at the Christians without support. These kind of inconsistencies litter this film and are unacknowledged.


Of all of the points missed in this piece none is more overlooked than the fact that the world itself is largely antisemitic and America is the exception in this crowd. In a time when Muslim extremists are blowing up babies to make their point and the international left is clamoring for Israel to dissolve it's sovereignty, this film comes across as just pointless and sad.


Related Reviews:
Documentaries
Street Fight (2005)
Manda Balla (Send a Bullet) (2007)


Other Critic's Reviews:
Film-Forward
Combustible Celluloid



Movie Trailer: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Ah yes, don't we all love finding that "deep, warm, moment of truth".

I stepped in some warm truth on my way into the office today, still can't get it off my shoe.

I am so thankful the style of trailer has improved since this one came out. How the heck they got anybody to see anything with marketing like this is beyond me.

More films from Paramount



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Screenwriter: George Axelrod (The Holcroft Covenant)
Director: Blake Edwards (Victor/Victoria)
Actors: Audrey Hepburn (Robin and Marian), George Peppard (Pork Chop Hill), Patricia Neal (In Harm's Way), and Buddy Ebsen



Movie Trailer: The Little Red Truck

"There are thousands of kids still out there waiting to teach me about who I am."

Okay, you're a scary loser and stay away from my kids.

I'm all for introducing children to theater and the arts. It is healthy, builds strong creative minds and whatnot - just not so sure it makes good cinematic viewing.

And what's with having J. K. Simmons pop up in the middle of the proceedings? You have this nice little trailer about some goofballs teaching kids how to perform a play and then Vern, the homosexual rapist, Nazi guy from Oz stops in to give his endorsement. Creepy.

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Screenwriter: Rob Whitehair
Director: Rob Whitehair
Actors: J.K. Simmons (Spider-man)


Movie Trailer: The Women

I smile when I watch this trailer because I know my sister-in-law is going to make my brother-in-law see this movie.

I think that's funny.



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Screenwriter: Diane English
Director: Diane English
Actors: Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally), Eva Mendez (Ghost Rider), Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Reloaded), Candice Bergen (Sex in the City), Annette Bening (Being Julia), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars), Cloris Leachman (History of the World: Part I), Bette Midler (Beaches), Debra Messing (Open Season), Lynn Whitfield (Eve's Bayou) and Debi Mazar (Be Cool)

Carnival of Cinema: Episode 89 - The Princess Blog

Welcome to this week's edition of the Carnival of Cinema, a weekly round-up of the best cinema-related posts submitted from around the globe.


This week we kick things off with some movie watching technology.

Andy Boyd is first up. Over at his site CLEARLY AV he discusses the thin HDTV's we can expect to see coming to the market in the future. Head over to see some prototypes from some top manufacturers.

The second techie we have this week is Kevin Fleming. Kevin checks out the Dish Network Turbo service packages on his site SATELLITE TV GURU.


Let's move from those talking about what you can use to watch movies to those who have already watched movies.


Gracchi from WESTMINSTER WISDOM gets the reviews started this week with a look at Hard Candy, a movie that looks at pedophilia. Click over to see what Gracchi has to say about this film from a few years back starring Ellen Page (Juno) and Patrick Wilson (Watchmen).


Kicking off the reviews with pedophilia, nothing like beginning with a happy note.


Keeping the depression train running down the tracks to a town called Misery is Missy from OBSERVATIONS FROM MISSY'S WINDOW who asks "Will Heath Ledger’s final film become an overlooked side note to his career?"


Death and child abuse, alright, I'm getting depressed. Let's lighten things up with a stupid chick flick.


Made of Honor is one such chick flick and Michael of REVIEW HOOKUP offers up his opinion on the subject.


Specifically not talking about Made of Honor, Sarah believes she may have found THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. Head over to SARAHSPY to find out what she's found.


Speaking of the greatest movie of all time, Death Race has been released. To find out more about this dazzling spectacle of stupid click over and see what MANNY THE MOVIE GUY has in store this week. He has an interview with the director Paul W. S. Anderson.


Next in the criminal line up is Felon, a prison drama starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer. Click here to read Trench's review on his site 7 MILES DOWN.

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Keeping with the reviews, we turn now to Hector Calles from ILLUSTRATED MOVIE REVIEW BLOG. This week Hector takes on the Eddie Murphy "comedy" Meet Dave.


Eddie Murphy is still making movies? What does a guy gotta do to get kicked out of the industry...when again Dan Ackroyd is still lurking in the cinematic shadows.


Hey, speaking of crappy cinema, 21 is finally out on DVD and DJ Kaufman has finally viewed the flick. Haven't seen it yet and need to know if its a lousy as you've heard? Dash over to THE EIGHTH ART to read the review.




Over at PHILAAHZOPHY, Aahz takes on the 90's crime flick 2 Days in the Valley. Remember that one? No? Well, click over and see if the trailer sparks your memory.


Let's leave the Pulp Fiction derivative behind and let's get all fancy.

Margaret of THE EARTHLY PARADISE says of Bridehead Revisited:

"The slow revelation of a deep and powerful faith in the original 1981 miniseries version of Brideshead Revisited helped to make it an instant classic. Sadly, filmmakers have chosen to make religion the bogeyman in this new rendition of the classic tale."

I'll have to take her word for it, I keep falling asleep when I try to watch it.


Darrell at THE SOUTHERN CONSERVATIVE also tackles a film that is obviously deeply influenced by Evelyn Waugh's classic novel.


Okay, maybe not.


Samir brings the reviews to a close this week with a "fairly typical romantic Hindi (Bollywood) movie, but one with a healthy dose of class." One that "is entertaining, and it leaves you with a smile on your face." Which movie is it? Why it's Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na - say that ten times fast. For more on this directorial debut of screenwriter Abbas Tyrewala click over to SAMIR'S CREATIVE IDEAS BLOG - he has a wonderful post about the film.


The final post this week comes from BRITANNICA BLOG. Gregory McNamee has an interesting blog post reflecting on the career of Jimmy Stewart on what would have been his 100th birthday.


…and CUT!…and PRINT!


Thanks to everyone for their submissions.




Other carnival editions:
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 29
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 39
Carnival of Cinema: Episode 43

Movie Trailer: Fireproof

Be wary of any trailer that gives you the whole movie. The whole film should be able to be sold in sixty-seconds, not told in sixty-seconds.

This looks like more of the same from the people who brought you Facing the Giants: suburban Christianity wrapped in a easy narrative. As a Christian myself, I don't take issue with the concepts presented here (we'll see what the actual movie has in store). I'm sure the Fireproof your marriage site the film promotes is an honorable and well-meaning project that is worth checking out. What I have a problem with is the delivery. One view of this trailer and it is clear that this appears to be yet another well intentioned "Christian film" that only serves to speak to the members of the faith. This may be a good movie, but I am concerned that the delivery will be too overt as it was with Facing the Giants. Non-Christians need to get our messages as well. I have concerns that films like this will not translate to those audiences. If this is your kind of movie, I suggest seeing the film, it will probably have some good messages.

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Screenwriters: Alex Kendrick (Facing the Giants) and Stephen Kendrick (Facing the Giants)
Director: Alex Kendrick
Actors: Kirk Cameron (Left Behind: World at War)


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