Movie Trailer: The Road

Looks like it will be good.

Notice, of course, that its the Southerners who are the dangerous ones. According to convention, all Southerners are just moments away from becoming unleashed, dangerous, slack-jawed brutes.

I'm looking forward to this one. Mortensen doesn't pick lousy material. He is very consistent with his pick of projects and the fact that he's fronting this production is a very good sign.



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Screenwriter: Joe Penhall
Director: John Hillcoat
Actors: Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), Robert Duvall (The Apostle), Charlize Theron (North Country) and Guy Pearce (Memento)





Movie Trailer: Extract

Its from Mike Judge, so I'm seeing it.

The trailer itself doesn't back the film well. Judge's humor isn't evident and it seems more like yet another cobbled together comedy. Jason Bateman plays yet another frustrated, borderline middle-age guy, so we'll see if he breaks away from the pigeonhole he's created for himself. He certainly appears to be recreating his mope from Juno and Hancock. Its not a good sign that Ben Affleck is on board. The extra hair isn't going to help his inability to act. He'll just be Ben Affleck hammering through his lines through a scruffy beard. Maybe he'll shock and actually be funny, but it would be the first time he's brought anything to a film other than his looks.

There's doesn't appear to be much here. I give it a chance purely because its from Mike Judge. The man is a fine talent and has a knack for character. We'll see.



Screenwriter: Mike Judge (Idiocracy)
Director: Mike Judge (Office Space)
Actors: Jason Bateman (Juno), Mila Kunis (Max Payne), Ben Affleck (Armageddon), J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man) and David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)





Movie Trailer: Guest of Cindy Sherman

If the film can get the audience to care one moment about these isolated elites yammering about themselves it will be a great feat. A marginal guy gets hooked up with a more popular and talented woman and has to deal with her overshadowing fame. The central question of the film is "who cares?"

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Directors: Tom Donahue and Paul Hasegawa-Overacker
Actors: Cindy Sherman, John Waters (Pink Flamingos), Eric Bogosian (Under Siege 2), Danny Devito (Hoffa) and Jeanne Tripplehorn (Waterworld)





Movie Trailer: Delhi-6

From a Western perspective, there's not much of a call to see with this trailer. The central conflict isn't compelling and other than some of the visuals, there's nothing to draw me towards the film. The music doesn't help either, sheesh.


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Screenwriters:
Prasoon Joshi and Rakesh Omprakash Mehra
Director: Rakesh Omprakash Mehra
Actors: Waheeda Rehman, Tanvi Azmi and Abhishek Backchan



Movie Trailer: Downloading Nancy

So, Maria Bello portrays a psycho wife who runs off on her husband and lures a guy to kill her but then falls in love with her potential killer?

And the reason to watch this apparently depraved, depressing flick would be..?






Screenwriters: Pamela Cuming and Lee Ross
Director: Johan Renck
Actors: Maria Bello (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), Jason Patrick (Narc), Rufus Sewell (John Adams) and Amy Brenneman (The Jane Austen Book Club)




Movie Trailer: Taking Woodstock

Be thankful its not presented in Smell-o-Vision.

I suppose if your culture has been raped and burned by corporate thugs leaving your generation with nothing to hang its artistic hat on, it makes sense to keep looking back at a bygone era for direction. This is sad. Honoring a movement that effected the changes that led to the slaughter of untold numbers of Cambodians and Vietnamese. It's cool though, American teens got to party in the mud, so everything good, man. I'm sure they won't discuss the larger global political aspect of these useful idiots, just stick with the marketing plan and sell the music and free love.







Screenwriters:
James Schamus (Hulk)
Director: Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
Actors: Liev Schreiber (Wolverine), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen), Emile Hirsch (Milk), Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), Imelda Staunton (Freedom Writers) and Eugene Levy (American Pie)





Movie Quote: U-Turn (1997)

Darrell
You think bad, and bad's what you'll get.

Bobby
That's an interesting philosophy there, Darrell.

Darrell
Yeah. And no charge.















Movie Trailer: Away We Go

Yet another film about losers.

Look at the products our generation makes our ourselves. It seems that one half of the films released are fronted by stupid superheroes and the other by listless losers who can't handle the basics of life. By looking at the cinema one has to come to the conclusion that this society is fronted by a generation of adult children. Over and over again, films about half-man wimps in the prime of life not knowing how to be adults.

I've been around enough film and theater professional to know my share of big time losers, real wastes of air but the average American isn't as stupid and rudderless as film makers want us to be.

It is possible I am way off about this film. This could be a touching, heart warming flick for all I know. But its premise, its appearance speaks to the larger issue of how the cinema is portraying us to us.

Speaking to the trailer itself, it offers no reason to see the film. Its not funny, its not even quirky - its just annoying lethargic.

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Screenwriters: Dave Eggers (Where the Wild Things Are) and Vendela Vida
Director: Sam Mendes (Jarhead)
Actors: John Krasinski (Leatherheads), Maya Rudolph (Idiocracy), Jeff Daniels (The Crossing), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight) and Catherine O'Hara (Best in Show)



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Should I see it?
Yes.

Short Review: Apt title, if you redefine "Curious" to mean "Pointless".


Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Alien3) is brilliant and creating films that are marvelous to view. Each of his films is a fully realized, rich visual orgy for the eyes. He has a talent for design and revels in it every time he gets behind the camera. There are times when his gift compliments his film (Fight Club, Se7en) but there are other times where it overwhelms a weaker script (The Game, Panic Room). Fincher seems to be a little too in love with his own cinematic voice and has begun to trend towards rambling too on long. Like his previous film Zodiac, he has some compelling source material and knows how to design a film around his story. He fails to keep his narrative from getting too lethargic. Like Zodiac this film tends to be a rambling mess without a useful conclusion. Unlike that film, this outing makes up for its deficiencies by displaying a couple of notable performances and a production design worthy of study.

Based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the film tells the tale of Benjamin Button who mysteriously is born an old man and gradually gets younger as his life progresses. The central conciet of the film is handled carefully by Fincher who eases the audience into the concept. Brad Pitt as the titular character gives his best performance in years (considering his films over the past few years, this isn't saying much.) He delivers on the task of combining the aging body of an old man with the spirit and mind of a very young boy. This a complicated duality to play out and make believable. Pitt, under Fincher's direction pulls it off. Opposite Pitt, Cate Blanchett plays Daisy, Button's love. While her performance is less challenging on the technical level, Blanchett does provide a empathetic and engaging character to counter Pitt's more novelty based role.

As mentioned, the film's strength is in its look and its ability to bring its world to life. The design work in this production is awe inspiring and a delight to look at. This is one of the rare films that I would recommend based purely on its look. This is a fortunate quality because the story itself ultimately fails. Since it takes place over a lifetime it is episodic. This is a result of trying to bring a life to the screen. Screenwriter Eric Roth managed this task in his script for Forrest Gump and he handles the passage of time in the same manner here. It makes sense to do so, in both stories we're following the life of an odd character across the decades, both of whom make a living on boats by the way. Like Gump, Button's story is interesting but unlike Gump it's not entertaining. This leads to being involved in his story for a good long time, it runs for almost two and a half hours, but not getting much in return. Forest Gump left its audience with a good vibe and a touching conclusion. This film doesn't strive for this result and the ending feels a bit uneven.

I do recommend the film but with the warning that it may be boring for some audience members. It is as stuffy and aloof as it appears. It is also a very literate movie that patiently displays its characters allowing us to enjoy their details.


Brad Pitt and Cate Blancett in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button




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Ocean's 11 (2001)
Babel (2006)


Other Critic's Reviews:
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Movie Trailer: The Girlfriend Experience

I'm sure casting a porn actress sounded like a neat little gimmick at the time. The problem is that her delivery sounds like a porn actress. She sounds strung out and emotionally detached.

I know nothing about Sasha Grey, I haven't had the opportunity to experience the thoughtful body of work she's built over her career (163 titles in 36 months,) but I do know that despite what people want to believe a vast majority of people doing porn do so out of desperate situations be it addiction, out-of-control self loathing, immense greed, or a variety of serious psychological issues. Sasha Grey may be the most secure, psychologically stable woman in the world, but to put her out there in a role like this and advertising her as a porn star to give the role a sense of credibility is exploitation - which is probably one of the reasons Soderbergh did it. Grey made porn and now she wants to cross over and be a serious actress and exploits the filth she's created to leverage that effort. As the culture becomes more and more deprived, the lines between the straight and porn film industries will continue to blur.

Screenwriters: Brian Koppelman (Rounders) and David Levien (Ocean's 13)
Director: Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's 12)
Actors: Sasha Grey, Chris Santos and Peter Zizzo






Movie Quote: Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Ratso
I'm walking here! I'm walking here!















JCVD (2009)

Should I see it?
Sure.


Short Review: Its basically an European art film version of one of those VH1 celebrity reality shows.



This is an interesting film only because it comes across as a self condemnation by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Van Damme plays himself in this darkly comedic parody where he is out of money, desperate for a good gig and has just lost his daughter in a bitter divorce battle. In other words, he's a loser losing it all. The non-acting actor stumbles onto a robbery and a hostage situation erupts. Thanks to overzealous fans, the situation deteriorates as the authorities assume he is the one who has taken the hostages over frustration about his lagging career and failed private life. Van Damme must act as heroic lead to the hostages while being forced to play hostage taker to the authorities to keep everyone safe.

Van Damme is a great pick for the lead since he doesn't garner much respect over his body of work, but is still an undeniable success in his field. The duality of public and private man is surprisenly well handled by Van Damme and he has some moments where he actually acts. He may have made this self immolating film as an attempt to break into more serious roles, or as an odd confessional for a life spent making cinematic Twinkies. I do not know his reasoning. What I do know is that this move effectively kills his action film career. One can't watch this film and then go watch another one of his movies...not that it was an easy task to begin with. This film has the same result as the disastrous Metallica: Some Kind of Monster where the metal band documented their trip through group therapy. Once you lift the veil and see these people as being made of the same flimsy stuff we're all made of, the tough guy image is disintegrated. There's no going back.

The film itself is a well done parody. It is self aware and easily mocks its subjects while still giving a reasonably good story. As I mentioned, Van Damme does a notable job and director Mabrouk El Mechri is smart enough to keep things from getting too serious while still hitting on some rather somber points. Is this a great film? No. Does it ignite a new branch in Van Damme's career? No. Is it entertaining? I thought so. This is one of those films that if you see it, you probably wont' feel like you wasted your time. If you don't see it, you won't miss it.


Related Reviews:
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Hostage (2005)
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Movie Trailer: Oceans

As long as they shy away from the global warming nonsense this should be good. Granted, they have to go a ways to beat what can be seen on television pretty much every day, but it appears they have some fantastic footage.

But again, its only worth it if they shy away from the eco-fascist global warming...er, sorry - climate change blathering.





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Update: Reader and regular commenter K. has pointed me to this article over at Salon.com, part of which says:



Screenwriters: Jacques Perrin, Jacques Cluzaud, Christophe Cheysson, John Collee, Laurent Debas, Stéphane Durand, Laurent Gaudé and François Sarano
Director: Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud (Winged Migration)





Movie Trailer: Cherrybomb

This trailer makes it look more like Stink Bomb.

This could be the best film ever made, this trailer does its best to keep it hidden. What's better than a series of random shots of young adults acting like messed up morons? That will surly pack the theaters. "Hey look, Weasley is all adult and strung out!"








Screenwriter: Daragh Carville
Directors: Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn
Actors: Rupert Grint (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Robert Sheehan and Kimberly Dixon




Movie Trailer: The Hangover

You lose points for reworking Dude, Where's My Car?

You gain a point for Tyson singing.


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Screenwriters: Jon Lucas (Four Christmases) and Scott Moore (Rebound)
Director: Todd Phillips (Old School)
Actors: Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers), Heather Graham (Boogie Nights), Ed Helms (Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay), Jeffrey Tambor (Monsters vs. Aliens) and Justin Bartha (National Treasure: Book of Secrets)




Movie Trailer: The Skeptic

Is the house haunted by the ghosts of careers past?

The trailer is paint-by-numbers which in turns makes me assume the film is paint-by-numbers. There's no real call to see created by the trailer since it doesn't set up the haunting very well. There's some creepy stuff in a house and a guy turning on lights and looking over his shoulder. Although, I like the bit of him looking like he's scared of a doll, what a sissy.

Probably coming to a DVD bin near you.

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Screenwriter: Tennyson Bardwell
Director: Tennyson Bardwell
Actors: Tim Daly (Basic), Tom Arnold (True Lies), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek) and Edward Herrman (Reds)




Movie Trailer: Adam

Obviously, the quality of the film all depends on if Adam is a well-written character. Otherwise this runs the risk of being little more than using Aspergers as a narrative hook. The reference to Gump at the end at least shows screenwriter Max Mayer understands that he's running that risk, so I take that as a good sign.

Looking beyond the Aspergers line, this looks like straight-forward conventional stuff.




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Screenwriter: Max Mayer
Director: Max Mayer
Actors: Hugh Dancy (King Arthur), Rose Byrne (Knowing), Peter Gallagher (Mr. Deeds) and Amy Irving (The Fury)




Movie Trailer: Armored

This one has my attention. The premise is solid for a mass market movie. A young armored car guard gets wrapped up in a inside job to steal some money. Predictably, things go awry, but it does open itself for some good moral conflict. The fact that it is directed by Nimród Antal is icing on the cake.

The trailer gives far too much away however. I loathe trailers like this since it either means the advertising was handled by an inept crew or the film offers so little that they have to sell the whole thing to get people in the door. It would seem with this plot, the tease of the rookie locking himself in the truck would be enough to perk some interest.

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Screenwriter: James V. Simpson
Director: Nimród Antal (Kontroll)
Actors: Columbus Short (Cadillac Records), Matt Dillon (There's Something About Mary), Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Jean Reno (La Femme Nikita), Skeet Ulrich (As Good as it Gets), Amaury Nolasco (Mr. 3,000) and Fred Ward (Sweet Home Alabama)




Movie Trailer: Antichrist

Even the trailer is obnoxious.

This film has been getting a great deal of buzz from Cannes - and it ain't all good. After the horrific death of their child a therapist (Willem Dafoe) and his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) head off to the woods "Eden" to work through their trouble. While there they descend into a nightmare of torture, sexual mutilation and a talking fox.

uh...wha?

The impression from the reviews and articles is the same as the one I get from viewing the trailer - self-indulgent, intentionally disturbing artsy-fartsy dribble. Director Lars von Trier says he made this as a reaction to his depression. Great, you're feeling blue so you get over it by hoisting yet another evil plop of brutal crap on the screens? Thanks for the assist, jerk.

I look at this and my reaction is simple - any doofus with a camera can make life look ugly, it takes an artist to bring out its beauty.






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Screenwriter: Lars von Trier (Breaking the Waves)
Director: Lars von Trier (Dancer in the Dark)
Actors: Willem DaFoe (To Live and Die in L.A.) and Charlotte Gainsbourg (I'm Not There)




Putting the Feed on a Diet

Posting will be light for the remainder of the week.

Many projects, one man.

Movie Trailer: The Cross

So, Arthur Blessitt shot MLK?

This is a horrible trailer - horrible. First thing, the music. Does anyone actually listen to music like this? Ten seconds in and I was wanting to claw my ears off.

The point of a trailer is to market the film, to give you a reason to see the production. Often this is done by explaining to the viewer what you're going to see. This trailer is nothing more than a meaningless slide show. All this tells us is that Blessitt picked up a cross and thanks to him history happened.

For those who don't know, Arthur Blessitt literally carried the cross to all of the nations of the world. It took him forty years and he holds the Guinness World Record for the longest walk. He also holds the record for "least practical mission".

The guy probably has some interesting stories. You can't walk around the world and come up short on anecdotes. This trailer looks more like a warning than an advertisement however.

Regarding the final shots of the trailer. Barack Obama is not the answer to MLK's dream, he's the answer to FDR's dream. The election of a clearly unqualified black man doesn't mean we're a color-blind society. When a qualified black man or woman can run for President and lose without there being an uproar, then the dream has come.

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Screenwriter: Stephan Blinn (The Omega Code)
Director: Matthew Crouch
Actor: Arthur Blessitt





Movie Trailer: The Hurt Locker

If it steers clear of the cheap shots at our troops, this could be great. I love the look of it and the dialog sounds sharp.








Screenwriter:
Mark Boal (In the Valley of Elah)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow (Mission Zero)
Actors: Jeremy Renner (28 Weeks Later), Anthony Mackie (Eagle Eye), Brian Geraghty (We Are Marshall), Guy Pearce (Memento), Ralph Fiennes (The Reader), David Morse (12 Monkeys) and Evangeline Lilly (Lost)



Movie Trailer: My Sister's Keeper

So the parents of a kid with Leukemia have another kid artificially created to act as a donor for the older child. The younger kid, the spare parts kid, is so used by her parents she's forced to sue them for emancipation.

Wouldn't the parents be brought up on child abuse charges?

Of course, the underlying aspect of this is abortion. This is why she says "its my body and I want to decide what to do with it." The extreme case used to propose the notion of a child's individual right to make decisions on their health care - meaning, abortion. You can't argue this character should be spared her parent's cruelty. Once the argument is won then it is extended on to other cases, like abortion. This is how legalities work and this is the point here. If the girl can say her parents do not have the right to demand she give blood transfusions or a kidney, in this extreme case, how can they demand she not get an abortion? The notion of children being given legal standing is goofy on its face given that they're children. Bring the parents up on charges and put the kid into a proper, loving home - movie done, another social agenda flick thwarted.

Now granted, I have not seen the movie and I'm basing my conclusions on the trailer and other information I've gathered from the marketing campaign, so I could be way off. I doubt it. I've seen enough of these social engineering movies to spot one when it comes by. Looking past my assumptions on the film's point, the work itself seems pretty stock stuff. Very conventional trailer, no signature design work and the dialog sounds very on-the-nose and forced. If I were a betting man, I'd say this has a very short run and is dispensed to the DVD shelves pretty quick.




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Screenwriters: Jeremy Leven (The Legend of Bagger Vance) and Nick Cassavetes (Blow)
Director: Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook)
Actors: Abigail Breslin (Nim's Island), Sofia Vassilieva, Cameron Diaz (There's Something About Mary), Jason Patric (Speed 2: Cruise Control) and Alec Baldwin (The Good Shepherd)




Movie Trailer: Frontier of Dawn

Is this a joke? I kept waiting for the gag to drop and the thing to turn out to be a comedy.

Free-spirited photgrapher = someone who needs his butt kicked.

I like the "what started out as an innocent encounter turned into a dangerous affair." If it is an affair IT AIN'T INNOCENT.

You know you're in trouble when the internal logic of the trailer is messed up.






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Screenwriters: Marc Cholodenko and Arlette Langmann
Director: Philippe Garrel
Actors:




Movie Trailer: Moon

I do not trust Sam Rockwell's taste in projects. This one however looks like an exception. The buzz has been strong for this production and seeing the trailer, it looks like it has the goods. This is an effective trailer and plays off all the right elements. What at first looks like a 2001: A Space Odyssey rehash drags in aspects of The Shining.




Screenwriter: Nathan Parker
Director: Duncan Jones
Actors: Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile), Kevin Spacey (21), Matt Berry and Robin Chalk




Movie Quote: Dragnet (1987)

Narrator
Your attention, please. The story you are about to see is true; the names have been changed to protect the innocent. For example: George Baker is now called "Sylvia Wiss."















Milk (2008)

Should I see it?
No. Not unless you're a fan of social marketing.


This film has been praised far beyond its actual value. It is nowhere near as wonderful as one may be led to believe due to all of the awards and critical praise. Having seen the film, it is clear to me all of the hoopla is little more than politically correct cheerleading. The problem criticizing a film like this is that given its overt agenda, combined with today’s neo-fascist attitudes, going against the grain and pointing out how emotionally distant and manipulative the film is will be confused with hatred towards gays. The fact is that this film is much like every other Gus Van Sant film, it is completely lacking in any meaningful emotional connection and overloaded with self important dialog, along with heavy-handed visuals. The story of Harvey Milk should be told. I honestly believe this. He was an important figure and the rebellion of Castro Street is ripe for cinematic explanation. The man’s life lends itself to being a fascinating biography, despite one’s feelings about homosexuality; he was a notable figure and a fascinating one as well. This film doesn’t tell his story in the best possible way.

I will be upfront and admit that I don’t jive Van Sant’s directing style. I think he gets in front of his camera too often. We see this in overt shots like one in this film where Milk and his lover are sitting on the stoop of his camera shop. The two men, having just been insulted by a Christian liquor store owner, are shown making out in front of Milk's store. This is presented as an act of love and defiance. Behind them a large store sign that reads “Yes, we’re OPEN” may as well be a billboard. Where a more delicate director would combine these images Van Sant practically puts the sign in neon pink and has animated arrows pointing out his clever use of environmental symbolism. Blunt overtures like this litter his works.

Sean Penn’s performance as Milk is solid, but certainly doesn’t rise to the level of a Best Actor Oscar. Then again, I believe the award shouldn’t be an annual distribution but only passed out when someone honestly excels at the art of acting. Penn's work doesn't rise to the level of a signature performance. He plays the man with vigor and brings him to life, but he doesn’t stand out. He doesn't get lost in his portrayal, which he is certainly capable of doing. In this performance, he's always just Sean Penn with an affectation.

This is not a biography as much as it is a piece of political theater. Yes, Milk was an activist who became a politician and telling his life’s story demands his politics be explored. I don’t have a problem with his activism and political attitudes being on display. I concur with some of his assertions. Gays should be allowed to live their lives in peace. Yes, they are God’s children and they deserve respect and love. With the exceptions of being able to marry and adopt children, I agree with many of the political aspirations of the homosexual community. But this film overplays its hand. Van Sant is too overt, too involved to deliver this material without getting in its way.

If you’re comfortable seeing homosexual activity and are looking for a biography that is good, not great, then this will work for you. Just don’t be fooled by the hype machines. It’s not a great film and Penn doesn’t give a stunning performance. It is a good film, and has some merit. Perhaps someday the subject matter will be revisited and a stronger film will result.




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The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)


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Bolt (2008)

Should I see it?
A tepid yes.

Bolt DVD

At this point any animated "family movie" that isn't littered with piss and fart jokes is notable. If it also doesn't contain any sex jokes you're also seeing something out of the norm. This film manages to deliver an enjoyable and at times inventive story without the scatological references, so kudos to the filmmakers for acting like adults.

The story is about Bolt (John Travolta) a small white dog who has been raised on a television set. He is the star of a predictable and failing television show and his haughty director has the crew go to extreme lengths to keep the dog completely unaware his television life isn't real. Bolt's master, Penny (Miley Cyrus), leaves for the day, Bolt is convinced she has been kidnapped by the show's villains (it kinda makes sense in context.) Bolt then heads out into the big bad world in search of Penny. Along the way he buddies up with a cat named Mittens (Sue Essman) and a overly zealous hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton).

As far as animated flicks go, this is a visual descendant of The Incredibles. The Pixar super people film's style is obvious in the opening sequence and is threaded throughout the remainder of the film. The film is modeled after the Pixar line of films as well. It avoids low humor and focuses on story and development. To be honest, the development isn't that great and the film loses much of its steam as it goes along. The first half of the film is strong, but the resolution of the film faulters mostly because there isn't a strong villain or central conflict. There is nothing really to resolve. This means the kids will be excited at first but may get eventually bored.

Overall, the kids will most likely enjoy the film. For parents, this is one of those family films you will probably have to see/hear a thousand times but it won't be too painful. In other words, enjoyable for kids, not terribly obnoxious for the adults.


Bolt


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Movie Trailer: Daytime Drinking

I'm on the fence with this one. On one hand, there's not much in the trailer to draw me to see it. On the other hand, if its broken out of the Korea and is being distributed in America, it has to have some steam behind it.

Here's to hoping its better than its trailer.



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Screenwriter: Young-Seok Noh
Director: Young-Seok Noh
Actors: Kang-hee Kim, Sam-dong Song and Sang-yeop Yuk



Movie Quote: Zero Effect (1998)

Daryl Zero

Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them.















Faith Like Potatoes (2006)

Should I see it?
Sure.


Short Review: Film Like Paint Drying.


Faith Like Potatoes

First things first. Nice title. Faith Like Potatoes? Yeah, that will get the DVDs flying off the shelves.

"Hey Honey, do you want to watch Bolt, The Wrestler or Yes Man?"

"I don't know...is there anything with a nonsensical title that sounds like an immigrant confusing a metaphor? I don't like my movies to have attractive, inviting titles. I only like the one's that make me say "What the heck?""

Faith Like Potatoes. Nice title.

Okay, on with the movie.

Outstanding cinematography, notable performances, good story...all stretched out to make it all go on and on longer than it needs to.

Angus, a quick tempered Scotsman farmer is forced to leave his Zambian farm because of the racist land claim by the government - white farmers were getting their lands taken from them. He relocates his family in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa and starts fresh. He begins with nothing but a tractor and a small plot of land. He fails, has trouble and a deeply transforming tragedy which leads him to give his life to God. He changes his focus which changes his life and the lives of those around him. The story is positive, meaningful and interesting. The film doesn't fully live up to the story but it does give a valiant effort.

Director Regardt van den Bergh clearly knows what he's doing but in this instance it appears the story gets away from him from time to time. He has trouble smoothing out the transitions and Angus' emotional arcs. He flips from one scene to the next with the gentleness of yanking on someone's collar. The scenes don't quite fit, or at least they don't pass to one another organically. The transitions have a television feeling, rather than those from a film.

Frank Rautenbach, who is South African, gives an impressive performance. The man is a good lead. However, his accent may be too thick for some American viewers. There are times where the South African doing a Scottish accent can be a bit trying. If you can grapple with the accent you will find a surprisingly strong actor in his first big role.

Again, the film does drag in many scenes. I don't think one can accurately review this film without mentioning the dry spots. Admitting this, the film does still have quite a bit to offer. It takes place in a part of the country that's largely ignored. It shows the chaotic life and the awkward race relations in Africa in a honest manner. It also deals with the issues of faith and the redemptive power of God to change people. The spiritual aspects aren't overwhelming and handled with respect but also with some delicacy. Angus is an ass, but he redeems himself and the transformation makes for some good drama. Luckily, the film manages to avoid the preachy, hollow vibes of other faith-based films.

But, phew, there are some scenes that are so dry I expected a tumbleweed to blow by in the background.


Christian Films:
Heart of Texas (2008)
The Visitation (2006)


Other Critic's Reviews:
DVD Verdict
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