Archive for June, 2007


Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)
 

The Review:

  Engaging but not especially demanding sequel that improves upon the original.  With all the juvenile character development and yah-nah-nah whining and one upmanship this really could be "The Incredibles 2", without the wit and visual panache– a movie that keeps the little tykes absorbed and the big ones rolling their eyes.   A B-.

The Plot: (from IMDB.com)

With Von Doom back in his homeland of Latveria the fantastic four have new troubles when Galactus has decided that Earth is his next target. When his henchman, The Silver Surfer(Norrin Radd), is sent to Earth he discovers that he’s getting more than he bargained for when he encounters the Fantastic Four. But that’s not all when Dr. Doom decides that after two years in the homeland he is ready to return.

 The credits: (from The New York Times)

 Directed by Tim Story; written by Don Payne and Mark Frost, based on a story by John Turman and Mr. Frost and the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; director of photography, Larry Blanford; edited by William Hoy and Peter S. Elliot; music by John Ottman; production designer, Kirk M. Petruccelli; produced by Bernd Eichinger, Avi Arad and Ralph Winter; released by 20th Century Fox. Running time: 95 minutes.

WITH: Ioan Gruffudd (Reed Richards), Jessica Alba (Sue Storm), Chris Evans (Johnny Storm), Michael Chiklis (Ben Grimm), Julian McMahon (Victor Von Doom), Kerry Washington (Alicia Masters), Andre Braugher (General Hager), Doug Jones (Silver Surfer) and Laurence Fishburne (voice of the Silver Surfer).

 

Joyeux Noel– Seen on Starz

Posted: June 18, 2007 in Movies

Joyeux Noel (2005)

The Review:

If this movie doesn’t convince you of the insanity of war than the world is a permanent grinch.  Moving, tragic, but oddly enough the ultimate christmas film.  Should be required viewing for soldiers everywhere.   A miraculous A.

The Plot: (from IMDB.com)

In 1914, World War I, the bloodiest war ever at that time in human history, was well under way. However on Christmas Eve, numerous sections of the Western Front called an informal, and unauthorized, truce where the various front-line soldiers of the conflict peacefully met each other in No Man’s Land to share a precious pause in the carnage with a fleeting brotherhood. This film dramatizes one such section as the French, British and German sides partake in the unique event, even though they are aware that their superiors will not tolerate its occurrence.  

The credits: (from The New York Times)
 
 Written (in French, German and English, with English subtitles) and directed by Christian Carion; director of photography, Walther Vanden Ende; edited by Andrea Sedlackova; music by Philippe Rombi, songs performed by Natalie Dessay and Rolando Villazón; production designer, Jean-Michel Simonet; produced by Christophe Rossignon; released by Sony Pictures Classics. Running time: 116 minutes.

WITH: Diane Krüger (Anna Sorensen), Benno Fürmann (Nikolaus Sprink), Guillaume Canet (Audebert), Gary Lewis (Palmer), Dany Boon (Ponchel), Daniel Brühl (Horstmayer), Lucas Belvaux (Gueusselin), Alex Ferns (Gordon), Bernard Le Coq (The General), Steven Robertson (Jonathan), Robin Laing (William) and Ian Richardson (Bishop).

 
 

Ocean’s 13– Seen in Theater

Posted: June 18, 2007 in Movies

Ocean’s 13 (2007)

The Review:

Moderately entertaining but ultimately too long and confusing sequel. A whole lot of self-contented smirking doesn’t make up for the loosey-goosey rapport of the cast. Unlucky 13 gives it a B-.

The Plot: (from IMDB.com)

The last time we saw Danny Ocean’s crew, they were paying back ruthless casino mogul Terry Benedict after stealing millions from him. However, it’s been a while since they’ve come back together, which is all about to change. When one of their own, Reuben Tishkoff builds a hotel with known casino owner Willy Banks, the last thing he ever wanted was to get cut out of the deal personally by the loathsome Banks. Banks’ attitude even goes so far as to finding the amusement in Tishkoff’s misfortune when the double crossing lands Reuben in the hospital because of a heart attack. However, Danny and his crew won’t stand for Banks and what he’s done to a friend. Uniting with their old enemy Benedict, who himself has a vendetta against Banks, the crew is out to pull off a major plan. One that will unfold on the night Banks’ newest hot spot opens up, when the crew is out to bankrupt one of the city’s most despised businessmen. But they’re not in this for the money, but for the revenge.

 
 
The credits: (from The New York Times)
 
Directed by Steven Soderbergh; written by George Nolfi; edited by Stephen Mirrione; music by David Holmes; production designer, Philip Messina; produced by Jerry Weintraub; released by Warner Brothers Pictures. Running time: 120 minutes. This film is rated PG-13.

WITH: George Clooney (Danny Ocean), Brad Pitt (Rusty Ryan), Matt Damon (Linus Caldwell), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Isabel Lahiri), Andy Garcia (Terry Benedict), Don Cheadle (Basher Tarr), Bernie Mac (Frank Catton), Julia Roberts (Tess Ocean), Casey Affleck (Virgil Malloy), Scott Caan (Turk Malloy), Vincent Cassel (François Toulour), Eddie Jemison (Livingston Dell), Carl Reiner (Saul Bloom), Shaobo Qin (Yen) and Elliott Gould (Reuben Tishkoff).

 

 

 

 


Freedom Writers (2007)
The review:
 
Wow, wow, WOW, WOW!! Absolutely the best movie about the joy of teaching to come from Hollywod. It felt real, honest and true, even though it follows the formula to the letter. An A!
 
The Plot : (from IMDB.com)
 
A young teacher (Swank) inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.
 
 
The credits (from The New York Times)
 
 
Rating: PG13 (for violent content, some thematic material and language)
Running Time: 123 Minutes

Starring: Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton, April Lee Hernandez
Directed by: Richard LaGravenese
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Surf’s Up– Seen in Theater

Posted: June 18, 2007 in Movies

Surf’s Up  (2007)
 
 The Review:

Lots of funny moments, lacquered with a style that heaps on considerable charm. Some of it is a little too inside hollywood for most kids and adults to get. Still a wave worth catching. A B.

 The Plot: (from IMDB.com)

A stylistically daring CGI feature, "Surf’s Up" is based on the groundbreaking revelation that surfing was actually invented by penguins. In the film, a documentary crew will take audiences behind the scenes and onto the waves during the most competitive, heartbreaking and dangerous display of surfing known to man, the Penguin World Surfing Championship.

 
The credits: (from The New York Times)
 
Directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck (both contributed to the screenplay), ”Surf’s Up” has a friendly, blue-collar vibe (Cody is an ex-fish-sorter from the Shiverpool, Antarctica) and some sly, low-key humor. Nevertheless, a moratorium on penguins might be called for, despite the inevitable anthropomorphic void. Lord help us if ”Ratatouille” is a hit. JEANNETTE CATSOULIS

”Surf’s Up” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Characters flirt, urinate on one another and behave lewdly with surfing trophies.


 

 
 

The History Boys (2006)

The Review:

The battle between the gentle touch of pederasty and the gee whiz minds expanding themselves for the future is a weird and great mix.  Some oddly delightful fun to be had here. A B+.

The Plot: (from IMDB.com)

In 1980s Britain, a group of young men at Cutlers’ Grammar School all have the brains, and the will to earn the chance of getting accepted in the finest universities in the nation, Oxford and Cambridge. Despite the fine teaching by excellent professionals like Mrs Lintott in history and the intellectually enthusiastic Hector in General Studies, the Headmaster is not satisfied. He signs on the young Irwin to polish the students’ style to give them the best chance. In this mix of intellectualism and creative spirit that guides a rigorous preparation regime for that ultimate educational brass ring, the lives of the randy students and the ostensibly restrained faculty intertwine that would change their lives forever.

 
 
The credits: (from The New York Times)
 
Directed by Nicholas Hytner; written by Alan Bennett, based on his play; director of photography, Andrew Dunn; edited by John Wilson; music by George Fenton; production designer, John Beard; produced by Kevin Loader, Damian Jones and Mr. Hytner; released by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Running time: 104 minutes.

WITH: Richard Griffiths (Hector), Frances de la Tour (Mrs. Lintott), Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin), Samuel Barnett (Posner), Dominic Cooper (Dakin), James Corden (Timms), Jamie Parker (Scripps), Russell Tovey (Rudge), Samuel Anderson (Crowther), Sacha Dhawan (Akhtar), Andrew Knott (Lockwood), Penelope Wilton (Mrs. Bibby), Adrian Scarborough (Wilkes), Georgia Taylor (Fiona) and Clive Merrison (Headmaster).

 

 

 

Venus– In the Netflix cue

Posted: June 17, 2007 in Movies

Venus (2006)

The Review:

 I loved Peter O’ Toole’s performance in this movie. I think he was cheated out of a much deserved Oscar. Worth a look if you have the time. Good ensemble acting. A B+.

The Plot: (from IMDB.com)

Maurice and Ian are successful but aging actors, close friends whose conversation revolves around theatrical shop talk and the infirmities of septuagenarianism. Ian in particular is fearful that death is right around the corner, so he agrees to let his niece’s daughter Jessie move in to his flat to care for him. Jessie, a provincial girl in her early twenties, turns out to be a nightmare for Ian, a hard-drinking, rude, and dismissive twerp. But Maurice sees something else in the girl, a potential for humanity which blossoms under his kindness and gentle guidance. Something else blossoms, for Maurice, as well: romantic love for a girl fifty years younger. Surprises follow, all around.    

 
The credits (from The New York Times)
 
Directed by Roger Michell; written by Hanif Kureishi; director of photography, Haris Zambarloukos; edited by Nicolas Gaster; songs by Corinne Bailey Rae, additional music by Ms. Rae and David Arnold; production designer, John-Paul Kelly; produced by Kevin Loader; released by Miramax Films. Running time: 91 minutes.

WITH: Peter O’Toole (Maurice), Leslie Phillips (Ian), Jodie Whittaker (Jessie), Richard Griffiths (Donald) and Vanessa Redgrave (Valerie).