REVIEW: The Bad News Bears [1976]

“Took on the whole seventh grade?” Talk about an example of how stringent the ratings board has gotten in the past 30+ years. Who knew a PG film targeted for young children to see with their families could have so much swearing, alcohol, fighting, smoking, and examples of psychologically abusive parents? The Bad News Bears—the original 1976 version mind you—shows that we were once able to make smart movies with morals that didn’t have to pander to the lowest common denominator. Not only is the film actually good, it also…

Read More

REVIEW: Plastic Bag [2009]

“My cold, her warmth” It is impossible to watch Ramin Bahrani’s film Plastic Bag without thinking about the scene in American Beauty of Wes Bentley videotaping a lone bag as it flew through the air and swirled with the wind. That moment of beauty could be seen as every human being’s goal—to be absolutely free of burden and earthly concerns; to just move and journey unencumbered. What Bahrani does in his short film, however, is to add a narrative to the life of that bag, giving him his birth into…

Read More

REVIEW: Law Abiding Citizen [2009]

“You can’t fight fate” Another one is crossed off Hollywood’s famed ‘black list’—unproduced scripts so good they just have to be made. I had read an article about Kurt Wimmer’s Law Abiding Citizen and how Gerard Butler took it upon himself to help step save it from production hell, watching as Jamie Foxx signed on to co-star and F. Gary Gray to direct. Supposedly it took two years to finally go in front of cameras, so I wonder how long before that it was actually conceived and written. There are…

Read More

REVIEW: TRON [1982]

“On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy” How can the sheer fact that TRON was made not impress you? Three-quarters of the entire work takes place inside the construct of a super computer, the characters roaming around everything from coded programs to single bits that can only speak in 1s or 0s—yes and no. The detail is so exact that these manifested algorithms talk as though religion consists of the users that have created them, fracturing their ranks into those that follow their creator and…

Read More

REVIEW: The Runaways [2010]

“I want to hear you fun girls growl” Welcome to the coming out party for the new, adult Dakota Fanning. The movie may be called The Runaways, after the band for which it depicts, but this is most definitely the Cherie Currie story. When I first heard about the film beginning production, as well as all the hype surrounding Kristen Stewart’s casting as Joan Jett, I really couldn’t have cared less about the project. I chalked it up to being just another ‘making of the band’ tome of sex, drugs,…

Read More

REVIEW: Death at a Funeral [2007]

“My father was an exceptional man” And now it takes just three years for a remake of an English language film, that stays in its native language, to happen. Chris Rock may have gotten Neil Labute—it appears he has assimilated into the Hollywood machine for good now—to direct a new version, from the same screenwriter no less, but it is Frank Oz’s British Death at a Funeral that came first. Don’t be afraid of the accents and give the original a shot. I’ll admit that it gets pretty dark there…

Read More

REVIEW: I’m Here [2010]

“I love music yes, I think” What would you do for love? That is the question Spike Jonze posits with his new short film I’m Here. Brought to us for free on its website by Absolut Vodka, after debuting at Sundance, the tale is a love story between two robots in a world where coexistence with humans is possible. The machines may be looked upon as second-class citizens, holding down menial jobs and not being allowed to drive cars, yet they do what they can to enjoy life. When a…

Read More

REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon [2010]

“The offspring of lightning and evil itself” I learned something new today—Scandinavian Vikings have Scottish accents. Well, at least the adults do, the brogue seems to have withered away in the next generation of dragon slayers. Yes, dragon slaying is the main occupation of these massive brutes, doing all they can to protect their island village while the fire-breathing beasts ravaging it in search of food. What I also learned while watching How to Train Your Dragon is that studios are catching on to what makes 3D effective. Much like…

Read More

REVIEW: Repo Men [2010]

“Ask me about my lips” I had been waiting for over a year to finally see Repo! The Genetic Opera and while I enjoyed it thoroughly, it wasn’t the masterpiece I had hoped it’d be. Very easily a cult classic in its eccentricity, I thought maybe Hollywood decided to piggyback the concept and make a more mainstream actioner out of the subject when the announcement of Repo Men came down the pike. In reality, however, the new film is based on a novel titled The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia,…

Read More

REVIEW: The Bounty Hunter [2010]

“Nope, I’m gonna shoot a cab driver” Thank you Andy Tennant for your contribution to the beloved, in my mind, 90s television show “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose,” but what have you done for me lately? Please don’t say The Bounty Hunter because that was 110 minutes of pure boredom. Have we really gotten to the point where Hollywood thinks that if you put a crime in the middle of a romantic comedy that men will want to see it? Did You Hear About the Morgans? proved that the idea can…

Read More

REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: New Moon [2009]

“You’d sacrifice your life for one of us?” You know it’s pretty bad when the second film of a ‘saga’ can have absolutely no resolution, literally start and end without adding anything to the tale but a bridge to link the first to the third, and yet be more entertaining than the original. Twilight worked for me—mostly because I never read the books to realize how stupid it will all end up—due to its romance and freshness of that aspect in a vampire drama. Usually, the genre would be all…

Read More