Monthly Archives: August 2009
My Rating: 2.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Nothing to say, a Family bonding formula which didn’t work much!”
In “normal” middle-class suburban families, kids grow up, move out, and visit only on special occasions. But Morrie Tanager never got to leave. His parents died and left him, and he became the parent, raising two siblings, Ida and Jay, in the home he now shares with his wife, Betty. So it’s not surprising this family is a bit askew. Ida is a promiscuous, broke, itinerant artist; Jay, an odd duck prone to antisocial experiments; and Morrie, a chronically constipated pleaser, who hasn’t had a bowel movement in ages. When Jay goes completely off the deep end and Ida drops in unannounced, the motley clan is thrust under one roof, and childhood dynamics reemerge. The big problem is that Ida and Jay’s recklessness could upend a delicate social ritual Morrie and Betty are masterminding to secure his tenure.
Birds of America is about socialization and growing up when there are no grown-ups. For Jay it means living within social boundaries and telling an occasional lie; for Ida it’s accountability for her actions, whereas Morrie must learn to loosen codes, assert the naked truth, and release responsibility to others. What’s so satisfying and moving in Craig Lucas’s eccentric, yet lyrical, comedy—besides the stellar cast— is the way the siblings’ transformations adjust the geometry of interdependence, and that genuine tenderness is the familial glue that ultimately bolsters each in the world.
My Rating: 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Spectacular, Vibrant and Stunning!!”
For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights – underground. Built as a refuge for humanity and powered by a massive generator – this City will only sustain for 200 years. Now Ember is falling into darkness as the generator fails, and the dazzling lights begin to flicker and fade.
Despite growing concern for the future of their beloved City, Ember’s students find themselves confronting the next step in their lives. A rite of passage for all graduates, it is Assignment Day, the day on which the Mayor himself will stand before the graduating students as they choose, by lottery, how they will spend their lives working for their society. Lina, praying with all her might to be a messenger, is devastated to be assigned to the Pipeworks, the vast network of pipes underneath the City. Her classmate, Doon Harrow, who wants more than nothing else to work in the Generator, panics when he pulls the messenger assignment. The Pipeworks isn’t the Generator, but it is close enough and Doon offers to swap assignments with Lina. She is thrilled and grateful and eagerly changes jobs. Thus, an unlikely friendship is born, one that, as it blossoms, will change the course of all the lives in Ember.
Lina takes easily to the job of messenger and finds herself zipping all over Ember, delivering important missives to even more important people, including the mayor himself. At home she cares for her aging and forgetful grandmother, and her baby sister Poppy. When an old metal box is discovered in their closet, Lina’s grandmother is overjoyed. Completely sure that the contents of the box are of the utmost importance, she is completely bereft of any memory as to why.
Lina manages to jimmy the lock open, and discovers some cryptic papers inside. Unable to piece the papers together, but sure that they are important, Lina resolves to decipher their meaning and enlists Doon’s help.
As blackouts in the City become more frequent, Lina and Doon realize that the information inside that box could lead to the salvation of their City and their fellow citizens. Now racing against the clock, the two follow the clues, cleverly maneuvering around corrupt politicians and unsavory characters hoping to keep them from their goal: restoring the light in the City of Ember.
A Walden Media and Playtone co-production, this heart-thumping, edge-of-your seat adventure boasts an impressive cast and crew of acclaimed, award-winning talent. City of Ember was directed by Gil Kenan (Academy Award® nominee for Monster House), and was produced by Playtone¹s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. The cast includes recent Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) as the fiesty Lina, Academy Award® nominee Bill Murray, in the role of the larger than life Mayor of Ember, Harry Treadaway (Control) as Doon, Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies) as Clary, and Toby Jones (Infamous) as Barton Snode, the Mayor of Ember¹s right hand man. Academy Award® winner Tim Robbins plays Loris Harrow, father of Doon, and Academy Award® winner Martin Landau appears as Sol, the Pipeworks gauge minder. The film is from a script written by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands) based on the best-selling novel by Jeanne Duprau.
The creative production team includes Academy Award® nominated costume designer Ruth Myers (Emma, The Addams Family), Academy Award® winning senior special effects supervisor Kit West (Raiders of the Lost Ark), production designer Martin Laing (Titanic), cinematographer Xavier Perez Grobet (Before Night Falls), supervising art director Jon Billington (Pearl Harbor, Troy) and art director James Foster (Children of Men.)
My Rating: 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Laugh your lungs out, this is horribly funny!!”
The hopelessly daft but delightful Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is back in this jovial comedy. This time he wins a trip to the Cannes Film Festival and havoc ensues to such an extent that he may never even get there. Mostly a series of episodes involving Bean’s inability to communicate with French and Russian speakers, this will please youngsters who may be unable to hold continual plot lines together and for whom adult language is still a bafflement. Many of the extended bits are funny: there’s Bean’s frantic attempts to catch the train, his fouling up World War Two movie set, knocking shellfish into a lady’s purse, messing up the Cannes premiere of an uptight director, and bonding with a Russian boy who gets separated from his father (thanks to Bean’s misdoings).
An aspiring young actress (Emma de Caunes) helps out and Willem Dafoe is the uptight director. Nay-sayng critics will say that Atkinson’s rubbery, contorted face and spastic physicality are perhaps best left on the small screen, but millions of Bean fans can’t be wrong; there’s plenty to enjoy, from the hilarious scene of Bean earning money by lip-synching the songs of a fellow busker, to his meddling in the projection booth at Cannes.
The kid in all of us, perhaps still smarting from being called clumsy and clueless, should delight in Bean’s weird brand of perfect revenge. As a bonus, the cinematography is beautiful, capturing the glistening waves and beautiful beaches of the Riviera with a travelogue’s eye.
My Rating: 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “I paused the movie at several scenes. See it to know why!!!”
Famke Janssen stars as Marnie Wilson. a woman who kills her abusive husband and granted an early release from prison . She is released on the condition she remain on house arrest with an electronic bracelet that only lets her roam 100 feet from the electronic base ( hence the title ) . And finds that the house is haunted by the ghost of her abusive and violent dead husband ! ! yes it IS the same house she killed him in, bloodstains from the stabbing and all ….
She is isolated and shunned by family, neighbors and friends. Her husband was a New York Cop and no one believed any of her abuse claims. Or turned the other cheek. Not only is she left alone. but she has to deal with an abusive ghost. and his friend and ex partner who stalks her with hatred and a belief that she is covering up a clue to his unjustly murder.
This movie was truly a look into a woman’s battered life and the stigma it carries. Director Eric Red did a wonderful job with this movie . Famke emotional performance was amazing ! !
My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “This is life given to a Racism based drama !”
Edward Norton gives an impassioned performance as Derek Vinyard, a Southern Californian skinhead who must do time after committing a hateful murder. Once in jail, his mind opens and he sees the error of his ways.
Upon reentering the real world, he must now turn his attentions to his younger brother Danny, who is swiftly heading down the same path as his brother. Controversy surrounded the film when director Tony Kaye disowned it, claiming that Norton had the film re-edited without Kaye’s permission. Norton still got an Oscar Nomination for his intense performance.
My Rating: 2/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “It’s all about waves and weeds and dudes!”
Matthew McConaughey stars in this film as Steve Addington, an A-list surfer who comes home to find Malibu has changed. Gone are the times when surfers lived just to catch a wave; now it’s all about sponsorships, virtual reality, and money, but all Steve wants to do is surf.
But when the West Coast waves turn flat, Steve’s options are gone with the tide. SURFER, DUDE also stars Woody Harrelson, Scott Glenn, Willie Nelson, and Alexie Gilmore.
My Rating: 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “True stories are all inspiring, but this one is just PERFECT!!!”
On October 3, 1993, Army Rangers and members of the elite Delta Force participated in a covert operation in Mogadishu, Somalia that went horribly wrong. Sent to abduct two lieutenants of a vicious Somali warlord, the soldiers found themselves surrounded by hostile militia. Two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and many men lost their lives. Mark Bowden of the Philadelphia Inquirer told the story of the battle in his exhaustively researched, critically acclaimed book, BLACK HAWK DOWN, and filmmaker Ridley Scott (GLADIATOR) and screenwriter Ken Nolan have done an amazing job of bringing the dramatic story to the screen.
Like Bowden’s book, the film does not thoroughly examine the context of the conflict, but gives a detailed and intense blow-by-blow account of the fighting. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Josh Hartnett as a competent but nervous Ranger sergeant leading his first mission, Ewan McGregor as a “desk jockey” who excels when sent into combat, Eric Bana (THE INCREDIBLE HULK) as a cocky and enigmatic Delta, and Ron Eldard as a downed Black Hawk pilot. The violence of the film is brutal and nearly constant. Scott unflinchingly captures the chaos and mayhem of battle with tremendous visual finesse.
My Rating: 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Cool drifts, but an uncool new lead! ”
From the producer of the worldwide blockbuster hits The Fast and the Furious and its sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, comes the latest installment of the adrenaline-inducing series built on speed—The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Set in the sexy and colorful underground world of Japanese drift racing, the newest and fastest customized rides go head-to-head on some of the most perilous courses in the world. Sean Boswell (Black) is an outsider who attempts to define himself as a hot-headed, underdog street racer. Although racing provides a temporary escape from an unhappy home and the superficial world around him, it has also made Sean unpopular with the local authorities.
To avoid jail time, Sean is sent to live with his gruff, estranged father, a career military-man stationed in Tokyo. Now officially a gaijin (outsider), Sean feels even more shut out in a land of foreign customs and codes of honor. But it doesn’t take long for him to find some action when a fellow American buddy, Twinkie (Bow Wow), introduces him to the underground world of drift racing. Sean’s simple drag racing gets replaced by a rubber-burning, automotive art form—with an exhilarating balance of speeding and gliding through a heart-stopping course of hairpin turns and switchbacks.
On his first time out drifting, Sean unknowingly takes on D.K., the “Drift King,” a local champ with ties to the Japanese crime machine Yakuza. Sean’s loss comes at a high price tag when he’s forced to work off the debt under the thumb of ex-pat, Han (Kang). Han soon welcomes Sean into this family of misfits and introduces him to the real principles of drifting. But when Sean falls for D.K.’s girlfriend, Neela (newcomer Kelley), an explosive series of events is set into motion, climaxing with an ultimate high stakes face off. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is directed by Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, Annapolis) and written by Chris Morgan (Cellular). The film is produced by Neal H. Moritz (xXx, S.W.A.T.) and executive produced by Clayton Townsend (The Skeleton Key, The 40 Year-Old Virgin).
My Rating: 3.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Time waits for one man. True! ”
Based on the Elmore Leonard story, 3:10 TO YUMA is a riveting remake of the 1957 classic Western. It’s the story of Dan Evans (Christian Bale), a down-and-out rancher who lost his leg in the Civil War. With a wife and two sons, he is struggling to put food on the table, and unable to make payments on his land. When the notorious gunman Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) is apprehended nearby, a few local men are needed to escort him to the town of Contention so he can be put on the 3:10 train to Yuma Prison.
Few will volunteer for the job, as they know that Wade’s ruthless gang will follow them, but Evans sees an opportunity to make some fast cash, and offers to go in exchange for $200. The small team of men set off, and are later joined by Evans’s young son William (Logan Lerman), who has run away from home to join them. What follows is a race against time, as the group tries to get to Yuma without the clever and dangerous Wade outsmarting them.
Crowe is fantastic as the smooth-talking gunman, and Bale delivers a moving performance as the weary-eyed Evans. The two men are perfect foils for each other. Wade is the infamous gunman, living the high life on the wrong side of the law, while Evans, who has struggled to lead an honest life, has only faced one hardship after another. It is a classic tale of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, and yet, by the story’s end, it becomes harder to separate the good guys from the bad. As the clock ticks down, the film builds to an emotional nail-biter of an ending, reminiscent of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.
My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Fueled with Adrenaline! A killer car flick ”
It begins with a jolt. A sudden jerk to the body, which constricts with the most primal reaction to what it senses as coming disaster. The rest of the senses quickly follow suit, springing to attention and kicking into overdrive. The floodgates of the adrenal glands are thrown open and the precious stuff, the body’s version of super-concentrated lightening, pours into the circulatory system. The breathing begins to intensify, sending oxygen in ever increasing amounts into the bloodstream. Capillaries dilate, widening to allow for the Sig-Alert of now hyper-charged blood cells operating in panic mode. Eyes widen, muscles tense and a godlike sensation begins to take over as surroundings melt into a frenzied, passing blur. “I am outrunning everything. I am in control. The world is mine.” The brain fights back, screaming out an S.O.S. “This is wrong, this is danger..!” Yet it feels so good… It’s a meal for the starved, a panacea for the restless, a sure-fire fix for anyone with a predilection for living on the edge. Intoxicating and habit-forming, it leaves burnt-out drivers in its wake, haunted men and women trapped in a life lived in slow motion…hurting for more and clamoring for the next ride. SPEED.
It’s easy to get. And it’s as close as the nearest set of high-performance wheels… Brian O’Connor (PAUL WALKER), now a disgraced cop, fell victim to it…and he’s now paying the price. As far as his former bosses and FBI brass are concerned, the hothead undercover officer threw one of their largest investigations ever. His loyalties tested while infiltrating the fly-by-night, highspeed world of Los Angeles import street racing, O’Connor blew his own cover and let the ringleader of a big-rig hijacking operation walk—more precisely, motor off in his own custom performance racer. O’Connor’s decision allowed him to keep his honor, but lost him his badge and any chance of redemption in the process. Now, it’s a different city, a different time and one last chance for O’Connor. Seems the Feds in Miami have had one helluva time collaring Carter Verone (COLE HAUSER), a flashy businessman using his import/export business as cover for an international money laundering cartel. Customs have had Verone under intense surveillance for more than a year with nothing more to show for it than the kingpin’s link to illegal street racing.
Their backs against the wall and time running out, officials put out a call for O’Connor to do what he does best—talk the talk and push the metal. But the rule-breaking loner has his own demands before taking on the job that may restore him his badge. Unhappy with the list of sorry possibilities presented as potential partners, he insists on recruiting his childhood friend and now ex-con Roman Pearce (TYRESE GIBSON), an accomplished criminal with an aptitude for barrier-shattering speed. The Feds on the case, headed by Agent Markham (JAMES REMAR), offer Pearce a deal—work with O’Connor and his impressive rap sheet will disappear. Now, it’s a last chance for both, ex-con and ex-cop, and their ticket out of disgrace is bringing down Verone. But lines become blurred once again for O’Connor with the appearance of undercover agent Monica Fuentes (EVA MENDES), the key to entering Verone’s world who may herself be in bed with the shady entrepreneur.
The new models are in. This time, on the hot streets of Miami—guns, murderers, crooked police, sweet wheels. And one fugitive ex-cop with a very bad habit and with very little to lose. This summer, cross the line…one more time. 2 Fast 2 Furious is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the Summer 2001 box office sensation about the super-charged world of street racing. Directed by Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker JOHN SINGLETON (Boyz N the Hood, Baby Boy) and produced by NEAL H. MORITZ (The Fast and the Furious, Sweet Home Alabama), 2 Fast 2 Furious also features CHRIS “LUDACRIS” BRIDGES in the cast, as well as a whole new line-up of dazzling, rocket-fast, highperformance vehicles ready to burn up the screen. Universal Pictures Presents a Neal H. Moritz Production of a John Singleton Film: Paul Walker in 2 Fast 2 Furious, starring Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes, Cole Hauser, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and James Remar.
The music is by David Arnold and the costume designer is Sanja Milkovic Hays. The editors are Bruce Cannon, A.C.E. and Dallas Puett, A.C.E. The production designer is Keith Brian Burns and the director of photography is Matthew F. Leonetti, A.S.C. The executive producers are Lee R. Mayes and Michael Fottrell. 2 Fast 2 Furious is produced by Neal H. Moritz; story by Michael Brandt & Derek Hass and Gary Scott Thompson; screenplay by Michael Brandt & Derek Haas; and directed by John Singleton.