Monthly Archives: September 2009

Friday the 13th (2009)

My Rating: 2.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “A very predictive thriller!”

Following his remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, director Marcus Nispel tackles 1980’s slasher favorite to bring unstoppable killing machine Jason Voorhees to a new generation of gorehounds. Lasting 10 films and going to any length (including New York City and outer space) to provide Jason with fresh meat, the FRIDAY THE 13th series was always about inventive death scenes.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

Nispel streamlines the events of the original (where Jason’s mother was the killer) into an extended prologue before providing an original story in which Jason begins his killing spree and finds his iconic mask. Decades after the death of Jason’s mother, a group of twentysomethings descends on the backwoods town near abandoned Camp Crystal Lake in search of a rumored marijuana crop. Whitney Miller (Amanda Righetti) finds the old Voorhees house and discovers a locket revealing that she resembles Jason’s mother.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

Jason (Derek Mears) arrives and, thinking she is his mother reincarnated, holds Whitney captive. Weeks later, Trent (Travis Van Winkle) and his friends arrive to stay at his father’s vacation home, while Clay (Jared Padalecki) shows up to look for his missing sister Whitney. Meanwhile, Jason finds a hockey mask to cover his startling face and begins to satisfy his bloodlust with the hard-partying new arrivals. Working once again with producer Michael Bay, Nispel crafts a FRIDAY “reboot” that is slick and well-made, giving audiences exactly what they expect from the franchise: blood and breasts in equal measure. With knowing humor, he plunges directly into the saga, leaving the titles until 15 minutes into the film, at which point Jason has already dispatched several victims. After that, there is topless waterskiing and death by a wealth of means, all of which will have fans glad to have Jason back from outer space.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)

My Rating: 2.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Pathetic, crappy and really dumb!”

Manny, Sid, Diego, and Ellie are back in this third film in the computer-animated Ice Age series. With those creatures in starring roles, fans also get another dose of the vocal talents of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and Queen Latifah, who are joined by SHAUN OF THE DEAD’s Simon Pegg.

Ice Age 3

Ice Age 3

In ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAUR, Manny and Ellie are expecting their first baby, while Sid the sloth tries an unconventional way of starting a family that gets him into trouble.

Ice Age 3

Ice Age 3

With all this talk of babies, Diego might be losing his saber-toothed edge, but a journey to save Sid may just turn the whole group into heroes. In addition to all that adventure, it wouldn’t be an Ice Age film if Scrat weren’t on a desperate hunt for an acorn, but he might get distracted by a shapely female squirrel.

The Hangover (2009)

My Rating: 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Holy god of Laughter, this is wild stuff you MUST see!!”

From “Old School” director Todd Phillips comes a comedy about a bachelor party gone very, very wrong.Two days before his wedding, Doug (JUSTIN BARTHA) drives to Las Vegas with his best buddies Phil and Stu (BRADLEY COOPER and ED HELMS) and his future brother-in-law Alan (ZACH GALIFIANAKIS), for a blow-out bachelor party they vow they’ll never forget.

The Hangover

The Hangover

But when the three groomsmen wake up the next morning with pounding headaches, they can’t remember a thing. Their luxury hotel suite is beyond trashed and the groom is nowhere to be found.

With no clue about what happened and little time to spare, the trio must attempt to retrace their bad decisions from the night before in order to figure out where things went wrong in the hopes of finding Doug and getting him back to L.A. in time for his wedding.

The Hangover

The Hangover

But the more they begin to uncover, the more they realize just how much trouble they’re really in.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Green Hat Films Production of a Todd Phillips Movie: “The Hangover,” starring Bradley Cooper (“He’s Just Not That Into You”), Ed Helms (“The Office”), Zach Galifianakis (“What Happens in Vegas”), Heather Graham (“Baby on Board”), Justin Bartha (the “National Treasure” films) and Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”).

The film is directed by Todd Phillips (“Old School”) from a screenplay by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore (“Four Christmases”). Todd Phillips and Dan Goldberg (“Old School”) produce, with Thomas Tull (“Watchmen”), Jon Jashni (“Observe and Report”), William Fay (“Observe and Report”), Scott Budnick (“School for Scoundrels”), Chris Bender (“American Pie,” TV’s “Kyle XY”) and J.C. Spink (“Kyle XY”) serving as executive producers.

The creative team includes director of photography Lawrence Sher (“Dan in Real Life”), production designer Bill Brzeski (“The Bucket List”), and editor Debra Neil-Fisher (“Baby Mama”). Music is by Christophe Beck (“What Happens in Vegas”). Soundtrack album is available on New Line Records.

Tooth and Nail (2007)

My Rating: 2.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “A Doomsday-like flick. Average rated!”

A small group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world take refuge in an empty hospital with plans on re-building society.

Tooth and Nail

Tooth and Nail

They rescue a young girl who is the victim of a brutal attack, but soon discover that they were followed by a savage band of cannibals known as Rovers. The Rovers begin to kill them one by one, and the trapped survivors must find a way to outwit their stalkers. Written, Directed, and Edited by Mark Young.

In the Land of Women (2007)

My Rating: 2.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “A family entertainer, nothing gr8 abt ths!”

IN THE LAND OF WOMEN is a surprisingly somber yet funny coming-of-age tale from director Jonathan Kasdan, and stars Adam Brody in a role not too different from his beloved Seth Cohen on the night-time teen soap THE O.C. Brody, playing a character his own age, breezily inhabits Carter, a loveable but somewhat directionless screenwriter (if you count soft-core porn films) who is dumped by his beautiful but shallow starlet girlfriend Sofia at the start of the film. In crisis mode, he packs up and heads to the Detroit suburb where his senile grandmother (Olympia Dukakis) lives, in an attempt to help her out and get some perspective. While desperately trying to make sense of his grandmother’s incoherent ramblings, Carter slaves away at a long-coming screenplay and creates confusing friendships with the mother (Meg Ryan) and daughter (Kristen Stewart) next door.

In the land of women

In the land of women

While the film sometimes seems to be grasping for something it can’t quite find, it is entertaining throughout, especially for fans of Brody. Thanks to some clever dialogue, quirky characters, and Brody’s oddball line delivery, IN THE LAND OF WOMEN manages to get more than a few laughs. That said, the film also deals with serious issues like sickness and death in a lighthearted way.

In the land of women

In the land of women

Ryan and Stewart both add depth to what could be one-dimensional characters, and while Brody’s performance doesn’t feel like much of a stretch, it’s nice to see the actor moving towards some slightly more adult material. Kasdan packs the film to the brim with indie pop songs, providing a hip soundtrack for a story that feels contemporary by refusing to fit the traditional romantic-comedy mold.

Unfaithful (2002)

My Rating: 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Entertaining and Flawless Performances by Gere and Diane!”

Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) travels to New York City from the suburban home she shares with her husband Edward (Richard Gere) and young son Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan). It is a very windy day and, caught by a particularly savage gust, Connie falls and bumps into bookseller Paul Martel (Olivier Martinez) in the process.

Unfaithful

Unfaithful

She scrapes her knees, and Paul invites her into his apartment. She stays only briefly, leaving after attending to her knees. She passes the accident off as trivial to Edward. But, she is drawn to the younger man and soon returns to his apartment with eventually disastrous results. UNFAITHFUL is based on Claude Chabrol’s classic LA FEMME INFIDELE (1969). The drama has been shifted from Paris to New York City by scriptwriters Alvin Sargent and William Broyles Jr. Beautifully lit by director of photography Peter Biziou, UNFAITHFUL is staged with rare subtlety by director Adrian Lyne. Diane Lane gives an extraordinarily fine performance, viscerally conveying how torn Connie is between her attraction for Paul and her love for Edward and Charlie. There is excellent support from Gere, Martinez, Sullivan and Zeljko Ivanek. UNFAITHFUL is the rare case of a remake that measures up to, and maybe even surpasses, the original.

Tortured (2008)

My Rating: 3/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Stunning Suspense with a very complicated plot!”

In the high-stakes world of organized crime, FBI Agent Kevin Cole assumes the undercover identity of gangster Jimmy Vaughn to penetrate a powerful crime syndicate led by the infamous and faceless Ziggy.

As Kevin’s frenetic journey leads him closer to Ziggy’s inner circle and Ziggy

Tortured

Tortured

himself, the lines between the FBI and the underworld begin to blur. Between the lies and deceit, how far can one go before losing one’s own identity?

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

My Rating: 4.5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Hilarious and Insanely Subjective! Penelope portrayed a very beautiful performance!”

Two young Americans spend a summer in Spain and meet a flamboyant artist (Javier Bardem) and his beautiful but insane ex-wife (Penelope Cruz).

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Vicky (Rebecca Hall) is straight-laced and about to be married. Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) is a sexually adventurous free spirit. When they all become amorously entangled, the results are both hilarious and harrowing.

Inside (2007)

My Rating: 4/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “THIS IS THE MOTHER OF ALL GORES!! F#$%!”

A pregnant woman, Sara, is held captive in her flat by a homicidal woman who gruesomely dispatches any visitors.

Inside

Inside

This horror thriller stars French movie star Beatrice Dalle (BETTY BLUE) and Alysson Paradis (THE LAST DAY), the younger sister of singer Vanessa Paradis.

Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008)

My Rating: 5/5 STARS
MovieStudio Quote >> “Encore! The most glorious Chinese history flick ever!”

China is divided into three kingdoms, whose rulers try to unify the country by leading a war against each other. Zhao Zilong (Andy Lau) fights for the kingdom of Shu. He is introduced into military works by his friend Pingan (Sammo Hung).

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms

Soon Zilong has quite some military achievements to his credit. When he even saves the son of emporer Liu from the hands of enemy general Cao Cao (Damian Lau), his military career receives an even greater boost. His deeds and his combat skills also earn him the respect of the honorable generals Guan Yu (Ti Lung) and Zhang Fei (Chen Zhihui), so that he soon fights alongside them in the war against the other two countries.

Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms

Many years go by, but the empire is still in pieces and the war continues. Zilong is the only one left of the great generals, by now. His victories are countless and he has even become a national hero. However, his biggest battle he has yet to fight against Cao Cao’s granddaughter Cao Ying (Maggie Q). Cao Ying doesn’t only prove to have extraordinary wits in tactics, but also has a secret ally in Zilong’s ranks. The “invincible warrior” enters the stage of his last battle…