Archive for January, 2010

29th January
2010
written by Adam

Detective Ron Craven (Mel Gibson) finds himself in the middle of a political cover up when his seemingly innocent daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) is gunned down on his front porch.  Unwilling to let the issue rest, allergy Craven begins digging deeper into the mysterious death; but, more questions than answers are raised when the enigmatic Darius Jedburgh (Ray Winstone)appears to shed some light on the situation. Driven by a love for his daughter and a reckless attitude, just how far will Craven go to solve this tangled mess and what will be the ultimate cost? edge_of_darkness_poster

Based on the 1985 BBC mini series of the same name this suspense thriller takes a while to get going, and, even once it’s in motion still feels a little sluggish in its unraveling. Regardless, solid acting from all involved certainly helps to drive the film. A few softer scenes with Gibson and his daughter as a young girl come across as particularly genuine, which is nice in that it gives the audience a chance to breathe for a moment. A particularly high body count to the film may be a bit much for some, although this shouldn’t come across as a surprise since one of the lead writers of the screenplay also happens to be William Monahan, the same writer who brought us The Departed. Matinee worthy, Edge of Darkness is rated R.

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29th January
2010
written by Adam

Beth (Kristen Bell) is a young, information pills up and coming curator at the Guggenheim. Always putting her career first Beth hasn’t been able to find love, although, while attending her sister’s wedding in Rome, life takes a turn in the opposite direction. Through a bizarre magical turn of events Beth now has five potential eccentric suitors including: Antonio (Will Arnett), Lance (Jon Heder), Gale (Dax Shepard), Al (Danny DeVito), and Nick (Josh Duhamel). In sincerity Beth wants the love of Nick, but given the “magical” circumstances of the relationship, her conscience can’t accept his advances. But what if Nick’s love is for real, can Beth politely dismiss the other men pining for her affection, and, will true love prevail?when_in_rome_poster

 Just when you thought romantic comedies couldn’t get a whole lot worse….brother hold on ’cause we’ve got a new reigning champ. Weak screenplay, both dramatically and comedically the cliches abound and don’t let up….ever. And, despite the acting prowess of some of the principals in this flick, this is a prime example that sometimes you can’t even make lemonade out of lemons, particularly when the lemons are spoiled. Worthy of a few chuckles at best, this predictable and paint by numbers script offers nothing new. Cheap production value bleeds the film of it’s soul further. I would probably even question renting this on DVD, When In Rome is rated PG-13.

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15th January
2010
written by Adam

Centuries old, there the existential mystic Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) is the leader of an odd traveling theatre group; consisting of his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole), a tiny man Percy (Verne Troyer), and actor Anton (Andrew Garfield), the group is barely able to make ends meet. Secretly though, Doctor Parnasus offers members of the viewing audience a chance to look inside their own conscious mind and soul which reflects their greatest fears or greatest pleasures, whichever is greater– a sort of path to perdition or ladder to enlightenment. Now in a race and a bet against the devil (Tom Waits) to collect souls of the enlightened in order to save his daughter, Doctor Parnasus needs all the help he can get. A chance encounter with con man Tony (Heath Ledger) might just be the edge Parnasus needs to beat the devil. imaginarium_of_doctor_parnassus

Sounds convoluted and confusing doesn’t it? It is; but, in its complexity and moving parts is a wildly creative story of epic proportions and something that only the mind of director Terry Gilliam could come up with. True to Gilliam’s style, an eye full of visual candy and fantastic images offer plenty to digest and enjoy. Meanwhile the film is also noted as Ledger’s final performance; and, to cover for his untimely demise Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Collin Farrell are drawn upon, which may sound like an odd mix, but on screen actually comes across as a truly creative solution. Admittedly this will be a tough film for audiences to wrap their arms and minds around because of the complex story line, nonetheless the cast, raw creativity, and visual buffet offered make this film a diamond in the rough and worth seeing. The Immaginarium of Doctor Parnasus is rated PG-13.
When Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), syringe
an innocent young teen girl, find is abducted and killed by a well camouflaged serial killer named  George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), food
the rest of her family is strained and stressed to new levels as they deal with the unsolved mystery and loss of a child. Now watching earth from heaven, Susie learns how her unrest motivates the living to make choices, sometimes good and sometimes bad. With this knowledge the new question becomes what is more important, vindication for her death, or the healing of her family? And then, what about her high school heartthrob? the-lovely-bones-poster

Heavily steeped in computer generated graphics, director Peter Jackson continues on his streak of adaptations. And, as far as adaptations go, the source material provides some lofty expectations in the visual department– specifically since half of the film takes place in heaven. Unfortunately, in this go round Jackson comes up short with material that seems more appropriate for a made for TV movie. In the acting department, Susan Sarandon stands out nicely in her believable comedic role as the grandmother, Tucci taps into his creepy side just right for his role, and big things seem evident for Saoirse Ronan after this film. Somewhat flat performances from Rachel Wiesz  and Mark Wahlberg do little to help the film though. Insult to injury, the overall script lacks real depth to give the audience a reason to care about any of the characters and the overuse of narration seems to cheapen the feel of the production further. Probably best enjoyed as a rental if you plan to see it at all. The Lovely Bones is rated PG-13

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