Movies

Movie Review: HEREAFTER

HEREAFTER movie poster | © 2010 Warner Bros.

With gorgeous locations in London, Paris, San Francisco and Hawaii (this last standing in for Indonesia) and the agreeable company of Matt Damon as a tamped-down, but not hopeless man who is trying to change his life, HEREAFTER is quite pleasant. However, one gets the feeling that director Clint Eastwood and writer Peter Morgan (of THE QUEEN and FROST/NIXON fame) had something a bit more affecting in mind, and the movie seldom connects on a fully emotional level. Indeed, it actually generates more intellectual curiosity about the story’s claims of scientific proof of some sort of shared afterlife.

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Movie Review: RED

RED movie poster | © 2010 Summit Entertainment

What happens to old CIA (and MI-6, and KGB) agents once they’re put out to pasture? Well, according to RED (the film’s acronym for the status of Retired, Extremely Dangerous), they can lead absolutely mundane lives. Unless of course somebody tries to kill them, in which case, they return to form in no time flat.

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Movie Review: STONE

STONE movie poster | ©2010 Overture Films

STONE takes its title from the nickname of Edward Norton’s character, who when we meet him has done eight years of a ten-to-fifteen sentence for arson; the incident also caused the deaths of Stone’s grandparents, although his cousin was convicted of the murders. Stone is looking to get paroled, which means he has to have some sessions with Jack (Robert De Niro), the prison’s advisor to the parole board on which inmates seem ready to take responsibility for their actions and which ones should stay locked up. Stone has a good time arguing philosophy with Jack and getting the older man’s goat, without ever saying the words Jack needs to hear in order to be comfortable about recommending parole. Instead, Stone’s wife Lucetta (Milla Jovovich) begins a full-court press of persuasion with Jack, who is married to the religiously devout and unhappily alcoholic Madylyn (Frances Conroy).

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Movie Review: MONSTERS

MONSTERS movie poster | ©2010 Magnet Releasing

MONSTERS is an inventive low-budget blend of science-fiction, horror, character study and political parable. It hits this last aspect a bit hard, but otherwise, it’s very entertaining. Director/writer Gareth Edwards admirably avoids the one-two-three-something-jumps-out-of-the-dark scares common to creature features in favor of a steady sense of tension. The film has the “what-if?” factor of DISTRICT 9, the giant entities wreaking havoc of CLOVERFIELD, the astonishing natural splendor of its Mexican/Central American locations and the soul of a low-budget indie.

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Movie Review: MY SOUL TO TAKE

MY SOUL TO TAKE movie poster | ©2010 Rogue Pictures

Wes Craven’s most famous filmmaking creation is still arguably the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET franchise, but the supernatural aspects of his latest offering as writer/director, MY SOUL TO TAKE, are closer to those in THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW and SHOCKER. What’s surprising is that SOUL is sincere about depicting the high school travails of its main characters – this goes well beyond the interest SCREAM (directed by Craven, written by Kevin Williamson) showed in such things. Instead, it’s as though the horror elements of SOUL were married to a John Hughes movie, or even Craven’s school-orchestra drama MUSIC OF THE HEART. Plenty of horror films (including a number of Craven’s) are set in and around high school, but few deal this extensively with high school. The shift in emphasis is a bit surprising, but on the whole, it works.

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Movie Review: SECRETARIAT

SECRETARIAT movie poster |© 2010 Walt Disney Pictures

SECRETARIAT is about a horse called “Big Red” by those who knew him, who was one of the great equine athletes of all time. In 1973, Secretariat won the three races that together are the Triple Crown of American horse racing, setting a speed for the last one that has not yet been matched. It’s a story known to horse race fans and indeed to many people who aren’t into the sport but have heard the statistics.

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2010 Toronto International Film Festival – The New Complex

Dateline Toronto September 9-18, 2010 I was wrong. I’ve been gleefully attending the Toronto International Film Festival for more than 20 years but when I heard they were assembling a festival entertainment complex I bitched. And I moaned. Much of the fun  and success of Toronto’s film festival is that it is sprawled all over town. By jumping from theater to theater and event to event you’re forced to learn all the wonders the city holds. I feared the new complex would consolidate the festival too much. I was wrong. Located at the corners of Kings and John St, the […]Read On »

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Movie Review: LET ME IN

LET ME IN teaser poster | ©2010 Overture Films

Rating: R Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas Writer: Matt Reeves, based on the screenplay and novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist Director: Matt Reeves Distributor: Overture Films Release Date: October 1st, 2010 Director/screenwriter Matt Reeves is fairly faithful to the story, characters and even environment in LET ME IN, his English-language version of the 2008 Swedish horror film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. Seeing the original, it was very hard to imagine the movie being made in the U.S., and filmmaker Reeves has tilted one element of the story to make it creepier and ever so […]Read On »

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The Rundown of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival

Rebecca Hall and Ben Affleck in THE TOWN | &copy 2010 Warner Bros.

The Toronto Film Festival has always been more than just a bunch of movies. With the easy mass transit, the wealth of great restaurants and swinging parties it’s a world class event. But who wants to hear about what I ate and drank? It’s all about the movies dummy. Here’s the highlights… BALADA TRISTE (THE LAST CIRCUS) The best film of the festival also had the most confusing title. In some press books it was referred to as THE LAST CIRCUS in others THE BALLAD OF THE SAD TRUMPET. Never mind. What you need to know about this Spanish film […]Read On »

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Movie Review: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

THE SOCIAL NETWORK movie poster | © 2010 Sony Pictures

Rating: R Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Joseph Mazzello, Max Minghella Writer: Aaron Sorkin, based on the book THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES by Ben Mezrich Director: David Fincher Distributor: Columbia Pictures Release Date: October 1st, 2010 There is a lot of controversy surrounding the accuracy of the storytelling in THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Based loosely on Ben Mezrich’s nonfiction tome THE ACCIDENTAL BILLIONAIRES about the origins of the social networking site Facebook, THE SOCIAL NETWORK has been accused of playing with the facts. This probably doesn’t matter unless one is writing a thesis about the real origins of […]Read On »

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