Edge of Darkness

Edge of Darkness
Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Green Lantern) revisits the Edge of Darkness in this truncated, Americanized retelling of the award-winning British TV miniseries he directed back in 1985. The original miniseries was one of a number of UK political thrillers, including Defence of the Realm and Hidden Agenda, made during and commenting on the Thatcher era. The feature film remake keeps the basic premise of the small screen original -- a cop uncovers political intrigue and corporate corruption while investigating the murder of his daughter -- while updating what the villains are up to.

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Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride
Note: I suppose the official title of the movie is Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, presumably to distinguish it from William Shakepeare's Corpse Bride or Jane Austen's Corpse Bride. The wordiness seems silly so, for the purposes of this review, the film will be referred to simply as Corpse Bride.

When it comes to animation these days, it's all digital. So leave it to Tim Burton to buck the trend. Since the release of his popular collaboration with Henry Selick, The Nightmare Before Christmas, fans have been clamoring for a sequel. Although Corpse Bride doesn't precisely fill that need, it scratches the itch. Selick was not involved in the production (Mike Johnson, who previously worked on the animation teams of both The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, fills the gap), which supposedly took ten years to complete, but you would never know it. And the animation, which is stop-motion rather than computer generated, looks wonderful. The story is off the beaten path, but it's not as bizarre as Burton sometimes gets (despite indications to the contrary, there's no actual necrophilia). It is suitable for all but the youngest viewers.

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8 Women

8 Women
Is it possible to have more fun in a movie theater than with 8 Women, one of the most uplifting and delightful films to have come along this year? The product of French director François Ozon, 8 Women offers as much delicious enjoyment to the viewer as it obviously did to the cast and crew when they were assembling it. Part satire, part comedy, part musical, and part murder mystery, this motion picture criss-crosses genre lines at will, offering just about every kind of pleasure imaginable, guilty or otherwise.

The eight women of the title are Gaby (Catherine Deneuve); her daughters, Catherine (Ludivine Sagnier) and Suzon (Virginie Ledoyen); her mother (Danielle Darrieux); her sister, Augustine (Isabelle Huppert); her sister-in-law, Pierrette (Fanny Ardant); and her two maids, Louise (Emmanuelle Béart) and Chanel (Firmine Richard). These characters are trapped together in a house during a snowstorm with one dead body (Marcel, Gaby's husband) and cut phone lines. Tensions run high, with each woman suspecting the others of being the killer. Secrets, some silly and some shocking, are revealed. Suzon begins acting like Hercule Poirot, and everyone else takes an occasional break to lapse into song and dance. A more enjoyable confection cannot be found.

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Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat
There is an almost overpowering desire to write this review in the style of Dr. Seuss, but I will resist it - primarily because the end product is more Mike Myers and overblown production design than it is the clever text of one of the most beloved of all children's books. Because The Cat in the Hat is only 70-something pages long (with very LARGE print), it stands to reason that, to make it into a movie, a lot has to be added, and it's mostly in the padding that the movie fails to stand up. As a 30-minute short, this might have been a lot of fun. But as an 82-mintue feature, it seems painfully dragged out. Younger children probably won't mind, but parents will be keenly aware that longer isn't necessarily better.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
A long time ago in a strange place called Hollywood, a theatrical cut of a movie was considered to be the director's cut. Now, with the advent of DVDs and the proliferation of special editions, numerous big-budget (and some not-so-big-budget) motion pictures are being given a second life in a format that is often quite different from the original version. For filmmakers who continuously like to tinker, this new philosophy is a godsend. They can release a truncated, studio-friendly version in theaters, then offer their "true vision" to DVD buyers.

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Ice Age: The Meltdown

Ice Age: The Meltdown
Despite its popularity with children, Ice Age represented, at the time, a nadir for digital animation. Although entertaining, the film couldn't stand toe-to-toe with its Pixar and Dreamworks competitors. Ice Age: The Meltdown represents a further step backwards. Although the animation has improved, the regression is keenly felt in other areas - particularly the story. This is a lackluster film that exists exclusively because its predecessor made money.

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Notes on a Scandal

Notes on a Scandal
Notes on a Scandal is an attempt to make a Fatal Attraction type thriller for the art house crowd. With a cast that features two of today's best actresses - Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett - and a screenplay of uncommon literacy, the movie nearly achieves its aim. However, in order to propel circumstances to a conclusion, Notes on a Scandal relies upon a contrivance so ugly and obvious that it's impossible to ignore. This single glaring fault, which is even more evident considering how well constructed the rest of the movie is, damages the film's narrative flow and credibility.

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Jingle All the Way

Jingle All the Way
Jingle All the Way represents Arnold Schwarzenegger's fourth attempt at a "straight" comedy (I'm not counting Last Action Hero or True Lies, which were highly action-oriented), and, like the others that came before it, this movie isn't all that funny. While it's true that the driving idea behind putting Schwarzenegger in this kind of picture -- the big, hulking action hero struggling to overcome "normal" problems -- has potential, the film makers never attempt anything really ambitious. The result is a pastiche of silly, cartoonish action and variably amusing physical humor.

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Spy Game

Spy Game
Set in 1991, the film depicts the United States and People's Republic of China governments on the verge of a major trade agreement, with the American president due to pay a visit to China to seal the deal. The Central Intelligence Agency gets word that its Special Activities Division operative Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) has been captured trying to free an Englishwoman, Elizabeth Hadley (Catherine McCormack), from a Chinese prison near Su Chou. Bishop is being questioned under torture and will be executed in 24 hours unless he is claimed by the U.S. government. If the CIA claims Bishop as an agent, they risk destroying the trade agreement. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that Bishop was operating without permission from the Agency.

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Love and a Bullet

Love and a Bullet
While staking out his next assignment--the innocent girlfriend of his notorious boss--contract killer Malik reflects on the dark path hes chosen but cannot escape. Torn between his sense of duty and his newfound sense of humanity, he finds that the only way out is a perilous showdown with men who are every bit as cold-blooded as he is.

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Sylvia

Sylvia
Born in Boston MA, in 1932, Plath developed a precocious talent as a writer, publishing her first poem when she was only eight years old. That same year, tragedy introduced itself into her life as Plath was forced to confront the unexpected death of her father. In 1950, she began studying at Smith College on a literary scholarship, and while she was an outstanding student, she also began suffering from bouts of extreme depression. Following her junior year, she attempted suicide for the first time. Plath survived, and, in 1955, she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study in England at the University of Cambridge. While in Great Britain, Plath met Ted Hughes, a respected author, who would later become the British Poet Laureate. The two fell in love and married in 1956. Marriage, family and a growing reputation as an important poet nonetheless failed to bring Plath happiness. She became increasingly fascinated with death, a highly visible theme in her later poetry and her sole novel, The Bell Jar. After Hughes left her for another woman, her depression went into a tailspin from which she never recovered.

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Wild Seven

Wild Seven
In this darkly karmic vision of Arizona, a man who breathes nothing but ill will begins a noxious domino effect as quickly as an uncontrollable virus kills. As he exits Arizona State Penn after twenty-one long years, Wilson has only one thing on the brain, leveling the score with career criminal, Mackey Willis. As eccentric and intuitive as he is vicious, Mackeys own perfected criminal game will play right into the path Wilson has set for him. With the help of a prison bus driver, Lee Marvin, Wilson acts as a catalyst, putting a plan into action that will bring an untimely end to Mackey Willis. The problem is, no plan is perfect. Meanwhile, an aimless bunch of Arizona twenty-nothings are cooking up a heist that will lead them to the same bank, with different intentions. Skilled at nothing beyond drinking, doing drugs and attending strip clubs, their plan is destined for immediate failure. Heavily armed, without a single identifiable clue, these boys are as blind as they are impulsive. With both plans loosely angled inward, the vengefully mystical presence of the Sonoran landscape will have its way and every solider will fall on his own sword.

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The Prophecy 3: The Ascent

The Prophecy 3: The Ascent
Danyael Rosales, a street preacher and the child of Valerie Rosales and the angel Danyael from the previous film, is forced to face his destiny. As a Nephilim, he has some of the angels' abilities, such as regeneration, and can only be killed if his heart is removed. One night, a blind assassin shoots Danyael as he preaches before a crowd, but the assassin is driven off before he can take out Danyael's heart, and Danyael is able to regenerate while lying in the city morgue. As punishment for his failure, Zophael kills the assassin and starts going after Danyael himself with an extendable bladed weapon (the blade can be turned into a three-pronged hook) with which he plans to use to remove Danyael's heart, killing him for good. However, Danyael is protected by Gabriel, a now-human fallen angel who killed Danyael's father and performed many misdeeds. After being defeated by Danyael's mother, Gabriel was turned into a human as punishment. He has spent eighteen years as a human, and realized how wrong he was in the past so has now switched sides.

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Antonia aka Antonia's Line

Antonia aka Antonia's Line
In an anonymous Dutch village, a sturdy, strong-willed matriarch looks back upon her life, the generations of family and friends gathered around her table, and ponders the cyclical nature of time.

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Johnny Appleweed

Johnny Appleweed
Johnny Wagner is smoked-out pottery student waiting to get off probation. While evading a surprise drug test, Wagner crashes his bike and is knocked unconscious. During his blackout, the legendary Johnny Appleseed appears and urges Wagner to follow in his footsteps by planting seeds. Wagner recruits two long time friends to help him in his quest, a sensitive pyromaniac poet and her brother, a self-serving filmmaker. The three set out into the woods and countryside to plant the seed, marijuana seed that isand so becomes Johnny Appleweed.

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My Year Without Sex

My Year Without Sex
My Year Without Sex is kind of a love story about a family dealing with all the big questions and even more of the small ones. Set over one messy year, Ross and Natalie and their two kids, Louis and Ruby, navigate nits, faith, Christmas, job insecurity, footy practice, more nits, and whether they will ever have sex again.Starring Sacha Horler and Matt Day, and directed by Look Both Ways Sarah Watt, My Year Without Sex is a triumphant comedy about the everyday minutiae of Australian life.

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