Confessions of a Shopaholic

Confessions of a Shopaholic
I keep hearing concern that it is grossly inappropriate and perhaps even irresponsible to release a movie with a title like Confessions of a Shopaholic during the current economic downturn. I didn't find that to be an issue. My concern is that during an economic crisis, I want far more escapist fare than this adaptation of Sophie Kinsella's novel, which is far too lame and annoying to make me forget about my own little fiscal crises.

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Catfish

Catfish
Nowadays, when you hear people talking about “the Facebook movie,” chances are they mean “The Social Network,” David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s soon-to-open inquiry into the rise of Mark Zuckerberg, one of the founders of Facebook. But the description might be even better suited to “Catfish,” a documentary by Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman that caused some hyperventilation at the Sundance Film Festival last winter.

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Valley of Angels

Valley of Angels
As far as the movies go, thrillers and action movies are a dime a dozen. As genres they have been solid standbys for good entertainment since Cagney and Bogart came onscreen. Yet it is all too easy to make a thriller that is high on violence and attitude and low on story and character. And now in the post Tarantino era, it seems like every hip, young director comes on the scene with his crime opus that is supposed to set the world on fire with cooler than liquid nitrogen dialogue and badass gun fights. But if there’s one thing every filmmaker should realize is this, there is only one Tarantino and the multitudes of copycats trying to follow in his footsteps have easily proven the point. Thankfully, a new talent has sprung up from the ranks and has crafted a debut feature that is both as confident and skillful as Reservoir Dogs, while containing the spiritual contemplation often inherent in Scorsese’s films. The director’s name is Jon Rosten and his film is the ironically titled Valley of Angels.

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Into the Blue 2. The Reef

Into the Blue 2. The Reef
I don’t know how to scuba diva. I don’t even own a wet suit, the main reason I had to postpone my plans for participating in some sprint triathlons this year. My brother learned how from the Boy Scouts and he’s one of the few people I know who is dive certified. I wish I could, but I never go anywhere worth diving, so instead I watch movies like this, now ready for you on DVD.

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Spud
It's South Africa 1990. Two major events are about to happen: The release of Nelson Mandela and, more importantly, it's Spud Milton's first year at an elite boys only private boarding school. John Milton is a boy from an ordinary background who wins a scholarship to a private school in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. Surrounded by boys with nicknames like Gecko, Rambo, Rain Man and Mad Dog, Spud has his hands full trying to adapt to his new home. Along the way Spud takes his first tentative steps along the path to manhood.

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Rendition

Rendition
Much as I might like to, I cannot heap praise upon director Gavin Hood's Rendition, a political thriller with aspirations of being so much more that it is. The film treads into the minefield of debate that exists surrounding the question of Constitutional Rights versus National Security. Some day, someone is going to make a very good movie about these issues - one that will take a hard look at the dangers inherent in not walking the fine tightrope that exists. Rendition, however, approaches the subject playing with a stacked anti-National Security deck and a script that is half-baked. Hood has staked out a position and defended it in a shockingly unsubtle way. Instead of experiencing a movie that’s seriously interested in getting into all of the pluses and minuses of the policy of "extreme rendition," we are ambushed by a simplistic storyline that’s more interested in sermonizing and demonizing than existing in the real world where things aren't as clear-cut as the movie would like us to believe. The film's disappointingly black-and-white approach robs characters and situations of badly needed ambiguity.

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Bounce

Bounce
Bounce delivers exactly what viewers expect from a romance: two people who meet under unusual circumstances fall in love, then are pushed apart by complications before finding each other again. There are no surprises, twists, or unexpected turns of plot. This is the kind of film where the characters travel along a pre-determined path from Point A to Point B, with the finish line visible from the moment the two stars are named in the opening credits. The only tangents are those allowed by the laws of screen romances. Nevertheless, while all of that may make for a predictable movie-going experience, it doesn't necessarily make for unpleasant one. Bounce is actually a decent romance with three things going for it. In the first place, Don Roos' dialogue is a cut above the norm. Secondly, stars Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow connect in a credible manner. Finally, the film touches on a few intriguing philosophical issues, such as the guilt an individual feels when someone close to him or her unexpectedly dies.

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Mrs. Henderson Presents

Mrs. Henderson Presents
For all those who think movies don't have enough naked female flesh, welcome to Mrs. Henderson Presents. It would have been interesting to witness the MPAA's deliberations about this film. There's some violence, but not much. There's no sex or sex-related situations. There's only one instance of notable profanity (a single f-word), but there's a lot of "artistic" nudity. Breasts. Buns. Pubic hair. Even a penis or two (including one belonging to Bob Hoskins). This should be a PG-13 movie - there's nothing salacious or erotic about the naked women. It's all very tasteful. But the MPAA has done what they always do upon seeing a nipple - head for the R-rated hills.

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Sherrybaby

Sherrybaby
It's a rare thing when an individual performance defines an entire film, but it happens once or twice per year. Such is the case with Sherrybaby, the feature debut of Laurie Collyer. A simple tale of one woman's attempts to re-connect with her young daughter, Sherrybaby is elevated from the level of a TV drama by the sheer

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My Favorite Martian

My Favorite Martian
The most inventive moment in My Favorite Martian comes during the opening sequence. A robot Mars probe is shown slowly picking its way across the barren surface of the Red Planet. When its power supply finally gives out and it grinds to a halt, the camera pans up to reveal what the probe just missed seeing: a huge, futuristic city. Following that admittedly clever introduction, the movie is pretty much what you might expect from a big-screen adaptation of a once-popular '60s TV series: good-natured, appealing, and sophomoric. The saving grace, at least for those who recall the television show, is that series star Ray Walston has been given a more substantial role than the obligatory cameo. (His co-star, Bill Bixby, is dead, and therefore did not have to be worked into the proceedings.)

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Die Hard 2

Die Hard 2
It's rare that the sequel to a good movie lives up to expectations. Such is the case with Die Hard 2, the somewhat-muddled but still entertaining return of Bruce Willis' John McClane. Fortunately, the original Die Hard was good enough that there's room for the second installment to be enjoyable while still not matching the pace or possessing the flair of its predecessor.

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See No Evil

See No Evil
A ragtag group of juvenile delinquents assigned the task of cleaning up an abandoned hotel find out just how deadly community service can be when they are stalked by a monstrous, four-hundred-pound maniac with a grudge in director Gregory Dark's wrestling-infused survival horror flick. It was a mere four years ago that seven-foot menace Jacob Goodnight (WWE superstar Kane) was shot in the head and left for dead by a local police officer.

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Closed for the Season

Closed for the Season
Trapped in a forgotten amusement park, a young woman (Kristy) finds herself terrorized by the living memories of the park. She must break free from the parks grasp before she becomes its next victim.

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Damien: Omen II

Damien: Omen II
Seven years later, 13-year-old Damien is just discovering who he really is, and what he is destined to do. Now living with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, Damien is anxious to inherit everything. Can Richard Thorn finish the job that Damiens father (Ambassador Thorn) started?

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Kiss the Bride

Kiss the Bride
Thomas and Robin are deeply in love and ready to spend the rest of their lives together. Nothing will stop this wedding from happening, not even overprotective feuding mothers, a missing father, and a mischievous teenage sister. However, this couple is about to face their biggest challenge. While Robin believes she is marrying the perfect man, Thomas is consumed with guilt about a past infidelity. The not-so-perfect couple s love for each other is put to the test in this irresistibly genuine comedy about love, commitment and the power of forgiveness.

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Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus

Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus
Yes, it was ridiculously horribly bad, but some reason, I enjoyed it.

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