The Objective

The Objective
A horror flick that takes place in Afghanistan in November of 2001? Intriguing, to be sure, but I'll admit to being more than a little skeptical as I walked in to check out Daniel Myrick's The Objective. I was half-expecting some sort of run-of-the-mill occult thriller that got mixed with modern warfare ... just because it's a topical thing to do. Happily, those assumptions turned out to be completely wrong. Since it works much better as a bleak adventure flick and a very sweaty psychological thriller, it'd probably be inaccurate to label The Objective as an out-and-out horror flick -- but I enjoyed it anyway, which means that most of the other genre fans probably will too. Heck, how often do you get to check out a movie described as a wartime horror thriller sci-fi adventure drama?

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Disappearance of Alice Creed

Disappearance of Alice Creed
When I first saw The Disappearance of Alice Creed at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival, I thought it was a sure bet to be picked up for United States art house distribution. I was wrong. Eventually, however, after the dust from the festival had settled, the producers had lowered their asking price, and Gemma Arterton's star had gone supernova, Anchor Bay stepped up to the plate. The film is not getting a consistent or widespread release; it's showing up in a few "select" theaters around the one-year anniversary of its North American debut in Toronto, but most of those interested in the movie will have to wait for the DVD release. (The limited theatrical distribution is designed to remove the "direct-to-DVD" stigma.) In this case, that's fine, since the claustrophobic movie might arguably play better on the small screen than on the large one.

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In the Bedroom

In the Bedroom
In the Bedroom is arguably one of the year's most anticipated independent releases - a movie whose incessant buzz at Sundance carried it at the crest of a wave to Toronto, then placed it in theaters before the end of the year. For those unable to catch it at a festival, the mainstream release is unquestionably worth the wait.

The feature debut of Todd Field, In the Bedroom deals with issues that are rarely approached with this degree of sensitivity on film. The movie, which transpires in Maine, stars Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek as Matt and Ruth Fowler, a seemingly perfect middle-aged couple. Their only son, Frank (Nick Stahl), is spending the summer on a boat lobstering before going off to an Ivy League school in the fall. His latest girlfriend, Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei), is a much older woman with two young children. These characters are bound together when a criminal act results in a tragedy.

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Book of Eli

Book of Eli
Arguably, the international fascination with the apocalypse has never been bigger than it is today, and it has resulted in films like Knowing, The Road, 2012, and The Book of Eli arriving in theaters within a 12-month window. The movies have different vantage points, ideas, and themes, but their common thread - the end of the world - makes one wonder if there is such a streak of pessimism in today's society that a dire event of this nature provides compelling escapism. In staking out its place in an increasingly crowded field, The Book of Eli provides audiences with a parable advocating faith as the path through darkness. The words of the Bible will

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Beach
Let me start with a disclosure: I have not read the Alex Garland novel upon which The Beach is based, so I'm not in a position to discuss firsthand whether or not it butchers its source text (according to some reports, it does). The film represents a reunion of the Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary trio of director Danny Boyle, producer Andrew Macdonald, and screenwriter John Hodge. Missing is star Ewan McGregor, but he has been replaced by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, in his first post-Titanic role (The Man In the Iron Mask, which was released after Cameron's blockbuster, was filmed before it). Sadly, while DeCaprio does a credible job as the protagonist and The Beach represents a great piece of eye candy, this film as a whole is a mess.

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Unleashed

Unleashed
Unleashed is two radically different movies fused into one. On their own, each of the films might have stood a chance of working, but, brought together in concert, the radical shifts in tone create a weird dichotomy that will distract and disorient some viewers. As if that isn't bad enough, the storyline contains elements that are so patently ridiculous that you half-expect members of Monty Python's troupe to show up on screen to say, "And now for something completely different…"

Director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) and screenwriter Luc Besson (The Professional) make unmistakable use of the three-act structure. The divisions are clear. Act I is grim and violent. Act II is a twist on Pygmalion. Then the violence is back with a vengeance in Act III. One senses that those who appreciate the middle 45 minutes of the film will be turned off by the bookend sections. And actor Jet Li's core constituency, which expects lots of martial arts fight scenes, will be mystified by why the film eliminates those elements for more than half of its running length. Those expecting a typical action movie may find themselves drifting off to sleep around Unleashed's midpoint.

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Men in Black

Men in Black
Have you ever seen a tabloid headline like this: "Woman gives birth to son of six-headed alien"? Men in Black, the new science fiction comedy from cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty), postulates that such stories are not the result of fertile imaginations, but accurate representations of the truth. You see, ever since the 1960s, Earth has become an intergalactic hideout for aliens in need of a place to lie low for a while. Currently, there are over 1500 visitors, most in New York City (based on personal experience, that number may be low), and their ranks include such high-profile names as Sylvester Stallone (he obviously had trouble mastering the language), Newt Gengrich (guess what he looks like in his natural form), and Dennis Rodman (who knew?).

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X-Files

X-Files
There are two kinds of viewers for The X-Files movie: those have seen at least a few episodes of the TV series and those who have never watched it. I am a member of the latter group, so that's the perspective from which this review is written. As a result, I cannot assess how the film will appeal to a die-hard follower of the program. But, for the "uneducated" movie-goer, The X-Files offers two hours of solid entertainment. (Of course, one unanswered question is how many non-X Files aficionados will exhibit sufficient interest to venture into a theater showing this picture.)

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All Hat

All Hat
An ex-con returns to his rural Ontario roots and outwits a corrupt and wealthy thoroughbred owner trying to take over a slew of local farms. Ray Dokes, a charming ex-ballplayer, returns from jail to discover the rural landscape of his childhood transformed by urban development.

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Lamb
Lamb tells the story of a young priest, Brother Sebastian, who works in a Roman Catholic institution for troubled boys on the Atlantic coast of Ireland, referred to as "a finishing school for the sons of the Idle Poor" by its head, Brother Benedict. There, the Brothers teach boys to conform in a harsh, uncompromising regime which Brother Sebastian, whose real name is Michael Lamb, finds deeply distasteful. The Brothers teach the boys "a little of God and a lot of fear."

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Who's Harry Crumb?

Who's Harry Crumb?
Harry is the latest generation of the Crumbs, famous and extremely talented detectives. Unfortunately, talent seems to have skipped a generation, and Harry is reduced to gumshoe work at a remote branch of the Crumb detective agency. Back at headquarters, Crumb executive Elliot Draison hatches an evil plan, which requires the inclusion of an incompotent detective. With Harry Crumb on the case, Draison thinks everything will run fine for him. Despite his best efforts, Crumb actually makes some headway in the case...

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The Last Detail

The Last Detail
Two bawdy, tough looking navy lifers - Bad-Ass Buddusky, and Mule Mulhall - are commissioned to escort a young pilferer named Meadows to the brig in Boston. Meadows is not much of a thief. Indeed, in his late teens, he is not much of a man at all. His great crime was to try to steal forty dollars from the generals wifes pet charity. For this, hes been sentenced to eight years behind bars. At first, Buddusky and Mulhall view the journey as a paid vacation, but their holiday spirits are quickly depressed by the prisoner, who looks prepared to break into tears at any moment. And he has the lowest self-image imaginable. Buddusky gets it into his head to give Meadows a good time and teach him a bit about getting on in the world. Lesson one Dont take every card life deals you. Next, he teaches Meadows to drink, and, as a coup de grace, finds a nice young whore to instruct him in lovemaking. Mule, who worries aloud about his own position with military authority, seems pleased with Meadowss progress. However, when the trio reach Boston, the game comes abruptly to an end as reality sets in.

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The Wanderers

The Wanderers
Set against the urban jungle of 1963 New Yorks gangland subculture, this coming of age teenage movie is set around the Italian gang the Wanderers. Slight comedy, slight High School angst and every bit entertaining with its classic 1950s Rock n Roll soundtrack such as Walk Like a Man, Big Girls Dont Cry by The Four Seasons and My Boyfriends Back by The Angels. Focusing around a football game where the different gangs play with and against each other, then at its grand finale, come together in a mass of union to defend their honour and their turf. Nostalgic stuff and above all a Rock n Roll retrospective on a grand musical era. Timeless.

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Evelyn

Evelyn
Desmond Doyle is devastated when his wife abandons their family on the day after Christmas. His unemployment and the fact that there is no woman in the house to care for the children, Evelyn, Dermot and Maurice, make it clear to the authorities that his is an untenable situation. The Catholic Church and the Irish courts decide to put the Doyle children into Church-run orphanages. Although a sympathetic judge assures Desmond that when his financial situation reverses, he will be able to get his children back money is hard to come by. During that time, Evelyn and her brothers suffer the abuses of living in orphanages while Desmond struggles to secure finances. Now he must battle the courts to get his children back.

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Lake Dead

Lake Dead
The Lake sisters - Brielle, Kelly and their step-sister Samantha - receive a surprising inheritance from their unknown grandfather that has just died. Brielle and Kelly join a group of friends and travel in a RV to visit the Lake Motel and decide what to do with the property. Sooner they finds that their unknown relatives are deranged psychos.

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Mr. Nobody

Mr. Nobody
Nemo Nobody leads an ordinary existence at his wifes side, Elise, and their 3 children until the day when reality skids and he wakes up as an old man in the year 2092. At 120, Mr. Nobody is both the oldest man in the world and the last mortal of a new mankind where nobody dies anymore. But that doesnt seem to interest or bother him very much. The only questions that preoccupy him in the present is whether he lived the right life for himself, loved the woman whom he was supposed to love, and had the children whom he was meant to have... now his purpose is to find the right answer.

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