Green Zone

Green Zone
Green Zone's a Paul Greengrass movie through and through. What's that mean? Lots of shaky camera work, fast cuts, and gritty action scenes. And that's all fine and dandy, if you're a fan of not actually being able to focus on anything in the action scenes before Greengrass whips the camera away.Greengrass likes to tease our eyes, showing just flitting bits of a fire fight or hand-to-hand combat before taking his wiggly giggly camera off whatever it is at the center of the scene to zoom in on something else. I find this whole shaky cam thing distracting and annoying, and even a bit nauseating at times. I get the point of it, to show the realism of a scene and make you feel as though you're right there taking part in the action, but that doesn't mean I have to like watching films shot primarily in that style.

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Universal Solider: A New Beginning

Universal Solider: A New Beginning
Action fans, the wait is over. Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme have finally re-teamed for Universal Soldier: A New Beginning, the sequel to their 1992 hit Universal Soldier. But although the stars are older and wiser this time around, the results aren't necessarily better.

The original concerned a squad of super-soldiers who are stronger, fitter and faster than the average man, and who operate without conscience or hesitation. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the film was essentially an excuse to pit two of the biggest action stars of the day against each other, and for that very reason was a blast from start-to-finish.

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Yes Man

Yes Man
I was told once by an older, more experienced and wiser film critic that it is important for any reviewer to abstain from letting their personal tastes, especially for a particular actor or actress, get in the way of their ability to see a film objectively. Just because someone’s natural state of being or recurring character makes you laugh, that doesn’t always make for a great movie. There are other things that go into it — a film’s ability to engage its audience, develop its characters and provoke some sort of response, to name a few. And by that logic Jim Carrey’s latest movie Yes Man is just another plot-less, purposeless comedy that entrances its audience with Jim Carrey’s antics long enough to take their $10 and run. But if we peel back what few layers exist we might just find a few things to like, and maybe even something worth laughing at.

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The Edge of Heaven

The Edge of Heaven
There are six principal characters in “The Edge of Heaven”: two mothers, two daughters, a father and a son, all arranged in more or less symmetrical pairs. In the course of this extraordinary film by the German writer-director Fatih Akin (which won the best screenplay award in Cannes last year) children are lost, lost parents are never found, and generational and geographical distances grow wider.

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Infamous

Infamous
Crackdown was about audacious, skyscraper-clearing leaps; Assassin’s Creed opted for nimble parkour, its protagonist dancing across rafters, swinging between jutting flagpoles. In both cases, scaling a city in any manner you chose made the game. With freerunning superman Cole, Infamous falls somewhere between Altaïr’s procedural elegance and the Agent’s unsubtle, ground-pounding zeal. The player can scamper up anything with a handhold, mastering nearly any structure in the sprawling acreage of Empire City, before plummeting back to street level without so much as a sprained ankle.

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The Express

The Express
Ernie Davis was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. His number is retired by the Cleveland Browns, and he’s a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame. Now, he’s the recipient of his very own aggressively passable biopic. You can go ahead and order those achievements in any way you see fit.

The latest in a long series of black people breaking down barriers in a new field films, The Express is a B-movie barbeque sauce of been-there-done-that retreads. It borrows from and binges on better motion pictures like Remember the Titans; then again, all that clichéd rehashing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just because I love a delicately-cooked, rare filet mignon doesn’t mean a bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s can’t effectively seduce me at one in the morning on a Tuesday.

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Raise Your Voice

Raise Your Voice
Critique:
Hilary Duff is cashing in on her star power and has had five movies released over the last 18 months. This time out, Hilary stars as Terri Fletcher, a 16 year old small town aspiring musician and dedicated daughter. Her big dream is to head off to Los Angeles for a summer at the foremost music conservatory in the United States. Unfortunately for her, her father (David Keith) is against the idea.

Raise Your Voice starts off with a music video. A choppy, truncated, and frenetic montage of clips, foreshadowing the majority of the rest of the movie. The first third of the film is setting up for Terri's inevitable trip to LA, and it is excruciatingly slow. There is a good plot twist that comes on unexpectedly which sets up for some good conflict later in the film. It is the turning point in the glacial pace of the movie, but you still must endure the incomplete songs and MTV video edits.

It is understandable that a movie about a girl going to a music school would have plenty of music in it. However, other than a couple well handled performances at the end of the movie, the majority of the music takes the viewer outside of the film and terribly disrupts the pacing. To add to the music problems, most of the songs are cut and pasted in an incomplete fashion and are abandoned just as they start to become interesting on their own.

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I Am Legend

I Am Legend
I Am Legend, the third cinematic adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel, has been in development for a very long time. Originally slated to star Arnold Schwarzenegger and be directed by Ridley Scott, this movie has kicked around for so long that by the time it has finally reached the screen, Schwarzenegger is out of the business altogether and the director is someone whose career in music videos hadn't even started when Michael Bay was being touted as possible replacement for Scott. Nevertheless, all these years later, we finally have this new version of I Am Legend, starring Will Smith as the Last Man on Earth and directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine).

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Cutthroat Island

Cutthroat Island
Renny Harlin, whose previous directorial efforts include Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, seems fond of big, explosive action pictures. Unfortunately, excepting his debut (the middle film in the Die Hard trilogy), plot coherency hasn't been a particularly important attribute of his movies. Cliffhanger was little more than a series of spectacular stunts linked together by a paper-thin story. If anything, the strands of logic in Cutthroat Island are even thinner. Fortunately, as a spectacle for the eye

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Manhattan Murder Mystery

Manhattan Murder Mystery
What happens when a bored wife thinks her kindly old neighbor commits a murder? Woody Allen attempts to answer the question in his latest cinematic endeavor, Manhattan Murder Mystery.

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Eat Drink Man Woman

Eat Drink Man Woman
"Everything is much different in Eat Drink Man Woman than the other films I've made. It has a bigger cast and a lot more complex story line... I started thinking about families and how they communicate. Sometimes the things children need to hear most are often the things that parents find hardest to say, and vice versa. When that happens, we resort to ritual. For the Chu family, the ritual is the Sunday dinner... At each dinner the family comes together and then something happens that pushes them farther apart."
- Ang Lee, writer/director of Eat Drink Man Woman

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The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line
From an opening shot of a crocodile sliding below the stagnant surface of a pond, accompanied by a voice-over pondering the origins of evil and war, The Thin Red Line makes it abundantly clear that is isn't going to play the Is This Better than Saving Private Ryan? game. One starts with 20 minutes of juddering combat footage, the other with an idyllic view of Pacific village life. One is about World War Two, the other about war itself.

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The Godfathers of Mondo

The Godfathers of Mondo
A look at the careers of Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi who invented the mondo genre with MONDO CANE in 1962. It follows their career until their split in following the making of GOODBYE UNCLE TOM in 1971.

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Silent Venom

Silent Venom
Deep in the jungle of a remote island in the Pacific lives a new breed of mutant snake. Dr. Andrea Swanson and her research assistant Jake have been studying the species in a top secret military experiment to develop the ultimate anti-toxin. But when tensions rise with the Chinese military, Admiral Bradley Wallace quickly evacuates the island. The only way home is an old, decommissioned submarine on its final voyage to its new home in Taiwan. Wallace decides to put Lt. Commander James ONeill at the helm, a hardened pro facing forced retirement... and he is less than pleased to be babysitting his two new guests. But theyre not alone. Andrea was ordered to bring some of the experimental snakes back to the mainland - and worse, Jake has smuggled some of the deadlier mutated snakes on board, including a giant diamondback. When a Chinese vessel attacks the sub, the vicious creatures are released from their secure containers and begin to stalk the crew members one by one. Trapped two hundred feet below sea level with no way out, the subs skeleton crew find themselves attacked... in the galley, torpedo room, shower, and control room. The snakes are hungry and vicious... but nothing can prepare the crew for the terror that awaits them when the diamondback escapes its captivity. Growing in size and ferocity with each meal... the mutated beast is seemingly unstoppable. ONeill and Andrea become unlikely allies in the fight to keep the deadly snakes at bay as Wallace worries about an international incident as they try to save the sub from the enemy vessels tracing their every move...

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Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
The story takes place on a Saturday in Anderson, a crime-infested ghetto in South Central Los Angeles. Members of a local gang, called 'Street Thunder', have recently stolen a large number of automatic rifles and pistols. The film begins the previous night, as a team of heavily armed LAPD officers ambush and kill several members of the gang. In the morning, the gang's warlords swear a blood oath of revenge, known as a "Cholo", against the police and the citizens of Los Angeles.

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Contagion

Contagion
Soon after her return from a business trip to Hong Kong, Beth Emhoff dies from what is a flu or some other type of infection. Her young son dies a few days later. Her husband Mitch however seems immune. Thus begins the spread of a deadly infection. For doctors and administrators at the U.S. Center for Disease Control, several days pass before anyone realizes the extent or gravity of this new infection. They must first identify the type of virus in question and then find a means of combating it, a process that will likely take several months. As the contagion spreads to millions of people worldwide, societal order begins to break down as people panic.

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