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Bunraku takes the combined talents of Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore and Ron Perlman and places them in an utterly insane universe where cowboys clash with samurai warriors and megalomaniacal despots in a hyper-real, hyper-stylised environment. The name comes from an ancient from of Japanese puppet theatre, and at times the movie feels like a stage-play on film, the back-drops popping up and down, the camera zooming in and out origami-like wonderlands.
Yet in spite of the film's technical achievements, it fails to hold together as a coherent whole, the result overlong and undercooked.
Going the Distance
The long-distance relationship is a fact of life for many couples, especially at a time of high unemployment and economic anxiety.
“Going the Distance,” which unites its young lovers briefly in New York City before sending one of them out to San Francisco, acknowledges both the difficulty and the comic potential of the arrangement, and does so with enough insight and charm to make you wonder why frequent-flier love is not a more popular theme in romantic comedies.
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Overwhelmingly positive word of mouth can be a double-edged sword for a filmmaker. Although effusive praise builds anticipation, it can also elevate expectations to levels that cannot possibly be met. This is why some viewers who see a movie after it has won a Best Picture Oscar emerge disappointed. It also explains why some late-comers to Borat may find it to be less hilarious than expected. Don't misunderstand: Borat is a funny movie, and well worth the price of admission regardless of whether your comedy tastes run to low-brow, scatological humor or more subtle politically tinged satire. However, it's hard for any movie to live up to the hype when it's being billed as "the funniest of all-time."
After a short three-year hiatus, filmmaker Richard Linklater (whose previous outing was The Newton Boys) has returned to the world of cinema with the offbeat and ambitious Waking Life, an animated excursion through the dreams and philosophical musings of the main character. Waking Life is clearly an experiment, and, as such, looks and feels much different from anything else recently seen on a movie screen. When he introduced the film at its Sundance 2001 premiere, Linklater posed one question to the audience, and it goes a long way towards setting the stage for Waking Life. "How many of you out there are on drugs?" he asked. When a number of hands went up, he added, "Good. This is for you. The rest of you, just bear with me."
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As much heralded, "edgy" movies go, Transamerica fails to live up to expectations. The final 30 minutes are interesting, funny, and affecting, but that segment represents less than a third of the running time. To get to the parts of the film that work, it is necessary to endure 15 minutes of setup, then an hour of some of the most uninspired road movie tedium in recent history. Road movies often turn into vehicles for lazy screenwriters, and this is no exception. The primary purpose of this prolonged portion of Transamerica isn't to bring the characters closer or to give us insight into their personalities; it's to stretch out the running length so we're left with a motion(less) picture rather than a short.
Maybe it's my math/engineering background, but I found Proof to be fascinating both on the stage and on the screen. Actually, appreciation of the film demands little math knowledge (aside from recognizing that a "proof" is a logical set of equations designed to explain and defend the veracity of a theorem). Proof is less about math than it is about the ins-and-outs of intellectual property and the relationships of one women to those around her (father, sister, lover).
When we first meet Catherine (Gwyneth Paltrow), it's the day before her father's funeral. During the last years of his life, Robert (Anthony Hopkins) - once a revered mathematician - was caught in the grip of dementia, with Catherine as his lone caregiver. Now, with his death, her sister, Claire (Hope Davis), has jetted in from New York City to pick up the pieces and bring Catherine back with her. And her father's dissertation student, Hal (Jake Gyllenhaal), is poring over Robert's old notebooks, looking for something brilliant amidst all the ramblings. Meanwhile, Catherine, who believes she may have inherited her father's madness as well as his
In high school, teachers spend a great deal of time guiding students through the rigors of Shakespeare's tragedies and histories, but what about the comedies? Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth... Yes, I said Macbeth - at least as envisioned by writer/director Billy Morrissette, whose low-budget, independent effort, Scotland, PA, depicts the story of the bloodthirsty Scottish lord in an entirely different light.
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Still Walking, the seventh feature from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, is a sublime experience. By "sublime," I don't mean "boring." Although the events depicted in the film cover the 24-hour span of an ordinary family gathering, there's a subtlety to the evoked emotions that involves the viewer rather than distancing him. The familiarity of the rhythms offer not a sense of banality or tedium, but one of comfort. Kore-eda establishes circumstances that embody a universality of experience. Everything is understated and naturalistic, and he avoids melodrama and false catharsis. As a result, there's comedy of the sort that evolves from the details of everyday life, and a sense of poignancy at the end, when Kore-eda emphasizes one of his recurring themes: the ephemeral nature of existence. The tone is perfect; this is one of those rare films that, despite being rooted firmly in the world around us, is utterly absorbing and capable of reducing the immediacies of life into abstract thoughts in the back of one's mind.
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I Heart Huckabees
After seeing two previews for David O. Russell's I Heart Huckabees, I had no idea what it was about. Now, having seen the movie, I still feel like I'm on the outside looking in. I certainly realize why the preview is so obtuse. There's no way that two minutes of snippets can begin to convey what this film is trying to do. In fact, in order to understand what's going on, you have to sit through all 105 minutes of the running time, and that's an experience that will try the patience of many mainstream movie-goers. It's no exaggeration to say that this movie is not for everyone.
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Mask of Zorro
Zorro, the swashbuckling hero of the undertrodden, was introduced to the world in 1919 when he debuted in the pages of Johnston McCulley's serialized novel, The Curse of Capistrano. Within a year, the masked man had appeared in a film, the silent The Mark of Zorro. Over the next eight decades, Zorro would be played by the likes of Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Tyrone Power, Guy Williams, and now both Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas. The Mask of Zorro, a '90s attempt to revive interest in the venerable hero, offers just what one might reasonably expect from a Zorro movie: a great deal of excitement and adventure, all brought to the screen by using a somewhat irreverent tone that keeps the mood light without trivializing the characters.
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In 1954 Queens, New York, three brothers -- Mac (John Turturro), Vico (Michael Badalucco), and Bruno (Carl Capotorto) -- after having a few bad experiences working for others, decide to band together and create their own construction business. Their first major project, building four houses, requires such devotion and painstaking effort that it pushes their close relationship to the breaking point.
Fast Track: No Limits
With a Miami Vice styled credit sequence cut to heighten the selling points of the internationally made work as capturing cool on cinema via a hybrid of cars, chases, crashes, and chicks guaranteed to transfer into cash, the film opens as if it were the very same trailer that garnered more than 250,000 views for the Maverick Entertainment release on YouTube alone.
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Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry
Tom and Jerry enter an extreme car race competition called the "Super Race" in order to win the grand prize of a beautiful, dream mansion! Driving suped-up hot rods that can adapt to any environment (land, sea or air), they compete in this wild race around the world, encountering famous landmarks along the way and leaving chaos in their wake.
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Creating a World: Aeon Flux
25st century. Deadly virus has wiped almost the all population of humans, and the survivors have to live in the single city ruled by a congress of scientists. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is a sexy revolutionist assassin having the governments top leader as a latest target. The story is based on an animated series by Peter Chung.
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In a Dark Place
Anna Veigh, a recently qualified art therapist and teacher, is finding work at her inner city special school a tougher psychological challenge than she can cope with. The offer of a new post minding two wealthy young orphans whilst their wealthy uncle is away on business seems a perfect escape for her. It is a welcome escape. Her new workplace is Bly House, a remote country estate with beautiful grounds and a small resident staff. Miles and Flora, the children, seem sweet and charming, if a little strange, and Anna thinks that she has really landed on her feet after the rigors of her previous job. The only fly in the ointment is the frosty estate manager, Miss Grose, who seems remote and unfriendly to the new arrival. Very soon, moreover, Anna makes disquieting discoveries. Miles, the boy, has been expelled from his school, for a sin so dreadful the headmaster will not even discuss it. Anna then learns that her predecessor in the job, one Miss Jessel, died in suspicious circumstances. To add to her unease, she begins to catch glimpses of unknown sinister figures lurking in the grounds, but nobody else admits to seeing them. Anna confronts the Miss Grose with her suspicions about these intruders, but is surprised by the force of Miss Groses reaction. The figures Anna describes are unmistakably those of two ex-employees at the house. The only problem is that these employees are dead. Anna senses that the ghostly manifestations are malevolent in their intent. Not only is the psychological welfare of the children in very real jeopardy, but their lives and their souls are also at risk. But Anna is forced to confront dark secrets buried deep in her own psyche as she fights to cleanse the childrens souls of darkness, with terrifying consequences for all concerned.
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Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus
Yes, it was ridiculously horribly bad, but some reason, I enjoyed it.
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