Mutant Chronicles

Mutant Chronicles
Based on the role-playing game franchise of the same name, Mutant Chronicles is set on a post-apocalyptic Earth several hundred years in the future where the world is divvied up between four massive corporations. These corporate empires wage relentless war with each other to control what's left of the planet's dwindling resources. Thomas Jane stars as soldier Mitch Hunter, a disillusioned, hard-drinking veteran who becomes part of a suicide mission to save the world from the alien mutants that have been awakened from their centuries-long slumber deep underground.

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Room of Death

Room of Death
Two weeks ago my mac died, and I lost all my saved reviews. But F that, we begin anew. "Room of Death" is a French thriller from 2007. It's also one of the best surprises in a while. Basic cable includes access to some on-demand channels, including "free movies on demand" (nice!). A quick imdb search showed mixed reviews for this pic, but the praise was convincing. I'm glad that I read between the lines, as I may have passed this over.

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The Illusionist

The Illusionist
Where magic is involved, things are rarely what they seem to be. Take Neil Burger’s latest movie The Illusionist: With a talented A-list cast (Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti) and a strong first half hour, the movie masters the art of blending a period piece setting with supernatural mystique. Then disappointingly, like an overconfident magician, The Illusionist gets too cocky and sloppy with its trickery. The gorgeously told story quickly derails into a series of gimmicks and cheats that make the magical spell go ‘poof’.

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Pride and Glory

Pride and Glory
It's pretty much impossible to make an original cop movie anymore-- even The Departed was a remake, remember?-- so any drama about the boys in blue has to justify its very existence before getting down to the storytelling. Pride and Glory doesn't quite get around to reinventing its genre or adding anything to the conversation, but it's a solid piece of work, buoyed by great performances as much as it's hampered by silly dialogue. There are plenty of overblown lines and crazy plot twists to laugh at, but the story of good cops and bad cops and mean streets makes for a good yarn, like a Law and Order episode stretched to feature length.

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Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer
Sportswriters invariably call any last-minute heroics or unbelievable upset a “Hollywood ending,” yet in reality Hollywood usually does a poor job with sports stories based on real-life events. Such stories force filmmakers to drastically alter the filmmaking playbook, draining away all color or quirks of personality from characters based on living people and removing any complications that might distract viewers from the “inspirational” message they’re determined to convey.

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Baseline

Baseline
The Baseline is the centre of the East London grime club scene and the queue regularly stretches around the block. Danny works on the door - breaking up fights and managing drunk kids. However, when he rescues Terry, the club owner and local gang leader, from a hitman, Danny is suddenly plunged deep into an underworld he had tried so hard to avoid.

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Ten
The Ten is a comedy about the unlikeliest of subjects: The Ten Commandments. When I use the term "comedy," I do so loosely. This is one of those films where the humor is of the hit-and-miss variety, and it misses more often than it hits. The jokes are transparent. It's not difficult to divine what's supposed to be funny. It's just that a lot of the time, I wasn't laughing. Like a bad Monty Python or Saturday Night Live skit, there's no absence of irreverence and the viewer can sort-of understand what the performers are aiming for, but they miss the target. Sometimes it's timing and/or execution and sometimes it's that the gag isn't as funny as the filmmakers think it is, or that it runs too long, or both.

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You, Me and Dupree

You, Me and Dupree
You, Me and Dupree represents the second high-profile movie of the summer of 2006 to be mis-marketed as a comedy. As with The Break Up, this stars one of the featured actors from last year's surprise hit, Wedding Crashers. However, Owen Wilson isn't able to add more comedic pizzazz to You, Me and Dupree than Vince Vaughn was capable of providing to his anti-romance picture. In actuality, this is a flaccid drama with occasional "humorous" interludes. Unfortunately, most of the humor isn't any more amusing than the serious stuff is dramatic. You, Me and Dupree is a mess of conflicting tones and missed opportunities. The only one to emerge unscathed is Kate Hudson, who exhibits qualities she has rarely shown since her breakthrough role in Almost Famous.

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Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle
Now that Disney has joined Fox and Dreamworks in abandoning traditional animation for that of the 3-D computer generated variety, hand-drawn animation has become an endangered species (although, given the cyclical nature of this sort of thing, it will probably eventually re-emerge). Perhaps the only high-profile hold-out of this venerable genre to reach U.S. movie screens is Hayao Miyazaki, Japan's premiere animated filmmaker. Known for nearly two decades by fans of Japanese anime, Miyazaki gained widespread American exposure when his previous feature, Spirited Away, won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2003. Since then, Miyazaki's latest, Howl's Moving Castle, has been awaited with great anticipation.

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Box of Moonlight

Box of Moonlight
Tom DiCillo's offbeat Box of Moonlight is a film that I wanted to like a great deal more than I actually did. DiCillo is one of those few quirky directors who loves to play with both his audience and his subject matter. Unfortunately, all the little twists, turns, and tweaks in Box of Moonlight can't eclipse the fact that it's basically nothing more than a combination mid-life crisis/buddy movie. There are number of enchanting scenes, but, in concert, they somehow fail to gel into a magical whole.

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Crooked aka Soft Target

Crooked aka Soft Target
Anyone who's been repeatedly struck about the head and neck with a blunt object for an extended period of time will tell you the same thing — after a while, it just stops hurting. Well, I'm starting to believe this theory can be applied to those cinematic masochists who love spending their days and nights with whatever straight-to-video release happens to hit retail shelves that week.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2
Based on the popular comic book series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows the title characters (Josh Pais' Raphael, Robbie Rist's Michaelangelo, Corey Feldman's Donatello, and Brian Tochi's Leonardo) as they team up with a tenacious reporter (Judith Hoag's April O'Neil) and a scrappy vigilante (Elias Koteas' Casey Jones) after their master (Kevin Clash's Splinter) is kidnapped by a vicious crime lord known as The Shredder (James Saito).

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3 Godfathers

3 Godfathers
John Ford had already directed one of the three previous film versions of Peter Kyne's novel under the title Marked Men (1919) with his mentor Harry Carey, a great cowboy star of the silent era who had recently died. It's not difficult to see how the story's sentimentality and Christian symbolism might have appealed to the director's sensibility.

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High School Musical 2

High School Musical 2
The school year ends with everyone at East High School looking forward to summer vacation ("What Time Is It"). Troy Bolton is still dating Gabriella Montez, who decides to stay in Albuquerque with her mother. Troy eventually decides to look for a summer job to gain money for college.

Sharpay and Ryan Evans plan to spend part of the summer at their family's country club, Lava Springs ("Fabulous"), but Sharpay's summer plans also include pursuing Troy, whom she has arranged to be hired at the club. However, Troy convinces the club's manager, Mr. Fulton, into hiring Gabriella and their close group of friends as well; including Taylor and Chad. Sharpay is enraged upon learning that Gabriella is working as one of the lifeguards but is unable to get her fired so she orders Fulton to give them difficult tasks so they would be best to quit. Fulton attempts to intimidate the group but Troy rebuilds their confidence and convinces them that they can persevere ("Work This Out").

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The Parole Officer

The Parole Officer
Simon Garden is a well-meaning but ineffectual probation officer. At the beginning of the film, he is facing a tribunal after his entire department in Blackpool submit complaints against him, Garden having only had three successes in his career. He is therefore transferred to Manchester.

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Night Of The Demons

Night Of The Demons
A group of kids go to a Halloween party, only to have to face down a group of demons.

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