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Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
It's surprising how under-utilized the legends of Greek mythology have been in modern Hollywood movie-making, considering their potential in terms of whiz-bang visual effects and action-adventure histrionics. Yeah, there's the upcoming Clash of the Titans, which if its anything like its namesake will be very liberal when it comes to fidelity to the original myths, and then there was Troy a few years back… which really wasn't doing Homer (or anyone else) any favors. But beyond that, the big screen has been pretty light on the ancient myths lately. 20th Century Fox, however, is hoping to change that with its new kid's-lit fantasy, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. But is the new film a golden-egg laying goose, or a Pandora's box full of awfulness?
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$5 a Day
One of the great joys of reviewing movies for ComicMix is being offered little gems I’ve never heard of, the movies that come and go too quickly to gain much attention. For example, take $5 a Day, which sports a solid cast led by Christopher Walken – right there, you want to see this, right? Walken rarely repeats himself and is always fun to watch on screen. He’s backed by Alessandro Nivola, Peter Coyote, Amanda Peet, and Sharon Stone so it’s a good crew.
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IN JOHN POLSON'S Tenderness, Russell Crowe is being avuncular a role he fills with an admirable lack of vanity. He wears a sleeveless cable-knit jumper over a nylon shirt together with the kind of moustache that went out of fashion long before the death of Clark Gable in 1960.
Crowe is playing Lieutenant Cristofuoro, a New York police detective caught up in the case of Eric Poole (Jon Foster), a young psychopath who's just been released from juvenile detention where he's been held for the murder of his mother and stepfather.
Like smog settling over Los Angeles, a creeping sense of anomie haunts the Hollywood power players and parasites sidling nervously through “Shrink,” a portrait of a disenchanted therapist to the stars and his clientele. Directed by Jonas Pate from a screenplay by Thomas Moffett, based on a story by Henry Rearden, this dissection of a soul-sick community of self-medicating actors, writers and agents would like to think of itself as a contemporary “Play It as It Lays,” only kinder and gentler.
"Click" is a very interesting movie, telling the story of Michael Newman, a workaholic arhitect, who one day finds a remote controller with which he can control time. He can pause it, skip some boring moments, jump further in his life and even view past moments from it. The things begin to go wrong as the remote controller takes over his life.
28 Weeks Later
Another week, another disappointing summer sequel. So it goes…
In actuality, the screenplay for 28 Weeks Later isn't all that bad. Sure, it's repetitious and much of it has been regurgitated from 2003's 28 Days Later, but it contains some interesting elements and offers enough gore that horror fans might have been able to enjoy it… if, that is, it wasn't for the stylistic approach employed by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Apparently, Fresnadillo believes that the proper way to film any action scene is to shake the camera violently and pan it wildly back and forth, thereby making it virtually impossible to figure out what's going on (and pushing viewers with motion sickness to the brink of voiding their stomachs). As if that wasn't bad enough, in the editing room, Fresnadillo ensured that no single shot lasted longer than about a second. Also, the climactic struggle takes place in darkness, making it that much more difficult to decode the action. I didn't realize a character had died until, a little later, it was apparent that person was no longer around.
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Fugitive Pieces was accorded the honor of opening the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and it became the latest in a long line of Opening Night movies to have trouble securing a distributor. After an eight month interval after its World Premiere, the movie is being given a small U.S. Distribution by Samuel Goldwyn Films. What was worth missing in Toronto is worth missing at a local art house. In a word, Fugitive Pieces can be described as “forgettable.” The film has lofty goals, but comes across as leaden and pretentious. It’s a character study in which the lead participant is the least interesting person in the movie. There’s something inherently frustrating and unsatisfying about that. As a viewer, you want to become involved in this man’s life but the film never takes you to a point where that’s possible. This is a fatal flaw.
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Love in tennis doesn't have to be bad, as Richard Loncraine's Wimbledon shows. A formulaic motion picture that delights in spite of (or perhaps because of?) its reliance upon conventions, Wimbledon is the kind of movie that allows the non-cynical movie-goer to sit back and relax in the presence of actors who work well with each other and a script whose familiarity is an asset. It's rare for any motion picture to successfully combine the clichés of the sports and romance genres, while keeping a balance between them. In recent years, I can name only two: For Love of the Game and The Cutting Edge. To that select group, Wimbledon can be added.
Two for the Money
Two for the Money starts as a high voltage drama about the underbelly of the sports business - the multi-billion dollar gambling industry. The movie takes us into the warts-and-all world of 1-900 numbers and internet betting sites, bringing us on-board and suck(er)ing us along with the main character. For 60 minutes, Two for the Money is a great ride - compelling, informative, and thought-provoking. Unfortunately, around the half-way point, the melodrama kicks in, and the film's focus becomes increasingly murky. Original screenwriting gives way to clichés, and the resolution, while offering closure, seems false - too much a case of the filmmakers wanting to have their cake and eat it, too.
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There have been numerous documentaries and dramatic productions focusing on the Holocaust, including a television mini-series which many consider to be the definitive work. As a result, in deciding to film Schindler's List, director Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park) set an imposing task for himself. His vision needed to differ from that of the film makers who preceded him, yet the finished product had to remain faithful to the unforgettable images which represent the legacy of six million massacred Jews. Those who see this motion picture will witness Spielberg's success.
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Erik Ponti is a fifteen year old living with his mother and stepfather. At home, his sadistic stepfather beats him for even the most minute infractions. His docile mother ignores her husband's sadistic nature and allows the violence to proceed. At school, Erik is violent and frequently engages in fights, as a result of his violent upbringing. After a particularly vicious fight, Erik is expelled. The headmaster labels him vicious and accuses him of being pure evil. In an attempt to provide her son with a fresh start he sorely needs, his mother sells of some of her possessions and sends Erik to a boarding school.
Six short stories from the heart and what made them bleed....
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The Waiting Room
Two complete strangers, ANNA and STEPHEN, are brought together by chance by an elderly man who waits for his wife on a station platform. Their fateful meeting acts as a catalyst for them to examine and challenge whats going on in their different relationships, and make hard but positive decisions for themselves. If they can change their lives maybe they can meet again.
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In Kentucky, five sexy students are trapped to spend the night in an abandoned sanatorium, where many people were killed in the 30s when the location was devastated by an infectious white plague, as a prank of their school mates. Along the night, while trying to escape from the asylum, they are haunted by ghosts and the survivors disclose that they are descendant of the victims and are reviving their deaths.
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Lying in Wait
Young bachelor Babee is looking after his dead mothers estate when married couple Keith and Vera move in. Babee becomes attracted to them by the beautiful Vera and the risk taking Keith. However at a party Vera crashes her car, putting Keith into a coma. When Keith comes out he is in a semi-vegetative state and must rely on Vera to look after him. Keith cant move or speak but reveals to Babee that he can still talk and starts to kill those that wronged him with Babees help.
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Ricky is the hottest water-ski instructor around and he has just be rehired by his former employercamp to whip up attendance. But the camp is in serious financial trouble and the owner of a rival, more popular, camp wants to buy them out. Therefore they will have to engage in a mean, winner-takes-all competition that will settle the row once and for all.
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