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There is nothing creepier than what lurk outside what you may think are the safe metal walls that entomb you inside the trains of a subway. What may lurk outside is the topic for Peter A. Dowling’s Action/Thriller Stag Night, in which four bachelor party goers find out why staying in the safe place of the subway train is the best thing to do versus exploring the underground system of rails. A new world is explored, and extreme consequences are bequeathed upon the unfortunate souls just trying to have a good time that night.
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Sex and the City: the Movie
Remember Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York? If you have never watched an episode of “Sex And The City,” then these names may mean nothing to you, but, to thousands of women, these four are the soldiers on the front lines for single women everywhere, answering their questions, making the mistakes, and, of course, testing out the shoes.
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Hamlet 2 (a great title) does not represent the first time in recent years that something unconventional has been done to one of the Bard's classics. (Although, to be sure, no one has been as audacious as to develop a musical sequel to a play.) Scotland, PA re-imagined Macbeth as a modern-day comedy. In A Midwinter's Tale, Kenneth Branagh developed a comedy centered on an amateur production of Hamlet. Years later, Branagh elected to adapt Love's Labour's Lost as a musical, using established standards. Aspects of all these productions can be found in Hamlet 2, not to mention swatches of Mel Brooks' The Producers and Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman. Despite the richness of the premise for comic invention, however, Hamlet 2 remains a rather mediocre experience, offering sporadic laughs but never achieving the level of consistent humor necessary to make this memorable.
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Paul Blart: Mall Cop
After stumbling through a lackluster first 30 minutes that features all the tepid humor one might reasonably expect from a mediocre comedy, Paul Blart: Mall Cop does something unexpected: it becomes watchable, perhaps even passably enjoyable. That's because this movie elevates its objective from lampooning mall security guards to satirizing one of Hollywood's biggest genres: the action/crime movie. In particular, Die Hard. To be sure, the iconic 1988 Bruce Willis film has been the subject of numerous big-screen parodies during the past two decades, but none has succeeded as well as this one. Considering the dubious quality of many of them, that could be considered damning with faint praise. And, although Paul Blart is by no means great cinema, there is amusement to be uncovered as we watch Kevin James bumble his way through actions oh-so-similar to those navigated with more blood, sweat, profanity, and dead bodies than Willis. Too bad there's no "Yippekayay...," but this is rated PG.
Paul Blart (Kevin James) is a rent-a-cop at a North Jersey mall. He doesn't get to carry a gun but he has a Segway to ride around on. Paul's ultimate dream is to join the New Jersey State police force, but hypoglycemia has thus far prevented him from completing the physically draining entrance exam. There's another point of
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For Your Consideration
When you think of Christopher Guest, the first thing likely to spring to mind is fake documentaries. He has made his reputation in the arena. From This Is Spinal Tap (which he co-wrote but did not direct) to A Mighty Wind, Guest has turned his camera on a variety of subjects. The term "mockumentary" was coined to descibe Guest's work and that of those who have copied him over the years. Although Guest is the unquestioned King of the Mockumentaries, with For Your Consideration, he steps back from his trademark approach. For Your Consideration is a satire, but it's not set up as a faux documentary. Instead, this send up of the movie industry is constructed as a series of largely improvised you-are-there scenes interspersed with fake TV clips. The result is often amusing but rarely uproarious, making this the softest of Guest's recent oeuvre.
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Next Three Days
The Next Three Days, Paul Haggis' adaptation of the 2008 French film, Anything for Her, uses an interesting concept as a cornerstone of the foundation. Instead of employing a seasoned professional as the lead character of this heist thriller, the movie makes the protagonist a rank amateur. He's an everyman sort and, like any normal individual placed in this situation, he makes a lot of mistakes. Thrillers about break-ins (or, in this case, a breakout) often dwell on the brilliance of the plot, which can at times be Rube Goldberg-esque in its cleverness and complexity. That's not the case here, where instances of brilliance are offset by blunders. Unfortunately, attempts at "realism" are thwarted by an overreliance upon coincidence. Nevertheless, especially as the movie shifts into high gear during its final 30 minutes, The Next Three Days offers enough suspense to make it worth the price of admission.
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Towelhead is a victim of the economics of movie-making. Despite being a critical success at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival (where is played under the name of Nothing Is Private), Towelhead has languished on shelves for a full year. With Warner Brothers' decision to scale back on releasing "specialty" titles and concentrate on high-profile movies, Towelhead's potential release date was continually pushed back. Once, a long delay between initial public screenings and final release indicated a dysfunctional movie. That's no longer the case. Now, it's all about economics. (Witness Warner Brothers' decision to place Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince into an eight-month limbo.) Towelhead's tardy release and the lack of publicity surrounding its opening are more of a comment upon the studio's uncertainty about the film's bankability than they are an indication of its quality.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Middle episodes in trilogies have the potential to be fundamentally dissatisfying. Thankfully, George Lucas has managed to avoid that pitfall for Episode II of the Star Wars saga, Attack of the Clones. Admittedly, the primary purpose of this film is to advance the overall story, bridging the gap between the lightweight, heroic antics of The Phantom Menace and the overwhelming darkness of the as-yet unnamed Episode III. Attack of the Clones has a starting point and a stopping point, but no true beginning or end. And it also shares elements in common with Lucas' earlier Star Wars middle episode, The Empire Strikes Back.
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Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
With each release, Pixar explores new themes and ideas. Meanwhile, animation studios like Fox retread tired "franchises" like Ice Age. Never representative of more than mediocrity from a technical or story-based standpoint, the Ice Age series has reached a new nadir with its third entry. Rather than adding an extra dimension to the entertainment, the decision to release Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 3D merely gives the animators an opportunity to be more slipshod in their design and execution. For the most part, the movie plays out like a demo for the video game, careening from one improbable action sequence to the next. I can see how the challenge of mastering some of these puzzles might be fun in an interactive forum, but they're deadly dull in a movie.
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Gettysburg, Ronald F. Maxwell's re-telling of four hot days during the summer of 1863 (based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara), is a spectacle that gathers power and momentum with every scene. Originally slated as a TNT mini-series, Gettysburg received the go-ahead for a theatrical run when Ted Turner realized the quality of the material he had on his hands. Those who are not daunted by the running time (two-hundred thirty-four minutes, easily the longest general release motion picture in a long while) and decide to see the film on the big-screen will find their choice well rewarded.
"I think the title [of Little Women] has been so off-putting for men over the generations. They feel this is a terribly 'girly' story. But it's actually a wonderful epic tale about family where men's roles are just as important and deeply involved in the story... It is... full of heartfelt emotion and such memorable characters whose lively appeal transcends the years."
- Gillian Armstrong, director of Little Women
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A bomb is detonated in the plaza of the Colombian Consulate building in Los Angeles, killing 9 people including a caravan of Colombian officials and American intelligence agents. Among the civilians killed are the wife and son of LAFD firefighter, Gordon Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who was injured in the explosion as he arrived to pick up his family. Soon afterward, a tape is sent to the U.S. State Department, in which a masked man calling himself "El Lobo" (The Wolf) claims responsibility for the bombing, explaining it was in retaliation for America's oppression of Colombia. The FBI believes El Lobo is a Colombian terrorist named Claudio Perrini (Cliff Curtis). CIA Special Agent Peter Brandt (Elias Koteas), the Colombia Station Chief, is harshly reprimanded for the incident by a Senate Oversight Committee, who promptly terminate all CIA operations in Colombia. Brandt angrily returns to Mompós and meets with his paramilitary allies to plan a major offensive to take down Claudio and his guerilla forces.
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War Eagle, Arkansas
Coming of age in an Ozark town. Enoch is a high school senior he stutters, has one friend, Wheels, a kid with CP whos in a wheelchair, and thinks about college in Tennessee on a baseball scholarship. Hes philosophical, loves poetry, and lives with his mom and grandfather. Life gets complicated when he finds himself attracted to Abby, one of the popular girls. When he starts hanging out with her, even though he wants Wheels along, in part to help him finish his sentences, it causes friction between the two friends and gives Enoch pause about whether he should leave town to make something of himself. Can he figure out what he wants without hurting anyones feelings? Maybe not.
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Closing the Ring
The film opens in 1991, with the funeral of a World War II veteran. The man's daughter Marie (Neve Campbell) delivers the eulogy to a church full of veterans who knew and loved her father, while her mother Ethel Ann (Shirley MacLaine) is sitting out on the church porch, smoking and nursing a hangover. When Ethel Ann begins acting strangely, only her friend Jack (Christopher Plummer) seems to understand why. It quickly emerges that there is a lot Marie does not know about her mother's past and the true story of her love life.
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In 1995, Samantha Darko (Chase) follows her best friend Corey (Evigan) on a road trip from Virginia to California, in an attempt to become professional dancers. Their dreams are cut short when their car breaks down in a tiny Utah town. They are saved by the town bad boy, Randy (Westwick), who takes them to the local motel where they meet the conspiracy-loving owner. He tells them of Billy Moorcroft, a boy that went missing.
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Flight of the Navigator
A 12 year old boy goes missing in 1978, only to reappear once more in 1986. In the eight years that have passed, David hasnt aged. It is no coincidence that at the time David comes back, a flying saucer is found, entangled in electricity cables.
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