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Cry of the Owl
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was an American mystery writer of novels and short stories who came to fame in the 1950's with "Strangers on a Train" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Her most-popular character, the amiable antihero-murderer Tom Ripley, became so famous, she wrote four more books about him (but he's not in the movie reviewed here, more's the pity). Filmmakers have also loved her work, and even one of her lesser efforts, "The Cry of the Owl," which she wrote in 1962, has now seen two screen appearances, first in 1987 from the French New Wave director Claude Chabrol and in 2009 in this direct-to-video production from British writer-director Jamie Thraves ("Negative," "The Low Down"). Unfortunately, neither filmmaker could make much of Ms. Highsmith's somewhat dour, slow-moving book.
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Never Back Down
Strictly speaking, Never Back Down is not a remake, but it might as well be. The premise is familiar: underdog achieves self respect through training with a master then puts it all together for the big fight. Like a pop song suffering from overplay, Never Back Down hits all the expected notes but feels tired and stirs no emotion. When one considers where Million Dollar Baby took this concept, it becomes all the more depressing how little creativity exists in Never Back Down's DNA. There's no reason to see this film - everyone in the audience knows not only what the starting and finishing points are but the trajectory that will propel events from one to the other. Those with a craving for the story would be better off re-watching The Karate Kid than enduring this lackluster re-telling.
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The quality and quantity of Israeli movie exports have increased significantly in recent years. Most of those features, while well-made, tend to be serious - not surprising considering the volatile situation those living there find themselves in. For that reason, The Band's Visit, the directorial debut of Erin Kolirin, is a welcome surprise. A drama about isolation and communication, The Band's Visit is characterized both by strongly delineated characters and low-key comedy. The movie is not lightweight but it is at times lighthearted.
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Poker is one of those games that, unless you're a die-hard, is a lot more fun to play than to watch. Nevertheless, because on-line poker sites have become so popular in recent years, there has been a upsurge in TV poker shows. The unfortunate byproduct of this "poker revolution" is that Hollywood has decided to get into the mix and, in true big studio fashion, filmmakers have nailed down the formula (which is loosely based on the long-standing one for the sports movie) and don't deviate from the template. Deal is the kind of mess that results from this slavish lack of creativity. The film has more of a checklist of clichés than an actual script and, when it comes to the cast, director Gil Cates Jr. is scraping the bottom of the barrel. There's no compelling reason to see Deal. Everything it offers is familiar to the extent where even though it's not a remake, it feels like one.
There's no sophomore jinx for the Wachowski Brothers. Andy and Larry, a pair of obviously talented film makers, have returned to theaters with The Matrix, a science fiction thriller that is every bit the match of their debut effort, Bound, for tension, excitement, and intelligence. In an era when movie scripts (especially those pigeonholed into the science fiction genre) are becoming increasingly more stupid and special effects reliant, the Wachowskis prove that style and substance do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Everyone Says I Love You
In the past decade, only two live-action, mainstream musical motion pictures have been released. While the first, Little Shop of Horrors, met with some success, the second, Newsies, was a box-office disaster. The poor performance of the Disney-backed film seemed to confirm the common perception that, as a movie genre, the musical was dead. Now, however, as 1996 draws to a close, two films are arriving to challenge that belief. The better-known of the pair is, of course, Evita. However, another musical has beaten it to theaters by more than two weeks: Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You.
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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Despite arriving during the era when this kind of movie was beginning a slow but inexorable fall from public favor, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains one of the best crafted and most beloved of all the Westerns. In addition to launching Robert Redford's career into orbit and polishing Paul Newman's reputation as a leading man, Butch Cassidy also solidified screenwriter William Goldman's position in Hollywood. (Goldman would later claim that, of all the movies he was involved in scripting, he was only fully satisfied with two: The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy.) Despite early negative reviews from a brigade of curmudgeon critics, the public flooded theaters exhibiting this film, making it one of the most popular tickets of 1969. Butch Cassidy went on to gross nearly $100 million at the box office (an astounding total at that time) and earned seven Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture), of which it won four (Cinematography, Score, Song, and Original Screenplay).
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The Lives of the Saints
Mr Karva runs a shady little empire in North London. We dont know exactly how he makes his money but we know its probably not very nice. Mr Karvas stepson, Othello, has ambitions to take the old mans place and Othellos fainthearted friend, Emilio, has ambitions of his own. This delicate balance of power is upset when Roadrunner finds a strange, sickly-looking 10 year old boy in the park. All his life, Roadrunner has been on the move - but when he looks into the childs eyes, he finds he can finally stop running. It becomes clear that the child can grant each character their own taste of heaven - the perfect, rosy future of your dreams. The child never talks but transforms the world around him, working on the desire in each characters heart, whatever it may be. Othello wins every bet he makes Christella finds a new son to replace the baby she lost Mr. Karva achieves his elusive orgasm and Father Daniel is finally able to express his own secret passions. But nothing ever comes for free...
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Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) fears flying. After attending her grandmother's funeral in Dallas, Texas, she takes a red-eye flight to Miami, Florida. While in the check-in line she meets an elderly woman (Angela Paton) who is interested in Lisa's Dr. Phil book. She tells her she's a fan, Lisa gives the old lady her book saying she has already read it. She then meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) whom she initially finds charming and they share a drink while they wait to board their delayed flight (The name "Jackson Rippner" is likely a word play of "Jack the Ripper", Lisa realizes this allusion and points it out)
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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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Selleck plays Phil Blackwood, an American mystery novelist who comes across a dazzling Romanian murder suspect named Nina (Porizkova) when she is arraigned in the courtroom he's visiting. Instantly falling for her, Blackwood poses as a Roman Catholic priest in order to meet her while she is held pending her continued arraignment. With the help of his friend, Sam (Daniels), Blackwood invents an alibi for Nina to secure her release.
Nina then takes up residence with Blackwood, serving as the inspiration for a novel that will decide the fate of his and Sam's careers in writing and publishing, all while evading operatives from communist Romania. The climax of the film takes place during The Funeral of Grimaldi, a jovial memorial service in which many clowns gather to celebrate the life of Joseph Grimaldi.
Although it was Porizkova's best-known film appearance, her role as Nina in Her Alibi earned her a 1990 Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Actress.
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Mike, a young teenage boy who has just lost his parents, is afraid to lose his brother. This fear causes him to follow his brother to a funeral, where Mike witnesses the Tall Man lift a coffin on his own. Mike decides to investigate and discovers a horrible world where the Tall Man, along with his flying spheres, shrink the to half their normal size and reanimate them as slaves. It is then up to Mike, his brother, and Reggie the ice cream man to stop the Tall man.
Inspired by the real-life serial Killer, B.T.K is the gruesome story of Dennis L. Rader, a murderer who systematically tortured and killed his victims for over two decades while evading the police for over 30 years. Living a seemingly normal life as a husband, father, security officer and church president, Raders unquenchable thirst for blood ultimately led him to commit the most horrific crimes imaginable. Shocking and full of suspense, B.T.K is a grisly journey into the nightmarish world of a deranged killer.
Money for Nothing
When unemployed dockworker Joey Coyle finds 1.2 million that fell off of an armored car, he decides to do the logical thing take the money and run. After all, he says, finders keepers. He turns to his ex-girlfriend Monica, who works in an investment firm, for advice, before turning to the mob for help laundering the money. While Joey makes plans to leave the country, however, a detective is following his ever-warmer trail in order to recover the cash.
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Man on the Moon
A biopic based on the life of Andy Kaufman, an eccentric comedian who went onto enjoy a career as lovable foreign car mechanic Latka Gravas on TVs Taxi and later gained infamy as an inter-gender wrestling champ. The film studies some of Kaufmans comedy antics as well as his personal life and his relationship with his manager George Shapiro, his best friendpartner Bob Zmuda and his girlfriend Lynne Margulies.
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Mommy Is at the Hairdresser's
Summer 1966. Its time to enjoy the summer holiday, total freedom. Teenage lise discovers that the sudden departure of her mother completely disrupts the family. Her brother Coco seeks solace in the garage, building a super racing car. Her youngest brother Benot throws himself into his own inner world. The father seems absolutely knocked out by the situation. lise decides to take control of her family, in an eloquent attempt to save them. With the assistance of flourishing nature around her, she stands on the threshold of an incomparable summer.
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