From Paris with Love

From Paris with Love
John Travolta wipes out most of the Asian and Arab population of France in From Paris with Love, a plotless, pointless shoot 'em up directed by Pierre Morel (Taken) from a story by Luc Besson. Travolta plays Charlie Wax, a CIA operative sent to Paris to take down drug dealers or anyone who works in a Chinese restaurant or designs dresses or looks at him sideways or might be a terrorist, in this non-sensical ultra-violent R-rated action film that exists only to please those into high body counts.
Besson takes credit for the story, but really there's not much of an actual plot in evidence. I'm guessing that whatever storyline Besson initially came up with, he was able to jot down on a single post-it note. The hows and whys of what's going down on screen aren't nearly as important as the spiffy ways dreamed up to kill off at least 30, 40, maybe even 50 or more - who's counting? - of what I'm assuming are supposed to be bad guys over the course of an hour and a half. Travolta even employs a bazooka at one point to take out a car loaded with a bomb heading straight toward an American diplomatic caravan.

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Red
Red is a movie thatís better than it should be and yet isnít as good as it could be. The jokes could be funnier, the action could be more exhilarating, the pacing could be quicker, but the film is still a success. And yet with stronger direction and a more polished script, Red could have been one of the better films of the year thanks to its stronghttp://downloadsmovie.org/news/admin.php?mod=addnews&action=addnews cast. Not only do they play off each other well, but Mary Louise-Parker, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, and Helen Mirren all give terrific performances. Red gets the job done, but thereís frustration in seeing it come up as only passable.

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The Dreamers

The Dreamers
The cinema of Bernardo Bertolucci has provided the meat of many a heated film debate since his emergence in the 1970ís. Those with a soft spot for European cinema have always maintained that his work, even at itís most grandiloquent, deserves to be included in the pantheon of post-war classics. Those with sympathies more firmly lodged on the west coast of America have used the dreaded P word (amongst others) to describe the Italianís output. Wherever your loyalties lie itís impossible to ignore the buzz his films still command. He is one of only a handful of international directors whose name on the poster is the key selling point for the film, regardless of whoís starring in it, or what itís about.

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Breaking and Entering

Breaking and Entering
Perhaps the kindest way to describe Anthony Minghella's Breaking and Entering is to say it's evident as being broken fairly early during the proceedings. There's no shortage of candidates for the fatal flaw: the artificial storyline; the presence of a ridiculously cliched character; the lack of chemistry between illicit lovers. Blaming one of these problems is probably unfair. The movie's failure is likely based on a fusion of all these, and perhaps a few others. Minghella has become known as a director of "chick flicks," primarily because of The English Patient and Cold Mountain. When viewed from a distance, Breaking and Entering would appear to fit into the same category, but there is a stark difference. In his previous efforts, Minghella created believable relationships between interesting characters. The same cannot be said of Breaking and Entering, where the situations are contrived and the key characters don't connect.

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Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland
If it's Disney (or its subsidiary, Miramax), it must be "inspired by true events." Or maybe it just seems that way. Those words, which appear in a caption at the beginning, are chose with care (more care than the similar preface to Hidalgo). Finding Neverland uses strands of historical fact to weave a story that is largely fictional. Yes, J.M. Barrie did write "Peter Pan," and, yes, many of the characters in the film existed, but this is predominantly a soft-ball approach to the inspiration that led Barrie to write his most famous play. For one thing, it almost completely ignores sex, which was certainly a fundamental element in Barrie's life. (The issue of pedophilia, which has dogged Barrie's reputation for a century, is briefly mentioned, then quickly dismissed, as if it isn't worth contemplation.) Still, even considering the liberties taken with the known record (and I have often said that movies should not be constrained by the same rules that govern history books), the end result is compelling and life-affirming.

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Score
Many years ago, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the motion picture industry practically ran on star power. These days, in large part because of skyrocketing salaries, it's unusual to find more than one high-profile performer in any given motion picture. The Score, however, boasts three of them - aging icon Marlon Brando, Scorsese favorite Robert De Niro, and the up-and-coming Edward Norton. Admittedly, this sounds like an unbeatable combination to fashion a top-notch caper flick, but, like 1998's disappointing Twilight, The Score proves that a cast with high-wattage names isn't enough. The script needs to be on par with the acting talent, and, at least in this case, it isn't. The Score is let down by the screenwriters.

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Edge
As "survival in the wilderness" films go, The Edge is a strange example. Leaving the theater, I didn't quite know what to make of it. In fact, I'll even admit to enjoying it on a certain level. I laughed frequently, but the problem is that I'm not sure the director intended there to be as much humor in his film as I uncovered. It's also worth noting that from time-to-time, the movie manages to achieve a certain level of tension, although it's far from the "white knuckle" variety. Overall, however, the picture really didn't work for me, except as an example of big-budget campiness.

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Nobody's Fool

Nobody's Fool
Nobody's Fool is about as sublime a motion picture as is likely to come out of Hollywood. With a structure that contravenes the norm, this film concentrates on character first, letting the plot fall naturally into place. Situations are forced on neither the film's inhabitants nor on those in the audience. It's rare to sit through a drama and not feel manipulated, but the feelings generated by Robert Benton's movie are entirely natural, and likely to bring a smile to the heart.

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Santa Clause

Santa Clause
This is what happens when someone takes what might have been a moderately-entertaining television Christmas special and tries to adapt it for the big screen. The Santa Clause isn't an unmitigated disaster, but it's also a whole lot less impressive than it could be. The release date -- six weeks in advance of the actual holiday -- should be reason enough for skepticism. Was this perhaps an attempt to beat John Hughes' Miracle on 34th Street to the theaters?

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Say Anything

Say Anything
Say Anything is one of the best in a long line of teen romance movies, if not the best. Unlike many of its fellow genre entries, it is not filled with crude sex jokes, nudity, a lobotomized population, and poorly-defined subplots. And, while the broad strokes of the storyline are familiar, the details are what make this movie special -- smart, well-developed characters, believable situations, and a solid emotional investment for us in the film's people and circumstances. There's nothing exploitative or condescending in Say Anything's approach -- it tells it like it is, with subtle humor and carefully-modulated pathos, capturing the nuances of teenage love in a way that few other screen productions can boast.

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Twice Upon a Christmas

Twice Upon a Christmas
After Kristin saved Kyle's life, she has been living with the Morgan family ever since. Unfortunately, she cannot remember her past, and has lost her immortality. Bill proposes to her, but she declines, as she says she doesn't feel right about the decision without knowing her family. At the North Pole, Rudolpha is secretly selling pieces of the North Pole worldwide to get rid of the North Pole, and to make Santa Claus feel he is being replaced. As Kristin is preparing her wedding with Bill, Brittany and Kyle, Bill's two children, order from Rudolpha's business, and unknowingly receive Kristin's doll from when she was a little girl. After Kristin sees the doll, she immediately remembers her past, as flashbacks are shown of her life until then (with many taken from Once Upon a Christmas.) After Kristin sees Rudolpha's commercial, She and the children discover Rudolpha's plan, and head for the North Pole to try to save Christmas with a special announcement the pieces are returned and Christmas saved Rudolpha must ride since the deers have not come back. Kristen and Bill get married.

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Brush with Fate

Brush with Fate
Richard is a new art teacher at a high school. Cornelia Englebrecht (played by Glenn Close) is a history teacher who invites Richard to see a painting of a young girl at a table, which she believes to be a genuine Vermeer, where she tells him stories, which are portrayed as flashbacks about the people who owned the painting in the past. All of the stories take place in Holland, and the flashbacks happen mostly before the one preceding it. The first story, from the late 1800s, involved a romance and had flashbacks within flashbacks. Another story took place in the early 1700s when a baby was abandoned during a flood after a dike break. The painting accompanied the baby and was intended to be sold for the baby's expenses.

In the next story, a man left a university to take a job working with the machinery used for the dikes. He got interested in a servant girl who was punished by being put in stocks. It is revealed in this story where the baby came from.

The next story was very brief, and in it, a woman, who was unsuccessful in bidding for the painting at an auction, seemed to know more about the painting than the auctioneer. The next story revealed how Vermeer came to paint the girl's picture. Finally, Cornelia tells us how she came in possession of the painting, and it is perhaps the most interesting story of them all

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Drive Thru

Drive Thru
The film opens with a car full of friends led by Brandon Meeks (Edward DeRuiter) with his pal Tony and their girlfriends cruising and vandalizing the streets of Blanca Carne when the group decides to order food at a fast food restaurant called "Hella-Burger". However, while ordering, they are repeatedly insulted through the intercom system. Furious, Tony breaks into the restaurant gun-loaded to "show clown boy what's up". While inside, Tony continues his search for the employee. A concerned Brandon also enters the restaurant (leaving the females unattended in the car) and finds Tony dead with his head in the deep fryer. In a state shock, Brandon is then attacked by a demonic version of Hella-Burger's mascot "'Horny' the Clown". Brandon tries to bargain with semo, but to no avail as he is killed. Horny then makes his way outside and gruesomely kills the two girls in the car.

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Day of the Dead (1985)

Day of the Dead (1985)
Zombies rule the USA, except for a small group of scientists and military personnel who reside in an underground bunker in Florida. The scientists are using the undead in gruesome experiments much to the chagrin of the military. Finally the military finds that their men have been used in the scientists experiments, and banish the scientists to the caves that house the Living Dead. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker....

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Look @ Me

Look @ Me
Tina Tremaine works for a banking investment company and runs a fantasy website featuring herself. As her modeling career is about to take off, shes kidnapped by one of her Web subscribers. He locks her away in his house in a windowless room wired with sound and video. While her friends and the police start a search, he visits his psychotherapist. Is there any way she can aid in her own escape or will she have to depend on others?

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Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus

Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus
Yes, it was ridiculously horribly bad, but some reason, I enjoyed it.

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