Monthly Archives: May 2009

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Movie Review

PG, 105 min, 2009

Ben Stiller (Larry Daley), Amy Adams (Amelia Earhart), Owen Wilson (Jedediah), Hank Azaria (Kahmunrah / The Thinker – (voice) / Abe Lincoln – (voice)), Robin Williams (Teddy Roosevelt), Christopher Guest (Ivan the Terrible), Alain Chabat (Napoleon Bonaparte), Steve Coogan (Octavius), Ricky Gervais (Dr. McPhee), Bill Hader (George Armstrong Custer), Jon Bernthal (Al Capone), Patrick Gallagher (Attila the Hun), Jake Cherry (Nicky), Rami Malek (Ahkmenrah), Mizuo Peck (Sacajawea). Directed by Shawn Levy and produced by Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, and Levy. Screenplay by Robert Ben Garant & Thomas Lennon, based on their characters.

I’m starting to believe that Amy Adams can be lovable in just about anything. How else to explain the utter charm and sunshine she exudes here as Amelia Earhart in a production that is otherwise pretty much D.O.A.? For reasons passing understanding, she agreed to play Amelia in the wrong production. Rather than play her in a serious biopic, she instead takes on the role of the world’s first female pilot in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, a sequel to the 2006 family film hit, where she is ostensibly the sidekick to the “hero.” Continue reading

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Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation Movie Review

PG_13, 115 min, 2009

Christian Bale (John Connor), Sam Worthington (Marcus Wright), Moon Bloodgood (Blair Williams), Helena Bonham Carter (Dr. Serena Kogan), Anton Yelchin (Kyle Reese), Jadagrace (Star (as Jadagrace Berry)), Bryce Dallas Howard (Kate Connor), Common (Barnes), Jane Alexander (Virginia), Michael Ironside (General Ashdown), Ivan G’Vera (General Losenko (as Ivan Gvera)), Chris Browning (Morrison), Dorian Nkono (David), Beth Bailey (Lisa), Victor J. Ho (Mark (as Victor Ho)). Directed by McG and produced by Derek Anderson, Moritz Borman, Victor Kubicek, Jeffrey Silver. Screenplay by John D. Brancato (as John Brancato) & Michael Ferris.

It has come down to this: the human resistance movement fighting against the overpowering force of the machines have become…machines. Oh, the irony abounds. Here is a sequel that starts promisingly and quickly descends into a relentless sea of excess and monotony (I believe that will be the title of my autobiography someday). Yes,Terminator Salvation is the bloodless (pardon the pun) fourth installment in the popular Terminator series. Continue reading

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Angels & Demons

Angels and Demons Movie Review

PG_13, 138 min, 2009

Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon), Ewan McGregor (Camerlengo Patrick McKenna), Ayelet Zurer (Vittoria Vetra), Stellan Skarsgård (Commander Richter), Pierfrancesco Favino (Inspector Olivetti), Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Assassin), Armin Mueller-Stahl (Cardinal Strauss), Thure Lindhardt (Chartrand), David Pasquesi (Claudio Vincenzi), Cosimo Fusco (Father Simeon), Victor Alfieri (Lieutenant Valenti), Franklin Amobi (Cardinal Lamasse), Curt Lowens (Cardinal Ebner), Bob Yerkes (Cardinal Guidera), Marc Fiorini (Cardinal Baggia (as Marco Fiorini)). Directed by Ron Howard and produced by John Calley, Brian Grazer, and Howard. Screenplay by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman, based on the novel by Dan Brown.

Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons is as epic, labyrinthine, silly, rambunctious, and ultimately preposterous a thrill ride as you are likely to see this summer – all the more surprising then that it is involving from the first frame to the last.

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Star Trek

Star Trek Movie Review

PG_13, 127 min, 2009

Chris Pine (Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Eric Bana (Nero), Bruce Greenwood (Pike), Karl Urban (Bones), Zoe Saldana (Uhura (as Zoë Saldana)), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Chekov), Ben Cross (Sarek), Winona Ryder (Amanda Grayson), Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk), Jennifer Morrison (Winona Kirk), Rachel Nichols (Gaila). Directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Abrams and Damon Lindelof. Screenplay by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman, based on the television series Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry.

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek is a big, brassy, entertaining reboot of the popular, long-running sci-fi saga. It’s also silly, preposterous and, above all, just plain fun. Continue reading

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie Review

PG_13, 107 min, 2009

Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Liev Schreiber (Victor Creed), Danny Huston (Stryker), Will.i.am (John Wraith), Lynn Collins (Kayla Silverfox), Kevin Durand (Fred Dukes), Dominic Monaghan (Chris Bradley / Bolt), Taylor Kitsch (Remy LeBeau), Daniel Henney (Agent Zero), Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson), Tim Pocock (Scott Summers), Julia Blake (Heather Hudson), Max Cullen (Travis Hudson), Troye Sivan (Young James), Michael-James Olsen (Young Victor). Directed by Gavin Hood and produced by Hugh Jackman, John Palermo, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter. Screenplay by David Benioff and Skip Woods.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, an attempt at an entertaining prequel to the X-Men film franchise, is a curious affair; I had about as low expectations as I could possibly imagine for something like this and still it managed to disappoint. Continue reading

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The Limits of Control

The Limits of Control Movie Review

R, 116 min, 2009

Isaach De Bankolé (The Lone Man), Alex Descas (The Creole), Jean-François Stévenin (The Frenchman), Óscar Jaenada (The Waiter), Luis Tosar (Man with Violin), Paz de la Huerta (The Nude Woman), Tilda Swinton (The Blonde), Yûki Kudô (Molecules), John Hurt (Man with Guitar), Gael García Bernal (The Mexican), Hiam Abbass (The Driver), Bill Murray (The American), Héctor Colomé (Second American), María Isasi (Flamenco Club Waitress), Norma Yessenia Paladines (Flight Attendant). Directed by Jim Jarmusch and produced by Gretchen McGowan and Stacey E. Smith. Screenplay by Jarmusch.

What do you get when you take Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), move it to Spain and go the Hal Hartley route? Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, that’s what. Here is a would-be hip, would-be cool neo-noir/gangster movie that strips whatever semblance of a story it could’ve had down to the bare essentials of narrative filmmaking – leaving what? An exercise in style without substance? Narrative minimalism? No, just a flywheel spinning in a void, I fear.

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