What should I be doing instead of this?
Home · Articles · By Cole Smithey
Cole Smithey
Top Articles from Cole Smithey
No articles in this section

The Karate Kid (Review)

Bloated remake doesn't quite work

0 Comments · Monday, June 14, 2010
Adhering closely to the original 1984 'Karate Kid' blueprint that made Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita household names, this Will Smith-produced remake ups the stakes by moving the action to China. Casting Jackie Chan as Mr. Han, a martial-arts master who teaches his young protégé (Jaden Smith) how to fight, lends an air of authenticity to the otherwise by-the-book narrative. Grade: C-plus.  

Splice (Review)

Sci-fi thriller presents scientific moral dilemma but doesn't deliver

0 Comments · Friday, June 4, 2010
What starts out as a promising sci-fi thriller about romantically linked biochemists (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) loses steam in an underwhelming third-act climax evidently affected by budgetary limits. There's a dash of 'Rosemary's Baby' in a film that wants to present more of a horrifying scientific moral dilemma than it's able to deliver. Grade: C-plus.  

The Yellow Handkerchief (Review)

Indie drama fails despite William Hurt's valiant efforts

0 Comments · Friday, May 28, 2010
With a guiding title premise that has little to no bearing on the story, 'The Yellow Handkerchief' is basically a glorified student film. Still, William Hurt gives a worthy performance as Brett Hanson, a convicted murderer released into the hot Louisiana sun after serving a six-year prison sentence. Grade: C-.  

Casino Jack and the United States of Money (Review)

Damning documentary compelling but too overstuffed

0 Comments · Friday, May 21, 2010
Overloaded to the point of diminishing returns, Alex Gibney's soup-to-nuts examination of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff doesn't know when to cut bait. Audiences already numb to the staggering scale of America's ongoing governmental corruption will have a tough time digesting the cynical climate of greed that allows Abramoff's manipulation of congressmen and senators to continue under radical neoconservative rule, now enabled by a black Democratic president. Grade: B.  

The Secret in Their Eyes (Review)

Argentinean film is a complex romantic thriller to be savored

0 Comments · Friday, May 21, 2010
Deserving winner of the 2009 Best Foreign Film Oscar, 'The Secret in Their Eyes' is a gripping mystery film layered with canny cultural, political, psychological and romantic elements. Argentinean writer/director Juan Jose Campanella methodically lays the narrative groundwork of a murder case in which a 23-year-old bride was brutally raped and murdered, leaving her loyal husband Ricardo devastated and searching for her killer. Grade: A.  

Robin Hood (Review)

Blanchett soars, Crowe broods in overwrought telling of classic story

0 Comments · Friday, May 14, 2010
For as muddled as its medieval politics are, director Ridley Scott's cloud-covered history of Robin Longstride's path to outlaw legend soars whenever Cate Blanchett takes the screen as Maid Marion. But in an overworked effort at making Robin Hood a somber man with heavy emotional baggage about his father and an idealized sense of justice, Scott has drained all the fun out of a story that should at least have some amount of proletariat joy. Grade: C-plus.  

The Joneses (Review)

Satirical comedy is insightful if not especially scathing

0 Comments · Thursday, April 15, 2010
As its generic name of the family that Americans strive to keep up with, 'The Joneses' is an insightful, if not especially scathing, satire from debut director/co-writer Derrick Borte about consumerist manipulation. Grade: B-.  

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Review)

Swedish thriller kicks you in the head, heart and libido

1 Comments · Thursday, April 15, 2010
The first film adaptation of the late Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson's posthumously published Millennium Trilogy, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' is an enigmatic mystery thriller fired by the growling intensity of its goth-girl heroine Lisbeth Salander (ferociously played by Noomi Rapace). Grade: B.  

North Face (Review)

Nail-biting true story is so convincing you'll get chilled to the bone

0 Comments · Friday, April 2, 2010
Writer/director Philipp Stolzl precariously filmed on the actual face of the Swiss massif, the Eiger North Face, to create a nail-biting Nazi-era historic drama so convincing that you'll get chilled to the bone like the mountain climbers on screen. Grade: A-.  

Hot Tub Time Machine (Review)

Lackluster comedy fails via poorly executed slapstick

0 Comments · Thursday, April 1, 2010
Considering John Cusack produced this lackluster comedy romp wherein three fortysomething buddies travel back to their '80s-era heyday of sex, drugs and Rock '& Roll, Hot Tub Time Machine should