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Cole Smithey
 
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The Book of Eli (Review)

Apocalyptic story more interested in shooting guns than character development

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Falling on the heels of 'The Road,' here is a similarly themed vision of a post-apocalyptic dystopia where cannibals and criminals make up what's left of the human species. Survivalist extraordinaire Eli (Denzel Washington) is a loner badass with a Bible, and if that isn't good enough for an audience to empathize with, then the exit doors are located at the front and rear of the cinema. Grade: C.  

Youth in Revolt (Review)

Michael Cera-led comedy is a fresh breeze of youthful rebellion

1 Comments · Friday, January 8, 2010
Director Miguel Arteta adapts C.D. Payne's 1993 novel to predictably comic, if not full-blown, outrageous effect. Michael Cera is well cast as Nick Twisp, the precocious lust-driven teenage son of separated low-life parents. He might not be Holden Caulfield, but in this day and age Nick represents a fresh breeze of youthful rebellion. Grade: B.  

Daybreakers (Review)

Blood is a commodity in latest vampire flick

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sibling Australian filmmakers Michael and Peter Spierig flip Hollywood's teen-friendly vampire trend on its head with 'Daybreakers,' a gory sci-fi world run by a majority population of bloodsuckers. Its greatest achievement could be that it keeps Generation X poster-boy Ethan Hawke in an action setting where his modulated style gets more traction than two Nicolas Cages put together. Grade: B-.  

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Review)

Terry Gilliam takes us on a surprising, delightful journey

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 6, 2010
For the first time in a decade, Terry Gilliam has made a film that delivers on his reputation as a master of cinematic fantasy. While he hasn't made a flawless film, Gilliam manages to preserve the memory of Heath Ledger (appearing here in his final screen performance) in an appropriate and inspired way. Grade: B.  

The Young Victoria (Review)

Well-crafted period romance features a disarming Emily Blunt

0 Comments · Monday, December 28, 2009
The secret to any period romance drama lies in making it seem effortless. Without emitting so much as a sigh, Emily Blunt owns the role of Britain’s young Queen Victoria. Looking suspiciously like Orlando Bloom’s evil (and more compelling) twin, Rupert Friend eventually hits his stride in the supporting part as Prince Albert, the love of Victoria’s life. Grade: B  

Me and Orson Welles (Review)

Richard Linklater's latest is a mixed bag

0 Comments · Friday, December 18, 2009
Richard Linklater's lighthearted rendering of an imagined relationship between Orson Welles and a young would-be actor during Welles' famed 1937 New York production of 'Julius Caesar' soars whenever Christian McKay takes the screen (as the great maestro). But the film backslides whenever McKay is absent, largely due to a severe case of miscasting (Zac Efron and Claire Daines). Grade: C.   

Crude (Review)

Knock-your-socks-off documentary will leave you speechless

0 Comments · Friday, December 11, 2009
Documentary filmmaker Joe Berlinger travels to various locations in Ecuador in order to show the extensive damage wreaked by Texaco/Chevron, a company whose negligence and greed led to the raping of a  

Fantastic Mr. Fox (Review)

Wes Anderson finds his forte with a new magical film

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wes Anderson is famous for his quirky sense of absurdist humor. Although he might argue against it, he seems to have finally found his forte: in animation, vis-a-vis Roald Dahl's 1970 children's book 'Fantastic Mr. Fox.' In Anderson's hands the story takes on a meta significance as a human-development coming-of-age story that applies across age groups, generations, social strata and even species. Grade: B.   

The Damned United (Review)

True-life soccer movie is damned entertaining

0 Comments · Thursday, November 12, 2009
In his portrayal of famed British soccer team manager Brian Clough, Michael Sheen ('The Queen') solidifies his status as this generation's Laurence Olivier in Tom Hooper's enthralling adaptation of Peter Morgan's 2006 book, 'The Damned Utd.' Even non-soccer fans will find themselves swept up in the drama of one man's bold attempt to reinvent an entire sport against a tidal wave of opposition. Grade: A.  

New York, I Love You (Review)

Omnibus ode to New York is hit and miss

0 Comments · Friday, November 6, 2009
Inspired as an American reply to his earlier story-collage movie 'Paris, je t'aime,' producer Emmanuel Benbihy extends his anthology oeuvre with another collection of directors contributing a story set in a particular urban environment. Like 'Paris je t'aime,' 'New York, I Love You' unrolls as a hit-and-miss proposition of weighing each (would-be) charming vignette against the last one in succession. Grade: C-.