Monday, June 30, 2008

Charlie Bartlett

Charlie Bartlett - Dir. Jon Poll (2008)

Neurotic rich boy gets kicked out of fancy pants academy. Sent to public school and becomes de factor psychologist.

Like the lead character this film is a little too smug and assure of itself. Familiar, yet passable, high school dramedy.

Worth noting mainly for a strong performance by Robert Downey Jr. His turn as an alcoholic principal makes my mouth water at what he'll bring to the table for Iron Man 2 ("Demon in a Bottle~!").

Monday, June 23, 2008

In Bruges

In Bruges - Dir. Martin McDonagh (2008)

The bastard love child of Mamet, Tarantino, and Fellini.

Wicked dialogue and a splendidly written script by playwright McDonagh, who makes his feature film debut.

Does tend to veer far too sharply from slapstick to dark humor to just plain dark.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Restless

The Restless - Dirs. Cho Dong-oh & Jo Dong-oh (2006)

A wandering warrior must protect the heaven and the Earth.

South Korean Wuxia epic with an convoluted script packed with far too many underdeveloped and muddled ideas.

Like The Banquet and The Promise, a martial arts epic that offers plenty of eye candy while failing to provide a satisfying story.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Control - Dir. Anton Corbjin (2007)

Biography of the late-Ian Curtis.

Breaks the conventional molds of the music biopic through sheer force of will.

Exceptional black and white cinematography that effectively conveys the melancholic sounds of Joy Division and the depressed, working class life of Manchester, England.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Beowulf - Dir. Robert Zemeckis (2007)

Olde English poem translated into manly Hollywood action film.

Animation is alternately gorgeous and stiff.

Plastic faces may give you the night terrors.

Still, Angelina Jolie makes for one hot, nekkid cartoon character. The things she'd do with that tail.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Happening

The Happening - Dir. M. Night Shyamalan (2008)

The trees have it in for us.

The Village may have had an idiotic, twist ending, but at least it had an ending. Shyamalan's latest disasterpiece is all build and no payoff.

Shyamalan's keen sense of direction and suspense is enough to lift this above his last two bombs, but not enough to overcome laughable performances.

M. Night, swallow your pride. Hire a script doctor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Foot Fist Way

The Foot Fist Way - Dir. Jody Hill (2006)

Like a bad Will Ferrell movie filtered through a bad Napoleon Dynamite ripoff.

Danny McBride tries too hard with his Ferrell-esque, wacky, angry man routine.

Is it a better Tae Kwon Do movie than Best of the Best? No, I don't think so.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Assassination of Jesse James

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Dir. Andrew Dominik (2007)

Brad Pitt's biopic is nearly as long as its title.

Western epic by way of Terrence Malick with touches of Altman's McCable & Mrs. Miller and Peckinpah's Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

Career best performance for Casey Affleck. His Ford is an awkward, overgrown kid who finds the fame he so desperately seeks a bitter pill.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Devils on the Doorstep

Devils on the Doorstep - Dir. Jiang Wen (2000)

Japanese deserters hide out in tiny, Chinese village.

Tragicomedy set against the backdrop of the Japanese atrocities committed in China during WWII.

Alternately hilarious and gutwrenching. Story of simple people swept up by a conflict bigger than themselves.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing - Dir. Walter Hill (1996)

The definition of guilty pleasure.

Yojimbo remake melded with the film noir voice of Raymond Chandler and the two-fisted gunplay of John Woo.

Walter Hill remains a fantastic, yet underrated, action director.