Archive for the ‘Crime-Drama’ Category

The Haunting of Sorority Row, TV-14, 2007, **

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

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Starring: Leighton Meester, Kailin See and Lisa Marie Caruk

 

By: Meredith A. Iager

 

Being a part of a sorority is much more than meets the eye in this ridiculously cliché horror movie.  Sorority life is very sinister, and some people only wanted to “fit in.” 

 

New pledger Samantha Willows (Leighton Meester CW’s “Gossip Girl,” “Date Night”) wants to become apart of a new experience.  She’s a freshman, away from home, and at college for the first time.  Sam is also still with her geeky-cute-trustworthy, and (very much into the paranormal) high school boyfriend Oliver (Adrian Petriw), but feels as though she needs to experience sorority life. 

 

Soon enough random spooky events begin to occur in the house, (temperature drops every early AM, strange dreams about her new roommate, Jane (Kailin See) etc).  This still doesn’t frighten Sam, however, she consults her boyfriend who is a believer in ghosts and what-have-you.  She begins to suspect something terrible might have occurred in the house. 

 

Everything turns very south when previous years of sorority sisters have tragic deaths and all the new pledges in the house start to wonder, “What the hell is going on?” Apparently, a year before something happened while one of the new “sisters” was pledging, and the 4 main gatekeeper sisters of the house decide to keep everything sworn to secrecy.

 

This is of course a goofy horror movie for teens, but I had to watch it, Lifetime movies are always somehow enticing, and interesting.  The acting is crappy, more like a sit-com with some spooky effects.

 

Kick Ass – 2010, 0 stars, R

Monday, August 9th, 2010

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Starring: Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

This movie is not what I expected at all.  I wonder why, the marketing for this movie makes it look like a funny kid, super hero movie.  Well, it’s funny to those that think microwaving a man, or a 11 year old girl with a bazooka is cool.

I am not a parent, but there were some things in this movie that don’t belong.  I am a huge fan of action movies, shoot em ups, good guy gets bad guy, etc.  But, I am not for dark humor that has children intertwined in this level of violent acts.  And we wonder why children are getting killed at school.  I’m not blaming Hollywood, however they do hold some responsibility for marketing that is actually marketing the movie, the real movie.

I don’t care if this was based off a comic book.  A motion picture is more impressionable on children because as we know, they watch a lot of TV.  A comic book still has some words on the page, and most of the children out there today, don’t pick up reading material easily; even a comic book.

Roger Ebert says it all, the film is “morally reprehensible.”  I concur.  I guess I am just more conservative for most of the audiences today.  Call me old fashioned, but this film is ridiculous.

Twilight, 2008, **, PG-13

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

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This flick is based on the Stephenie Meyer series, “The Twilight Saga.”‘  It is a very mundane teen vampire romance-drama, that somehow despite it’s lack of true vampire-ism, it grows on you, and you learn to love it!   It might dissapoint if you are unfamiliar with the books, and you are a vampire movie connoisseur.

Bella, (Kristen Stewart, “The Messengers,” “Into the Wild”) who moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father, town Sheriff (Billy Burke). Her new high school classmates all have different agendas, especially one particular group of siblings, the Cullen’s. She takes a particular hot and heavy interest in the suave, yet awkward and perfect Edward Cullen (Pattinson, “Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire”).  He takes a deep interest in her as well, and she soon realizes the kid is a tad freaky, and definitely has a secret. Women—curiosity killed the cat.

“Twilight,” is essentially a teen flick that provides no depth to the subject of vampire-ism, but offers a new twist: vampires sparkle in sunlight. Also, Robert Pattinson looks too feminine.  Something a bit different–vamps playing baseball, awesome music by British band Muse.

This is one for teen flick and vamp lovers only.

Point Break, 1991, PG-13, ****

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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 “Point Break,” is a slick cops and robbers movie with a beachy connection.  It is a very cool movie.

 

Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves, “A Walk in the Clouds,” “The Lake House”) just started working for the FBI’s San Diego office and was assigned to an unappreciated, not-by-the-book wild n’ crazy veteran agent Angelo (Gary Busey).  The two get off to a rocky start, but soon realize they are a perfect team, to bust up a team of bank robbers.

 

Through undercover work, Utah and Angelo discover the clan is a bunch of surfers.  As Utah is nailing the facts down, various friendships and his career begin to collide.  Bodhi (Patrick Swayze, TV’s new series “The Beast,” “Dirty Dancing,” “Donnie Darko”) is the idealist gang leader befriends Utah but realizes they are in a fundamental conflict. 

 

This film is one of the most entertaining police-action flicks.  It is also one to buy and watch from time to time; it will always keep your attention.

Shattered, 2007, **, R

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

 

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This film should have been called, B times 3 (Brosnan, Butler, & Bello)—okay, I know—not too funny.  Pierce Brosnan, Gerard Butler and Maria Bello star in this thriller about a man who black mails a couple for no reason at all, or so we are led to believe.  Butler and Bello are about to be thrown into a tail spin of events when, Brosnan pops up from the back seat of their Range Rover as they are about to embark on a long tedious day of games, and events that will startled them for the rest of their lives.  It is unclear until the very end, why Brosnan is after the couple.  Is it money?  Is it for sheer thrill?  But then you ask yourself, no one would capture two people for a day for no reason at all, unless they are temporarily insane.

 

This flick is good, but in some scenes, it looses you—out of boredom.  It has a storyline that makes you want more, but then I was beginning to ask myself, “Why, waste my time?”  Well, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and kept watching, and besides – who can resist Gerry Butler?  He is gorgeous, and a different genre for him to attack—typically we see him in period pieces like “Attila,” and “300.”

 

Neil Randall (Gerard Butler) is an ad salesman about to get a promotion.  His wife Abby (Maria Bello, “A History of Violence,” “Coyote Ugly”) is a stay at home mother, who does photography from time to time.  One morning, they drive off to part ways—Niel is going to a meeting, and Abby is spending the day with a friend, and a lady that works at Neil’s office is watching their daughter. 

 

The unexpected happens—a man—Tom Ryan (Pierce Brosnan, “The Matador,” “Married Life”), whom neither of them know jumps up from the back seat of their SUV, and points a gun at them, and immediately tells them, their daughter (Emma Karwandy, “The Dead Zone”) will be murdered if they don’t withdrawal a large amount of money from their accounts.  The entire day becomes like a synchronized swimming routine.  They must stay in line with what the man says or they are dead, along with their child.  Some of the actions of Ryan seem to be deliberately done to confuse them and make them to believe they are being mistaken for another couple.

 

Because the storyline is vague until the bitter end, it makes the viewer stay attentive, even if it does drag.  The actors are great in all of their other films, but this is very true—the script can make a movie, even if the actors are terrible.  The sparkle was definitely missing from this one, which is why the sudden gearshift in the last 20 minutes of the film was heavily needed.  The simple question in this movie is –How far does a parent go to protect their children? Every single step that these parents take is predicated on the well being of their little girl. 

 

I like the twisted ness of the film—because once you find out the entire issue at hand, you will think the same way.  The end of the film has a very powerful premise.  Was the cat and mouse chase worth it?  I think so.  

 

If you are a Gerard Butler fan, this is a must see film.  I will say, however it is a one watcher.  Also, if you want to see a better film, similar genre, rent the Michael Douglass film, “The Game.”  This one will not disappoint.

Arlington Road, 1999, *****, R

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

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Starring: Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Hope Davis

 

It’s is riveting and oozing with suspense from the very beginning. Arlington Road, starring Jeff Bridges (The Contender, Seabiscuit ) and Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption, Mystic River) pulls you towards the edge of your seat. It is for sure gripping, and makes you think about the terrorism situation throughout the world. The acting is pure genius and outstanding performances are done by the entire cast.

 

This is one of the many true acting accomplishments of Jeff Bridges. The mixture of cast between Bridges and Robbins accompanied by Joan Cusack (School of Rock) and Hope Davis is award winning. Joan Cusack plays Robbins’ wife, and perfectly captures a wicked yet concerned neighbor. She adds an extremity like no other support. Hope Davis (American Splendor) play Bridges girlfriend, who is very skeptical of his accusations of their neighbors. She makes Bridges out to be the bad guy, yet she is wrong.

 

The idea of a terrorist living in your neighborhood (in modern day) is hard to accept but with the help of knowledge and evidence it becomes compelling. Individuals, who are ignorant and living in a fantasyland, believe that everyone is a good human being. These individuals have no consciousness of a corrupt society and they do not see the evil in people. Therefore the corrupt people would easily get away with their actions of destruction.

 

College professor Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges) begins to suspect his neighbor Oliver Lang (Tim Robbins) is not really who he says he is. Faraday takes it upon himself to discover the real past of Lang. From name changes to teenage bombing attempts, Faraday becomes impatient and anxious, as the information he gathers points to a very dangerous terrorist organization led by Lang.

 

This driven, nail-biting action-drama is well laid out and interesting to follow, but it is not your typical hero flick at the end. The suspense builds; there are twists quite different from other films of its kind. Scenes are well ordered so you are not lost in the pace of the story. Flashbacks do occur, and help you understand the main characters feelings about terrorism. This sets the tone, and helps the viewer understand some of Bridges background and knowledge of the subject. The film feels as though there is a climax point every five seconds, although you get a real dose at the very end. You will be hanging by a thread until the bitter end of the road.

 

The music for the film is extremely effective. The music when Faraday is caught researching his neighbor makes your heart pound with fear! The intensity that engages the viewer with full close-ups of Bridges eyes, and facial expressions that reek of fear is sheer brilliance. The lighting arrangements are also rather frightening, which makes you more aware of the terror. These additives are what make the film gripping and a pure excellent production.

I believe this is a film that is not only intelligent, but also superior to all others like it. It shows that we are vulnerable to terrorists. Individuals who are out to destroy and hide in plain sight are the most difficult ones to catch. I believe if everyone had seen this film before the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks they would have better understood that these people have no value for human life. They would see that many of these evil individuals get away with their immoral crimes and that something must be done to stop them.

 

Sin City, 2005, Un-Rated, *

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Elijah Wood, Jaime King, Jessica Alba, Brittany Murphy, Benicio Del Toro, Clive Owen, Rosario Dawson, Alexis Bledel, and Josh Hartnett.

Over the last 3 years we have seen Spiderman, Hellboy, the Punisher, Hulk and a few more but, Sin City took way too many leaps of faith.  If you like comics, you may or may not like this one. 

A comic book is one thing.  A motion picture is another.  This comic should never have been made into a film.  In “Sin City” anything and everything goes: EVERYTHING.

There are many gruesome films but Sin City is plain awful.   True, there are many gruesome and violent movies out there that depict the dregs of society and the most heinous of crimes, but seeing creepy Elijah Wood as a cannibal is absolutely mortifying. He is already creepy as Frodo in the Lord of the Rings. 

The whole movie is filled with degenerates, other than Clive Owen and Bruce Willis that try to reduce crime.  Violence is non-stop throughout each sequence.  Different stories are running through out the movie filled with new faces to Hollywood and some of which are veterans.   

And we wonder why high school kids dress the way they do?  This is definitely a good example of why.  It’s different when they want to dress up like Willy Wonka, but not in fish nets and a leather clad suit.  Not Good.

The Lovely Bones, 2010, ****1/2, PG-13

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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Starring: Mark Whalberg, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan

 

Director Peter Jackson does an outstanding job on this film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel. 

 

In the 1970s, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan, “City of Ember,” “I Could Never Be Your Woman”) is a young teen full of life and in the midst of running after a love, until one afternoon her life is taken away; brutally.  Her parents, Jack (Whalberg) and Abigail (Rachel Weisz) are destroyed emotionally when she doesn’t return home from school, and the hours become days, and weeks and no evidence other than her crochet hat are found.  Jack and Abigail become separated emotionally and Abigail goes off to another county to cope with the loss, while Jack continues to search for clues, and take care of his other two children with the help of his mother-in-law, (Susan Sarandon).

 

This film is very powerful and moving, and the best murder mystery I’ve ever seen.  The story is so profound with the images of what Susie Salmon’s heaven looks like, and her trying to communicate to her father to let him know she’s okay.  The divide between the living and afterlife have such an emotional connection with the viewer, and makes you want to help Jack find out his daughters murderer.

 

The moral of this story is always go with your gut; if someone seems a tad sketchy, even if he has been friendly with your parents, don’t get trapped, literately.  This film is too deep for young children, and probably even high school kids, but then again, they might learn to stick to their guns and stay away from “strangers.” 

 

Young actress, Saoirse Ronan, is someone to definitely watch.  She played an excellent part in this film, and is going to lead the next generation of stars, Dakota Fanning, lookout!