Archive for June, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
A Vast Improvement

After recently viewing Pixar’s brilliant Toy Story 3, I began racking my brain to come up with third movies in a series that stand out as the best. It’s a rare feat, but arguments could probably be made for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Goldfinger, Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban and a few others. Azkaban, certainly, stood out above its two predecessors and the same can be said for the third chapter in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. While I struggled to find reasons for the following the first two films received, I actually enjoyed—or, at least tolerated—Eclipse, a vast improvement over Twilight and New Moon.


Play the Game
Andy Griffith Busts a Move

Dave fancies himself a “player” whose sure-fire gift with the gals is guaranteed to, uh, jump-start a new love life for his two-years-gone widower grand-dad Joe. As Dave is putting his plans through their, though, he’s learning lessons about companionship from Joe. Joe, meanwhile, is learning from Dave about the more physical side of romance—that companionship is deep and satisfying, yes; but that an active sex life is pretty sweet, too. But writer/director/producer Marc Fienberg is not just after an SNL wink-wink, nudge-nudge sensibility. No, watch closely, stick things through to the end, and you might be thinking you just watched the rom-com equivalent of an M. Night Shyamalan film. Fienberg knows what he’s doing behind both pen and camera.


Knight and Day
Somewhat Lazy, But Fun

I should admit right up front that the trailer for this new action comedy may have slightly interfered with my opinion of the film itself. Try as I do to avoid trailers—along with articles, plot descriptions, and even photos of upcoming films—they always seem to find me. In most cases, the danger of seeing the trailer is that it gives away far too much of the film’s plot details or best moments. It’s sometimes so bad that a “spoiler alert” warning at the beginning of the trailer wouldn’t be the worst idea. In the case of Knight and Day, however, it’s not that the trailer gives too much away. It’s simply that the trailer is just too much darn fun and the movie can’t quite live up to it.


Smile
Put On Your Game Face

In an industrialized area of China, a girl infant is born deformed—and abandoned in a field. A young married worker finds the child, and against his wife’s wishes, adopts it. The girl grows up completely sequestered, hiding behind a veil even in her own home. In Malibu, meanwhile, Katie grows up as the spoiled only daughter of a squabbling twosome, lawyer Steven and his too-idle wife Bridgette. Katie naturally acquires the chronic American “whatever” attitude. When she’s challenged by a teacher to participate in an overseas relief effort and runs across the story of Mr. Matthews’ abortive encounter with Lin and Daniel the previous year, she’s hooked. By that time, most likely you will be, too.


The Karate Kid
Good, But Too Familiar?

There’s no denying that the 2010 version of The Karate Kid is a well-made movie. It’s entertaining, engaging and moves briskly for its surprisingly long running time of 140 minutes. It’s a cinch that a large portion of moviegoers—especially the younger ones—are going to leave the theater completely satisfied. Still, there’s going to be another group of moviegoers—specifically the ones who grew up in the ’80s—who are going to wonder: what was the point?


Splice
A Tale of Two Movies

There are horror movies that scare you straight, while others scare you with a sense of humor; a kind of twinkle in their eye. Watching Splice, the new sci-fi horror from the director of 1997’s word-of-mouth hit Cube, you get the idea that the aim is to create a dark, moody, straight-forward horror thriller. Unfortunately, there are moments that go completely the other way and the combination just doesn’t work.