Angus Macfadyen

Angus Macfadyen

Angus Macfadyen Quick Links

Pictures Film RSS

We Bought a Zoo Review


OK
There's a terrific story inside this well-made but bloated movie, as if director-cowriter Crowe simply couldn't figure out which elements he most cared about, so he included everything. It's engaging enough to keep us watching, but never finds any real focus.

After his wife dies, Benjamin (Damon) is struggling to keep his kids - 14-year-old Dylan (Ford) and 7-year-old Rosie(Jones) - happy, mainly because he has lost the daredevil storyteller within himself. So against the advice of his goofy-but-sensible brother (Church), Benjamin buys a run-down zoo and moves there with his children to get it up and running again. Zookeeper Kelly (Johansson) and her team (including Macfadyen and Fugit) don't think he'll stick it out. And indeed, it's more of a challenge than he ever imagined.

Continue reading: We Bought a Zoo Review

Impulse Review


Grim
Self-obsessed pop star and Dancing with the Stars also-ran Willa Ford makes her debut star turn (not counting the title role in Anna Nicole, I mean... how could you?) in Impulse. What must be a tragic heartbreak to Ms. Ford, the movie went straight to DVD. One wonders, if she had known it would turn out so poorly, if she would have agreed to spend so much time in the film with her clothes off.

There's a glimmer of cleverness in the story: Claire (Ford) finds her marriage to her puffy, stuffy husband Jonathan (Angus Macfadyen) is starting to fade, so she's constantly experimenting with role-playing to try to get some fire back in the sack. One of her games is for them to pretend they don't know each other at all, which makes for a fun roll in the hay. Claire is surprised when Jonathan shows up to meet her on a business trip out of town, and he plays along in the hotel bar, pretending he doesn't know who she is when she makes a pass at him. After a roll in the hay, she's reinvigorated. She gets a strange text message and agrees to another fling. Only later does she realize the impossible: It's not her husband at all, but a dead ringer for him named Simon. (And of course they look alike: Macfadyen plays both characters.)

Continue reading: Impulse Review

Saw III Review


OK
The Saw series, like most horror franchises, uses a lot of constants in its formula -- even when those constants don't seem particularly vital to the quality of the series. Saw III, for example, matches its predecessors in the dubious categories of histrionic yelling, equally histrionic smash-editing (often incorporating a generous helping of re-used footage, from the previous films or even from earlier in this one), and plot twists that depend on those histrionics to drown out implausibility.

But Saw III does actually have a plot to twist which, like its predecessors, sets it apart from most slasher films. When we last left Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, the only cast member who doesn't have to scream half his dialogue), he was dying, and taking young Amanda (Shawnee Smith) under his wing to continue his work. Saw III picks up with Jigsaw in even worse shape than before, his body breaking down while his moralizing creepiness remains more or less intact. Amanda brings in an unhappy doctor (Bahar Soomekh) to keep Jigsaw alive along enough to see one of his most elaborate games played all the way through.

Continue reading: Saw III Review

Saw III Review


OK
The Saw series, like most horror franchises, uses a lot of constants in its formula -- even when those constants don't seem particularly vital to the quality of the series. Saw III, for example, matches its predecessors in the dubious categories of histrionic yelling, equally histrionic smash-editing (often incorporating a generous helping of re-used footage, from the previous films or even from earlier in this one), and plot twists that depend on those histrionics to drown out implausibility.

But Saw III does actually have a plot to twist which, like its predecessors, sets it apart from most slasher films. When we last left Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, the only cast member who doesn't have to scream half his dialogue), he was dying, and taking young Amanda (Shawnee Smith) under his wing to continue his work. Saw III picks up with Jigsaw in even worse shape than before, his body breaking down while his moralizing creepiness remains more or less intact. Amanda brings in an unhappy doctor (Bahar Soomekh) to keep Jigsaw alive along enough to see one of his most elaborate games played all the way through.

Continue reading: Saw III Review

Titus Review


Grim
Titus Andronicus: One mean bastard.

Okay... I'm kinda lost. Who the hell is Titus Andronicus, you may ask? Well, Titus A. was the first play by Bill Shakespeare, about the usual themes of the mighty Bill: Revenge, hatred, a little bit of incest, honor, mental loopiness, and damn good human mincemeat pie. The hard part of trying to bring Shakespeare to life through either film or stage production is trying to cut through all of the pompous attitude of the director and making an understandable, comprehensible piece of narrative.

Continue reading: Titus Review

Braveheart Review


Excellent
Mel Gibson deserves a lot more credit than I've been giving him. A few years ago, no one could have conceived that the action star could pull off the lead role in a dazzling, epic, historical adventure-thriller-romance, let alone direct it. But he does, making Braveheart a vastly entertaining and powerful film.

Gibson plays Scottish hero William Wallace, a Scotsman with simple roots who finds himself thrust into a role as leader of the Scottish revolt against England in the late 13th century. After the despicable King Edward the Longshanks (Edward I) decrees that English nobles will have the right to sexual relations with all newly-wed Scottish women, the revolution is set in motion. Wallace takes up the cause, only to find himself facing incredible odds against a superior English army and fighting Scottish nobles who want to negotiate peace instead of fight. In fact, it's the nobles who turn out to be the bigger obstacle.

Continue reading: Braveheart Review

Still Breathing Review


OK
Lighthearted and almost David Lynch-ian romance about a cruel gold digger living in L.A. and a puppeteer living in San Antonio -- who dream about each other. Another fine attempt at breaking the mold of romantic comedy... but lacking, oddly, the comedy.

Snide and Prejudice Review


Grim
Quite an assembly of talent is ultimately wasted in this near-pointless look at a mental patient (that guy from the TV remake of Jason and the Argonauts) who thinks he's Hitler. A bunch of his fellow patients seem to think they're members of his staff, too. Essentially this is a re-imagining of Marat/Sade, adding in a head shrink (that guy from one of the Star Trek shows) who may be crazy too. Hitler's psychosis (the real Hitler, I mean) has been examined with substantially more depth and to a more powerful effect numerous times before.

Second Skin Review


Terrible
Angus MacFadyen stars in Braveheart. Peter Fonda gets an Oscar nod for Ulee's Gold. And as an encore, they both star in Second Skin, a direct-to-video mess about an amnesiac hit-woman and, as the case says, "a series of suspenseful twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end."

Sure, I was guessing. Guessing that nothing good was ever going to happen.

Continue reading: Second Skin Review

Titus Review


Good

Sumptuously and elaborately staged, steeped in powerful symbolism and bordering on absolute brilliance, Julie Taymor's sometimes pretentious "Titus" flirts with becoming among the all-time best of Shakespeare movies -- if you can endure the stomach-turning violence.

Adapted from the Bard's "Titus Andronicus," a manifold tragedy that makes "Hamlet" look like "Ozzie and Harriet," the film stars Anthony Hopkins in the title role of a loyal Roman general returning from a victorious campaign against the Goths. It has cost him a dreadful personal price: 21 of his 24 sons were killed in battle.

He brings with him their bodies and five prisoners -- Tamora (Jessica Lange), the queen of the Goths, her sons (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Raz Degan and Matthew Rhys), and Aaron (Harry Lennix), a Moor with an evil streak as deep as the ocean -- and hands them over to the newly ensconced Emperor (a Hitler-esque Alan Cumming), who also asks for Titus' daughter in marriage as a sign of allegiance.

Continue reading: Titus Review

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood Review


Grim

All book-to-film adaptations lose something in the translation, but the narrative gaps are simply insurmountable in the two-hankie estrogen fest "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."

Brimming with talented actresses, none of whom steps on another's toes in across-the-board strong performances, this emotionally genuine bonding picture based on Rebecca Wells' novel stars Sandra Bullock as Sidda, a bitter New York playwright hijacked into visiting her Louisiana family home and her alcoholic mother, a Southern drama queen played by Ellen Burstyn.

Mother's life-long friends, who have collectively called themselves the "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" since a mock-voodoo "ceremony" when they were young girls, have decided it's time for the two to bury the hatchet after a lifetime of sniping.

Continue reading: Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood Review

Cradle Will Rock Review


Good

A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community to which it pays homage, "Cradle Will Rock" is a politically-undertoned dramedy about theater, censorship, ambition, apprehension, oppression, Orson Welles and the Great Depression.

Written and directed by Tim Robbins -- never one to shy away from cause-fueled entertainment -- this passionate labor of love celebrates and fictionalizes a legendary moment in American theater, when the government shut down the performance of a musical produced by the Works Progress Administration -- and the actors, at the risk of losing their jobs during the bleakest economic season in U.S. history, staged it anyway in a show of inspiring solidarity.

The play was entitled "The Cradle Will Rock" and its story of a greedy industrialist taken down by the organized working man made a lot of federal bureaucrats see red -- as in communism.

Continue reading: Cradle Will Rock Review

Equilibrium Review


Hmmm

The worst theatrically released sci-fi flick since "Battlefield Earth," "Equilibrium" is so blatantly derivative as to be insulting, so absurdly hackneyed it's hard to believe it's sincere, so full of scenery-chomping it's a wonder the actors don't weigh 300 lbs. by the closing credits -- and as a result it's such a laugh riot that it may well be the funniest movie of 2002.

The plot -- brazenly pillaged from "Fahrenheit 451," "1984" and "Brave New World" -- concerns a high-ranking government "Cleric" named John Preston (chisel-featured Christian Bale), a ruthless and deadly law enforcer in a "Metropolis"-styled dystopian future where emotions (and by extension, music, art, poetry, etc.) have been outlawed.

The populace takes twice-daily doses of a stupefacient called Prozium, but when passionless Preston misses a couple injections, has a confusing day of emerging feelings, then finds himself staring into the big brown eyes of a cute little puppy he's supposed to kill during a raid on a "sense offender" hideout (insert shots of famous paintings being torched with a flame-thrower here), he...just...can't...do it.

Continue reading: Equilibrium Review

Angus Macfadyen

Angus Macfadyen Quick Links

Pictures Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Puff Daddy & The Family - Finna Fet Loose ft. Pharrell Williams

Puff Daddy & The Family - Finna Fet Loose ft. Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams teams up with Puff Daddy and The Family on new single 'Finna Get Loose'.

Daniel Craig Hopes 'Spectre' Shows His Bond Is Not As 'Sexist And Misogynistic' As Before

Daniel Craig Hopes 'Spectre' Shows His Bond Is Not As 'Sexist And Misogynistic' As Before

The actor will have his fifth outing as the secret agent in 'Spectre' this November.

'The Danish Girl' Director Reveals When Eddie Redmayne Was Cast As Transgender Artist Lili Elbe

'The Danish Girl' Director Reveals When Eddie Redmayne Was Cast As Transgender Artist Lili Elbe

The director faced some backlash when Redmayne was announced as playing the transgender pioneer.

Advertisement
Taylor Swift - Wildest Dreams Video

Taylor Swift - Wildest Dreams Video

Taylor Swift channels her inner safari queen in the new video for her song 'Wildest Dreams'

James Bay - Scars Video

James Bay - Scars Video

'Scars' is the latest single from his number one debut album 'Chaos and the Calm'.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Here's A Candle (For Your Birthday Cake) Audio

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Here's A Candle (For Your Birthday Cake) Audio

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds topped UK charts with his second album 'Chasing Yesterday' in February.

Filmmaker Wes Craven Dies Aged 76

Filmmaker Wes Craven Dies Aged 76

Filmmaker Wes Craven has died at the age of 76, his family has announced. With a career spanning over 40 years, Craven was one of the most prolific...

Advertisement