Anthony Rhulen

Anthony Rhulen

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The Rum Diary Review


OK
Depp's Hunter S Thompson fixation continues with the adaptation of this loosely autobiographical novel. Despite some crazy antics, the film takes an earnest, slightly too-faithful tone that makes it strangely leaden.

In 1960, Kemp (Depp) applies for a job at the San Juan Star in Puerto Rico, working for the sardonic editor Lotterman (Jenkins). He shares a ramshackle flat with photographer Sala (Rispoli), who home-brews super-strong rum with another journalist (Ribisi). While getting slowly pickled, Kemp also gets to know the fast-talking Sanderson (Eckhart), a public relations expert who is using property developers to increase his fortune. Sanderson also has a sexy girlfriend, Chenault (Heard), who immediately catches Kemp's eye. Trouble is brewing everywhere.

Continue reading: The Rum Diary Review

Code Name: The Cleaner Review


Unbearable
New high tech gaming systems -- Wii and PS3 -- are in such high demand that people are willing to wait outside of retailers at all hours of the night just to get their hands on one. The scenario is much the same in Code Name: The Cleaner, where everyone is trying to get their hands on the X-1. But this system does more than just play games. It's actually capable of creating real life destruction on a massive scale, and the government has resorted to violence to get it.

At the center of all of the bedlam surrounding the X-1 is an ordinary Joe named Jake (Cedric the Entertainer). One morning he wakes up in a hotel room next to a dead FBI agent and a briefcase full of money. Jake's got amnesia. Though he has no idea how he got there, a couple of hot-looking women seem to have an idea. The voluptuous Diane (Nicolette Sheridan) claims to be Jake's wife and helps him elude the authorities. Diane takes him to a sprawling mansion that she claims he owns and tries desperately, even stripping down to her bare essentials, to jog his cluttered memory. Even though we know as little as Jake, it's clear that Diane is up to no good.

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Lucky Number Slevin Review


Good
Pay attention. This is going to be confusing.

Everyone thinks the mysterious Slevin (Josh Hartnett) is Nick. The confusion is understandable; after all, Slevin does look like Nick, and he's staying at Nick's apartment for a few days while the real Nick (Sam Jaeger) is somewhere else -- though nobody knows where, or even if he's alive. The only person to know that Slevin isn't Nick is Nick's neighbor, Lindsey (Lucy Liu). She discovers Slevin when she knocks on Nick's door to borrow ingredients, but accidentally she catches a glimpse of Slevin as he's getting out of the shower -- flames of lust ignite.

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Raise Your Voice Review


Unbearable
Bubblegum princess Hilary Duff's fleeting film career has reached the unpleasant stage where the wad of chew we're being offered has grown rubbery and flavorless. Our jaws ache just thinking about gnawing on a lump of sugar this size. What once was cotton-candy sweet now resembles the sticky paste that clings to the cardboard cone. Common sense tells you this junk is unappetizing. Why put your belly through such torture?

Raise Your Voice takes a feeble stab at building a feature film around a preconceived pop soundtrack of Duff tunes. It aims for Fame and ends up with famine. Following graduation from Riverdale High - seriously, were Archie and Jughead her classmates? - squeaky-clean Terri Fletcher (Duff) enrolls in the summer program at an elite performing arts academy. Competition is fierce, and so are the backstage stereotypes. Upon arrival, Terri falls for a British songwriter (Oliver James), befriends the hyperactive geek (Johnny K. Lewis), coaxes the talented recluse (Kat Dennings) out of her shell, and locks horns with the resident snob (Lauren C Mayhew). Who has time to sing when the student body is filled with such cardboard caricatures of standoffish overachievers?

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O Review


OK
Well, all good classics eventually come to a crashing end (Planet of the Apes, anyone?), and the works of Shakespeare are no exception. This time out, it's Othello that gets an urban/teen makeover -- and considering that Slick Willy's themes about the hazards of interracial relationships are still present after 400 years, you'd think O would be a gimme. No such luck.

With this updating, Othello and Desdemona have become Odin and Desi. Odin (Mekhi Phifer) is the sole black student at a ritzy prep school for the overly wealthy. He's also the star basketball player, destined for greatness in college ball, at least. He carries on a semi-secret love affair with Desi (Julia Stiles), a waifish Julia Stiles stock character, who is also the daughter of the dean (John Heard). The basketball coach (Martin Sheen) favors his star player, of course, virtually ignoring his own son Hugo (Josh Hartnett, in the famed and villainous Iago role), who even turns to steroids (gasp!) to improve his performance in an attempt to match Odin's court prowess. After years of no luck and less love, Hugo eventually masterminds a plan to disgrace Odin... all of which ends disastrously, as you know if you've ever read the play.

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The Butterfly Effect Review


OK
Ashton Kutcher is a goofball. There are no two ways about it. From bumbling around as the clueless Kelso on That '70s Show to attacking his well-to-do friends on the ubiquitous Punk'd, this guy has made a hell of a living being wacky. Kutcher's noogie-giving persona does exude a confident charm, however, and that charm goes a long way in The Butterfly Effect, the heartthrob's first dramatic lead since he hit the cover of Tiger Beat.

With his innocent smirk and sincere delivery, Kutcher (who also executive produced) brings a fun simple honesty to this alternate-worlds thriller, and it's often necessary, as the subject matter ranges from heavy-duty to soap opera-sudsy. Kutcher is Evan Treborn, a college student who, after growing up suffering childhood blackouts, begins recalling lost memories. The effects are traumatic.

Continue reading: The Butterfly Effect Review

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