Robert Loggia, Pell James and Bill Pullman - Robert Loggia, Pell James and Bill Pullman Los Angeles, California - Los Angeles premiere of 'Surveillance' held at the Landmark Theater Monday 15th June 2009
Johanna Day and Bill Pullman - Johanna Day, Bill Pullman and wife Carol at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts Concert Hall at Lincoln Center - Press Room New York City, USA - 53rd Drama Desk Awards Sunday 18th May 2008
Edward Albee and Bill Pullman - Edward Albee and Bill Pullman at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts Concert Hall at Lincoln Center - Press Room New York City, USA - 53rd Drama Desk Awards Sunday 18th May 2008
I don't doubt this is the case for many fans of the best Brooks films--how many kids of the seventies saw Blazing Saddles before laying eyes on a real western, or Young Frankenstein before the bride of same? I point this out to place Spaceballs with those other, more acknowledged Brooks classics.
Continue reading: Spaceballs Review
Continue reading: The Guilty Review
Igby Goes Down tells the tale of one boy's rebellion against the 'old money' ways in which he was born. Igby Slocumb (Culkin) lives within a quirky family unit complete with a schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman) - whose last episode earned him a one-way ticket to the funny farm years back, a self-absorbed, Mommie Dearest of a mother (Susan Sarandon), and a repugnant Young Republican reptile of a brother (Ryan Phillippe). His constant attempts at searching out a better life away from his family's stifling dysfunction lead to a number of high school expulsions and an abnormal amount of prescription sedatives for his mother.
Continue reading: Igby Goes Down Review
Matt Damon's voice stars as Cale, an eager-beaver twentysomething in the year 3028 who would be just like any other next-millennium Gen X-er if not for one thing: A race of evil beings called the Drej -- made of pure energy, natch -- have blown up the earth.
Continue reading: Titan A.E. Review
To celebrate high school graduation, Alice Mareno (Claire Daines) and Darlene Davis (Kate Beckinsale) plan an eleven day sojourn to Bangkok. ("Las Vegas without parents and laws," Alice proclaims to the more cautious Arlene) After a few days of fun in the sun, the two get a little more than they bargained for after they meet the seductive and alluring Nick Parks (Daniel Lapaine) who invites them on a weekend excursion to Hong Kong. In their rush to get to the airport, they fail to realize that Nick has planted over a kilo of heroin in Darlene's backpack. They both are arrested in the airport and once in prison, Darlene is tricked into signing a confession. They are each convicted of drug trafficking and given 33 years apiece in a hideous prison ruefully described by it's inmates as "The Brokedown Palace." Desperate for help and down to their last hope, the girls turn to "Yankee Hank" (Bill Pullman) a maverick American lawyer who takes up the daunting challenge of defending them. Together the three attempt to salvage their lives and their freedom against the tyrannical Thai government and outlandish justice system.
Continue reading: Brokedown Palace Review
But watching my home town be blown away is only one of the charms of ID4 (the film's hip moniker). First there's the War of the Worlds meets Star Wars meets The Right Stuff story, about a superior, marauding alien force threatening to annihilate the human race (and almost succeeding). And an all-star cast of freedom fighters (more on them later). Director Roland Emmerich, who redeems himself for the idiocy of Stargate, and who isn't afraid to kill off the good guys. Some dazzling visuals. Loud sound effects. Plus every Star Trek and X-Files fan in town in the audience. What more do you want?
Continue reading: Independence Day Review
As heavily promoted as it's been, you should know the plot by know. Sandra Bullock is Lucy, a goofy, salt-of-the-earth Chicago Transit Authority toll booth attendant who falls in love (at first sight) with Peter (Peter Gallagher), a yuppie lawyer. Almost immediately after Lucy swoons, Peter gets pushed onto the train tracks, whereupon Lucy comes to the rescue. Then the obligatory "misunderstanding" occurs: Peter's concerned parents think Lucy is Peter's fiancee, pulling Lucy into the family as a new member. But when Peter's brother Jack (Bill Pullman) arrives on the scene, Lucy and Jack begin to fall in love and, well...you get the picture.
Continue reading: While You Were Sleeping Review
Well, now telemarketers sell papes, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to see a movie about that. Especially if they were singing all the time. But back in 1899, when Joseph Pulitzer (played by Robert Duvall) and William Randolph Hearst raised newspaper prices, that meant the newsies had to pay more for their copies, and they couldn't pass that along to the consumer. So the newsies organized a union and went on strike. And the strike failed.
Continue reading: Newsies Review
Unfortunately, there have been many, many successors since 1989, and most of them don't have as much right to exist. Sleepless in Seattle was one of the first and most obvious. It reteamed cute, perky actress Meg Ryan with writer/director Nora Ephron and even included some of the more annoying aspects of When Harry Met Sally... -- the plot coincidences, the unappealing friends, etc.
Continue reading: Sleepless In Seattle Review
A fatalistic allegory about the American adoration of guns and black-and-white morality, "Dear Wendy" centers on a band of teenage outcasts in a faded, one-street mining town who form a cult around their almost literal love affairs with vintage firearms.
Pacifists by temperament and timidity, the Dandies, as they call themselves, soon discover confidence and self-possession in carrying their concealed weapons, which they pledge never to brandish in daylight lest they "wake up and pursue their true nature." But as the club members spend their days on a make-shift shooting range (dubbed "The Temple") deep in the bowels of an abandoned mine building, practicing trick shots, obsessively studying famous killers, and watching graphic film of bullet wounds, they slip into fetish and fantasy, naming their guns, and assigning them personalities, emotions, and even imaginary votes in group decisions.
Written by Danish auteur Lars von Trier, with less supercilious socio-political ignorance than his 2003 American-culture morality play "Dogville," the story is overly dependent on the silly narrative contrivance of the Dandies' insecure leader (Jamie Bell from "Billy Elliot") writing love letters to his antique pistol. A few other absurdities rear their heads as well, like the notion of poor mine workers keeping African-American maids -- an impractical byproduct of the writer's never-ending desire to flog the American culture of denial (about race relations, violence, foreign policy or whatever bee is in his bonnet while banging out a particular screenplay).
Continue reading: Dear Wendy Review
Snarky, 17-year-old, silver-spoon-raised Igby Slocumb has been booted out of every prestigious (and not-so-prestigious) prep school on the East Coast -- and one military academy too. A bored, intelligent, resourceful and willful screw-up, he's almost proud of this record, even though he'd be the first to admit it's a cry for attention.
With a blue-blooded, pill-popping, self-absorbed mother (the hilariously dry Susan Sarandon) dying of breast cancer at home; a materialistically hollow, young Republican brother (a perfectly cast Ryan Phillippe) shining at Columbia University; and an asylum-committed, schizophrenic father (Bill Pullman) who haunts all his childhood memories, Igby (Kieran Culkin) seems to be the only Slocumb sagacious enough to emerge a better person from his sad yet comically dysfunctional family.
So despite the title of this tart black comedy -- "Igby Goes Down" -- its young hero is determined to stay on his feet. He's grown a sardonic, wry sense of humor (if not a tough skin) and become an expert at running away from home. Now, having escaped the limousine taking him to yet another upscale boarding school, he's on the loose in Manhattan, having resolved to get by on his own (or at least with the help of his mother's American Express card), even if he's not entirely sure what that entails.
Continue reading: Igby Goes Down Review
It would be a lot easier to take "Brokedown Palace" seriously as an Americans-imprisoned-abroad drama if the soundtrack wasn't peppered with chart-bound, pensive chick-pop. With empowering anthems from the likes of P.J. Harvey regularly laid down to illustrate its perceived depth of emotion, this movie makes being framed for drug smuggling and locked up in a dingy Thai prison play like little more than a vaguely deep, teen movie metaphor.
The teens in the case are Alice (Claire Danes) and Darlene (Kate Beckinsale), fresh out of high school and spiriting away to the Far East for one crazy summer before starting college.
Two apple-cheeked 18-year-olds, innocent in the ways of the Third World, their spontaneous Asian adventure (they told their parents they were going to Hawaii) begins with carefree cultural touristing at farmers markets and $6-a-night hotels. But it becomes a grim nightmare when a handsome young Australian (Daniel Lapaine) charms them both senseless, then hides heroin in their luggage after inviting them to visit him for a weekend in Hong Kong.
Continue reading: Brokedown Palace Review
Demonstrating that his unique creativity as a writer extends beyond darkly humorous kids' books, in "Rick," Daniel Handler of "Lemony Snicket" fame delves into something more dastardly and grown-up -- an extremely dark comedy adapted from Giuseppe Verdi's tragic opera "Rigoletto" and set in an almost surreal, cut-throat corporate world.
Bill Pullman, who always makes interesting choices when he makes independent films, stars as Rick O'Lette, an aging, career-stalled middle manager who "used to be a nice guy." Now a callous, seething sycophant -- whose own brashness is subservient to a cocky, serpentine young-gun executive (succulently sleazy Aaron Stanford) -- Rick is lured into a murder plot, designed to clear his path to a corner office. A mysteriously au fait old college classmate (charming, matter-of-factly malevolent Dylan Baker) approaches him in some tecnho-Orwellian bar and hints that he makes a seemingly respectable living (with business cards and everything) in the snuff trade and takes advantage of Rick's animosity and ambition.
Director Curtiss Clayton (an acclaimed editor making his helming debut) puts the weight of this strange world on Rick's shoulders, with the mahogany walls of his baroque office closing in on him, and long-dead bigwigs glaring down from musty oil paintings which now hang over desk cubicles and flat-screen computers. And yet Clayton has an ironically light touch with Handler's very black wit, giving the film an alluring pitch of unsettling laughs throughout the ill-fated events that soon unfold.
Continue reading: Rick Review
Save its ambitious, eye-popping computer-generated space battle effects, 20th Century Fox's second run at Disney's animation crown is little more than another threadbare cartoon orphan story ("Dinosaur," "Anastasia," "The Lion King," etc.) dressed up in wannabe-anime style and targeted at 11-year-old boys with a toy-friendly, sci-fi storyline and a bad, bad, bad guitar rock soundtrack.
Taking place in a distant future when the Earth has been destroyed and the remnants of mankind are adrift in the galaxy, "Titan AE" follows handsome, cocky, cusp-of-manhood Cale (voice of Matt Damon), the son of a valiant military martyr in our planet's brief defense against a race of energy beings called the Drej.
The Drej blew up Earth with their giant crystalline space ship in an expensive-looking CGI sequence when Cale was just a boy, and now they're hunting what's left of humanity as we flee through the stars. What, exactly, the Drej have against us, the movie doesn't bother to explain. The fact that they look like a lava lamp versions the Terminator's skeleton signals they're bad news, so who needs to bother with, you know, motive?
Continue reading: Titan Ae Review
Leave it to director Nora Ephron to declaw a black comedy like "Lucky Numbers," turning it into something docile and almost sweet.
Writer and sometimes director of ubiquitous, twinkly Meg Ryan romances in the '90s ("When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless In Seattle," "You've Got Mail"), Ephron just doesn't quite have the incisive sense of humor for this movie about a bankrupt TV weatherman whose Muprhy's Law life leads him to rig the state lottery. But goodness knows she makes a valiant effort.
John Travolta stars in "Numbers" as Russ Richards, the smarmy-charmy meteorologist for a Harrisburg, Penn. television station who milks his semi-celeb status for everything its worth (he has his own table and reserved parking at Denny's).
Continue reading: Lucky Numbers Review
Remaking hit Japanese horror movies (a la 'The Ring') is Hollywood's latest plan to rake in big bucks without actually having to be creative or original -- and while "The Grudge" is nothing more than a cultural twist on the standard-issue haunted house movie, I will give credit to director Takashi Shimizu (remaking his own film "Ju-On") for giving me goosebumps. Lots and lots of goosebumps.
He succeeds on this front by providing truly chilling ghosts -- floating specters of inky black tendrils that form into the gray porcelain faces, horrifically gaping mouths and kohl-ringed, milk-saucer eyes of a family murdered in a Tokyo house that is now occupied (but not for long!) by the wife and terrified, catatonic mother of an American businessman.
But Shimizu also lends the film a unique structure that helps set it apart from the kind of prefabricated scary movies that dominate the genre. He follows a psychological (rather than chronological) narrative into an interactive patchwork of long flashbacks that reveal the genesis of the haunting and tie the whole six-degrees-of-separation story together in its latest victim -- an exchange student played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Continue reading: The Grudge Review
Date of birth
17th December, 1953
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