Christopher Eberts

Christopher Eberts

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Deception (2008) Review


Grim
According to web reports, this Hugh Jackman/Ewan McGregor thriller was originally titled The Tourist and The List before the filmmakers and/or studio finally settled on Deception. The alternates are not exactly the most eye-catching or original titles, but both would be just as appropriate for this particular film. I can't imagine what the impetus was to find something even more generic -- or if it's even possible to come up with a more bland thriller title. Betrayal, perhaps? Dark Secrets?

This is a film that starts off with some agreeable, professional trashiness before settling into routine. This is not to say that the opening, with meek, lonely accountant Jonathan (McGregor) striking up a friendship with the slick Wyatt (Jackman), is entirely smooth going. Almost immediately, the movie suffers from casting the sly, handsome McGregor as a fumbling nebbish. The guy has both acting chops and charisma; naturally, several of his Hollywood roles ask him to trade both for an American accent. Hopefully he meets up with Colin Farrell and James McAvoy to commiserate -- or maybe he swapped stories on-set with Jackman, another good-looking overseas bloke who has alternated terrific performances with bouts of blandness.

Continue reading: Deception (2008) Review

Timber Falls Review


Terrible
Mike (Josh Randall) and Sheryl (Brianna Brown) have traveled to West Virginia to escape the stress of Washington, D.C. Armed with the essential camping supplies, they begin a hiking adventure in the scenic Appalachian Mountains. With little knowledge of the hiking trails, they consult a local woman named Ida (Beth Broderick) for advice. She recommends Timber Falls, the most beautiful path, but the least frequently patrolled.

They accept Ida's advice. While hiking Timber Falls, Mike and Sheryl encounter stunning waterfalls, pristine lakes, and a mountaintop campsite with gorgeous Appalachian views (though camera crews never stepped foot in West Virginia; the film was shot in Romania). They set up camp and go to sleep. The next day, Sheryl goes missing. Mike suspects mischief from the rifle-wielding backwoods boys they met the previous day.

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The Big White Review


Good
It's kind of bizarre that The Big White never landed a proper theatrical release. I mean, how many Robin Williams/Holly Hunter/Woody Harrelson movies go straight to video?

Well, one that I know of.

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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.

Continue reading: Lucky Number Slevin Review

Chasing Holden Review


Weak
If you have a special connection to The Catcher in the Rye, and if you can take Road Trip uber-geek DJ Qualls seriously in a dramatic role, then maybe you'll fall in love with Chasing Holden, a direct-to-video adventure in mixed messages and teen angst if ever I've seen one.

Qualls stars as Neil, son of the governer of New York(!), sent to prep school at the age of 19 (yeah, don't try to think about it) after a stint in a mental hospital. After a whirlwind experience with bullies, Dead Poets Society-style rules, and meeting the girl of his dreams (Rachel Blanchard, another Road Tripper), he is handed the assignment of his dreams: Write a story telling what happened to Holden Caulfield after the end of Catcher in the Rye, Neil's favorite book (of course).

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