At the end of the American Civil War, John Carter (Kitsch) is in Arizona looking for gold when a strange artefact in a cave transports him to Mars, known locally as Barsoom. Getting used to the lower gravity is one thing, but he's soon captured by green, 15-foot-tall Tharks, who have four limbs plus tusks on the sides of their faces. He earns the respect of leader Tars Tarkas (Dafoe), but when he rescues Helium's Princess Dejah (Collins), he ends up in the middle of the war between red human kingdoms Helium and Zodanga.
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What makes Munich even more ambitious than films like List or even Empire of the Sun is that it's not as recognizable a film as those classically-structured epics. This film is part spy thriller and part meditation on violence but not completely either. The result comes out as somewhat scrambled by the end, with the pieces of about a half-dozen lesser movies mixed around inside, but there's rarely a moment when it's not grabbing you by the collar and demanding your undivided attention. We should have more of this kind of thing.
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Troy leaves the talking to its triumvirate of Hollywood royalty - Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, and Peter O'Toole. The dying is left up to the chiseled and marketable studs - Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Brad Pitt. Whenever a member of the veteran trio interacts with a member of the other on screen, it creates a mismatch of talent not even a Trojan Horse could overcome.
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Even the teen hormones that live in all us guys are squashed by this one. Jolie, trying to play our heroine Lady Lara Croft as sexy and supercool, just looks mildly amused by the goings-on. I half expected her to check her watch while on camera, searching for lunch or a better project. [Never underestimate crafty film editing. -Ed.]
Continue reading: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Review
Already, T3 has a strike against it. Sequels with "Three" in the title tend to reek, from The Godfather: Part III to Jaws 3-D. Strike two comes in the form of high expectations. Twelve years ago, James Cameron raised the bar with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a superior sequel and a long-standing leader in the high-tech special effects field. The shoes director Jonathan Mostow (U-571) was asked to fill look mighty big.
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With his highly anticipated Jurassic Park sequel, Steven Spielberg grubs through the filmmaking archives for every plot device, camera trick, and clichéd scene you can think of, and rolls it into one big mess. Only with dinosaurs. Lots of 'em!
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A loose remake of the 1963 Haunting, this version gives us a creepy haunted house and four hapless people to populate it. Chief among them is Eleanor (Taylor), a real wacko who believes there are children's spirits in the house that speak to her. And she's right! Wow, original! And hey kids, the sexy Zeta-Jones plays a bisexual in the movie! Oooooh, scandalous! (Sarcasm, people.)
Continue reading: The Haunting (1999) Review
And so it is that in the terrorism-edgy mid-'00s, Steven Spielberg has resurrecteds War of the Worlds - again - and created the greatest alien invasion movie ever.
Continue reading: War of the Worlds (2005) Review