Wade (Nate Hartley) and Ryan (Troy Gentile) are nervous about the first day of high school. They should be. No sooner do they arrive, inadvertently wearing the same shirt, than Wade's attempts to protect one diminutive student (David Dorfman, who's grown maybe two inches since playing Naomi Watts' son in The Ring) from the school bullies (Alex Frost and Josh Peck) land them on said bullies' crap list.
Continue reading: Drillbit Taylor Review
To add to that selection of mysteries, we could easily tack on what the hell My Boss's Daughter is about (except third-grade grammatical screw-ups). Seriously. About an hour after I got out of the theatre I was attempting to warn some girl about the dangers of seeing this movie and, in the process, realized that I still don't know of a single shred of the movie that makes sense.
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These two performers come together for the first time in a strange and uneven movie ostensibly about the dysfunction caused by repressed anger. Sandler's Dave, traumatized since the 1970s when his small package was revealed by a bully in the middle of his Brooklyn neighborhood, is an executive assistant to the president of a pet clothing company (people, I don't make this stuff up). A plane trip lands him in a seat next to Dr. Buddy Rydell (Nicholson), and a chance arm-brush with a flight attendant (you've seen the trailers) lands him in court for assault. Soon enough he's sentenced to spend a month in the care of Rydell, who moves into Dave's flat, where he demands breakfast be cooked for him and sleeps naked with him in his bed.
Continue reading: Anger Management Review
And it almost was before the filmmaking even began. Naomi Watts was reportedly not pleased with the original draft of the sequel script, and the director vacated the project just weeks before principal photography was set to begin. R-Two seemed destined to drown. But with a healthy revision from screenwriter Ehren Kruger, the script was fixed to Watts' satisfaction, and a ringer was brought in to direct. Now with the director of the original Japanese masterpiece Ringu and its disastrous sequel Ringu 2 at the helm, could R-Two be a worthy sequel to one of the best American horror movies ever made?
Continue reading: The Ring Two Review
Abandoning the gimmicky defining premise of itspredecessor, about the ghost of an evil littlegirl exacting blood-curdling vengeance on anyone who watched a hauntedvideo tape, "The Ring Two" seems also to have jettisoned allnotions of pacing, creative chills and common sense.
Catching up with newspaper reporter NaomiWatts (whose talents are wasted on B-movie screams)and her hollow-eyed son (David Dorfman) after they've survived the firstfilm by slipping through a gaping hole in its own internal logic, "TheRing Two" gives its poltergeist arbitrary new powers to track thesetwo down to a small West Coast town and possess the boy's body.
Little else happens in the course of the story, exceptthat Watts' suspicious attempts at exorcism draw the attention of the localChild Protective Services. The kid ends up in the hospital (from whichhe easily escapes and no search is ever mounted) while Watts tracks downthe ghostly girl's asylum-confined birth mother (Sissy Spacek) for somelong-winded exposition laying out the new rules of the plot.
Continue reading: The Ring Two Review
In "Bounce," Ben Affleck goes searching for the widow of the dead guy who got his seat on a doomed airliner. He plans to apologize but falls in love with her instead.
He doesn't tell her their meeting was no coincidence, despite several clear opportunities, and he shows no credible guilt over it. One night, the widow (a very moving Gwyneth Paltrow) bears her soul about her grief, and still he holds his tongue. Another night he sleeps with her instead of telling her the truth. He buddies up to her two young sons as a way to avoid telling her on other occasions. And when he finally does fess up, it's too late -- she's already found out from somebody else.
Yet we're supposed to like this selfish jackass because he's a recovering alcoholic and a glib stud learning What's Really Important In Life. We're supposed to feel bad for Ben and his broken heart. We're supposed to root for Ben and Gwynnie to get back together because his eyes get a little moist after she gives him his walking papers.
Continue reading: Bounce Review
"The Ring" opens with a scene straight out of a teen horror movie: A high school girl is trying to scare a friend with the supposedly true story of a haunted videotape -- if you watch it, you die in seven days.
The other girl turns white as a sheet, not because the story scares her, but because she's actually seen the tape -- seven days before.
What follows is an chilling five minutes of eerie goings-on in which director Gore Verbinski ("The Mexican") skillfully winds the audience up like a jack-in-the-box, then sets us jumping at his pleasure with the simplest scare-movie tricks. A TV turns on to static, by itself, immediately after being turned off -- and unplugged. The phone rings menacingly. One girl searches for the other, sees water leaking out from under the bathroom door and s-l-o-w-l-y reaches for the knob.
Continue reading: The Ring Review
A brilliantly observant, darkly humorous and immaculately acted movie about an average suburban father in the throes of a midlife crisis, "Panic" bears an vague, off-kilter resemblance to "American Beauty" in style and subject.
Its central character is a meek and neurotic man in his 40s (William H. Macy) whose growing fixation with a sexually conflicted nymph (Neve Campbell) half his age is turning his life upside-down. The two films share a similar dysfunctional domesticity as well, and a crisp but sparse visual elegance with just a pinch of excess color.
But Alex (Macy), the sympathetic anti-hero of "Panic," has a much bigger secret than his newfound temptation for a younger woman. Alex is a hit man -- and he's just not sure he's comfortable in that line of work anymore.
Continue reading: Panic Review
Ironically, "The Singing Detective" probably would have been better without the awkwardly integrated songs that signal frequent shifts into fantasy for the picture's acrimonious anti-hero -- a second-rate pulp novelist hospitalized with literally crippling, full-body psoriasis that serves as a metaphor for his rampaging inner demons.
As an acerbically droll psychological drama about the writer's noir-fiction imagination slowly seeping into his tormented reality, this new adaptation of the highly acclaimed 1986 BBC miniseries (both were written by the late Dennis Potter) has many layers of mesmerizing Freudian substance, brought vividly to life by Robert Downey, Jr's fearlessly hostile but slowly warming performance.
Playing Dan Dark -- a bitter soul trapped in a grotesquely scabby, arthritic body -- Downey seethes with such animosity toward the whole world that when his doctors break into a low-budget production number lip-sync of "At the Hop" or his ointment-applying nurse (Katie Holmes) coos "Mr. Sandman" in a sexual daydream sequence, the film overshoots its intended farce because such silliness is so out of character for a man this bitter and full of bile.
Continue reading: The Singing Detective Review
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Ironically, "The Singing Detective" probably would have been better without the awkwardly integrated songs that...