David Hubbard

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Bubble Review


Terrible
Ordinarily, Steven Soderbergh is on par with today's brightest directors. But in his most recent, the low-budget indie Bubble, he's got nothing on his mind but an automaton-like impulse to film and cut images until he's arrived at what feels vaguely like an ending. There is no indication, neither in Coleman Hough's hollow script nor in Soderbergh's minimalist aesthetic, of any thematic inquiry into human nature, behavior, or the interrelationships that generally give stories their essence.

In a non-descript American wasteland, dotted with tract housing and factories, we find the warm, plump-featured Martha (Debbie Doebereiner). When she isn't taking care of her doddering father (Omar Cowan), she's tinkering away at the local doll factory. Her factory co-worker, Kyle (Dustin James Ashley), a dopey, listless teenager, is her only semblance of a friend. But, from the looks of it, Kyle would much rather be smoking a fatty in his bedroom than chitchatting with the quaint and middle-aged Martha.

Continue reading: Bubble Review

Noel Review


Grim
Susan Sarandon starring in your movie ought to guarantee a box office bonanza, no? Well, not always. This terribly ill-advised film (which got only the barest of theatrical releases) is a textbook example of just about everything that guarantees disaster. That includes putting Robin Williams in a non-comedic role, giving Penélope Cruz too much dialogue, having Alan Arkin believe that Paul Walker is his reincarnated wife, and, worst of all, setting your Christmas movie among the horrors of an urban hospital.

The idea here is that our central characters (including all of the above, plus one guy who breaks his own hand so he can relive his Best Christmas Ever as he did as a kid in the E.R.) have problems. You know, New Yorker problems: Walker is a jealous cop (and Cruz is his flirtatious girlfriend), and Sarandon's geriatric mother is an a sort of dazed funk -- just staring at the walls, refusing to eat. Sarandon is the centerpiece of the film: She's a mopey creature who's faced endless disaster in her life (a stillborn baby, even), but she's trying to keep up appearances.

Continue reading: Noel Review

Delivering Milo Review


Terrible
Albert Finney tries to coax an unborn child into popping out of Bridget Fonda. No, he's not a doctor -- he's a spirit sent to convince the little baby to be born! Given the singularly unappealing nature of Anton Yelchin, who plays the young Milo, a better plot might have been why Fonda would want this bratty little kid, instead. Contrived is a generous term for this one. Fairly banal.
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