David Kirschner

David Kirschner

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Bride Of Chucky Review


OK
Child's Play spoofs itself with this very tongue-in-cheek installment of the "Chucky" series. Standing out in more ways than one (ahem) is Jennifer Tilly as Chucky's love interest -- first as the human that brings him back from the dead, then as the doll that Chucky forces her soul into. Plenty of "witty" repartee among the cast, with none of the guilt that you're watching a serious attempt at making a horror flick.

Miss Potter Review


Weak

Chris Noonan's Miss Potter continues a rather long line of films that attempt to diagnose the creative process of a writer and the critical world that surrounds the writer's inherent social (emotional) ineptitude. There are moments where Miss Potter seems to be on the right track in feeling out the emotional trajectory of its main character, but it often chooses the route of greater cuteness over the challenges of trying to study the life of a writer.

Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) came from a well-off family and was well past her marriage date when three brothers agreed to publish her book, expecting nothing more than a minor profit. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, Miss Potter was the brains behind the beloved Peter Rabbit and several other indelible creatures of delightful fantasy. When the elder statesmen of the publishing firm deem the project unworthy of their time, they send their young brother (Ewan McGregor), to handle the book and its flighty author. As you may guess, the two fall head-over-heels, much to the chagrin of Beatrix's parents (Bill Patterson and Barbara Flynn) and to the glee of his sister (Emily Watson, the film's most evident charm factory).

Noonan, best known for the now classic Babe, treats his subject with the same well-dressed adorability that Potter gave her creatures, most notably Peter. A more easygoing version of Marc Forster's Finding Neverland, Miss Potter spends more time striving to deal with the relationship status of its heroine than delving into the quixotic charm of her writing process. The better parts of the film are the flourishes of animated hallucinogenics that Noonan puts in as a reminder of where these creations came from: Beatrix's parlor of emotional eccentricities.

The problem is that, when push comes to shove, we've seen Potter's story before, and Miss Potter is severely lacking in trying to differentiate its source material from any other classically-tinted story of love and writing. Acting-wise, there couldn't be a sweeter bunch of actors to add to the candy-coated shell the film inhabits. But the film invariably goes for impenetrable cuteness, even when a rather obvious tragedy occurs. In fact, all the drama that arises seems to be treated with fumbling, patronizing dullness to give more ample weight to what is a rather wanting character study.

Rereading the Peter Rabbit books, you have to marvel at the simplicity and class that the books had in telling a story with a solid moral. What Miss Potter doesn't have is the creative veil that Potter herself gave these wonderful stories. The film could have been so detailed and surreal, yet it relies on whimsy like the animated whirl of Beatrix's parents stepping into a cartoon pumpkin led by four monstrous rabbits. It is missing that childlike love for nature and animals that Beatrix must have had, and in turn, forgets what it's like to have an imagination.

Not Harry's mom.

Miss Potter Review


Weak
Chris Noonan's Miss Potter continues a rather long line of films that attempt to diagnose the creative process of a writer and the critical world that surrounds the writer's inherent social (emotional) ineptitude. There are moments where Miss Potter seems to be on the right track in feeling out the emotional trajectory of its main character, but it often chooses the route of greater cuteness over the challenges of trying to study the life of a writer.

Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) came from a well-off family and was well past her marriage date when three brothers agreed to publish her book, expecting nothing more than a minor profit. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, Miss Potter was the brains behind the beloved Peter Rabbit and several other indelible creatures of delightful fantasy. When the elder statesmen of the publishing firm deem the project unworthy of their time, they send their young brother (Ewan McGregor), to handle the book and its flighty author. As you may guess, the two fall head-over-heels, much to the chagrin of Beatrix's parents (Bill Patterson and Barbara Flynn) and to the glee of his sister (Emily Watson, the film's most evident charm factory).

Continue reading: Miss Potter Review

Frailty Review


Extraordinary
What if God spoke to you? No, I'm not talking about last night when you drank that bottle of tequila. What if he came to you sober and gave you a mission?

The Maiks family was a happy one. Father and two young sons, they had carved out an all American existence after the boy's mother died giving birth to the youngest. Until the boy's father (Bill Paxton) gets a visit from God, bestowing upon him a terrible mission to rid the world of demons, complete with a list of names of real human beings upon which the family is to wreak divine vengeance. And you thought your family was dysfunctional. Still firmly grounded in the real world, 12-year-old Fenton Maiks (Matthew O'Leary) is convinced his father has gone mad, and struggles to find the courage to stop his insane killing spree, before his younger brother is completely brainwashed.

Continue reading: Frailty Review

Titan A.E. Review


Weak
Good Will Hunting goes to space in Titan A.E., an ill-conceived and overambitious animation blowout (courtesy of 20th Century Fox) that makes recent Disney fare look like thinking men's movies.

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

Bride Of Chucky Review


OK
Child's Play spoofs itself with this very tongue-in-cheek installment of the "Chucky" series. Standing out in more ways than one (ahem) is Jennifer Tilly as Chucky's love interest -- first as the human that brings him back from the dead, then as the doll that Chucky forces her soul into. Plenty of "witty" repartee among the cast, with none of the guilt that you're watching a serious attempt at making a horror flick.

Hocus Pocus Review


OK
Bette Midler, never known for subtlety, got more permission to overact here than should be allowed by law. Not only is she playing a witch, but her hair is red and done up into a fright 'do, and two little hominy teeth jut out over her lower lip. Hocus Pocus, Disney's family-friendly witch-burning film, also features tons of "wow look how young they used to be!" performances from Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, and a few others. Modern audiences will probably enjoy watching a bizarre Sarah Jessica Parker ham it up as one of a trio of Salem-era witches reincarnated in the 1990s (they ride vacuum cleaners!) and after the children of the town. Too bad the story is so disposable.

Child's Play Review


Very Good
Unabashedly, this is a bad horror film. But it succeeds in its badness, and it's actually quite watchable, and funny. Stolen wholesale from an episode of The Twilight Zone, Child's Play spawned a franchise that, 10 years later, is still going strong. Oy.
David Kirschner

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David Kirschner Movies

Miss Potter Movie Review

Miss Potter Movie Review

Chris Noonan's Miss Potter continues a rather long line of films that attempt to diagnose...

Miss Potter Movie Review

Miss Potter Movie Review

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