David Self

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The Wolfman Review


Weak
This B-movie made on an epic budget is so over-the-top that the earlier you start giggling the better. Even though it's played dead straight, it's an old-style monster romp that couldn't be any more camp if it tried.

American-raised actor Lawrence (Del Toro) returns to his family manor on an English moor, where his wild-haired father Sir John (Hopkins) lives with his Sikh servant (Malik). Lawrence discovers that his brother has just been killed in the woods by a vicious creature, which later wounds him as well, turning him into a werewolf. And on the first full moon, he finds himself on the hunt as well as chased by a Scotland Yard detective (Weaving). But maybe a gypsy woman (Chaplin) and his brother's ex-fiancee (Blunt) hold the key to his salvation.

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Premiere of 'The Wolfman' at ArcLight Cinemas - Red Carpet

David Self Tuesday 9th February 2010 Premiere of 'The Wolfman' at ArcLight Cinemas - Red Carpet Los Angeles, California

Premiere of 'The Wolfman' at ArcLight Cinemas - Red Carpet

David Self - David Self and Guest Los Angeles, California - Premiere of 'The Wolfman' at ArcLight Cinemas - Red Carpet Tuesday 9th February 2010

Road to Perdition Review


Essential
Murder is a cold and senseless act. Those who make it their life must by necessity be hard and brutal men. Road to Perdition never flinches away from that, but somehow, in the emotionally empty lives of mafia killers, finds warmth, depth, and soul.

This second film from American Beauty director Sam Mendes presents a highly stylized and muddied look into the world of the Irish mob. Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is at the center of it, as mob boss John Rooney's (Paul Newman) personal "Angel of Death." Raised as Rooney's son, Sullivan and his family have been given an idyllic life, marred only by the secrecy of Sullivan's dastardly work. But when his oldest son Michael Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) witnesses dad taking care of business, their world is shattered, as mob boss Rooney's overeager son murders Sullivan's wife and youngest child in response. Now, Sullivan must put his loyalty to the test to protect his oldest son Michael and buy a life for them both.

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The Haunting (1999) Review


Terrible
Some houses should never be visited. And some movies should never be remade. The Haunting represents both of those tenets.

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.)

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Thirteen Days Review


Excellent
I don't often override the writers at filmcritic.com, free speech and individual preference being what they are, but every now and then I disagree with a critic so much, I am called to make a response. (And since we published this review in January 2001, the reader mail has let me know just what they thought of this bit of criticism....)

Thirteen Days is the film in question -- and unlike staff writer James Brundage I felt the film was a truly powerful one, an eye-opening dissection of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a sobering study of how close we came to annihialation during the Cold War, and a peek behind the scenes of detente. An excellent companion to another (even better) Kevin Costner vehicle, Oliver Stone's JFK, Thirteen Days is not an actor's showcase like JFK is, but rather lets its story do the telling, taking us behind the scenes as decisions with cascading consequences are made. To be sure, Roger Donaldson was likely a poor choice as director -- his arbitrary use of black and white vs. color, his heavy-handedness in glorifying Kennedy at every turn, and his preachy doomsaying all wear a bit thin. But even he can't ruin the film completely.

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