David Womark

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Life Of Pi Review


Essential

Working with perceptive writer David Magee (Finding Neverand), Ang Lee creates one of the most thoughtful, artistic blockbusters ever made by a Hollywood studio. Although Yann Martel's award-winning novel was considered unfilmable, Magee and Lee have managed to maintain the delicate balance of an awesome adventure story with provocative themes that echo long after the story reaches its tricky, mind-expanding conclusion.

Imaginative teen Pi Patel (Sharma) grew up in a zoo owned by his parents (Hussain and Tabu) in formerly French India. And when hard times come, they decide to pack up and move with the animals to Canada. But the ship they are travelling on runs into a fierce storm in the Pacific, sinking suddenly and leaving Pi as the lone survivor on a lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a frantic hyena, a seasick orang-utan and a hungry Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Over the coming months, Pi and Richard Parker survive due to the challenges of coexisting in such a confined space. And with his Buddhist, Christian and Islamic beliefs, Pi now believes the experience also helps explain the existence of God.

The film adds a framing device as a writer (Spall) interviews the older Pi (Khan), essentially putting both us and Martel into the story. This helps open the themes up in intensely personal ways, while grounding the extravagantly visual ordeal at sea with a quietly involving house-bound conversation. And far from removing suspense, knowing that Pi survives brings out the layers of meaning in ways that are suspenseful and challenging. Everything about the story is infused with the idea of faith in God, with intriguing parallels in the relationships between humans, animals and nature. But none of this is overstated: it's subtle and questioning rather than preachy. And much more effective as a result.

Continue reading: Life Of Pi Review

Stardust Review


Essential
The tremendously enchanting Stardust runs on a double dose of star power.

Traditional Hollywood stars are stockpiled in the cast. Michelle Pfeiffer, so villainous in Hairspray, leads a trio of selfish witch sisters. Robert De Niro captains a motley crew aboard a magical pirate ship. Peter O'Toole gets five quality minutes as the dying leader of a storybook kingdom. Sir Ian McKellen even narrates the affair.

Continue reading: Stardust Review

The Chronicles Of Riddick Review


Weak
A befuddled attempt to give Vin Diesel his own franchise series - now that he's ditched giving the XXX thing another whirl - The Chronicles of Riddick stomps onto screens with an attitude that's somehow both obtuse and far too simplistic. This sequel of sorts to writer/director David Twohy's Pitch Black takes one of that film's sole survivors, the titular shaven-headed and silver-eyed criminal (Vin Diesel), and drops him into the middle of a byzantine interstellar conflict that's about as easy to parse out as one of Frank Herbert's Dune novels.

At the start of the film, Riddick is being chased on a remote, frozen planet by some bounty hunters, whom he promptly dispatches and steals their ship to ride back to the planet of Helios Prime, where their employer was from. Once there, he finds out the bounty was put on him by one of Pitch Black's other survivors, Imam (Keith David, resplendent in flowing robes and a sharp goatee). Apparently, Imam and Aereon (Judi Dench), an ambassador from a ghost-like race called the Elementals, think that Riddick, being a member of the Furion race, will be able to help the galaxy fight off an onslaught of planet-destroying religious fanatics called Necromongers. The Necromongers are on a galactic jihad to bring about something called "the Underverse" and will convert or kill anybody in their path. But, before any of this can really be figured out, the Necromongers' gigantic armada crashes down on Helios Prime and things get really complicated. There's about ten minutes' worth of action that takes place later in a prison which, even now, after much contemplation, still makes absolutely no sense.

Continue reading: The Chronicles Of Riddick Review

The Chronicles Of Riddick Review


Weak
A befuddled attempt to give Vin Diesel his own franchise series - now that he's ditched giving the XXX thing another whirl - The Chronicles of Riddick stomps onto screens with an attitude that's somehow both obtuse and far too simplistic. This sequel of sorts to writer/director David Twohy's Pitch Black takes one of that film's sole survivors, the titular shaven-headed and silver-eyed criminal (Vin Diesel), and drops him into the middle of a byzantine interstellar conflict that's about as easy to parse out as one of Frank Herbert's Dune novels.

At the start of the film, Riddick is being chased on a remote, frozen planet by some bounty hunters, whom he promptly dispatches and steals their ship to ride back to the planet of Helios Prime, where their employer was from. Once there, he finds out the bounty was put on him by one of Pitch Black's other survivors, Imam (Keith David, resplendent in flowing robes and a sharp goatee). Apparently, Imam and Aereon (Judi Dench), an ambassador from a ghost-like race called the Elementals, think that Riddick, being a member of the Furion race, will be able to help the galaxy fight off an onslaught of planet-destroying religious fanatics called Necromongers. The Necromongers are on a galactic jihad to bring about something called "the Underverse" and will convert or kill anybody in their path. But, before any of this can really be figured out, the Necromongers' gigantic armada crashes down on Helios Prime and things get really complicated. There's about ten minutes' worth of action that takes place later in a prison which, even now, after much contemplation, still makes absolutely no sense.

Continue reading: The Chronicles Of Riddick Review

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David Womark Movies

Life of Pi Movie Review

Life of Pi Movie Review

Working with perceptive writer David Magee (Finding Neverand), Ang Lee creates one of the most...

Stardust Movie Review

Stardust Movie Review

The tremendously enchanting Stardust runs on a double dose of star power.Traditional Hollywood stars are...

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The Chronicles of Riddick Movie Review

The Chronicles of Riddick Movie Review

A befuddled attempt to give Vin Diesel his own franchise series - now that he's...

The Chronicles of Riddick Movie Review

The Chronicles of Riddick Movie Review

A befuddled attempt to give Vin Diesel his own franchise series - now that he's...

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