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Paranoia Review


With a strong cast and striking production values, this thriller is sleek enough to hold our interest even if corporate espionage isn't a very exciting topic for the movies. As the title suggests, the film is trying to tap into the fear that our lives are being controlled by technology. But the script never goes anywhere with this idea, instead drifting through the usual plot involving shady bad guys, dark conspiracies and plucky heroics. All of which we've seen far too many times before.

It centres on young technical genius Adam (Hemsworth), who needs cash to pay the medical bills for his ill father (Dreyfuss). Working with his pal Kevin (Till), he goes for a big promotion but is instead sacked by his boss Wyatt (Oldman). The next morning, Wyatt makes Adam an offer he can't refuse: a chance to earn a fortune by spying on chief competitor Goddard (Ford). But this new undercover job brings all kinds of worries as Adam sees shadowy nastiness lurking around every corner. He's also suspicious that a recent one-night stand, Emma (Heard), works for Goddard. And that there's a strange man (Holloway) following his every move.

Rather than explore corrupt corporate culture or the idea that technology has eroded our privacy, the filmmakers create a fairly pedestrian thriller that tries to blind us with fake techno-speak and corny emotions. The plot continually hints that it will get darker and more momentous, but it never does. All of the stakes feel oddly small, the chain of events doesn't quite hang together and the characters never feel like more than rough outlines.

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Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie Review


The filmmakers make a serious mistake by aiming this educational epic at very young children, because they've undermined the considerable skill and artistry that have gone into making it. An astoundingly trite script overflows with goofy slang and lame jokes that make the film virtually unwatchable for anyone over the age of 5. And the dialog tries so hard to be hip and cool that it already feels badly dated.

It opens on a rather awkward framing story about a palaeontologist (Urban) who takes his niece and nephew (Rice and Rowe) to look for dinosaur fossils in rural Alaska, at which point we are taken back in time to see what life was life in the Late Cretaceous Period. Enter Patchi (voiced by Long), a young pachyrhinosaurus whose best pal is a talkative bird named Alex (Leguizamo). Patchi also has an annoying big brother named Scowler (Stone) and a love-interest in Juniper (Sircar). As the young pachyrhinos grow up, they have a series of adventures along the path migrating north and south with the seasons. Vicious predators chase them, and both Patchi and Scowler take a shot at leading the herd.

The plot is fairly simplistic, but it's a decent tool to teach us about the various animals of the period. The dialog is another story altogether, packed with inane observations, stupid gags and lazy one-liners. By comparison, the required poo, vomit and snot jokes are genuinely witty. And a considerable amount of real information about the period and the creatures gets lost in all of the idiotic patter.

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When The Lights Went Out Review

Based on an outrageous true story, this is essentially Britain's own Amityville Horror, as a family haplessly moves into a house occupied by a noisy, terrifying ghost. The filmmakers create a strong freak-out atmosphere, jolting us out of our seats several times along the way, but some plot points ring false and some scenes feel a bit silly.

It's 1974 when Jenny and Len (Ashfield and Waddington) move into a new home.

They're delighted with the increase in space and the lovely Yorkshire setting, but their 17-year-old daughter Sally (Connor) is annoyed that her life has been disrupted. And the rolling blackouts don't help either, especially since the darkness seems to reveal something malevolent lurking in the shadows.

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Tucker And Dale Vs Evil Review

Flipping the backwoods horror genre on its head, this horror-comedy is riotously entertaining mainly because we never have a clue what's going to happen next. And even if it gets a bit cartoonish and overly grisly, it's thoroughly good fun right.

Nice-guy Tucker (Tudyk) is fixing up his run-down holiday cabin in the woods with his shy pal Dale (Labine), while nine university students are camping nearby. Around the campfire Chad (Moss) recounts a incident two decades earlier in which a group of kids were massacred right here. So when Allison (Bowden) goes missing, the gang becomes convinced that Tucker and Dale are hillbilly cannibals who have kidnapped their friend. But Tucker and Dale only rescued her when she was injured swimming., and now they can't figure out why these kids are attacking them.

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The Walker Review

There are several things being chatted and whispered about in the backrooms, parlors and bars of Paul Shrader's Washington but nothing distinctive. The closest to a controversy comes when a few specific so-and-sos ruminate about a possible conspiracy involving the vice president and a dead escort. These events, however, doesn't seem to matter much in the grand scheme of things, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing in Shrader's latest film, The Walker.

As is explained by a pair of FBI agents, a walker is the title given to men who escort women of great importance (and elderly age) from here to there in the ladies' leisurely days of lunching and shopping. Like other men in his profession, Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) has the breeding and education that the career demands and his taste in fashion and furniture is impeccable; he's also a flagrant homosexual. He shuttles away from his one-day-a-week job as a real estate insider to meet up with the likes of Lynn Locklear (Kristin Scott Thomas), the wife of a senator, and Abigail Delorean (Lily Tomlin), the wife of Washington's most powerful fixer (Ned Beatty).

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Looking For Comedy In The Muslim World Review

Maybe placing the word "comedy" in the title is just another failed attempt at humor by Albert Brooks? Because the writer/director's pseudo-controversial Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is the least funny picture he's ever conceived. Brooks should have found room for the word "duck," because this putrid bomb lays egg after egg after egg.

We begin with Brooks (playing himself) auditioning for a Penny Marshall-directed remake of Harvey. He doesn't get the part, largely because he's "not the next Jimmy Stewart," but he does follow Stewart's lead by heading off to Washington at the request of our government. He's asked to travel to India and Pakistan on a goodwill mission to discover what makes Muslims laugh. Might I suggest he start by looking any place his film isn't screening?

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Bend It Like Beckham Review

With preternatural good looks, a Spice Girl for a wife, and an uncanny ability to kick a soccer ball and make it land wherever he wants, David Beckham is one of the biggest stars of British sports. The soccer player was nice enough to lend his name to Bend It Like Beckham, a spirited, good-natured coming of age comedy that encompasses the immigrant experience, gender identity and family expectations with an engaging, natural ease.

The film follows Jesminder (Parminder K. Nagra), the child of Punjabi émigrés living in suburban London -- and one of Beckham's biggest fans. Posters of the footballer's exploits cover her walls, she wears his jersey when she plays soccer with the boys in the park, and she studies his moves during games on TV. But it's Jess's soccer skills that catch the eye of Juliette (Keira Knightley), who plays for a local women's soccer club. Jess finds herself recruited and suddenly realizes that soccer dreams of her own are not farfetched.

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Bride & Prejudice Review

What do you get when you mix a Bollywood musical with a Jane Austen classic? I'm not sure, but if you take a pretty generic romantic comedy and throw in some musical numbers, you'll get Bride and Prejudice, the latest film from Bend It Like Beckham co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha.

The premise is similar to Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Here the setting is moved to India, where the not-so-wealthy (but still rich enough to hire servants) Bakshi family resides in a less-than-touristy district. Mrs. Bakshi (Nadira Babbar) is desperate to marry off her daughters. They include Jaya (Namrata Shirodkar), who has eyes for lawyer Balraj (Lost's Naveen Andrews), and Lalita (Aishwarya Rai) who is interested in Balraj's American friend Will Darcy (Martin Henderson), until she actually bothers to talk to him.

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Buena Vista Social Club Review

Do you like Cuban music? Maybe you've never tried it, and like your mother said, you won't know until you do. Wim Wenders, best known for making Wings of Desire, takes a video camera and makes a home movie/documentary about octagenarian musicians in Cuba. Too bad there's not more music, 'cause these old folks are dry as dust.

Delivering Milo Review

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.

City Of Ghosts Review

Lest you think all actors are suddenly turning into directors, (as in George Clooney's 2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) let me point out that it's not a new phenomenon (Kenneth Branagh's 1989 Dead Again). So, there's nothing extraordinary about Matt Dillon directing (and co-writing and acting in) City of Ghosts. And what he's turned in here for his theatrical film debut is a rather atmospheric journey set within the corrupt, decrepit precincts of Cambodia with plenty of opportunities for tension and intrigue.

The question is whether he developed his story to take full advantage of the setting for Asian mystery (this is the first film shot entirely in Cambodia since 1964) and the cutthroat characters that people it -- at least in fiction. Unfortunately, writer-director Dillon evokes the color and the mystery without quite managing to create gut-gripping drama. The flaw is in the content.

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