There's a fundamental flaw to this multi-strand social media-themed drama: it's told completely from the perspective of older people who are fearful about the possibilities, rather than the generation for whom electronic communication is the norm. It's well-made by director Jason Reitman (age 36) and his cowriter Erin Cressida Wilson (50) from the novel by Chad Kultgen (38), but it kind of misses the point that this is the future of human interaction. So younger (or more switched-on) viewers won't buy the cautionary message.
IR's set in Austin, Texas, where Rachel and Don (Rosemarie DeWitt and Adam Sandler) are each so focussed on finding space outside their marriage that they don't notice that their teen son Chris (Travis Tope) is hanging out with self-proclaimed slutty cheerleader Hannah (Olivia Crocicchia). Her best friend Allison (Elena Kamporis) is starving herself to be like her, spurred on by her mother (Judy Greer), who is doing everything she can to make Allison a star. Meanwhile, Patricia (Jennifer Garner) is desperate to control how her daughter Brandy (Kaitkyn Dever) uses small-screens, especially worried about her growing friendship with Tim (Ansel Elgort), whose father (Dean Norris) is annoyed that he has quit the school football team.
Oddly, the film seems to adopt the adults' fears as its central tone: the internet and mobile phone communications are potentially dangerous, addictive and isolating. But this makes the film feel more like a sermon than a set of intertwined stories. A far more interesting approach would be to explore how communication and relationships are shifting due to the influence of online media. Indeed, the generational aspects to the films various plotlines are the most compelling elements, with clashing points of view between grown-ups and kids. But audience members who believe that mobile phones and social media sites are the future will struggle with the way Reitman presents them as inherently troublesome.
Continue reading: Men, Women & Children Review
It's taken nearly 10 years for filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and graphic novelist Frank Miller to get around to making this sequel, but it was worth the wait because the technical advancements make this second triptych of stories even more visually stunning, and the emotional resonance is even stronger. This is a lean, mean noir thriller that doesn't waste a single moment as it rips through three interlocking plots that centre on revenge for the events of the first movie.
Two people are out to get even with the ruthlessly nasty politician Roark (Powers Booth). Watched over by the hulking Marv (Mickey Rourke), gun-toting stripper Nancy (Jessica Alba) is still heartbroken after Roark killed her beloved Hartigan (Bruce Willis), who appears to her as a ghostly apparition. And Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is determined to bring Roark down by humiliating him at his own high-stakes poker game, even though merely having uncanny good luck might not be enough. But the main story centres on private eye Dwight (Josh Brolin), who is stopped in his tracks when he encounters his old flame Ava (Eva Green), a bombshell who has power over most men she meets. She asks for help with a domestic problem, and Dwight is powerless to walk away even though he knows something is fishy.
As before, these stories unfold exactly as they would in a graphic novel, with blunt dialogue and strikingly visual imagery black and white that's spotted with flashes of colour. Aside from Ava's blue coat, that colour is usually red: hair, nails, lips, but not blood, which splashes in glaring white. It looks fantastic in (ahem) eye-popping 3D. And it's fiercely violent as death hovers around the residents of Basin City, especially the lawless Old Town district. But there's just as much emphasis on surging passion, including some surprisingly graphic sexuality that plays up how helpless men are around a scantily clad woman. Indeed, it's rare to see an action film in which the women are so resolutely in charge.
Continue reading: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Review
'Bones' star Emily Deschanel and 'Gracepoint' actor David Tennant were among the TV guests at the FOX Network Upfront presentation held at The Beacon Theater in New York. The latter is new to American television with his crime drama series that is based on the original British series 'Broadchurch'.
Visually ambitious and packed with inside jokes for arcade gamers, this colourful animated adventure is an enjoyable romp but is probably too energetic for its own good. It simply never settles down so that we can sink into its various settings or get to know its lively characters. So in the end we've enjoyed the talent of the animators and the vocal cast, but we feel rather exhausted.
The story is set in a vintage 1980s arcade game called Fix-it Felix Jr, in which Felix (voiced by McBrayer) must repair damage inflicted by Ralph's (Reilly)massive fists. But after 30 years, Ralph is tired of being the unloved villain. He wants to be the good guy for a change, so heads across the room into another game, the combat role-play adventure Hero's Duty. There he's trained by tough-talking squadron leader Calhoun (Lynch) and battles space insects to win a medal and escape. But a killer bug follows him into the candy-themed road-race game Sugar Rush, threatening the balance of the whole arcade.
The majority of the plot takes place here, as Ralph teams up with unloved "glitch" Vanellope to challenge the smiling tyrant King Candy (Tudyk). Unlike the pixellated Fix-it Felix Jr and the virtual reality of Hero's Duty, Sugar Rush is a pink-hued, delicious-looking land of sugary treats. Each of these games, and the transfer station between them, is populated by spirited characters with their own subplots. And there are also appearances by iconic favourites such as Pac-Man, Mario and Q*bert. So with the different animation styles and eclectic ensemble of characters, our eyes aren't bored for a second.
Continue reading: Wreck-it Ralph Review
Taylor Swift, Jerry Springer, Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria Thomas and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were among the mass of arrivals for the 2012 Ripple of Hope Awards Dinner at The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights in New York City.
Following possible terrorists and their contacts, Eric O'Neil (Ryan Phillipe) eagerly tries to discuss bureau protocol with his team, only to be ignored and have his well-prepared report on the subject shoved back in his face. That is, until he is dragged into a bureau conference room on a Sunday to meet with his superior and head agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney). It's here that O'Neil is asked to shadow Russian intelligence specialist Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper) for what is originally agreed to be sexually perverse activities. It isn't till O'Neil is taken under wing by the intelligence expert that Burroughs reveals that Hanssen has actually been selling information to the Russians for some time and has cost the government billions of dollars and uncountable agent lives.
Continue reading: Breach Review
Having saved the President from assassination, the country from both nuclear and viral threats, and having been addicted to heroin, lost his wife and had to murder his boss, one understands when in the first moments of season four Jack Bauer is under different employment. No longer at CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) - in fact not even welcome there - Jack is now the chief bodyguard for Secretary of Defense James Heller (William Devane). Jack's love interest for the day, Audrey Raines (Kim Raver), happens to be his boss' daughter, and when dad and daughter are kidnapped, ransomed and threatened with live web-syndicated trial and execution, Bauer must again brace the corridors of CTU and endeavor to save the day, for the fourth time.
Continue reading: 24: Season Four Review
Either way, it's a dismal failure.
Continue reading: The Minus Man Review
Love and Basketball concerns Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan), a basketball loving girl who wants nothing more than to be the first woman in the NBA. Her next door neighbor, Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) is the son of a NBA player and wants nothing more than to follow in his father's footsteps and get some booty along the way. When he realizes (at about age 18) that the booty he has been wanting all along has been living next door, he quickly hooks up with her. Both find themselves going to USC and both find themselves on the USC basketball teams.
Continue reading: Love and Basketball Review
Interesting premise: Computer geniuses build a virtual reality machine that lets them go back in time to 1937 Los Angeles. Only the virtual people have feelings and emotions just like us; they don't know they're not real. But then they find out.
Continue reading: The Thirteenth Floor Review