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Now You See Me Review


OK

The idea of magicians conducting a series of heists is a great one, but this under-developed film never quite seizes the opportunity. Even its terrific A-list cast can't make much of the lame plot. And director Leterrier is so enamoured with magic that he packs the film with whizzy digital trickery. Which completely misses the point.

At the centre are four illusionists: card trickster Daniel (Eisenberg), hypnotist Merrit (Harrelson), escapologist Henley (Fisher) and street magician Jack (Franco). They're summoned by a mysterious figure to team up for a series of elaborate performances funded by a wealthy benefactor (Caine). First up is a Las Vegas show that involves stealing millions of euros from a Paris bank and raining them down on the audience. This attracts the attention of FBI Agent Rhodes (Ruffalo) and Interpol's Dray (Laurent), who follow them to their next shows in New Orleans and New York. As does a notorious debunker (Freeman) determined to expose their secrets.

The film never quite gets the balance right, as we're not sure if we should root for these flashy young magicians or the people they're leading on a wild goose chase. But there's plenty of eye candy to keep us happy, as each whizzy stunt goes over-the-top to make us wonder what's really happening here. Everything this quartet does has an anarchist slant, stealing from the wealthy to help the needy, which adds a tinge of topicality. Although the gratuitous action scenes and ludicrous effects leave the film about as realistic as a Road Runner cartoon.

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New York Premiere Of 'Now You See Me'

Ed Solomon - New York Premiere of 'Now You See me' - Arrivals - New York City, NY, United States - Wednesday 22nd May 2013

Ed Solomon
Ed Solomon and Louis Letterier
Ed Solomon

'Now You See Me' NY Premiere

Louis Letterier and Ed Solomon - New York Premiere of 'Now You See me' - Arrivals - New York City, NY, United States - Tuesday 21st May 2013

Louis Letterier and Ed Solomon

Imagine That Review


Grim
Undemanding audiences may warm to the strong cast and crew of this family comedy, even though it's yet another example of a movie that's had all the life sucked out of it by the Hollywood studio system. In the end it isn't very funny, clever or engaging.

Evan (Murphy) is a high-flying financial executive who's not as attentive to his perky daughter Olivia (Shahidi) as he should be. Sharing custody with his ex (Parker), he only barely hears what Olivia says, and is shocked to discover that her imaginary friends are giving sound investment advice. So he starts using their tips at work, which both improves his job prospects and his relationship with Olivia. But this comes undone when his boss (Cox) offers a prime promotion to either him or his smarmy office rival (Church).

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Imagine That Review


Terrible
Certain stars clearly don't care about their long-term entertainment legacy. For Robin Williams, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and especially Eddie Murphy, how they will be remembered artistically is a lot less important than earning that divorce/paternity/lawsuit/greed-induced paycheck. Take the latest from former SNL superstar Murphy -- Imagine That. Aimed directly at the grade school demographic (it's a co-production with Universal affiliate Nickelodeon), this story of a workaholic father who's desperate to find a way to reconnect with his distant daughter isn't particularly awful. It's definitely not Norbit or Daddy Day Care. But within this otherwise formulaic family film are elements so atrocious that they remove any heart Murphy manages to mine.

For Evan Danielson (Murphy), life centers solely on work. As a financial advisor for major companies and clients, he must stay ahead of the competition both outside and within the firm. His chief competition is the newly hired Johnny Whitefeather (Thomas Haden Church). Playing up his Native American connections, the rival undermines Evan's confidence and when their boss Tom Stevens (Ronny Cox) suggests he will be stepping down, the race to replace him is on. Unfortunately, our hero's plans are complicated by the arrival of his daughter Olivia (Yara Shahidi). Still lost in a world of imaginary friends and security blankets, she tries her dad's nerves -- that is, until her fantasy games start accurately predicting fiscal trends. Soon, Evan is desperate for Olivia's help, hoping it will land him the big promotion.

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The In-Laws (2003) Review


Excellent
Has Michael Douglas found The Fountain of Youth in Catherine Zeta-Jones? Since the Gordon Gekko days of Wall Street fame, his body is certainly a little less nimble, his face a little more wrinkled, and his hair a shade too light. But the guy looks great, and he's once again an action hero. That bumps him up from "silver spoon" to "ageless wonder" in the Hollywood classification book - ever closer to the royalty of perennial good lookers Redford and Basinger.

In The In-Laws (based on the 1979 film of the same name), like most other Michael Douglas vehicles, his gaunt face is rarely off the camera. Wisely, director Andrew Fleming inserts a hilarious Albert Brooks as the perfect remedy for Douglas's self-absorption.

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What Planet Are You From? Review


Grim
It's always a shame to see great comedic minds fall so far from the mark. Garry Shandling is a funny man. Just check out any episode of The Larry Sanders Show. He has a wonderfully dry wit and is downright hilarious without drawing overt attention to himself. I just want to know what the hell happened to What Planet are You From?

Simple story line: Alien must come to Earth and impregnate female human being to establish future dominance of his planet's race. Comedic premise: Alien must learn how to communicate to female human beings. Comedy rolls on: Alien encounters and makes ass of himself to female human beings. Comedy continues: Alien tracked by rogue FAA agent. Comedy continues even more: Alien meets female human and falls in love. Cue drama. That's about it.

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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Review


Excellent
The obvious inspirations for Wayne and Garth, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) first hit history in this witty, winning tale of two modern-day So-Cal misfits who end up travelling through time. The impetus? A future society bases all of its culture on the music Bill and Ted's band, Wyld Stallyns (And notably the phrase, "Be excellent to each other") -- but all of that might never happen if the burnouts don't get their history report done.

Alas, it doesn't look good. Bill and Ted are walking mistakes as it is. They can't pronounce Socrates and believe Caeser was "a salad dressing dude." But their grasp of superlative adjectives like triumphant and gnarly is impressive indeed, so maybe there's hope.

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Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Review


Excellent
Alex Winter, where art thou dude? At a time when even Pauley Shore can make a Weasel-free comeback, you are still wandering in the wilderness. For those who clocked out after Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey I have only one word, Freaked. Can you believe that Ortiz the Dog boy is now saving the world on a yearly basis? Bogus, dude.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was a tremendous hit in 1989 and a sequel was immediately in the works. Where the first film took our stoner heroes through time, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey upped the ante and took them to hell. Literally, the original title of the film was Bill & Ted Go to Hell. The plot is awash in weird humor and outlandish gags as Bill and Ted attempt to defeat two evil robotic versions of themselves, avoid death, save history, and otherwise remain cool.

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Levity Review


Good
Billy Bob Thornton does a variation of his nearly invisible barber from The Man Who Wasn't There in screenwriter Ed Solomon's directorial debut Levity, escaping once again into a role of a hollow loner whose contemplative interior life dominates his every waking hour. Yet unlike in the Coen brothers' loopy noir homage, Thornton's character - a recently paroled convict named Manual (yes, "Manual") Jordan - is not a passive observer but, rather, a lost soul vainly searching for some way to make up for past sins. Although he does not believe in God (or divine redemption), Manual traverses the empty streets of his hometown desperately looking for some way to lessen the burden he has carried since that fateful day he shot a young convenience store clerk in a robbery gone terribly awry.

Thornton's reserved performance, involving lots of aimless shuffling around town and empty stares into nothingness, is well suited to the rhythms of Solomon's glacially-paced film (which he wrote as well as directed); his Manual a man who, having been unceremoniously dumped back into society against his will (he believes he deserves to stay in prison for his crime), doesn't know how to pick up the pieces of his non-existent life and move forward. With long thinning grey locks and a weathered, creased face, Manual is like a ghost forever doomed to haunt the locale of his greatest error, and when he moves through a subway station tunnel directly after leaving the Big House, it's not surprising to find that the crowds rush past him without acknowledging his presence. Thornton plays the character as though he had shriveled up from the inside out, and his expressions of bemused confusion and timid fright convey the feelings of unwieldy guilt and desperation that plague his conscience.

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Charlie's Angels Review


Grim
The spy game is up. You can thank Charlie's Angels -- the movie -- for that.

When did banality and pandering become okay? Just steal from Hong Kong, The Matrix, and a kitschy TV show from the mid-1970s and that's a movie? Charlie's Angels is one of the worst examples of action film homogeneity and shameless duplicity in any film I've seen in ages.

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Men In Black Review


Excellent
At last, someone remembered how to make a good summer movie!

With a clever, funny script and dead-on acting by title characters Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones at the heart of this hot weather gem, MIB gets it all just about right, succeeding at crossing the sci-fi and comedy genres where recent experiments like Mars Attacks! crashed and burned. Linda Fiorentino, almost unbilled in a great supporting role, also lends a fun sexiness to the film -- a picture in which the leads seem perfectly crafted for its stars.

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The In-Laws (2003) Review


Excellent
Has Michael Douglas found The Fountain of Youth in Catherine Zeta-Jones? Since the Gordon Gekko days of Wall Street fame, his body is certainly a little less nimble, his face a little more wrinkled, and his hair a shade too light. But the guy looks great, and he's once again an action hero. That bumps him up from "silver spoon" to "ageless wonder" in the Hollywood classification book - ever closer to the royalty of perennial good lookers Redford and Basinger.

In The In-Laws (based on the 1979 film of the same name), like most other Michael Douglas vehicles, his gaunt face is rarely off the camera. Wisely, director Andrew Fleming inserts a hilarious Albert Brooks as the perfect remedy for Douglas's self-absorption.

Continue reading: The In-Laws (2003) Review

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