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Stargate Review


OK
When did I miss the event that made Stargate worthy of an "Ultimate Edition" DVD, complete with director's cut? I guess that MacGyver-starring TV show thing is more popular than I thought.

Anyway, if you're unfamiliar with Stargate, the story is pretty straightforward. Military types unearth a big metal ring encoded with Egyptian hieroglyphics, then import a kooky archeologist (James Spader) to figure out what it does -- which, within 30 minutes, involves the opening up of a portal to another world, millions of light years away.

Continue reading: Stargate Review

Mr Deeds Review


Zero

As someone who watches upwards of 500 movies a year, I've seen more than my fair share of bad remakes. But I've never seen one do anything as stomach-turning as the way Adam Sandler's new movie rapes, pillages and incinerates Frank Capra's classic "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town."

Entitled just "Mr. Deeds" and punctuated with elementary dialogue and the worst kind of feel-good muzak score, it doesn't contain a single sincere moment, a single performance that would pass muster in an elementary school play or a single scene without glaring continuity problems. Different takes within the same conversations don't even sync up -- ever.

As in Capra's very funny and heartfelt hallmark, the story is about a modest, idealistic small-town schnook named Longfellow Deeds (Sandler) who inherits a fortune from a distant uncle and is swept away to New York City, where ruthless tabloid scrutiny turns him into an object of both scorn and laughter. Leading the smear campaign is an ambitious female reporter (Winona Ryder), who poses as a fellow wide-eyed out-of-towner. But while trying to railroad Deeds into splashy front-page behavior, she falls for the guy, has a change of heart and decides to help save him from the urban wolves.

Continue reading: Mr Deeds Review

Planet Of The Apes Review


Weak

Without the faintest hint of director Tim Burton's uniquely uncanny style, "Planet of the Apes" version 2.0 feels like nothing more than a generic (albeit overblown) sci-fi summer movie -- and a forgettably mediocre one at that.

A passionless, elementary endeavor of wow effects and a yawn plot (which has been reinvented from the 1968 original), the picture opens circa 2029 with astronaut Mark Wahlberg working on a space station, training chimps to pilot one-man pods into electrical storms encountered in deep space.

After losing contact with one chimp in a rather ominous anomaly, Wahlberg establishes his maverick personality (which soon fades into a vanilla version of your standard action hero) by swiping a pod against orders to go rescue him. Once inside the storm, our hero is sucked into a wormhole that turns his helm dead and spits him out to crash land on a faraway world in the distant future where -- as if you didn't know -- a brutal, medieval society of evolved simians enslaves primitive humans as labor and pets.

Continue reading: Planet Of The Apes Review

Daredevil Review


Weak

An unremarkably routine superhero movie based on the cult-favorite comic book about a satanically-costumed blind vigilante, "Daredevil" plays like a C-grade grad project for a night school course called Superhero Filmmaking 101.

Faithful to his inspiration -- the era of "Daredevil" issues written by "Batman" revitalizer Frank Miller and comic-crazy film director Kevin Smith -- in several important details, writer-director Mark Steven Johnson's one stroke of true genius comes in the pulses of fluid, misty, ghostly imagery he uses to depict the sightless crime fighter's enhanced ability to "see" through sound waves and smells.

But most of the picture apes its action style -- and many whole fight scenes -- from last year's "Spider-Man." It has the same ineffectual opening voice-over, the same unconvincingly CGI-assisted rooftop leaping and building-swinging (Daredevil uses a grappling-hook-modified walking cane instead of spider-webbing) and its hero has the same slow-mo back-flip method of dodging weapons thrown by villains.

Continue reading: Daredevil Review

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