Our hero is Wilee (Gordon-Levitt), who gave up his law studies to become a daredevil courier who believes brakes are for sissies. So it doesn't seem too much to accept a job to carry an envelope for a friend (Chung) from one end of Manhattan to the other. But he's immediately accosted by frazzled cop Bobby (Shannon), who so desperately wants to get his hands on that envelope that we think his buggy eyes might explode. But Wilee is a clever biker determined to do his job, and as the cat-and-mouse chase travels down through the city, drawing in a tenacious bicycle cop (Tveit) and some nasty gangsters, Wilee gets help from his colleagues (Ramirez and Parks).
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Zombies have taken over America and the few remaining humans are fending for their lives. Names are irrelevant, so they use their hometowns: Columbus (Eisenberg) is a resourceful nerd who teams up with bonkers fighter Tallahassee (Harrelson) to try to find someone else who's alive. They run into two con-artist sisters, Wichita and Little Rock (Stone and Breslin), and set off on a perilous cross-country journey to find the last enclave of humanity. Not only are they attacked at every turn by the snarling, toothy undead, but they don't really trust each other.
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If you want to make money, you go to David Koepp. Three of the 20 films he has written are on the top 25 highest-grossing American box office list and another two show up in the top 100. The man makes hits and, most of the time anyways, they are well-written and focused scripts that attempt to keep exposition to a minimum. These are the traits of a very talented screenwriter... but unfortunately they do not necessarily translate into a positive resume for a feature film director.
Ghost Town is Koepp's fourth film as a director and it is the first film to feature UK comedian Ricky Gervais in a starring role. It tells the story of a dentist named Bertram Pincus (Gervais) who wakes from a friendly colonoscopy with the ability to see and hear the dead. It is inferred that this Shyamalanian gift was caused by a seven-minute interval during his operation where he died due to a two-strikes-already anesthesiologist. Ghosts of every color and creed begin hassling the chronically-introverted Pincus for favors, the leader of which seems to be Frank (Greg Kinnear).
A tux-donning victim of a high-speed Manhattan bus, Frank promises to get the other ghosts to leave if Bertram will help him derail his widow's pending nuptials. Turns out Frank's widow, Gwen (Téa Leoni), has been snubbed by Pincus on a dozen occasions (they live in the same apartment building), and her fiancé (Billy Campbell) is a civil-rights attorney. Not the easiest assignment for Pincus. But when the dentist helps crack the autopsy of a long-dead Egyptian king that Gwen is studying, she invites him to dinner, Pincus makes her laugh, and the end is already in sight. Morals are dished out on the side when Pincus agrees to help some other ghosts settle their unfinished business and there's also some stuff about "a life lived for others" passed on by a fellow dentist (Aasif Mandvi).
Much like the recent Hamlet 2, most of the film's success rides on the comic inventiveness of its star, and in this he is given little support from his director/screenwriter. At first, Gervais seems completely up to the task, employing the cracker-dry wit that made him such a phenomenon on the BBC version of The Office, the show he created and wrote with partner Stephen Merchant. There is a bright moment of hope as he has a particularly sharp exchange with Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live fame, who plays his surgeon. But then he script quickly shifts into standard operating procedure and comedy is swallowed by template.
Ghost Town has a smidgen more class than most contemporary romantic comedies but it is seemingly unaware of its strengths. Gervais' interplay with Leoni has a brisk charm to it but it seems too-often rushed and stuffed with jokes about dog poop, Chinese names, and naked ghosts, all of which seem out of place and drawn out. Egregiously over-sentimentalized, the last 30 minutes of the film rush through a half-dozen major conflicts in a mad dash to build to a predictable emotional climax. It's a total con and it sells Gervais' tremendous abilities up the river. Koepp's talents at structure falter slightly here, adding a few too many storylines than he seems capable of handling. Will Ghost Town make money? Probably, but it's the kind of film that gives box-office rankings a bad name.
So, this killer crocodile, with the absurd handle of Gustave, is munching on Africans in war-torn Burundi. And he's like super hungry. Given that he can live to 100 years and eats hundreds of people a year, the croc's a one-lizard population safeguard. Unfortunately for the villagers who live in fear of this monster, there's another Gustave in the bush: Little Gustave, a nasty decapitating warlord. (His name is a great example of Hollywood slap-your-forehead allegory.) When an American news network sends in a television crew to film the capture of the croc, they run afoul of both the cold-blooded river beast and the hot-tempered warlord. Hysterics ensue.
Continue reading: Primeval Review
David Fincher directs this long-awaited follow-up to his groundbreaking Fight Club, with Jodie Foster in her first lead role since 1999's Anna and the King. The story is deceptively simple: Imminent divorcee Meg (Foster) is gaining a boatload of a settlement and, with her bratty, diabetic daughter Sarah (newcomer Kristen Stewart), decides to buy a cavernous, four-story brownstone in Manhattan's upper west side. The night they move in, three burglars pay a visit, searching for an alleged $3 million hidden somewhere in the house. Meg and Sarah hightail it to the secret "panic room," an impenetrable safe room off the master bedroom - only to learn that the money is secreted inside the panic room as well. A game of cat and mouse ensues - only the mice are definitively trapped in one tiny room.
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Alone and deprived of sex, New Yorker Matt (Luke Wilson) begins dating nebbish Jenny (Uma Thurman) hoping to get some frenzied lovemaking and little else. He gets more than that. Not only does he get a girlfriend, she's the city's savior. When not riding the subway and working at an art gallery, Jenny is G-Girl, the 21st century answer to Supergirl.
Continue reading: My Super Ex-Girlfriend Review
Gabe (Josh Hutcherson) is a 10-year-old kid whose life is, as he puts it, "very fulfilling," despite his parents' pending divorce. His summer days consist of basketball, video games, and hanging out with his friends. His decision to take karate is looked upon as just one more part of a life well-lived. That is until longtime schoolmate Rosemary Telesco (newcomer Charlie Ray) becomes his sparring partner.
Continue reading: Little Manhattan Review
The fan, John Shooter (John Turturro), believes novelist Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) has plagiarized one of his novels. Shooter shows up at Rainey's rustic, upstate New York cabin ready to inflict whatever force necessary on Rainey until he admits to copying Shooter's work. Rainey is completely unprepared to deal with the situation. Rainey is struggling to come up with an idea for his latest novel and is dealing with the pain of his pending divorce to wife Amy (Maria Bello). When bad things start happening, Rainey immediately suspects Amy's home-wrecking boyfriend Ted (Timothy Hutton) could be the mastermind behind the madness. Rainey hires a private investigator (Charles S. Dutton) to sniff around the town, patrol his cabin at night, and conduct the investigative work Rainey himself is too lazy to do.
Continue reading: Secret Window Review
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