Hal Lieberman

Hal Lieberman

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Vacancy Review


OK
Two weeks after we were spoiled by the sludgy monument of Grindhouse, a whole other low-budget thrill ride from the annals of our sticky-floor, damp-seat, scratched-print celluloid history is deployed with full-force. Following his promising debut, Kontroll, director Nimrod Antal goes four-to-the-floor for a miniature exercise in suspense and terror with his first English-language film, Vacancy.

The long and winding road that Amy and David Fox (Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson) drive down has an already ominous feel before the couple swerve off to avoid a raccoon. They bicker about his impatience and her "Zoloft/Prozac cocktail" as they pull into the Pinewood Motel and garage to see if the car can handle the ride home. The mechanic (a brief Ethan Embry) fixes it, but only a mile back into the trip, the car breaks down again. The old Pinewood seems their only option as the mechanic is gone until morning.

Continue reading: Vacancy Review

Around The World In 80 Days (2004) Review


Unbearable
The 50-year-old Jackie Chan has lost a step or two. This remake of the award winning 1956 classic Around the World in 80 Days is clearly just a vehicle to further his career; unfortunately it mainly showcases his age. His fight scenes are laughably choreographed and his acting comes across as forced.

Chan's problems are indicative of many others faced by this overblown $110 million mess. Even as production was finishing, a distributor had not been found. Not surprisingly, Disney eventually picked up the film. Yet, what is surprising is Disney's decision not to distribute a challenging film like Fahrenheit 9/11, but instead to release this one, a flavorless and disgraceful remake.

Continue reading: Around The World In 80 Days (2004) Review

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