Don't expect a lot of twists and turns along the way: Often pegged as a thriller, Revenge is in actuality a straightforward story of obsession and, um, revenge. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl again, with plenty of blood spilled along the way.
Continue reading: Revenge Review
In the wilds of Australia, a mother cheetah is mauled and eaten by two lions, leaving her three cubs to fend for themselves. One of these cubs is picked up by a young Australian boy, Xan (Alexander Michaletos), and his father, Peter (Cambell Scott). On their way home, father and son decide to keep the cub and raise it as their pet, giving him the name Duma. It is obvious that the father and son have a strong connection, and it's made especially clear when they arrive home and the mother (Hope Davis) is hardly seen. Well, little Duma grows up and gets too big for farm life, so Peter tells Xan that they will take Duma back where they found him. Tragically, Peter loses his long battle with cancer and dies right before the trip is to take place. Xan finds it hard to get used to his new city home and, needless to say, so does Duma. After a panic breaks out at his school, Xan decides he needs to take Duma home himself. They take Peter's motorbike and head out to find Duma's home, running into a lost tribesman and several kinds of wildlife on the way.
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Heck, if you throw in a zebra as well you have Racing Stripes, which came out a year earlier and told the same story: Girl adopts horse that no one believes in (in Dreamer it's a horse with a broken leg, not a zebra), who goes on to fame at the races. The film is based on a true story -- as the title probably clued you in -- about a horse named Mariah's Storm, a female who broke her leg and, after being completely written off, eventually returned to the track and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's pretty much the same story here, though the horse is named Sonador (Spanish for "dreamer," if you add in a tilde), and genre-appropriate villains are written in to the tale.
Continue reading: Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story Review
In this latest telling, Cinderella is Sam (Hilary Duff), aka PrincetonGirl818, a girl who spends her days studying to get into Princeton (because that's where princesses go), her nights slaving for her evil stepmother at a Valley roller-diner with the class of a collagen injection. The majority of her school hours are spent text messaging her secret admirer, Austin (Chad Michael Murray), aka Nomad. (I really feel sorry for whoever actually has those AIM IDs.) The evil stepsisters are social jokes with the combined IQ of an imbecile, and the fairy godmother is a waitress sister with an attitude (Regina King).
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The film may look like a relative to the Freddie Prinze Jr. vehicle She's All That (1999), but it's more like a cousin to Robert Mulligan's The Man in the Moon (1991). The story begins predictably enough: Landon (Shane West), a young teen sowing his oats through his high school years, is forced to take on charity work after orchestrating a stupid stunt that nearly paralyzes a kid. While mopping up hallways and tutoring youngsters, he comes across Jamie Sullivan (Moore), a level-headed duckling (not so ugly), with a good heart and religion at her core. If this were Prinze pap, Landon would spruce her up and show the world what it's been missing. Instead, in this Karen Janszen adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, Jamie stays true to herself, and the shy girl has a life-changing effect on the guy.
Continue reading: A Walk To Remember Review
What if you really had the chance to change all of that? What if you could talk to yourself when you were only eight years old and explain how to take a stand for yourself, give the younger you understanding of why dad is so angry at the world, and give yourself hope for retaining individuality in a sea of conformity. In the new Disney film The Kid Russ Duritz gets that once in a lifetime chance.
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The novel White Oleander was a 1999 selection of the ubiquitous Oprah Winfrey Book Club and you can tell why: There are so many brutally dysfunctional people in the story that Dr. Phil could produce months of television delving into their sorry lives. Astrid (Alison Lohman) is an only child, growing up in the Hollywood Hills with Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), her eccentric, urban-arty mother. After a series of events that Kosminsky smartly keeps off-camera, Ingrid kills her boyfriend. Or does she? And how? Regardless, the beautiful, hopeful, young Astrid is picked up by state services and sent to live in a double-wide with a foster family.
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Now it's the fourth Grisham movie to be made, continuing in grand fashion that franchise of increasingly average film versions of his increasingly average writing.
Continue reading: A Time To Kill Review
What ensues is a standard fairy tale: Daphne quickly finds her father, Henry (Colin Firth), but is hindered in her attempt to forge a meaningful relationship thanks to an evil stepmother and debutante stepsister who are only interested in Henry's status and wealth. Fortunately, Daphne's got her American charm on her side and, with the help of her wise grandmother and cute new boyfriend, she's able to win Henry's heart and even manages to get him back together with mom. They all live happily ever after, as we are told at the end.
Continue reading: What A Girl Wants Review
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