Ileen Maisel

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Inkheart Review


Terrible
Nothing warms a writer's icy heart more than something that champions books -- and reading, specifically. As communication becomes more and more a collection of texting abbreviations and message board protocols, the art of literature appears to be slowly sinking. So something like Inkheart should inspire all kinds of good will for fellow scribe Cornelia Funke, especially with its love of imagination, fiction, and all things erudite. Sadly, Hollywood's hand in the mix has created yet another attempted Harry Potter clone, a clever idea anemically adapted to capitalize on its commercial, not creative potential.

Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraiser) is a "silvertongue" -- one of a rare few who can "read" characters out of books and bring them to life. Sadly, he discovers this trait one night while entertaining his wife Resa (Sienna Guillory) and their daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett). While indulging in a passage from the fantasy novel Inkheart, he unleashes fire juggler Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) while accidentally sending his spouse into the tome. Now, 10 years later, Mo is still looking to save her, even though his efforts have let loose more fictional faces from the book, including evil master thief Capricorn (Andy Serkis). But the criminal is not content with being a viable member of the real world. He wants to rule all of mankind, and wants Mo to help him in this horrible pursuit.

Continue reading: Inkheart Review

Ripley's Game Review


Good
Did this movie ever come out theatrically? I would have at least thought it would have found its way here on video, but no, I discovered Ripley's Game on IFC, of all places. This follow-up to The Talented Mr. Ripley (no cast or crew involved, but it's based on another Patricia Highsmith book (the third of five) about Tom Ripley) stars John Malkovich in the role of the older Ripley, this time working as a forged art dealer and relatively callous, spare-time murderer. Ripley convinces a dying man (Dougray Scott) to commit a murder for him, after which all hell breaks loose. Malkovich steals the show and director Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter) does a perfectly serviceable job. See also The American Friend -- Malkovich makes a way better Ripley than Dennis Hopper.

Onegin Review


Terrible
Barry Lyndon meets Doctor Zhivago. And not in a good way.

Russkie aristocat Eugene Onegin (Fiennes) finds himself the unwilling target of Tatiana's (Tyler) love. He rejects her, misunderstandings ensue, duels are fought, tears are wept, everyone is bummed, end of film. Much of Onegin is shot in mute silence, probably an overwrought symbol of some kind I was too lazy to pick up on. The filmmakers are blatant Merchant-Ivory wannabes, and the story of Onegin is so not worth telling that one struggles to stay awake for even a fraction of the running time. Thank God for the lush photography, even if the sound is turned off.

Continue reading: Onegin Review

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