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Cougar Club Review


Grim
What movie do Faye Dunaway, Carrie Fisher, and Joe Mantegna have in common? That's right: Cougar Club!

Yes, the "MILF" craze has gotten so popular that even big stars (or at least people that used to be big stars) will show up for a MILF-oriented sex comedy.

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Picture - Izabella Scorupco, West Hollywood, California, Sunday 12th August 2007

Izabella Scorupco - Izabella Scorupco, at the Mondrian hotel West Hollywood, California - The Odd Molly fashion show at the Skybar Sunday 12th August 2007

Izabella Scorupco
Izabella Scorupco

GoldenEye Review


Good
After six years in the freezer, Bond is back. Any 007 fan worth his salt will be aware of the fact that Timothy Dalton is out, and Pierce Brosnan is in as the U.K.'s ultimate spy. Out is Bond's Aston Martin. In is a new BMW. Out with another actor playing "M." In with Judi Dench, the first female to take the role of Bond's crusty boss.

But some things remain the same. Desmond Llewelyn seems unstoppable at reprising his role of "Q." Bondian gadgets still abound. The vodka martinis are still served shaken, not stirred. And what would 007 be without a parade of girls, girls, girls!?

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Exorcist: The Beginning Review


Terrible
At one point, it was inconceivable that any big-budget Hollywood picture could rival Exorcist II: The Heretic as the most ridiculous and boring horror movie ever made. It took a stillborn cousin, Exorcist: The Beginning, to come close.

After two sequels, no producer in his right mind could think that The Exorcist franchise had much gas left in the tank. But the massively successful original chapter suggested an untold back story, and so we have - ta-da! - an insipid, un-scary, half-assed, $85 million prequel called Exorcist: The Beginning.

Continue reading: Exorcist: The Beginning Review

GoldenEye Review


Good
After six years in the freezer, Bond is back. Any 007 fan worth his salt will be aware of the fact that Timothy Dalton is out, and Pierce Brosnan is in as the U.K.'s ultimate spy. Out is Bond's Aston Martin. In is a new BMW. Out with another actor playing "M." In with Judi Dench, the first female to take the role of Bond's crusty boss.

But some things remain the same. Desmond Llewelyn seems unstoppable at reprising his role of "Q." Bondian gadgets still abound. The vodka martinis are still served shaken, not stirred. And what would 007 be without a parade of girls, girls, girls!?

Continue reading: GoldenEye Review

Reign of Fire Review


Weak
Pity the dragon. When not building lame adventures around the mythical beasts (Dungeons & Dragons), filmmakers have saddled the poor creatures with the smooth baritone stylings of Sean Connery (Dragonheart). Reign of Fire, director Rob Bowman's grim vision of a ravaged future, doesn't completely reverse the negative trend, but it does borrow enough recognizable elements of contradictory genres to fashion a passable monster mash.

In the not-too-distant future, London drillers uncover a dragon's lair far below the surface, awakening a horde of slumbering beasts and triggering a mass invasion. The creatures pillage our planet, destroying every major city from Paris to New York. We're not shown the attacks, but rather a montage of headlines from newspapers.

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Vertical Limit Review


OK
After suffering through an airline showing of The Perfect Storm, I could think of no better way to spend the evening than with another Man vs. Nature story in 2000's take on the genre, Vertical Limit.

As the thrill-packed trailer might already have cued you, this is an action-filled mountaineering movie, with Chris O'Donnell as Peter Garrett, the unlikely hero trying to save his stranded sister Annie (Robin Tunney) from certain death atop K2, the second-highest place on earth. How'd she get there? Glad you asked... three years after a family tragedy sends Annie on a perpetual climbing quest and Peter grounded on earth, the siblings meet up again at the base of K2, where a Texas billionaire (Bill Paxton) is ascending the peak as a publicity stunt with Annie in tow. Naturally, we learn you can't mess with Mother Nature for profit, and the climbing team ends up stuck in a crevasse only a few hundred feet from the summit -- beaten up, but alive. Barely.

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Vertical Limit Review


Unbearable

With only the thinnest thread of a tether anchoring its mountain climbing action in reality, "Vertical Limit" takes suspension of disbelief to new extremes for a film that goes out of its way to seem credible.

Celebrated Everest-conqueror Ed Viesturs has a multiple-scene cameo in this adventure about a climber trying to rescue his sister from a huge crevasse near the top of K-2, the world's highest mountain.

But the stunts are so far-fetched you don't even have to own a pair of hiking boots to find them laughable. Even more hilarious, it's pathetically obvious that much of the movie was shot on a soundstage with cheap mountainside scrims in the background.

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Reign Of Fire Review


Weak

There's a lot of lowbrow, bad B-movie entertainment value to be had in "Reign of Fire," a post-Apocalyptic dragon slayer flick in which the two leads chomp considerably more scenery with their acting than fire-breathing monsters barbecue with their breath.

This overacting is clearly by design since the film stars Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey, two talented actors more than capable of subtly and nuance. But subtly and nuance have no place in a movie about the remnants of humanity battling dragons for dominance over Earth, and director Rob Bowman knows it.

Buffed and sweaty Bale ("Captain Corelli's Mandolin," "American Psycho") emotes in the extreme as the gruff but benevolent leader of a rag-tag community that survives in an ancient castle outside London (a nod to dragon tales of yore), which they've turned into a fortress. The year is 2020, and 18 years before Bale was the little boy who unwittingly discovered and awoke the alpha dragon in an underground cavity while visiting his construction forewoman mom on a subway tunnel job.

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The Exorcist: The Beginning Review


Zero

Repossessed Again By Jeffrey M. Anderson This poor series has gone through nothing but trouble. According to the author of the original book, William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist (1973) was plagued by strange occurrences. The sequel, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) suffered the most horrendous opening in history, and was recalled and re-edited with little success. The third film, Exorcist III, directed by Blatty, went virtually ignored. And now the fourth film has the strangest history of all. Warner Brothers originally commissioned Paul Schrader to direct the film -- a wise move, considering that Schrader is one of the best and gutsiest filmmakers around. He's not only made blistering dramas like Blue Collar and Affliction, but he's also experienced at horror films like Cat People (1982). According to various reports, Schrader finished his film and turned it in. Warner Brothers complained that it was not scary enough and demanded that Schrader do re-shoots. When Schrader refused, they reshot the film with Renny Harlin ( The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Driven ) -- not the greatest director aroundðat the helm. And this is the version that Warner Brothers has decided to release in theaters -- even though they didn't like it enough to screen it for the press. (They screened it on a Thursday night, after most deadlines had past.) Schrader's version still exists, and reports indicate that Warner Brothers will release it later this year on a double-disc DVD set alongside Harlin's version. I have my guess as to which one will be better. Harlin's version plays not unlike Exorcist II. It's a huge mess with passages of great beauty, juxtaposed with a few truly scary moments and a bunch of hokum and stupidity. Stellan Skarsgard stars as a younger version of Father Merrin, the older exorcist played by Max Von Sydow in the 1973 film. Having survived WWII and seen his share of horrors at the hands of the Nazis, Merrin has given up the cloak and become a hard-drinking archeologist. He's hired to travel to Kenya, where an old church has been discovered, to bring back an artifact reported to be inside. When he gets there, he discovers that things are not as they should be. There's a big upside-down cross and the church has been purposely buried. Plus, all kinds of weird things start happening, such as a still-born baby covered with maggots or a previous archeologist gone stark raving mad. Photographed by the extraordinary Vittorio Storaro ( Last Tango in Paris, Apocalypse Now ), the film looks amazing, bathed in sandy golds and shimmering heat. Skarsgard helps with his measured performance of a tormented, brooding, intelligent man. The early passages of quiet detective work and hushed conversations work the best. Then the film goes on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, mixing brilliantly scary scenes and utterly brain-dead ones. In one silly scene, Merrin wonders about the origin of a series of graves and begins digging them up -- at night. He also digs a perfect rectangle in the dirt before he strikes the coffin lid. Even William Friedkin's original Exorcist isn't really as great as everyone imagines it to be. It's a bit quieter and slower than many films today, and it seems more intelligent, but it's really just a more exaggerated version of a standard gore-fest. In that light, Exorcist: The Beginning doesn't stray too far from the quality of the previous three films. In other words, it doesn't disappoint. Not unless, like me, you were looking forward to the Schrader version.

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