Jack Amiel

Jack Amiel

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Big Miracle Review


Very Good
A grounding in the real-life story makes this film much less sentimental than it looks. Strong characters, some surprisingly dark touches and a genuinely thrilling series of events helps to engage us right to the end.

In 1988 Barrow, at the top of Alaska, aspiring reporter Adam (Krasinski) stumbles across three whales trapped beneath the icecap. Unable to reach the open sea, there's just a tiny hole in the ice that lets them breathe. Adam's report goes viral, grabbing the attention of America's press as well as his Greenpeace-activist ex Rachel (Barrymore). And the rescue effort will require an L.A. journalist (Bell), military pilot (Mulroney), Inuit boy (Sweeney), whale expert (Nelson), oil baron (Danson), White House rep (Shaw), two chuckleheads from Minnesota (LeGros and Riggle) and the Russian Navy.

Continue reading: Big Miracle Review

The Shaggy Dog Review


Weak
In the summer of 2003, Disney scored with its update of Freaky Friday, employing the talents of gifted writer Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire), Jamie Lee Curtis, and a pre C-cup Lindsay Lohan. The movie not only was a surprise box office hit, but very funny. Lohan deservedly became a star, a fact people are starting to forget, and we re-discovered Curtis's crack comic timing.

Now, with Pixar and DreamWorks making family films kids and parents cherish for different reasons -- The Incredibles being a prime example -- Disney would have been smart to stick to the formula that earned Freaky Friday over $110 million at the box office and critical kudos. It doesn't seem that difficult.

Continue reading: The Shaggy Dog Review

The Prince & Me Review


Bad
Fun fact about Julia Stiles, teen movie vet: She isn't much good in teen movies. She hit the right notes in 10 Things I Hate About You, playing a caustic outsider, but since then she's struggled to fit in with the Freddie Prinze/Selma Blair crowd. So long, in fact, that it's since become the Lindsay Lohan/Hilary Duff crowd (even if, in terms of youth-market trends, "so long" actually means about twelve hours).

Try as she might, Stiles doesn't fit comfortably within the framework. Her slightly deep voice has an intelligence to it that physically undermines her attempts to slum. Yet she persists. Unfortunately, I fear the onslaught of Down to You, Save the Last Dance, and now The Prince & Me has left Stiles a little stunted and worse for wear. She's spent so much time in the teen ghetto that even when she emerges in an allegedly grown-up movie like Mona Lisa Smile, something feels off. An aura of routine hangs in the air, and other actresses upstage her. Stiles may, in real life, resemble her character in The Prince & Me: smart, down-to-earth and good-humored. It's a tribute to the thinness of her starring roles that she still manages to come off awkward, even fake.

Continue reading: The Prince & Me Review

Raising Helen Review


Weak
The poster for Raising Helen features Kate Hudson, in a pose suited for a bearskin rug, sporting shorts shorter than the Hulk's temper and fuzzy boots last seen at the hottest strip joint in Anchorage. It's an attempt at marketing a warm and fuzzy movie for guys 25 to 34, but the poster is really a harbinger for how misguided Garry Marshall's latest effort is.

Raising Helen is all about Hudson, who stars in the title role, when it should focus on other topics -- the ties of family, coping with tragedy, and starting your life from scratch. The movie harps on how Helen's glamorous life is turned upside down when she is bequeathed her sister's three kids. The story should be on how hard it is for the kids, rather than Helen's bemoaning how fat her ass has gotten.

Continue reading: Raising Helen Review

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Jack Amiel Movies

Big Miracle Movie Review

Big Miracle Movie Review

A grounding in the real-life story makes this film much less sentimental than it looks....

The Shaggy Dog Movie Review

The Shaggy Dog Movie Review

In the summer of 2003, Disney scored with its update of Freaky Friday, employing the...

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The Prince & Me Movie Review

The Prince & Me Movie Review

Fun fact about Julia Stiles, teen movie vet: She isn't much good in teen movies....

Raising Helen Movie Review

Raising Helen Movie Review

The poster for Raising Helen features Kate Hudson, in a pose suited for a bearskin...

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