Jeff Stockwell

Jeff Stockwell

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Bridge To Terabithia Review


Weak
One wonders if the makers of Bridge to Terabithia actually have something against all the people who loved reading Katherine Paterson's award-winning book as children. The original story, which deals with loneliness, isolation, and the importance of friendship, is now -- thanks to a cloying screenplay by Jeff Stockwell and the book's author's son David Paterson -- little more than an anodyne valentine to the power of the imagination or some such cliché popular among vulgarizers of young adult literature. You could ask, why can't they just leave well enough alone? The answer, unfortunately, is they never do.

A great many problems with Bridge to Terabithia could have been solved by casting, and unfortunately director Gabor Csupo gets that wrong from the start. The protagonist, Jesse Aarons, a lonely fifth grader in a small town, is played with sullen inattention by Josh Hutcherson. His better half is Leslie Burke, the new girl in town, performed by AnnaSophia Robb with a bright and shallow perkiness that suggests a callow Keira Knightley 10 years ago. With not much going in the way of interpersonal chemistry between the two leads, it's difficult for the film's rather (on the surface) uneventful and deeply interior story to gain much traction.

Continue reading: Bridge To Terabithia Review

The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys Review


Very Good
I'll forego my opportunity to cleverly riff on the film's title, as I'm sure many will have a field day doing in light of current world events. Director Peter Care's (best known for his work on music videos and commercials) debut feature The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, based on the 1994 novel by late author Chris Fuhrman, is a film about children made primarily for an adult audience. It's a thoughtful meditation on the thrills and difficulties that come with being a fourteen year old in a world where every older, authority figure seems to be oppressive, apathetic, or both. Combine Care's compassion for his characters and methodical pacing with a number of crazed, Todd McFarlane-created animated sequences, and what results is a unique telling of a structurally traditional, coming-of-age story.

Set in the 1970's, Francis (Emile Hirsch) and Tim (Kieran Culkin) are two irreverent, trouble-making friends who attend the same Catholic high school. Their archenemy is Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster), an immensely strict nun, who rules the school with an iron fist. Seeking a more even playing field, Tim and the artistically gifted Francis, with the help of a few friends, create a comic book where their superhero alter egos do battle with the evil forces of Sister Assumpta.

Continue reading: The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys Review

Jeff Stockwell

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Jeff Stockwell Movies

Bridge To Terabithia Movie Review

Bridge To Terabithia Movie Review

One wonders if the makers of Bridge to Terabithia actually have something against all the...

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys Movie Review

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys Movie Review

I'll forego my opportunity to cleverly riff on the film's title, as I'm sure many...

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