Joel Tobeck

Joel Tobeck

Joel Tobeck Quick Links

Film RSS

Eagle Vs Shark Review


Grim
The only measure of a comedy is whether you laughed, and how hard. As comedies go, the Kiwi import Eagle vs Shark, doesn't register more than halfway up the comedy meter. Writer-director Taika Waititi manages a sprinkle of chuckles, a couple of guffaws, but, mostly, while watching it, I felt as if I were a polite judge at an audition, unable to leave or bark "Next!" for fear of hurting its feelings. It's offbeat, I'll give you that. Terminally offbeat. But it rests a bit too comfortably on its geeked-out charms and sweet intentions to ever really carve out an "attitude" for itself, or come up with enough inventive ideas to make it worthwhile.

Everything Eagle vs Shark tries to do, Napoleon Dynamite already did, and did better, funnier. Dynamite has proven itself as the contemporary standard-bearer for this sort of comedy -- the absurdist geek romance, deadpan in tone, and peopled with quirky but sweet-natured characters.

Continue reading: Eagle Vs Shark Review

Little Fish Review


Good
Films about drugs and recovery are usually of two schools. Either they're about the comic situations that arise from discovering yourself underneath a drug haze or they're hard-nosed films about a family bonding in the face of getting over the addiction. These films vary in worth to the viewer, but rarely do they slip between those two categories. So, Rowan Woods' Little Fish sorta blindsided me in its direct dealings with the struggle to keep clean, seasoned with crime spices. Some might group it in the latter group, but there's something else going on here.

Tracy (Cate Blanchett) works as an assistant manager in a small video-rental store in Sydney, Australia. She is recovering from a heroin addiction and trying to get money together to co-open a computer-gaming center with her boss. She lives with her mom and every once-in-awhile, looks in on her father figure, Lionel (Hugo Weaving). On his birthday, her brother (Martin Henderson) brings back Jonny (Dustin Nguyen), her old flame when she was using. He claims to be going straight and things begin to bubble again. This is interrupted by the fact that both Lionel and Tracy's brother are in business (and in Lionel's case, a sexual relationship) with Bradley (Sam Neill, complete menace), a ruthless drug dealer who is trying to retire. Tracy's hold on sobriety is tested to unfathomable lengths, and her trust in both brother and John is shaken to the core.

Continue reading: Little Fish Review

Lord Of The Rings:
the Two Towers Review


OK

Unless you're a "Lord of the Rings" superfan, you'd better brush up on "Fellowship of the Ring" before seeing the sequel "The Two Towers," because director Peter Jackson just jumps right in to the middle of the story without much in the way of introductions or explanations.

He assumes you know who Hobbits Merry and Pippin are and why they've been abducted by the Uruk-Hai, the beastly minions of unseen supernatural villain Sauron (you know all about them, right?). He assumes you recall where "Fellowship" left off with human warrior Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Elfin archer Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and why they're trying to rescue Merry and Pippin.

He also assumes you know that hero Hobbits Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Austin) are still trying to reach the kingdom of Mordor, where they are to cast the dangerously omnipotent Ring into the volcanic fires of Mount Doom, thus keeping it out of the hands Sauron, who would use its dark psychic powers to lay waste to the world.

Continue reading: Lord Of The Rings:
the Two Towers Review

The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King Review


OK

By the time hobbit hero Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) finally -- finally! -- struggles to the top of Mount Doom, where at the climax of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" he must cast into its volcanic fires the malevolently omnipotent Ring that has been slowly consuming his psyche for three movies now, many of the nit-picky things that have gotten on my nerves throughout all the "Lord of the Rings" flicks had come to a head.

So many times now has Frodo's whiney, obsequious traveling companion Samwise Gamgee (Sean Austin) begun boo-hoo-hooing that I started rooting for him to be chucked into the lava along with the jewelry. One too many times has a lucky coincidence saved our hero, as when in this picture he's captured by the demonic, bad-tempered Orcs, only to be rescued moments later when his two guards -- the only two guards in an entire tower it seems -- are conveniently distracted by fighting with each other.

And once too often has director Peter Jackson assumed that the previous installments will be fresh in minds of the audience. That's a pretty safe bet for his fan base, but for the unobsessed, "Return of the King" -- like "The Two Towers" before it -- has many what-did-I-miss? moments. For example, in one of two climactic battle scenes, a never-identified army of fearsome face-painted foes riding atop gigantic elephants appears on the flank of the protagonists' battalion, prompting the question, "Who the heck are these guys?" (Apparently they were in the second movie too, but pardon me for not having seen it since last year.)

Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King Review

Joel Tobeck

Joel Tobeck Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Is Calvin Harris About To Pop The Question?

Is Calvin Harris About To Pop The Question?

As soon a pop partnership Calvin Harris and Taylor Swift got together, we knew it...

Joanna Krupa Wears Only Body Paint In PETA’s Boycott SeaWorld Campaign

Joanna Krupa Wears Only Body Paint In PETA’s Boycott SeaWorld Campaign

Joanna Krupa is using her celebrity powers for a good cause: raising awareness for PETA...

Advertisement
Jennifer Beals Responds To Critics Accusing Her Of Leaving Her Dog In A Hot Car

Jennifer Beals Responds To Critics Accusing Her Of Leaving Her Dog In A Hot Car

There’s a few basic things any dog owner knows you absolutely should not do and one...

Valerie Harper Rushed To Hospital During Theatre Performance

Valerie Harper Rushed To Hospital During Theatre Performance

Valerie Harper has reportedly been rushed to hospital after suffering a medical emergency...

Advertisement