Jonathan Hensleigh

Jonathan Hensleigh

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Next Review


Weak
If the protagonist of Next were to use his ability to peer two minutes into the future before watching Next, he'd probably have enough to go on to skip it altogether. That's how long it takes to tell the movie will be high on concept and low on content. To find out just how bad it gets, though, he'd have to watch the whole film.

Nicolas Cage plays Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas entertainer disguising his true abilities with a cheesy stage show. FBI Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) has decided that the best way to stop a smuggled nuclear bomb from detonating somewhere in the U.S. is to use Johnson's talent for prognostication. Never mind the fact that he can only see two minutes into the future, giving her a very brief window in which to act if he were to see the bomb. That's about the level of logic at which this film operates.

Continue reading: Next Review

The Punisher (2004) Review


Bad
Over the course of two hours, the Punisher, Marvel Comics' black-clad antihero (played by Thomas Jane -- now rebranded as "Tom Jane") kills more people than cardiovascular disease. Bad guys get their head split in two, knives in the throat, and shot in all kinds of sensitive places. So, why will action junkies, like myself, feel like they've been duped? Read on.

The plot stars promisingly enough. Frank Castle (Jane, *61, The Sweetest Thing) is an FBI undercover agent, the kind of guy who's so good that the Bureau moves him around for his own protection. At his final job in Tampa, he busts up a major weapons deal that kills the son of powerful crime lord Howard Saint (poor, poor John Travolta).

Continue reading: The Punisher (2004) Review

The Punisher (2004) Review


Bad
Over the course of two hours, the Punisher, Marvel Comics' black-clad antihero (played by Thomas Jane -- now rebranded as "Tom Jane") kills more people than cardiovascular disease. Bad guys get their head split in two, knives in the throat, and shot in all kinds of sensitive places. So, why will action junkies, like myself, feel like they've been duped? Read on.

The plot stars promisingly enough. Frank Castle (Jane, *61, The Sweetest Thing) is an FBI undercover agent, the kind of guy who's so good that the Bureau moves him around for his own protection. At his final job in Tampa, he busts up a major weapons deal that kills the son of powerful crime lord Howard Saint (poor, poor John Travolta).

Continue reading: The Punisher (2004) Review

Die Hard: With A Vengeance Review


OK
Die Hard. This time, it's personal.

To make the long and extremely silly plotline of Die Hard With a Vengeance short, it breaks down like this. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back in New York City where he's separated from his wife. The brother of Hans Gruber, from the original Die Hard, is out to get McClane and make some cash for himself in the process, bringing a pack of East German stooges with him to cause trouble. Add to this the character Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), a Harlem shop owner, who becomes McClane's unlikely sidekick, and a whole lotta bombs exploding all over the city, and what do you get? Well, I still haven't figured that out.

Continue reading: Die Hard: With A Vengeance Review

The Saint Review


Good
The Next Big Franchise [Well, I guess not - Ed.] hits theaters this Friday, with all the trappings of a sequel-destined event. Infused with a backstory to set up the past of its nameless hero (Val Kilmer) as something of a "rogue James Bond with a guilty conscience and a Volvo," The Saint is as improbable as it is entertaining. With a plot revolving around a successful cold fusion experiment developed by miniskirt-clad scientist Emma (Elizabeth Shue) and the Russian Mafia's enlisting of the Saint to "steal the formula," it would be easy to sit back and laugh at the film's goofiness. However, Kilmer comes off as so engrossing and delivers his wryly hilarious lines with such precision that you end up forgetting the bad techno soundtrack and the series of unlikely coincidences that drive the picture to its inevitable end. And while that obviously-altered-to-make-it-happy ending is truly annoying, it's The Saint's combination of action and comedy that make it a worthwhile trip.

Continue reading: The Saint Review

Jumanji Review


OK
If nothing else, Jumanji is the most unfortunately titled film of the year. And if you haven't turned on your television in the last month you may still be among the few who don't know what it means. For the uninitiated, Jumanji is an ancient board game set in the spooky jungle. When the game is played, it causes supernatural things to happen, including the creation of a horde of monkeys, earthquakes, a monsoon (indoors), and a stampede through the suburbs of the New England town in which Jumanji is set.

The story begins some 26 years earlier, when young Alan (Robin Williams) and Sarah (Bonnie Hunt) unearth the game and start playing. On Alan's first move, he finds himself sucked into the game as a prisoner, only to be released when the game is continued in 1995 by Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Michael Pierce). Unfortunately, the ill effects of the game disappear only when it is finished, so the three track down Sarah, who, after years of therapy, has finally come to grips with the shock of seeing Alan vanish, and they continue where they left off.

Continue reading: Jumanji Review

A Far Off Place Review


Very Good
Disney does the desert, in a very early Reese Witherspoon drama, A Far Off Place. Ethan Embry is unrecognizable as the teen who treks with her and Xhabbo (Sarel Bok) some 1,000 miles across the African desert, on the run from poachers who killed her father. Why they avoid every sign of civilization is a mystery to me, but the yarn is a thrilling one, with the kids facing every obstacle imaginable en route to safety. Fun.

Armageddon Review


OK
Relatively silly and far too long disaster movie, with a gang of unruly oil drillers sent to dig an 800-foot hole on an asteroid, drop a nuke down the hole, and get the heck home, before earth is destroyed. About like it sounds -- also, somebody please boot Liv Tyler off the planet before her acting hurts somebody.

Continue reading: Armageddon Review

Jonathan Hensleigh

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Jonathan Hensleigh Movies

Next Movie Review

Next Movie Review

If the protagonist of Next were to use his ability to peer two minutes into...

The Punisher (2004) Movie Review

The Punisher (2004) Movie Review

Over the course of two hours, the Punisher, Marvel Comics' black-clad antihero (played by Thomas...

The Punisher (2004) Movie Review

The Punisher (2004) Movie Review

Over the course of two hours, the Punisher, Marvel Comics' black-clad antihero (played by Thomas...

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The Saint Movie Review

The Saint Movie Review

The Next Big Franchise [Well, I guess not - Ed.] hits theaters this Friday, with...

Armageddon Movie Review

Armageddon Movie Review

Relatively silly and far too long disaster movie, with a gang of unruly oil drillers...

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