Geller plays a vacant waif who's on the run from something bad that happened in Texas. Could it have something to do with the car accident she was in when she was a kid? Or how about that phantom stranger we keep seeing flashbacks of? When Geller does return to Texas on business, she starts seeing things and cutting herself. Saved by a grizzled stonewashed denim guy after a near assault, Geller learns that the secret to her hallucinations, the ghostly stalker, and her sour social life lies somewhere deep in the dusty heart of Texas.
Continue reading: The Return (2006) Review
I haven't seen the original Wicker Man (or read the novel on which it was based), but apparently the major change to the story - about a cop visiting a remote island commune to investigate the disappearance of a young girl - is, appropriate to LaBute's resume (In the Company of Men, The Shape of Things), a gender switch. Whereas the original island was overseen by Christopher Lee, this one has Ellen Burstyn as Sister Summersisle, who oversees a flock of women conducting themselves with creepy calm. Men are present, in tiny clusters, but seem resigned mainly to lifting things in silence.
Continue reading: The Wicker Man (2006) Review
Which is not to say that the central character isn't delighted by his own supposed carnage -- Australia's prime cut of criminal splendor Mark "Chopper" Read revels in his own self-deluding mythology. The smartest thing about writer-director Andrew Dominik's elliptical biopic is to acknowledge that ol' Chopper spins unrealistic tall tales about his bloody escapades. "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story," he giggles. This notorious creep wrote a series of best-selling memoirs exploiting his tale of smashing the living piss out of his cellmates, fellow underworld denizens, floozy girlfriends, and whoever else was unlucky enough to get in his way. How much of it was fantasy is anyone's guess.
Continue reading: Chopper Review
The concept is a simple as they come: Distraught Kyle (Jodie Foster) loses her daughter on a jumbo jet. Where the hell could she have gone?
Continue reading: Flightplan Review
For two smart, nerve-wracking acts, "Flightplan" is a thriller almost worthy of the tag "Hitchcockian," in which Jodie Foster plays a distraught mother whose forlorn 6-year-old girl has disappeared in the middle of an overnight flight from Berlin to New York.
Already an emotional wreck because her husband has just died -- his coffin is in the cargo hold -- when Kyle Pratt (Foster) wakes up three hours into the flight to discover her daughter gone from her side, she loses it. Frantically searching the state-of-the-art jumbo jet, she becomes so unruly that the passengers are put on edge, the captain is called, and an air marshal (Peter Sarsgaard) takes her into custody while the crew looks for the missing child.
But startling revelations soon emerge about the death of Kyle's husband and other seemingly indisputable plot particulars. The whole dynamic of the film, and your perception of this grief-stricken widow, soon shift wildly -- and more than once -- as director Robert Schwentke (a German making his Hollywood debut) deftly rolls mood, pacing and Foster's gut-wrenching, cracked-psyche performance into an atmosphere of incendiary tension.
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A viable, if amusingly absurd, comedy concept lies behind "The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course." What if a big, mean croc in the wilds of Australia swallowed a top-secret data beacon from a crashed spy satellite? And what if Steve Irwin -- that charismatically obnoxious daredevil naturalist from the Animal Planet cable channel -- thought the CIA goons sent to retrieve it were actually poachers trying to kill the croc?
If you've ever seen "The Crocodile Hunter" show (and let's face it, you wouldn't be considering seeing the movie if you hadn't), you can probably see the screwball, sketch-comedy appeal of a clueless Irwin engaged in a game of backwater cat-and-mouse with city-slicker spies he thinks are out to skin one of his precious wild animals.
But no matter how firmly director John Stainton has his tongue in his cheek, the fact remains that a wacky concept does not a movie make. Split into two distinct narratives, Irwin spends his half of the film doing exactly what he does on TV -- catching critters, talking to the camera incessantly and with unbridled hyperactive enthusiasm, and saying "Crikey!" a lot. His scenes are even shot in 1.33:1 aspect ratio -- the shape of a TV screen instead of a movie screen -- which proves distracting when the film goes wide-screen to follow the CIA guys (David Wenham and Lachy Hulme), whose scenes are staged like a goof on a Tom Clancy flick.
Continue reading: The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course Review
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