Lem Dobbs

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Haywire Review


Excellent
It's hardly surprising that Soderbergh takes such a bracing approach to the action thriller genre. What makes this film stand out from the crowd is its insistence on making sure that the action is grounded in human physicality, internalised drama and the laws of gravity.

Mallory (Carano) is a former military operative who's now a private contractor.

After working with Aaron (Tatum) on a rather dodgy kidnap-rescue in Barcelona, her U.S. Government boss Kenneth (McGregor) sends her to Dublin on an assignment with British agent Paul (Fassbender). But things quickly get messy and, when she ends up on the run, she desperately grabs a passerby (Angarano) and tells him her tale while figuring out what to do. The only men she trusts are a political puppet-master (Douglas) and her ex-military guru dad (Paxton).

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Dark City Review


Extraordinary
For all of the acclaim Dark City received after its initial, disastrous theatrical release in 1998 -- movie-of-the-year and DVD commentary honors from Roger Ebert; cult adoration; an eventual director's cut -- it probably still hasn't reached anywhere close to the number of people who saw, say, The Matrix (released just about a year later). Perhaps this has to do with the way the film shrouds its ideas in noir mystery rather than cyberpunk fashion; if The Matrix turned a broad audience into geeks who wanted to know kung fu, Dark City seemed ready-made for those whose geekery was established, though the film is broad enough to welcome nerds of the film, sci-fi, and perhaps even architecture varieties.

The Matrix is not a random comparison, mind you; the two films toy with similar ideas about the meaning of humanity, memory, and self-perception (they also share a second-unit director, though unless he is a brilliant stealth screenwriter, it is probably a coincidence). Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas, is less thrilling and sleek than its cousin, but equally imaginative, full of twisty images and clever synthesis of the movies that inspired it. It gives geeks a good name.

Continue reading: Dark City Review

Dark City Review


Extraordinary
For all of the acclaim Dark City received after its initial, disastrous theatrical release in 1998 -- movie-of-the-year and DVD commentary honors from Roger Ebert; cult adoration; an eventual director's cut -- it probably still hasn't reached anywhere close to the number of people who saw, say, The Matrix (released just about a year later). Perhaps this has to do with the way the film shrouds its ideas in noir mystery rather than cyberpunk fashion; if The Matrix turned a broad audience into geeks who wanted to know kung fu, Dark City seemed ready-made for those whose geekery was established, though the film is broad enough to welcome nerds of the film, sci-fi, and perhaps even architecture varieties.

The Matrix is not a random comparison, mind you; the two films toy with similar ideas about the meaning of humanity, memory, and self-perception (they also share a second-unit director, though unless he is a brilliant stealth screenwriter, it is probably a coincidence). Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas, is less thrilling and sleek than its cousin, but equally imaginative, full of twisty images and clever synthesis of the movies that inspired it. It gives geeks a good name.

Continue reading: Dark City Review

The Limey Review


OK
Part of me feels like I didn't really get The Limey. Though it's a spare 85 minutes, director Steven Soderbergh always has a trick or two up his sleeve, and I was sure some twists were in store for me.

Witness Out of Sight, with criminal and cop falling into an unlikely romance. Witness Sex, Lies, and Videotape, which broke the indie film scene wide open. Witness Schizopolis - you know, all of it.

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The Score Review


Extraordinary
I'll admit to having a soft spot for heist movies. It's just too bad that, with the exception of The Thomas Crown Affair remake, most recent heist flicks have come off atrociously, a fact to which anyone who sat through the ridiculous Entrapment can testify.

Hallelujah. The Score is the heist film I've wanted to see for a long time. Not since James Caan burned that safe open in 1981's Thief has a safecracking been so tense and meticulously designed. And with the triple threat of Ed Norton, Robert De Niro, and -- God bless him -- Marlon Brando, The Score is in some excellent hands.

Continue reading: The Score Review

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