Miguel Sandoval

Miguel Sandoval

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Oculus Review


Excellent

While using every horror movie cliche in the book, this film cleverly tells a bracingly original story that will have genre fans squirming in their seats. It's rare that a movie can actually scare us anymore, and while this one is a bit over-serious, it playfully twists old tricks to confound expectations.

The story centres on a brother and sister: 21-year-old Tim (Brenton Thwaites) has just been collected by his big sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) after spending 10 years in a psychiatric hospital. She tells him that they only have a few days to make good the promise they made a decade ago: to destroy a mirror that they believe caused the unexplained violent deaths of their parents (Katee Sackhoff and Rory Cochrane). Kaylie has everything ready, including cameras to capture the truth about this evil mirror and a fail-safe plan to destroy it before it can lure them into its murderous clutches.

The film inventively flickers back and forth in time between the present day and the fateful earlier events, when the parents and siblings (played as children by Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan Ewald) have their own freaky encounter with this enormous gothic mirror. In both timelines, plants wither, pets go nuts and strange figures are glimpsed in the shadows. But the mirror's most dangerous trick is to fracture reality, and now past and present seem to be merging for Tom and Kaylie. Director-cowriter Mike Flanagan fluidly weaves together both timelines in eye-catching ways, continually shifting the emotional tone as well, just to keep us off balance.

Continue reading: Oculus Review

Oculus Trailer


Tim Russell is a troubled psychiatric patient who has finally been released from hospital several years after the tragic death of his mother and father - an incident for which he was accused of being responsible. Still fragile, he reconnects with his sister Kaylie who has spent the last few years researching the history of a mysterious 300 year old mirror that both siblings are certain holds an evil sinister enough to have caused their parents' deaths - and most assuredly the deaths of countless previous owners. Their probing into the disturbing phenomena occurring in and around the looking glass proves to be traumatic enough, but when they start experiencing more and more dangerous unexplained happenings, it becomes clear that the vengeful spirit haunting it hasn't finished shedding blood just yet.

Continue: Oculus Trailer

Jurassic Park 3D Trailer


When John Hammond of genetic engineering company InGen manages to clone dinosaurs from prehistoric DNA on an island-turned-theme park, it didn't bode well for visitors. After his investors force him to enlist the help of two palaeontologists and a chaiotician to make sure that the park is safe enough to open to the public, things go badly wrong when a double-crossing InGen computer programmer attempts to steal dinosaur embryos for a rival company by deactivating the security system and releasing the dangerous creatures from their enclosures. The adventure becomes less of an exciting opportunity for exclusive access to new technology, and more of a deadly struggle to survive.

What's better than gigantic deadly dinos on cinema screen? Try gigantic deadly dinos in 3D! The triple Oscar winning 'Jurassic Park' is set to hit our screens again 20 years after it was first released. It was directed by Steven Spielberg ('Saving Private Ryan', 'Schindler's List', 'Jaws', 'E.T.') in 1993 after he adapted it from best-selling novelist Michael Crichton's book of the same name, with a screenplay co-written by Crichton and David Koepp ('Mission: Impossible', 'War of the Worlds', 'Angels & Demons'). It will arrive in 3D soon in the US on April 5th 2013.

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, Bob Peck, Martin Ferrero, Joseph Mazzello, Ariana Richards, Samuel L. Jackson, BD Wong, Wayne Knight, Gerald R. Molen, Miguel Sandoval, Cameron Thor, Christopher John Fields,

Continue: Jurassic Park 3D Trailer

Bruno Review


Excellent
Sacha Baron Cohen brings a third alter ego (after Ali G and Borat) to the big screen with this often painfully funny comedy. This time only a few scenes are strictly documentary, and the best bits are when he tackles serious issues in provocative-amusing ways.

After a fashion-show disaster, Austrian TV host Bruno (Baron Cohen) is fired from his show Funkyzeit. So he decides to become a big star in America instead. He tries just about everything, from working as an extra in Medium to testing his own pilot series. Next he adopts a celebrity cause (peace in the Middle East), tries to get TV coverage as a terrorist kidnapee, adopts an African baby and then visits a gay converter so he can become a straight star like his heroes Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kevin Spacey.

Continue reading: Bruno Review

Route 9 Review


OK
An awful lot better than it should be, Route 9 is a made-for-cable ripoff of A Simple Plan, but it succeeds remarkably well. Perfectly suited for late night TV watching.

Clear And Present Danger Review


Weak
Jack Ryan returns for a third outing in Clear and Present Danger, reuniting Harrison Ford's Ryan with director Phillip Noyce, who also directed Ford-as-Ryan in Patriot Games.

Too bad that with plenty of raw material (notably Willem Dafoe as an American mercenary working in Columbia), Danger comes up awfully short. For starters, what is our CIA hero doing poking around in the Colubian drug trade? Sure, he's rooting out a huge conspiracy that goes all the way up the U.S. political ranks, but must we be subjected to endless Latino stereotypes en route to that? Clancy is always at his best when he's dealing with terrorists or Russians. Here we have a plot (nearly 2 1/2 hours in length) that trots out the usual exploding drug factories and endless cartel assassinations. Ryan's escape from a troublesome mission is infamous for the bad guys' repeated inability to hit a near-motionless target.

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Nine Lives Review


Grim
A well-cast compilation film suffocating on its own self-importance, Nine Lives aims to tie together nine vastly different stories, but ends up telling hardly any of them well. The conceit of writer/director Rodrigo Garcia is to take nine vignettes, each centered around a different woman (usually in desperate circumstances), and give us a brief glimpse into her life before cutting away to the next one, while stringing a few connecting threads between them all. To ensure that he's not playing favorites, each piece is done in one single Steadicam shot and kept to only nine or ten minutes in length. A minor character from one vignette becomes a major player later on, or vice versa. As in literature, anthology works like this are a hit-and-miss affair, and in this case the misses far outnumber the ones that connect.

Nine Lives opens strong on Sandra (Elpidia Carrillo), an imprisoned mother. Mopping up a floor, she's threatened by fellow prisoners, and harassed by a guard (Miguel Sandoval) who's convinced she can give him information. Everyone tells Sandra she's not going to make it, but you think she just might be able to, hunkering down turtle-like and just plowing through the rest of her sentence. But then her daughter visits, and the phone doesn't work, sending Sandra into a stunning explosion of rage, like a mother bear kept from her cub. It's a short, unrelentingly powerful story, and done by itself it would stand as a sublime little tragedy. The same goes for the final piece, in which Glenn Close and Dakota Fanning (hardly a better match could be imagined) visit a cemetery and talk with sublime ease about not much at all. But then comes the rest of the film in between.

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Death And The Compass Review


OK
The director of Repo Man takes an Argentinian short story by Jorge Luis Borges and brings it to the screen with his curious style. Surrealistic and considerably detailed considering its low budget, the cryptic tale may give you a headache if the jarring editing and fish-eye lenses don't. Peter Boyle is always fun, here as a detective in a city filled with nothing but cops and robbers and few people in between, but Cox's tale isn't nearly the goofy thrill that Repo Man was.

The Crew Review


Good
Whenever studio executives try to combine the successful formula of two blockbuster films, the end result is always a mess of a script, acting, directing, and generally a waste of time for any audience with an average IQ above 40. The latest movie morass from Hollywood, The Crew, appeared equally destined to fail, a strange combination of Grumpy Old Men and GoodFellas tossed together with the likes of Richard Dreyfuss and Burt Reynolds helming the ship. The scary thing is that it's actually entertaining and a breath of fresh air in this otherwise stale month.

The Crew works for several reasons. The clever script is reminiscent of an old Billy Wilder movie, following four "past their prime" wiseguys from Jersey who now live in the Raj Mahal Apartment House in Miami Beach. The wiseguys find themselves being evicted from their "golden paradise" by greedy landlords bent on raising rents for new beach bunnies and boys looking for beachfront property. The four mobsters, Bobby Bartellemeo (Richard Dreyfuss), Joey "Bats" Pistella (Burt Reynolds), Mike "The Brick" Donatelli (Dan Hedaya), and Tony "Mouth" Donato (Seymour Cassel) decide to hatch a scheme to plant there a dead body heisted from the morgue in order to drive out the new tenants and keep their home. This "simple plan" suddenly goes screwy, of course, and the boys become involved with a stripper named Ferris (Jennifer Tilly) who wants her stepmother killed, a paranoid Latin drug lord who's convinced a mysterious rival is out to get him, and a rat with its tail on fire.

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Panic Review


Excellent

A brilliantly observant, darkly humorous and immaculately acted movie about an average suburban father in the throes of a midlife crisis, "Panic" bears an vague, off-kilter resemblance to "American Beauty" in style and subject.

Its central character is a meek and neurotic man in his 40s (William H. Macy) whose growing fixation with a sexually conflicted nymph (Neve Campbell) half his age is turning his life upside-down. The two films share a similar dysfunctional domesticity as well, and a crisp but sparse visual elegance with just a pinch of excess color.

But Alex (Macy), the sympathetic anti-hero of "Panic," has a much bigger secret than his newfound temptation for a younger woman. Alex is a hit man -- and he's just not sure he's comfortable in that line of work anymore.

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The Crew Review


Grim

Too many crooks spoil "The Crew," and I'm not talking about the "grumpy old mobsters" played by Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel in this withering wiseguy comedy.

I'm talking about the throng of sardine-packed subplots that rob these good actors of all their quality screen time.

This facetious foursome play mobsters retired to South Florida who wind up in the middle of a drug war by trying to keep the run-down hotel they live in from going condo in the wake of all the Porsche-driving 20-somethings moving to town.

Continue reading: The Crew Review

Collateral Damage Review


Grim

The terrorists in "Collateral Damage" must have coordinated with the movie's screenwriters when they were planning their big bombing for the finale. Their getaway vehicle for the scene is a motorcycle, which, of course, seats two. But there are three people who'd have to get away, according to their plan. How did they know in advance that one of them would be left behind? How did they know they'd only need a motorbike?

That's one of the more abstract plot holes in this Arnold Schwarzenegger action dud about an average (6'2", 250 lbs., heavy Austrian accent) American firefighter out to avenge his wife and son after they're killed in a terrorist bombing. But don't worry, there are plenty more common-sense gaffes that are far more obvious, especially the plethora of laughable security breach blunders that betray the movie's pre-Sept. 11 origins.

Quickly realizing those self-serving wonks at the CIA, FBI and State Department aren't going to get the bomber -- a cocaine-running Colombian rebel called "The Wolf" -- Arnie engineers his own one-man mission to Central America to smoke the guy out and kill him. He hikes, rides beaten-up busses and bribes poor boat fishermen to get him into rebel territory. There he poses as a mechanic to infiltrate a bad-guy stronghold, "MacGuyvers" himself a couple do-it-yourself bombs and starts blowing stuff up.

Continue reading: Collateral Damage Review

Miguel Sandoval

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