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Daniel Radcliffe's Flatulence Saves Paul Dano In 'Swiss Army Man'


Daniel Radcliffe Paul Dano

Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano star in one of the more eccentric independent flicks of the year, the Sundance-selected 'Swiss Army Man'. It follows the adventures of a stranded wanderer and his discovery of an apparently dead man with extraordinary abilities.

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe in Swiss Army ManPaul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe star in Swiss Army Man

It's like an increasingly bizarre take on 'Cast Away', though instead of a volleyball named Wilson, our marooned man finds a friend in the washed up cadaver of a young man. Hank (Dano) believes that he's going to starve to death on this isolated island he finds himself stranded on, and makes plans to end it the easy way. But when he meets Manny (Radcliffe), his whole perspective changes. 

Continue reading: Daniel Radcliffe's Flatulence Saves Paul Dano In 'Swiss Army Man'

Swiss Army Man Trailer


Hank is a man who's been pushed to the edge, he's stranded on an island with no company and limited supplies. Feeling that there's little hope of being saved, Hank decides that death is his only option. As he ties the noose around his neck and is about to take his final step the islander sees a shape on the beach in the distance that looks like a human body. 

Hank accidentally trips but luckily his attempt at death is fumbled by a faulty rope. Hank discovers that the shape is a body which still has small signs of life. Manny isn't able to do anything but Hank pulls his new accomplice to his shelter and after opening up to his new quiet friend he gets a mumbled response from the almost catatonic Manny. 

As their worlds collide, fantasy becomes reality in an adventure the pair must endure to survive.  

Continue: Swiss Army Man Trailer

'Swiss Army Man' Saw Revolted Viewers Walk Out At Sundance 2016 Premiere


Daniel Radcliffe Sundance Film Festival Paul Dano

The biggest WTF moment of Sundance Film Festival 2016 goes to - drum roll please - 'Swiss Army Man'. Obviously. Because it was so weird that even Daniel Radcliffe's fans walked out on his latest flick where he played a gassy corpse in this weirdly homoerotic comedy drama on Friday (January 22nd 2016).

Daniel RadcliffeSome may not have liked it, but Daniel Radcliffe had a ball on 'Swiss Army Man'

A lot of people were excited about the premiere of this unique indie film starring Radcliffe and 'Love & Mercy' star Paul Dano, perhaps thinking that it would be an unusual take on 'Cast Away'. However, it was so much more bizarre than that. Billed as a film about a man stranded on a desert island who finds an unlikely companion in a washed up corpse, it was exactly that but with a supernatural - and slightly immature - twist. 

Continue reading: 'Swiss Army Man' Saw Revolted Viewers Walk Out At Sundance 2016 Premiere

Paul Dano , ZOE KARAN - 25th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards - Outside Arrivals at Cipriani Wall St. - New York City, New York, United States - Monday 30th November 2015

Paul Dano and Zoe Karan

Paul Dano - Premiere of Fox Searchlight Pictures' 'Youth' at DGA Theater at DGA Theater - Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 17th November 2015

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Paul Dano - BFI London Film Festival - 'Youth' - Premiere held at the Vue cinema - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Thursday 15th October 2015

Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Paul Dano

Paul Dano , Zoe Kazan - 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft theater - Arrivals at Microsoft Theatre, Primetime Emmy Awards, Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 20th September 2015

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan , Paul Dano - The 67th Emmy Awards arrivals at Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 21st September 2015

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano
Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano
Zoe Kazan
Zoe Kazan
Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan , Paul Dano - 67th Annual Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theatre at Microsoft Theatre, Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 20th September 2015

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano

Paul Dano - Celebrities arrive at 67th Emmys Red Carpet at Microsoft Theater. at Microsoft Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 20th September 2015

Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Paul Dano

Paul Dano , Zoe Kazan - BAFTA Los Angeles TV Tea 2015 at the SLS Hotel - Arrivals at SLS Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Saturday 19th September 2015

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Paul Dano
Paul Dano

Paul Dano - 2015 Entertainment Weekly Pre-Emmy Party at Fig & Olive Melrose Place - Departures - West Hollywood, California, United States - Friday 18th September 2015

Paul Dano

Paul Dano - 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) - Celebrity Sightings at STORYS - Toronto, Canada - Sunday 13th September 2015

Paul Dano
Paul Dano

A Week In Movies: Chappie And Cinderella Premiere In New York And L.A., Ethan Hawke Is Snapped On-Set, And New Trailers Arrive For Movies Starring Veterans Ian Mckellen, Ben Kingsley And Maggie Smith.


Neill Blomkamp Cate Blanchett Lily James Richard Madden Ethan Hawke Greta Gerwig Paul Dano Ian McKellen

Chappie

Neill Blomkamp's new film Chappie held its world premiere this week in New York, just a day before before it opened around the world. Blomkamp (who previously made District 9 and Elysium) was present along with stars Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley and Dev Patel.

Photos - World film premiere of 'Chappie' at AMC Loews Lincoln Square - NYC

Continue reading: A Week In Movies: Chappie And Cinderella Premiere In New York And L.A., Ethan Hawke Is Snapped On-Set, And New Trailers Arrive For Movies Starring Veterans Ian Mckellen, Ben Kingsley And Maggie Smith.

Paul Dano - 65th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Love & Mercy' - Photocall at Hotel Hyatt - Berlin, Germany - Sunday 8th February 2015

Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Paul Dano

Paul Dano - The New Group benefit reading of "Things We Want" held at the Signature Theatre - Arrivals. at Signature Theatre, - New York, New York, United States - Monday 5th January 2015

Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Zoe Kazan, Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Peter Dinklage
Zoe Kazan, Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Peter Dinklage
Scott Elliott, Zoe Kazan, Josh Hamilton, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Peter Dinklage and Adam Bernstein

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano - Photographs from the red carpet as a vast array of stars arrived for the World Premiere of Disney's film musical 'Into The Woods' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 9th December 2014

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano
Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano - 'Photographs from the red carpet as a vast array of stars arrived for the World Premiere of Disney's film musical 'Into The Woods' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 8th December 2014

Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano
Zoe Kazan

Paul Dano - Photographs from the red carpet as a vast array of stars arrived for the World Premiere of Disney's film musical 'Into The Woods' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 9th December 2014

Paul Dano
Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano
Paul Dano

Paul Dano - Photographs from the red carpet as a vast array of stars arrived for the World Premiere of Disney's film musical 'Into The Woods' which was held at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, New York, United States - Monday 8th December 2014

Paul Dano
Paul Dano

Paul Dano - Many stars attended and were photographed at the 52nd New York Film Festival in New York, United States - Saturday 4th October 2014

Paul Dano

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan - 'Boyhood' New York premiere at Museum of Modern Art - Arrivals - New York City, New York, United States - Tuesday 8th July 2014

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan - Opening night of A Raisin in the Sun at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre - Arrivals. - New York, New York, United States - Thursday 3rd April 2014

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan
Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

Paul Dano - 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach - Santa Monica, California, United States - Saturday 1st March 2014

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Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Paul Dano
Paul Dano

'12 Years A Slave': Is Oscar Talk Premature Or Has Steve McQueen Truly Struck Gold?


Chiwetel Ejiofor Steve McQueen Paul Dano Michael Fassbender Brad Pitt

Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave is slowly doing the rounds at international film festivals before it begins to officially open in cinemas worldwide. For those countries that have not had the privilege of the Shame director's new movie just yet, all the emphatic reviews and Oscar talk swirl around the drama movie like a tornado of excitement about to arrive.

12 Years A Slave Chiwetel Ejiofor
No Critic Has A Bad Word To Say About Chiwetel Ejiofor's Performance.

The move's looking incredibly ripe on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with a current impressive score of 95%. With Chiwetel Ejiofor ('Kinky Boots') in the main character seat, 12 Years A Slave looks at slavery in the 19th century through an unrelenting lens. Ejiofor plays Solomon Northrup in the true story, who is enjoying life with his family in upstate New York as a free black man until he is kidnapped and sold into slavery.

Continue reading: '12 Years A Slave': Is Oscar Talk Premature Or Has Steve McQueen Truly Struck Gold?

Video - Michael Fassbender Attends '12 Years A Slave' NYFF Premiere - Part 2


Michael Fassbender was among the cast of historical biopic '12 Years A Slave' who attended the New York Film Festival premiere of the flick. He was joined by director Steve McQueen and main star Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Continue: Video - Michael Fassbender Attends '12 Years A Slave' NYFF Premiere - Part 2

Genius Of Roger Deakins Could Bag 'Prisoners' An Oscar [Trailer + Pictures]


Denis Villeneuve Hugh Jackman Jake Gyllenhaal Paul Dano

Prisoners, the well-received drama from Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve, hits cinemas in the UK this weekend on the back of a strong showing at the U.S. box office. It stars Hugh Jackman alongside the ever-reliable Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as creepy supporting turn from the excellent Paul Dano.

Hugh Jackman Maria BelloHugh Jackman [L] and Maria Bello [R] Relax, Pre-Abduction, In 'Prisoners'

Jackman plays Keller Dover, whose six-year-old daughter Anna goes missing with her young friend Joy. Panic sets in and the whole neighbourhood sets out looking for the pair, with the only lead a dilapidated RV that was spotted on the street minutes before the apparent abduction.

Continue reading: Genius Of Roger Deakins Could Bag 'Prisoners' An Oscar [Trailer + Pictures]

Could 'Prisoners' Be The Surprise Toronto Film Festival Success?


Hugh Jackman Jake Gyllenhaal Paul Dano

Prisoners has premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival and has received the kind of Oscar talk that propelled Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, The Artist and Hurt Locker towards the year's 'best film' award.

Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman Steps Away From The Blockbusters To Flex His Acting Muscle.

The plot follows Keller Dover, a hulking carpenter played by Hugh Jackman, whose daughter goes missing on an overcast Pennsylvanian Thanksgiving along with the neighbour's daughter too. The local loner Alex Jones (Paul Dano) immediately falls under suspicion after his Winnebago is seen at the scene of the disappearance. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead detective, Loki, investigating the disappearance case who looks for solid evidence to convince Jones but fails to pin any conclusive evidence on the neighbourhood's most mysterious character.

Continue reading: Could 'Prisoners' Be The Surprise Toronto Film Festival Success?

Video - Alex And Nat Wolff, Marc Cohn And Cheyenne Jackson At Les Miserables NY Premiere


Arrivals at the New York premiere for Les Miserables included 'The Naked Brothers Band' stars Alex Wolff and Nat Wolff, Grammy winning musician Marc Cohn and his wife Elizabeth Vargas and '30 Rock' actor Cheyenne Jackson. When Alex and Nat pose on the red carpet, one photographer can be heard referring to Alex as 'four eyes' while another paparazzo retorts 'don't f***ing insult them!'.

Continue: Video - Alex And Nat Wolff, Marc Cohn And Cheyenne Jackson At Les Miserables NY Premiere

Ruby Sparks Review


Excellent

A romantic comedy with a dark twist, this film gets under the skin as it knowingly explores both the writing process and the nature of relationships. It also gives its cast a lot to play with in scenes that feature both broad slapstick and much more serious drama.

Paul Dano stars as Calvin, a writer who struck lightning with his first novel at age 19 and hasn't been able to write anything since. His brother (Messina) teases him about his future, his agent (Mandvi) is pushing him to write a new novel, and his therapist (Gould) just wants him to write something, anything. So he starts typing up a story about the girl (Kazan) who appears in his dreams. Then there she is, Ruby Sparks, in his kitchen! Sure he's officially losing his mind, he's shocked to discover that others can see her too. So he brings her into his life as his girlfriend, even introducing her to his hippie mother and stepdad (Benning and Banderas).

The film starts out as a breezy comedy, and Dano plays these scenes for laughs, including several broadly silly set-pieces as Calvin first meets Ruby. But the undertone very quickly starts turning serious, as we begin to understand the central themes about how we relate to our partners. Would we control their behaviour if we could? Get rid of annoying habits? Make them be more like our idea of the perfect spouse? But of course, that would cause a whole new set of problems.

Continue reading: Ruby Sparks Review

Looper Review


Excellent

For a time travel thriller, this film is remarkably free of head-scratching anomalies in the plot, instead concentrating on richly developed characters and goosebump-inducing action. This is an unusually intimate action blockbuster, which gives the cast a chance to do something more resonant than we expect. And writer-director Rian Johnson takes a Christopher Nolan-style approach to the story, using intelligence and strikingly inventive filmmaking to draw us in.

Johnson is also reuniting with his Brick star Gordon-Levitt. He plays Joe, a looper in 2044 Kansas whose job is to kill men who are sent back 30 years in time by the mob, even though time travel has been outlawed. Joe knows that one day his victim will be his older self, sent back to close his loop, giving him 30 years of retirement. But when the older Joe (Willis) appears, he escapes, and now a manhunt is on. If Joe doesn't catch his older self, his boss (Daniels) will do something even more drastic than a vicious henchman (Dillahunt) has in mind. So Joe hides out in a rural farmhouse with single mother Sara (Blunt) and her young son Cid (Gagnon), with whom Joe creates an unusual bond.

The film is beautifully shot and edited, with a noir tone established by a knowing narration and the fact that most characters are addicted to a drug they take as eye-drops. And while it opens with some lively humour and witty edginess, things become darker as the story unfolds, especially when older Joe starts hunting Terminator-style for the younger version of an evil man who has too much power in the future. The hitch is that this man is a 5-year-old in the present day.

Continue reading: Looper Review

Looper Trailer


Joe Simmons is a looper from Kansas City in 2042; a hitman hired to assassinate victims sent to him by a gang of mobsters from thirty years into the future through the outlawed method of time travel. The only rule put to him is that the targets must not escape. One day, on his regular duties, a new victim shows up who happens to be without the customary sack over his head. When he looks up, Joe recognises the man as an older version of himself and his sudden shock gives his future self the opportunity to disarm him and make a break for it. When Joe's criminal employees find out about the escape, they set out to destroy him for his failure. It doesn't take long for him to convince himself that he must kill his future self despite the fact that he is being used in order for the lawless organisation to 'close the loop'.

Continue: Looper Trailer

Ruby Sparks, Trailer


Ruby Sparks tells the story of a successful young novelist who starts to suffer from writer's block. Eventually, though, Calvin makes a huge development and invents Ruby Sparks; a beautiful, red-headed female character who he begins to fall madly in love with - despite her being a figment his imagination. or so he thinks. A week later he finds her casually sprawled on his couch and although Calvin tries to pass her off as the hallucinations of an over-active imagination, it soon becomes clear that his words have manifested themselves into a real-life person. More accurately, a real-life love interest.

Continue: Ruby Sparks, Trailer

Ruby Sparks Trailer


Ruby Sparks tells the story of a successful young novelist who starts to suffer from writer's block. Eventually, though, Calvin makes a huge development and invents Ruby Sparks; a beautiful, red-headed female character who he begins to fall madly in love with - despite her being a figment his imagination. or so he thinks. A week later he finds her casually sprawled on his couch and although Calvin tries to pass her off as the hallucinations of an over-active imagination, it soon becomes clear that his words have manifested themselves into a real-life person. More accurately, a real-life love interest.

Continue: Ruby Sparks Trailer

Being Flynn Trailer


For most of his life, Nick Flynn has never known his father. He has remained absent for most of his life, serving time in prison for forging cheques. Nick's father, called Jonathan, is a self-proclaimed poet and spent most of his time in prison writing letters and poems.

Continue: Being Flynn Trailer

Video - Paul Dano Shocked At 'Normal' Homeless People


Actor Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine; There Will Be Blood; Cowboys & Aliens) takes part in an interview promoting his new movie 'Being Flynn' at The Waldorf Astoria in New York. He talks about volunteering at various homeless shelters in New York over the winter period. Paul also admits how shocked he was at how ordinary people there were, saying that it is easy for people to stereotype the homeless as 'crazy.'

Being Flynn tells the story of a young man, working at a homeless shelter, who re-encounters his father there

Cowboys & Aliens Review


Good
With such a blatant B-movie title, this well-made film really should be more fun to watch. Actually, this is an entertaining Western that sticks very close to the genre and only incidentally features bad guys from another planet.

Jake (Craig) wakes up in the desert with no memory of who he is or why he has a strange metal bracelet clamped onto his arm. He staggers into a dusty town, where the sheriff (Carradine) helps him until he clashes with local bully Percy (Dano), the son of power-mad landowner Dolarhyde (Ford), who has a history with Jake. But when strange airborne "demons" attack the town, Jake discovers that his bracelet is a weapon that can fight them. So Dolarhyde drafts him into a posse to hunt them down.

Continue reading: Cowboys & Aliens Review

Meek's Cutoff Review


Excellent
Reichardt turns her focus on the old West with this evocative drama based on true events. Not only are the characters almost outrageously authentic, but the depiction of the Western frontier is more detailed than we've ever seen.

In the Oregon territory in 1845, three couples are travelling through the unmapped wilderness with their guide Meek (Greenwood), a woolly veteran with an endless stream of colourful stories. Emily (Williams) is more open-minded than her husband (Patton), the group's natural leader. The pregnant Glory (Henderson) is tending to both her husband (Huff) and their pre-teen son (Nelson). And young Thomas (Dano) is trying to assure his wife fearful Millie (Kazan). When they encounter an Indian (Rondeaux), everyone disagrees about whether or not to trust him.

Continue reading: Meek's Cutoff Review

Cowboys & Aliens Trailer


Jake Lonergan is a wanted criminal but when he awakes in the middle of nowhere with no memory of his past, he enters the town of Absolution, one of the places that has imposed a bounty Lonergan's capture by Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde, a man who governs with an iron fist.

Continue: Cowboys & Aliens Trailer

Knight And Day Review


Good
This is a breezy, brainless action rom-coms like they used to make in the 1980s starring Mel Gibson as a crazy spy and Goldie Hawn and the ditsy but feisty woman he meets along the way. Yes, it's terrible, but it's also undemanding fun.

After June (Diaz) bumps into Roy (Cruise) in the airport, she finds herself in a mid-air shootout and a cornfield crash-landing. But she wakes up at home as if everything is fine. And so continues her adventure, as Roy turns out to be a possibly rogue federal agent trying to stay one step ahead of the spies chasing him (Davis and Sarsgaard) and keep June safe from the bad guys as they dart to the Azores and across Europe, where they meet a technology nerd (Dano) and a smirking arms dealer (Molla).

Continue reading: Knight And Day Review

Knight & Day Trailer


Watch the trailer for Knight & Day

Continue: Knight & Day Trailer

Where The Wild Things Are Review


Excellent
Jonze's inventive approach to Maurice Sendak's classic children's book continually confounds our expectations with an approach that's so offhanded and fresh that it might feel awkward or strange. But it's a real grower.

Max (Records) is a mischievous, imaginative pre-teen with a dismissive big sister (Emmerichs) and an understanding mum (Keener). But a series of events get him thinking about the fragility of life, so he takes a flight of fantasy to a distant island populated by furry creatures who at first threaten to eat him but then adopt him as their king. Playful games ensue, as he leads them in the construction of a giant fortress. But even here, relationships become tricky to navigate.

Continue reading: Where The Wild Things Are Review

Taking Woodstock Review


Good
Lively and entertaining, this colourful film recounts the backstage story of the community that inadvertently hosted the 1969 Woodstock music festival. It has some great moments along the way, but as a whole never quite comes together.

Elliot (Martin) leaves New York City to go upstate to help his stubborn parents (Staunton and Goodman) keep their hotel in business. Then he hears that a friend from the city, Michael (Groff), is having trouble getting a permit for his music festival. Elliot happens to already have one in hand, so puts Michael in contact with a local farmer (Levy). And as he helps Michael make the arrangements, he never grasps quite how massive this event is going to be. But then no one did.

Continue reading: Taking Woodstock Review

Taking Woodstock Trailer


Watch the trailer for Taking Woodstock

Woodstock Festival was almost not meant to be, originally the permit was pulled, only when Elliot Tiber stepped in and spoke to the organisers offering them the use of his parents motel and his next door neighbour, Max Yasgur, land that things got rolling. Taking Woodstock starts the moving story of Elliot Tiber and his personal struggle to keep the family motel open, what eventually develops from Elliot's plans is way beyond anyone's expectation.

Directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee
UK Release date: 13th November 2009

Starring: Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber, Paul Dano, Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eugene Levy, Jonathan Groff, Kelli Garner, Adam LeFevre, Edward Hibbert, Dan Fogler, Damian Kulash, Christina Kirk, Skylar Astin and Gabriel Sunday

Gigantic Review


Excellent
This gentle romance is so wilfully quirky that it will drive some audiences a bit crazy. But if you can connect to the film's warmth and the humanity of its characters, it really gets under the skin.

Brian (Dano) is a 28-year-old who sells upscale mattresses and dreams of adopting a Chinese baby. His latest customer is the eccentric, large Al Lolly (Goodman), whose daughter Happy (Deschanel) strikes up a friendship that quickly turns into a sort of romance. But she's a bit skittish about the adoption thing, not to mention meeting his parents (Asner and Alexander) and much-older brothers (Roberts and Stanton). Meanwhile, a homeless man (Galifianakis) seems to be trying to kill him.

Continue reading: Gigantic Review

Gigantic Review


OK
If you're going to make a film about two people falling in love, having two likable lead actors is an excellent place to start. For director Matt Aselton's first-time effort, Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel fit the bill just fine. Alas, Gigantic isn't on par with their on-screen charms, letting down them -- and us.

There's certainly enough promise on hand -- quirky characters, quiet pacing, quick and unforced wit -- but it appears Aselton would rather go for disaffected style than narrative substance. And that unfortunately cheats some fine performances and, at its core, some wonderful larger ideas.

Continue reading: Gigantic Review

Weapons Review


Good
The older I get, the more scared of teenagers I become. Those little amoral monsters! Weapons, a 2007 Sundance pick that came and went without a trace, does nothing to ease my mind. The teens in Adam Bhala Lough embody a casual nihilistic evil so dark that it almost makes you wish for a complete planetary reboot. If these kids are the future, then let's end it all right now.

Sean (Mark Webber) returns to his scruffy SoCal home after a year of college to find that his two no-good friends, macho foulmouthed Jason (Riley Smith) and nerdy filmmaker-wannabe Chris (Paul Dano), are right where he left them, hung over, stoned, and bored. Looking for something to do on a hot useless morning, the three drive over to the basketball courts to see about a pickup game. No sooner is the ball bouncing, however, than Jason is shot squarely in the chest by a young black boy and dies on the spot. We catch only a glimpse of the crime since we are sharing the point of view of Chris, who is flirting nearby with two skanky teenage girls who are willing to make out for his videocam.

Continue reading: Weapons Review

Little Miss Sunshine Review


Excellent
The most visited genre in film may be the family drama. It's probably popular to produce because it's something everyone can relate to - having a family with issues not fit for public consumption and seeing them resolved in two hours with some great acting thrown in for good measure, hopefully. Whether it's got some laughter during the course of events or not, it's getting quite difficult to come up with original ideas that force a family to change, or work together, or learn about each other, in an entertaining fashion.

And now, here's Little Miss Sunshine. You're not quite sure what you're in for during the Sundance-touting trailer as you see snippets of a family dinner. You know they are going to be quirky, based on their remarks and the quick cuts. You also know the acting will be dependable because of the stellar cast, including Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, and Alan Arkin. Plus, it's got a cute girl with glasses you know you're going to cheer on because the title is based on her.

Continue reading: Little Miss Sunshine Review

There Will Be Blood Review


OK
Ambitious as hell but irreparably flawed, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood enthralls for half its run but balances precariously atop an epilogue that can't sustain the picture's dramatic weight. Picture a circus elephant perched on a beach ball at the center of the big top. Teeter, teeter, topple.

Opening with its protagonist buried deep in a hole from which he never really emerges, Blood tracks the turn-of-the-century dealings of miner Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis, magnetic) who transitions from silver to oil when he taps vast, black resources beneath California's undeveloped frontier. A decade after stumbling across their first reserve, Daniel and his adoptive son, H.W. Plainview (saucer-eyed Dillon Freasier), are snapping up as much land as possible to increase the family's corporate empire.

Continue reading: There Will Be Blood Review

Little Miss Sunshine Review


Excellent
The most visited genre in film may be the family drama. It's probably popular to produce because it's something everyone can relate to - having a family with issues not fit for public consumption and seeing them resolved in two hours with some great acting thrown in for good measure, hopefully. Whether it's got some laughter during the course of events or not, it's getting quite difficult to come up with original ideas that force a family to change, or work together, or learn about each other, in an entertaining fashion.And now, here's Little Miss Sunshine. You're not quite sure what you're in for during the Sundance-touting trailer as you see snippets of a family dinner. You know they are going to be quirky, based on their remarks and the quick cuts. You also know the acting will be dependable because of the stellar cast, including Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, and Alan Arkin. Plus, it's got a cute girl with glasses you know you're going to cheer on because the title is based on her.Combining these reliable creative forces with outstanding dialogue and appropriate timing, Little Miss Sunshine is an engaging experience. Co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris not only make a long dinner scene interesting, but an interminable drive through a visually boring landscape also never gets old.Little Miss Sunshine is the road trip story of how little seven-year-old Olive gets to a competition she's been trying to reach for years, the titular subject. Normally each member of the family has their own self-centered focus, but Olive's achievement of acceptance takes precedence and they pile into the car to spout wit aplenty and deal with themselves.Everyone has their own fault or weakness, of course, and each comes to light in its turn, with an intelligent grace instead of an easy resolution. For instance, when Richard's (Kinnear) book deal does not come across as planned, his verbally horny father (Arkin) gives a brief acknowledgement of his efforts, which is stilted due to lack of practice but no less sincere. Richard's response matches it, quietly but no less thankfully. The entire film has this wonderful balance of handling emotional issues without ever getting precious or melodramatic.Olive (Abigail Breslin) is thankfully not the perfect child, either. One of the first comments she makes is to her uncle, who recently attempted suicide (Steve Carell) because of an unrequited, homosexual, affair, which she calls silly. Also, instead of making her say something cute, she simply places her arm around her brother's shoulder to make him rejoin the family after an outburst.Little Miss Sunshine is enjoyable because it's moving without being pedantic, it's funny while being honest about how family members treat each other, and it takes everything about being human with a smart affection sorely lacking in current filmmaking.DVD extras include two commentary tracks, alternate endings, and a music video.You can steal her sunshine.

Fast Food Nation Review


Very Good
A few weeks ago, it was announced by McDonald's that it would be making an unprecedented push towards "class." Amongst other things, it will be installing wireless internet in a large amount of its restaurants and changing décor into a mellow, art-friendly utopia for college students. Basically, it's tired of Starbucks being the only double-edged sword in the drawer. Sounds nice, but these aesthetic changes won't matter much in the face of the horrors depicted in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

Adapted from the inadaptable investigative best-seller by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation sets a whirlwind of brouhaha in a small Colorado town. The town in question, Cody, doesn't really exist but neither does the fast food chain that started there, Mickey's (God that sounds familiar). Mickey's flagship meal is The Big One, an extra-large patty processed and shipped at a local meatpacking plant that employs illegal aliens like young couple Sylvia (the excellent Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Raul (a shockingly restrained Wilmer Valderrama). The Big One was thought up by Mickey's marketing whiz-kid Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear), who has been sent to Cody to investigate a high amount of fecal matter being found in the product that made him a success.

Continue reading: Fast Food Nation Review

Fast Food Nation Review


Very Good
A few weeks ago, it was announced by McDonald's that it would be making an unprecedented push towards "class." Amongst other things, it will be installing wireless internet in a large amount of its restaurants and changing décor into a mellow, art-friendly utopia for college students. Basically, it's tired of Starbucks being the only double-edged sword in the drawer. Sounds nice, but these aesthetic changes won't matter much in the face of the horrors depicted in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

Adapted from the inadaptable investigative best-seller by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation sets a whirlwind of brouhaha in a small Colorado town. The town in question, Cody, doesn't really exist but neither does the fast food chain that started there, Mickey's (God that sounds familiar). Mickey's flagship meal is The Big One, an extra-large patty processed and shipped at a local meatpacking plant that employs illegal aliens like young couple Sylvia (the excellent Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Raul (a shockingly restrained Wilmer Valderrama). The Big One was thought up by Mickey's marketing whiz-kid Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear), who has been sent to Cody to investigate a high amount of fecal matter being found in the product that made him a success.

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The King Review


Very Good
The creepy prodigal son tale The King takes a young sailor (just out of the navy) named Elvis, sends him to find his father, a born-again preacher who never married Elvis' mom (a whore), then falls in love with the preacher's teenage daughter (his half-sister), and somehow never descends into sheer idiocy. This may be pulp material, but the telling is first-rate.Elvis is played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who, in his second English-language role, absolutely walks away with the film. His Elvis is an intriguing blank from the get-go, striding off his ship and back into the world with just a small bag of clothes and a his M1 rifle (how he was able to smuggle this out of the military so easily is never quite clear). In a sharply-edited opening sequence - first-time feature director James Marsh has a tight hold on his material - Elvis heads to his childhood home of Corpus Christi, visits a hooker, buys a car, checks into a motel, and finds his father, all with the same determined yet casual expression on his face; just checking things off his list. His father, David Sandow (William Hurt, managing not to overact for once, even with the bad facial hair and deep Texas accent) is a preacher at a small church where his teenage son plays uptempo Christian rock songs and service times are announced outside on a garish red LED display. When Elvis finally confronts his estranged father, Sandow acknowledges that that was a different time in his life and tells Elvis in no uncertain terms to stay the hell away from his family.Elvis is nothing, however, if not determined. He starts shadowing the Sandows, quickly befriending, and then seducing, their 16-year-old daughter Malerie (a sunny Pell James). The fact that this is his half-sister doesn't seem to bother Elvis one bit. He's content to work his pizza delivery job, assist Malerie in some good old-fashioned pastor's daughter rebellion, and worm his way ever closer into their lives. It's easy to see how Malerie falls for Elvis. Bernal's insistently cheery and earnest demeanor would, when used to full effect, melt the iciest of hearts. It's a sublimely subtle performance, likeable to the extreme, yet showing a flicker of sociopathy every now and again to keep everything unhinged just enough.Marsh co-wrote the elegant script with Milo Addica, a co-writer on Monster's Ball, a film which shares with this one a red-state setting and certain bloody sense of fate. They aren't afraid to upturn audience expectations on a dime and to plummet very quickly into surprisingly dark places. It's a gorgeously shot film, with some of the outdoor scenes shared by Malerie and Elvis holding a sun-soaked youthful beauty that recalls Badlands. Like Malick, the filmmakers are digging at the malevolence behind the beauty, a malevolence that they unleash later on with a disturbingly calm fury.This is not to say that The King doesn't occasionally take things too far. The stabs at black humor are mostly mistimed and the film almost blows it completely by laying on the Biblical overtones with a trowel. It's not a story easily shaken, however, or easily pigeonholed, inhabiting instead a bright and evil category all its own.King and queen.

The Emperor's Club Review


Excellent
There's an old cheap saying that goes "those who can, do; those who can't, teach". Professor William Hundert (Kevin Kline) would disagree. A true scholar of the Classics, this intellectual believes that there is no greater endeavor than the passing-on of knowledge, that molding a young man's life is a noble and important vocation. What Professor Hundert gets for his lofty ideals is a lesson in cynicism, and maybe humility, in this fine effort from director Michael Hoffman (A Midsummer Night's Dream), which features an exceptionally strong performance from Kline, an actor who consistently raises the level of nearly every film he's in.

It's the mid-1970s at a proper boys' prep school in DC, and Kline's Hundert encounters his first splash in the face with the cold water of life outside revered academia when he meets the father of a mischievous underachieving student. The stern dad, a brash U.S. senator, scolds Hundert: "You will not mold my son, I will mold my son". With a dose more sympathy for the kid, Hundert befriends him and watches him turn into a studying machine.

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L.I.E. Review


Weak
Best remembered for his understated performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Michael Mann's forensics thriller Manhunter, Scottish character actor Brian Cox brings something special to every movie he works on. Usually playing a bit role in some studio schlock (he dies halfway through The Long Kiss Goodnight), he's only occasionally given something meaty and substantial to do. If you want to see some brilliant acting, check out his work as a dogged police inspector opposite Frances McDormand in Ken Loach's Hidden Agenda.

Cox plays the role of Big John Harrigan in the disturbing new indie flick L.I.E., which Lot 47 picked up at Sundance when other distributors were scared to budge. Big John feels the love that dares not speak its name, but he expresses it through seeking out adolescents and bringing them back to his pad. What bothered some audience members was the presentation of Big John in an oddly empathetic light. He's an even-tempered, funny, robust old man who actually listens to the kids' problems (as opposed to their parents and friends, both caught up in the high-wire act of their own confused lives.) He'll have sex-for-pay with them only after an elaborate courtship, charming them with temptations from the grown-up world.

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The Girl Next Door (2004) Review


Good
It's been said that opposites attract, and in The Girl Next Door, those opposites just happen to be a high school student body president and a porn star. Interesting combination; I guess love has no boundaries. Though their relationship may stretch the limits of the old saying, they're drawn to each other partially because each one desires a bit of the other's life.

Matthew (Emile Hirsch) is at the top of his class, has recently been accepted to Georgetown University, and is readying himself for a career in politics. He's also preparing to deliver a speech (on morality, ironically) that could earn him a prestigious scholarship. Danielle (Elisha Cuthbert) wants a break from her job in the Los Angeles porn industry, and is housesitting for her aunt who lives next door to Matthew. She's also hiding out from her producer, ex-boyfriend Kelly (Timothy Olyphant) who nets $30,000 for each film she makes. Matthew wants to be cool like the school jocks that cut class and ditch school; Danielle wants to get the college education she never had and live a normal, suburban existence. They're perfect for each other, right?

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The Ballad Of Jack And Rose Review


Very Good
For some people isolation means happiness. Such is the case of Jack and Rose, father and daughter (Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle), living sparingly and deeply enjoying it on an island off the Pacific Northwest. In earlier days, it was the setting for a commune -- one that Jack built, led, and closed down as times and manias changed. Now, with the funds from a buyout in his bank account, his comforts are secure, and that's a bit of heaven for Rose who not only adores her father and cherishes her life, but will protect both with all her energy and life force.

A couple of problems threaten to spoil the remote idyll. Jack has a terminal heart condition and they both know his days are numbered. What each wants to do about it differs monumentally. For her part, Rose is devoted to the idea of committing suicide as soon as dad leaves his mortal coil, feeling she couldn't face life without him. In the wisdom of maturity and a wider scope of options, Jack would like to live out the remainder of his life with a companion who, at the same time, would become a replacement adult supervisor for teenager Rose when he's gone. Nice plan -- one that even a normal father might well dream up. And, since he's been dating Kathleen (Catherine Keener) during his rare visits to the mainland, and likes her, he asks her to come live with him and Rose.

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The Ballad Of Jack & Rose Review


Weak
"The Ballad of Jack and Rose" concerns several strange characterswho just scream for something strange and unusual to say. But writer/directorRebecca Miller, daughter of playwright Arthur Miller, only gives them themost ordinary, mundane movie dialogue imaginable.

Miller sets her story, about an ailing father (Daniel Day-Lewis)and his teenage daughter (Camilla Belle), in and around an abandoned 1970shippie commune.

Father Jack and daughter Rose have lived an isolated life,farming and building tree forts, and have turned out rather odd.

Jack ordinarily spends a good deal of time railing againstan evil housing developer (Beau Bridges) who is looking to spoil the island.But for a change of pace, he impulsively invites his secret lover, Kathleen(Catherine Keener), and her two sons, chunky Rodney (Ryan McDonald) andthuggish Thaddius (Paul Dano) to move in. Although this new trio has notbeen raised in a commune, they're just as troubled as Jack and Rose, andtalk just as blandly.

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Taking Lives Review


Weak

Even with her latest turn as bodacious, babe-a-licious video game vixen Lara Croft still clinging to her like a skin-tight silver catsuit, Angelina Jolie is surprisingly credible as a prim and professional FBI profiler in "Taking Lives." Now, if only the plot of this serial killer thriller could have kept up with her in that department.

A slight, and slightly smarter, twist on the genre's average assembly-line offering, the movie's hook is that the unidentified psycho assumes the lives of the people he kills -- mostly handsome, young, well-to-do loners (if there is such a thing). So he could be anyone from the handsome young Montreal detective (Oliver Martinez) who's bitter that Jolie's been brought in on his case, to the handsome young painter (Ethan Hawke) who is the only witness to one of the murders, to the handsome, ominous stranger (Kiefer Sutherland) who seems to be stalking the artist.

But while director D.J. Caruso ("The Salton Sea") takes a judicious, stylish, slow-burn approach to the suspense (this isn't a tawdry twist-a-minute attempt to get your heart pounding), he can't outsmart the holes in the plot (adapted from a novel by Michael Pye), even if most of them appear only in retrospect -- after the dumb, patronizing and currently fashionable second-climax epilogue.

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The Emperor's Club Review


Weak

A routine aerial shot swoops down over the grounds of an architecturally classic boarding school while a buoyant, sanguine score bleats with insistently lyrical French horns in the opening moments of "The Emperor's Club." And that's all most moviegoers will need to divine everything there is to know about the picture's musty, fond-memory-styled milieu of plucky, Puckish schoolboys and the dedicated, kindly educator who inspires them.

It's a movie that seems motivated more by a desire to match mortarboards with "Dead Poets Society" and "Good Will Hunting" than by its own story. It's a movie of highly telegraphed archetypes slogging their way through clichés (the off-limits girls' school is just across the lake) and only-in-the-movies moments, like the climactic scholarly trivia contest in which the three smartest boys in school don togas and answer questions on stage about the minutiae of Roman history.

These settings, these characters and this narrative arc -- about a contentious teacher-student relationship -- are so familiar that while the movie is not inept or boring, it never feels real enough to inspire much more than a shrug in response.

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