Paula Wagner

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Eric Nebot, Paula Wagner , Jeffrey Katzenberg - 29th American Cinematheque Award Honoring Reese Witherspoon_Photo Opp at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 31st October 2015

Eric Nebot, Paula Wagner and Jeffrey Katzenberg
Eric Nebot, Paula Wagner and Jeffrey Katzenberg

Paula Wagner (l) and Rick Nicita - A host of stars were photographed as they attended the Vanity Fair Oscar Party which was held at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and The Beverly Hills City Hall in Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 23rd February 2015

Paula Wagner, Rick Nicita and Vanity Fair

Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner - The 28th American Cinematheque Award honoring Matthew McConaughey at The Beverly Hilton Hotel at Beverly Hilton Hotel - Beverly Hills, California, United States - Tuesday 21st October 2014

Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner
Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner
Rick Nicita and Paula Wagner

Paula Wagner - Snaps of the stars as they arrived at the opening night party for 'It's Only A Play' held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York, New York, United States - Thursday 9th October 2014

Paula Wagner

Jack Reacher Review


Very Good

Tom Cruise may be oddly miscast in this big action movie, but he certainly knows how to make one of these preposterous films connect with an audience. And writer-director McQuarrie adds a driving sense of internal logic that keeps it consistently enjoyable. So even if the hero in Lee Child's series of novels is a 6-foot-5 blond-haired, blue-eyed muscle-man, the cast and crew get away withThe story takes place in Pittsburgh, where a multiple shooting leads Detective Emerson (Oyelowo) and DA Rodin (Jenkins) to a withdrawn gun nut (Sikora). It seems like an open-and-shut case until man of mystery Jack Reache (Cruise) turns up. An off-the-grid ex-Army agent, Jack offers to help defence attorney Helen (Pike) prove her client's innocence. Of course, he instantly solves the case, uncovering a conspiracy and putting himself and Helen in danger from a ruthless Russian (Herzog) and his henchman (Courtenay). Meanwhile, Jack befriends a gun-range owner (Duvall) who has a connection to the case.

There's clearly an attempt here to echo Bourne-style questioning of identity and morality through Jack's hazy history and super-spy methodology. And the plot is also packed with far-fetched details and silly connections (Helen is Rodin's daughter), although McQuarrie does his best to keep things plausible and intelligent enough to hold our attention. There's also a sense of the bigger issue in Jack's life, that he can't cope with the grey-scale relativity in society and prefers right-or-wrong battlefield morality. He also hates modern-day connectivity, refusing to carry a mobile phone. But then he doesn't travel with a vehicle, weapon or change of clothing either; he prefers to "borrow" everything as needed.

Despite being nearly a foot shorter than the literary Jack, Cruise inhabits the role nicely, offering a slightly scrapper, more shadowy version of his Mission: Impossible character. But he's just as sexless, never putting much oomph into his flirtation with the always terrific Pike. On the other hand, he generously lets his costars steal every scene. Duvall is hilariously offhanded, while Herzog adds his own mad genius into his role as a, well, mad genius. And Oyelowo more than holds his own opposite these veteran hams. So even if the film never tries to be anything more than a ripping, mindless thriller, the stylish filmmaking and cool characters make it an enjoyable waste of time.

Continue reading: Jack Reacher Review

Dan Stevens, Paula Wagner, Roy Furman and Jessica Chastain - Dan Stevens, Paula Wagner, Roy Furman and Jessica Chastain Thursday 1st November 2012 attending the Broadway opening night after party for ‘The Heiress’, held at the Edison Ballroom.

Death Race Review


Terrible
Movies like Death Race exist so critics will have something to put on their year-end "Worst Of" lists.

Technically, it's a remake of Paul Bartel's schlocky Death Race 2000 from 1975. But director Paul W.S. Anderson also uses his gig as an excuse to revisit every innocent-man-behind-bars cliché that has been introduced from then 'til now.

Continue reading: Death Race Review

Mission: Impossible III Review


Excellent
Paramount's mission sounded impossible. Its assignment? Resurrect Tom Cruise's lucrative espionage franchise, which director John Woo left in shambles after the overly stylish and unreasonably convoluted 2000 installment.

To move forward, the studio and star (a credited producer) looked back - past the first Mission: Impossible movie to the 1960s television program that started it all. The M:I team grabbed TV wunderkind J.J. Abrams to direct after delighting in his original creation Alias, itself a modernized reworking of the spy show. But Abrams does far more than simply reboot the machine. He provides a much-needed stab of adrenaline through the franchise's creative heart.

Continue reading: Mission: Impossible III Review

Ask The Dust Review


Weak
If Robert Towne's Ask the Dust is the end result of 30 years of labor to bring John Fante's celebrated novel to the screen, it gravely calls into question Towne's current abilities as both a screenwriter and director. Towne's adaptation sheds no new interpretive light on Ask the Dust's literary legacy, and, even on its own terms, this is an anemic romance, undone by awkward performances and flat-footed filmmaking.

Twenty-year-old aspiring Italian-American writer Arturo Bandini, Fante's literary alter ego, is brash yet sensitive, fundamentally moral yet driven by an unquenchable, uniquely American thirst for love, lust, and romantic adventure. Bandini's conflicting values jolt and jostle inside him, finding expression primarily through Bandini's typewriter, as he tries to alchemize his experiences into fiction.

Continue reading: Ask The Dust Review

Vanilla Sky Review


Good
The single best scene in Vanilla Sky, and maybe in the entire year of cinema, takes place right at the beginning of this film. On the surface it's not anything that special, just a scene of Tom Cruise, running panicked through Times Square in New York City. Only Times Square is completely devoid of traffic or pedestrians. As is every street we can see down. New York, effectively, is empty. Whether this was done legitimately or with digital effects (or a combination of both), I don't know. And I couldn't tell, either. It's a powerful shot to launch what should have been a powerful movie.

Sadly, it's a bit downhill from there. While Vanilla Sky is a solid effort, it's unfortunately short of genius. The very project is a bit curious. Is Cameron Crowe, the permanent teenager responsible for perfectly good yet light-as-a-feather comedies like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, up to the challenge of remaking a Spanish psychodrama? Crowe goes through the motions, and from time to time he proves that he can handle heavier material, but Vanilla Sky is too murky to be much more than a holiday distraction -- far from the cult classic that the original Abre los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) has become.

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Mission: Impossible 2 Review


Good
Editor's Note: Rarely have two so divergent reviews for one movie crossed my desk on the same day. To wit, we present a unique experience for filmcritic.com -- something of a "He Said, He Said" -- two looks at Mission: Impossible 2, from two of our most vocal critics. -CN

James Brundage, the exuberant fan:

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Mission: Impossible Review


OK
You heard it here first: When big Mission: Impossible TV fans leave the theater after seeing the film version of their favorite TV show, the most common opinion will be, "I'm pissed off."

Telling you why would spoil what little plot Mission: Impossibleactually has, so I won't. Instead, let me try to shed a little light on what is a messy, uneven production that had so much promise but delivers so little.

Continue reading: Mission: Impossible Review

Elizabethtown Review


OK
Soundtracks to Cameron Crowe's movies are often as memorable as the films themselves. Crowe's most famous marriage of cinema and song has to be John Cusack's radio hoist to the beat of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." Three years later, the 1992 relationship comedy Singles tapped into Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains before Seattle's music scene flamed out. And Almost Famous reminded us of the unifying power of Elton John's "Tiny Dancer."

Crowe's uncanny knack for turning up the volume has allowed countless scenes to soar to their potential. One problem nagging Elizabethtown, Crowe's most awkward project to date, is that the director is obligated to crank the knob again and again to overcome bland performances and missed emotional connections. He has assembled another astonishing collection of inspirational rock tracks, but for the first time the soundtrack outshines the accompanying movie by a long shot.

Continue reading: Elizabethtown Review

Without Limits Review


Very Good
Stirring biopic about American runner Steve Prefontaine -- a precursor to today's most arrogant athletes. Replete with slow-motion running, sweat-dripping faces, and gut-wrentching drama, this is a must-see for any track & field fan.

The Last Samurai Review


OK
Towards the end of Ed Zwick's The Last Samurai, Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) washes away the memories of his brutal past and clears his path to honor and redemption with these words: "A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed."

No dice. For nearly three hours I did what I could to try to care about where this self-important vanity project was going, and concluded that it is Tom Cruise's destiny to never win an Academy Award.

Continue reading: The Last Samurai Review

Paula Wagner

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Jason Statham Loves The Mechanic's Complicated Action

Jason Statham Loves The Mechanic's Complicated Action

Five years after his first stint as hitman Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic, Jason Statham has returned to the role for Mechanic: Resurrection.

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John Krasinski Used His Experience To Make The Hollars

John Krasinski Used His Experience To Make The Hollars

In a busy year that has seen John Krasinski star in movies and TV shows, he somehow managed to find the time to direct, produce and star in the new...

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Paula Wagner Movies

Jack Reacher Movie Review

Jack Reacher Movie Review

Tom Cruise may be oddly miscast in this big action movie, but he certainly knows...

Death Race Movie Review

Death Race Movie Review

Movies like Death Race exist so critics will have something to put on their year-end...

Mission: Impossible III Movie Review

Mission: Impossible III Movie Review

Paramount's mission sounded impossible. Its assignment? Resurrect Tom Cruise's lucrative espionage franchise, which director John...

Vanilla Sky Movie Review

Vanilla Sky Movie Review

The single best scene in Vanilla Sky, and maybe in the entire year of cinema,...

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Mission: Impossible 2 Movie Review

Mission: Impossible 2 Movie Review

Editor's Note: Rarely have two so divergent reviews for one movie crossed my desk on...

Elizabethtown Movie Review

Elizabethtown Movie Review

Soundtracks to Cameron Crowe's movies are often as memorable as the films themselves. Crowe's most...

The Last Samurai Movie Review

The Last Samurai Movie Review

Towards the end of Ed Zwick's The Last Samurai, Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) washes away...

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