Rudy Cohen

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The Musketeer Review


Bad
And now the high-flying Hong Kong style of filmmaking has made its way down to the classics, and it isn't pretty. This time out the nod to Asia goes by way of France in the excruciating bland and lukewarm production of The Musketeer, a version of Dumas's The Three Musketeers. By bringing in popular Asian actor/stunt coordinator Xing Xing Xiong -- whose only prior American attempts at stunt choreography have been the laughable Van Damme vehicle Double Team and the Dennis Rodman cinematic joke Simon Sez -- our Musketeers are thrown into the air to do their fighting. The end result is a tepid and dull action/adventure rip-off that stinks of Indiana Jones and bad Asian kung fu.

The story is so simple my grandmother could have adapted the screenplay. D'Artagnan (Justin Chambers) is the vengeful son of a slain Musketeer. He travels to Paris to join the Royal Musketeers and find the man that killed his parents. In Paris, he meets the cunning Cardinal Richelieu (Stephen Rea), who is trying to overthrow the King, and Richelieu's man-in-black associate Febre (Tim Roth), the killer of his folks. He finds the Musketeers in Paris disbanded and drunk, so he rounds up Aramis (Nick Moran), Athos (Jan Gregor Kremp) and Porthos (Steven Spiers) to free the Musketeer's wrongfully imprisoned leader Treville from the King's prison. D'Artagnan and his new frisky love interest/chambermaid Francesca (Mena Suvari) play footsy and coo at each other as the Cardinal hunts down the Musketeers until finally the Queen (Catherine Deneuve) ends up being captured by the menancing Febre, forcing the Musketeers to regroup, with D'Artagnan leading the charge, and save the day.

Continue reading: The Musketeer Review

Imaginary Heroes Review


Very Good
Considering that Imaginary Heroes starts off with a teenager's suicide and then follows what happens to his family in the following year, it's a surprisingly energetic film that refuses to send its characters through either easy therapeutic resolution or cinematically pretty depression. This is more about how people grieve in reality, how they keep on moving through the days and plowing through the grief. And though it can't avoid all the potential clichés that come into its path, this is a tale of suburban angst that can easily stand beside works like American Beauty and The Ice Storm, if not surpass them completely.

The feature directing debut of Dan Harris, the scriptwriting wunderkind behind X2 and a batch of upcoming superhero flicks (from Superman to The Fantastic Four), Imaginary Heroes is a breathtakingly assured piece of work. Notable are the shimmering cinematography and unusually nuanced performances from both veteran actors we tend to take for granted and several fresh, younger faces. It starts off with Matt Travis (Kip Pardue), a high school swimming legend who always hated swimming and so shoots himself in the head one night. Although we only really see him in retrospect, talked about in narration by his younger brother, Matt (Emile Hirsch), it's quickly obvious that Matt was the shining star of the family and so everything quickly goes to pot in his absence. The dad (Jeff Daniels) collapses into an unshaven, sullen drunk, and the sister (Michelle Williams) dashes back to the safe haven of college. Matt - the film's closest thing to a protagonist - buries everything deep, hiding all emotions from his best friend Kyle (Ryan Donowho) and girlfriend, breaking up with her after she keeps asking how he's feeling and why his body is covered in bruises.

Continue reading: Imaginary Heroes Review

The I Inside Review


Weak
A hipster-wannabe ripoff of Jacob's Ladder with a terrible title, this senseless thriller has little going for it beyond the beautiful people that inhabit its hospital corridors. Not even Sarah Polley and Piper Perabo (reinventing herself as a femme fatale) can make this story of an amnesiac car-crash victim (Ryan Phillippe) worth sitting through. Of special note: The movie is based on a play with a much different title, one that actually gives away the surprise ending.
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Rudy Cohen Movies

The Musketeer Movie Review

The Musketeer Movie Review

And now the high-flying Hong Kong style of filmmaking has made its way down to...

Imaginary Heroes Movie Review

Imaginary Heroes Movie Review

Considering that Imaginary Heroes starts off with a teenager's suicide and then follows what happens...

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