Zak Penn

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The Incredible Hulk Review


Good
The entertainment industry thrives on second chances. Take Robert Downey Jr., for example. A one-time drug abuser and convicted felon, the admittedly gifted performer cleaned up his act and now flies high in Paramount's massive hit, Iron Man.

Forgiveness isn't an exclusive gift. Multiple fictional heroes, from Batman to the Punisher, have enjoyed a creative rebirth after their introductions failed or their stars faded.

Continue reading: The Incredible Hulk Review

2007 CineVegas Film Festival Premiere Of 'The Grand' At The Golden Nugget Hotel And Casino - Arrivals

Zak Penn Thursday 7th June 2007 2007 CineVegas Film Festival Premiere of 'The Grand' at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino - Arrivals Las Vegas, Nevada

Zak Penn

X-Men: The Last Stand Review


OK

We've witnessed, this summer, how fresh blood can rejuvenate a franchise entering its third installment. Weeks ago, Paramount handed the Mission: Impossible keys to J.J. Abrams (Alias) and clicked their heels when the inventive television director breathed new life into a financially healthy but creatively stagnant series.

Fox attempts a similar trick with its valuable X-Men venture, though in honesty the studio had little choice. After conceiving two blockbuster films that delighted both critics and fans, director Bryan Singer walked away from the X universe for the chance to direct the next Man of Steel movie (his Superman Returns arrives in theaters next month). Fox wouldn't let Singer's exit kill its golden-egg-laying goose, so the studio plopped oft-maligned hired gun filmmaker Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) behind the camera and prayed that he wouldn't botch The Last Stand, reportedly the final installment.

Continue reading: X-Men: The Last Stand Review

Incident At Loch Ness Review


Good
The first thing that catches our attention is the title. Already we're a little suspicious. It's not The Loch Ness Monster, Discovering Nessie, The Lake Serpent Revealed, or anything like that. It's an "incident," which allows for all sorts of indistinct possibilities.

The kernel of the piece is that Werner Herzog, a director of German extraction with a taste for the singular, if not bizarre (Fitzcarraldo), is living in L.A. and planning a documentary about a search for the Loch Ness monster that will be co-produced by Zak Penn, a writer (Suspect Zero) debuting on this project as director. But Herzog plays the fictional part of the film's director. Okay, so we have a film about a film being made. Herzog brings his favorite cameraman, Gabriel Beristain (S.W.A.T., Blade II) into the creative mix as he and Penn plan the venture.

Continue reading: Incident At Loch Ness Review

Osmosis Jones Review


Good
Have you ever wondered what goes on in the back of your nose when you sneeze? The Farrelly Brothers have. And in their traditional gross-out fashion, they'd like to show you.

There you have Osmosis Jones, a combination of clunky live action and cool, creative animation that tries too hard to please both adults and kiddies while journeying inside one disgusting body.

Continue reading: Osmosis Jones Review

Suspect Zero Review


Weak
I suspect that zero is moderately close to the number of viewers who will be impressed with Suspect Zero. Another by-the-book serial killer thriller that uses David Fincher's Seven as its guide, Zero takes a clever premise and buries it beneath layers of substandard detective clichés and crude camera tricks meant to deceive us. It's so desperate to keep us in the dark for as long as physically possible that it finally begins to lose its own way.

The mouse in this stock cat and mouse game is disgraced FBI agent Thomas Mackelway (Aaron Eckhart), a dedicated G-man with a high-profile blemish on his service record. His grievous error on a previous case earned him a demotion to the Bureau's dead-end Albuquerque office, though it's not long before Mackelway's hot on the trail of another cold-blooded killer. This wandering murderer (Ben Kingsley) exhibits no motive and establishes no pattern to his killings, but enjoys faxing Mackelway clues to drag the investigator deeper into a series of perplexing mind games.

Continue reading: Suspect Zero Review

Elektra Review


Bad
Allow me to geek out for a minute. Renowned comic book writer/artist Frank Miller first introduced his assassin-for-hire character Elektra in the pages of Daredevil (issue No. 168, to be exact). His contributions to the ensuing story arcs are widely considered some of the strongest character-development work done in the comic industry to date.

Elektra, a needless spin-off from Mark Steven Johnson's already flawed 2003 Daredevil film, might have had a fighting chance if it stayed within the boundaries of Miller's rich source material. Instead, it can't even stay consistent with the lackluster film that inspired it.

Continue reading: Elektra Review

Behind Enemy Lines Review


Good
A film like Behind Enemy Lines reminds you of how the movies can so easily be used for government propaganda during times of crisis. During WWII, local cinemas were littered with the likes of John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper fighting for freedom and the American Way against Nazi bastards and ruthless Japanese. Vietnam and the Cold War also had their propaganda films -- Rambo, anyone? In more recent times, the Gulf War and the Serbian conflict have also become the targets of eager filmmakers, but the public hasn't really accepted these films -- apparently the scale of the conflicts has not been enough to make much of an impact on an apathetic populace.

But that all changed on September 11, when American support for patriotism and military might -- no matter who the adversary -- hit a sudden, fever pitch. And so it was that the spring 2002 release (a dumping ground for films with very low expectations) of Behind Enemy Lines was pole-vaulted forward to the holiday heyday of November 30, 2001, buoyed by sky-high audience approval at test screenings. You want your ripped-from-today's-headlines movie? You got it.

Continue reading: Behind Enemy Lines Review

Inspector Gadget Review


Bad
I'll admit to watching the early 1980s' Inspector Gadget cartoon, and probably far too late in life.

Looks like now I'm waaaaay too old for this kind of thing, but judging by the mute stares of the many children in our advance screening audience, maybe they are too.

Continue reading: Inspector Gadget Review

Small Soldiers Review


Good
Joe Dante's action story, about military-chip-endowed toys that wreak havoc on the neighborhood, is well-intentioned, and with five writers it ought to be. But while Dante would love to recapture the magic of Gremlins, he ends up capturing only the disappointment of Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Phil Hartman's final movie.

PCU Review


Excellent
One of the tragically underappreciated films of the 1990s, this updating of the Animal House mentality brings us to a Twilight Zone world where political correctness has run rampant. The P.C. schtick is a little overdone -- which turned me and other critics off on its original release -- but it has since emerged as a cult classic thanks to its wild characters and a virtuoso performance by Jeremy Piven as head of the most notorious frat house on campus. David Spade is the perfect foil as the button-down freak at the rival fraternity.

And yeah, that's Jon Favreau. Check out Piven's commentary track on the DVD, where he complains at length about not being able to improvise and comments on his own college days.

Continue reading: PCU Review

Zak Penn

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Zak Penn Movies

The Incredible Hulk Movie Review

The Incredible Hulk Movie Review

The entertainment industry thrives on second chances. Take Robert Downey Jr., for example. A one-time...

X-Men: The Last Stand Movie Review

X-Men: The Last Stand Movie Review

We've witnessed, this summer, how fresh blood can rejuvenate a franchise entering its third installment....

Osmosis Jones Movie Review

Osmosis Jones Movie Review

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the back of your nose when you...

Suspect Zero Movie Review

Suspect Zero Movie Review

I suspect that zero is moderately close to the number of viewers who will be...

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Elektra Movie Review

Elektra Movie Review

Allow me to geek out for a minute. Renowned comic book writer/artist Frank Miller first...

Behind Enemy Lines Movie Review

Behind Enemy Lines Movie Review

A film like Behind Enemy Lines reminds you of how the movies can so easily...

Inspector Gadget Movie Review

Inspector Gadget Movie Review

I'll admit to watching the early 1980s' Inspector Gadget cartoon, and probably far too late...

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