Author: Jesse Hassenger

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera clearly strives to defy description, which of course makes it fun to describe: It's a futuristic rock musical about organ repossession from the director of Saws II through IV, starring Giles...

Movie Review posted on 9th December 2008

The Fall

The Fall

The filmmaker Tarsem (he now drops his surname, Singh, for his filmmaking credits) was last seen cross-sectioning horses, hoisting a man up by gruesome back hooks, and wandering the landscapes of a serial killer's mind...

Movie Review posted on 18th May 2008

Deception (2008)

Deception (2008)

According to web reports, this Hugh Jackman/Ewan McGregor thriller was originally titled The Tourist and The List before the filmmakers and/or studio finally settled on Deception. The alternates are not exactly the most eye-catching or...

Movie Review posted on 5th May 2008

Awake

Awake

Surprising, really, that "anesthetic awareness" -- helpless, immobile and, it should be noted, very rare consciousness during surgery -- hasn't been explored in a thriller before. Or maybe it has and I don't remember; that...

Movie Review posted on 3rd December 2007

We Own the Night

We Own the Night

James Gray has assembled what looks and sounds like a good, smart thriller with We Own the Night: a strong cast, serious aspirations, a specific time and place (Brooklyn, 1988). The story is shopworn, but...

Movie Review posted on 16th October 2007

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew

After watching the postmodern teen-detective stars of Brick and Veronica Mars, reviving Nancy Drew, girl detective, might seem a redundant, backwards task. The trailers for this project appeared in line with those expectations, casting Nancy...

Movie Review posted on 21st June 2007

Waitress

Waitress

Keri Russell had a certain low-key, empathetic quality as the sensitive coed on the WB series Felicity, but nothing about that whispery, earnest role indicated she could carry a movie herself, especially as a different...

Movie Review posted on 24th May 2007

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider

It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect. But the opening section of the comic-book adaptation Ghost Rider starts with a particularly troubling apocalyptic rumble of exposition. See,...

Movie Review posted on 17th February 2007

Cursed

Cursed

Although Arrested Development's Portia De Rossi and Judy Greer co-star in the werewolf mishmash Cursed, fellow Arrested cast member and erstwhile Teen Wolf Jason Bateman is nowhere to be found. Too bad; this horror-comedy could...

Movie Review posted on 28th January 2007

Sherrybaby

Sherrybaby

It struck me while watching Sherrybaby that one of Maggie Gyllenhaal's greatest strengths as an actress is an ability to cross class lines effortlessly and often. There are some great, versatile actresses -- Nicole Kidman,...

Movie Review posted on 15th January 2007

Aladdin

Aladdin

Disney's version of Aladdin and his magic lamp is one of its best animated features -- or features, period -- with terrific songs and gorgeous colors, thrilling action sequences and big laughs. It doesn't have...

Movie Review posted on 15th January 2007

Con Air

Con Air

It wasn't necessarily obvious (or even possible to know) at the time of its 1997 release, but Jerry Bruckheimer's Con Air would represent his finest hour. Bruckheimer isn't the director, of course, but rather the...

Movie Review posted on 4th January 2007

Material Girls

Material Girls

I confess a fascination -- perhaps unhealthy by definition -- with the actress/singer/empire Hilary Duff. She's in no way a better actress than, say, Lindsay Lohan and her career doesn't have the occasional bursts of...

Movie Review posted on 20th August 2006

Pulse (2006)

Pulse (2006)

Earlier in 2006, a killer videogame stalked teenagers in Stay Alive; Pulse ups the ante with ghostly wireless signals stalking college students. The latest J-horror remake never pitches itself over the top, refusing to pile...

Movie Review posted on 12th August 2006

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic is like sweet, feature-length revenge for the relatively small,l but almost assuredly scarred, minority of comics and actors who didn't quite make it on Saturday Night Live. Indeed, my first...

Movie Review posted on 15th November 2005

The Fly

The Fly

The most horrific aspect of David Cronenberg's version of The Fly is that it's a pretty earnest relationship drama. Not because the hindered courtship of girl reporter Geena Davis by scientist-fly hybrid Jeff Goldblum (what,...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

Robot Stories

Robot Stories

Greg Pak's Robot Stories belongs to that rarest of subgenres, indie science fiction. For that alone, I give it some credit; an indie sci-fi fan cannot subsist on Donnie Darko alone. This brief, spirited anthology...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

Honey

Honey

Honey tries to apply for membership in at least three cliché-ridden subgenres: the nonmusical dance musical (complete with putting on a benefit show), the rise-and-fall-and-rise showbiz story, and the urban issues drama. The result is...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

Eulogy

Eulogy

Michael Clancy's Eulogy is sort of a sitcom version of The Royal Tenenbaums, with its estranged family united by a dying (well, in this case, dead) patriarch who no one particularly likes (played here, briefly,...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Truth Lies

Where the Truth Lies casts such a uniquely seductive spell that it takes a good long while before you figure out that it's not, for the most part, very good. The film is a mystery,...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

Boogeyman

Boogeyman

I am sad to report that Boogeyman is not another biopic. It's not even clear whether this tame bit of horror shlock is about the Boogeyman or simply a Boogeyman. The film's credits list him...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

The United States of Leland

The United States of Leland

In The United States of Leland, vaunted young actor Ryan Gosling ostensibly plays the mysterious title character, Leland P. Fitzgerald, a teenager facing a prison sentence for the murder of the mentally challenged younger brother...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

Blue Car

Blue Car

Blue Car is tough, honest, and deeply felt, and all of that made me wish I liked it more. The debut film from writer-director Karen Moncrieff is a coming-of-age drama about Meg (Agnes Bruckner), a...

Movie Review posted on 1st November 2005

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