Wacky hijinks abound in the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White… MoreWacky hijinks abound in the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. John Cho and Kal Penn star as two best friends who get a hankering for some White Castle burgers, but to get them they'll have to overcome racist cops, an escaped cheetah, and Neil Patrick Harris. The comedy it pretty outrageous and delivers some good laughs. But there's also a lot of vulgarity, crudeness, and stoner humor. And, some of the shenanigans are overly stupid and idiotic. Additionally, the characters aren't especially likable; particularly Kumar, who comes off as a selfish jerk most of the time. Still, for what it is Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is entertaining and bit of fun.
A character drama from writer/director Noah Baumbach, Greenberg… MoreA character drama from writer/director Noah Baumbach, Greenberg explores some interesting issues but ultimately falls flat. When Roger Greenberg comes to L.A. to housesit for his brother he ends up getting involved with the housekeeper, but his fears and anxieties begin to cause problems between them. Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, and Jennifer Jason Leigh lead the cast and give strong performances; particularly Gerwig, who has a nice charm and a natural comedic sensibility. However, the plot meanders a lot and is full of minutia. And Greenberg is a rather perfunctory character, leaving the audience ambiguous to his plight. Flawed and disjointed, Greenberg is an overly monotonous slice of life film.
Based on the popular book series, The Maze Runner is an intense and… MoreBased on the popular book series, The Maze Runner is an intense and suspenseful thriller. The story follows a group of young boys that find themselves wiped of their memories and sent into the center of a giant maze that's constantly changing. What the maze is and why the boys have been placed there is an enticing mystery, and the writing does an impressive job at setting up this world and creating intrigue. Additionally, the performances are fairly good, and the costumes and set designs have an interesting look and feel. However, there are some problems with the storytelling, as it seems a bit rushed at times with some random elements thrown in to add ambiguity. Though it's a little weak on story, The Maze Runner is an entertaining and exciting adventure.
The horror thriller Come Back to Me is poorly made and relies mostly… MoreThe horror thriller Come Back to Me is poorly made and relies mostly on jump scares. After a new neighbor moves in across the street from a young housewife, she begins to experience strange, violent night terrors. Unfortunately the writing is incredibly bad, as the film seems like an endless series of dream sequences; making it hard to tell what's real and what isn't most of the time. Still, the terrors are shot well and deliver some chilling moments. Also, Katie Walder gives a strong performance that really conveys the disorientation and panic that the character goes through. Come Back to Me has some interesting things going on, but it's a mess to get through.
From director David Cronenberg comes the supernatural thriller The… MoreFrom director David Cronenberg comes the supernatural thriller The Dead Zone. Based on a Stephen King novel, the story follows a school teacher name Johnny Smith who gains psychic abilities after a car accident and slowly begins to realize that he has the power to change the future. Christopher Walken delivers an incredibly strong performance and gives a tragic edge to the Smith character. However, the storytelling is episodic, making it difficult to get invested in the plot or the characters. Yet, through Cronenberg's directing the film takes on a foreboding and atmospheric tone. The Dead Zone is a little unfocused at times, but there's something compelling about the character's struggle.
Alien Abduction is a rather innovative found footage film that… MoreAlien Abduction is a rather innovative found footage film that delivers some frightful scares, but it's unable to avoid the trappings of the genre. The setup is that of a recovered home video that was made by a child who followed his family's camping trip in the Brown Mountains, which turned into a struggle for survival against alien abductors. And, this is intercut with interviews from paranormal experts who explain the history of UFO activity in the Brown Mountain region. While it starts out rather interesting and has some intense moments, the film quickly degenerates into a generic "cabin in the woods" scenario with the characters holding out in the middle of a creepy forest. Additionally, the acting isn't that good, particularly the cabin owner; who couldn't be more of an outdoorsman stereotype. Though it gets points for creativity, Alien Abduction isn't able to escape the classic horror movie tropes.
John Cusack and Thomas Jane kick the tires and light the fires in the… MoreJohn Cusack and Thomas Jane kick the tires and light the fires in the chase film Drive Hard. The story follows a former race car driver turned driving instructor who's tricked into being a wheel-man when his student robs a mob bank. Unfortunately the performances aren't very good; especially Jane, who's down right awful. But the writing is rather poor too, with stereotypical characters and unfocused storytelling. A trite and unoriginal action film, Drive Hard is a lazy piece of filmmaking.
Adapted from a Japanese anime film, Kite is a provocative and… MoreAdapted from a Japanese anime film, Kite is a provocative and action-packed thriller set in a dystopian future. After her parents are murdered by a flesh-cartel, a young woman named Sawa teams up with her father's former police partner to get her revenge. India Eisley gives a strong performance as a femme fatale, but Samuel L. Jackson pretty much phones it in. Also, the plot is rather rote, with the stereotypical fare; gangs, shoot outs, drugs, dirty cops, etc. Additionally, there are some storytelling issues; with the different story threats not weaving together very well. But even so, the action scenes are dark and gritty, bringing an intensity and edginess to the film. All in all, Kite is a mediocre thriller that says some interesting things about the cost of revenge.
Joss Whedon's cult television series Firefly finds new life in the… MoreJoss Whedon's cult television series Firefly finds new life in the riveting, sci-fi thriller Serenity. When a fugitive named River Tam, who's been sheltered by the crew of a mercenary ship after being rescued from a secret government facility, is triggered by a subliminal signal something dangerous awakens within her. While the film picks up on some of the main story threads from the television series, it can stand alone. Most of the original cast returns, including Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, and Summer Glau, and are joined by Chiwetel Ejiofor; who gives an incredible performance as a cold, sadistic villain. Additionally, the action scenes are dynamic and exciting; bringing a lot of intensity to the film. A shiny adventure that's full of thrills, Serenity is remarkably entertaining and serves as a nice coda to the series.
Angelina Jolie reprises her signature role in the action-packed… MoreAngelina Jolie reprises her signature role in the action-packed adventure Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. This time Croft is hired by MI6 to stop a mad scientist who is intent on finding the mythical Pandora's Box and releasing its deadly contents into the world. Unfortunately Jolie's performance is rather lifeless, and she doesn't have much chemistry with co-star Gerard Butler. Additionally, the storytelling is poor, randomly going from place to place with characters dropping in and out without much explanation. An uninspired and wholly unnecessary sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is rubbish.