A stereotypical kidnapping film, Reclaim is a by-the-numbers adventure… MoreA stereotypical kidnapping film, Reclaim is a by-the-numbers adventure without many thrills. The story follows a Chicago couple who travel to Puerto Rico to adapt a young girl, but when the child disappears mysteriously they discover that they've been the victims of a professional scam artist. Starring Ryan Phillippe, Rachelle Lefevre, and John Cusack, the casting is fairly good, but the performances are pretty bland. And the writing is rather mediocre, using all the standard tropes and clichés of a crime film. However, there is some intrigue to the story, and the fights and chases are shot well. Yet, overall Reclaim is a forgettable film that does nothing new or interesting with this genre.
Entertaining and fun, Conspiracy Theory is an exciting political… MoreEntertaining and fun, Conspiracy Theory is an exciting political thriller from director Richard Donner. Mel Gibson stars as a New York taxi driver and conspiracy theorist who seeks the help of a DOJ lawyer (played by Julia Roberts) after escaping from a CIA black ops team. The film does a good job at using the conspiracy motif; working in several popular conspiracies (such as black helicopters and RFID chips), and playing with a number of conspiracy tropes. However, this also makes things a little confusing and overly complicated at times. But, Donner's able to mitigate some of this by keeping the tone lighthearted with bits of comedy and satire. Additionally, the score is especially well-done and brings a nice energy to the film. Though it has some problems, Conspiracy Theory holds up and is an enjoyable film that's full of suspense and intrigue.
Rebooting the franchise, Left Behind delivers a more suspenseful and… MoreRebooting the franchise, Left Behind delivers a more suspenseful and intense adaptation of Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins' apocalyptic thriller. When a mysterious event causes the disappearance of millions of people an airline pilot must maintain order and find a way to safely land in the chaotic aftermath. The script is fairly well-written and does a good job at keeping the film ground. It's also able to address religious issues in frank but unobtrusive ways. Additionally, Nicolas Cage and Cassi Thomson give strong performances that sell the confusion and panic of the situation. Still, the film has its weaknesses, particularly the score and the directing; which are rather bland. And, the characters could stand to be developed a little more. Still, Left Behind proves to be a solid foundation on which to build a new series.
"Is man, indeed, a walrus at heart?" Though it's not a good movie,… More"Is man, indeed, a walrus at heart?" Though it's not a good movie, Tusk proves to be the best film Kevin Smith has made in years. It's insanely bizarre and horrific, but oddly captivating in a strange sort of way. The story follows a podcaster named Wallace who answers an ad by an elderly man wishing to trade stories of his exotic travels, but he turns out to be a serial killer who captures Wallace and begins to surgically transform him into a walrus. Both Michael Parks and Justin Long give incredible performances and really commit to their roles. The problem is with Smith's storytelling and directing, which is inconsistent. And the ending doesn't really work. Yet despite its weaknesses, Tusk is a fascinating horror-comedy that's perversely entertaining.
It's a brazzle dazzle day with Disney's lighthearted musical comedy… MoreIt's a brazzle dazzle day with Disney's lighthearted musical comedy Pete's Dragon. Starring Helen Reddy, Jim Dale, Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, and Shelley Winters, the film features an all-star cast. The story follows a runaway orphan named Pete who tries to make a new home for himself and his magic dragon in the small fishing town of Passamaquoddy. The musical numbers are incredibly fun and well-choreographed. And, the comedy is good natured; with lots of amusing slapstick. An underappreciated classic, Pete's Dragon is a delightful family film that's uplifting and full of laughs.
C.S. Lewis's beloved classic fantasy tale is vividly brought to life… MoreC.S. Lewis's beloved classic fantasy tale is vividly brought to life in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While the novel has been adapted several times before, this is the first version to incorporate CGI, and it really adds a new dimension and opens up the doors of imagination. Though some of the seams show, the CGI is used to spectacular effect; delivering a fresh, new creative fantasy world and impressive battles sequence, the likes of which have never been seen before. Additionally, Tilda Swinton gives a brilliant performance as the White Witch, and Liam Neeson delivers a powerful and magnificent performance as Aslan. Nearly every character is captured perfectly, and the film's tone conveys the perfect mixture of terror and adventure, with some lighthearted humor added in. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantastic adventure and a wonderful adaptation of C.S. Lewis's seminal work.
Enchanted is a wonderful spoof on the classic Disney fairy tale story… MoreEnchanted is a wonderful spoof on the classic Disney fairy tale story that mixes animation with live-action. When a lovely young maiden named Giselle from the land of Andalasia is saved by the handsome Prince Edward, the evil queen tries to stop their marriage by banishing Giselle to the real-world. The film is extraordinarily well-written, and includes homages to many of Disney's animated films. Also, the comedy is incredibly fun; with lots of witty satire and clever dialog. The music too is brilliantly done, featuring such whimsical songs as "Happy Working Song" and "That's How You Know." Starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, and Susan Sarandon, the performances are all quite good (particularly Adams, who does an amazing job at embodying a Disney princess). Yet there are some problems, especially with the ending: as it tries to transition into a fully blown fairy tale with dragons and duels. Still, Enchanted delivers a magical adventure that's delightfully entertaining.
It's all for fun in the animated adventure Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The… MoreIt's all for fun in the animated adventure Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers. Inspired by the Alexandre Dumas novel, wannabe musketeers Mickey, Donald, and Goofy are given a chance to prove themselves when they're assigned to guard Princess Minnie. The film is focuses more on gags than story, but that's to be expected from what is essentially an extended cartoon sketch. The classic Disney characters are used quite well, and include Pete, Daisy, Clarabelle Cow, and the Beagle Boys. Yet sticking to formula also results in a lot of predictable jokes and comedy routines. While Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers has some charm to it, it doesn't really aspire to much.
DisneyToon butchers yet another Disney property with Mulan II, an… MoreDisneyToon butchers yet another Disney property with Mulan II, an insipid piece of trash that's excruciatingly formulaic. Lacking any subtlety (as if written for a 5-year old), the story follows Mulan and her former army friends as they escort the Emperor's three daughters to their arranged marriages...and surprise, surprise the daughters fall in love with the soldiers. The animation isn't half bad, though it stays pretty simple and limits the scope. And most of the original cast returns, but the absence of Eddie Murphy is felt; not so much in the voice as in the characterization of Mushu, which is all wrong (with him coming off as an uncaring, mean-spirited jerk). Mulan II betrays all the goodwill engendered by the first film, and delivers cliched, uninspired tripe.
Disney once again delves into forgotten lore with Mulan. Based on an… MoreDisney once again delves into forgotten lore with Mulan. Based on an ancient Chinese legend, a young girl secretly joins the Chinese army in her father's steed in order to help fend off a Hun invasion. The film features a strong cast, but it's Eddie Murphy who steals the show as Mulan's wisecracking sidekick. Additionally, the music is especially well-done; featuring pop-hits by Christina Aguilera and 98 Degrees (with Stevie Wonder). The animation is also quite impressive, particularly in how it incorporates oriental artistic styles. Also, the storytelling delivers a positive message about honor and self-sacrifice without getting heavy handed or dumbing things down. An inspirational film that's exciting and fun, Mulan is a testament to Disney's ability to continually put out quality entertainment.