Thumbnails September 07
by Tony Medley
The Bourne Ultimatum
(10/10): Director Paul Greengrass does it again! He provides lots of
action, exciting music, good-looking people, despicable bad guys, and
intensity that never lets up.
Stardust (9/10): This
is a Magical Mystery Tour without The Beatles. Itís a charming, upbeat,
humorous, romantic fantasy full of action and adventure. I loved it, and
it had nothing to do with looking at Clair Danes, Sienna Miller, and
Michelle Pfeiffer for a couple of hours (well, I must admit that looking
at them did have something to do with my enjoyment). I thought it
was mind-blowingly romantic and uplifting with a good moral, in the mold
of Old Hollywood.
Death at a Funeral (8/10):
This proves that a good comedy depends only on talent, and that star
power has little to do with creating an entertaining movie. Director
Frank Oz has taken a talented, if little-known, cast and produced a
funny movie. From the clever opening titles, this film amuses
throughout, reminiscent of two classic Alan Dwan-Dennis OíKeefe
screwball comedies from the Ď40s, Up in Mabelís Room (1944) and
Getting Gertieís Garter (1945). This is a rollicking good show, a
farce that is just close enough to reality so that it doesnít lose touch
and become ridiculous.
The Hunting Party (5/10):
Writer-director Richard Shepard (responsible for 2006ís charming,
offbeat The Matador) couldnít decide whether he was making a
thriller or a comedy, so he produced a film thatís neither very
thrilling nor very funny. Exacerbated by its untimeliness, this is yet
another Richard Gere effort that falls short.
The Nanny Diaries (5/10):
Even though this is such a chick flick that prolonged exposure could
be injurious to a manís health, itís a good commentary on self-centered
upwardly mobile parents and includes fine performances by Scarlett
Johansson, Laura Linney, Paul Giamatti, Nicholas Reese Art, and Chris
Evans. If a man can survive the first hour, the last half hour should
revive him. Apparently a roman ŗ clef, just who is Laura Linney
El Cantante (3/10): I
never heard of Hťctor Lavoe. Apparently he was the King of Salsa. Sorry,
but all salsa music sounds alike to me, so, for me, a biopic of its King
is about as enticing as a film about the King of Tiddlywinks. This is a
star vehicle produced by Jennifer Lopez, the wife of Marc Anthony, whom
she cast to play Lavoe while she plays his wife. She overacts a lot and
he takes a lot of dope, has a lot of women, and dies. Not enough for a
movie, unless you like salsa other than what you get on enchiladas.
Rush Hour 3 (1/10): If
you want to see a film that epitomizes the vapidity of the American
film-making industry, this is the one. There can be little debate that
the script and directing are vacuous. Even more annoying are Chris
Tuckerís bumbling, ineffectual Stepin Fetchit-type efforts to be funny.
Hard to believe itís possible, but the rest of the movie is more
deplorable than his performance.
Dedication (0/10): Due
to a lame story and dialogue, with pace that could put the worst
insomniac to sleep, these are 93 of the most excruciating minutes I have
endured in a theater. For the third time in a row, however, the
beautiful and talented Mandy Moore rises above atrocious material to
give a good performance.
The Last Legion (0/10):
To call this amateurish would be to assign it a level of professionalism
it does not achieve.