Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eagle Eye Review

Thanks for checking out our Eagle Eye review. Eagle Eye was a project I first heard about because it was the film that Rosario Dawson turned down the lead role in Zack and Miri Make A Porno for, and because I loved her so much in the last Kevin Smith film she appeared in (Clerks 2), I was instantly bitter against Eagle Eye and I had unfair negative feelings about the project ever since.

However, as we’ve gotten closer and closer to the Eagle Eye release date I found myself getting won over a little bit… not a lot, but a little. Enough that by the time I was heading to the movie theater to see it, I was actually mildly looking forward to it. Did it deserve to get off my bitterness list? As it turns out… yeah.

The synopsis for Eagle Eye looks something like this: “Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) returns home after the mysterious death of his successful twin brother. He and a single mother, Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan), find out that they have been framed as terrorists, and they are threatened into becoming members of a cell tasked to assassinate a politician.” Not a bad premise for a post-summer action flick.

There is a lot of backlash going on around Shia LaBeouf and for the life of me I can’t understand why. All Shia LaBeouf has done is pretty much nail each role he’s been in about as well as they could be done. Yes Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a let down, but his character was a bad character to start with and he did as much as could be done to salvage it. In Eagle Eye, he once again pulls off the whole “average guy who gets caught up in an action situation”, and pulls it off well. He never suddenly feels like an action hero which many other actors in these rolls often fall into and he made the whole situation believable to me.

The action sequences in Eagle Eye were surprisingly KICK ASS. I expected a quasi political/techno thriller, but some of the action chases, be they on foot or in cars were truly heart pounding and executed with a lot of visual excitement. The car chases in particular were really well done with a few elements that I’ve never seen used in a car chase before.

The whole plot device of this mysterious voice on the phone (heard in all the trailers) screwing with and at the same time “helping” Shia through the movie was cool and pretty damn interesting to… up to a point, but I’ll go into that more later.

Some of the little devices and escapes they used in the film were a bit too much and crossed the boarder between “creative” and “ridiculous”, between “exciting” and “eye rolling”. The most unfortunate part about that is that a few of these over the top moments would happen in the middle of an otherwise cool and well done action sequence that would almost ruin it for me and pull me out of the moment.

Easily the worst part of the movie for me was the big “reveal” that happens about half way through the movie giving us the identity of the “bad guy”. It was beyond stupid and added a big squirt of sour to the flavor of the res of the movie. I almost wish that they hadn’t revealed the villain until the very end of the movie. Yes it would have ruined the end… but at least I could have blissfully gone through the rest of the flick imagining a GOOD ending until the big disappointment hit me before the credits rolled.

In the end, Eagle Eye turned out to be a respectable post-summer action flick with a solid performance by LaBeouf to carry it through, despite some far too over the top devices scattered throughout the film and a horribly lame bad guy. Still, had me on the edge of my seat a few times and in general I was entertained. Overall I give Eagle Eye a 7 out of 10.


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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Express (2008)

Based on a true story, The Express follows the extraordinary life of college football hero Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. His fight for equality and respect forever changed the face of American sports, and his story continues to inspire new generations. Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania coal-mining country, Davis hurdled social and economic obstacles to become one of the greatest running backs in college football history. Under the guidance of legendary Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder, he became a hero who superseded Jim Brown’s achievements and set records that stand to this day.

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Changeling (2008)

Los Angeles, March 1928: On a beautiful Saturday morning in a working-class suburb, single mother Christine Collins says goodbye to her nine-year-old son, Walter, and leaves for her job as a telephone operator. But when Christine returns to their modest home, she is confronted with every parent’s worst nightmare: her son has vanished. An exhaustive and fruitless search ensues, but Walter has disappeared without a trace…until five months later, when a child—claiming to be her boy—is returned by police who are eager to bask in the public relations coup of reuniting mother and child. Dazed by the swirl of cops, reporters, photographers and her own conflicted emotions, Christine is persuaded to take the boy home. But in her heart, she knows he is not Walter.

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Sex Drive (2008)

"Sex Drive" Synopsis: Loveable underdog Ian is the last American virgin. At least that's how it feels to him now that he's 18, about to go to college, and losing girls to his 14-year-old brother. Ian's always been the nice guy, the best friend... never the boyfriend. But his luck finally seems to be changing when he meets Danielle. She's everything he's ever wanted in a girlfriend — fun, sexy, and she really likes him. There's just one problem. She lives in Knoxville. And he lives in Chicago. And she thinks he's the Brad Pitt lookalike he's pretending to be on Facebook. At the urging of his best friend, Lance, Ian decides to confront his fear of rejection when Danielle makes him the offer of a lifetime: "If you drive all the way for me, I'll go all the way for you."

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Body of Lies (2008)

"Body of Lies" Synopsis: Based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' 2007 novel about a CIA operative, Roger Ferris (Leonardo DiCaprio), who uncovers a lead on a major terrorist leader suspected to be operating out of Jordan. When Ferris devises a plan to infiltrate his network, he must first win the backing of cunning CIA veteran Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe) and the collegial, but perhaps suspect, head of Jordanian intelligence. Although ostensibly his allies, Ferris questions how far he can really trust these men without putting his entire operation - and his life - on the line.

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Revolutionary Road (2008)

Based on the celebrated novel by Richard Yates, director Sam Mendes' "Revolutionary Road" is the story of a young couple (Oscar nominees Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet) trying to find fulfillment in an age of conformity. Trapped in a world of encoded convention, they dream without faith, as lies and self-deceptions build to explosive consequences.

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Yes Man (2008)

Jim Carrey stars as Carl Allen, a man who signs up for a self-help program based on one simple principle: say yes to everything...and anything. At first, unleashing the power of “yes” transforms Carl’s life in amazing and unexpected ways, but he soon discovers that opening up his life to endless possibilities can have its drawbacks.

When someone tells Jim Carrey to go jump off a bridge, the actor takes the order seriously. Or at least he does when it comes from director Peyton Reed and it’s for an important scene in the Warner Bros Pictures comedy, "Yes Man." To mark the occasion of Carrey’s – literal – leap of faith, Warner Bros invited journalists to come to the set on the day of Carrey’s big jump.

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Seven Pounds (2008)

Will Smith plays Ben Thomas, an IRS agent with a fateful secret who embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.

Cast and crew list for "Seven Pounds," MPAA rating, and release date info.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

"I was born under unusual circumstances." And so begins "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: A man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man's life can be.

Cast and crew list for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," MPAA rating, and release date info.

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The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

Keanu Reeves stars as Klaatu, an alien whose arrival on our planet triggers a global upheaval. As governments and scientists race to unravel the mystery behind the visitor's appearance, a woman (played by Jennifer Connelly) and her young stepson get caught up in his mission and come to understand the ramifications of his being a self-described friend to the Earth.

Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly take over the roles brought to life on the screen by Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal in the sci-fi thriller "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in the 2008 remake of the award-winning classic.

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Crossing Over (2008)

Immigrants from around the world enter Los Angeles every day, with hopeful visions of a better life, but little notion of what that life may cost. Their desperate scenarios test the humanity of immigration enforcement officers. In Crossing Over, writer-director Wayne Kramer explores the allure of the American dream, and the reality that immigrants find – and create - in 21st century L.A.

Gallery of photos from the Weinstein Company movie, "Crossing Over," starring Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Jim Sturgess, Ray Liotta and Alice Braga.

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Four Christmases (2008)

When upscale, happily unmarried San Francisco couple Kate and Brad find themselves socked in by fog on Christmas morning, their exotic vacation plans morph into the family-centric holiday they had, until now, gleefully avoided. Out of obligation--and unable to escape--they trudge to not one, not two, but four relative-choked festivities, increasingly mortified to find childhood fears raised, adolescent wounds reopened...and their very future together uncertain. As Brad counts the hours to when he can get away from their parents, step-parents, siblings and an assortment of nieces and nephews, Kate is starting to hear the ticking of a different kind of clock. And by the end of the day, she is beginning to wonder if their crazy families' choices are not so crazy after all.

Cast and crew list for "Four Christmases," MPAA rating, and release date info.

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Australia (2008)

A romantic action-adventure set in northern Australia prior to World War II, 'Australia' centers on an English aristocrat (Nicole Kidman) who inherits a ranch the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn cattle driver (Hugh Jackman) to drive 2000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country’s most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier. With his new film, director-writer-producer Baz Luhrmann is painting on a vast canvas, creating a cinematic experience that brings together romance, drama, adventure and spectacle.

Gallery of photos from the 20th Century Fox movie, "Australia," starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

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Quantum of Solace aka "Bond 22" (2008)

Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr White who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined. Forensic intelligence links an Mi6 traitor to a bank account in Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the beautiful but feisty Camille, a woman who has her own vendetta. Camille leads Bond straight to Dominic Greene, a ruthless business man and major force within the mysterious organization. On a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world's most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano. Using his associates in the organization, and manipulating his powerful contacts within the CIA and the British government, Greene promises to overthrow the existing regime in a Latin American country, giving the General control of the country in exchange for a seemingly barren piece of land.

"Quantum of Solace" isn't exactly the title Bond fans may have envisioned for the 22nd film of the Bond franchise. However strange the choice may be, that's definitely the title of the second Bond film to star Daniel Craig as the suave superspy.

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Role Models (2008)

Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott star as Danny and Wheeler, two salesmen who trash a company truck on an energy drink-fueled bender. Upon their arrest, the court gives them a choice: do hard time or spend 150 service hours with a mentorship program. After one day with the kids, however, jail doesn’t look half bad. Surrounded by annoying do-gooders, Danny struggles with his every neurotic impulse to guide Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) through the trials of becoming a man. Unfortunately, the guy just dumped by his girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks) has only sarcasm to offer a bashful 16-year-old obsessed with medieval role play. Meanwhile, charming Wheeler tries to trade in an addiction to partying and women to assist a fifth-grader named Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson) redirect his foul-mouthed ways. It would probably help if Ronnie’s new mentor wasn’t an overgrown adolescent whose idea of quality time includes keggers in Venice Beach. Once the center’s ex-con director (Jane Lynch) gives them an ultimatum, Danny and Wheeler are forced to tailor their brand of immature wisdom to their charges. And if they can just make it through probation without getting thrown in jail, the world’s worst role models will prove that, sometimes, it takes a village idiot to raise a child.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Babylon A.D.

Opens August 29, 2008
PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, language and some sexuality)

Babylon A.D. | Synopsis
It is the not-too-distant future. Thousands of satellites scan, observe and monitor our every move. Much of the planet is a war zone; the rest, a collection of wretched way stations, teeming megalopolises, and vast wastelands punctuated by areas left radioactive from nuclear meltdowns.

It is a world made for hardened warriors, one of whom, a mercenary known only as Toorop (Vin Diesel), lives by a simple survivor's code: kill... or be killed. His latest assignment has him smuggling a young woman named Aurora from a convent in Kazakhstan to New York City.

Toorop, his new young charge Aurora (Melanie Thierry) and Aurora's guardian Sister Rebeka (Michelle Yeoh) embark on a 6,000 mile journey that takes them from Eastern Europe, through a refugee camp in "New Russia," across the Bering Straight in a pilfered submarine, then through the frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada, and finally to New York. Facing obstacles at every turn, Toorop, the killer for hire, is tested like never before, in ways he could never have imagined - as he comes to understand that he is the custodian of the only hope for the future of mankind.

For the first time in his life, Toorop has to make a choice: to make a difference or walk away and save himself.

Too bad it came on the day he died.

Cast: Vin Diesel, GĂ©rard Depardieu, Michelle Yeoh, Charlotte Rampling, Mark Strong, Radek Bruna, Melanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

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