Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) PG13 - 4 Stars

Excellent casting with Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Sophoe Okonedo. Dakota Fanning is sure growing up fast and still such a great little actress in this warm hearted story of a young girl taken in, and taught love, by an African American family for bee farmers. A nice refreshing tale of simplicity and love.

Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) is a 14 year girl growing in South Carolina in 1964, with a gaping hole in her heart. When she was only 4, she accidentally shot her mother. A tragic pain she must live with but she's desperate to learn and remember anything about her. Miss Rosaleen Daise (Jennifer Hudson) is the African American housekeeper for Lily and her father and the only good friend Lily has in her life. Her father, T. Ray Owens (Paul Bettany), has resented Lily for the last 10 years and still blames her for her mothers death. He has a jealous envy of Lily, as her mother returned home that fateful day, only to retrieve her child leaving her husband behind. He's distant, not affectionate and can not communicate with her daughter and for punishment, forces her to kneel on grits till her knees bleed.

As Lily and Rosaleen were walking to town on day, so Rosaleen could register to vote, a group of angry old white men, harass and push Rosaleen for trying to get through. When she refuses to apologises for writing her name on one man's shoes when her called her a "dumb nigger", she was beaten and taken away to jail. T. Ray is furious with Lily for becoming involved, and tells her she was never wanted by her mother. With a deep anger, she packs a few things and heads to the hospital ward jail and frees her friend. The two set out on a journey to find a better place to live. With no clear sight in mind, they head towards a place Lily senses from seeing a photo of her mother and reading the back.

Their first night found them sleeping in the woods and awakening in a new city to find an image on a label of honey that lands them at the doorsteps of the home of the Boatwright sisters, May (Sophie Okonedo), June (Alicia Keys), and August (Queen Latifah). Though May and August warmly open their arms to the girls, June doesn't trust nor want the little white child. She fears Lily has also brought with her trouble to their door. As August trains Lily in the art of collecting honey from the bees, the Boatwrights soon learn their family has grown by two more.

2008 - The Secret Life of Bees - Phoenix Film Critics Association - Best Performance By a Youth - Female
2008 - The Secret Life of Bees - Women Film Critics Circle - Best Female Images in a Movie

Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Producers: Will Smith, Jack Leslie, Joe Pichirallo
I viewed 2/09

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Quarantine (2008) R - 3 Stars

If you liked the style of filming that was done in Cloverfield, you'll probably like this movie too. Much easier on the eye to watch in most cases, the director gives the viewer a birds eye view by shooting the movie through one camera lens. I have to say I'm not all that into blood and horror shows but I enjoyed the concept of this movie. It got pretty cheesy towards the end with bodies flying in all directions but up until the total meltdown, I thought it was pretty decent. Jennifer Carpenter does a pretty good job going from one emotion to the extreme other side.

Reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her camera man Scott Percival (Steve Harris) are on assignment to following a team of Los Angeles firefighters through their normal nightly routine. The two are invited in to film just what goes on in the lives of these hero's every night while most of us are asleep. After shooting a lot of filler material, a call comes in and the team, along with their documenting film crew, race to the scene.

Upon arriving on scene, they are joined by a squad car as they all enter the building to answer the call of an elderly woman screaming in pain. More sirens can be heard arriving in the background but instead of assisting the workers already inside, the immediately start sealing up the building and containing the people inside, along with our fire fighters and camera crew.

Before long, the CDC is called and it's apparent they are not letting anyone out of the building. Something is raging havoc on the tenants of the apartment causing them to become delirious and violent. It seems a even more lethal strain of rabies has developed in the building and no one's leaving alive.

Vertigo Entertainment, Andale Pictures, Sony Pictures
Directors: Drew Dowdle, John E. Dowdle
Writers: John E. Dowdle, Luis A. Berdejo, Paco Plaza
Producers: Sergio Aguero, Doug Davison, Roy Lee
I viewed 2/09

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Little Children (2006) R - 3½ Stars

A sex offender of small children has moved into the area. He is staying with his mother and the neighbors are in uproar. One laid off cop, Bob (Raymond J. Barry), makes it his new life goal to keep this man away from any children. He constantly harasses him, paints evil on his walkway, sticks wanted posters to his door and even bullhorns the neighborhood. He refuses to let the man have a moment in piece.

A group of perfect parent moms meet daily at the central park. While their children play and can been seen, the women find comfort in having just what's needed for their child. Sarah Pierce (Kate Winslet) is the vocal outsider of the group. Though she and her daughter Lucy (Sadie Goldstein) frequent the same area, she's often frowned upon by the other mothers for speaking her mind and never being prepared at snack time.

Lately, Brad Adamson (Patrick Wilson), and his young son Aaron (Ty Simpkins), have been coming to the park at the same time the moms are there. Brad's a very handsome man and the women take turns talking about his situation as being a stay home mom. The proudly nick name him the "Prom King." Brave Sarah is dared to go talk to him and get his number. She confides in Brad the dare she is on and they give the moms something really to look at.

As Brad and Sarah are apart, they find themselves thinking about each other and make a point of connecting again at the park and public pool. The more time they spend together, the more they find themselves becoming alive again. So much so, Brad's willing to sacrifice his son and wife Kathy (Jennifer Connelly), to try to bottle that feeling. In an intersecting connection, everyone learns compassion, importance, understanding, and need.

Awards include:

2006 - Little Children - New York Film Critics Society - Best Supporting Actor
2006 - Little Children - San Francisco Film Critics Circle - Best Adapted Screenplay
2006 - Little Children - San Francisco Film Critics Circle - Best Picture

New Line Cinema
Director: Todd Field
Writers: Tom Perrotta, Todd Field
Producers: Ron Yerxa, Todd Field, Albert Berger
I viewed 2/09

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Way of War (2008) R - 2½ Stars

I found this movie confusing. It took almost to the end of the movie before I started to understand the plot. Though pretty unbelievable that the Secretary of Defense visits sleazy illegal boxing rings, at least I think that was his role. I don't have a hard time believing in the movies' title, "Way of War", as I believe soldiers hired to carry out secret missions by our government could be viewed as expendable. I always adore Cuba but I think he should have bowed out of this one.

David Wolfe (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is highly trained paramilitary operative assassin recently operating in the Middle East especially Iraq. Upon returning from his mission, he discovers a U.S. conspiracy that reaches high up the chain of command. Now back in the U.S. and finding his own life has been threatened, Wolfe is determined to bring down those who made him what he is.

Sorry I could not get one image for this movie - Sad!!

First Look Studios
Director: John Carter
Writer: Scott Schaffer
Producers: Mark Joy, John Carter, Richard Salvatore
I viewed 2/09

Monday, February 23, 2009

Towelhead (2008) R - 3 Stars

2008 - Towelhead - Women Film Critics Circle - Most Offensive Male Characters. Not often I list the award first thing in my review but this one really says it all. It's a pretty disturbing look at coming of age, prejudice and the man next door. I'm not sure if the movie's controversial point is about prejudices or that pedophiles can look like anyone.

Jasira (Summer Bishil) is 13, Arab American and her mother Gail (Maria Bello), no longer wants to look after her. She's sent to Houston to life with her strict father, Rifat (Peter Macdissi).

On one side lives an extreme racist, Mr. Vuoso (Aaron Eckhart) and the other expectant mother Melina (Toni Collette), always keeping a watchful eye on Jasira. School is no easier for her as no matter how she tries to blend in, racism alienates her. She finds the only people she can talk to are the neighbors. She starts to baby sit for the Vuoso's young spoiled son Zack (Chase Ellison), to earn spending cash.

As she spends time with Zack, they discover Mr. Vuoso's collection of adult magazines. Instead of scolding Zack, she finds the magazines stimulate her new hormones to a point of ecstasy. When Mr. Vuoso's walks in on the pair, he becomes excited over Jasira's fascination. Mr. Vuoso begins fantasizing a sexual encounter with the young innocent girl. As Jasira begins exploring her sexual birth, she allows Mr. Vuoso to touch her teaching her the sensations of sex. The more she explores, she finds herself attracted to Thomas (Eugene Jones), an African American teen her father would never approve of. When Rifat finds out , Jasira is forced to seek shelter with neighbor Melina, where she feels safe from prejudice as she continues her discovery of life.

2008 - Towelhead - Women Film Critics Circle - Most Offensive Male Characters.

Warner Independent Pictures
Director: Alan Ball
Writer: Alan Ball
Producers: Steven Rales, Alan Ball, Ted Hope
I viewed 2/09

And The Winner Is....

Well by now most of you know the big winners at the 2009 - 81st Academy Awards.

Sad to say, I have not seen ANY of the movies nominated so I just wasn't all that into the awards this year. But never fear, their reviews will be coming soon in the near future. Looks like Slumdog Millionaire will be at the top of my list, as they ran away with the awards.

And the winners are:

Best Movie : Slumdog Millionaire

Best Leading Actress: Kate Winslet - The Reader

Best Leading Actor: Sean Penn - Milk

Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz - Vicky Christina Barcelona

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight His family accepted the award on his behave.

Best Directing: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Writing Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Writing Original Screenplay: Milk

Best Foreign Language: Departures

Best Score - Song - Film Editing - Cinematography - Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Sound Editing: The Dark Knight My review is here online.

Best Documentary Feature: Man on Wire I couldn't agree more with this one. My review is here online. I still dream uneasy about this documentary.

Best Documentary Short: Smile Pinki

Best Makeup - Art Direction - Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Costume Design: The Duchess My review is here online.

Best Animated Feature:Wall-E

Best Animated Short Film: La Maison En Petits Cubes

Best Short Film Live Action: Spielzeugland (Toyland)

I Dreamed of Africa (2000) PG13 - 4½ Stars

Gosh, I really loved this movie. Based on a true story, Kim Basinger is outstanding as a suburban housewife, returning to Africa with her husband who was born to roam and their young son. The scenery is breathtaking, as the movie sucks you into the experience of living on the edge. It's easy to identify with Bassinger along with her sacrifices as she's reborn in Kenya. Based on the true life of Kuki Gallmann, who dreamed of returning to Africa someday after remembering it as a child.

Kuki Gallman (Kim Basinger), her husband Paolo (Vincent Perez), and their young son Emanuele Pirri (Liam Aiken), find themselves longing for change of their environment. They pack their things, say their goodbyes and move to Kenya to start life in the environment Kuki had dreamed of revisiting since a child. Paolo, along with several ranch hands help, fix up a run down frame of a home as they begin their struggle running a productive ranch, co-existing with nature.

Despite constant set backs, the family finds comfort roaming their land in search of photographing and connecting with their wild animal neighbors. But as beautiful as the nature is, danger lies behind any bush. On one of their many excursions, they learn the tragic secret of poaching and vow to rid their land from these savage killers.

Paolo spends many nights away, with friends hunting, which leads Kuki to begin feelings of resentment. She must be resilient in handling the ranch while her husband gallivant with friends. Kuki finds her fears fade quick, as she protects her newly producing garden from an ending up as an elephants midnight snack. But as Paolo journeys take him more frequently away, his life is tragically ended when he's killed in the environment he loves the most. Now, pregnant and alone with a young son, Kuki faces the questions of returning to the states, or standing strong against the lopsided face off with her beloved Africa.

Jaffilms, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
Director: Hugh Hudson
Writers: Paula Milne, Susan Shilliday
Producers: Allyn Stewart, Stanley Jaffe
I viewed 2/09

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Appaloosa (2008) R - 3½ Stars

Man they just don't make enough good westerns these days. Appaloosa can't be compared to such great hits as the "Good, Bad and Ugly", but it's still a pretty decent western. I did like the small time feel to the town and how even back then, things aren't always as them seem. You've got your fearless hero, the one who silently covers your back and of course the back stabbing vixen.

Appaloosa is your typical small western town of the 1800's. Typical until a local rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons), decides to take the town over and have anything he wants. From raiding stores for supplies, drinking the spirits at the local bar and taking any woman he wants for his own and now killing the Marshall and deputy, Bragg's has pretty much turned the dusty town into his own. That is until Virgil Cole (Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) stride into town to insure his days of lawlessness are over.

Cole and Hitch have given the town back to it's citizens and Braggs is not too happy with that. Determined to win, nothing will stop him to try and gain control again. But Cole and Hitch don't seem to be too worried. They are getting used to this new town they call home and when widowed Allison French (Renée Zellweger) arrives by train, the two are both finding it hard to resist her. When Braggs comes back to town to claim what he thinks is his, they will all be put to the test on where their loyalties lie.

New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Director: Ed Harris
Writers: Robert Knott, Ed Harris
Producers: Ed Harris, Michael London, Ginger Sledge
I viewed 2/09

The Station Agent (2003) R - 3½ Stars

Here's a great little quirky independant movie with some feeling. I loved the charaters and the small town feel to three lonely people who are sort of outcasts but find a way to each other.

Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage) is a little four foot man that moves to New Jersey to stake his claim of an abandoned train station after his friend dies. He is a quiet man who just wants to be left alone. Instead he meets fun loving Joe (Bobby Cannavale), who runs a hot dog stand, and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a quirky artist, and the three form an unusual bond of friendship.

Awards include:

2003 - The Station Agent - Sundance Film Festival - Outstanding Performance.
2003 - The Station Agent - Sundance Film Festival - Dramatic Audience Award.
2003 - The Station Agent - Sundance Film Festival - Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

Miramax Films
Director: Tom McCarthy
Writer: Tom McCarthy
Producers: Kathryn Tucker, Robert May, Mary Jane Skalski
I viewed 1/08

The Great Debaters (2007) PG13 - 4½ Stars

Excellent movie based on a true story of the African American college students from Wiley College and the professor who took them to greatness debating against the best from Harvard. It's as close to a perfect movie as you can get from the all star cast to the event. Denzel and Whitaker are at the best as well as the rest of the great performing cast. Heart felt and makes you want to cheer on the underdogs as they show the world they matter too. Set in the 1930's when discrimination issues were just starting to be addressed.

Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) is a college professor at Wiley College, an African American college in the south East part of Texas. Professor Tolson, with his radical political views and unconventional teaching style, takes three students and teaches them the art of debate. He himself, is secretly involved in the Jim Crow laws of the 1930s discrimination and attends secret meetings with others.

James Farmer Sr. (Forest Whitaker) is the local preacher in the community. He becomes unsettled when his 14 year old son, James Farmer, Jr. (Denzel Whitaker), starts spending more time with Professor Tolson debating against other African American colleges. Along with fellow students, Samantha Brooke (Jurnee Smollett), who James Jr. takes a fancy too, Henry Lowe (Nate Parker) and Hamilton Burgess (Jermaine Williams), this team of underdogs will take on the most elite Harvard has to offer.

Awards Include:
2007 - The Great Debaters - African American Film Critics - Best Picture
2007 - The Great Debaters - National Board of Review - The Bvlgari Award for NBR Freedom of Expression

Harpo Films, MGM Distribution Company
Director: Denzel Washington
Writer: Robert Eisele
Producers: Todd Black, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Forte
I viewed 2/09

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When Worlds Collide (1951) G - 4 Stars

When it's learned that a planet, and a dead star, are on a collision course with planet Earth, the only thing to do is to build a space ship to carry away a small group of people left to start a new world. WOW I just realized I have never seen this classic so I decided to rent it. For 1951 I must say the movie was pretty good. Though it doesn't show what happens to the rest of the planet when it's hit by a large planet, but I loved how they described their planned launch to just let gravity take over. First published as a novel of 1933 by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, it's one good sci-fi to see, especially for the era.

Dr. Emery Bronson (Hayden Rorke), an astronomer from South Africa, has discovered something terrifying in outer space. Zyra, a small planet about the size of Earth, is headed extremely close to Earth while a dying star Bellus is following right behind, in a collision course set straight for Earth. Dr. Bronson hires pilot Dave Randall (Richard Derr) to fly his findings to another astronomer Dr. Cole Hendron (Larry Keating) in America. After confirming Dr. Bronson's suspicions, it's agreed, the Earth has 8 months before the planets will collide. In order to save the human race, a space ship must be designed to carry a small selected group of people away from the Earth before it explodes. Zyra appears to be the closest new planet that can be reached. For the next eight months, endless teams will work together working on the giant Noah's Ark that will carry mankind into it's next existence.

1951 When Worlds Collide - Winner Special Effects - Academy

Paramount Studios
Director: Rudolph Maté
Writer: Sydney Boehm
Producer: George Pal
I viewed 2/09

Whale Rider (2002) PG13 - 4½ Stars

Zola's pic for one you should see at least one time or own in your collection.

In 2004 Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest person nominated for an academy award. After watching this movie you will see why.

Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), is a young girl growing up with her family on the Eastern Coast of New Zealand along with her family and the Whangara people of the region. When her mother and twin brother die at childbirth, her father (Cliff Curtis) runs away from grief and leaves her in the care of her grandparents. However, her grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene) is quite disappointed in the fact she is just a girl as her twin brother was supposed to be the next leader of her people. He forms a group of the local boys to teach them the art of their tribal customs. Pai struggles to join them but it always shunned and turned away by her grandfather. But in the end she proves to everyone that she possess this natural leadership ability.

2002 - Whale Rider - Toronto International Film Festival - AGF People's Choice Award is just one of the many awards for this movie.

Newmarket Films
Director: Niki Caro
Writer: Niki Caro
Producers: Tim Sanders, John Barnett, Frank Hübner
I viewed 1/08

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Zola's Intermission Take 11 - February 14th, 2009 Happy Valentine's Day 2009

I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Valentine's Day. Take the day out today to tell someone you love them. And then carry that tradition over to telling someone you love them EVERYDAY. Don't just wait for a holiday to do it as we all know lives too short. Be Safe!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Disaster Movie (2008) PG13 - 2 Stars

Predictable, not real funny actually more silly and stupid, I was disappointed as I was hoping to get at least a few good laughs in. Please tell me it's not a sign I'm getting old, but more a lack of substance in this movie. Like others spoof movies, Disaster takes spins off different movies and pokes fun at them. I actually thought the dancing was pretty good in the spoof about High School Musical. From Enchanted to Juno the laughs here and there but in my opinion, I would find something else to watch if you're looking for a good laugh. Crista Flanagan does play a pretty good Juno. Sorry the review is short, but there's not much I have to say.

Lionsgate, Cinestar
Directors: Aaron Seltzer, Jason Friedberg
Writers: Aaron Seltzer, Jason Friedberg
Producers: Aaron Seltzer, Peter Safran, Jason Friedberg
I viewed 1/09

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The King of Kong A Fistful of Quarters (2007) PG13 - 4 Stars

This is a great documentary for anyone who grew up in the classic video game era. Bill Mitchell has held the record for most points on Donkey Kong for over 20 years. Steve Wiebe has been practicing in his garage and video tapes his game that beats Bill's. But this won't do. Bill thinks his record is still the best because Steve's game was not played in front of the public. When the judges dismiss Steve's high game after taking apart his video game and accusing him of wrong doing, Steve decides to take the challenge and travel to the Twin Galaxies arcade where his score can be officially recorded. And he beats Bill's score. But Bill records his new high game on video tape and now insists that he once again holds the record. You want to root for the underdog in this one!

2007 - The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters - Utah Film Critics - Best Documentary.

Directors: Seth Lewis Gordon, Seth Gordon
Producers: Ed Cunningham
I viewed 6/08

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) R - 3½ Stars

The campaign ad for this movie really put me off to seeing it. The "I want Sarah Marshall Dead" and I hate Sarah Marshall" ads just really bugged me and left me no desire to see the movie. Even as I rented it, I did so with the "Oh What the Heck," let's give it a try attitude. Wow, I was surprisingly delighted to see it was such a good movie. All of it, the acting, the casting, the lines, they all fit together in this wonderfully delighting relationship movie. I'm very close to rating it 4 Stars.

Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) and Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell), have been dating for almost six years until one day Sarah comes home and tells Peter she wants out of the relationship. Sarah, the hot sexy star of a current television show, has been secretly seeing a rock star Aldous (Russell Brand), and the two are on their way to Hawaii for vacation.

Peter is having a very hard time letting go of Sarah and with the encouragement of his best friend, he goes out on the town with him only to be disappointed and thinking only of her. While Peter's life is suddenly put on hold, it's suggested for him to get away and take some time to clear his head. Peter sets off for Hawaii only to find his ex and her new boy have also checked in at the same hotel. Since the hotel is booked solid, Rachel (Mila Kunis) working the front desk, sees the dilemma Peter is in and quickly checks him into the pent house suite in order to save face.

As Rachel and Peter become friends, she takes a liking to his sweet nature and before you know it, the two become close allowing Peter to finally feel positive good feelings again. But it's hard to ignore Sarah when he is sleeping on the other side of the wall her and Aldous are having sex at.

Tensions mount, emotions rise, words are flung until everyone is leaving in different directions. But true love prevails and Peter will get the girl of his dreams in the end.

Universal Pictures
Director: Nick Stoller
Writers: Jason Segel, Judd Apatow
Producers: Shauna Robertson, Judd Apatow
I viewed 2/09

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tart (2001) R - 2 Stars

I didn't really get anything out of the movie. Very hard to connect with any of the characters as the storyline is all over the place and even when it tries to draw you in for some emotional feeling, it leaves you with a tart taste in your mouth. For me, I don't the movie is worth the 90 minutes you'll spend on it even if it's free.

Cat Storm (Dominique Swain) lives in New York City in the 1980's and her wealth status leads her to a special group of other fake girls judging everyone except themselves. They experiment with sex and drugs until Cat's best friend, Delilah (Bijou Phillips), is thrown out of school for using cocaine she obtained from her father. With Delilah not in school anymore, Cat gets close to Grace (Mischa Barton), who gives her a new outlook on beauty and winning the man she likes. One weekend, at a party, Cat and William are together when Grace shows up to find her. All the other kids in class snub Delilah and encourages Cat to stay away from her. But when Delilah is found murdered at the party, Cat must choose who her true friends really are.

Director: Christina Wayne
Writer: Christina Wayne
Producers: Diane Sillan Isaacs, Patrick D. Choi, Nile Niami
I viewed 1/09

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Flesh and Blood (2003) NR - 3 Stars

Good documentary of Susan Tom from Fairfield, CA, who has made it her life wishes to adopt and take care of children with either physically challenging or long-term illnesses. The mother of 11, Susan knows some of these children were abandoned by their parents because of their illnesses and some won't survive into their teens. But Susan, a single mother, stares into the eyes of these young faces and finds she can over look the huge emotional burdens most other families can not. I give her "5 Stars" for her ability to do what she does.

From legless Xenia, who joyously plays a dead biker for Halloween, to Joe, a 15 year old struggling with cystic fibrosis. Joe can be a super sweet child one minute and become a danger to himself and others in the family. He regularly makes angry threats and the siblings have come to make the best of their situations in the comfort of Susan's home until eventually, he passes away.

2003 - My Flesh and Blood - Sundance Film Festival - Documentary Audience Award
2003 - My Flesh and Blood - Sundance Film Festival - Documentary Directing Award

Chaiken Films, HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films, Strand Releasing
Director: Jonathan Karsh
Producer: Jennifer Chaiken
I viewed 1/09

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mirrors (2008) R - 3 Stars

I have to say this movie did give me the creeps a few times but the storyline is pretty unbelievable. Sutherland basically reminded me of another episode of 24 though Angela's death scene was pretty out there and I had to cover my eyes for that one. Not the greatest but, if you are into horror movies you'll probably like it and after all, you could do worse.

Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland), worked as a detective for the NYPD until he was suspended for the fatal shooting of an undercover officer. Since that time, Ben's life has felt very meaningless and he has alienated himself from his family, and life in general. But he still needs to pay his bills and takes on a night job with a security company, patrolling the burnt out shell of the once famous department store, the Mayflower.

The Mayflower, once a rich symbol of commerce on the streets of New York City, now stands as a horrible reminder of a fire where several people lost their lives. The building still houses many floor length ornate mirrors that miraculously survived the fire. The old night watchman used to shine and polish the mirrors as a tribute to those who had died until he himself as found dead in front of one.

As Ben tries to pull his life back together, he sleeps on his sister Angela's (Amy Smart) couch in Queens, as his drinking and anger has made it impossible to go back home with his wife and children. Instead, he is focused on trying to rebuild his life and do his job. Each time he makes patrols of the Mayflower, strange things start to happen. The mirrors remain flawlessly clean and when he finds a hand print on one, he tries to clean it off. But the smudge is from within the mirror and as his image begins playing tricks on him, he discovers there is something starring out at him as well. As Ben stares back into the mirror, he sees himself being tortured and feels the pain it is having on his body. Once free from it's spell, his tells his sister who thinks this new job is having an effect on Ben from lack of sleep. But when the images start reaching out to his family members and takes the life of Angela, he turns back to his wife and kids to warn them to cover up all mirrors or reflective surfaces in the house. His wife Amy (Paula Patton), thinks Ben needs to stay away from the home and his children as she feels, his depression and drinking and imposing a threat to their safety. But when Ben discovers their lives are all in danger, he must convince Amy to believe in him again in order to save their lives.

New Regency Productions, 20th Century Fox
Director: Alexandre Aja
Writers: Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, Joe Gangemi
Producers: Alexandra Milchan, Marc Sternberg, Gregory Levasseur
I viewed 1/09

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Best Friend's Girl (2008) R - 3½ Stars

This could be a fun date movie or just a pretty decent comedy, watching alone. Dane Cook is really good at playing a complete jerk and I adore Kate Hudson, who's great in it too. Considering how hard it is to find a good comedy that keeps you laughing, I think this one gets up there close to "There's Something About Mary" and "Knocked Up." I think it's worth the price of a rental.

Dustin (Jason Biggs) is a good guy who has gotten "hottie" Alexis (Kate Hudson) to go out a few times with him. She's all that Dustin has ever hoped for and he wants to take their so called relationship to the next level. But as he constantly pushes Alexis to get closer, he in turn pushes her away. She realizes she really has not been out there dating much and puts the brakes on Dustin in order to pursue going out with other men.

Sherman "Tank" Turner (Dane Cook), is best friends with Dustin and has no problem getting the chicks. His style is smooth, his lines work their magic but basically he is an uncaring, arrogant, insenstive jerk, trying to score with the ladies, following in his dad's, Professor Turner (Alec Baldwin), footsteps.

Dustin gets a hair brain idea that if he sicks Sherman on Alexis, she will see what a jerk the other men out there are, and come running back to him with open arms. Alexis takes the bait and as Sherman feeds the lines he knows should work, Alexis takes him in a different direction until he starts having feelings for her. But where does that leave Dustin? Now Sherman must decide which is the right thing to do - dump the true love he has finally found, or dump the friendship he's had with Dustin for years.

Director: Howard Deutch
Writer: Jordan B. Cahan
Producers: Adam Herz, Josh Shader, Barry Katz
I viewed 1/09