Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Da Vinci Code (*1/2)

Let's get this out of the way first: the book, though not great, is an enjoyable read with an interesting idea as its basis. In this really pathetic adaptation by Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman though, all of the book's faults are brought glaringly to the surface. I think the big problem with the movie, and there are many, is that it takes itself way too seriously. I would have loved for there to be some enjoyment or excitement in their quest for the Holy Grail, not unlike an Indiana Jones or something. As it stands, The Da Vinci Code is a glum, ugly-looking movie that fails to thrill. Tom Hanks is a robot in the film--it's a terrible performance from a usually reliable actor. Although there are many interesting realizations, none of the characters seem all that awed or impressed by them, so why should we? If you're a big fan of the book, I guess you should see it for yourself. In my opinion though, it's just a waste of 2.5 hours. Hated it.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand (**)

This is the conclusion to what, so far, had been a great group of movies. X2 really set things up nicely and is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic book movies of all time. X3 is a disappointment on so many levels. There are too many characters, too much action, and people die or lose thier powers and there's no weight to any of it. The movie just feels rushed, and from what I've read about its preproduction, it was. Director Brett Ratner has taken a lot of heat from fans, but I don't think this movie is his fault, though he definitely is a step down from Bryan Singer. No, this movie's faults lie in its script. 20th Century Fox really screwed the pooch with this one. X-Men is one of its key franchises and to end it on this note is just sad. Hopefully, the planned Wolverine spin-off film will be better.

Poseidon (**)

The first twenty minutes of Poseidon are so wretchedly awful that you may want to leave the theater. What follows isn't that much better but, at times, you get glimpses of the movie that could have been made based on this material and you get interested. Once it ramps up, the movie is exciting and action-packed while never really engaging you. It's all just empty technical spectacle.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Mission: Impossible III (***1/2)

Tom Cruise's latest star vehicle is one of his best, thanks in large part to co-writer/director J.J. Abrams (of TV's Lost and Alias). Abrams is one of the most talented persons working in entertainment right now. He makes populist fare that is grounded in intelligence, likeable actors, and interesting characters. In fact, M:i:III plays out like a big screen version of Alias at times. Given a ton of money to work with, Abrams (in his directorial debut) pulls out all the stops. This a terrific action movie/thriller that knows what it's doing right from the start. If it wasn't the third movie in a somewhat unexceptional series of Mission: Impossible movies, you'd have everyone singing its praises. I think we're prone to distrust movies with a "3" at the end of the title. Drop those preconceptions at the door for this one though. Some critics have said that this movie is what summer is all about, and I couldn't agree more. It's a hell of a ride, and it features a great villainous performance from the recently Oscar-annointed Philip Seymour Hoffman. Adhering to the "This Time It's Personal" plot device was a smart move for the writers as it allows us as the audience to invest in the situation and gives a personal through-line for all the action. Cruise gives an intense, charismatic performance and he's surrounded by a bevy of talented co-stars, namely Laurence Fishbourne, Ving Rhames, and Billy Crudup. Highly recommended.

Monday, May 01, 2006

United 93 (****)

More to come...

The Sentinel (**)

More to come...

American Dreamz (*1/2)

More to come...

Silent Hill (*)

More to come...