Monday, May 14, 2007

28 Weeks Later (**1/2)

28 Weeks Later is that rarest of sequels: a movie that builds upon its predeccesor and in many ways surpasses it. For the first hour, the movie manages to conjure up a lot of fear and dread. As the title suggests, 28 weeks have indeed passed since the first flick. The virus has died out and London is trying to rebuild and repopulate itself. Inevitably, of course, the virus returns and chaos ensues. The movie becomes less scary at that point and more frantic but it's still effective and well-paced. This movie, like so many other horror flicks (and rollercoasters) is all about the build-up. And for that one hour, it's as scary as they come.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Waitress (**1/2)

Waitress has been a tad overrated by the nation's critics. It's an occasionally funny, overly long romantic comedy, featuring a strong lead performance by Keri Russell and great supporting character work by the rest of the cast. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Keri Russell and Andy Griffith, who's a welcome presence on the big screen even though his character turns into a stereotypical plot device towards the end. I don't want to ruin things, but you'll know what I mean when you see it. If you do, that is. This is a rental at best, and I wouldn't recommend it if you have a problem watching, or are easily bored by, flawed characters dealing with everyday issues.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spider-Man 3 (**1/2)

The summer movie season has officially begun, but unfortunately, it's with more of a whimper and less than a bang (though the box office would beg to differ). Spider-Man 3 is the much anticipated follow-up to what many, including myself, consider to be one of the greatest comic book films ever: Spider-Man 2. I've been skeptical about this third film for a while now. Ever since I saw the first preview, I felt that the movie would be trying to do too much and would give short shrift to everything in the attempt to fit it all in. Turns out I was right. The best way to enjoy Spider-Man 3 is to go on with low expectations. It is a flawed and chaotic mess of a movie, but there are some truly great action sequences (including the first airborne fight between Harry Osborn (the "Hobgoblin") and Peter Parker). The special effects have come a long way since the first Spider-Man, but the story they serve isn't up to par. Director Sam Raimi seems to have lost his visual style and doesn't really put his own stamp on the film. It feels like anyone could have directed this, and at times, it feels like three different directors are working on it. The tone veers wildly from sappy melodrama to all-out action to lame comedy. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is another film with many different tones, but that one balanced them all more succesfully. I sitll like Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and I thought Topher Grace was a welcome addition to the cast as Venom (even though the character is given extremely short shrift), but the whole Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) love story needs to go. Too much time is spent on their relationship, and try as the actors and screenwriters might, you never really care. If Sony decides to make a fourth film, and let's face it - they're going to, I think a creative shake-up is in order. Spider-Man 3 does do a good job of capping the trilogy and tying up all the loose ends, but I think the fanatical audiences that the character inspires deserve more than that.

Quick Catch Up Mar. 23rd through April 27th

So I've been away awhile. Here's a quick recap of the spring films to pave the way for all the summer releases I will be reviewing in greater detail:

TMNT (*1/2)
Shooter (**)
Blades of Glory (**1/2)
The Lookout (***)
Grindhouse (***)
Disturbia (**1/2)
Hot Fuzz (***1/2)