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Archive for September, 2007

THE BRAVE ONE – Dario Marianelli

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

While I was quite bothered by the way audiences responded to Neil Jordan’s thoughtful thriller “The Brave One”, it didn’t keep me from admiring the film for a number of reasons. It’s a well-crafted film with several three-dimensional characters and a story that doesn’t allow reality to slip away during the difficult moments. Jodie Foster turns in one of her best “victimized woman” performances, and Terence Howard adds some very solid support as the police officer who befriends/investigates her. The film is essentially a much more thoughtful take on “Death Wish”, a revenge thriller in which the heroine actually has to deal with the moral murkiness of her actions. Read more…

DRAGON WARS (D-WAR) – Steve Jablonsky

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A very silly Korean monster movie directed by Hyung-Rae Shim, Dragon Wars (or D-War as it is alternately known) stars Jason Behr, Amanda Brooks and Robert Forster, and is based on an old Korean legend about mythological creatures called Imoogi, who every 500 years or so emerge from their hiding places, transform into enormous dragons, and do battle over the ownership of a mystical power source. Caught up in the middle of this ancient conflict is Ethan (Behr), a Los Angeles-based photojournalist who in a past life was a noble warrior in feudal Korea, and Sarah (Brooks), who is the reincarnation of the warrior’s love, and who (inexplicably) is the also guardian of the power source the dragons desire. Read more…

EASTERN PROMISES – Howard Shore

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

In the humble opinion of yours truly, David Cronenberg is one of the most interesting directors working in cinema today. His films are frequently daring and creative, unafraid to crawl into the dark corners of the soul that are usually left ignored. By Cronenberg’s standards, “Eastern Promises” is a more accessible, less peculiar movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s of any less value than something like “Naked Lunch”. “Eastern Promises” is a superb thriller and an even better character study, featuring award-worthy performances from Viggo Mortenson and Armin Mueller-Stahl. Read more…

IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH – Mark Isham

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Paul Haggis has grown increasingly bold as a filmmaker, but somehow less controversial with critics. The Haggis screenplay for “Million Dollar Baby” was terrific, and he collaborated with director Clint Eastwood to make the best film of 2004. In 2005, Haggis made another big impression with “Crash”, which certainly did some emotional button-pushing but was nonetheless a superb film. After the heavy-handed symbolism of the Haggis screenplay for “The Last Kiss” comes the even more heavy-handed “In the Valley of Elah”, which Haggis wrote and directed. The film benefits hugely from a superb Tommy Lee Jones performance before slipping into almost mind-bogglingly shameless emotional manipulation in the final act. Haggis was never a subtle artist, but I feel that he’s simply gone too far lately, and needs to restrain himself a little bit. Read more…

SILK – Ryuichi Sakamoto

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

No less than nine years after winning acclaim for “The Red Violin”, director Francois Girard has finally returned to the world of cinema. His latest effort is “Silk”, based on the much-lauded book of the same name by Alessandro Barrico. The main character of the story is Herve Joncour (Michael Pitt), a French silkworm merchant traveling through Japan with his wife (Keira Knightly). While in Japan, the merchant falls in love with the mistress (Sei Ashina) of a fearsome Japanese overlord (Koji Yakusho). Of course, suspicions begin to arise on both sides and unsuspected plot elements begin to unfold. It’s a rather promising set-up, but most critics were quite underwhelmed by the story, saying it lacked passion and coherent plotting. Also, the lead performance of Michael Pitt was savaged by most, as many felt he lacked the emotional skills required to play such a role. Read more…

3:10 TO YUMA – Marco Beltrami

September 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Clark Douglas

There haven’t been many western films in the past couple of decades, something that many fans of cinema (including myself) have bemoaned. The few westerns that have appeared, good as they may be, seem to be carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders… they have the pressure of “reviving the cinematic western” hanging over them. With “3:10 to Yuma”, we are given an extraordinarily rare sort of western film… one that doesn’t seem to realize that the western is dead. It’s a lively, sad, rousing, funny motion picture that provides intelligent, but unpretentious entertainment from start to finish. Read more…

THE BROTHERS SOLOMON – John Swihart

September 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An oddball movie starring Saturday Night Live veterans Will Arnett and Will Forte, The Brothers Solomon was a film about getting pregnant – or, more specifically, the Solomon brothers getting someone else pregnant. The Wills star as John and Dean Solomon, a pair of well-meaning, but socially inept brothers who, in order to provide their dying father (Lee Majors) with a grandchild, embark on a quest to find their perfect mates – two women who will, as the movie’s tagline suggests, be amenable to the brothers “putting a baby in them”.

This peculiar, slightly sinister-sounding movie was scored by up-and-coming comedy composer John Swihart, whose career has been in the ascendancy since he wrote the music for the cult hit Napoleon Dynamite in 2004 Read more…