Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: March 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Movie Review: Flawless - Contrivances sink British thriller

by Tony Dayoub

Calling a film Flawless is certainly asking for it to live up to a lot. I think it was Glenn Kenny, of Premiere, that recently brought this up in regards to another film with a similar name. He was implying that critics sharpen their knives when confronted with a name like that. And a recent survey of some of the titles of the reviews for this bank heist movie confirms Mr. Kenny's theory. Of course, if you're Michael Radford (Il Postino), the director, wouldn't you do your best to avoid any such attacks by excising any potential pitfalls from your film?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

DVD Review: I Am Legend - Lack of Special Features Hurts the Release

by Tony Dayoub

I Am Legend is the third time that a film is adapted from Richard Matheson's novel of the same name. The first adaptation was an obscure Italian B-movie, The Last Man on Earth, starring the great Vincent Price. The second was the cult classic The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston during his sci-fi period. Legend, starring Will Smith, is directed by the promising Francis Lawrence, an experienced music video director, making his second foray into films. His debut feature was Constantine, another genre adaptation - based on the Hellblazer graphic novel series.

Friday, March 21, 2008

DVD Review: Walk the Line: Extended Cut - Extra Features Illuminate the Man in Black

by Tony Dayoub

Just caught a preview copy of Walk the Line: Extended Cut, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. It is the Johnny Cash biopic directed by James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) which stars Joaquin Phoenix, as the Man in Black himself, and Reese Witherspoon, in her Oscar-winning performance, as June Carter-Cash.

The pair vividly embody the roles of the country singing performers, singing all the songs themselves. Phoenix's smoldering intensity suits the haunted Cash perfectly. Witherspoon's own history as a child performer no doubt informed her portrayal of June, who had sung in the public eye since quite young.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

DVD Review: Battlestar Galactica - Season Three - The Best Drama on TV Takes Care of "Unfinished Business"

by Tony Dayoub

In the 2nd season finale of Battlestar Galactica, the humans had finally outrun their Cylon pursuers. The remains of the human race found a habitable world, which they called New Caprica (after their now-dead homeworld), on which to settle. The story then took a leap forward of approximately one year. Most of the humans had moved to the new planet, leaving the battlestars, Galactica and Pegasus, circling high above, with skeleton crews, in case the Cylons returned. Return they did, but not with violence as expected. Instead, they preached coexistence. But our crew knew that this was really a Cylon occupation that would control almost the entire human race. The crews on the undermanned battlestars knew they must retreat. And on the planet below, in the final moments of the finale, a resistance was born.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

DVD Review: No Country for Old Men - Appreciating the Unsung Heroes

by Tony Dayoub

So you've all heard about No Country for Old Men winning Best Picture at the Oscars this year. You've heard about the crafty Coen Brothers finally getting the praise they're long overdue. Javier Bardem has been all over the place campaigning for his Oscar... blah, blah, blah. But I thought that with the film being released on DVD last week, we'd sing the praises of some of its relatively unsung heroes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Directed By: John Boorman

by Tony Dayoub

Directed By is a series of occasional articles dedicated to highlighting great directors and their notable films.

In recognition of St. Patrick's Day, I decided that the best filmmaker to launch this series would be English director, John Boorman, who resides in Ireland. Boorman's films are often distinguished by the theme of man at odds with his environment, literal or figurative. This usually takes the form of the protagonist being alien to the culture or milieu he finds himself surrounded by.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Movie Review: Horton Hears a Who - My First Venture to the Cineplex with my Son

by Tony Dayoub

My wife thought Jake was still too young to go see his first movie at a theater. He'd get restless. He'd cry too loudly. How would others be able to enjoy their time at the theaters while this "terrible two"-er ran around wreaking havoc? Not to mention, what kind of enjoyment could we derive from it if we're too busy changing diapers, or shushing him to enjoy the movie? I was determined to introduce him to one. I wanted to start our father-son bonding over my love of films soon. But it would have to be the perfect one. One both of us could enjoy. Based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name, Horton Hears a Who seemed to fit the bill.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Movie Trailer: The Incredible Hulk

by Tony Dayoub

Click on the picture above for the trailer to the latest Marvel Comics film, starring Edward Norton.

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Movie Trailer: The Happening

by Tony Dayoub

Click on the picture above for the trailer to M. Night Shyamalan's newest film, starring Mark Wahlberg.

Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Monday, March 10, 2008

DVD Review: Redacted - Visuals Undermined by Theatrics

by Tony Dayoub

Redacted, Brian De Palma's latest film, was released on DVD last month. It is loosely based on a real incident that took place in Iraq in which a squad of American soldiers rape a teenage girl in retaliation for the death of a buddy of theirs. Edited in an interesting manner that utilizes various conventions such as first-person journalistic accounts, web-based anecdotal supplements, and third-person documentary coverage, it is told with visual flair. Unfortunately, the immediacy that this technique delivers is undone by mannered performances and stilted dialogue.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

First Look: Zack Snyder's Watchmen

by Tony Dayoub

That's the Comedian from Zack (300) Snyder's adaptation of Watchmen. Watchmen is the only graphic novel selected by Time Magazine as one of "the 100 Best English-language novels from 1923 to the present".

Click on the photograph above to head over to the official site and see just-released photos of the rest of the Watchmen.

Watchmen is scheduled to be released exactly one year from today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Movie Review: Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball - Reflecting on Roeg

by Tony Dayoub

Whatever happened to Nicolas Roeg? Wait a second... who IS Nicolas Roeg? That is the unfortunate response I would get today, as the once promising British director has faded into obscurity to all but the most avid cinephile. His latest film, Puffball: The Devil's Eyeball, is languishing in the On Demand sector rather than getting major distribution in theaters or even on DVD.

So who is Nicolas Roeg? A promising camera operator and cinematographer on such classics as Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and Fahrenheit 451, he quickly made the transition to director. With Performance (1970), he was called upon to co-direct with the movie's writer Donald Cammell. This film is the first to feature his now oft-imitated non-linear techniques in storytelling. Though the movie faced some controversy due to its explicit sexuality (a recurring issue in Roeg's career), it propelled him to early success.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Movie Trailer: Speed Racer

by Tony Dayoub

This one's been around for a little bit. I had to share it because the visuals are great, AND it's the first movie from the Wachowski brothers since The Matrix trilogy.

Click on the picture above to be directed to the trailer.

Let me know what you think of it.