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Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 13

 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Jamie Campbell Bower, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jayne Wisener

Film Prophet's Review...
Tim Burton’s adaptation of a gothic tale contains stylish costumes, settings, and music… it is his typical fashion on a spectacle during a medieval period with cathedrals and such. The story follows Benjamin Barker alias Sweeney Todd who returns to London after being deported and locked away for fifteen years to find out what happened to his wife and child at the hands of Judge Turpin. When he learns about them through a baker downstairs named Mrs. Nellie Lovett, he sets out to seek revenge. Depp stars as the title character as the fictional villain who doesn't necessarily appear as one since he is the lead with a mystique. Depp never changes his facial expression, as he is always angry looking. He sings well enough to be satisfactory and acting with it, just as most of the performers go about miming songs throughout. Practically each character's first words are through a song or melody. Helena has just about the same amount of screen time on film as Depp. When she is on, Depp is usually on. Together, they are twisted. ‘I don't need dreams, I need nightmares.’ The rest of the cast is mediocre and neither have a sign of comical relief away from the total gloom of Sweeney's absolute detestation. Unfortunately, one would wait for a climax that doesn't happen or resolution for some sort of explanation to Sweeney Todd's hatred toward everything, in addition. It is a Broadway musical and Burton makes it cinematic, even though the colors are dark, dull, and saturated. As a musical, one would be curious about the division of the script between the songs and actual dialogue. The songs in the film encompass sung lyrics coming from the mind like spoken thoughts instead of a lesson or communicating to each other cheerfully by song. There is no cheerful song as it’s all murky in unhurried voice tenors in a dusk of an atmosphere. The songs sound redundant, like ones that have the word Johanna in them, akin to there's no progression anywhere else too and it gets worse and worse. One time, Todd shaves a man and both sing simultaneously to a pretty women song and it's flat. Most of the lyrics are not comprehensible as it comes second to the visual display on the screen of what's going on in sight. This is what the audience pays attention to… the sound of the lyrics, music, and the appearance of each image on screen rather than its material or storyline. Since the lyrics are underwhelming on lucid context, development of the movie's story can not really occur by them, but songs occur more than spoken dialogue. Moreover, the instrumental sounds of the melodies are more thrusting than the songs. When words aren’t spoken, an ominous sounding music score accompanies the film. The unremarkable songs and music seem indulged into the film, rather than being used to boost the shallow story. This tiresome stretch of low-key songs ruins the sympathy toward any character in the story. The story itself doesn't seem to flow chronically either. It starts off for a while where fifteen years has gone by and revenge is sought for already. The killings are by cutting throats and they don’t start until just before the hour mark and these murders go so insignificant and even gratuitous to anyone's worries after they happen because they're so untailored and disused. The movie is implausibly wearisome and exasperating.

Final Grade: C+/C

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
Starring John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Raymond J. Barry, Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell, Kristen Wiig

Film Prophet's Review...
A story through a fifties to eighties timeline is about a fictional music artist Dewey Cox, whose life lampoons the non-fictional protagonists in the movies, Ray and Walk the Line. Fundamentally, it is a spoof on the musician biopic, most obviously patterned by Johnny Cash. It starts with the introduction of an unfortunate and poor childhood with a tragedy but not before a key foreshadowing start of a scene that will occur later in the story. The story has the adversity standards down for a music biopic; the stubborn father, drug experimentations, voice talent, accidents, marriage drama, and dream hardships are all taken to a more ludicrous approach here. These explore all the clichés of the rock star with parody, except that it contains the same old cliché jokes throughout. There are plenty of outrageous ideas placed into the mix like Amish people as record executives and Reilly flipping over cars on a street, so expect any little idea to crop out since it's a fictional piece as a comedy satire. Reilly even starts out as a fourteen year old himself. Reilly's first stage song is a riot where different expressive opinions are shown and it is the first comical scene. In the first half, usually scene by scene Reilly lip-synchs to songs in a music parody where some just look like a Saturday night live sketch. Occasional humor is sprinkled throughout. ‘Guilty as charged… - Don't you dare write a song.’ It’s sometimes tame with no comedy especially after that song and the short rehab section. In the midst of the other skits, it throws around the types of southern and country attitudes and settings for comedy, and Dewey making out violently to women. Some of the humor relies on vulgarities and gets carried away with pet giraffes and even a genital on screen. Juvenile attempts involve nudity, jokes about doing drugs, and an acid trip with The Beatles, which was odd and out of place in context with Dewey's storyline. There are dry moments too, such as too many trivial songs and the star cameo appearances who imitate rock icons that didn’t do much. It exhausted what it had before. The movie lost its music perspective in the last half hour and turned to irony and less funny material. As the story develops, audiences will care a little more about the Dewey Cox character through these smaller sensitive portions even though the jokes are just nothing new near that final stretch. It is nonetheless Judd Apatow’s weakest of his three comedies during this release year.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Southland Tales (2007)
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Mandy Moore, Justin Timberlake

Film Prophet's Review...
Set in a futuristic landscape of Los Angeles leading up to the fourth of July at Venice Beach, it is on brink of disaster… and that it is not only the premise itself, but the entire movie. Insensible is what it is. An action star has amnesia and his life tangles with a female adult film star developing her own reality television project about politics and their screen play on the world ending. A police officer may or may not be part to a vast conspiracy… or these people may just be haphazardly abducted. The story and characters are ludicrous, even in the unbelievable setting. Precisely who are the antagonists are unclear because everyone appears and acts inexplicable and seditious. The relationships in this movie are the most off the wall, erratic, and inconsistent ever. To make things worse, there are dual personality allusions. Timberlake provides the mundane voice over narration with no energy and also breaks out later into an ‘I'm not sober, I'm not a soldier’ music video. Everything is without a purpose or a real explanation. Even the beginning with a narration and a slide show of pictures is not a proper way to tell a story. That is what the actual movie is for to attempt to make the whole part expressive with weight except elapsing for a tiresome one hundred forty minutes. The artificial television news clips do nothing but only to disrupt an incredibly exhausting and worthless movie. All of these clips can be cut out and reduce the length of this atrocious movie. Since every character is vulnerable to die and they’re all in a shoot to kill mentality, eliminate managing a waste of an ensemble. Bai Ling, Amy Poehler, Jon Lovitz, Janeane Garofalo, and Wallace Shawn to name some had extraneous roles. A large cast plays in small, puny roles poking fun at themselves and calls each other bad names. Richard Kelly has a fascination with the destruction of the world and its people, but it all looks and is surreal… porn stars talking politics on a show and two cars having sex. It’s far too pretentious. At one time it is a political dilemma and at the other it can be an absurd satire. For example, that domestic disturbance call and its aftermath when The Rock shows his panic expressions by fidgeting his fingers were feeble. If it’s a satire, then the humor is very low. The Rock researches and keeps talking about his ludicrous, bland idea for a conspiracy theory movie to Seann William Scott. ‘This baby processes energy differently.’ Seann William Scott is confused the whole time as the audience shares his confusion. Sometimes he's conscious and sometimes he's not and he like the audience has no idea. All Gellar's character talks about is her adult film career and comes off with a treacherous and irritating attitude. How this all relates to the overall destruction to the world is a bit implausible. Others discuss sabotage of campaigns and Neo-Marxist factions and whatever that means, but to what it is subsists up in the air. The middle of the movie is preposterous and tedious to accumulate its non-sense. It is one of the few movies where if someone asks another person who has seen the entire film what it's all about, that viewer would reply with, ‘I don't know.’ No one can give an explanation for any of these stories if the movie has trouble at doing so. This movie by Richard Kelly even makes Donnie Darko look unfortunate. It is so bad that at stores it ought to be sold in its own section under bizarre catastrophes.

Final Grade: F/D

Cassandra's Dream (2007)
Starring Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Tom Wilkinson, Hayley Atwell, Sally Hawkins

Film Prophet's Review...
As soon as the movie begins, it is noticeable it is a Woody Allen picture with the soundless opening black and white credits. The movie is a tale of two brothers in London with financial woes. When their Uncle proposes they turn to a murderous crime, things go awry. The brothers converse about plotting together in order to raise money then to live frivolously. Since they do so, there's no clear complex deed until the story rolls with the planned hesitant murder when the Uncle arrives. Before this happens, they are not interesting as all they're concerned with is investments in odd ways and all the women who come across them briefly. Adversely, there's a gap of a true female lead character and the movie casts a Scarlett look a like played by Sally Hawkins. The other female player has no interest in anyone really but herself and money as the rest the film is crowded by practical roles, like parents and spouses, who don’t do anything. For the first half hour, the movie jumps around scene to scene that last each for a minute. Scenes are set up by too many ill selected set-pieces and locations. Anyone can lose any curiosity in the first twenty minutes due to its tendency of skipping around to various locales with minor charades and not yet adding up to a big credible picture. The British slang, tunes, and accents don’t help and aren’t fully convincing manly because the dialogue is rapid, monotonous, and sometimes incomprehensible. The movie goes without a single laugh or a charming sketch. There are zero amounts of humor if it was a black comedy. Woody Allen takes the dark side of a human risk starting with the Uncle’s long tirade proposal under the trees in the rain to the brothers. The plots of Scoop and Match Point are similar with murder and then guilt, where none of this is apparent in the opening hour or so like the others. Allen takes on anxiety to propel the rest of the film. Even though the brothers own a sailboat and their own family restaurant, they accept cash for what their Uncle wants which is to kill a business colleague. One of the brothers, performed by Farrell, becomes unstable second guessing with distresses about the fatal operation that's about to happen. These are the remarkable parts of the movie where fragility is opened panicky and restless guided by what may be Farrell’s best work. ‘I never said I wouldn't do it.’ Mental instability and fraudulence are the fundamentals in the story which drives the final thirty or so minutes to an abrupt ending without a sense for grief.

Final Grade: C+/B-

My Blueberry Nights (2007)
Starring Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz

Film Prophet's Review...
Wong Kar-wai’s romantic road film contains four parts where a young woman makes a trip across America earning money at jobs so she can buy herself a car. In the middle, she encounters a series of distinguished and quirky characters as the four parts. It was unusual watching Norah Jones on the same screen as some of her original soundtrack music plays. She spends some of her time watching unspoken with gentleness. It is her story guided by her character's movement through other characters. What starts out as a rushed story with fast scenes turns into a slower movie. The camera moved around quickly with rapid cuts and edits. For instance, the first scene in the café… the manner of the film settles down after everything from the editing to the story moved so fast yet it's all low-key when it’s just modest the rest of the way. A lot of the things are humble… the concise and unsatisfying relationships, the claustrophobic settings at diners, the melancholy music, and any wearing drama. Kar-wai’s unique shooting style has glass walls with window writing in front of a person or panning in between glass material which makes the picture looks blurry and flashy and quite vigorous. This is a shallow touch which places objects as separation tools. Some parts are emotionally draining like when an act comes to an end, but not as much in Wong's previous directional films. The script didn’t really provide the level of lines and words it requires to be there. Not many quotes or philosophical tones stick out like his non-American features do. When void of lines, the film uses short scenes of mute or pulls a song from the soundtrack as characters just look at each other bleakly. New arrivals of performers throughout the movie provide a short spark, such as Weisz and her entrance in a bar or Strathairn's delusional solitude. These parts with Strathairn and Wesiz’s characters are melodramatic dealing with sad truths and mood swings. ‘This stuff tastes pretty darn awful, well I guess nobody drinks it for the taste right, give me another one.’ Portman starts after the first hour as a gambler at a casino. The title is explained during a café talk discussing pie and other food metaphors to decisions. Other metaphors are played around such as key chains in a jar of lost dreams. It’s a method to use items related to anecdotes than moving with an overall coming approach. There’s something to learn from one another's imperfections, like missing someone when it's too late, then move on. “It wasn't so hard to cross that street after all; it all depends on who's waiting for you on the other side.”

Final Grade: B/B-

The Golden Compass (2007)
Starring Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Sam Elliott, Christopher Lee

Film Prophet's Review...
The convoluted story adapted from a novel follows Lord Asriel, a ruthless adventurer who is the uncle of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl who voyages to a parallel dusty universe to save her best friend. A flying witch helps the young girl navigate a world filled with ethereal creatures while another sidetracks her and tortures children to separate them from their souls. These souls are in furry animals as daemons and they attack each other. When there's a genre labeled as a fantasy film, the material, of His Dark Materials, can be so absurd as it wants to because everything inside the otherworldly universe is improbable, and sometimes a dread. Presumably the biggest budget of its release year, millions of dollars are spent on talking and battling, employed, and whiskey drinking ice bears. This movie is not epic in any fashion and there isn't an army of orcs or anything similar. It mixes and mashes any mythical scenario with absurd ideas and tiny battles with bears. In addition, no battles or tremendous effects appear in the first hour. The magic isn't there just because the film shows and tells about daemons, endangered worlds, flying witches, airships, ice bears, children wisdom, and curses with a wasted budget. It won't follow one combination of items. The story runs off in various places. It first begins with orphans running a muck telling folklores, but the story in the movie would make little sense toward the target audience of children about alternate universes and it’s hardly provocative or moving. Nothing is unswerving or compelling through the story. Adult characters are scantily introduced for a few minutes and disappear. Adults talk about the protection to their children from dust and daemons, but it’s nonsensical and connectionless. The vicious mammoth creatures are active with more personality than the adult figures. Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel who is advertised as the major male role is very forgettable. The first main creature is actually the first white ice bear that arises fifty minutes within, which is a little late. 'Yes, that is all!' These soul creatures, not the bears, are around like pets. Some talk and some don't and it's inexplicable to why this is, like why Nicole's character is so very concerned with the girl's, as these moments with the two are bland. The voyages consist of Lyra talking with a casual adult for a moment in a new setting and that's it. It follows this and she tries to discover a path from their realm into alternate realities. The audience learns about these absurd things as the girl who tries to be clever does. She has enough to verbally frustrate ice bears too. The first non-rousing hour provides none of what is featured in the last… so much for the expensive production. It ends like it proceeds as a preamble to another movie just to setup a sequel. After a while, every big budget fantasy movie soon appears to be a poor mimic of each other.

Final Grade: C/C-

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney, Marisa Tomei, Rosemary Harris

Film Prophet's Review...
A crime story in a family tragedy places two brothers who are both unhappy and having financial problems, so the older brother as the architect of the crime has an idea to rob their parents’ jewelry store. The robbery act begins from the start and it’s very straightforward. No fuss or commotion, but the robbery entering the small shop. As the formula to all robberies in movies, something shoddy is bound to happen, as it does here delicately. Sidney Lumet can still direct a dynamic movie. The middle portion of the movie allows time to see what happens before the act of robbery. It widens through these little segments by character revealing bit by bit how dysfunctional they all are in the first hour. It replays scenes with their parts and fills in on little connections, but they're mostly trivial to the story and more for an unconventional narrative aspect of a flashback device. Rigid consequences occur with the separate character threads in non-chronological order leading up to the robbery. It’s then unpredictable afterwards in the second half when it gets complicated as things grow and become clearer. Repercussions and harsh settlements happen as more nervousness on Hawke's part transpires. ‘He's never gonna let us off the hook; alright we're going to be paying him back for the rest of our lives.’ The movie contains an abundant amount of adult material; playing around in bed, cussing dismissively, murders, cocaine and alcohol addictions, stealing for money, spending too much money on kids, and blackmail are some examples. The characters are stubborn, edgy, and conceited, but each one’s performer is commanding on screen including acting presence without speaking. They have superb facial reactions at every moment with or without words. Although spending her early scenes without many clothes, Marisa Tomei shows how imperative reaction shots are. She ranges from sanguine to crushed and vulnerable in her limited time on screen. Her acting is riveting; especially the part where she admits an affair and Philip acts emotionless. Mostly all the females are very secondary and roam around like liter, but the performers make them outstanding. Everyone has chemistry involved, such as between the brothers and their father. Michael Shannon has a discreet role but projects danger when he’s in. ‘Sorry ain’t going to pay the bills.’ The cops’ involvement is negligible and very diminutive. They are uncaring; for example, the scene where Albert Finney as the father calls to ask for a detective and all he receives is, ‘would you like to leave a message sir?’ Hoffman’s association with a drug dealer was used later on as a contrived toy. The final act is strong and crazy, such when the brothers enter that hotel suite on a spree, and the conclusion is horrific. The people in this story are at discomfort and distressed where nothing is fair. ‘The world is an evil place.’

Final Grade: B

I Am Legend (2007)
Starring Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan

Film Prophet's Review...
A scientist named Robert Neville is immune from a man-made virus that wiped out the Earth’s population. He appears to be the only human survivor. For three years, he has sent out radio messages out of New York City to find any other survivors who might be out there, though he is not alone. The movie follows Neville through his day, as long as he gets home by dark. Mutant victims of the plague lurk at night watching his every move. Neville has one remaining mission, which is to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus. Will Smith has the whole movie to himself and like usual, he has the will to carry it all. His Robert character lives in the deserted city, as New York City is a representative setting of a disaster to the world in most movies. The post-apocalyptic story could be effective if it was else where, but most likely not. The empty, abandoned city opens the film as it is a common trend to see how New York would look if it was empty and ruined. Mainly, it is not active without the people, as the movie is barely active. Caused by its dry plot, anything can occur, like a stampede of deer running throughout the streets. However, opportunities aren’t exercised. There are less exciting adventures and momentum that occur in this than with Will Smith in I, Robot. There’s little excitement to stir around and the mutants or zombies barely develop during the first two thirds of the movie. It captures Robert’s desperate connection with a human civilization. Will Smith has no person to act with, so it is hard to find a conflict other than the one that's been presented of surviving alone in a wrecked city and the threat of mutants. Plenty of the scenes are hushed verbally, instead of when he talks to his dog, 'Let's go Sam.' and a few mannequins. His loneliness wears away his sanity. He walks around in the void of daylight alone, so scenes of flashbacks before the virus breaks and just before people disappear happen. Though, these don't provide detail to anything early on and it remains unfilled as it progresses to what Robert sees as he carries around his rifle. In zombie movies, survivors barricade themselves away and eventually zombies become a force. Here, he’s alone, shuts the doors, stays in the dark, and it remains still with monster voices on the outside, then flashback sequences happen and it replicates the next day. Tension is low and diminutive battles occur slightly because the exposition of the disaster incident was not present at the time the movie opens. There’s little emotional connected with that. The mid-section is extremely slow and poor. Vacant are the zombies and any horrifying features then. However, the mutants created by visual effects artists just pose at their times to scream. They have no personality or qualities as they're all ferocity. They're quite useless as villains and even creatures and don't evolve, unlike a flock of bona fide and fierce zombies.

Final Grade: C+

The Haunting (1963)
Starring Richard Johnson, Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Russ Tamblyn, Lois Maxwell

Film Prophet's Review...
‘Whatever walked there, walked alone.’ Robert Wise's haunted house film is based on Shirley Jackson's ghost story about a group of people invited by a parapsychologist to spend time in Hill House of ghostly possession. A dark, shadowy haunted mansion, shot in this black and white film, is its setting. A daunting narration and tunes in the beginning are effective while they last. The movie opens on pure imagery, like with the delicate spiral staircase, and it’s a very competent start. Photography and music are two vital elements to a superb horror movie and this movie had it, but didn't keep that tone for very long. This all disappears because nothing truly shows up. It lets the viewers' imaginations work, but only when there are scenes that can display this effect. These really don't appear on the first day in house and hardly do throughout the movie. Like the audience, the characters do not know the creatures or ghosts that lurk and surround them. Vacillation is to creaky and eerie sounds. Things that pound on the doors sound actually like gun shots going no where. This movie is more like The Omen and The Exorcist dealing with supernatural… some spooky atmosphere, but nothing to put in it during most of the duration. The overall ambience and no blood are fine. They all don't need gratuitous gore or inane screams. The story concerns a disturbed conscious and overwrought woman whose mother died in the house many years ago. The introduction to the characters is protracted and this movie takes its time before entering house and when it's not daytime anymore. Her thoughts are also audible constantly, which do little but state her obvious fragile mind of wondering. It deals with her conscious thinking of wondering statements like, ‘I wonder what hill house is like.’ The movie spends the horror type occasions by showing two shivering females looking around at walls and listening to sporadic noises. It focuses on them looking around frightened. Some of those scenes work as playful teases rather than scares and they sometimes appear silly. The inhabitants stroll around the house searching and finding nothing but sounds. The males fill them in on little stories and they be sarcastic, which drains the film especially at the dinner table, or pretty much anytime around a table. They talk about the supernatural and eerie things that go on and have in the past more than character reaction to this stuff, especially the guys. It's either too adverse or just over foreboding at points contrasting each by a big margin. The fragile woman ends up ditzy and dizzy, driving her unstable, mad, and frantic.

Final Grade: B-/C+

The Mist (2007)
Starring Thomas Jane, Laurie Holden, Marcia Gay Harden, Toby Jones, Andre Braugher, Nathan Gamble

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on the novel by Stephen King, the story settles on a small town where a thick mist engulfs the area slaying people caught in it. Terrified people in a supermarket try to survive while a swarm of lethal critters attempt to get in. It’s a climate of hysteria. Hatred of people they’re trapped with sets in. Most of the movie takes place in the monotonous supermarket. The atmosphere is typical. It begins on a stormy, windy, and dark night by a lakeside house. For about ten minutes, the movie is overall bland. Tired acting, uninteresting people, and conversations create an uninviting start. They mostly talked about, ‘what is this, what is it.’ It’s a vague beginning that dreads until the fright begins to these dreary characters… until a siren kicks in the town, but the shaky camera never sets still for one second. It acts like someone is walking with it and it's a messy look. People are haphazardly tortured out of the blue and unprepared, and then they start panicking and sobbing. ‘Wow, we have a gun, does anyone know how to shoot it - I do.’ They are all just victims in an awkward situation stuck in a grocery store and the audience is therefore ensnared with these shoddy small talks but with a little more gloom than before. ‘This is no ordinary mist ok, you open that door, and something gets in here…’ The creature designs are made up of giant octopus tentacles like an anaconda and they display what they are capable of doing at a glimpse, which is ruthless human destruction. Townsfolk don’t believe in the stories they are told about the mist and call them inexplicable, but without a terror conflict, these people would not have any sort of real story to tell. Sooner or later, there are too many ‘sorry’ words said to each other. Demons gather up and people bicker softly as the movie follows only these people in the local grocery store. Individual reactions to the dread outside make skeptics out of them. Again, without the terror, the movie is very thin and the audience can get bored. However, stubborn characters are around to keep everyone aggravated. Marcia Gay Harden’s character as the religious tyrant Mrs. Carmody signals the end of days, reading verses of the bible, and lectures about human sacrifices and that they’re doomed. ‘Haven’t I shown that I am His vessel?’ She is as merciless as the mist itself. ‘You better stop now, you're scaring the children.’ That's true, because it's more exposure to any terror from any monster outside for most of the parts. Aside from those parts, the ones to watch for are its ending, around the hour mark where chaos briefly enters, and when people leave the supermarket to step outside of shelter in the mist.

Final Grade: C/C+

Enchanted (2007)
Starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Susan Sarandon, Idina Menzel, Rachel Covey

Film Prophet's Review...
The animated world of Andalasia follows a princess named Giselle, portrayed by Amy Adams, who is banished by an evil queen from the classical animation and dumped into a modern-day, live-action Manhattan. Her amiable prince's step-mother is the evil queen and meanwhile, Giselle is welcomed by a single parent, portrayed by Dempsey. This movie takes Disney back to its tradition animation roots with the princess method. The heartwarming film begins with a fairy tale of a once upon a time kind and then switches to live action. Taking in an original Disney feature formula, animal creatures, original songs, and an evil queen with a crystal ball are all present. It also provides a cute, funny, and memorable character as the small chipmunk who tries to act out advice. The princess rescues the prince on an account and more of the like happens, so it's not copying any Snow White or Cinderella story. Lighthearted films can capture bliss and this is one that can be counted on to do so. It finds and creates an equal balance between the two worlds of live action and animation so one won't forget the animation authenticity that creates a dilemma in the live world. Both worlds occupy unique designs and the effects and songs in both are always story-driven. The story operates with people and their decisions which makes the movie feel more genuine than it might be if not. Enchanted is refreshing where anyone and everyone can savor it. It may be the brightest Disney production in years. Giselle is very likable lead character, unlike in most recent fairy tale movies. Amy Adams as Giselle is very charismatic, funny, and at times sad, and shows she's a skilled actress on top of being never endless cheery and optimistic. When she's sad near the end of the ballroom dancing sequence, it truly will affect the audience. She achieves this all on her own, and it’s sympathetic. The audience cares for her as soon as she is out of place alone in the big animated-less city. Her change over to the live action world is interesting to see if she keeps up the same type of glorious tempo the movie had for the first ten minutes. She does so by acting like an animated princess with her sound of voice, lines, singing, and carefree gestures who still believes she is living in an animated society of her own. She is gullible and harmless, talking to anyone in the kindest way. More than half of this review is about her because more than half of the movie is about her shining and making her character worth it. Her smile and blissful attitude on her face never once feels staged or phony… it’s faultless. For example, the first hardship she deals with is when she understands that a couple is separating. Dempsey's initial interaction to every animated character appearing in Manhattan is sharp. There's humor at the right moments, parts, roles, and situations where they can be funny in. Even in the singing, which is very pleasant to listen to in a movie and not the annoying quality, and abrupt dancing numbers as how they begin to laugh at, like starting one in a park. The movie is like its title says it is… it is enchanting with a tremendous ending climax.

Final Grade: B+/A-

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007)
Starring Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman, Zach Mills, Jason Bateman, Rebecca Northan

Film Prophet's Review...
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is a strange and magical toy store. Everything in it comes to life and the store only asks for one thing; for people to believe in it to see it. The toy store is full of miscellaneous eye candy in terms of children wonders and amusements, like a Kermit the frog cameo. That’s how random it gets. Stuffed animals are alive and it looks like a dated cartoon. The plentiful toys and vibrant colors all around the store put acting smiles on the kids in the movie. The whole thing created a playhouse instead of an actual toy store. Its whimsy, humorless, and thin tale attempts at making an adventure from purely children sensation and joys and the rest show no reality, especially when it covers Mr. Magorium’s dying sequences. ‘You really gotta get better at the jokes.’ Like the wacky Mr. Magorium, it’s too delightful with the store’s appearance, sounds, music, and smiles. It's all a sense of glow without a spark or merit. Anything unexpected can happen and it's no big deal, such as a zebra standing on a couch and fish hanging from a ceiling. There’s no danger to anyone and it opens too easy. No real struggles with an enemy occur, except for grief in some. A boy is the store’s only employee and he has no friends because the other kids think he is weird. The writing here is pathetic because one would think it would make him popular for working at a magical toy store they all worship. He is the narrator sounding like the story came from a children’s picture book. ‘I don't know why grown ups don't believe what they did as kids, I mean, aren't they supposed to be smarted.’ Only a few characters have the majority of the lines anyways and they don't shape a sensible story out of their boundary. There isn’t anything original to offer, as it’s a predictable tale. This movie is for starters, such as preschoolers, and really no one else. The dialogue is bland and vague for a very simple story. It operates better with action, which are tantrums characters throw for a bit. Despite all the chaos from bouncing balls and such, kids may find this store quite a bore to just watch. There is no adventure or journey, but little bits that don't add up to consistency as a whole experience. The story isn’t uniform and at times it never really goes anywhere. With all the magic surroundings, it never goes into how all this magic happens or why. The direction enters one thing and leaves it for another. After forty minutes, the same old happens and it falters when it reaches any area close to high mode. Mr. Magorium has an impending death that goes on too long and this segment takes up about twenty minutes. It’s a snooze with a void and without delights like the beginning offered. The last several dozen minutes and the colors in the store turn into stale, gray, and lifeless.

Final Grade: C-

The Conversation (1974)
Starring Gene Hackman, Teri Garr, Harrison Ford, John Cazale, Cindy Williams, Frederic Forrest

Film Prophet's Review...
Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, an audio surveillance man, Hackman, is hired by the manager of a large company to record a conversation between a man and a woman walking in a park. The expert is detached who realizes his latest client may be planning a murder and he may the one who is in danger. Damage of privacy and civil liberty are the themes. The camera follows Hackman the entire time like a sole traveler walking around to spots with nothing much to do. When Hackman is alone, he is a loner withdrawn of human interaction, and worried about his mail being read and people knowing his phone number. The scenes of eavesdropping are either in a warehouse, in a truck, or replayed through his memories. It’s all the same conversation over and over. Two people stroll around in a park is how it is. The movie can be slow as a snail, but it’s endurable and refuses to produce anything compelling with a bit of action. It drops back on the conversation on tape that plays. It's very repetitive. The movie at times goes back to the 'what a stupid conversation' couple and it tests the audience’s patience to continue watching. A scene with Robert Duvall, Hackman, and Ford enter for a few minutes and all that is heard is the same audio in bits. As for the movie's somewhat stirring parts are when the couple are being monitored and the sound work goes to effect when it’s first done. Though, this is played several times in different extents, it allows a while to figure out why these two certain people are being recorded and listened to. During the conversation that’s observed in the park, the sound mixes with the taped conversations being rewind, muffled noises, and other mechanical noises. Voices break up with some kind of technical sound to exemplify the sounds of eavesdropping. It’s one of the only highlights of the film until the final ten or so minutes. All the audience knows about the couple are from what is seen and heard by surveillance equipment. These two subjects take up more than half the movie as the expert tries to decipher the conversation and he’s concerned about how to prevent something he only knows from the audio. Other than that, there isn't any other riveting moments and the movie mainly remains motionless…. particularly at the convention of security technicians as this part provides no kicks despite the entire movie being publicized as a conspiracy thriller. ‘I'm not following you, I'm looking for you.’ Filler scenes expand the movie to about two hours, like the warehouse night party scene and any scene with Hackman and Garr lounging together. There is no escapade of pure thrill or chases. It follows the ordinary man as a dull surveillance expert emotionally frozen. His conversations, well, are not weighty and he keeps his mouth shut. The expert is a lackluster character with a guilty conscience by keeping his own secrets and finding out other people’s ones. His own isolation of a run of the mill style and subjective point of view grows a sense of vulnerability and paranoia as a trap in his personal shortfall.

Final Grade: B/B-

Michael Clayton (2007)
Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Sydney Pollack, Tilda Swinton, Michael O'Keefe

Film Prophet's Review...
Michael Clayton is a man who has worked behind the scenes of a New York law firm for fifteen years to make clients' personal problems disappear. The story takes place over the four worst and last days of his career. It's a moody adult drama that's unsatisfying. There’s corruption within his law firm and everyone sounds like a cynical maniac startled by solidity and money coming with destruction of anyone and anything. All attorneys act guilty and use the f word haphazardly every five minutes. They look to argue and solve little by it as this becomes irritating and uninteresting because that's all there is to this movie. It’s a humdrum of an opening and ending… and also a middle… adults appear and serve to no rationale, no coherent acts or relationships, and contacts. Figuring out who is with whom and what things are important to follow is not easy because it’s dragging mess. There’s isn’t noticeable clarity in regards to the details of the lawsuit and the stances some characters. Michael Clayton drives and walks around having conversations with strangers judging what they have done or going to do then condemning people not to do something but that something is typically vague. Actually, this is what everyone does. Lines go back and forth raising their voices and talking faster. 'I'll be frank with you, I don't like the way this is going.' They scream at one another to raise divergence and it’s not engaging. Nerves and insecurities let out like running water. Passive audiences may lose interest as the movie proceeds. There are no cliffhangers or intrigue after a scene to pull one into the next. It's about adults’ pulses in doubt during difficult and unease situations. A lot more is concerned by the characters than probably more than half of the audience. The acts don’t transcend to audiences’ concern well enough. The progression of the movie is confusing and aimless as the story was very hard to find. It is mostly told in flashback, but this is just superfluous confusion complicating things. It's extremely boring and that's all that should be stated… boring just as Clooney wears the same outfit all the time in this. Arbitrary issues go on and it’s all shallow. All the commotion is rather hypnotic. The movie requires a snooze alarm every five minutes because it was a drab lacking in authentic surprise. It acts way too serious and over the top to be a dramatic movie.

Final Grade: C-

No Country for Old Men (2007)
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald

Film Prophet's Review...
Llewelyn Moss, Brolin, hunts one day on a western outback in West Texas and stumbles upon a stash of drugs, dead bodies, and two million dollars in cash. However, a callous and psychotic killer Anton Chigurh, Bardem, follows his tracks. Numerous individuals are also pursuing the case. Joel and Ethan Coen craft as true artists surrounding setting and characters’ choices and convictions. Turn off voices and shut down most sound and audiences should completely understand what's happening. What are left are natural noises by cutting out any bombarding music score, voices, and inner thoughts for unpretentious chaos. Only a select few can pull this off. No foley artists and special effects are here as it’ll opt for remote sounds. These are the sequences of high points in the film. They heighten any tension measured in silences over arduous effects for the majority. For example, a dog that chases a man swimming in a river. It’s a straightforward crime plot as the year is 1980. Landscapes are vacant, dusty, and open. The pacing is footstep by footstep and observance by observance. For a while, it is slow and steady without any bursts leading up to them sooner or later. The Coens know how to pace a type of film like this, see Fargo. There also momentary parts of humor. For example, when Javier first sits down with Woody, Brolin saying ‘give me the beer too,’ and when Brolin enters a clothes shop with hospital clothes o; ‘You get a lot of people come in here with no clothes on’ - ‘ No sir, it's unusual.’ Lee as the local Sheriff provides a voiceover narrative in beginning and that's about it. Tommy Lee Jones' scenes dragged on philosophically who wanders in and out of the story. Down times are conversations with Tommy Lee Jones investigating the crime scene and conversing. His character is the fallacy of the movie’s title. He is personified by the old man, remembering how he never wore guns. Chigurh as the villain does what he wants and wrestles people to the ground, strangle holding, and choking them. He is not necessarily a physical brute because his shot is on aim. He has a stiff posture and he’s collected, calmly intimidating victims, capable of big trouble. ‘I said what time do you go to bed.’ The kills are casual in short scenes. Later on in the second half, these bits go missing between transitions leaving them unclear how or why they happen. As so, most of the turning events occur off-screen. Llewelyn is more of an anti-hero who seems like the central character early on and later it is found out his role is a piece of the pie. Josh Brolin shines and carries this part in the film. His thoughts are not apparent but the audience can only presume correctly what's on his mind by his first observances as a hunter first does. The strongest conflict is man versus man as the hunter versus the psychopath, as they devise a plan to outsmart the other. They trace clues of blood, footprints then one is chased by the other with unique gun shots, played by sounds and tracking techniques. The true dilemma is of greed when Llewelyn takes the case of cash and leaves the dead men behind to expire. There is no place to live, be cultured and safe, or even hide people or items appropriately in a dying society. ‘You can't stop what's coming.’

Final Grade: B+/B

Bee Movie (2007)
Voices by Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Patrick Warburton, John Goodman

Film Prophet's Review...
Barry B. Benson is a bee who just graduated from college and skeptical at his one career choice at making honey. The insect is the movie’s protagonist who outside of the movie would be insupportable because he is a bee. Bees are antagonists to human disturbance indoors and outdoors. This movie makes bees like humans. There are cars, neighborhoods, jobs, human looking faces, English speaking language, voices, college, and even clothes. The point is insects don't value their lives. They are not equipped or smart enough and just care about pollinating flowers and making honey. They have no jobs or an education system, yet this film depicts them to. It’s a surreal and childish portrayal to make very disturbing and annoying creatures kind and gracious and just go about working. It’s not the kind of storyline people should be rushing to see. It’s implausible as in a bee develops a relationship with a woman who saved the bee from being smashed to death. As evident, the bees are living like in a human society with human characteristics. It’s too simple as how the movie opens to demonstrate bees doing the same job everyday with honey and pollen. Bees are not allowed to talk to humans is as complex as it gets for the first half hour. That imperative is soon thrown out the window when everyone talks to all. One would expect something more imaginative and less dull than what people already know about bees' impact to the environment. Though, the second half goes with the bees' worldly effect of making honey and then lessons where an environment message takes over anything else. The animation is a comedy at first and yet there aren’t jokes often or even missed jokes at that rate. ‘You're not funny, you're going into honey.’ The first twenty minutes demonstrates their way of living and working to Barry’s rookie experience. He is quite too plain to make for a central character and falls under a heroic bee tale. There is also a lack of supporting cute characters, besides Patrick Warburton’s energetic voice for Ken. Chris Rock’s character shows up for a few minutes and not adding anything essential to the movie. His part is so minor that he gets wiped off a windshield in one scene and that’s about it. The music score when the Seinfeld’s bee prances around is noisy and invigorated. Barry goes flying around and screaming, just as humans do when they notice any bee, as he bumps in all sorts of things and directions to new territories to his bee character and this does not tell any tale or something to look forward to, like moving on a tennis ball to places. This goes for a long time until it gets to the real issue of honey stealing and the minor nuances between humans and bees and making a big deal about them all so the bees can win their case. It led Barry into the next thing, such as noticing honey is for sale on a supermarket leading to something else quickly with loud, endless music then into that honey debate in a courtroom because bees don't like people taking their honey. Therefore, the movie runs from one place to another in a short time without featuring sweeter moments with growth. Shooting Winnie the Pooh with a tranquilizer dart was futile too.

Final Grade: C

American Gangster (2007)
Starring Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin, Cuba Gooding Jr., Common, T.I.

Film Prophet's Review...
Something has to be up when a guy hands out turkeys to a massive crowd on a street from a truck at no charge. The movie follows a real-life Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, Washington, who builds a heroin empire in the early seventies by smuggling heroin directly from Southeast Asia into the United States in the caskets of soldiers killed in Vietnam. Detective Richie Roberts, Crowe, is on the scene taking action starting from the streets. Both sides are extremely satisfying coming from fascinating cop and criminal characters. They are dangerous and dicey, volatile to the next scene, unaware of one another's presence, until after an exhilarating crime bust sequence of infiltration near the end. Every minute, every scene something shocking and momentous greatly happens, more than just occasional drive by shootings. It progressively moves at a staggering pace running at over one hundred fifty minutes. Smooth editing flows to each scene and every aspect of the film, visually and by a sharp script, blends in with ease. Director Ridley Scott saturates the colors of the film to show a crumbling and draining City backdrop. The notable music score infuses wholly in the movie and dress is fluent while the grit appeal of Manhattan and Harlem allures the audience into the late sixties to early seventies time frame at the start capturing an invigorating observation from two distinguishing points of view around crime, violence, and police corruption. Danger lurks aggressively into it all. On a morality scale, Frank's business and family shrewdness with professionalism is marveled at as Richie as an honorable cop without support from fellow cops originally and makes up for being a deceitful husband by being a moral cop. Everyone is stealing and dealing. They are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, splitting the movie’s sequences of two parallel storylines into one movie, contrasting and also complementing too. Irresistible to watch, Washington and Crowe both have developed roles and dynamic presences on-screen. Crowe's investigations are more entertaining and powerful than one would see on an ordinary television show. Lucas has done his research on scene in Asia with contacts all over and not bargaining down his expectations. ‘I'm on my way over there - right now – yea - oh come on.’ The movie shows the origins of heroin by showing the creation, operation, and dealing of the drug before it is dealt on the streets and injected. ‘The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.’ The atmosphere catches the audience from the beginning and doesn't let up with its stunning acts in the second half. ‘The most important thing in business is honesty, integrity, hard work, family, never forgetting where we came from. See, you are what you are in this world, as either one of two things; either you're somebody or nobody.’ One of the shocking incidences is after this quote by Frank by inviting his brothers to a restaurant in the daylight and ending the scene with the quote, ‘there you go, twenty percent.’ Also, remember the piano part. Most come to effect by Washington's physical force by becoming upset. It is about corruption and how people can fall into it. It’s not a family entertainment movie like some Scorsese Sicilian mafia motion pictures can be due to the amount of close ups of miscellaneous heroin injections and female frontages. Still, the direction and acting is flawless and everything just comes together to create a dramatic and energetic movie. Cuba Gooding Jr. as a shadowy and showy club owner is fantastic. Josh Brolin is stunning as a Jersey corrupted cop, Crowe is vigorous, and Washington dominates the screen every second drawn to what each does and says. ‘I ain't running from nobody. This is America.’ This movie is an American classic and crime-drama cinema at its finest.

Final Grade: A-/A

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
Starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, Jason Schwartzman, Amara Karan, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray

Film Prophet's Review...
Three grown brothers who haven't seen each other since their father's funeral come together on a train ride in India a year later. This is a similar Wes Anderson type of subject by converging related characters on a loss of a close elder that unites estranged siblings. They look and act tiresome, middle-aged, discontented, and despondent who like to smoke. Their facial appearances are oddly physical as the movie proceeds. Owen Wilson’s character tries to be in command of the brothers with his itinerary and wanting to make agreements between them. ‘Let's get a shoe shine.’ The almost gauche choice of settings and music add to the mature backdrop of India. Its sorts of panning, color palettes, and not hearing someone when speaking also arises. Jason Schwartzman's short scenes with Amara Karan, as a train attendant, are the top of the crop in the movie. ‘Wanna smoke a cigarette with me in the bathroom.’ It’s the discovery of each in the center of some Indian customs, but almost every area of the movie ends up random and not coherent. Areas are filled with unfussy and very short scenarios that aren't memorable, so in a way, they are unfilled. It’s a simplistic story that’s a loosely concentrated view of faint lives. However, Anderson and the performers invite the audience in, but leave them somewhat empty. The melancholic brothers appear unsuited in India’s civilization just like they are with each other in a void keeping them astray. They don’t achieve what they set out to and remain detached arguing over who gets their father's belongings. Once they get off the train, the film tends to hinder and they still leave a lot to accomplish between them and all else, especially after the aimless final dozen minutes that might be wryly amusing to some. Even coming across as lazy at times, they are enjoyable, though Anderson reuses the same material from his previous movies. The story applies India alike to The Life Aquatic with its underwater sea world. It follows Anderson’s basic requirements of a film. His sense of very, very dry humor is apparent as usual that probably won't make the average movie viewer exhilarate a laugh because they don't display a pleasure or anything loud or crazy. The humor is flat most of the time usually. Conversations are discreet and comments are odd. It’s all within a relaxed tone matching the offbeat, but unperturbed personalities. Again, it's simple and unpretentious. ‘We haven't located us yet.’

Final Grade: B-

Rendition (2007)
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin, Omar Metwally

Film Prophet's Review...
The story centers on a young CIA analyst, Gyllenhaal, stationed in the Middle East as he questions his assignment after observing a secret torture toward the interrogation of a suspected terrorist. There’s only one main interrogation in the whole movie that began with a kidnapping and transfer from one place to another. The complete cast lures a watch, though most of the characters are one-dimensional and stern, but there isn’t much else to pay attention to. The movie sets up at a steady pace that is very languid throughout the whole movie. It starts like a regular story surrounding around intimate ones and responsibilities of those close. This captures several personal story threads into one affecting them all together in different circumstances centering around a chemical engineer taken into custody without a lawyer, fair trails, contact to family, and none of that alike. ‘No one has told me why I'm here or what I have done.’ A guy is stripped down of clothes in a dark dungeon and asked questions with wrong answers they don't want to hear. The context is not real political, and it chiefly deals with duties of a person’s role around threats and harsh influences, keeping things secret, safe, or being heroic in a manner. It is a long form of one terrorism act with deaths and personal disasters in one quick tragedy. The cheerfulness is at an ultimate low and there is not even a brief instant of it till the exact ending. The characters are in traveling around in a murky view of the world where people torture for answers in an incessant process. The movie jumps around between countries and separate groups of people showing their care. Despite dealing with a previous bombing attack, which is the highest of any kid of action gets, the interrogations are at minimal. As mentioned, it is one long interrogation going almost the whole span of the film that’s left ambiguous until the final dozen or so minutes where Jake just stands behind and observes the whole time. Other confrontations are dim because they talk at a low volume about nothing of interest to the audience. They walk around with constructed facial expressions ranging from concerned to bewildering. The best of the confrontations is when Streep and Sarsgaard meet for the first time. The two leading stars, Jake and Reese, aren't in a scene together… similar to what Damon and Clooney basically were like in the Syriana mess. The interrogating movie around a long torture act and one terrorist strike display as minor, tiresome, and pacified. It’s exhausting out of gas scene after another mellow scene with little exhilaration to exhibit. A music score could have tighten or even lighten things up. It’s a simplistic story, leaving out complexity by being too unobtrusive and not compelling enough, but enough to get out of about a secret torture strategy.

Final Grade: B-

Into the Wild (2007)
Starring Emile Hirsch, Jena Malone, William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn

Film Prophet's Review...
Escaping for something one yearns at a young age - absolute freedom on the road. Emile Hirsch portrays Christopher McCandless, who after graduating from college hitchhikes around to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Sean Penn’s adaptation of Jon Krakauer's bestseller acts indie with its music choice, many of them original songs by Eddie Vedder, its wilderness setting, and lonesome material. All of it fits to a super movie experience and the movie grabs the audience right away with it all to sympathize with Christopher. It opens on a snowy dim plane with Christopher in vacant surroundings surviving on his own needs and he’s fully independent. He does whatever, like shooting animals to eat, and keeps a diary. It sounds like a man versus nature topic, but it is mixed with a gallant, cautionary road trip. There are no causes or reasons to any of this, and there are no complications or irritations with him alone until the movie traces back on the last two years of his life to have a relevant story added to his character. These show the strangers and short emotive relationships he has with them, and then leaves. None of the scenes in the movie are a drag or highly entertaining, but very soothing to watch. The soft instrumental music in the background plays to a poignant touch. Director Sean Penn makes the film as moving as possible, not to dramatize it. The poison plant peas sequence is the farthest it goes for hard drama. The film meditates on the things and will resonate on the audience. In one line that - Christopher doesn't allow himself to get too close to anyone – is a powerful message and the striking theme in the movie is happiness is real when shared. Hirsh and Malone’s potent and engaging voiceover narratives sound calming as can be by offering philosophical realization. The sister narrates the past that led up to her brother's deliberate disappearance. Dialogue is intelligent and all the words in the movie were real at core. The entire movie is crisp and organic. It is anti-artificial without having an artificial substance. Even Vince Vaughn has an act in the movie as a very small role and has excellent chemistry in a top-notch scene in a bar with Emile discussing society and living to be in Alaska. Christopher’s choices when in essence is basically living like the common person would centuries ago without conflicting with humans mainly as a nomad wandering around. He is hitch-hiking and having no contact with anyone or anything from more than a few feet away. In the view of modern society, this person is a homeless, poor bum traveling on feet and who ever stops by to guide him, in other words, a true hippie. The people he meets give him assistance, food, and company. ‘Rather than love, money, faith, fame, and fairness, give me truth.’ He is his own false fib however – getting rid of his real identity and coming up with a fake name – on the desire to find his true self. Everyone imagines moving away from every day responsibilities to go out and travel on the open road, but things bound people like borders, patrols, money, mundane routines, and all perceptions of the average way of living in the rat race. ‘Careers are a twentieth century invention.’ It earns the two and a half hours it runs and the movie is built around a young man learning a lesson about the value of human companionship versus being alone and carefree. The people he encounters were mostly couples too. Among the most affecting are a sixteen year old girl he meets, performed by Kristen Stewart, and an old lonely male widow, both who are symbolic to Chris’ going. Hal Holbrook as the male widow gives an all rounded supporting performance and enters perfectly, yes perfect, in the third quarter mark of the movie. ‘When you forgive, you love and when you love, god's light shines down on you.’ The inspiring movie is ominous and ingenuous on an outlook of a place when after one’s existence has left the world to be remote.

Final Grade: A-/A

The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Starring Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Malin Akerman, Jerry Stiller, Carlos Mencia

Film Prophet's Review...
The story is difficult and awkward for everyone in it and who watches it. It centers on a man who is convinced that he has finally met the right girl and marries too quickly. While on the honeymoon, he discovers that she is too eccentric for him, and he encounters another girl on the honeymoon. There’s only misery to be found in this Farrelly brothers picture that spills false happiness and perpetual loneliness. It kicks off with a traditional storyline of comedy romance. It is all about Ben Stiller’s character as the nice guy. He is the whole tone of the movie. In the beginning, everyone snubs him, especially at the toast wedding moment in one of the first scenes. He is in despair and depressed. Therefore, none of the scenes are funny and goes to show gloom of being alone and single at age forty than a joyful comedy. The conversation jokes are at low and splashes homosexuality stereotypes. Nevertheless, it all centers mostly on the teasing of Stiller's character and his state of unfortunate relationships. Most characters, such as the one Carlos Mencia plays, are reduced to a single catch phrase, such as, ‘Screw off, I'm joking.’ His wife is into the sex position stances, ‘Cock me Eddie – I think I am cocking you’ and his father cares about sex too, ‘When your wife asks you to cock her on your honeymoon, you cock her damn it.’ The sex scenes were more graphic than expected also. It’s uneasy and edgy at almost ninety percent of the time and it's like this for him all the way on the endless honeymoon sequence. When given some advice, ‘you wanna know the secret to a happy marriage, do what I do, plaster on a fake smile, plow through the next half century, sit back, relax, and wait for the sweet embrace of death.’ Ouch. That is the notion coming from this supposed comedy than any laughs at all. The movie is very short on laughs and humor and it’s concerned with following his priorities, choices, permanence, and status with significant others. However, the jokes that play from that don't occur often and they mostly miss than hit. Stiller is in about every scene. Since he is the nice guy, his dialogue is not the most comical though he has the most spoken lines. Therefore, most of the lines in the film, as one can imagine, are not there for funny moments. He does act convincingly in his frame of uncomfortable and zany situations playing to role of a sympathetic guy. He eventually manipulates to his wife in the second half and every word from there becomes a fib to escape truth and confusion. It's all not acceptable. There is also a strange, ludicrous sequence of transferring people across the Mexican border near the end that was very illogical. It is two hours of nonsense and no real meaning. Though, the movie is quite bearable despite the ugliness in the story and low on occasional laughs and pleasures. Exuberant behaviors and misleading personalities surround him in small situations and minor predicaments, like the twin brothers. The storyline that advances is unpredictable, but when it opens along, the message stays as it is… which is… single people are losers. It’s a stage of disaster the whole way through. In marrying someone promptly, it is still a misguided disaster.

Final Grade: C

Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
Starring Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen, Ashanti, Mike Epps

Film Prophet's Review...
Survivors of a virus catastrophe that forms humans into zombies travel across the Nevada desert and looking to make it to Alaska. Alice, Jovovich, joins with the group. That sounds like a middle of a story description because it is. There is no real beginning part or ending part to this third installment in the Resident Evil movie series. This movie is somewhat similar to the previous two except the setting changes to Nevada desert instead of a shabby urban city or large skyscraper. A deserted desert beholds dirt and decay, no purity or spark, in a rather dry movie yearning for momentous zombie encounters. Its surprises are new areas which haven't been displayed yet, and they are all quite dull like scenes where the corporation committee of men talking about a project that is forgettable. It’s a post apocalypse so the look of the settings is a drab. The special effects are not very impressive too when they are present. The first and second had action happening within the boundaries of indispensables sequence. Here action is sparse for almost half until the massive birds attack. When movie starts to go somewhere, it leaks out. Characters say poor lines and just shoot miscellaneous zombies. When they investigate rotten areas, it is tedious until loud music occurs and blood releases with short gore deaths. The notion of traveling around a place where random zombies can pop up anywhere is neat, but its handling is lackluster. What it lacks of is concentration to one clear thing. There’s scientists living underground, testing around in labs, corporation, survivors group, domestics, satellite tracking, cloning, telekinesis, and Alice alone in ninety droning minutes. Most individuals in the story are reckless, pathetic, eager, and vain anyways. Zombie slashers are typically entertaining regardless of the quality of the movie, but this has little of a storyline to begin with. Audiences going into this would ask how much greater the fright of the zombies will be or will it be just a plain massacre with whipped camera cuts. There’s only one new zombie who comes at the end for a short time and the rest are all the same and don’t appear that often. It is intended to lead audiences into pathways of danger with no humans around. Jovovich acts woozy and bewildered as her character is meant to be, then at times switches to a physical force of combat. She is the star at focal point throughout the movies. She meets Ali Larter’s small group of human survivors in the desert full of zombies, like prison of them, and they just stroll around the empty sands gathering up survivors from the T-Virus plague. Alice must attack to save her life, and the movie, then move on to the next carnage.

Final Grade: C

Atonement (2007)
Starring James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai, Juno Temple, Vanessa Redgrave

Film Prophet's Review...
The final punch hits hard. It’s a story of a writer from her negligent childhood in transition in knowing wrong and attempting to make amends through an utterly sorrowful experience. Briony, a thirteen year-old girl, falsely accuses the boyfriend, McAvoy, of her older sister, Knightley, of assaulting their sixteen year old female cousin. This fib sparks from her imagination of her infantile and fragile sight. Briony's unwittingly decisions as a child lead to a terrible crime destroying the lives of people closest to her. The movie’s adaptation comes from the number one fictional novel in 2001 named by Time Magazine written by Ian McEwan. The source material is war romance primarily, with the Second World War in England and France as the backdrop, then taking a sharp turn toward cold and manipulating tragic consequences. The story has plenty of devastating revelations to come near the end that will have some people weeping. It’s about unforgiving and truth, when it is too late for redemption. The composed moving soundtrack of a piano and violin fits in with its sequences engaging throughout. One can be totally mesmerized by many of the scenes of fantastic scenery, especially that long continuous beach tracking shot near the warfront. It has everything needed for a sweeping motion picture…. true art modeled by true art, it's triumphant. Stunning locations, great acting, and that uncut scene of Dunkirk beach features. ‘I’ll wait for you, come back to me. - I will return, I will find you.’ Sweet as it sounds, it is as it looks. Though, the opening lays low as characters go around unoccupied without many duties or anything to do on a mansion estate. They sit at typewriters or around a body of water relaxing. The movie may not be a grand spectacle and it’s more complex in the story. It is gripping, poignant, and tragic, kicking The Notebook and The English Patient out of the water. It’s obviously not a kids’ film, even with the naïve child aspects, but everyone watching it should be adult enough to cope with the resulting material. It’s about two sisters where one falls a love with a guy and the other interprets everything wrong and ruins everything. Where being a playwright in England was predominating, the dialogue was rather at a low in the movie. There are little conversations and there is communication by letters and voiceovers. It's about not knowing the words to say or to write because it's based on what the audience and everyone else sees and interprets. The quotes are indeed remarkable though.  The fact is that filmmakers and storytellers can do whatever they want with the story and the characters to shape the audience’s perspective, including the characters who tell it. This first comes into act by what Briony sees between the interactions of her sister and boyfriend. It is conveyed by physical language and then a scene would repeat to show what actually happens. For instance, the library sex scene from her perspective. It shifts from her peeping glance view to a second view point. Another example is the vase falling in a fountain of water. It replays key scenes right after the she witnesses them, then again to reveal more. Later, it surrounds her false judgments as those previous parts served a purpose playing with the audience's viewpoint carefully to look at things from a child. Keira disappears during the third quarter where the bigger impact is her sister making amends and late forgiveness where the audience will undergo a sense of absolute guilt and grief on the twist in the anguishing end. The focal character is truly Briony even though the audience may not appreciate it until the end filled with remorse. ‘Imagine not knowing if he'd ever come back.’ It’s a very strong, compelling story where the finale is overwhelming and everyone will leave the movie with a bitter taste or a stupendous woe marvelously.

Final Grade: A/A-

Eastern Promises (2007)
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Jerzy Skolimowski

Film Prophet's Review...
Set in the immigrant underside of contemporary London, it centers on a Russian mob that exploits girls to prostitution who come from Eastern Europe illegally. Director David Cronenberg leisurely takes his time with all of this during the film with little steam and makes light of it. A nurse finds a young infant after the mother dies giving birth and it leads her to a mob. She tries to resolve to trace the baby’s relatives. The opening parts contain culture and restaurant scenes in London. It all appears very standard and there were no apparent details into any crimes as the mob is just routinely based. It’s a story of two about people who don't appear to be. It looks like it tries to split the movie by balancing with two discreet storylines that don't untangle really. One is a woman finding a family for the motherless baby and the other is the ties with a mob. In the meantime, an uncle keeps returning to have small talks with his daughter, the nurse, about the baby and Viggo has one minute talks on the sidewalk streets with her, but not much develops from there to broaden a storyline. It remains static. ‘Stay alive a little longer.’ Then there are parts where henchmen cut up dead body parts. They commit out of sight murders of characters that never appear in the first place and then talk about it. These are low-key scenes that aren't critical, like getting off a motorcycle bike and fixing it, eating dinner, or checking out dead rusty bodies in bags. The film’s top scene is its mere quality where it occurs in a vulnerable and sensitive place to be attacked… where a naked man is assaulted by two thugs in a Turkish bath house. It’s a wicked combat in the sauna with weaponry of knifes. Other than that, there are no other elaborated fights, chase scenes, or any hints of gun battles. The violence is sudden and atypical at a discomforting level, but this only comes at a few neglected times. Since there is little or no action, the fear by the mob is solely in the torment which exists in short incidences when gore releases by slitting throats and that’s that. The movie then proceeds to move on to the next scene like they never happen. The performances are very faint without much visual style or plotting aspects to go with them. Viggo has a rigid and quiet performance, where he speaks fluent Russian. Speaking of Russian, as a flaw, the nurse spoke English and read a diary in Russian, which is how she was learning from the young girl's diary as the film’s narrative. Vincent Cassel does real well for having an unlikable factor to his character. The mob is quite bland because of a lot of what they truly do to be a mob is done off scene dismissing what they do. What remains are shady male adult figures in trench coats who perform shifty rituals. For all who can imagine, Viggo’s character may have done some bad things not on camera to please the mob but his entire character is kind to appear so and less brutal than others. It underplays a Russian mob at minimal without obvious layers and action into a banal melodrama and a moralistic story.

Final Grade: B/B-

3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Starring Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Logan Lerman, Dallas Roberts

Film Prophet's Review...
Needing money to build a well and support his ranch, a rancher, Bale, takes an assignment to transport a criminal, Crowe, to a train to Yuma for imprisonment. The criminal tries to tempt him with an offer of more money if he can escape. In a remake of a fifties Western, James Mangold directs with two leading actors which is a promising pitch, but the result is unexciting and flat halting any kind of momentum. Mangold begins with an illustrious creation of a rugged society of men where smoke succeeds from cigarettes, homes burning, and gunshots. The movie captures Old West objects, like horses and cattle, but little traditional values, like families and strong dilemmas. The Marshall Law is hard to come by and men do what they have to do to protect themselves, but most of it is on the ruthless offense end of shooting each other. The nature of characters concerns stability, health, and land, all dealing with money. Everyone is an adult male as a dull slob who will do it for the money. Some parts are too dark and hard to tell what's happening. Though, it’s just men walking around melancholic. A big chuck of the middle is inattentive for viewers to what's being said because it's so dreary. Conversations are very insipid and uninspiring. There is no pleasant way in the movie of introducing its characters than just a bunch of gunshots and guys falling from horses and stagecoaches. It’s rifle and gun action over character development. The bulk of the scenes were a drag containing stubborn, rigorously, and humdrum qualities from everything with no climactic situations or shootouts. Minutes go by doing nothing on scene but seeing guys looking around. Men rule the Western genre, but there's also a small need for a charming romantic anecdote with a woman, except that no women have any kind of worthy role in the film because everything in this is quite unproductive and indolent anyways. The story remains bland and sluggish and every battle and death seem perfunctory. Guys hang around perilously until the train comes before the redeeming train departing ending.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
Starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Monica Bellucci, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk

Film Prophet's Review...
‘He took a gun; he started shooting at us.’ A carrot eating hobo who happens to be savvy in gun weapons and combat protects a newborn baby from criminals out to kill the baby and wanders around town with a prostitute taking care of the baby. The film running at no longer than ninety minutes is straightforward what the title says. The amount of bullets and rage doesn't let up from the first second of film. It opens up with shooting and crashes like a vicious skit that throws out actuality. For an hour, it is like this, until parts of the last twenty minutes when it tries to elucidate it with words than actions. Clive Owen as the mysterious man aids a pregnant woman right away, similar to his previous protagonist role in Children of Men, except here he shoots a gun and kills this time around. Everyone seems to possess a gun shooting in defense or offense. People take guns from others as guys come in scenes just to shoot around and drop as steady rock music plays like video clips for a rock music video that has baby moaning sounds in the background. Ironically, the times when the baby isn't crying are when rock music is played in the scene. Owen is typically outnumbered in violent situations and acts and doesn’t ask. Shooting with a baby in his arms is part of the mindless action. The longest talks are between Monica and Clive, but those play to the film's slow moments and when Clive chops on his carrots. Anytime conversations commence, they are kept short as shooting occurs breaking it up. This happens on the minute almost, even during sex in bed. Blood shatters, body parts and limbs break off, and nameless characters aren't really characters at all. They are just glimpses of bad guys who merely stand there and fire a weapon. They are introduced with guns in their hands looking to kill, again with some mellow rock sound, firing back and forth while continuing to shoot. Afterwards, the surviving drag wounded bodies along, and either way, death is upon them by probably guns. Every scene of shooting is the same, similar to men with bad tempers pointing guns at each other, but what separates each scene is the style of firing guns and locations of the shootings. The shootout locations range from rooftops, a public restroom, a playground, and a freefall in the sky. Charisma from the top performers standout and if they weren't there, a massive appeal would be lost toward this flick. The script offers little wit for them and they are very capable of it. Bellucci doesn't have much to do here but listen to what Owen has on his mind. It is fun to watch Giamatti play a bad guy, though his short lines are drained and his close-ups aren’t exactly pretty. His character tortures people to find out what he wants to know disobediently. Owen and Giamatti have a rivalry in the movie where neither two know much about each other too. The last twenty minutes contains parts of abundant amounts of excessive drawn-out explanations that serve forgettable unlike the ways of how to pull a trigger. A mere lesson learned from this is 'getting angry releases an enzyme which can temporarily reduce the IQ.’

Final Grade: C+/B-

Halloween (2007)
Starring Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Sheri Moon

Film Prophet's Review...
A vulgar and dirty prequel beginning, the interaction with Doctor Loomis at a mental institution in the center, and a recreation of the original Halloween night killing spree in the final hour is similar to watching three short movies in one. It’s the first true remake of the very first Halloween following the early and foremost story of Michael Myers, who is arguably the number one villain to ever set foot in a motion picture. Divided into three sections, the opening is like a white trash family drama, which is part of new stuff. The other new stuff is prison-based where Michael is basically alone in a mental institution. The rest is when Michael returns to his hometown in Haddonfield, where he looks to find his younger sister, Laurie. The back story of Michael is the strength since it is new and explanative, but also the weakness of the movie. More is explained in this film about Michael Myers' psyche, but any fan realizes it never really belonged in the movies because most was awful filth, loutish and gross substance, yet just the kind of stuff Myers is made out of it. It explains the things that didn't matter, especially opening to a filthy sexual oriented opening sequence with too many cusses and gross references. What the characters said at times was almost unbelievable. ‘Come on babe, I wanna do it with the mask on.’ Michael's family is made up of a stripper mom, a rude drunk step father, and a snooty older sister. It’s a cliché of a poor sick childhood, and then Michael starts killing people who mistreated him. He is a victim of his surroundings, that is, a stereotype of rednecks and Southerns who happen to live in Illinois. In the original, Michael has a numinous about him where the audience has to figure out how genuine sinister he is as he goes. Many indistinctive victims die slow and painful, crawling for their survival. For example, Michael beats someone with a piece of wood to death that lasts longer than it should. There is little build up to the killings and they were sluggish deaths with loud seizure sound effects. People are randomly introduced just to be killed off soon, like the boyfriend, nurse, bully, and so on. Overuse of long bloody deaths do not compensate for authentic horror and vulnerable characters at stake. There is no fun in the gores alone. Michael isn’t just an urban boogeyman legend in this film, but a figure an audience should cheer for because of his past. Director Rob Zombie chose gore and violence over danger and sex scenes over trouble for horror and terror. Lots of the content is disgraceful and disturbing on a movie platform. There’s more sex scenes combined than all previous films in the series. It also disgraces women to nudity and weak beings. They are there to make sex jokes out of them and then die off topless. Rob Zombie is quite faithful to the original in the final hour during the one Halloween night, shifting to Laurie Strode for the last hour. Though, the three teenage girls who were normal with their average babysitting daily lives are now obnoxious. Laurie is introduced making a visual joke about molestation. She later squares off against her older brother in a long period of her screaming for dozens of minutes as she runs away from him. The size of Michael is noticeably larger than before. He is overgrown, very tall, and muscular. There’s also a new spin on the piano chord theme song and it could have been played more for music cues to when the psychopath is on screen. Take out the music theme and legendary villain and it would seem like a regular low-brow slasher film. It’s short of timbre of John Carpenter's first two, but the Halloween series is endless, so expect more as usual, but on no account to the par of Carpenter’s earlier work.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Stardust (2007)
Starring Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Sienna Miller, Peter O'Toole

Film Prophet's Review...
The fairy tale follows a young man, Cox, on a quest who promises his beloved lady, Miller, that he'll bring back a fallen star, Danes, to her or else she’ll marry someone else. The fallen star is on the other side of the wall between England and a magical kingdom known as Stormhold. Through his venture, he has to contend with witches, goblins, and other magical evil. The opening narration by Ian McKellan is enchanting, leading the audience into worlds, humans, and stars to the adventure that is to come. The storytelling has a sense of mystic with its sound, music scores, production, and just wonders of direction it'll go into. The music score is among its strongest assets accompanying the tone of each scene fittingly and endlessly, whether it's delightful or conniving. Costumes, fancy housings, and chambers bring out the savor from the medieval villages. Ships fly, strange little things like mini living elephants appear, and magic is real and unbounded. The fantasy tale with a spice of romance is joyful at some parts, but not enough. Rightfully so, it steadily flops after a promising launch. Here and there it rises during a few spots. Although, it’s all flash with spells, landscape art, deaths, and so on, but the charm and attraction is not constant or steady. There are several smaller plot threads involving witches, who want youth and eternal life, and princes that complicate the simplicity. They go all at random roaming around where sets of people change their agendas. It gets easily cluttered with too many things to work with the merry side and then cold immortality side as the movie has a hard time finding a balance, as the evil overweighs the positive side in the center. De Niro's late comic entrance refreshes things a bit on a flying ship, but again, it’s too much and the rest is choppy in segments. Though, the whimsical movie is a gentle fairy tale at core. There’s a quest of romance, mystical creatures, and lots of sour malevolence. The cast is diverse and it’s different than the fantasy norm. Characters often die, some are malformed by the immoral, and there are plenty of scares, threats, and dreads. However, it’s really how fantasy movies used to be. The light tale is not too large like an epic sequel and not too small of a production outcome.

Final Grade: C+

War (2007)
Starring Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Luis Guzmán, Saul Rubinek

Film Prophet's Review...
An FBI agent Jack Crawford, Statham, seeks revenge on a mysterious assassin known as Rogue, Li, who murdered his partner. FBI agent Tom Lone, his wife, and young child are murdered by the Asian assassin. Crawford is determined to track down Rogue. It opens and continues without a plausible affair and goes uninteresting as the movie is interested in establishing macho poses. It also opens like it starts in the middle of a low class straight to video release action movie. Nearly all of the fighting and conflicts are reasons why people watch a Jason Statham or Jet Li movie. However, here it’s not hand-to-hand combat like their other movies but guys just shooting at each other. It’s nothing more than another ‘guys with guns flick’ shooting at one another atrociously. The movie skips introductions to useless violence, then the tame story and bad dialogue emerges from the convoluted and crowded mess of people. Action is shown by unexciting violence of guys dropping to their bloody short death. It looks to unimpressive gore than strong conflicts. Guns shooting over physical fights with no style make this lazy movie meaningless into a total action-less piece of drivel. It’s tiresome after the first thirty minutes and offers little of the opportunity by having two martial arts icons together in the same picture. Everyone and everything is one-dimensional and a yawn. Statham acts exhausted in many parts with confused looks on his face, and then he disappears at many times. Anything he says is sluggish and one can barely understand what he says anyways. Jet Li walks around here and there and Li with a gun is so not his typecast. Both have flashbacks of trying to remember their trouble pasts. Devon Aoki's talent is also wasted. It’s an inconsistent random collection of scenes, for example the club stuff, and people mixed by no reason. There are manly face to face talks where these conversations are dull that don't reach an impact to the audience to devour an energetic pleasure. The two leads average an outstanding fight every, well, actually never until the end. They share so few scenes opposite of each other. There are times when watching the movie sporadically, but not attached to what's happening or interested in how scenes will end. The movie fails to give the audience any reason to care. In fact, who is protagonist and villain is still the question after the movie ends. When it's all over, it still has absolutely no idea what itself was about and what the point of it was.

Final Grade: C-

L'Atalante (1934)
Starring Michel Simon, Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté

Film Prophet's Review...
Jean Vigo’s French romance expedites when Juliette and Jean marry and Juliette comes to live with him on his steamboat, slowing down considerably. Also on board are a cabin boy and a strange sailor. It is coherent these two soon fall to melancholy and back to longing after the dreary voyage on the river to Paris. Vigo’s film is simple and genuine, yet tame about these two in their first days of marriage on a boat. The newlyweds are aimless and basic, though vulnerable thus believable. The two sailors are clumsy and uncultured, while sewing, laundry, and playing the phonograph are done to try to beat the mundane life. Simply, there no big circumstances or dilemmas and they move along finding little things to do here and there to keep time moving. Juliette is disconnected with everyone because of the time they are spending together in close proximity and not being able to do much with it within the restricted space and utilities. Nuances, gestures, and sublime expressions grow on the audience and every scene after. For example, there are parts where they roll around merely bringing out the children in them. An emphasis of the film is on the visual style deceptive during the unfolding of the time spent on the boat off the land. It’s extraordinarily hypnotic during this sequence. The audience watches but not involved as there aren't any worries when the film takes a far relaxing approach during the journey down river. The foggy rich drift creates a trancelike fantasy inducing with arbitrary shots. Nothing appears to happen, as conscious minds floats without concern. There are parts when audiences watch and completely forget what happened during the scene before when a scene tunes up to jolly moments. This is also accompanied by an accordion composed music score and the movie looks like a silent picture. Most of the story is on the ship until they leave to test out the city life. It can be labeled as France’s Sunrise - innocents from the country swamped up by the big lure of a city, but less epic and fierce and more exhausting. It’s at minimal without resolving or even opening hard-hitting issues or any at all. The film’s message is stronger than anything going on in the film, which is downer. This near final segment splits the couple’s interactions apart as people make small mistakes in everyday life. None of which can contest the warm company of others and the force of ordinary romance of simple unity.

Final Grade: B

Superbad (2007)
Starring Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Bill Hader

Film Prophet's Review...
Three male high school seniors before school ends deal with separation anxiety one night during their quest to acquire alcohol underage for a party that goes awry. They find themselves in obstacles brought on by pressure by their female friends to arrive with booze at the party. Teenage insecurity transpires as they attempt at things like booze, sex, and parties, but fail in unavoidable situations aimed for the film's comedy. The youth and geek charm humor is delivered by conversations between the male friends involving crude sets, mainly sex. Plenty of them open up the movie that concerns about sex where every line surrounds the subject. Jonah Hill’s character has a niche for absurd and rapid coarse language but sometimes settles down to say something like, ‘I just kind of sit around all day, draw pictures of dicks’ with a montage of drawings to follow. There’s gratuitous dialogue that creates mental images than actual raunchy behavior, which occurs later on and it’s funnier seeing the physical humor than the early opening acts. Sardonically, the movie is quite unsuitable for ages younger than its course of the adolescent crowd. They try to be older than they are through the phases of immaturity, such as drinking booze and having fake IDs, but the maturity doesn't tag along which is humorous. The movie is fast-paced like everyone’s raging hormones where the mind is fully trapped in the sex and liquor state where they assume to attract one another. Planted are scenes of ways to acquire alcohol goofy. The storyline is straightforward, as it’s more about the punch lines in the thorny interactions. It’s a redundant technique found in other teenage movies, which is to get the girls drunk so that they will have sex with them. After the first few minutes, it seemed all the jokes were expected and the tricks were already out of bag because they're frequently about the sex topic at the adolescent level. If this was released a few years prior, it would be just another teenage comedy. The turning event that made a sharp corner to madcap starts after the first liquor store encounter and it's purely outlandish during the one long night. They think they can fool the older crowd, such as cops, young adults, and others, as these are all ways to refrain them from accomplishing their mission. The fake ID card with the name McLovin starts for the character to enter the history among the memorable and great teen movie characters. The most hilarious scene is the unexpected 80 dollar bill in the liquor store part that has a high point of hilarity with great timing. The f-bombs drop just like the uncomfortable situations. ‘You should really clean this up, someone could really hurt themselves - f my life.’ ‘F thinking, we need to act.’ Random quotes like - you guys on myspace – are hilarious and off the wall. Events unfold as they go separate ways and unit under the pursuit. The casting of unidentified performers who look like actual high school students rather than having stars in their twenties was welcoming. Seth Rogen and Bill Hader as the two unconventional cops are a fun supporting act. For example, the shoot out on the stop sign and the outcome of the cop car near the end were frivolous. Besides the occasional uproar, audiences care about the three teens so they can finally attend the party and complete their mission for the night.

Final Grade: B

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Starring Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Julia Stiles, Joey Ansah, Albert Finney, Paddy Considine

Film Prophet's Review...
In continuation of the chase-spy action series, the story centers on Jason Bourne, Damon, uncovering mysteries about his past rationale and his true identity. He wants to find out why he's being targeted by an agency following his movements. The CIA operation repeats its efforts to take down one target, one man, and the hitmen on call can never complete. Bourne dodges away, confronts, attacks, and finds out a little more about the operation, then subsequently jumps again dangerously with espionage and martial arts against the same. David Strathairn, playing against his typecast as the lead villain, is a CIA official sending his operative assets to eliminate of Bourne. ‘It ends when we've won.’ He is part of an operation responsible for Bourne’s amnesic state. The operation is back to the old tricks of looking at big surveillance monitors, wire-tapping phone calls, and going in and out of locations of agencies that lose interception and fall prey. ‘I hear you're still looking for me - get some rest Pam, you're looking tired.’ Like the previous two films in the operation room to hunt down Bourne with tracking devices, others plot in a room while he's out secluded against assassins. Bourne puts on the meticulous moves with hand and eye coordinator leaving guys unconscious and thinks before he executes. Besides running, jumping, and punching, he is also proficient in several languages, though this film does not show that aptitude this time. The beginning catches up briefly by bringing up a few past deaths with taped conversations and flashbacks toying with various redundant flashback incidences that shape present situations. This third installment in the series is in a superior form over the previous two, which is rare especially in the year of its release. Director Paul Greengrass moves the action and the story along with the type of music that aims to create suspense, unsteady camera work, and rapid cuts every second to keep the adrenaline of the movie in one piece. He shuns special effects and goes for suspense action of walking around crowds to escape the followers that usually ends with Bourne defeating numerous assassins at once quickly. There aren’t many big explosions for attractions, rather hand-to-hand combats break out any time and the stunt work is preferred over computer effects. Less time is on trying to regain Bourne’s background memory so he forms connections with those who remember him, as this is where ethics and alliances arrive into place. The camera has a tough time in parts and the dialogue was a bit rough without Damon in a scene, yet Damon was solid and rigid. The film loses some momentum after a hand combat ends, but it starts back up again shortly. The film rushes the tension between everyone with pressures and threats. Imagine running away from a sniper who is at a concealed location while the police or anyone else intervenes to slow down matters down... very arduous. The movie covers several locales such as London, Madrid, New York City, and Tangier when Bourne is on the move to discover his past and others are tracing his steps. The foot-chase sequence in Tangier with Agent Desh, who follows up to be Bourne’s best match physically in a one on one challenge, through a maze of alleys, windows, and rooftops is excellent… it’s the best pursuit in the film followed by the car chase sequence through the New York City streets which puts the film over the mark.

Final Grade: B/B+

In the Bedroom (2001)
Starring Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, William Mapother

Film Prophet's Review...
A family in their Maine home sees their teenage son in a romance with a slightly older single mother, with two children, who also has an abusive separated boyfriend. With an acclaim movie and a title as it is, audiences would be expecting the majority if not all of the reserved discussion and drama to be in the bounds of the walls in the bedroom. They would just lay on the bed or under the covers convivial and welcoming to their lives. Bar none that the private parts, no not the sex because there isn’t any, of the character issues are kept personal and inner aloof. None of the action occurs in the bedroom and it all happens out of the boundaries of the bedroom where it's unsettling and not safe. A bedroom wasn’t shown until characters have made an impact else where. The moral of the movie centers on communication breaking during an impeded marriage where people have to react to a sudden hardship. The direction by Todd Field shelves up on a soft and gentle approach where human beings are kind unless tragedy strikes. The home life, time with neighbors and friends, and with the kids are very middling and usual for a family, as it opens like so. Females are in the kitchen and males are outdoors fishing for lobsters, playing poker, and by the grill. Soon, the story dissolves into uneasiness with others in situations where sensitivity and remorse arise. Conversations are usually kept short and to the point naturally. It is too relaxed and understated for disconcerting clashes, like with the abusive former boyfriend, and don't glorify them bigger than life. Even the climax of tragedy is underplayed where few words after are exchanged afterwards. During this period, the husband and wife mostly have nothing to say to each other which is represented by blank looks and no words followed by long black fades between short scenes where they don't communicate because of one loss. All the talks are in a tone of sorrow with emptiness and uneasy murkiness within. Sometimes, they are interrupted by other people, like a woman asking for change at a store, buying candy bars at home from a girl at the front door for a fundraiser, or even a young choir singing. The acting here is serious, but versatile enough to relieve small situations. ‘Um, do you like coleslaw?’ The acting moments shine in the perturbed occurrences when things aren't planned and immediate to adjust to instead of the anti- melancholy, at ease as families try to aim for. Though, there are no riveting moments whatsoever, the film observes the loss, the blame, the grief, and the unforgiving. ‘My wife keeps seeing you, I can't have that anymore.’ They recover unaccompanied and after the half mark of the film makes for humdrum dealings with the after effects with court trails as it turns into a festival of misery squabbling, weeping about penalties and who is responsible. It turns into a subdued self versus self drama for everyone contemplating ways to fix the problem that is very difficult to solve. The bleak contact is not enjoyable, though the film is very professional around the sensitive issue. They deal with pressures of a tragedy that they have to endure for the sake of their marriage in all of the film's delicacy. They end up back where the day begins, in the bedroom.

Final Grade: B-/B

Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
Starring Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Bibi Andersson, Jan Malmsjö, Gunnel Lindblom

Film Prophet's Review...
The drama study of a marriage concerns the raw nature of a relationship between a man and woman by adultery. Ingmar Bergman directs human behavior toward one another during a marriage that eventually reaches divorce, but they can’t keep separated. The marital drama is almost three hours in length as it was originally a six episode television show, now segmented by chapters in the film. It’s a typical seventies production with dull colors, attire, and makeup that's not really attractive to modern standards, even for a Bergman film, including a grainy, fuzzy appeal. Every scene is about their marriage with them two solely featured. It opens with the main couple, Marianne, Ullmann, and Johan, Josephson, being interviewed for a magazine. The camera is fully positioned on them for one long shot. It is a continuous shot for a steady length of time bestowing their ability to go that long and go over all those lines quite well. This opening sequence is the one that sticks out as it is excellent at showing their gestures, mannerisms, and reactions to statements and questions. Here, they open up their background life history through the interview together. ‘Look as if you are fond of each other.’ There’s constant chatter with responses instantly in the movie so there's plenty of subtitles to read but some go over the viewer's head since there’s a lot in a short amount of time. It’s so well-written for oral discussion. However, very little actually occurs despite these intimate talks in this low budget film where the writing is the main spot. The film always shows them together or separate on screen as two people carry the whole film without complementary help. They verbally share and discuss their pains and worries back and forth. They're certainly not boring and plain people, rather healthy and cheerful individuals. She is a divorce lawyer and he is traveling doctor. On numerous occasions they put effort to improve their marriage assessing both their fortes and failures when they both start admitting intimate details where some lead to irritations. They overcomplicate matters through exchanging words quietly and tenderly, and arguing without being histrionic. As predicted, this all falls during the late stretch of the movie with nagging and an affair before divorce papers. The turning point lands right in the center of the film – man falling in love with another women and leaving, which elapses to the next chapter. The way the wife reacts to the affair and him going away for a while displays Ullmann’s physical acting talents, more than just speaking words. Their relationship and lives continue by segments as their attitudes and responsibilities in situations show they’re always going to be vulnerable people. They rekindle through various stages in their marriage, to divorce papers. They will curse each other and have temporary rejoice moments, but they have memories that they hold on to as they rethink their status together. A targeted crowd for the film would be an older adult audience that would garner the most sympathy or connection to these people, with quotes like ‘sex isn't everything’ and ‘married people lose interest in each other’ and ‘getting married was a mistake, it was more of a joke.’ They use constant random talk to keep interest in each other. The audience never sees the children's side or the two daughters at all and they aren’t mentioned in full. They should be relevant in the situation but they are vacant in the entire of the film that remains on the husband and wife side. It’s completely on their stances conveying the lukewarm emotions of the couple. It is a tremendous film between a man and a woman in adultery, but the bare entertainment value, wordy dialogue, and length of film diminishes some of its worth.

Final Grade: B-/B

Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
Starring Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow, Lars Passgård

Film Prophet's Review...
A mentally ill young woman returns from a mental institution on a remote island for vacation with her father, her brother, and a playwright. Her father is an amateur writer and he observes her sickness in order to write his story. The movie won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in its year. Ingmar Bergman’s Swedish film deals with her search for God that pushes her to the boundaries while others think that he is nonexistent and it’s all her. Some are distant and empty from another and they’re afraid of losing her. Bergman casts some of his regulars and this movie has a very small cast of four main people. The focal point is always on the four characters and island’s settings that further the movie and the story, and brace it together. The tranquil settings begin with a lake and stable calmness in the air. Moreover, the instrumental score is composed by a violin, and the colors are pale gray in the clear and spark photography. Each frame in the film is pictured where the characters are centered in the middle of the frame with sufficient room for the beautiful scenery. This scenery creates an entire new aroma satisfying for the viewing pleasure. Another triumphant aspect about the film is the sharp dialogue sounding poetic and educated, and acting interaction which also supplements the film viewing. The final line in the movie is astonishing in wonder. The pacing is steady and unhurried, almost second by second in its current time span. It sometimes seems faint on a plotline, but Bergman has his way to capture the audience's attention elsewhere, as described. There are times when discussions among them are at idle and it discards character action opting for their pains and feelings. There are no conflicts from the start which allows plenty of time to watch the characters alone and bothered by something unclear. The apparent substance is low, particularly when it gets into individual divine time with no words. After thirty minutes, there is a question mark about knowing if God exists that brings them together. ‘Give me some proof of God.’ Her illness is only truly expressed through her movements alone spiritually which confuses the rest, yet the atmosphere still fits. They communicate about how confused they are with her beliefs. However, the film is too soothing, comfortable, and relaxing for a lengthy time to evoke any striking dilemma that lasts to the following scenes as it remains soft. It shows people's reactions towards one’s sacred illness and the slender, but rigid problems that ensue between them.

Final Grade: B