Film

Review: The Pink Panther 2

By Gerald Aaron, February 12, 2009

I don’t think I would be lying if I described this redundant remake as a “laugh-a-minute comedy”. It contained about one laugh but I cannot actually remember in which minute it occurred.

Otherwise Steve Martin’s energetic but unfunny efforts to bring bungling accident-prone Inspector Clouseau, originally created by Peter Sellers 45 years ago, is about as amusing as a tax demand.

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Review: Hotel For Dogs

By Gerald Aaron, February 12, 2009

This amusing and warm-hearted children’s adventure delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Canine-loving kids are in for a real treat. The young cast (of humans), an attractive tribe of amiable mutts, and enthusiastic first-time director Thor Freudenthal all ensure accompanying adults, too, should be pleasantly entertained. Expect a well-assembled mixture of comedy, four-legged slapstick and, at the climax, sentiment.

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Review: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

By Gerald Aaron, February 5, 2009

David Fincher’s epic fantasy about a man who is born a wizened elderly midget and grows younger as he ages resembles a kind of reverse riff on Forrest Gump.

It showcases highly impressive film craft, extraordinary special effects and make-up that brilliantly superimpose Brad Pitt’s features at different stages of ageing on to various sized bodies to chart his growth into an ever younger man.

Cate Blanchett, covered in latex ageing make-up, tells the strange story in flashback via her diary and plays Button’s ballet dance lover.

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Review: Vicky Cristina Barcelona

By Gerald Aaron, February 5, 2009

Woody Allen’s latest film is certainly an improvement on his last three offerings — Match Point, Scoop (never released in Britain except by DVD pirates) and Cassandra’s Dream.

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Review: Underworld: Rise Of The Lycans

By Gerald Aaron, January 29, 2009

Len Wiseman, who directed the first two supernatural shockers in the Underworld series, cedes the director’s chair to Patrick Tatopoulos, who designed the monsters for all three movies.

The result is thrilling for audiences following the ongoing battle between the vile aristocratic vampires and ravening lycanthropes (or werewolves).

Rise of the Lycans illustrates, in gory detail, the origins of the bloody feud

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Review: Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist

By Gerald Aaron, January 29, 2009

Like Superbad, in which Michael Cera appeared to advantage, this light and likeable teen rom-com takes place over a single night in Manhattan.

Here, Cera plays high school misfit Nick, the only straight member of an all-gay indie band, who meets Nora (Kat Dennings). Romance blossoms during a night of wild, mostly comic adventures.

Energetic direction by Peter Sollet, and the charming double act of the nerdy Cera and the engagingly natural Dennings make this an enjoyably experience.

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Review: Revolutionary Road

By Gerald Aaron, January 29, 2009

Sam Mendes won 1999’s best director Oscar for his first film, American Beauty.

Extraordinarily, he has not been nominated for this powerful drama which is far superior.

Nor has Kate Winslet been rewarded with a best actress nomination. This is equally strange because her portrayal of April Wheeler, a wife and mother whose dream life in 1950s American suburbia turns into a nightmare, is well worthy of an Academy Award.

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Review: Valkyrie

By Gerald Aaron, January 22, 2009

Tom Cruise, wearing an eye patch, lacks conviction as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the leader of the failed 1943 plot to kill Hitler. Like Milk, the screenplay inevitably lacks suspense — you already know the outcome — and while director Bryan Singer delivers some powerful action sequences, this is an unconvincing star vehicle.

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Review: Rachel Getting Married

By Gerald Aaron, January 22, 2009

Director Jonathan Demme colourfully brings the eponymous wedding to life as Anne Hathaway’s Rachel emerges from rehab and sparks emotional chaos among her already dysfunctional family.

As catastrophe-laden screen weddings go, this is a perfectly-played exemplar. Hathaway is superb, Debra Winger makes a welcome return as Rachel’s mother and, intriguingly, Demme’s mentor, producer-director Roger Corman, turns up as a guest.

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Review: Milk

By Gerald Aaron, January 22, 2009

Director Gus Van Sant’s well-made biopic of Harvey Milk, who became the first overtly gay elected public official in the USA, boasts an award-worthy portrait of Milk by Sean Penn.

He compels attention as the Jewish campaigner who was elected in 1977 to the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, only to be assassinated a year later.

Van Sant concentrates on illuminating Milk’s progress from camera-shop owner to fighting for acceptance of homosexuals.

James Brolin, as his colleague on the board and eventual killer, offers fine support, but this is Penn’s film.

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