Film

Review: Bedtime Stories

By Gerald Aaron, December 23, 2008

Adam Sandler’s infectiously comic style has made him popular with audiences and he can be a fine dramatic actor, too, as Punch-Drunk Love proved. But, inevitably, his public popularity does not extend to critics for whom noteworthy screen humour needs subtitles to be significant.

Here, Sandler is at his comic best playing hotel handyman Skeeter Bronson whose life changes when the bedtime stories he invents for his young niece and nephew (attractively played by Laura Ann Kesling and Jonathan Morgan Heit) filter into his own real life.

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Review: The Tale of Despereaux

By Gerald Aaron, December 18, 2008

The eponymous little big-eared rodent hero of this pleasing cartoon adventure saves, mousketeer-style, a lonely princess from rotten rats and casts out grief from her kingdom.

Also involved in this attractive, computer generated animation are a rat, perfectly voiced by Dustin Hoffman, various animals and a cheerful collection of humans who, naturally, take second place to their animal co-stars.

Apt vocal casting — Matthew Broderick as the titular mouse hero, Emma Watson as the princess and Sigourney Weaver, excellent as the narrator - adds to the family fun.

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Review: Twilight

By Gerald Aaron, December 18, 2008

When teenager Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves from Arizona to live with her father in the small Washington town of Fork (population 3,120) she has to adapt to her new all-American high school. There she meets brooding, Byronic and stunningly handsome Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Their initially cool relationship changes when he mysteriously saves her from a crashing car. But the path to romance is pitted with boulders — Edward turns out to be a vampire (“I’m the world’s most dangerous predator”), now fighting to curb his bloodlust in favour of true love…

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Review: The Lemon Tree

By Gerald Aaron, December 11, 2008

Eran Riklis’s Jewish Film Festival hit gets a well-deserved release — the second Israeli film after Waltz With Bashir to do so in the past few weeks.

His compelling Hebrew-language drama takes off when Israeli Defence Minister Navon (Doron Tavory) moves into his new house on the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank. The house overlooks a lemon grove owned by Palestinian widow Salma (Hiam Abbass), which the security forces decide could harbour potential attackers and must be cut down.

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Review: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

By Gerald Aaron, December 4, 2008

Sequels are often more miss than hit, but parents being pestered by their children to take them to the follow up of 2005’s successful Madagascar need not worry. This colourful Spielberg-Katzenberg-Geffen-produced compendium of cartoon slapstick and surreal humour does not disappoint, providing perfectly acceptable entertainment for youngsters.

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Review: Flawless

By Gerald Aaron, November 27, 2008

Michael Caine is excellent value as an elderly janitor who works in a 1960s London diamond exchange and involves high-flying American-born Oxford-educated Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) in an ingenious gem theft.

While it is no Italian Job, it is an unpretentious and amusing star-driven heist movie.

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Review: What Just Happened?

By Gerald Aaron, November 27, 2008

Barry Levinson smoothly directs a cheerfully callous satirical comedy that sets out to bite the Hollywood hand that feeds it, and succeeds very entertainingly.

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Review: Changeling

By Gerald Aaron, November 27, 2008

Clint Eastwood's masterly war films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima were curiously ignored last year when the Oscar for best director was handed out. This year the Academy should make amends by honouring Eastwood for his magnificent account of the true story of single mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) whose nine-year-old son was kidnapped in Los Angeles in 1928.

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Review: Body of Lies

By Gerald Aaron, November 20, 2008

Resourceful CIA agent Roger Ferris, convincingly played by Leonardo DiCaprio, hunts the Middle East for an Arab terrorist leader who has orchestrated bombings around the world in Ridley Scott's tense and exciting contemporary thriller.

DiCaprio takes the lion's share of the entertaining proceedings, while Russell Crowe makes the most of his scenes as his veteran CIA controller.

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Review: Waltz with Bashir

By Gerald Aaron, November 20, 2008

"Waltz with Bashir," says Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman of his extraordinary and disturbing evocation of the horrors of the First Lebanon War of the early 1980s, "was always meant to be an animated documentary.
"For a few years, I had the basic idea for the film in my mind but I was not happy at all to do it in real life... Then I figured out it could only be done in animation with fantastic drawings."

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