Film

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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Review: Frost/Nixon

By Gerald Aaron, January 22, 2009

I carried out an (admittedly un-scientific) straw poll and found that many people around 30 appear unfamiliar with Sir David Frost, whose television heyday was some three decades ago.

Sensibly, screenwriter Peter Morgan’s adaptation of his own successful stage play takes time to (re)introduce movie audiences to Frost, who is described as “a man of no political convictions whatsoever” but one who “understood TV”.

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Review: My Bloody Valentine 3D

By Gerald Aaron, January 15, 2009

When inspiration falters, remakes follow!

This excessive shocker bloodies up a 1981 B-film, adding state-of-the-art 3-D effects which project gushes of gore into the audience’s faces.
The shock sequences are in effective enough to compensate for over-familiar plotting, clichéd characters and almost-adequate acting.
Sadly, it is all too nasty for anyone but horror-film completists.

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Review: Beverly Hills Chihuahua

By Gerald Aaron, January 15, 2009

Disney’s latest family fantasy features a collection of canine characters who (Jamie Lee Curtis’s witty take on a wealthy Beverly Hills airhead excepted), enthusiastically out-perform their two-legged co-stars. They are considerably helped, it has to be said, by the actors voicing them, led by Drew Barrymore speaking for Chloe, Curtis’s pampered pooch.

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Review: The Wrestler

By Gerald Aaron, January 15, 2009

Who would have thought it? After his once-thriving movie career collapsed, Mickey Rourke became a professional boxer and his screen star appeared to have set permanently.

Now, however, in the best tradition of Hollywood biopics, Rourke returns to the celluloid ring in triumph. Thanks to Darren Aronofsky’s exemplary direction and a powerful screenplay by Robert Siegel, he gives a detailed, affecting, surprisingly funny performance that has earned him a Golden Globe, should guarantee an Academy Award nomination and probably the best-actor Oscar itself.

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