You know all the fun and seemingly clever stuff in the preview for Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz? Much to my surprise, the trailers for this summer action/comedy/romance don’t give away the entire film. In fact, most of the wham-bang material from the advertising comes in the very entertaining first hour, which left me wondering what was left up the film’s sleeve for the second half. Sadly, the answer is not much.
Knight and Day starts promisingly but it’s a film in which you can practically hear the air coming out of the tires as it moves along from beautiful location to beautiful location. There’s nearly enough entertainment value in the first half to recommend and the film never falls all the way to the level of boredom (which cannot be said about most summer movies this year) but Knight and Day is one of those films that constantly feels like it could have and should have been better as it threatens to come together but doesn’t quite do so. The stars are charming, the settings are beautiful, and the action is tightly choreographed – but what’s missing from Knight and Day is that intangible personality that elevates reasonably entertaining chemistry into movie magic. Writer Patrick O’Neill and director James Mangold clearly set out to make a film not unlike Romancing the Stone or the romantic buddy work of Cary Grant (Charade and North by Northwest spring to mind while watching the movie) but they learned that pulling something like that off takes more than finding the right stars and putting them in the right place.
You will rarely see a film as deeply satisfying as Toy Story 3. With easily one of the best screenplays of not just the year but in the history of animation, Pixar has done it again. They’ve created a masterpiece that serves as both pure family entertainment and a loving ode to the days when nothing was more important than our imagination and our friends. Toy Story...Read More
Filmmakers just can’t get away with junk like Jonah Hex any more. Despite the success of the Transformers films, audiences are generally too smart now for productions that are so sloppily thrown together that they remind them of what they didn’t like about crappy movies that came before. If you had problems with Wild Wild West, Ghost Rider, or Constantine, wait for said problems...Read More
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work may be a tough sell for those of you that are not fans of one of the most legendary comediennes of all time, so let me speak to you first. Even if you HATE the most recent winner of The Celebrity Apprentice, this documentary is still a must-see. It’s a fascinating, enlightening look at the dark side of show business and...Read More
There once was a time when summer movies were designed to do nothing but entertain people pissed off about working during the most beautiful days of the year and kids who needed an air-conditioned break from their outdoor activity. This summer has been woefully short on films that feel conceived and executed to honestly entertain their paying viewers as more and more wannabe blockbusters feel like products of...Read More
The remake of The Karate Kid with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan is better than it could have been by leaps and high-kicks but it is also not quite as effective as it should have been to be truly crowd-pleasing. Based on the response of the young audience with which I saw the film – which included an “I want to see it again!!” as...Read More
Ben Kalmen (Michael Douglas) is the kind of man who when confronted by an ultimatum that he must change or risk losing someone important, blames the person who feels betrayed enough to make it instead of actually considering that perhaps he should change. The fact is that he can’t change. He knows it, so why fight it? This mentality has pushed Ben into a corner where he’s...Read More
A fisherman pulls the body of a beautiful, naked woman in with his morning catch. So begins the magical tale of Neil Jordan’s Ondine, a mystery with a bit of fairy tale edge amid the dirt and grime of Irish working-class life. Jordan has long been obsessed with unusual love stories (The Crying Game, Mona Lisa) and a lot of his work has had a...Read More
OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006) was a very funny satire of spy movies not unlike a French Austin Powers. The main difference is that Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath (Jean Dujardin), better known as OSS 117, was actually a character in genuine spy movies in the 1960s and has only now been re-imagined as a spoof of his sexist, racist, and generally stupid personality....Read More
Remarkably ambitious, stylishly made, and only slightly flawed in its thematic inconsistency, Vincenzo Natali’s Splice is as unique and daring a mainstream horror/sci-fi film as you’ll see all year. Part of the reason for that is that it’s not really a horror film. At least not in the way it’s being advertised. The trailers and TV commercials would have you believe that that Splice is a...Read More