Month: May 2009

Sleuth (2007)

Not since Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has the screen been graced with such a duel between acting talents, even from the first version of Sleuth where Michael Caine ironically plays his opposing lead now. The younger man, played splendidly by the dynamic Jude Law gives marvelous depth to his performance as the prize in a game he plays with his wealthy elder, moves from possession of a woman to quite something else. As the game progresses, it becomes clear the woman in question is more a point marker than an object of affection by either man. Until the game itself declines to more penetrating aspects into the two. Something closely akin to the Albee play but not found in the script of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and only emerging at least in this film is that of Pinter’s interpretation. Well worth, however, the scrutiny demanded of the viewer to sort out of the spectacular delivery of lines and the duel of wits (so similar to that of acting skills displayed in showy English style) as the game played between the two develops unexpected turns and ends in the manner depicted. A film of this type is drama, on stage bigger than life for just how actors interpret individual motives and emotions. Differences between the first version and this one example that beautifully. In the contrast...

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Drag Me To Hell

QUICKary Review: When I see a horror movie is rated PG-13, I usually roll my eyes. Drag Me To Hell is the exception: it’s entertaining, fun and it *actually* made me jump. Drag Me To Hell is unlike any recent horror/thriller because it’s actually good. Director Sam Raimi does an excellent job of delivering an unforgiving tale that can make an audience laugh one minute, then tense up the next. The story follows Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a loan officer who can’t get things to go her way. The parents of her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) don’t think she’s good enough for him. At her job she wants the Assistant Manager position, but her boss tells her she isn’t aggressive enough and he also has another employee in mind for the promotion. To gain points with her boss, Christine rejects the request of an old woman trying to get a third extension on her mortgage. Feeling humiliated, the old woman puts a curse on Christine that will send her to hell in three days. In the three days before Christine is supposed to go to hell, she’s tortured by a demon called Lamia. Instead of using blood and gore to entertain, Sam Raimi uses a mixture of sounds and camera angles to draw you into the suspense. The creeks and screeches in Drag Me To Hell are louder than...

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Kharisma’s Kritiques

The story centers around the war between New Age scientists (The Illuminati or the “Enlightened Ones”) and religious priests, (The Vatican Church). A war of philosophies, which began during the time of Galileo and Shakespeare, (1600’s – 1700’s), still exists today.

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Star Trek

After releasing ten films under the banner of ‘Star Trek’, along with four television spin-offs, the novelty of this once proud brand name appeared to be wearing off. This in light of the fact that the latest entries for both mediums met with less than stellar critical and commercial success (“Star Trek: Nemesis” and TV’s “Star Trek: Enterprise” respectively). It seemed that perhaps the franchise and its audience needed a break, and possibly a fresh, new approach if it was to ever find success again. Which brings us to the here and now, the summer of 2009, seven years after the last feature film and four years since the last TV spin-off aired its final episode, and we finally have a new “Star Trek” film once more boldly going where no man has gone before. Under the care of wunderkind producer, writer and director J.J. Abrams (TV’s “Lost” and “Mission: Impossible 3”), along with screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (“Transformers”), the dormant franchise has been resurrected, returning it to bask in the glory of critical praise and commercial success, an achievement that has been absent from the franchise for quite some time. “Star Trek” focuses, once again, on the Federation starship Enterprise and its original crew of Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), Sulu (John Cho), McCoy (Karl Urban), Uhura (Zoe Saldana), and more. When a deadly new...

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Constantine’s Sword (2007)

A documentary of engrossing significance and presentation, under Oren Jacoby’s able direction, Constantine’s Sword, does exceeding justice to autobiographical pursuits of ex-priest, James Carroll as he travels the world and its archives to find answers he had not been allowed while within the Church. Looming larger than even the profound revelations he finds, Carroll provides more immediate address in current parallels to a past that goes all the way back to the earliest traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. Ominously touching upon threatening trends to our own separation of church and state, expressly a scandal over evangelical infiltration of the Air Force Academy, he establishes a frame of reference for how institutions themselves begin programs of intolerance. The virtues of Carroll as both an investigative prober and someone that can allow participants and evidence to speak for itself is integral to the value of this film. One can honestly say there has never been one quite like it. Moments abound throughout where the viewer will be touched by what is seen, from nuns paying homage to the site of where Edith Stein is thought to have left life, to survivors of utmost intolerance finding renewal. This reviewer recently reviewed the latest version of The Day the Earth Stood Still. He found it unimpressive for a reason or two. The main reluctance towards granting it much more than that was...

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