King Arthur

DVD review from The Movie Snob.

King Arthur  (C-).  This 2004 film is a very different version of the Arthurian legend from any I have seen before.  In fact, it’s more of a Roman epic like Centurion or The Last Legion (although much better than either of those turkeys).  In the mid-400s A.D., the Romans are pulling out of Britain, but Roman commander Artorius (Clive Owen, Children of Men), is sent north of Hadrian’s Wall to rescue a handful of Roman citizens from an approaching Saxon army.  He takes his handful of comrade knights, including Lancelot (Ioan Gruffud, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) and Galahad (Hugh Dancy, The Jane Austen Book Club), on his quest, and against great odds they succeed.  They also pick up a rather fetching local pagan named Guenevere (Keira Knightley, Never Let Me Go) along the way.  She persuades Artorius to stay and help her people, the Woads, oppose the wicked Saxons, who are led by the evil Cerdic (Stellan Skarsgard, Thor).  As you may have gathered, this movie is completely unlike Excalibur (Merlin is barely in it, and there’s no magic at all), but like Excalibur I give it credit for trying to have some decent fight scenes (although they go on and on a bit too long in the “director’s cut” that I watched).  Oh, I should note that, in Hollywood fashion, the movie makes the few Roman Christian characters out to be villains and it associates Artorius’s relative benevolence and love of freedom with his adherence to the early Christian heresy of Pelagianism.  Anyhow, it’s not a very good movie, but it’s a tolerable one.

Trust

The Borg Queen transmits this DVD review

Trust – A

This movie grabbed my attention from start to finish. It stars Clive Owen (Children of Men), Catherine Keener (Capote), and Liana Liberato (Trespass), and was directed by David Schwimmer (TV’s Friends). It is about a 14 year-old girl that meets who she believes to be a 16 year-old boy in a teenage volleyball chatroom online. Over a period of months, they become close and she comes to trust him, believing he is the only one that understands her. She believes that they have fallen in love. He slowly reveals he is older – at first he’s 20, and then 25. When her parents are away taking their eldest son to college, he takes the opportunity to meet her at a mall. He turns out to be over 35 years old. Although she is obviously upset and scared, he cleverly uses the trust he’s developed with her to keep her engaged. At first he just walks around the mall with her (where the girl’s best friend spots her), then takes her to an ice cream shop, and then he gets her into his car and takes her to a motel, where he assaults her. The best friend reports everything to the school, and from there the FBI gets involved – and the parents discover what has happened. The remainder of the movie is about the turmoil the girl goes through realizing she was a victim of an online predator who never loved her, and the turmoil her parents go through realizing they did not know what was going on and that they were unable to protect her. The acting was excellent and portrayed the destruction of innocence – for the girl and the family – extremely well. The movie wasn’t dark, just realistic – and reminded me why I’ll never let my daughter have a computer in her room. This movie was made by people who truly care about the subject, and they have my respect. I recommend this movie for every parent, especially fathers.

The International

Movie Man Mike reviews a fairly recent release

The International (B-) This film had a lot of potential. It might have been better if it were written as a James Bond film. Instead, Louis Salinger, a former Interpol agent played by Clive Owen (Children of Men), is working for the New York District Attorney’s office alongside Assistant DA Eleanor Whitman, played by Naomi Watts (King Kong). The two are investigating some questionable banking transactions by the third largest bank in the world. Each time Salinger gets close to uncovering the bank’s big secret–that it is financing world conflict–his witnesses die and the trail nearly disappears. Ultimately, Salinger has to go outside the bounds of the law to bring the bank down. One of my favorite scenes is a shoot-out that takes place at the Guggenheim in New York. I’ll never be able to visit that museum again without an exit strategy and without constantly looking over my shoulder for gunmen. I enjoyed this film, but in the end, the resolution of the conflict was a little underwhelming.

The International

Movie review from The Movie Snob

The International (B-). I had kinda sorta wanted to see this movie just because it starred current cool dude Clive Owen (Children of Men) and cute little buck-toothed Naomi Watts (The Painted Veil). Well, it’s really Clive’s movie; Naomi is barely in it, and she has virtually nothing to do. But Clive does a good job as an Interpol agent who’s trying to bust a shady Luxembourg bank that’s dealing high-tech weapon systems to Third World countries. This is the kind of bank that has an assassin on permanent retainer, so you definitely don’t want to incur a lot of overdraft fees with them. The movie’s message is clear–giant international banks control everything, and they keep assassins on retainer, so don’t mess. Kind of a downer, don’t you think? Still, Clive is a pro, and there’s a massive shootout in the Guggenheim Museum that’s kind of fun to watch.

Derailed

DVD review from guest reviewer The Borg Queen

Derailed. D-.

I hated this movie. Generally, it is about Charles Schine (Clive Owen, Children of Men) meeting Lucinda Harris (Jennifer Aniston, Management) in a chance encounter on a train. Although both of them are married and each has a daughter, there is an immediate attraction between the two of them. Before you know it, they end up at a back-alley hotel to consummate their affair. But, they get interrupted when a stranger breaks into the room to rob them. The stranger, LaRoche (Vincent Cassel, Black Swan), ends up essentially haunting Schine, threatening to expose the affair to his wife, threatening his family, and extorting considerable amounts of money out of him. Although the concept was semi-interesting, the execution was awful. Schine acted completely contrary to human nature throughout the movie. Then again, if his character responded the way a person would be expected to respond, the movie would have ended pretty quickly. Granted, there are some unexpected developments, but the annoyance of the rest of the movie makes the whole thing an utter disaster. I really like Jennifer Aniston, but I have to say don’t waste your time on this movie – you’ll just end up skipping scenes to get to the end like I did. Also, be forewarned there is a rape scene.

Shoot ‘Em Up

DVD review from Nick at Nite

Shoot ‘Em Up

Clive Owen (Children of Men) and Paul Giamatti (San Andreas) are golden. These days, these two seem to do little wrong. Owen should have been the new James Bond and Giamatti is Oscar worthy as the ultimate everyman in all of his roles. This frantic movie features Mr. Owen and Mr. Giamatti squaring off against one another with all sorts of gunplay and mayhem. The plot is a little hard to follow and is certainly late in developing. However, the plot is an inconvenient aside to all of the one liners and action sequences. This is not a particularly smart movie, but it is fun. If you have an aversion to violence and gunfire, sit this one out. If your favorite line in the first Matrix movie is “… we are going to need more guns …,” I suggest you buy this movie on DVD. I give it an “A.”

Children of Men

DVD review from Nick at Nite

Children of Men. I have an affinity in my heart for end-of-the-world-type movies. Omega Man, Meteoroid, Armageddon, Night of the Living Dead, Heidi, etc. . . . Children of Men moves very close to the top of the list. Set in the year 2029, the film shows us a future where man is infertile and a child has not been born since the year 2009. The world is falling apart. Paris is in flames. New York destroyed. There is a siege in Seattle. Things are bad everywhere. The movie starts with a blast. There is a terrorist attack in a coffee shop in London just as the world learns that baby Diego, at 21 years old the youngest person in the world, has been killed by a stalker. The terrorists are trying to start a revolt against the government’s handling of the refugee crisis. We are shown a bleak Great Britain – the last fully functioning government on earth – where refugees and immigrants are being rounded up and sent to “Homeland Security Refugee Camps.” In Great Britain one has to remember that it is illegal to skip fertility tests. Our protagonist, Theo, played by Clive Owen (The International), is thrown into the mix and must help a young, shockingly pregnant woman get out of the county. My description has not done justice to the film. It is very good. You should check it out. I give it an “A.”

Children of Men

Movie review from The Movie Snob

Children of Men (B). A bleak action movie set in England in the year 2027. Some 18 years earlier, every single woman on the planet was mysteriously rendered infertile, and no children have been born since. Despair is widespread. Suicide kits are advertised on television. England itself has become a police state engaged in a massive campaign to deport illegal immigrants and torn apart by terrorist movements. Clive Owen (King Arthur) plays Theo, a depressed guy who works in some government bureaucracy. His joyless existence is shaken up when his ex-wife (played by Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right), now a member of a terrorist group, contacts him and seeks his help in smuggling a young black woman out of the country. The young woman’s amazing secret—she’s pregnant. The politics and some of the character’s motivations are a tad murky, but the depiction of a dystopian, childless future is convincing, and the action sequences are compelling. Owen confirms his talent as an actor once again, turning in a fine performance as an ordinary guy caught up in extraordinary events. Grim, but worth a look.

Closer; National Treasure

New DVD reviews from That Guy Named David:

Closer (B+)

As most followers of this site know, I kinda have a thing for Natalie Portman (that is, of course, until recently when she shaved her head; still relatively cute, but I’m ironically not a big fan of bald women). Nonetheless, my infatuation began with her appearance in Beautiful Girls, easily one of the top 20 movies ever made (slight exaggeration, but still one hell of a movie). I also loved her more recent endeavors such as Garden State. In Closer, she plays a much more grown-up role as the focal point of this story of the dysfunctional lives of four sexually-charged twenty-somethings in Europe. The performances by her, Jude Law, Clive Owen, and Julia Roberts were all exceptional, and the story kept my attention throughout, despite some dragging in the middle. The dialogue was a bit racy, but I appreciate relationship movies that are genuine and don’t pull many punches. The Movie Snob thought that the interactions between the characters were too over the top and not believable, given that they keep switching back and forth by sleeping with each other during the movie. I told him that he should have gone to law school at Tech. Anyway, good movie, but not one that your children should see until they are happily married.

National Treasure (C-)

Amanda (my girlfriend) refuses to watch movies starring Nicolas Cage. Obviously, she has not seen Valley Girl, when the young Nicolas Cage (then Coppola) made his debut in a starring role opposite the lovely Deborah Foreman. Anyway, back to this movie…. When I saw the preview in the theatre, I thought it looked relatively entertaining. Then, the movie came out and was slammed by the press. I tend to agree with my esteemed reviewing brethren on this one. Cage was great in Leaving Las Vegas and has been pretty damn horrendous in everything since (ex. The Rock, Con Air, Snake Eyes, Face Off, Gone in Sixty Seconds, on and on and on…). This movie is not much different. And to add to his ridiculous portrayal is the addition of the esteemed star of Anaconda, Jon Voight. Not to mention the fact that the story is so incredibly unbelievable (as in, there is no way you can fathom it to be remotely true, despite its attempt at portraying historical facts about this great country). In short, don’t waste two hours of your day watching this movie. Really bad.

Closer

From the desk of The Movie Snob:

Closer (C). This dark movie charts the relationships that form and dissolve and (possibly) re-form between two British guys (Clive Owen, the ubiquitous Jude Law) and two American women (Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman) over a four-year period. I freely admit that I have a hard time liking movies about unlikeable people, and at least three of the four protagonists in this flick are pretty unpleasant human beings (only Portman’s character is somewhat sympathetic). But my real problem was suspending disbelief that these four lovebirds could say and do the things they do and not kill (or at least maim) each other afterwards. Obsession, verbal cruelty, and betrayal are the hallmarks of these “love affairs,” and there is so much graphic sexual dialogue that you’ll forget there’s not a single sex scene in the movie. Definitely not a movie to see with your parents. Good performances offset the weak script to some extent, so I call it a C.