Monday, May 15, 2006
Movie Reviews: Poseidon & Munich
Captain Bradford (André Braugher) delivers a holiday toast to the passengers on board his luxury cruise ship, the Poseidon. But on the horizon is a giant wave, and it's approaching fast. Unable to avoid it, Bradford watches helplessly as the wall of water slams into the vessel. The Poseidon is turned upside down and quickly begins to sink. A few hundred survivors including a gambler (Josh Lucas), a 9-year-old kid (Bennett), his mom (Barrett), a fireman and his daughter (Kurt Russell, Emmy Rossum), her fiancé (Mike Vogel), a suicidal man (Richard Dreyfuss) and a waiter (Freddy Rodriguez) are left trapped in the ship's ballroom. They must fight through the remains of the ship and find a way to the water's surface before the Poseidon heads to the bottom of the ocean.
Cast Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, Richard Dreyfuss, Jacinda Barrett, Emmy Rossum (more)
Director(s) Wolfgang Petersen
Writer(s) Mark Protosevich
Status In theaters (wide)
Genre(s) Adventure, Action, Remake
Release Date May 12, 2006
Running Time 99 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril
Wolfgang Petersens best films have taken place on the ocean, Das Boots and A Perfect Storm. I had hoped that Poseidon would allow Petersen to recapture the magic of those films, unfortunately it doesnt happen. What we do get is a terribly clichéd movie with paper thin characters who we could care less about. Each major character is given about 5 minutes of worth of characterization before they are put in danger. This is a major no-no for disaster films. If the audience doesnt care about the people involved, then why bother. One of the great thing about the ground breaking original, 1972 The Poseidon Adventure, film was that it kept the audience off balance by killing off characters you would never have expected. In this remake, you can easily pick out which characters will survive and which ones will not. Most of the characters that die are taken out moments after theyve done whatever single purpose the script wanted them to do. As if all this was not bad enough we are treated to some of the worse CGI seen on the big screen. A big budget film shouldnt contain effects that you can see on most movie of the week. Overall, a water logged shipwreck that no one would miss or remember.
In the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, a secret squad is assembled to assassinate 11 Palestinians believed to be responsible for planning the killings. Avner (Bana) is charged with leading the specialists brought together to execute the operation.
Cast Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Hanns Zischler (more)
Director(s) Steven Spielberg
Writer(s) Tony Kushner, Eric Roth
Status On DVD
Genre(s) Drama, Thriller
Release Date Dec. 23, 2005 limited; Jan. 6, 2006 wide
DVD Release Date May 9, 2006
Running Time 164 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for strong graphic violence, some sexual content, nudity and language
Munich is another excellent addition to Steven Spielbergs, already impressive film resume. Munich excels because it does a beautiful job laying out the moral ambiguities inherent in retaliating against terrorism. Spielbergs film isnt terribly slanted toward one side of the issue or another, even though it does lean a bit toward the left. Instead, it relates the issues and sets the table for the audience, what each person takes away from the film is up to the individual. The acting is top notch, Geoffrey Rush does stand out in a supporting role as Avners contact in the Israeli government. Spielberg does go a bit overboard in last shot which comes off a bit too strong for my tastes since the contemporary analogy is fairly clear and easy to deduce. Aside from that one misstep, this movie is an excellent adult contemplation of important past and current issues that affect everyone, one of Spielbergs best films.