Sunday, October 28, 2007
Movie Reviews: MICHAEL CLAYTON, REIGN OVER ME, THE TRIPPER & FIDO
Michael Clayton (George Clooney) may be a "fixer" who takes care of a major Manhattan law firm's dirtiest work, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a conscience. It's the bad combination of a divorce, a failed personal business and an insurmountable debt that keeps him doing his job. However, when an angst-riddled attorney (Tom Wilkinson) threatens to shake up the very foundation of the firm Clayton has devoted his life to; it may just force the fixer to look for a new line of work.
Cast George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack (more)
Director(s) Tony Gilroy
Writer(s) Tony Gilroy
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date Oct. 5, 2007 — limited; Oct. 12, 2007 — wide
Running Time 120 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for language including some sexual dialogue
Michael Clayton is one of those refreshingly intelligent movies that's needed in the fall, one that cleanses the pallet of the mindless summer fare. Tony Gilroy provides superior writing that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator. Instead, it lays the story, mixing time lines, before the audience and allows them to decipher what is happening. Michael Clayton has a perfectly dour sense of mood and atmosphere, embedded with a pervading sentiment of cynicism. George Clooney sheds his usual bravado and takes on Clayton's world weary persona to perfection. Along with Clooney, the rest of the cast is perfectly cast and really shine in their respective roles. Tom Wilkinson delivers another solid performance as the mentally disturbed if well meaning mentor to Clooney's Clayton. Tilda Swinton turns in a wonderfully nuanced performance, which may earn her a supporting Oscar nod, filled with small touches that add so much to her character which in the hands of a lesser actress would have fallen into clichéd territory. While the story is fairly well traveled, evil corporations doing bad things, Tony Gilroy's style and script really elevate the entire production to another level.
REIGN OVER ME
After losing his wife and kids in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Charlie (Adam Sandler)
goes into a severe depression and retreats from the world. Luckily, he runs into his old college roommate, Alan (Don Cheadle), who feels sorry for his old friend and does his best to draw him back out.
Cast Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland (more)
Director(s) Mike Binder
Writer(s) Mike Binder
Status On DVD
Release Date March 23, 2007
DVD Release Date Oct. 9, 2007
MPAA Rating R - for language and some sexual references.
Reign Over Me is a sometimes moving but mostly uneven drama that leaves you feeling that there was much there that could have been explored. Director Mike Binder gives the film an odd tone that switches from light hearted to high drama making for a very herky jerky feel. Binder does give the film a good sense of New York via some wonderful shots of the city in all its urban glory. The cast is solid throughout. Don Cheadle turns in a solid performance but you feel he's a bit constricted by the one dimensional character he's given to play. Adam Sandler does fairly well here even if his interpretation of trauma and pain come off as mental illness sometimes, and looking like Bob Dylan, but in the quieter moments you can sense a great sense of loss come through. Jada Pinkett Smith gives an elegant performance even if she's not given very much time on screen. The performances really make some of the longer scenes bearable as this film does tend to take it's time making its way through the plot. It nearly comes to a grinding halt in the last third of the film. There is also a shoehorned subplot with Saffron Burrows' character which is just so out of place it striking every time her character back on screen, especially since her character doesn't really have any bearing on the main plot. As a whole, this film's plot could have been the stuff of great intriguing drama but it's mishandled by the director wasting some solid acting.
A bunch of hippies gather in the woods for some peace, love and understanding —
as long as the love is free and comes with some good ol' fashioned rock 'n' roll. But the big party turns into a major nightmare when a maniacal killer obsessed with Ronald Reagan descends on the festivities to hack the partiers into pieces. This oddball horror flick is the directorial debut of actor David Arquette.
Cast Lukas Haas, Balthazar Getty, David Arquette, Courteney Cox, Pee-Wee Herman, Jason Mewes (more)
Director(s) David Arquette
Writer(s) David Arquette, Joe Harris
Status On DVD
Release Date April 20, 2007
DVD Release Date Oct. 23, 2007
MPAA Rating R - for strong horror violence and gore, drug content, language and
The Tripper, David Arquette's directorial debut, lives up to it's title and delivers an honest to god head trip of a movie watching experience. Right off the bat, you can see that Arquette has an interesting directorial eye that is both shaking and psychedelic. His visual style ranges from being way over the top, near epileptic levels at times, to moments of manic genius. The not so subtle political undertone gives the movie a fun sense of self relevance and makes some of the lines of dialogue quite funny. The cast is obviously having a good time hamming it up throughout this gore, yet scare-less, fest. Tom Jane in particular turns in a fun performance as the forests sole police officer. The Tripper offers some great peaks but its valleys can be outright boring, such as Jamie King's subplot involving her bad trip and ex boyfriend are a massive yawn fest. Still there's enough worth watching here and given Arquette's interesting, if somewhat derivate, style and general sense of fun it's a solid first film.
Everybody knows that a boy's best friend is a flesh-eating zombie. When his mom buys a six-foot domesticated member of the living dead to be the household butler, little Timmy Robinson (K'Sun Ray) names him Fido and forms a special bond with the creature. And even though Fido ends up eating the neighbors, Timmy does everything he can to keep Fido as his "pet."
Cast Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly, Tim Blake Nelson, Dylan Baker, Henry Czerny (more)
Director(s) Andrew Currie
Writer(s) Andrew Currie, Robert Chomiak, Dennis Heaton
Status On DVD
Release Date June 15, 2007
DVD Release Date Oct. 23, 2007
Running Time 91 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for zombie-related violence
Fido is a fun quirky little movie that mixes Leave it to Beaver with Night of the Living Dead resulting in a surprisingly cutesy experience. Director Andrew Currie brings an excellent sense of 50 era conformity personified by his colorful vision of suburbia. Currie gives his film light almost kids movie tone throughout, quite an accomplishment when you consider people get eaten on a fairly regular basis. Carrie-Anne Moss has fun with her 50's era house wife and delivers lines like she was in an episode of Lassie or Leave it to Beaver. K'Sun Ray's Timmy also seems ripped from any of the classic black and white sitcoms of the past. Those looking to be scared or in search of gore will be a little let down plus it does drag a little in the middle here but otherwise this is a fun little film that may cater to long time zombie horror fans such as myself.