Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Movie Reviews: WHITEOUT & THE INVENTION OF LYING
A U.S. marshall tracking a vicious murderer through the Antarctic must locate the killer before the sun sets for six months, or risk being trapped in the dark with the madman for months on end in director Dominic Sena's adaptation of the graphic novel series by Greg Rucka. U.S. marshall Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale) has been stationed at Antarctica's South Pole research base for two years, and now after turning in her resignation she's looking forward to finally going home. The last plane out leaves in just three days, and just after that ..Antarctica.. will not see the sun again for another 24 weeks. Then, just 72 hours before she is set to escape the coming darkness, a body is discovered in the ice -- prompting the first murder investigation ever to take place on the desolate Antarctic Circle continent. Little does Carrie realize that she's suddenly been thrust into a mystery over 60 years in the making, and that the killer is ready to strike again in order to protect a grim secret. Now, as the death toll starts to rise, loyalties shift, and a massive series of whiteouts blow bitter winds across the frozen landscape, the U.S. marshall who wanted nothing more than to escape the cold must work around the clock to catch a killer before the blinding white snow gives way to the deadly darkness of winter. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt, Columbus Short, Alex O'Loughlin.
Director Dominic Sena
Release Date: Sept. 11, 2009
Rated R for violence, grisly images, brief strong language and some nudity.
Runtime: 1 hr. 41 min.
Genres: Action, Thriller
It’s never a good thing when the peak of a movie is a gratuitously long shot of Beckinsale disrobing as she gets ready for a shower. After watching the film, I am left with the feeling that there was more effort put into figuring out how to get Kate Beckinsale to show some skin in a movie that takes place entirely, sans a few flashbacks, in the South Pole. Mission accomplished, I guess. As for the rest of the movie, Dominic Sena delivers a woefully paint by the number murder mystery that seems like it was scripted by a computer programmed to churn out low level CSI plots. Everything about the story is terribly hackneyed and there is zero tension as every twist or turn is about as obvious as a little league soft ball pitch. Sena’s direction here is equally generic as he brings very little to the table doing nothing with the locale outside of pointing out that it’s really cold and windy. Kate Beckinsale bored most of the time and is just going through the motions; it’s not a terrible performance but nothing special either. Gabriel Macht is as stoic and mysterious as the script allows but like everything else here his work like his character is generic with a capital G. Tom Skerritt has a supporting role but mostly he just looks like he wishes he was elsewhere the entire time. The rest of the cast are mainly fodder for the killer especially when they have something to say which might be important. Whiteout is one of the strongest works in cinematic banality I’ve seen in a long while. It’s the type of film that plays in the background and you don’t really feel like you missing anything.
THE INVENTION OF LYING
Ricky Gervais directs himself in The Invention of Lying, a comedy in which everyone in the world tells the truth except for one misfit in the film industry, who after discovering the act of lying, milks it to become the world's most phenomenal performer. Matthew Robinson will co-direct from his own script, which he and Gervais collaborated on. Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, and Louis C.K. co-star in the Media Rights Capital production, with John Hodgman, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, and Jeffrey Tambor rounding out the rest of the cast. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, All Movie Guide
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill.
Director: Ricky Gervais
Release Date: Oct 02, 2009
Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual material and a drug reference
Runtime:1 hr. 39 min.
Genres: Comedy, Romance
The Invention of Lying is the type of film that leaves you scratching your head once you’ve finished watching it. The cast is a collection of comedic heavyweights who could carry a film on their own. It’s directed and co written by its star Ricky Gervais whom I consider a comedic genius. The movie’s conceit is interesting and initially funny but as the film goes on it loses traction fairly quickly. Gervais has an interesting idea to work with and there are decent amounts of laughs to be had but some of the concepts just aren’t executed to the fullest extent. A secondary issue is that the tone of the film is unclear throughout as it changes frequently and as the film nears its end it decides to play a little too nice and safe which comes off as artificial and hollow. Gervais himself is in fine form in his role as he delivers plenty of laughs through well timed delivery of lines and he even gets a moment stretch his drama muscle in a pivotal scene with surprising effectiveness. Jennifer Garner isn’t really asked to do too much outside of stare blankly and recite lines like she’s a 4 year old. Rob Lowe is adequate as Gervais counterpoint but doesn’t really leave much of an impression. The rest of the cast such as Louis C.K., Jonah Hill and Tina Fey are terrible underused with Fey showing up for what amounts to a short cameo. It’s hard to not walk away from The Invention of Lying without the slightest ting of disappointment. It’s a solid film that’s entertaining and contains some fairly interesting ideas, one that will probably infuriate religious folks, but the execution is sporadic and uneven, a real shame as it could have been something special with all the talent assembled.