Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:49 PM
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Just Wright may be a Queen Latifah movie, but the real star of the film is Common, the rapper turned actor who takes the poorly written part of an NBA player trying to find an honest woman and turns it into the kind of suave, sophisticated leading man role you thought Hollywood had forgotten all about. It’s pretty generic stuff, for the most part, but what separates Just Wright from just about every other romantic comedy to come out in the past year, is the fact that the guy in the movie isn’t a one-dimensional hound dog looking to get lucky, or a loser who needs to be taught a lesson or any one of a dozen clichés used in this kind of movie to give the girl something to fall in love with and fix. As played by Common, Scott McKnight doesn’t need fixing. He is an honest, up front guy who treats his women with honor and respect. He’s good looking, dresses well and has good manners. He likes and respects his mom and genuinely seems to enjoy his life and the people who are part of it. He’s everything we want a leading man to be but almost never see any more, and Common makes it work on the screen.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 5:07 PM
Monday, September 27, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 7:45 PM
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 2:52 PM
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:04 AM
Friday, September 24, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 1:47 PM
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:10 AM
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 4:25 PM
Monday, September 20, 2010
Finally, after years of seeing him waste his talent in crappy films like Alexander and Miami Vice, Colin Farrell has been given a chance to really prove he’s more than a pretty face thanks to writer/director --- and fellow Irishman -- Neal Jordan. Ondine is a modern day fable about a small town fisherman named Syracuse (Farrell) whose live is changed when he pulls up his nets one misty morning to find a half-drowned girl trapped along with his meager catch of fish. She’s alive, but seems reluctant to tell him who she is and, more importantly, how the heck she ended up in his net. Syracuse – known in the village as Circus on account of his clownish behavior when he was drunk – takes the mystery in stride, even when circumstances start him thinking there’s something supernatural about the leggy lady who slowly works her way into his heart.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:54 PM
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Just as every action movie star feels the need to make a comedy, like Sylvester Stallone doing Oscar or Arnold Schwarzenegger doing Junior – every action star, if they live to be old enough to still be making movies in their golden years, wants to make a grumpy old man revenge movie. Charles Bronson did Death Wish. Clint Eastwood did Gran Torino. Now Michael Caine has given fans his version of the angry old man movie, Harry Brown, a gritty thriller about a lonely guy living in fear in a rundown British council flat. Caine, who has spent the last few years living in Batman’s shadow playing Alfred the Butler, seems to relish the chance to really dig in and play the part of Harry Brown. The film gives him just enough time to establish how fearful Brown’s life has become before turning him loose on the world. But Harry Brown isn’t a simple revenge film, and it’s certainly not designed to make you cheer as Brown battles the punks who killed his friends. Like Eastwood’s epic western, The Undefeated, Harry Brown is a meditation on violence, not a celebration of it, and it is by avoiding the clichés of the usual revenge movie that Harry Brown gains the resonance that stays with you long after you’ve left the theater.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 1:52 PM
Saturday, September 18, 2010
This mostly forgotten Disney classic is a sort of transition film as directors Ted Berman and Richard Rich try to find a way to blend the old school style of animation the studio built its reputation on and the new computer generated graphics that were replacing hand-drawn animation back in the 80s. It’s an uneasy fit at best. The scenes of the skull-headed bad guy raising an army of zombies are almost too intense for children. The studios insistence on adding cute/annoying talking animals to the mix is too much for adults.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 2:01 PM
Friday, September 17, 2010
Do yourself a huge favor, before checking out the show, take a look at the Rock and Roll Odyssey bonus feature that traces the careers of The Everly Brothers from their early days as child performers on a Kentucky radio station to the big reunion show. Because of the innocent quality of their tunes, watching the struggles they went through to get to the top of the early rock world makes the sounds they make at Albert hall that much sweeter.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 2:31 PM
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The History Channel has been explaining the world’s past for years now, so it’s about time it turned its jeweler’s eye for detail on America. And the results will astound you. Even if you’ve been a scholar of US history for most of your life – or are just a devoted watcher of the popular cable channel -- chances are you will discover a surprise or two. Each chapter is extremely well written and the list of talking heads they use to underscore each of the eras being talked about is informative, unexpected and entertaining. What may go overlooked is the high level of performances each of the actors brings to their reenactment roles in the series. It’s not easy bringing a legend like Daniel Boone or George Washington to live, particularly given the plethora of performances that are already a part of the audience’s subconscious, but the actors in The Story of Us make it work.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:03 AM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
This semi-serious look at the reasons human beings laugh follows investigative reporter Albert Nerenberg on a global quest to regain his sense of humor following a series of personal tragedies. The serious side of the story works best, particularly Nerenberg’s interviews with a yoga instructor who uses laughing the way other gurus use stretching and bending. It’s the sillier side of the story, like the caveman reenactments that are so obviously Nerenberg and his friends in fake caveman suits that drag the story down.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:05 PM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Picking up where the first part of season 1 ended, this enormously entertaining anime follows the continuing adventures of high school student Nagasumi as he tries to come to grips with the fact that he’s engaged to be married to the mermaid who saved him from drowning over summer vacation. The stories are a bit repetitive, but the visual style of the series if so utterly delightful you don’t really care that the stories fall short every now and then.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 10:11 PM
Monday, September 13, 2010
You almost need a scorecard to keep track of all the characters and story lines that get crammed into each episode of this hit NBC series, which is based on the equally popular 1989 Ron Howard movie. Like with the film, it’s the strong cast that helps guide you through the turmoil these rather inept parents go through on a daily basis. And like the movie, it’s the adults who are worth watching; the kids are downright annoying. Lauren Graham deftly captures the humor and sadness of being a single parent in ways that feel particularly fresh.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:37 PM
Sunday, September 12, 2010
It starts out as a comic high school story about a nerdy boy trying to protect a popular girl from some unseen bad guys. Before long, however, the truth behind the boy and his actions comes out and Full Metal Panic turns into a high octane action anime complete with plenty of giant robot battles. The story switches back and forth between the two styles a little too much for its own good, but the strong voice work and powerful anime style keep it interesting throughout.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 8:48 AM
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 2:04 PM
Friday, September 10, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 8:50 AM
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 7:10 AM
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Fans of director George Romero don’t need much of an excuse to go see whatever the man makes; if it has “Dead” in the title, so much the better. They know that they will get plenty of action, plenty of gore and plenty of laughs. His latest film, Survival of the Dead, continues the zombie resurgence Romero kicked off with his 2005 film, Land of the Dead. This time, the action takes place on a remote island off the coast of Maryland where two warring families are battling each other over the best thing to do with all the undead people stumbling around the place. The head of the O’Flynn family (Kenneth Walsh) wants to kill them all. The head of the Muldoon family (Richard Fitzpatrick) thinks the living dead can be trained to perform simple tasks, like zombie servants, and eventually made to lose their hunger for living human flesh and learn to survive on horses and other farm animals. When a team of professional zombie killers (a rogue band of army deserters last seen in Diary of the Dead) gets stranded on the island, the battle over who has the best plan heats up and it isn’t too long before the living are up to their ankles in zombie bodies.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 9:16 AM
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 6:53 PM
Monday, September 6, 2010
Set in a time when vampires and humans live side-by-side under an uneasy truce, this action-packed anime is a fantastic blend of fights and folklore. When the truce between the living and the animated dead is threatened by a new breed of vampire called the Kowloon Bloodline, a breed that thrives on not only feeding on, but infecting every human they can find, an ancient vampire family called the Black Bloods rises to the challenge. The art is strong, particularly the fight scenes, and the story is layered enough to keep you hooked from episode to episode.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 12:01 PM
Sunday, September 5, 2010
If you saw this on the shelf, you’d probably look at the cover and think it’s just another lame straight-to-DVD comedy that isn’t worth renting, let alone owning. Well, think again. Buoyed by a daring cast who aren’t afraid to look ridiculous if the laughs is big enough, this film is both smarter and funnier than you imagine. It’s the story of a young married guy so frustrated with not having sex with his wife during the first three months of their marriage that he sleeps with her sister. Rather than confess his sin, he comes up with a plan to find a guy to sleep with his wife so she’ll feel guilty, too. It sounds insane, and it is…in a good way.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 2:52 PM
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Long before he became the musical elder statesman he’s morphed into, Leonard Cohen was a passionate poet/musician who traveled the globe to share his art with audiences at shows that transcended the usual concert experience to become something truly special. At least on most nights, because as this documentary of Cohen’s 1972 European tour shows, not every night can be perfect no matter how hard you try. Legendary British director Tony Palmer does a great job of capturing both sides of the experience, giving audiences a compelling look into the life of an artist like no other.
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 6:17 PM
Friday, September 3, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 1:37 PM
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 6:49 AM
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Posted by John Black, Movie Critic at 4:16 PM