Given its relevance to the populist movements currently inhabiting
cities across America, this could also be called “Occupy the Future”.
Intriguing premise, solid set-up — but then it fizzles amid the
screeching of too many tires in too many tired car chases and a
rambling screenplay. Here, the director of GATTACA creates a new type
of dystopia, where no one ages past 25 but continually faces death-by-
expiration unless they can keep paying in chunks of time, which takes
the place of money as society's currency. (No attempt is made to
discuss the physics or origination of this way of living; it's just a
given.) The world has become a place of massive “income” inequality,
with the poor subjected to ever-increasing prices in order to get rid
of as many of them as possible. Too bad the actors come off so flat
and stilted, as though the director thought that would convey their
emotional deadness. Plus, both Justin Timberlake and Vincent
Kartheiser suffer from what I call DiCaprio Syndrome: their inherent
boyishness leaves them without heft and unable to play “adult” roles.
And a question: why is Amanda Seyfried a movie star? This, surely, is
her worst performance yet. — Jeff Schultz


Love Kevin Smith. Did not feel the same about Red State. Fitting that a movie centering on religion and preaching comes across more as preaching than entertainment. Smith's dialogue is too heady for what could has been a great B movie (hobo with a shotgun is on example). Smith wants to have his cake and eat it too…but in the end it's all undercooked. Not dramatic enough to be taken seriously and not biting enough to be satire. Too bad. I was really excited to see this.

Stormy Curry


It has not been a great year for GREEN at the box office. Numbers are down, studios and theaters aren't making money. But I'm not talking about dollars here. I'm talking about Super Hero movies. THE GREEN HORNET was first to offend the senses as Seth Rogen (guaranteed to kill a movie in which he is top billed) took the campy 1960's TV series and made it completely unwatchable. Next up to the plate, GREEN LANTERN starring the likable Ryan Reynolds. Like all origin stories, it must give us the history and integrate it into the movie so it seems natural, not like “required reading”. Ok, GREEN LANTERN does that serviceably, but not spectacularly. And that's pretty much the theme for the rest of the movie. It's serviceable, not spectacular. Reynolds is mostly ok. But it seems like the whole exercise is going through the motions. It steals a lot of themes from Superman and Spider-Man. Nothing original to see here story-wise. I was interested to see how the CGI would work, given that the Lantern's power is that anything he can think of can become real. Lots of potential for cool effects bathed in a greenish hue. It kinda works, but I was still left wanting more. Overall, THE GREEN LANTERN left me feeling a little blue. — Alan Yudman


Laughable. Worthless. A Paranormal-series entry in name only. As an
ardent fan of the first two PA's, I was especially disappointed by
this one's lack of imagination — to the point where one of the
biggest scares in #2 is repeated here, to greatly diminished effect.
But the fatal flaw is the unconvincing stretch the filmmakers make in
trying to justify the verite style. In fact, this movie would have
been immensely better had it been shot traditionally, because the
multiple surveillance cameras and the constant need to justify someone
shooting with a hand-held become ridiculous. One more example (yes,
I'm talking about you Jim Sheridan and Guillermo Del Toro) of how the
genre can defeat a talented director. PS. It's no spoiler to say that
the most compelling segment of the trailer (the little girls playing
“Bloody Mary” in a darkened room) is not in the film; neither is a
chunk of dialogue that seems to clarify why this is a prequel — just
one more example of what a fraud this stinker is. — Jeff Schultz


Et Tu Clooney? George is a great actor and has directed some fine films (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night and Good Luck come to mind). But he wears his politics on his sleeve in THE IDES OF MARCH, and it is the most annoying part of a very good movie. Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are excellent as opposing campaign managers. Ryan Gosling is very good as Hoffman's top deputy. And Evan Rachel Wood is also good as the woman who nearly brings down the candidate Clooney. But the story is so predictable and simplistic that it nearly takes you out of the whole thing. It's the acting that keeps you interested. Back to George, he pops up a few times speechifying as a Democratic candidate for President running in the Ohio primary. He talks like George Clooney on the stump for President. I understand the need to have the candidate appear as a candidate in the film, but his soliloquies are too long and too many. They are unimportant to the plot and more time in this too short film should have been spent on exposition and character development. THE IDES OF MARCH could have been great, instead it is merely very good. — Alan Yudman


The thing is… if you're gonna do a remake, you need to bring
something fresh and tasty to the table. John Carpenter succeeded the
first time around, building on the (reputed) Hawks original by
ratcheting up the suspense. Here, the screenplay's elaboration on the
two earlier versions adds a highly detailed spaceship scene that ends
up seeming more like the director's cut of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, or even
worse, the god-awful denouement of the last Indiana Jones film.
Leading up to it, the plot's basics are adhered to — but don't expect
edge-of-your-seat suspense. Carpenter's group blood test, so
masterfully done, is here turned into an examination of dental
fillings. It's ok, but unmemorable. The creature's morphings out of
the bodies of the humans it inhabits are fun to watch, but too many
“people” die the same way, screaming at the top of their lungs while
consumed by fire. David Foster, who also produced the first remake (on
which a young assistant-to-the-producer named Jeff Schultz worked),
should have rested on his laurels. — Jeff Schultz


The best comedy of its kind since WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. It's a
sendup of teens-on-vacation-at-the-lake massacre movies, but fully
committed to the story it's telling and unironic (unlike the broad,
spoofy SCARY MOVIE-type parodies). After a classic set-up featuring
every trope in the genre (including our old favorite: the tense
confrontation with locals at the General Store), the body count begins
— and although each one is an accident, the gore is at proper horror
flick levels thanks to a disemboweling tree branch, an accidental
skewering, a point blank gunshot blast in the face, immolation and so
on. Did I mention this is a comedy? The eponymous duo should only
become the Hope and Crosby of their generation. Bravo to Tyler Labine,
a comedian in the Zach Galafianakis mode, yet still very much his own
talent. And bravo to Alan Tudyk, so funny in the original DEATH AT A
FUNERAL, so wasted in “How to Be a Gentleman”. Their dumb and dumber
act, along with a sweet love story and hysterical (in both senses)
bloody violence, makes for merry mayhem. — Jeff Schultz


Fashionably cynical yet melodramatic, it comes off like a political
MICHAEL CLAYTON — but with a plot whose crux (candidate commits
adultery) is too wan to care much about. Rare for her, Evan Rachel
Wood doesn't do anything memorable as the unlucky intern, and her
chemistry with campaign co-manager Ryan Gosling is nil. Gosling
himself is unsympathetic and kind of a drag; he and an earnest (but
ultimately just as schmucky) George Clooney cancel each other out. The
only actors on screen whose bodies seem to have juices that flow are
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti. And in both cases, it's a
flow to watch. Hoffman has a long monologue about loyalty toward the
end that has the fire the rest of the movie lacks. Likewise the scene
where Giamatti sets Gosling straight. Their performances are enough
reason to see this so-so effort. — Jeff Schultz


Years ago, with its uncanny knack for spotting talent of the future,
Fox-11's “That's So Hollywood” featured British actor James Corden as
a Fresh Face for his role in “The History Boys”. Since then, Corden
has seized the brass ring with a star-making, perhaps even legendary
performance at the National Theater in London as the blazing light of
this play, adapted and updated from Carlo Goldoni's famous 18th-
century Italian farce, “The Servant of Two Masters”. A live
performance was shot on video; it had a limited run at the Downtown
Independent Theater on Main Street (a real art house treasure). And
Corden is… a scream. Now 33, the twinkle in his eyes is half English
schoolboy, half Benny Hill. He has inexhaustible physical comedy
skills. And Corden works the audience — hard, using the Italian
convention of “asides” to break down the fourth wall and (literally)
yank people in. That very funny first-row interaction combines with
thigh-slappingly tight musical interludes from Grant Olding and his
band and a spot-on (often inspired) supporting cast to make this
production a complete delight! — Jeff Schultz


Less than halfway through, you wonder why an actor of Daniel Craig's
stature would star in a haunted house movie, especially one so dreary,
dull and depressing. Then you think, this is not a haunted house
movie, it's SHUTTER ISLAND. Or maybe THE SHINING. But in fact, it's a
Hitchcockian murder mystery — and a dreary, dull and depressing one
at that. With no assistance from Rachel Weisz (like the Kates,
Beckinsale and Bosworth, she's a moderately attractive actress of
little impression from movie to movie), aided only by an underused
Naomi Watts, Craig sleepwalks throughout, echoing our own snores in
the seats. A rare misfire from the great Jim Sheridan. Don't waste
your time. — Jeff Schultz