Crosswalk
Movies DVD Release Date:  September 14, 2010Theatrical Release Date:  May 14, 2010Rating:  PG (for brief rude behavior, some language and incidental smoking)Genre:  Romantic ComedyRun Time:  101 min.Director:  Gary WinickActors:  Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, Christopher Egan, Vanessa Redgrave, Daniel BaldockFirst, the good news: Unlike the last rom-com Gary Winick directed, the criminally annoying Bride Wars with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, Letters to Juliet is infinitely more enjoyable.However, the bad news is that even with a breathtaking Italian backdrop, a nod to literature's favorite star-crossed lovers (Romeo and Juliet) and not one, but two, potential happy-ever-afters packed into an hour and a half, Letters to Juliet is still only a notch above mediocre.In terms of perfectly frothy, purely escapist entertainment, Letters to Juliet had possibility in spades. It's the faulty execution, not to mention the clichéd storytelling, that didn't work out so well. Let's just say it could've used a little more Shakespeare and a little less cheese.Before heading to Italy, we learn that Sophie (Dear John's Amanda Seyfried) is a wannabe writer who's stuck fact-checking at The New Yorker instead because her editors say she's so good at it. Engaged to Victor (a hilariously self-absorbed Gael Garcia Bernal), she and her amour have been so busy (she's working late, he's in the midst of opening his first NYC Italian eatery) that they decide to head to Verona for a romantic, pre-wedding honeymoon.Naturally, Sophie has a million romantic plans for their time together in Verona, the City of Love. But once they arrive, Victor immediately snaps into "work" mode and is obsessed with tracking down the best wine and exotic mushrooms for his new restaurant rather than properly lovin' on his girl.Despite her obvious disappointment, Sophie is still the perfectly doting fiancée and lets Victor do his thing. That detail aside, it doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out this isn't quite what Sophie envisioned for her romantic getaway—or her love life.And for whatever reason, the screenwriters actually forgot to provide even one compelling reason to root for this couple's future marital bliss anyway, a way-too-convenient plot device for what happens later on (not that you couldn't probably guess from the film's overly revealing trailer anyway).Aside from the fact that these genetically superior individuals would probably have cute kids together (and trust me, the camera absolutely loves both of them), Sophie and Victor have absolutely nothing in common, a flaw that doesn't exactly help the story's cause. In fact, you hope she finds someone—anyone—but Victor because every girl should be loved more than a perfect plate of fettuccine.While her fiancé's behavior is definitely lame, Sophie doesn't sit in her hotel room and sulk. Resolved to enjoy the glorious sites of Verona on her own, she eventually visits the home of the fabled Juliet and discovers something rather unusual in the process. Turns out, lovelorn women of all ages have written letters to Juliet about their ill-fated romances and have left them near the wall of the courtyard.But rather than letting these confessions simply gather dust, a group of pro bono "Juliets" answer each and every grief-infused letter. And now that Sophie's curiosity instinct has officially kicked into overdrive (the mark of a good writer, no?), she follows one of Juliet's secretaries and watches them in action.Then in a moment of true rom-com serendipity, Sophie discovers another letter of longing trapped behind the brick. Dating all the way back from 1957, Sophie is particularly inspired to play Juliet and answer this woman's plea for another chance with Lorenzo, the true love she left behind in Italy more than 50 years ago now.While we don't have the privilege of hearing what Sophie said until later, her words were apparently inspiring enough to encourage a hopeful Claire (a radiant Vanessa Redgrave) and her easily annoyed grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) to travel all the way to Verona from England to locate the "Juliet" who wrote her.Armed with the youthful optimism that "Claire's Lorenzo" still might be out there, Sophie eventually asks to join Claire and Charlie on the quest to find him. Of course, Claire agrees without blinking an eye much to her grandson's chagrin, and the three embark on a Tuscan road-trip that's rather easy on the eyes.Now as utterly romantic as this all sounds, the premise would've been far easier to buy into if there weren't a surplus of sappy dialogue along the way. Rather than actually having real conversations, these characters speak in cheesy platitudes like "I didn't know that true love had an expiration date" and "Do you believe in destiny?"And that disconnect with any sort of reality is what inevitably compromises the whole experience. Sure, there's nothing wrong with fantastical, wish-fulfillment entertainment; after all, that's why many of us love the movies so much. But when it's this contrived and predictable, well, not even two sets of Romeos and Juliets can fix it.CAUTIONS: Drugs/Alcohol:  Wine is a big part of Italian culture, so it's regularly consumed with meals. Language/Profanity:  A few exclamations of God's name, plus a couple of mild profanities. Sex/Nudity:  The only nudity is of an artistic variety (bare breasts shown on historic statues, etc.). There are also a couple of double entendres in the humor department. Violence:  Only of the comedic, slapstick variety. SEE ALSO: Don't Bother RSVPing for Bride Wars googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Christa Banister is a full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the Meddlers. Based in St. Paul, Minn., she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.  For more information, including her upcoming book signings and sample chapters of her novels, check out her Website. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); SEE ALSO: Even as a Sappy Romance, Dear John Doesn't Deliver ]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
A little hate mail for the Amanda Seyfried romantic drama, “Letters to Juliet,” in which her New Yorker fact checker helps an old lady (Vanessa Redgrave) find her true love while being exasperated by his hottie grandson (Christopher Egan). My review is up.]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”Letters to Juliet” is briefly mentioned in this.)
My learned colleague Sara Stewart has a post on what she calls the “‘Sex and the City 2’ Backlash Backlash.” Previous argument: Give this flick a break, there are no women’s pictures! (Except for, in the last six months, “It’s Complicated,” “Did You Hear About the Morgans,” “Valentine’s Day,” “The Back-Up Plan,” “Please Give,” “Mother and Child,” “Babies,” “Date Night,” “Dear John,” “Letters to Juliet,” “The Bounty Hunter,” “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too,” “Leap Year,” “Just Wright,” “The Killers,” “The Runaways,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”….but not, oddly, “From Paris with Love.”) Hell, even “Robin Hood” is a women’s picture, if by “women’s picture,” you mean “picture that shamelessly panders to female ticket buyers at the expense of any hint of sense.” Cate Blanchett with a mace knocking huge men off their horses? To put it in femalespeak: I. Don’t. Think. So. Current argument: Okay, so “Sex and the City 2” sucks. So do all the other movies out there! If I were a feminist, I think I’d keep my powder dry for a better movie. And maybe for one that was actually written and/or directed by a woman. Underrated film critic William of Ockham says, “If a movie sucks, and everyone says so, is that really so surprising?” I say, stick a fork in “Sex and the City 2,” mainly because I want to see a blog post entitled “Kyle Smith Advocates Impaling Strong, Independent Women.”]]>
(Review Source)
Kyle Smith
(”Letters to Juliet” is briefly mentioned in this.)
May might have been the worst one for movies in many years. “Iron Man 2” was about it, and “Robin Hood” (so bad that indefatigable commenter Hunter Tremayne apparently didn’t even like–he has been uncharacteristically silent on it ever since it came out), “Letters to Juliet,” “MacGruber,” “Shrek Forever After” and “Sex and the City 2” were all abysmal. I didn’t see “Prince of Persia” but no one has encouraged me to get to it. Now June is looking . . . much like May. Warner Brothers, which is the one studio that is least likely to hide its films (one reason it’s my favorite studio is that it almost always offers its product to critics on Monday afternoon of the week of opening) is delaying showing “Jonah Hex” until Wednesday afternoon. I don’t know anything about this picture but that spells all but certain disaster. Nor am I enthusiastic about this week’s dueling party-like-it’s-1985 remakes of “The A-Team” (which I haven’t seen) or “The Karate Kid.” At the end of the month, we can look forward to Adam Sandler’s “Grown Ups,” the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz actioner “Knight and Day” (don’t you hate aggressively dumb titles like that one?) and the third “Twilight” movie, whatever that’s called. Ugh. The worst May ever, followed by the worst June ever? Strong possibility. I do hugely recommend the Jonah Hill-John C. O’Reilly comedy “Cyrus,” however, a wicked little indie comedy coming June 18, and I have no reason not to be optimistic about “Toy Story 3.”]]>
(Review Source)
Leviathan
John Hanlon
(”Leviathan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Want to know who is cleaning up at the 2015 Academy Awards. I’ll be live-tweeting the show @johnhanlon and keeping score of the winners below. All of the winners will be in bold as the night progresses. Best motion picture of the year “American Sniper” “Birdman or... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Cinderella-Poster-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
John Hanlon
(”Leviathan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron arrived last night during the championship game and it was even better than the original one. Check it out below. The highly-anticipated sequel arrives in theaters May 1st.. Best motion picture of the year “American... <img src="http://www.johnhanlonreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Oscar-Statue-270x400.jpg" type="image/jpeg"/>
(Review Source)
The American Conservative Staff
Readers of this space are familiar with my attachment to The Book of Job. My personal favorite “double feature feature” film pairing was anchored by a discussion of how each film – “The Tree of Life” and “A Serious Man” – related to that masterwork of religious philosophy. Well, if I wanted to, I could now revise that piece to a triple feature feature – because one of the more powerful films of the past year is the Oscar-nominated Russian film, “Leviathan,” from director Andrey Zvyagintsev – and guess what? At its heart, this movie is also a meditation on Jobian themes. The story of the film is simple. A fairly ordinary Russian man, Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov), denizen of a town on the Barents Sea coast, is facing the loss of his property. Using whatever the Russian equivalent of eminent domain, the corrupt local mayor (Roman Madyanov) plans to summarily kick Kolya off the land he and his family have lived on for decades. Kolya is convinced that the mayor plans to build himself a palace on the land, and is determined to do whatever is necessary to keep what is his. More specifically, he invites his old army buddy, Dmitriy (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), a Moscow lawyer, to come up and not-so-subtly threaten the mayor with exposure of his many misdeeds if he doesn’t back off – or at least offer a fair market rate of compensation to Kolya for the loss of his valuable beachfront property. At first, it looks like the plan is going relatively well. The mayor is intimidated by the august names Dmitriy casually drops, and even more intimidated by the dossier he has compiled. Though he rages at his flunkies, his rage feels impotent – he’s clearly seriously considering caving, at least on the point of compensation. But the local bishop (sounding very like a proponent of the “Orthodox Jihad” that Rod Dreher talked about on his blog) tells him, in so many words, to gird up his loins like a man. God gave you any power or authority you may have. If you are using it for God’s ends, you should not flinch, doubt or hesitate – because it was for these ends that you were entrusted power in the first place. At the same time, Kolya’s camp unravels with startling rapidity. His young wife, Lilya (Elena Lyadova), sleeps with Dmitriy, and is caught in the act by Kolya’s son, her stepson. Kolya beats him up, and before Dmitriy has recovered from these injuries he finds himself threatened by the mayor’s goons. Dmitriy flees back to Moscow, leaving Lilya to her guilt and Kolya to face the mayor’s wrathful vengeance alone. And, if you can believe it, this is only the beginning of Kolya’s troubles. Why does Lilya cheat on her husband? Her actions are never really explained, but my sense is that we are supposed to see Dmitriy through her eyes as Kolya’s natural superior. He’s younger, better-looking, smarter. He’s also the true savior of the family if the family is to find one – Kolya cannot save them himself. He is a man who, he says, believes in facts, in objective reality – he is not deluded that God is going to engineer an outcome that sentiment might favor. If we are to see the world in that way – which is how Kolya, defying the “righteous” authority of the mayor, implicitly does – is Dmitriy not a more appropriate man to cleave to than Kolya? That’s my sense of what her actions signify. And in the end they leave her utterly lost. In the depths, facing the loss of everything he ever cared about, and facing yet further loss to come, Kolya turns to a priest, who tells him the story of Job as a parable of obvious relevance to Kolya’s life. “To whom do you pray?” he asks him – this, to the priest is the decisive question. He offers Kolya no answers, but only a choice: whose authority do you accept, as total and absolute? Kolya doesn’t see the point of praying at all if there is no promise of reward – the reward that Job received, at the end of the biblical book. And so he goes to meet his end with no consolation. The foregoing may make the film sound a bit pat. It isn’t. This is a film rich in life, from the stunning cinematography (by Mikhail Krichman), to the powerful ensemble acting, to the painful cross-currents of these characters lives (particularly the fault line that divides stepmother from stepson), to the humor provided by the ensemble of peripheral characters, particularly a corrupt police officer who leans on Kolya for free repairs of his truck, and Lilya’s mouthy best friend from the local fish packing plant. One can appreciate the film fully without paying any attention to the way in which it uses the philosophical and theological themes that I’m focusing on. But I’m going to focus on them anyway, because they interest and move me – and because I love the Book of Job too much from them not to. “Leviathan” presents a fairly bleak reading of the Book of Job, one that emphasizes the absolute and unfathomable scope of God’s power and authority. Faced with such awesome majesty, the only proper attitude is utter submission, with which the reservation of any personal pride or status is incompatible. It is, frankly, a reading that doesn’t sit well with me. But then, I am disinclined to identify divine authority with any temporal, human authority, whether the state, religious authorities, or my own conscience (and I, like any good scholar but also like the devil, can cite scripture to my purpose if I’m so inclined). That, indeed, is precisely part of the point I take from God’s voice from the whirlwind: God’s authority is different from, incommensurate with temporal, human authority. Human authorities you may critique for being unjust, and demand satisfaction of them. Human authority proceeds from and may be bound by and shaped by positive law, because it aims at the satisfaction of human ends, like fairness and justice. But to demand these things of God is to making a category error. You cannot critique a whirlwind. I don’t see the whirlwind demanding submission – I see it urging Job to raise his eyes, not lower them. When the Book of Job talks of Behemoth and Leviathan, I imagine quasars and black holes, the monsters of physics; I imagine a universe of laws, but laws the depths of which will never be sounded to the bottom. I am, I suppose, more like Dmitriy than not. But in the context of autocracy, which has deep roots in Russian soil, the priest’s interpretation has perhaps more resonance. What does the voice from the whirlwind sound like to a mind conditioned to understand law as proceeding from authority rather than the other way around? From such a mind’s perspective, the only way to know the law is to know whether authority is righteous, meaning whether it aims at ends that God approves. Which is precisely how the bishop tutors the mayor. And from such a mind’s perspective, the thuggish, abusive, cruel mayor is in fact more humble than poor, suffering, Job-like Kolya. That, to my mind, is the point of the ending, which reveals that the mayor was indeed, from a certain perspective, aiming to serve God’s ends. Many Western viewers are reading the film as a satiric story of corruption in modern Russia. But perhaps this is not the only way to read it. Indeed, perhaps it is not the way that Russia’s Ministry of Culture originally read it – which would explain why they initially supported the film, facilitated its financing and production, and promoted it internationally, only to turn on it when they saw it described in the Western press as a critique of Putinism. Because, with just a little turn of the head, the film can be read not as an indictment, but instead as a tragedy, the very tragedy that Hobbes identified when he first contemplated the problem of authority: that, once you establish the necessity of authority as your bedrock political principle, you immediately establish the necessity of absolutism, and the impossibility of any formal reservation for the individual against that authority. ]]>
(Review Source)
The American Conservative Staff
(”Leviathan” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Any attempt on my part to assess the year in film is bound to be inadequate, because there are just too many films I know I ought to see that I haven’t seen yet. Moreover, that list of “oughts” has already been shaped by the reactions of other critics; it’s already too late for the joy of discovery that I felt, say, attending a screening of “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” back in January, before everyone had heralded Ana Lily Amirpour’s Persian vampire noir western as the hot new thing. And anyway, films are largely incomparable across genres. Which was a “better” film, “Boyhood” or “The LEGO Movie?” It’s kind of a silly question – they aren’t trying to do anything remotely comparable. Nonetheless: posts must be blogged. So: let’s start with the critical consensus. The nice folks at Metacritic have compiled a meta-list, combining the views of 137 different critics on what they think are the top ten films of the year, for a meta-list of 20 films. Herewith: 1. “Boyhood.” My feelings about the film tracked very closely with Eve Tushnet’s. I admire the experiment, and I was drawn in deeply during the first hour. But in the last hour I found myself far more interested in the parents than in the titular boy, which to me feels like the film didn’t achieve all that it set out to do. 2. “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” I am a great admirer of Richard Linklater’s work, which is why I was surprised that I didn’t respond to “Boyhood” with raptures. Wes Anderson I am much more ambivalent about. But “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was for me a sheer delight from end to end, and may even have become my favorite Anderson film, because for once I felt his fussiness was fully justified by the film’s subject and setting. Leon Hadar’s thoughts on the film are also very worth reading. 3. “Under the Skin.” I posted my reactions to this creepy Scarlett Johansson sci-fi flick here. Its highly original vision has definitely stuck with me. Rent it. 4. “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.” I posted my thoughts on “Birdman” here. I think it’s a tour-de-force. 5. “Selma.” A film I have not yet seen, and plan to, though I fear I won’t like it. I don’t tend to like pious movies, regardless of the object of piety, and I fear this will be one. 6. “Whiplash.” I wrote up my thoughts on Damien Chazelle’s film here, and then followed up with additional thoughts here, but I continue to chew on it. “Whiplash” is very worth seeing, but it irritated me, and I wonder whether that reaction says more about me than it does about the film. 7. “Ida.” Near the top of my list of films I need to see. 8. “Gone Girl.” Amazingly, I still haven’t seen this film. I begin to suspect I’m avoiding it, and I’m not entirely sure why. 8. “Inherent Vice.” I’m only falling more in love with P.T. Anderson with time, and am very eager to see his latest. 10. “Nightcrawler.” I find myself away from the pack on this one. Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom seemed like he had dropped to earth from Mars in the first frame. What, I wondered, did he do the day before the film began? The month before that? The year before that? I found no really plausible answer to these sorts of questions. Nor did I buy this young man’s sudden transformation from bizarre recluse to a ruthlessly effective manipulator of other people. The film presents itself as a dark satire – I kept thinking it was trying to be a noir-esque, indie-scale “Network” – but I never felt like the satire connected with anything terribly specific. 11. “Mr. Turner.” Another one near the top of my list of films to see. Mike Leigh is a wonderful filmmaker, and I specifically adored his last foray into biopic. 12. “Force Majeure.” I haven’t seen it yet, but hope to do so. 13. “Goodbye to Language.” Haven’t seen it yet, clearly need to – it’s actually somewhat relevant to a script I’ve written. 14. “The Immigrant.” Jeepers, I haven’t seen this one yet either – and this one wasn’t even on my list of want-to-sees. From the description, the film sounds like an Isaac Bashevis Singer novel, which makes me want to see it to see if that’s how it plays on-screen. 14. “Foxcatcher.” I wrote up my thoughts here – definitely an intriguing film, worth seeing for three notable performances. 16. “Only Lovers Left Alive.” I described “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” as a “Jarmusch-esque” vampire flick without having seen Jim Jarmusch’s own vampire flick. I suppose I have to find out which is more Jarmusch-esque: the actual Jarmusch or the homage? In any event, Eve Tushnet’s always-worthwhile thoughts can be found here. 17. “Two Days, One Night.” I am extremely eager to see this film, largely because I read Eve Tushnet’s review. 17. “The LEGO Movie.” My thoughts on this interlocking brick system of a movie can be found here. A much, much better film than it needed  to be. 17. “Snowpiercer.” This extremely stylish and idiosyncratic action-flick-cum-allegory of global inequality was far darker than I had expected. Indeed, inasmuch as it has a clear politics, those politics are almost pure anarchist rage. Far from presenting a brief for revolution, the film paints a deeply bleak and pessimistic picture of the choices before humanity in an age of scarcity driven by ecological impoverishment. 20. “Citizenfour.” Another film I need to see, but that I expect not to be enraptured by as so many have been. So I’ve only seen 9 out of 20 of the films that comprise the aggregated “critics’ picks” list. Not a particularly impressive showing – though I expect to improve upon it substantially over the next month or so. Meanwhile, what’s missing from this meta-list in terms of my personal  faves of the year? And what else am I eager to see that I haven’t gotten to yet? Not necessarily films that I would put on any kind of “Top 10” list, but all worth renting, are: “Frank,” “Listen Up Philip,” (reviewed here), and “The One I Love.” All extremely well-written films, and all films that would work just fine on a small screen. Films about prickly, difficult male artists (a theme of the year), and about the cold war between the sexes. And two doses of Elizabeth Moss to boot. What am I eager to see? Apart from those mentioned above, I’d add “Wild,” “The Babadook,” “The Overnighters,” “Big Eyes,” “Leviathan,” and “A Most Violent Year,” plus (from stuff I missed from earlier in the year) “Gloria,” “Calvary,” “The Dog,” “The Blue Room,” and “Jodorowsky’s Dune.” ]]>
(Review Source)
Liberal Arts
Kyle Smith
Josh Radnor takes another crack at being writer-director-star of a drippy dramedy, and I really wish he hadn’t. My review of “Liberal Arts” is up.]]>
(Review Source)
Debbie Schlussel
Blog Posts Movie Reviews Pusher“: As with many such movies from England, I needed a translator for some of the fast cockney dialogue in this. A lower-level London drug dealer owes a lot of money to a Russian mobster kingpin because of a drug deal gone bad. He needs a lot of cash fast to pay the kingpin back or he will be murdered. He has a lot of drug user loser friends from whom he’s desperately trying to collect the cash. A drug dealer’s life is rough. Gee, thanks for the tip. Nothing new here that you haven’t seen in a million other garbage movies on the same topic, even though lead actor Richard Coyle is very good. And I didn’t need to see the torture and blood. No thanks. FOUR MARXES ]]>
(Review Source)
Mark Steyn
(”Licence to Kill” is briefly mentioned in this.)
"Nobody comes out of the theatre whistling the sets," the great Broadway composer Jule Styne said to me many years ago. And that goes treble if it's a movie theater. And yet the visual appearance of a film is vital to its success: If the room doesn't
(Review Source)
Mark Steyn
(”Licence to Kill” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Forever Bond Mark Steyn The big difference between the Bond books and the Bond films is the formula. Ian Fleming didn't have one. Sometimes he put 007 up against evil megalomaniacs in exotic locations: but he also wrote The Spy Who Loved Me, a tale of small-time hoods told by a young woman — une jolie Quebecoise, of all things — in which Bond doesn't turn up until halfway through, and From Rus
(Review Source)
Mark Steyn
(”License to Kill” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The new Bond film, Spectre, opens in London later this month, and I chanced to hear the theme song the other day. It's not Shirley Bassey, John Barry, Don Black and/or Leslie Bricusse, but what is? Still, one tries to keep an open mind about these things
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle A hero proves only as remarkable as the obstacle he overcomes. The challenge with a character like James Bond is developing adversaries who can conceivably defeat him. If we don’t believe that Bond might fail, or accept a given foe as Bond’s potential match, then his eventual victory falls flat.Over the course of 23 films spanning nearly five decades, Bond has encountered a wide variety of adversaries. Today we focus on the masterminds, the ultimate villains who hatched fiendish plans and expected Mr. Bond to die. A future list will rank the best and worst henchmen of the franchise, many of whom upstage their bosses. For now, here are the top 10 most worthy James Bond villains. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/9/1/top-10-most-worthy-bond-villains/ previous Page 1 of 11 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
PJ Media Staff
Lifestyle Editor's Note: This article is part of an ongoing series by Walter Hudson exploring the James Bond series. Also check out the previous installments: "The 10 Most Memorable James Bond Henchmen" and "The Top 10 Most Worthy Bond Villains." We recently learned that French actress Léa Seydoux will join Daniel Craig and much of the cast from Skyfall as a femme fatale in the 24th James Bond film. Seydoux played a similar role in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. She joins a sisterhood of glamorous and seductive women who have led Bond astray or succumbed to his charms over five decades of film.When tasked with ranking Bond’s female companions, the criteria I chose were more than just beauty or sex appeal. Every Bond girl has those. These are the women who most impacted the course of the franchise, who marked key moments, set strong precedents, or played a profound role in shaping Bond’s character. Here are the 10 most remarkable Bond girls of all time. var dataLayer = window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; dataLayer.push({ 'videoName': 'Die Another Day Movie CLIP - Jinx (2002) HD', 'videoType': 'Curated' }); 10. JinxDie Another Day marked a significant moment in the franchise’s history. The film was released on the 40th anniversary of Dr. No, the first Bond adventure. It was the 20th film in the series. It also served as the swan song for actor Pierce Brosnan, who had successfully reinvigorated the character after the longest lull in the series’ history.Such a moment calls for a Bond girl of remarkable stature, a known quantity whose beauty and talent separate her from the pack of interchangeable consorts. Halle Berry fit the bill, lending the perfect balance of snark and sexy to end the Brosnan era. class="pages"> https://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/10/10/the-10-most-remarkable-bond-girls-of-all-time/ previous Page 1 of 10 next   ]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
(”License to Kill” is briefly mentioned in this.)
A Woman’s Guide To The 15 Best (And 5 Worst!) James Bond Girls November 6, 2015 By Mollie Hemingway Spectre, the new James Bond film, is finally out and to mixed reviews. What better time to reflect on the best and worst Bond girls the franchise has ever seen? Bond has changed over the years from a serial seducer of women to a more progressive, if sexually more boring, spy who you wouldn’t be entirely surprised to find out was questioning his sexuality. As Bond has changed, so have the women. But the best Bond women — sometimes villains, sometimes victims, sometimes both — are gorgeous in a swimming suit, tough but vulnerable, and very smart. The worst are gorgeous in a swimming suit, which is not nothing! Here’s a completely arbitrary list of one woman’s favorite and least favorite Bond girls. Feel free to add yours or take issue with my assessment in the comments. Worst: Dr. Christmas Jones The Film: The World Is Not Enough (1999)Played By: Denise RichardsWhy?: “Christmas comes only once a year.” I’m a fan of Richards, whose cinematic achievements include the role of White She Devil in Undercover Brother, the most important film of 2002. Her assets are ample, and there is something charming about her acting limitations. But wow is this bad. Richards plays a brilliant nuclear scientist who wears very little clothing and is named Christmas Jones for the sole reason that the writers wanted to make the joke above. Even for Bond puns, this one’s a croaker. And unfortunately Richards doesn’t hold her own in this very important role. You can watch the worst Christmas puns here. Weakest: Stacey Sutton The Film: A View To A Kill (1985)Played By: Tanya RobertsWhy?: Critics hated this movie. It was more product placement than plot, and Roger Moore was simply too old to play the part. But it had a lot going for it — great song, Christopher Walken as the villain, the amazing Grace Jones doing her thing. But wow was Roberts a weak Bond girl. She said recently that she believed the movie had cursed her from getting subsequent roles. In fact, it may just have been her acting that limited her future prospects. Most Lackluster Character: Solitaire The Film: Live And Let Die (1973)Played By: Jane SeymourWhy?: Seymour is a beautiful woman. Her character was kind of meh and unmemorable. Least Present: Paris Carver The Film: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)Played By: Teri HatcherWhy?: Hatcher reportedly only took the part to fulfill her husband’s desire to be married to a Bond girl. But even so, her inability to embrace her character was notable. She was also pregnant during filming, so maybe a case of morning sickness kept her from really throwing herself into the subtle and complex character that Bond girls are known for. Most Disappointing: Giacinta “Jinx” Johnson The Film: Die Another Day (2002)Played By: Halle BerryWhy?: No snag. Berry is a gorgeous woman. And her homage to Ursula Andress is great. She played the Bond girl role right after winning an Oscar, making her easily one of the most high-profile Bond girls in history. Which is why her actual role was disappointing. The entire movie was weak, and while her orange bikini is one for the ages, it did a better job of acting than she did. Berry’s character didn’t actually contribute much to the movie’s plot, and she didn’t really seem convincingly interested in Bond or vice versa. OK, now let’s move on to the best Bond girls. #15: Lucia Sciarra The Film: Spectre (2015)Played By: Monica BellucciWhy?: OK, so maybe she won’t deserve to be on this list, but Bellucci is an intriguing choice for Bond girl. She has a powerful screen presence, and at age 50, she’s the oldest Bond girl woman yet. She’s so sexy that she might even reinvigorate Bond’s lagging libido. #14: Mary Goodnight The Film: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)Played By: Britt EklandWhy?: I have such a strong dislike for the ditzy, pining Bond girl. The one exception is Ekland, who embraces the role and makes it sympathetic and more complex than most others. #13: Tiffany Case The Film: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)Played By: Jill St. JohnWhy?: St. John plays the rival of Plenty O’Toole for Bond’s affections. She wins, in no small part thanks to O’Toole ending up underwater in a pool. Kind of ditzy, but more naive, and very funny for a Bond girl. #12: Andrea Anders/Octopussy The Films: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) and Octopussy (1983)Played By: Maud AdamsWhy?: Such a good Bond girl, Adams came back for a second round. Her role as Miss Anders is oddly compelling, playing a woman who is in a bad situation and both scared and desperate to get out of it. She is calm and determined, even if she ends up dead. In Octopussy she is less compelling, beginning as a villain (but not much of one) before coming to the good side. #11: Lupe Lamora The Film: License to Kill (1989)Played By: Talisa SotoWhy?: On the strength of her kiss with Bond alone. #10: Pussy Galore The Film: Goldfinger (1964)Played By: Honor BlackmonWhy?: Everything: the name, the fashion, the ridiculous career (leader of a flying circus), the villainy, the humor, and that she is an alluring sex object and five years older than Connery. #9: Jill Masterson The Film: Goldfinger (1964)Played By: Shirley EatonWhy?: Yes, this movie was swimming in good Bond girls. Intelligent and kind, she’s first seen helping Goldfinger cheat at card games. After she betrays him and ends up in bed with Bond, she’s killed in most dramatic fashion (see above!). #8: May Day The Film: A View To A Kill (1985)Played By: Grace JonesWhy?: Everyone hates this film, but I kind of love it because of Jones — one of the most compelling performers around. Even though the movie didn’t do much with her, it did enough. A vicious villain, she is one of the few women convincingly cast as physically dangerous. Her sexual confidence oozes everywhere and is impossible to ignore. She’s tremendously underrated and if you missed this recent New York Times profile, be sure to read it. Also this NSFW hula-hoop performance of “Slave To The Rhythm.” #7: Wai Lin The Film: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)Played By: Michelle YeohWhy?: She was easily the best thing about this movie and completely held her own against Bond. Not as a Bond girl, per se, but as an action star in her own right. #6: Anya Amasova (Agent Triple X) The Film: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)Played By: Barbara BachWhy?: I always thought Bach was the perfect Bond girl for a movie whose theme song was “Nobody Does It Better,” sung by Carly Simon. Amasova is a KGB agent who is extremely tough and fearless. And looks great with a gun. #5: Dominetta “Domino” Vitali The Film: Thunderball (1965)Played By: Claudine AugerWhy?: She’s the mistress of the villain but has an immediate connection with Bond when he rescues her in a freak underwater accident. There are so many bathing suits! And they’re all fantastic. Also dramatic rescues. Auger’s Domino is better than Kim Basinger’s later version, but they’re both pretty good. #4: Tracy Bond The Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)Played By: Diana RiggWhy?: The only woman to marry Bond, and the only Bond woman for George Lazenby. Unlike most Bond girls who just served to advance the plot, Rigg exuded cool in her own right in a way that very few other Bond girls have. #3: Vesper Lynd The Film: Casino Royale (2006)Played By: Eva GreenWhy?: Nearly the platonic ideal of a Bond girl. She was unbelievably sexy and also managed to cultivate a real air of mystery around her character. She was a major reason why the franchise came roaring back. #2: Fiona Volpe The Film: Thunderball (1965)Played By: Luciana PaluzziWhy?: She’s a secondary villain in the movie and so interesting. She also belittles Bond in such a hot way. Right before taking him captive, she says: “But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns to the side of right and virtue…but not this one!” Also, her betrayal and death are pretty epic. #1: Honey Ryder The Film: Dr. No (1962)Played By: Ursula AndressWhy?: Mostly the bathing suit, but there is something about Andress that is enchanting even with more clothing. Her speaking and singing parts were dubbed in, but the role she embodied is iconic — a beautiful woman, somewhat liberated from sexual mores, needing the aid of Bond. She added the mystery and gobsmacking beauty that stick with us to this day. Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway 007 Barbara Bach Britt Ekland Dr. No James Bond Jill St. John Luciana Paluzzi Monica Bellucci Octopussy Spectre Talisa Soto The Man With The Golden Gun Thunderball Ursula Andress Copyright © 2017 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1463670073398-2'); }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({mode:'thumbs-2r', container:'taboola-below-main-column-mix', placement:'below-main-column', target_type:'mix'}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({flush:true}); 0 Comments /* * * CONFIGURATION VARIABLES: EDIT BEFORE PASTING INTO YOUR WEBPAGE * * */ var disqus_shortname = 'thefederalist23'; // required: replace example with your forum shortname /* * * DON'T EDIT BELOW THIS LINE * * */ (function() { var dsq = document.createElement('script'); dsq.type = 'text/javascript'; dsq.async = true; dsq.src = '//' + disqus_shortname + '.disqus.com/embed.js'; (document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0] || document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0]).appendChild(dsq); })(); Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus. comments powered by Disqus ]]>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies DVD Release Date:  October 30, 2007Theatrical Release Date: July 3, 2007Rating: PG-13 (for sexual humor, language)Genre: Romantic ComedyRun Time: 90 min.Directors: Ken KwapisActors: Robin Williams, Mandy Moore, John Krasinski, Josh Flitter, Christine Taylor, DeRay Davis, Peter Strauss, Mindy Kaling, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner Much like last summer’s The Break-Up, the team behind License to Wed is trying to deconstruct the familiar romantic comedy formula by injecting an espresso shot of realism into the mix. Instead of sticking with the typical swoon-worthy ideals that “love conquers all” and “the good guy always gets the girl in the end,” they attempt to teach the age-old message that relationships are hard and require a concerted effort from both parties to succeed. And while that’s certainly important to emphasize, especially considering the current divorce rate, License to Wed's script does a poor job of communicating that message. Not only is it seriously unfunny (which is ironic, considering it’s billed as a comedy), but the supposedly teachable moments that Reverend Frank (Robin Williams) forces the soon-to-be-married couple to endure are so ridiculous that it’s difficult to believe that Ben (John Krasinski from NBC’s The Office) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) would’ve agreed to them in the first place. Like most couples in romantic comedies, Ben and Sadie meet cute (this time, in line at Starbucks), and in about ten minutes, they’ve kissed, said I love you and moved in together. Then six months later, Ben pops the question, and that’s when the real fun (or in this case, misery) begins as Sadie wants Reverend Frank to marry them, even though Frank can’t remember the last time Sadie was actually in church. That small detail aside, however, Frank agrees to perform the ceremony—with one caveat: They must successfully pass his marriage course. Now if you’ve seen the trailer countless times like I had, you probably already know this involves Sadie driving in suburban Chicago traffic with a blindfold on and parenting lessons courtesy of two ugly robotic babies that scream and defecate as the couple registers for dishes. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); But even more disturbing than the aforementioned is Reverend Frank himself. Not only does this unmarried pastor seem to have an obsession with all things sexual, but he and his annoying pint-sized sidekick (Josh Flitter), who he’s mentoring, put a bug in Ben and Sadie’s bedroom so they can eavesdrop and later, unwisely encourage Ben to pick a fight with his future in-laws. As you can imagine, License to Wed only gets more ridiculous as the minutes tick by, leaving you wonder why a film so bad would ever be green-lighted in the first place. While it definitely disappoints in terms of pure entertainment value, it’s also a horrible endorsement for marriage and ministers alike as neither are portrayed in a flattering light. While Krasinski shows promise as a lead with that sincere, everyman quality, Moore, who has proven to be a capable actress in the past, doesn’t have much to work with—aside from having to look pretty in her designer wardrobe. That’s a shame, given the chemistry that Krasinski and Moore displayed in a couple of scenes. But even more distressing is how silly relationship movies have become. Ultimately, there’s a good message mixed in with the hi-jinks in License to Wed, but it’s like the biblical reference of putting a jewel in a pig’s snout. It’s just not worth your time. AUDIENCE: Older teens and up googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); CAUTIONS: Drugs/Alcohol: Alcohol is consumed in bars, with dinner and at the wedding by many of the characters. Language/Profanity: There’s plenty of the usual expletives, including a few where the Lord’s name is taken in vain. Sex/Nudity: Ben and Sadie live together, and it’s implied that they’re having sex, although because of Reverend Frank’s rules, they must wait until their wedding night to continue doing so. And while there’s no sex explicitly shown, there’s plenty of talk about it (no to mention crude innuendos from Reverend Frank himself) during the course of the film. Violence: Just of the comedic variety. ]]>
(Review Source)
Liebestraum
Mark Steyn
(”Liebestraum” is briefly mentioned in this.)
The nearest thing to a Golden Age star at this year's Oscars was Kim Novak, and her appearance set Twitter a-flutter, and not in a good way. I prefer to remember her the way she was when I, very briefly, met her, at the time of her last movie, Mike
(Review Source)
Life
Society Reviews

Life was on pace to be a decent B movie with high budget effects, but the ending to this film was such an epic fail (in terms of the character’s plan, not the writing) that I had to give them an extra star just for writing such a ballsy ending.

Read more →

(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
A few days ago, I was pretty sure this review would go in a very different direction. When I first saw the trailers for “Life,” I fully expected I’d find myself watching an updated incarnation of Michael Crichton’s classic sci-fi thriller “The Andromeda Strain,” which focused on CDC researchers’ efforts to control a dangerous extraterrestrial pathogen. Clearly drawing some inspiration from “Strain,” this movie’s been marketed pretty straightforwardly: researchers on the International Space Station encounter the first traces of life beyond earth, but quickly realize they’re dealing with something potentially dangerous. Obviously, someone would end up infected, and intense moral dilemmas (“treatment or containment?”) would result. That sort of storyline isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it makes for good popcorn entertainment. But director Daniel Espinosa’s “Life” is something very different—and, unfortunately, something much less interesting. This is essentially a slasher movie in space: an insanely high-budget foray into sci-fi horror that mashes up “Alien” with “Gravity.” Despite its talented cast and eye-popping effects, there’s not much substance beneath the sizzle. What ‘Life’ Could Have Offered To its credit, “Life” wastes very little time in setting up its central conflict. Upon recovering a Mars soil sample that happens to contain an ancient single-celled organism, an international team of astronauts begins conducting a series of experiments. Exposing the cell to oxygen and glucose triggers a rapid growth process, and the cell quickly develops into a small creature resembling a translucent sea star. It’s really a shame “Life” doesn’t embrace the better angels of its nature, because the concept here has lots of potential. If extraterrestrial life was discovered tomorrow, the implications would be world-shattering. Political sparring over healthcare reform would be forgotten in the rush to understand exactly what else is out there. “Life” momentarily floats this possibility—when the creature first begins to grow, one astronaut remarks about the inevitable “custody battle” to come. There’s a great political space thriller to be made about an international team of astronauts that struggles to fend off different world powers vying for control of an alien lifeform, and I hoped “Life” would go in that direction. Alas, it was not to be. “Life” is far more interested in creative astronaut-themed carnage than profound plotting: that little “sea star” soon evolves into something much nastier, quarantine protocols are breached, and all hell breaks loose. ‘Life’ Has Great Graphics, But Little Substance “Life” does succeed on a number of fronts. The movie’s production values are positively stellar, from the hauntingly beautiful tracking shot that opens the film to the solar-panel-smashing climax. Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds anchor a solid cast (that, yes, finds itself being picked off one by one by the marauding monster). For all the film’s similarities to “Alien,” the setting is quite unique: a zero gravity environment provides plenty of opportunities for inventive mayhem. And I’d be remiss in my critical duties if I didn’t mention that “Life” has one glorious third-act moment that almost redeems the whole thing. (Almost!) But these high points just aren’t enough to make “Life” really succeed. I can certainly appreciate a quality horror movie (“The Conjuring,” “Insidious,” and “Misery” are personal favorites), so I wasn’t automatically repelled by the film’s unexpected turn toward the macabre. But to the movie’s great detriment, very little in “Life” feels original. There’s an alien-crawling-through-the-vents scene (pilfered from “Alien”), a scene with a defibrillation that goes horribly awry (stolen from “The Thing”), the alien’s instant consumption and ingestion of a living creature to increase its biomass (swiped from “The Blob”), an attempt to throw the creature down a shaft into deep space (cribbed from “Aliens”), and much more. The full-grown creature even looks uncannily like a Mutalisk alien from the video game “StarCraft II.” Such unoriginality might be forgivable if “Life” was actually scary. Sadly, it’s not. The key to making a film genuinely frightening is to tap into a primal human dread. In its crudest form, this looks like movies about masked serial killers (after all, people are afraid of them). A more sophisticated expression of this principle might be H.P. Lovecraft’s “cosmic horror” (built on the fear that we’re simply pawns in the hands of malevolent forces). Viewed in this light, the premise of “Life” doesn’t measure up: there’s no sane reason for us to be afraid of marauding organisms from Mars, because our odds of encountering them are infinitesimally small. (By contrast, Ridley Scott’s classic “Alien” evoked menace due to its appropriation of artist H.R. Giger’s eerie, sexually inflected imagery.) Nor is “Life” particularly grisly—in fact, it’s quite tame for the genre (it’s rated R, but take out a smattering of profanity and the movie’s easily in PG-13 territory). There Are Better Sci-Fi Horror Films Out There “Life” suffers not because it relies on a bait-and-switch premise, but because its B-movie sensibilities don’t do proper justice to its talented cast and top-notch cinematography. Unlike 2012’s “Prometheus,” which explored questions of Gnosticism and human origins alongside terrifying imagery, “Life” simply has very little on its mind. Similarly, the bleakest undercurrent in “Alien” was the prospect that the murderous creature would be commodified and weaponized by a multinational corporation. Nothing so provocative is teased here, and given the clear talent behind “Life,” that failure is really quite a shame. When all’s said and done, “Life” is perhaps best enjoyed as a late-night Netflix pick. If you like this sort of movie, I recommend the far superior 1997 film “Event Horizon,” which probes similar themes and packs a much fiercer punch. Otherwise, save your money. ]]>
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies The monster movie tropes might feel familiar at times, but Life flirts with audience "alien"-ation in ways that are surprising, even shocking, making for a more memorable film experience than we expect during the early part of its story. 3.5 out of 5.   Synopsis Aliens-on-the-loose movies, a cinematic staple for decades that had grown stale by the dawn of the 21st century, may be on the cusp of a resurgence, thanks in part to an effective—and gruesome—new entry. Life tells the story of occupants on an international space station—David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal), Roy Adams (Ryan Reynolds), Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), Sho Kendo (Hiroyuki Sanada) and Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare)—who are ecstatic when samples from a Mars probe reveal a new life form. The organism, which they dub Calvin, quickly grows into a jelly-like creature that, far from passive, can wrap around human hands, slip confinement, and choke, consume and devour whatever stands in its way. One by one the crew members try to fend off Calvin, even as their resources diminish. They're racing the clock, running out of oxygen, under threat of burning up upon re-entry... we've seen all these plot points in other movies about astronauts and outer space. But Life's willingness to upend audience expectations gives the story a sense of, well, life that keeps the story from growing stale.   What Works? It's not complicated, but watching the human characters fight valiantly—even as they lose—against an alien being provides plenty of suspense, not to mention several demises that won't easily be forgotten.   What Doesn't? The first 30 minutes aren't promising, setting up several less-than-appealing characters who seem designed to be disposable. Do we really want to spend the rest of the movie watching these people? It turns out we do, but only after their number is whittled down to a few key characters.   googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes Life doesn't shoot for profundity. There's no God talk and not much philosophical discussion about Calvin beyond a reference that the alien, like the astronauts, is just trying to survive. The film does showcase a tenacious instinct—both human and alien—for survival, but Life is more of a thrill ride than a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of existence.   CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers) MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror Language/Profanity: Lord's name taken in vain; numerous uses of the f-word, including the 'mf' variety; "holy s-it"; a person confesses to feeling "pure hate" for the alien. Sexuality/Nudity: None. Violence/Frightening/Intense: Several scenes of alien attack, including several vivid character deaths; a memory of the space shuttle Challenger disaster; a comment that "it's hard to watch people die." Drugs/Alcohol: None.   The Bottom Line RECOMMENDED FOR: Viewers interested in a throwback to the action-adventure blockbusters of the '80s and '90s. Life doesn't satisfy on the level of, for example, Ridley Scott's Alien or James Cameron's Aliens, but it works well enough not to suffer miserably by comparison. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Anyone who expects to see their favorite stars not only survive, but thrive, through sci-fi/space monster adversity. Life, directed by Daniel Espinosa, opened in theaters March 24, 2017; available for home viewing June 20, 2017. It runs 103 minutes and stars Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Hiroyuki Sanada, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ariyon Bakare. Watch the trailer for Life here.   Christian Hamaker brings a background in both Religion (M.A., Reformed Theological Seminary) and Film/Popular Culture (B.A., Virginia Tech) to his reviews. He still has a collection of more than 100 laserdiscs, and for DVDs patronizes the local library. Streaming? What is this "streaming" of which you speak? He'll figure it out someday. Until then, his preferred viewing venue is a movie theater. Christian is happily married to Sarah, a parent coach and author of [email protected]/* <![CDATA[ */!function(t,e,r,n,c,a,p){try{t=document.currentScript||function(){for(t=document.getElementsByTagName('script'),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute('data-cfhash'))return t[e]}();if(t&&(c=t.previousSibling)){p=t.parentNode;if(a=c.getAttribute('data-cfemail')){for(e='',r='0x'+a.substr(0,2)|0,n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)e+='%'+('0'+('0x'+a.substr(n,2)^r).toString(16)).slice(-2);p.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(decodeURIComponent(e)),c)}p.removeChild(t)}}catch(u){}}()/* ]]> */ and Ending Sibling Rivalry. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Publication date: March 23, 2017 ]]>
(Review Source)
Armond White
(”Life” is briefly mentioned in this.)
Anyone who fixes his social frustrations on the Academy Awards needs a new mode of protest. Followers of the frivolous #OscarSoWhite campaign confuse film-industry flattery with justice (“justice,” another currently misunderstood word). Sadly, all this nonsense is a continuation of the millennium’s misunderstanding of what exactly “civil rights” means 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. The Oscars are not fun anymore, and protestors have misjudged their priorities. It’s bizarre, but perhaps inevitable, that well-heeled African Americans from Jada Pinkett-Smith to the Reverend Al Sharpton (who both called for Oscar boycotts) consider that their personal class achievements entitle them to many more, additional honors. They mistake a dearth of trinkets for all the other issues that beset African Americans — as if awards were the same thing as freedom. The encouraging facts of black social progress are ignored, and disrespect for serious black struggles has run amok. The real social progress that African Americans have earned — evident in the un-Oscared movies Sweetback Sweetback’s Baadasss Song, Sounder, Amistad, Beloved, Life, Next Day Air, and others — has been taken for granted this century. To conflate contemporary social frustrations with the nagging paranoia resulting from historically based awareness of past injustices is idiocy. Contemporary race hustlers such as Pinkett-Smith and Sharpton are naïve, and twittering students don’t appreciate what rightful struggle and personal dignity mean. RELATED: The New Segregationism: The Oscar Nominations Have Brought a Corrosive Racial Politics to the Fore The #OscarSoWhite campaign doesn’t deserve to be labeled “political.” It derived from a conceit of black bourgeois privilege and from the self-righteousness of the white-owned media that promote the #BlackLivesMatter “cause” for no other reason than to prove their liberalism. It’s snootiness and sanctimony combined. In practical terms, this false “politicizing” of the Oscars demonstrates an ignorance of recent Hollywood history. Think back to 2008: Eddie Murphy, who was ignored for his extraordinary performances in the Nutty Professor movies then — finally — got an Oscar nomination for his way-late SNL shtick in the dreadful but highly promoted Dreamgirls. And he still lost. Later, Murphy got little media support for indignantly walking out of that year’s Oscar ceremony or for his principled refusal of an Oscar-hosting stint in 2012 when his colleague and producer Brett Ratner was vilified by the Academy for perceived political incorrectness. This forgotten history shows the current protests to be both ahistorical and unethical. (function($){ var swapArticleBodyPullAd = function() { if ($('body').hasClass('node-type-articles')) { var $pullAd = $('.story-container .pullad').addClass('mobile-position'); if (window.matchMedia("(min-width: 640px)").matches) { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('desktop-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-desktop-position'); } } else { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('mobile-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-mobile-position'); } } } }; $(window).on('resize', function(){ swapArticleBodyPullAd(); }).resize(); })(jQuery); More Race Seventy-Five Percent of Black Boys in California Fail State Reading Standards Unsayable Truths about a Failing High School Black and Muslim Women Are Invisible to the Feminist Movement Oscar race hustlers still don’t understand the prejudiced underpinnings of cultural ideology — the standard procedures by which industry executives routinely give advantages to their own kind and studios continue to operate with white preference (as 2014’s Sony hacking exposed). These problems get repeated in the mainstream media’s unacknowledged biases: In recent years, liberal Hollywood has frequently awarded Oscars to only the most demeaning black performances. This is the same false liberalism behind Spotlight, the Catholic Church–bashing movie that celebrates crusading journalists and, with six nominations, is an Oscar favorite. Let’s see if Spotlight wins any of its undeserved recognition. It would ceremoniously confirm Hollywood’s ongoing sanctimony. — Armond White, a film critic who writes about movies for National Review Online, received the American Book Awards’ Anti-Censorship Award. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and the forthcoming What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about the Movies. ]]>
(Review Source)
Plugged In
Sci-Fi/FantasyDrama We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.Movie ReviewCalvin had been doing just fine before the astronauts showed up. Granted, he wasn't exactly lively. The single-celled, Mars-based organism had been fairly catatonic for a good 100 million years or so. But who among us couldn't use a little more shut-eye? Given that his cellular structure is all eye—and all muscle, and all brain—one could argue that Calvin needs more rest than most. But while Calvin was sleeping, a rover collected him (or her, or it) from the Martian soil and blasted him into space, to be examined by the six-person crew of the burgeoning International Space Station. They start pumping oxygen into his little box. They heat him up, nice and comfy. Once the conditions in the box reach a warm, primordial Earth-like state, Calvin perks right up and starts growing. Why, how nice of these strange bipeds to revive me like that, he might've thought to himself in inaudible Martian. They certainly seem frien—OW! Now, it's entirely possible that Calvin wasn't thinking such kindhearted thoughts when the electrical shocks started. Given that Calvin doesn't seem to possess a heart exactly, it's possible that he woke up cackling silently, like an alien Snidely Whiplash. Cattle! It might've said in inaudible Martian. Bend to the power of the Old Ones! One can never be too sure about extraterrestrial beings. But whatever Calvin's initial motivation might've been, the events that follow are indisputable: Once the astronauts start a-shocking, Calvin starts a-killing. Alas for Calvin, there are only so many humans to feed on in space. But the planet below has eight billion of 'em. Now, if only he could find a way down …Positive ElementsWe don't get to know our astronaut cast that well in Life, what with all the screaming and dying and whatnot. But these scientists definitely feel super, super bad when one of their own is threatened. And I think every single one of them risks and sometimes sacrifices his or her life to protect their fellow space-walkers to ensure that Calvin doesn't get to earth. Spiritual ContentScientists believe that Calvin has been around for at least 100 million years. "We're going to learn so much about life," says researcher Hugh Derry. "Its origin, its nature, maybe even its meaning." One astronaut, Sho Murakami, whispers to a picture of his wife and newborn daughter, "I'm coming home." It's not completely clear whether he means he's literally planning on getting home somehow (despite the creature that's determined to kill him) or means it in a more figurative, spiritual sense—that he'll see them both in the afterlife.Sexual ContentAfter the wife of an astronaut gives birth back on Earth, one of the man's fellow crew members ribs him, "Do they have any idea who the father is?"Recommended ResourceA Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About SexKevin LemanEven the bravest parents feel timid about discussing sex with their 8- to 14-year-olds! This resource offers reassuring, humorous, real-life anecdotes along with reliable information to help you with this challenging task.Buy NowViolent ContentCalvin is not a gentle soul. When he's still pretty small, he grabs hold of biologist Hugh Derry's hand (protected by a thick rubber glove) and crushes, it would seem, every bone in it. (When Hugh manages to pull free, the hand is completely mangled, looking more like a contorted octopus than a recognizable human appendage.) And that's just the beginning. Calvin's first fatality is a literal lab rat, kept (for some reason) shackled inside the space station's lab. He wraps the poor, squeaking little critter in his grip and seems to absorb the thing alive, the rat clearly conscious until almost the end. Calvin then moves on to people: He pries open someone's mouth and kills him from the inside, blood floating from various orifices—both natural and made by Calvin—in weightless space. He kills another by crushing a coolant container in someone's spacesuit: The victim eventually drowns in liquid coolant. He latches on someone's leg, feeding on blood until that person, too, dies. He wrestles with someone in the vacuum of space, leading to another fatality. A mishap with another spaceship causes passengers on the visiting vehicle to lose their lives. Calvin fights with another astronaut in what would ordinarily be a space-bound "lifeboat," and the results, while uncertain, are not good. Corpses float about weightlessly throughout the film. The astronauts try to inflict their share of pain on Calvin, too. They attempt to barbecue him with an incinerator and, when the creature escapes outside the ship (he's an extremely durable chap), blast him with the station's maneuvering jets (which he's trying to sneak back into the ship through). They shock the creature when it's a more manageable size. Explosions explode. Parts of the space station are shattered. Someone laments war and references a conflict in Syria. Crude or Profane LanguageNearly 30 uses of the f-word and another 10 of the s-word. God's name is misused once, and Jesus' name is abused at least four times.Drug and Alcohol ContentHugh is initially enamored with the life-form he and the team have picked up. Rory warns him that his apparent affection for the creature is dangerous. "You're drunk on this," Rory says. "Wake up."Other Negative ElementsBefore Calvin becomes a deadly nuisance, the astronauts are interviewed by school children via satellite. One of those them asks how astronauts go to the bathroom, and Sho shows them the apparatus they use, explaining in clinical detail how it works.ConclusionIn our individualistic society, to go "by the book" is often seen as a bad thing. We like to take chances, to color outside the lines, to get out of the box. As such, Life comes with a rather interesting countercultural message: There's a reason we go by the book. There are occasions when we want what's in the box to stay in the box. About half the terrible things that happen in Life happen because someone literally opened doors that should've stayed tightly shut. Admittedly, keeping those doors shut often doesn't feel like the right thing to do, particularly when an imperiled crewman is on the other side. But ask folks who save lives for a living, and they'll tell you some pretty sobering truths: You don't dive in to save a wildly thrashing drowning person because they'll likely take you with them. You don't carry someone down from the top of Mount Everest, because if you do, neither of you will make it back. Life adds another example to the list: Best not to mess with super-strong, super-hostile Martian life-forms. We're all about sacrificing ourselves to rescue others … but when we sacrifice ourselves and don't save anyone, well, that's another kettle of crawdads. Life is a tense, often contrived story—Alien reheated, minus the acid blood. This sci-fi horror story could've easily been a PG-13 thriller without all the blood and harsh profanity, and frankly, it wouldn't have lost a thing. But as it is, Life feels a lot like its Martian star, Calvin: a critter you might not want to let out of the box. Pro-social ContentObjectionable ContentSummary AdvisoryPlot SummaryChristian BeliefsOther Belief SystemsAuthority RolesProfanity/ViolenceKissing/Sex/HomosexualityDiscussion TopicsAdditional Comments/NotesEpisode Reviews]]>
(Review Source)
The Federalist Staff
This is essentially a slasher movie in space. And despite its talented cast and eye-popping effects, 'Life' doesn't offer much substance beneath the sizzle.
(Review Source)
Crosswalk
Movies Life or Something Like It - PG-13 Best for: Mature teens and adults will enjoy it the most. What it's about: Lanie Kerrigan (Angelina Jolie) seemingly has everything. She's a feature reporter at a Seattle television station and is under consideration for a major network position. She's also engaged to a baseball superstar (Christian Kane) and leads the "perfect" life. Lanie, sent to cover a homeless man (Tony Shalhoub) whose prophecies come true, is shocked when he tells Lanie that she isn't going to get the network job and that she'll die the following week. After seeing his other predictions come true, Lanie is convinced, so she takes a few days to reexamine her life and relationships. When she turns to her co-worker and former fling (Ed Burns) for support, she ends up gaining more than just a listening ear. Stockard Channing plays another media diva. The good: You might feel good walking out of the theater after this movie, but the feeling will fade as the movie's flaws become more apparent. Jolie does a good job of portraying a media prima donna who realizes just how empty and vapid her "perfect" world really is. She adequately grapples with her personal relationships (distant father, troubled sister, indifferent fiancé) and wrestles with the homeless man's prophecy. Burns seizes the opportunity to show Lanie a different side of herself and ends up falling in love. The witty dialogue and clever retorts reminded me of what used to work in all of those old-fashioned romantic comedies -- chemistry between interesting characters in an entertaining script. This is a lighthearted story that will leave you with a smile, reflecting on who and what is important to you. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); The not-so-good: Life is not meant to be a serious evaluation of life or personal relationships, but when I walked out, I kept feeling like there was something lacking in Jolie's character. If you knew you were going to die, wouldn't your spiritual destiny be sort of important to you? I'm not trying to "super-spiritualize" the situation, but this is a story about superficial life in a superficial world. Yes, she makes some life-changing decisions for herself and chooses the personally rewarding path instead of the career lined with incredible opportunities. But instead of more depth in Lanie's character (that could have easily been brought out in a few lines), we get a typically happy ending that makes everybody feel good but doesn't leave you with much substance. Offensive language or behavior: Several uses of profanity. One scene shows a drunk Lanie leading a group of people in a protest. Another scene shows her smoking a cigarette. Sexual situations: Some sexual dialogue. A couple is shown kissing and going to bed together, then waking up and leaving for work. No nudity, but a few scenes of people in their underwear. Violence: A man is cornered and a gunshot is heard, but no one is shown being shot. A hospital patient's stomach bleeds through a gown. Parental advisory: By today's standards this is a mild romantic comedy with lots of witty one-liners, likable characters and a story that shows how a woman who seems to have everything finds meaning in her life. But the sexual discussions (and scene) and adult issues make it for mature teens and adults only. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Bottom line: I took my college-age daughter and her girlfriend to see this with me, and we all agreed it was entertaining and enjoyable. It's a decent story about a superficial woman coming to terms with her life and facing death, but in the end, the story seemed two-dimensional. Without a heavenly perspective or Godly purpose to life, I guess you could safely say that all that you're left with is life, or something like it. ]]>
(Review Source)