July 2007

Bourne Before

by Alan Rapp on July 31, 2007

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Bourne Identity (1988)
  • IMDB: link

bourne-identity-tv-dvdRichard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne?  Yeah, that’s a little head-scratching I’ll admit.  However this version of the Ludlum novel does stay closer to the character and themes of the orginal, and includes the book’s villain Carlos the Jackal.

Staying true to the novel by Robert Ludlum Jason Bourne (Chamberlain) awakes after being shot and left for for dead in the ocean knowing nothing of himself or his surroundings.

Leaving the small sleepy southern French village where he washed up our protagonist heads out to discover who he is, but he his search only leads to more questions.  He is haunted by flashbacks of a women and a child and images of violence and death.

His one clue leads him to a Swiss bank account where he learns his name as his life is put in danger.  Taking a woman, Marie St. Jacques (Jaclyn Smith), as a hostage Bourne escapes.

[click to continue…]

A Video Game is Bourne

by Alan Rapp on July 31, 2007

in Uncategorized

Here’s the short announcement teaser for the new The Bourne Conspiracy console game by High Moon and Sierra for the Playstaton 3 and the Xbox 360.  Now you can be Bourne and take out all your amnesiac aggression with ruthless efficiency on anybody who gets in your way!  Larger version available in the Full Diagnosis.

The Bourne Conspiracy
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This Week in Independent Film

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Anne Hathaway stars as a young and yet unknown Jane Austen in this biopic which centers around an early love affair with a struggling Irish lawyer (James McAvoy).  James Cromwell, Maggie Smith, Julie Waters, Joe Anderson, and Ian Richardson also star.  Check out the official site.  We’ve seen it and we’ll give you the scoop on Friday when the film opens in limited release in select theaters before going wide next week.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Becoming Jane
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This Week in Independent Film

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

In sleepy resort community in The Hamptons a trophy husband’s (Bill Sage) inability to produce an heir leads to tragedy and murder in this classic noir-sylized film by writers/directors Ben Cummings and Orson CummingsRoy Scheider, Susan Misner, Noelle Beck, Mirelly Taylor and Phyllis Somerville also star.  Check out the official site.  The film opens exclusively in New York on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

If I Didn’t Care
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This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

A nerd and self-proclaimed stuntman (Andy Samberg) attempts an amazing jump to earn money for his abusive step-father’s life-saving operation.  Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Isla Fisher, and Will Arnett also star.  Check out the official site and the MySpace page.  Ian’s been anxiously awaiting this one for weeks so come back Friday to find out what he thinks.  Me, I’m just wondering how long it takes for Ian McShane to call one of the nerds a cocksucker.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Hot Rod
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This Week in Independent Film

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Mr. and Mrs. Jennifer Lopez star in this biopic of Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony), one of the biggest Spanish salsa singers in the US in the late 60’s and 70’s before drugs and disease destroyed his life.  Check out the official site.  The film sings itself into theaters everywhere on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

El Cantante
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This Week in Foregin Film

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

In South Africa two teams of thieves race to steal priceless diamonds in this heist flick from India.  Ajay Devgan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Zayed Khan, Esha Deol, Diay Mizra, Shamita Shetty and Sunsil Shetty star.  Check out the official site.  The film opens in limited release in select cities this Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Cash
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This Week in Film

by Alan Rapp on July 30, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

No other film (with the possible exception of Transformers) has left me with a sense of trepidation and dread as this Air Bud-looking live-action remake of the beloved cartoon.  No rhyme nor Shoeshine Boy here, though I must applaud the casting of Peter Dinklage as Simon Barsinister.  Jim Belushi, Alex Neuberger, Brad Garrett, Amy Adams, and Jason Lee as the voice of Underdog also star.  Check out the official site.  We will find out if there is a need to fear when Underdog crash lands in theaters on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Underdog
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The Simpsons on the Big Screen

by Alan Rapp on July 27, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

For 18 years fans of The Simpsons have watched their beloved characters get in and out of trouble on a weekly basis.  Now the longest running show on American television takes the leap to the big screen.  The result is about what you’d exepect when a 21-minute episodic television show tries to turn itself into a full-length feature film.  With some charm and funny moments the film will score big with hardcore fans, but the casual observer, by the end, will be looking for the remote to see what else is on.

The Simpsons Movie
3 Stars

“Why would you pay to see something you can see for free on TV?”
—Homer Simpson

Mmm… doughnuts

If you’ve watched thw show you know the basic formula of it’s 18 years of success: Homer (Dan Castellaneta) screws-up, Bart (Nancy Cartwright) gets into trouble, Lisa (Yeardly Smith) fights for a lost cause, Marge (Julie Kavner) gets angry, and by the end of the episode everything turns out fine.  Not surprisingly the script for this movie version holds true to form.

The main story involves the obsessions of Homer with a new pig and Lisa with cleaning up Lake Springfield.  When these two storylines converge Springfield is put in danger (guess who’s to blame) and the family finds itself hated by their friends and hunted by President Arnold Schwarzenegger and the EPA.

The film is enjoyable and fans will not doubt flock to the theaters to have a chance to see their favorite characters on the big screen.  However one does have to ask why this film was made, and why was it made now while the show is still in production?  In one of the better jokes (though it rips-off Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back read the review) Homer asks the very same question.

What makes the film work are some good jokes and some clever moments which include divulging the location of Springfield as it borders the states of Ohio, Nevada, Kentucky, and Maine.  This humorous geography also comes in handy when the family leaves town to go over the hill to Alaska.  The film is full of short moments that remind you of who these characters are and why they have remained so popular.

Though not as good as I hoped the film should make fans happy; to me it comes off as an over-long television special event instead of a feature film.  The Simpson family and the town’s eccentrics go through their usual paces, provide some laughs, and have some fun.  By the way, if you do go make sure you stay through the credits for the several bonuses which include the family in a theater and Springfield anthem.  Is it worth the money to pay for something you can still see new on television?  Well, that’s such an obvious question that even Homer raises it, but sadly the film never supplies a satisfactory answer.

No Need For Reservations

by Alan Rapp on July 27, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

No Reservations is one of those predictable romantic comedies that Hollywood loves to churn out.  Saved from formulaic writing only by a likable cast, this film may satisfy your appetite for a short while but it’s not likely to make you come back for seconds.

No Reservations
3 Stars

“You know better than anyone.
It’s the recipes you create yourself that are the best.”

 

A little too bland

Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the head chef at an upscale New York restaurant.  She’s also compulsive, anal, controlling, and a times what could be referred to as a bitch on wheels.  All this changes when her sister dies in a car accident leaving her young daughter Zoe (Abigail Breslin) in Kate’s care.  To make matters worse the owner of the restaurant (Patricia Clarkson) has hired a new chef (Aaron Eckhart) to spice things up and pick-up the slack in the kitchen as Kate deals with her grief and new responsibilities.  You can guess where the story goes from here.  Kate learns to be more open and accepting, Zoe struggles with her mother’s death and new surroundings, and the animosity between Kate and Nick turns into love just as movie romances always seem to do.

No Reservations isn’t a bad film, but it’s so predictable and tame that it more resembles a frozen dinner than cuisine.  If not for the fact of casting three remarkably talented and likable leads the film would be almost completely unwatchable.  Though the star power isn’t enough to turn this turkey into a swan it does enough to make the film at least palatable.

Before ending I must mention Bob Balaban who plays Kate’s therapist in the film, and despite his limited screentime, provides some much needed cynicism and dry wit to what otherwise is a pretty bland, if attractive, picture.  The scenes between Zeta-Jones and Eckhart produce some moderate heat, but it’s in the scenes with Balaban that we learn there is more to Kate than the outside bitchy bravado she exudes so well.

The film may fill you up on its high fat content, but if you are truly starving for some food related cinema see if you can find Waitress (read that review) still playing in a small theater near your, or give Pixar’s Ratatouille (read Ian’s review) a try.  If you’ve already filled-up those, you can give this one a try.