Paper Heart

Paper Heart
One suspects that in any review of Paper Heart, readers are likely to find the same two words appearing over and over – "quirky" and "charming." While both are valid descriptors, they seem, in a vague sense, to be overly simplistic. More and more, these are the words that critics use to praise the higher-quality indie rom-com fare, like some scrappy dog or cute baby that passes briefly along the boardwalk. They lack a seeming sincerity. And whatever the intention of the critic – whether to praise, or praise faintly – there are, perhaps, truer compliments to pay.

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13
I was amazed to see that the Jason Statham/Mickey Rourke starrer 13 had only 7 external reviews on IMDB. The film, to me, is right up there with The Fighter and The King's Speech in terms of production and acting. It has been a long, long time since a film has touched me so intensely and made me ponder how precious life is. It made me realize that no amount of money can ever match the value of life.

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Saw V
The advertising promises "You won't believe how it ends," but the problem with Saw V isn't so much its ending, it's everything that comes before. Oddly toothless, the entire flick feels like it exists solely as preamble for Saw VI. The greatest tension I felt was waiting for the movie to begin. I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and then the end credits began to roll and I realized the movie had, in fact, ended. As one of the characters says, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

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The Boxer

The Boxer
Serious filmgoers have learned to take special notice of the week between Christmas and New Year's. It's the time for especially distinguished year-end sleepers (''The Madness of King George,'' ''In the Name of the Father''), and this year it brings two beauties: an exotic Australian romance steeped in religion and gambling (''Oscar and Lucinda,'' reviewed on page 5), and ''The Boxer,'' Jim Sheridan's tender, wrenching Belfast drama.

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Due Date

Due Date
Downey plays Peter Highman, a high-strung architect whose wife Sarah is days away from giving birth to their first child by Caesarian section. Peter’s plans to take a flight from Atlanta to their home in Los Angeles are foiled when he crosses paths with Ethan Tremblay (Galifianakis), a would-be actor accompanied by his French bulldog. The awkward, disheveled Ethan makes an immediately poor impression when his vehicle races past Peter’s parked town car and tears off the passenger door. Then, on the plane, Ethan just happens to be seated behind Peter, and a few reckless comments get them both booted off the aircraft and placed on a no-fly list. Stranded without his luggage, wallet or ID, Peter unwisely accepts Ethan’s offer to accompany him cross-country in a rental car. And so the alleged fun begins.

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Good Bye, Lenin!

Good Bye, Lenin!
There's certainly no shortage of rich threads woven into the tapestry of Good Bye, Lenin! Wolfgang Becker's movie (produced by Stefan Arndt, who has been involved in everything by Tom Tykwer, from Run Lola Run to Heaven) offers the touching story of a devoted son's sacrifice for his mother, albeit with a couple of inventive twists. The story confronts the perversion of perception and the manipulation of reality. And, as if that isn't heady enough material, it tackles the confusing national identity crisis suffered by Germans when the Berlin Wall came down. Like twins reunited after a long separation, there was an awkward re-acclimation process that few films are interested in exploring. (Perhaps it takes a German filmmaker to do the issue justice, or perhaps to even recognize it at all.)

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Serenity

Serenity
This is only the second time it has happened. By "it," I'm referring to the process by which a science fiction television show is canceled, becomes a cult hit after its removal from the air, and is brought back to life as a major motion picture with the original cast. Serenity, Joss Whedon's follow-up to his defunct TV project Firefly, thus enters rarefied territory. The only other franchise to make such a lofty claim is Star Trek. (To be fair, X-Files did something similar, although it was still on the air when the movie reached theaters.) The box office numbers will determine where the Firefly characters go from here: to a sequel, to a new TV series, or to the dusty part of a DVD shelf.

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Little Indian, Big City

Little Indian, Big City
Little Indian, Big City, the American name given to Herve Palud's 1995 French fish-out-of-water comedy, L'Indian dans la Ville, is easily one of the most tedious viewing experiences of 1996. I came as close to walking out of this movie as anything I have ever watched. No one, no matter how desperate they are for family entertainment, should be subjected to the indignity of sitting through this ninety-minute excuse for a motion picture.

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Michael Collins

Michael Collins
"It's my considered opinion that in the fullness of time, history will record the greatness of [Michael] Collins and it will be recorded at my expense."
-- Eamon De Valera, President of the Republic of Ireland, 1966

Of the more than five dozen films to be released this Fall, none is likely to generate more controversy than Neil Jordan's Michael Collins, a biopic of the man who co-founded the IRA and signed the 1921 treaty that partitioned Ireland and provoked the 1922 civil war. Even before its release, the film has fanned passions in the United Kingdom, where it has been tagged with such diverse labels as "ammunition for IRA recruiting sergeants and fund-raisers" (Ruth Dudley Edwards) and "as important a film as ever to be made in Ireland about Ireland" (Art Cosgrove). Opponents are as vocal in their condemnation of the movie as supporters are in their defense of it. Not unexpectedly, writer/director Neil Jordan has been obligated to affirm the picture's integrity, stating at the Toronto Film Festival that "Most of the people who accuse me of inflaming the peace process have no interest in the peace process whatsoever."

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FeardotCom

FeardotCom
Mike Reilly (Stephen Dorff) is an NYPD detective who is called to the scene of a death buster endosycoasteristicated mysterious death in the subway system. The victim, Polidori (Udo Kier), exhibits bleeding from his eyes and other orifices and, by the frozen look on his face, appears to have been scared to death.

Department of Health researcher Terry Huston (Natascha McElhone) is intrigued by the find as well, particularly when several more victims show up with identical symptoms.

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The Pledge

The Pledge
The film begins with a flashback to an inebriated Police Detective Jerry Black, mumbling incoherently at an unknown location. The scene then switches to events that precede the opening scene. Jerry is ice fishing, then driving to work. After work, he goes to a restaurant, where the Department has thrown him a retirement party. Police Captain Eric Pollack (Sam Shepard) gives Jerry a gift, a trip to go fishing in Mexico. The party is interrupted by the discovery of a murdered young girl named Ginny. Jerry decides to go with another Detective, Stan Krolak (Aaron Eckhart) to the scene of the crime.

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Fighting Tommy Riley

Fighting Tommy Riley
Tommy Riley (J. P. Davis) stands in boxing gear in a dingy dressing room. There is a knock at the door and a voice calls out, "Are you ready?"

The film flashes back seven months. Tommy is a former boxer who almost made the 2000 U.S. Olympic boxing team as a middleweight. He works laying computer

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Assault Girls

Assault Girls
Ghost in the Shell and Avalon director Oshii Mamoru takes on live-action for the first time in eight years with the sci-fi action film Assault Girls, a visually impressive movie featuring some of Japans hottest young actresses, and a haunting musical score by Kawai Kenji. In a virtual world called Avalon, four warriors - Gray (Kuroki Meisa), Colonel (Saeki Hinako), Lucifer (Kikuchi Rinko), and Jager (Fujiku Yoshikatsu) - band together to fight giant sand monsters destroying the world. They discover that theres only room for one survivor in their world, and they must play by the rules.

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Love Me Still

Love Me Still
As the result of an armed robbery Mickey Ronson has served eight years in prison, leaving his wife Gemma and their child Lucy to cope on their own. As the time of Mickeys release draws near he cant wait to get back to his family and continue on with their lives. He plans a surprise for his loved ones by keeping the date a secret from all but his sister. Not long before he gets out, Mickeys brother Bobby gets involved with Gemma and Lucy on the pretence of helping them out. But Bobby has his own agenda and the events that ensue change all of their lives forever.

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No Greater Love

No Greater Love
Jeff and Heather were the lucky ones. Best friends from childhood, high school sweethearts, and married by 22, they were inseparable soul mates. Jeffs world is dramatically rocked when Heather disappears after the birth of their son. Heather shockingly reappears ten years later in the most unusual place.

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