Review: Terminator Salvation

I’ve written before about the Curse of the Sequel, and when you’re doing a fourth installment of what we modern film people call a “franchise”, it’s doubly difficult to have a film that’s interesting, engaging, and consistent with the mythos of the earlier movies. It can be done: the new Star Trek movie is an example of a great addition to a huge franchise. It can also be messed up, as was the case in…Read More

Review: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Since Battle of the Smithsonian is the sequel to the popular film Night at the Museum, I should start this review by saying that I really enjoyed the first film and own a copy of it. My kids really like it too and we’ve watched it at least a dozen times.  The core storyline in the first film was that divorced father Larry Daley (played by Ben Stiller) has a poor relationship with his son…Read More

Review: Angels & Demons

Just got back from a preview screening of the new Tom Hanks / Ron Howard movie Angels & Demons, based on the book of the same name by Dan Brown.  You’ll remember Dan Brown because he wrote the extraordinary best seller The DaVinci Code. If you’re lucky, you won’t also remember that Ron Howard directed, and Tom Hanks starred in the movie version of The DaVinci Code too, a film released in 2006. I’ve actually…Read More

Are movies too violent, or is cinema just evolving?

I got an interesting question in the mail: “I am not very familiar with your website but I came across an article you wrote about the increase in violence in cinema while doing research for a paper I have to do. I found the article very interesting and was wondering if I may ask a question to you. I am a student at the University of Notre Dame and am writing a paper dealing with…Read More

Review: State of Play with Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams

I was lucky to see a pre-release promotional screening of State of Play, directed by Kevin Macdonald, with a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray. Promotional screenings are interesting because there are no previews and the audience is generally in a very upbeat, lively mood because the tickets are free: it’s just to generate buzz in the local community (and to screen the film for reviewers like myself). Let me cut…Read More

Review: Eagle Eye

This afternoon I watched the latest release from Dreamworks, Eagle Eye. Directed by D. J. Caruso and starring Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Moaghan and Rosario Dawson, it’s an exciting film that’s clearly inspired by Enemy of the State, Star Wars (specifically The Empire Strikes Back), and a veritable screening room of modern surveillance films. Problem is, while the story is pulled together very well and it’s exciting, it’s also a few minutes too long, a few…Read More