ToonTownReviews

 See what movies are good and not so good... Reviews are from the perspective of a ToonTown guy and select reviewers. There are hundreds of collectible posters available thru ToonTownReviews! Click on any of the images to order safely and securely! (This is the sister site of 'OZ - The 'Other' Side of the Rainbow) ***If there is a copyright issue, please email me by clicking on 'Email ToonTownReviews!' in the Links section and I will provide credit, change it to a link, or remove the post.***

    

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Charlotte's Web (2006) - Help Is Coming From Above.


Release Date:December 20th, 2006

Starring the voice talents of:

Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, John Cleese, Robert Redford, Steve Buscemi, Cedric The Entertainer, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Thomas Haden Church, Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000), Kevin Anderson.


A live-action/photo real CG animated feature adaptation of E.B. White's "Charlotte's Web" starring Dakota Fanning as Fern. Julia Roberts will lend her vocals in the lead role of Charlotte A. Cavatica, a spider and heroine of the book who goes out of her way to save Wilbur the pig's life by weaving miraculous words into her webs.

Also providing voices are Oprah Winfrey as Gussy the barn's maternal yet irreverent goose; John Cleese as Samuel the sheep; Steve Buscemi as the barn's sardonic Rat Templeton. Cedric The Entertainer will play opposite Oprah as the other Goose - Golly. Reba McEntire and Kathy Bates will voice the barn's ironic cows; Betsy and Bitsy and Thomas Haden Church will voice Brooks, one of two dimwitted crows opposite Andre Benjamin (Andre 3000) as Elwyn the other crow.


**
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The critically acclaimed book "Charlotte's Web" written by award-winning author E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams is the best selling children's paperback of all time. To date the book has sold 45 Million copies worldwide and has been translated into 23 languages since published in 1952. "Charlotte's Web" is published by HarperCollins Children's Books.


Dakota Fanning as Fern in 'Charlotte's Web.'
Dakota Fanning as Fern in "Charlotte's Web."

The classic story of loyalty, trust, and sacrifice comes to life in this live-action adaptation. Fern (Dakota Fanning) is one of only two living beings who sees that Wilbur is a special animal as she raises him, the runt of the litter, into a terrific and radiant pig. As Wilbur moves into a new barn, he begins a second profound friendship with the most unlikely of creatures – a spider named Charlotte – and their bond inspires the animals around them to come together as a family. When the word gets out that Wilbur's days are numbered, it seems that only a miracle will save his life. A determined Charlotte – who sees miracles in the ordinary – spins words into her web in an effort to convince the farmer that Wilbur is "some pig" and worth saving.



** Advance Movie Poster: Sometimes called "Teasers", Advance One-Sheets are released before the film comes out. Some of the Advance posters have completely different artwork than the poster accompanying the final release version. Some are identical to the release One-Sheet, with the only difference being the word "Advance", "Coming Soon", or a specific date will be printed along the bottom.

 

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Friday, January 27, 2006

The Da Vinci Code (2006) - Preview


Cast: Tom Hanks, Jean Reno, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany, Alfred Molina.
Director: Ron Howard
Screenwriter: Akiva Goldsman
Producer: Matt Tolmach, Brian Grazer, John Calley, Matt Tolmach, Andrea Giannetti, Karen Kehela Sherwood

Plot Synopsis:


While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. While working to solve the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci—clues visible for all to see—yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.



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Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others.



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In a breathless race through Paris, London, and beyond, Langdon and Neveu match wits with a faceless powerbroker who seems to anticipate their every move. Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine puzzle in time, the Priory's ancient secret—and an explosive historical truth—will be lost forever.



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"The Da Vinci Code" has been on nationwide best seller lists virtually non-stop since it was released by Doubleday in 2003, including 87 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Over 20 million copies of the novel are in print worldwide and the book has been translated into 42 different languages.



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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The New World


CAST:
Colin Farrell, Q'Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer

SYNOPSIS

" …in the beginning all the World was America, and more so than it is now."

- John Locke, Second Treatise on government (1690)



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The New World is an epic adventure set amid the encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown settlement in 1607. Inspired by the legend of John Smith and Pocahontas, acclaimed filmmaker TERRENCE MALICK transforms this classic story into a sweeping exploration of love, loss and discovery, both a celebration and an elegy of the America that was…and the America that was yet to come.

Against the dramatic and historically rich backdrop of a pristine Eden inhabited by a great native civilization, Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line) has set a dramatized tale of two strong-willed characters, a passionate and noble young native woman and an ambitious soldier of fortune who find themselves torn between the undeniable requirements of civic duty and the inescapable demands of the heart.



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In the early years of the 17th century, North America is much as it has been for the previous five thousand years—a vast land of seemingly endless primeval wilderness populated by an intricate network of tribal cultures. Although these nations live in graceful harmony with their environment, their relations with each other are a bit more uneasy. All it will take to upset the balance is an intrusion from the outside.

One is not long in coming.

On a spring day in April of 1607, three diminutive ships bearing 103 men sail into this world from their unimaginably distant home, the island kingdom of England, three thousand miles to the east across a vast ocean. On behalf of their sponsor, the royally chartered Virginia Company, they are seeking to establish a cultural, religious, and economic foothold on the coast of what they regard as the New World.

The lead ship of the tiny flotilla is called the Susan Constant. Shackled below decks in her brig is a rebellious 27-year-old named John Smith (COLIN FARRELL), sentence and destined to be hanged for insubordination as soon as the ship reaches land.

A veteran of countless European wars, Smith is a soldier of fortune…though fortune has often turned its back on him. Still, he is too talented and popular to have his neck stretched by his own people, and so he is freed by Captain Christopher Newport (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) soon after the Susan Constant drops anchor. As Captain Newport knows—and the colonists will soon discover—surviving in this unknown wilderness will require the services of every able-bodied man…particularly one of Smith's abilities.

Though they don't realize it at the time, Newport and his band of British settlers have landed in the midst of a sophisticated Native American empire ruled by the powerful chieftain Powhatan (AUGUST SCHELLENBERG). To the colonists, it may be a new world. But to Powhatan and his people, it is an ancient world—and the only one they have ever known.

The English, strangers in a strange land, struggle from the beginning, unable—or, in some cases, stubbornly unwilling—to fend for themselves. Smith, searching for assistance from the local tribesmen, chances upon a young woman who at first seems to be more woodland sprite than human being. A willful and impetuous young woman whose family and friends affectionately call her "Pocahontas"—or "playful one"—she is the favorite of Powhatan's children. Before long a bond develops between Smith and Pocahontas (Q'ORIANKA KILCHER in her feature starring debut), a bond so powerful that it transcends friendship or even romance—and eventually becomes the basis of one of the most enduring American legends of the past 400 years.

--© New Line Cinema



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‘World’ apart
Story of Pocahontas and John Smith is a surreal poetic reverie
By ROBERT W. BUTLER
The Kansas City Star

Terrence Malick’s bold, beautiful and maddening “The New World” is no coherent history lesson.

In taking us back to the founding of Jamestown, Va., and the oft-told tale of Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith, Malick jettisons all the familiar clichés, along with most exposition, character development, dialogue and conventional narrative techniques.

What we have here is a dreamy reverie of primordial America, told through the characters’ innermost thoughts and Emmanuel Lubezki’s achingly beautiful cinematography. The pacing is languid. Malick, fascinated by nature images, lingers on them.

(Note: The film opening today in theaters is 16 minutes shorter than the one critics were shown last month. See the accompanying story.)

At times you want to grab the filmmaker and shake him … and then he delivers a moment so sublimely poetic that you forgive all and become lost in the moment.

The film is presented as an encounter between “civilized” and “natural” men. The English settlers who establish Jamestown are hairy, dirty, lazy, rancorous and utterly incapable of surviving on their own.

The natives who cautiously befriend the visitors (before turning on them) are tall, slender and astonishingly graceful. Sometimes they imitate animal behavior, with warriors strutting and preening like male game birds. To communicate they rely on touch as much as language.

The village from which the chief, Powhatan (August Schellenberg), rules is orderly and industrious, while the stockade in which the Englishmen cower is a squalid bed of pestilence.

Keeping the two sides at bay are Smith (Colin Farrell) and Powhatan’s beloved daughter, Pocahontas (Q’Orianka Kilcher), who engage in what appears to be a chaste romance marked by forest frolicking and romantic swims.

Farrell hides behind his bushy beard and gives a one-note performance. But Kilcher, who was just 14 when the film was shot, is extraordinary. Naturally beautiful and filled with coltish energy, her Pocahontas (the name is never spoken aloud in the film) is fascinated by these newcomers and especially the slow-smoldering Smith. This is a terrific performance that teeters between giddy childishness and emotional maturity.

Eventually Smith goes back to England, leaving behind a heartbroken Pocahontas. Thus begins the film’s second act and the girl’s Anglicization. Rejected by her people as a betrayer, she moves in with the settlers, learns their language, adopts their dress, marries Englishman John Rolfe (Christian Bale), has a child and eventually is taken to Britain, where she becomes something of a celebrity.

But even in a corseted dress and pinching shoes, Pocahontas is nature’s child, dancing alone in the stately grandeur of a formal English garden.

Because the Indians and the English don’t speak each other’s language, “The New World” has very little dialogue. Instead Malick gives us streams of whispered narration representing Smith and Pocahontas’ thoughts. For those who saw his last film, the war movie “The Thin Red Line,” this technique will be all too familiar.

There’s evidence that Malick filmed enough to make a much longer movie. Actors such as Christopher Plummer and Ben Chaplin are reduced to walk-on status. We don’t even learn their characters’ names. And nobody explains anything. As events unfold, we’re expected to figure it out.

This is a willfully noncommercial film, a two-hour-plus tone poem on this country’s origins and original sin. As such it is often uplifting and occasionally exasperating. But it’s unlike anything else you’ve seen.

**Press Book

Press books were first used in the 1910s, and are still widely used today. They are part of the press kit and contain information a studio chooses to release about a particular film. They are sometimes referred to as "Showman’s Manual", "Advertising Manual", or "Merchandising Manual". There are many Press Books in the MovieGoods inventory.


 

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

ToonTownReviews - Classic Movie Review


The Wizard of OZ

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(1939) Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick
Director: Victor Fleming
Producer: Mervyn LeRoy
Screenplay: Noel Langley and Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf based on the novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum
Cinematography: Harold Rosson
Music: Harold Arlen, Herbert Stothart
U.S. Distributor: MGM
Review by: James Berardinelli

For veteran director Victor Fleming, who began making movies during the black-and-white, silent era, 1939 represented the pinnacle of his career. Not only did Fleming's Gone with the Wind claim the Best Picture Oscar, but his other big feature, The Wizard of Oz, took its first steps towards becoming one of American cinema's best-known and most beloved motion pictures. (It's worth noting that Fleming had help from several other directors on Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, but, in the end, he was given sole credit for both.) Indeed, The Wizard of Oz is one of only a handful of films that nearly everyone is familiar with.



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Throughout the years, there have been dozens of live-action films, stage plays, animated features, and TV programs based on L. Frank Baum's classic Oz stories. To one degree or another, almost all have been influenced by Fleming's telling of the tale. Although the 1939 version was not the first filmed adaptation of the book (the Internet Movie Database lists at least two silent movies, including one with Oliver Hardy as the Tin Man, that preceded Fleming's), it is without a doubt the definitive one. When anyone thinks of The Wizard of Oz, they see Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, and Jack Haley, and hear "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and "Follow the Yellow Brick Road."

1998 has already seen a theatrical re-release of Gone with the Wind, and now The Wizard of Oz joins it. This version of Oz is being touted as a "Special Edition," although those expecting to see new scenes of Toto gnawing at the Scarecrow's legs or Dorothy playing Hide-and-Seek with the Munchkins will be disappointed. No extra material has been added. The print looks great, but the Technicolor was already re-invigorated for a previous laserdisc release. The only really noticeable improvement this time around is the soundtrack, which has been converted from the original mono to digital surround sound. Still, is that enough to justify calling this a "Special Edition?"

Probably the most interesting aspect of The Wizard of Oz comes from interpreting what really happens during the bulk of the film. The story opens by introducing us to Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), a young girl in Kansas who finds her wanderlust stirred by dreams of going "somewhere over the rainbow." When a tornado strikes the farm where she lives with her aunt and uncle, she is knocked unconscious. Upon waking up, she finds herself in the magical land of Oz, where she journeys in the company of a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) and find the all-powerful Wizard (Frank Morgan), who has the power to send her home. But is this a real trip, or is it all a dream? A strong case can be developed for either possibility, although it's ultimately up to each viewer to make up his or her own mind. Whichever way you lean, it doesn't detract from the movie's boundless capacity to entertain.

The Wizard of Oz belongs in that exclusive category of films capable of equally enchanting children and adults. In fact, the basic formula was so successful in The Wizard of Oz that Disney borrowed it as the framework for their recent wave of animated pictures. If there's something familiar about the structure of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc., that's because the approach of mixing light comedy and adventure with catchy musical tunes (while frontloading the music and concentrating on adventure late in the story) is not original. Recognizing how well Oz played to all audiences, Disney adapted the skeleton of the classic for their own use.

Of course, there's more going on in Oz than just that. At the core of the story is a theme that speaks to children and adults in similar, yet different, ways. Dorothy's dream may be to travel to a far off land, but, when she finds herself there, all she wants is to go home - to a place where she's safe, loved, and warm. This is a dilemma that all children face - the desire to cut the apron strings balanced by the overpowering yearning for the comfortable and familiar. As adults, we can watch The Wizard of Oz and fondly remember our own pilgrimage from childhood to adulthood and how, in many ways, it mirrors the one Dorothy is taking.



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Another aspect of The Wizard of Oz that immediately arrests the attention is the film's use of black-and-white (actually brown-and-white) and the vivid hues of Technicolor. All of the scenes that transpire in our mundane world are presented in the most drab manner possible, but, when the setting shifts to Oz, the grays and browns are replaced by brilliant reds, blues, oranges, and yellows. It takes a rare movie to make a viewer even think of it as "black and white" or "color," but, because The Wizard of Oz puts meaning into appearance (much like the recently-released Pleasantville), the nature of the visual composition become crucial.

The special effects in The Wizard of Oz do not look like the special effects in Armageddon or Godzilla. No computer animation was used, so they're far less elegant. In many cases, they look like special effects. You can see where the yellow brick road ends and the matte painting begins. When the Scarecrow has been torn apart, you know exactly where Bolger's body is. The Wizard's balloon is clearly not real. It doesn't matter, though. These effects are good enough to sketch the outline; our minds fill in the rest. The Wizard of Oz takes on a life in our head that it never quite attains on the screen. Because of the power of imagination, the film transcends the limitations of the techniques used to craft it.



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Over the years, The Wizard of Oz has been subjected to the kind of scrutiny reserved for only the greatest of motion pictures. Volumes have been written about it, analyzing everything from its look to the urban legends that have sprung up around it. (The best known, that there's an electrocuted stage hand in the background of a forest scene, has been thoroughly debunked.) Ultimately, however, it doesn't take a lengthy study to understand why multiple generations find the movie so compelling. Not only is it wonderfully entertaining, but the issues it addresses, and the way it presents them, are both universal and deeply personal. And therein lies The Wizard of Oz's true magic.


 

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Miami Vice


Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell team up in 'Miami Vice.' Jamie Foxx reunites with his "Collateral" director Michael Mann for the updated film version of the '80s cop show, "Miami Vice." Foxx takes over the role originated by Philip Michael Thomas while Colin Farrell stars as Det. James Sonny Crockett, the character played by Don Johnson in the series.



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The original series is remembered both for its unique look (visually the series more closely resembled films of that time than other TV shows) and for Don Johnson's fashion choices. Johnson made the three-day stubble, pastels, and wearing Italian blazers over T-shirts into fashion trends. It's highly doubtful director Mann (who executive produced the TV series) is hoping Colin Farrell will inspire the same copycat fashions, but it is interesting that Johnson's "Miami Vice" look remains so easily recognizable.



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As if having Oscar-winner Foxx ("Ray") and Irish hottie Farrell on the "Miami Vice" set working with four-time Oscar nominee Mann wasn't enough to generate attention, filming was interrupted when real-life intruded on the set. A shooting took place while the cast/crew were at the Plaza Maria de Toledo Hotel in Santo Domingo filming a scene. And trouble even followed Farrell off the set after production wrapped. Farrell checked himself into rehab to kick his dependence on pain medications. With so much going on peripherally, it's no wonder "Miami Vice" easily qualifies as one of 2006's most talked about films.


*From Rebecca Murray, Your Guide to Hollywood Movies.

 

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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Underworld Evolution"


If "Underworld" wanted to be "The Matrix," then "Underworld Evolution" wants to be "The Matrix Reloaded."



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Picking up right where the 2003 original (for lack of a better word) left off, this sequel features the same green-gray color scheme, the same metallic tinge, the same self-serious characters over-emoting while running around in black leather dusters, trying to destroy each other.

Also back are:

Kate Beckinsale as Selene, the hottest vampire, like, ever — even hotter than George Hamilton in "Love at First Bite" — Scott Speedman as the vampire-werewolf hybrid Michael, and Len Wiseman, directing them with all the subtlety of a stake to the heart.

Wiseman is also Beckinsale's husband, which might explain the loving way she's photographed, most notably in a tastefully lighted sex scene in which the camera pays particular attention to her belly button/hip region. And bravo — who could blame him?

It's probably the most tolerable scene of all — never mind that it takes place in a storage container to protect Selene from daylight — in a movie that's more often an onslaught. Wonder why it wasn't screened for critics before opening day.

In the script from Wiseman and Danny McBride, Selene and Michael are trying to keep Marcus (Tony Curran), king of the vampires, from reuniting with his imprisoned brother, William, king of the werewolves (or "lycans" as they're known) in a quest for world domination.




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The centuries-old feud between vampires and lycans builds to a crescendo of automatic gunfire, explosions, snarling creatures and gnashing of teeth — and that's even before a helicopter crashes.

Visually, the pervasive darkness feels smothering after a while — yes, this is a vampire movie, but still. And the action sequences, especially the battles, have a sped-up, jerky look about them, as if Wiseman is trying to obscure what we're seeing. Humans who've been turned into lycans transform with jarring quickness — we are definitely not watching Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video — just one of many special effects that look distractingly fake.

One thing that's impossible to mistake or escape is the blood — it's everywhere, on everyone and everything. And despite various characters proclaiming that too much blood has been shed already, clearly there's more to come. The end of "Underworld Evolution" sets up the possibility of a third installment in the franchise, which perhaps will be titled "Underworld Revolutions."

"Underworld Evolution," a Sony Screen Gems release, is rated R for pervasive strong violence and gore, some sexuality/nudity and language.



*By CHRISTY LEMIRE, AP Movie Critic

 

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Monday, January 23, 2006

ToonTownReviews - Special Report




Director Ang Lee accepts award from The Producers Guild of America (LOS ANGELES) (AP) — Adding to its list of honors, "Brokeback Mountain" scored again by taking the top prize Sunday at the 15th annual Producers Guild of America Awards.

Diana Ossana and James Schamus, who produced the Ang Lee-directed story of two ranch hands who conceal an ongoing homosexual affair from their families, took home the guild's top prize, the Darryl F. Zanuck producer of the year award.





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Ossana also co-wrote the screenplay with famed Western author Larry McMurtry.

"Brokeback" won four Golden Globes last week -- including best picture honors in the drama category -- and has been lauded by critics' groups around the country.


 

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Tristan & Isolde


Starring: James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Fax: 2005, adventure

Tristan and Isolde (Los Angeles, California) Great, now Hollywood's handing out homework. "Tristan & Isolde" may not be quite as tedious as a weekend assignment to read the works of Alfred Lord Tennyson or Thomas Malory, but it's close.

The story of these two lovers predates Lancelot and Guinevere or Romeo and Juliet, and their grandly tragic romance packs as much longing and dramatic pedigree as those tales, at least from a literary standpoint.

Yet the names — Tristan, the shining knight of Britain, Isolde, the fair princess of Ireland — do not resonate today the way those others do, the Arthurian love triangle and Shakespeare's passion play benefiting from endless populist incarnations on screen, stage and the page.

Tristan and Isolde have been relegated to the dusty text bin, their story living on mainly through the works of Tennyson and Malory or the opera by Richard Wagner.

Ridley Scott, an executive producer on the movie along with brother Tony, had long considered directing "Tristan & Isolde" himself but has had his fill of historical epics in recent years with the blockbuster "Gladiator" and the dud "Kingdom of Heaven."

James ranco Scott turned screenwriter Dean Georgaris' version over to director Kevin Reynolds ("Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"), who fails to inject much ardor. The action plays out with a ponderous air of doom and self-importance that the beautiful but bland leads — James Franco and Sophia Myles — cannot sustain.

The movie offers occasional images as pretty as ancient, intricate though dusty tapestry. Cinematographer Arthur Reinhart, the costumers and set designers apparently were under orders to keep everything, stark, dark, dingy and drab.

There are many variations to the Tristan and Isolde legend, the filmmakers opting for a straightforward knight-meets-damsel account stripped of the magical trappings permeating earlier renditions.



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Parents slain by Irish raiders in the dark times after the Roman Empire's collapse has left Britain a rat's nest of feuding lords, Tristan (Franco) grows up the devoted ward of Marke (Rufus Sewell), the land's best hope for unity under a single king.

Presumed killed himself in a skirmish with Irish thugs, Tristan actually washes ashore in Ireland, where Isolde (Myles), daughter of the island's conniving King Donnchadh (David Patrick O'Hara), nurses him back to health.



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Naturally, they fall in love, but Tristan must flee for home to avoid capture by Donnchadh's henchmen. He returns to win the hand of Donnchadh's daughter for Marke in a tournament, Tristan unaware until he's victorious that the prize he'll deliver to his foster father is Isolde.

What follows is an uninspired variant of the Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot fiasco, punctuated by moments of tepid battle and intrigue as Donnchadh schemes to put England under the Irish boot heel once and for all.

Students of Ireland's long fight to break free of Britain may find an ironic chuckle or two in the Englishmen's laments about shaking off their Irish tyrants.

Most of the dialogue, though, is shallow bluster made more anemic through the actors' whispery delivery, a few lines sinking to laughable sappiness. ("Why does loving you feel so wrong?" Isolde blathers with the air-headed giddiness of a bad AM pop song.)

Franco looks good on the movie poster but has little presence as Tristan, aiming for a Dark Ages take on the cool aloofness of his "James Dean" TV movie and tossing off his lines in dreary monotones. His chaotic hair style also at times leaves Franco with an unfortunate resemblance to Napoleon Dynamite.

Myles fairs better, not exactly setting pulses aquiver but at least infusing Isolde with a fetching blend of allure and purity. She also has nice comic support from Bronagh Gallagher (best known as one of the backup singers in "The Commitments") as Isolde's dotingly overprotective lady in waiting.

Those few highlights aside, as trysts go, "Tristan & Isolde" will linger in your memory about as long as one of your fleeting junior-high crushes.


*Review by David Fermain, Associated Press

 

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Superman Returns


Brandon Routh as Superman Release Date: June 30, 2006
Cast: Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden, Hugh Laurie
Director: Bryan Singer
Producer: Jon Peters, Gil Adler, Bryan Singer
Writer: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Synopsis:
Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns, a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world's most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman's bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.

Well, they finally found a Superman (virtual unknown Brandon Routh – just how do you pronounce that surname?) and a director, Bryan Singer who did the two X-Men movies.

Well, thankfully Nicholas Cage won't be Superman (remember that rumour?) and/or the director currently known as McG (who did the Charlie’s Angels movies). A pity though about Kevin Smith’s screenplay which I thought was pretty cool, but won't be used: Smith’s comic geek (like us!) and did a fun and clever take on the whole over-hyped “Superman is Dead” thing of a few years ago (if you remember this, then you’re probably too old for comics according to my old man).

Still, director Singer did a great job at the X-2 sequel and is probably just the right guy for the job. At one point I thought that they’re going to get the Wachawski brothers who rehashed Superman II fighting sequences in Matrix Revolutions in any case, but I guess the good brothers are still in hiding from irate movie-goers who paid good money to see the two disappointing and superfluous Matrix sequels . . .

So far, so good. But every time I see an excited small boy clutching a DVD copy of Superman – the Movie (1978) which his mum or dad has just bought for him, I realise what mighty big red boots Routh must fill...



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Trivia:

* Anthony Hopkins was set to play Jor-El of Krypton, but after Ratner left, Hopkins did the same.

* After the success of Charlie's Angels (2000), McG was tipped to direct the film in 2001. He left the project in 2002, went to do Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), and came back aboard the project in 2004, but left it again after disagreements over budget and filming location. Warner Bros. had wanted to move from New York City to Australia, but McG felt that "it was inappropriate to try to capture the heart of America on another continent."

* Johnny Depp auditioned for the roles of Lex Luthor and Jor-El.

* Since 1993, when Warner Brothers attempted to restart the franchise Superman, nearly $50 million has been spent trying to get the film going. This includes concept art and storyboards throughout the years, as well as having McG's version almost completely pre-visualized.

Trailers:

*Teaser (Windows Media: Full-screen. High-res, Medium Res, Low-Res)

*Teaser (RealPlayer: Full-screen. High-res, Medium Res, Low-Res)


 

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