ToonTownReviews

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Déjà Vu


Starring: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg


Déjà Vu
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Synopsis: Everyone has experienced the unsettling mystery of déjà vu--that flash of memory when you meet someone new you feel you've known all your life or recognize a place even though you've never been there before. But what if the feelings were actually warnings sent from the past or clues to the future? It is déjà vu that unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin through an investigation into a shattering crime. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover that what most people believe "is only in their heads" is actually something far more powerful--and will lead him on a mind-bending race to save hundreds of innocent people.

Review: It’s Déjà Vu as Denzel Washington has a bit of a reunion teaming back up with Man On Fire director, Tony Scott (Elle Fanning, the sister of Washington’s Man On Fire co-star Dakota Fanning is briefly in this new film). Déjà Vu is an almost intelligent sci-fi whodunit. It’s smartly written all the way up until the Hollywood ending.

ATF agent Doug Carlin (Washington) is investigating the terrorist explosion of a ferry in New Orleans that kills over 500 people, mainly military men and their families. During the course of his investigation alongside the FBI’s Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), Carlin is notified of a body that would initially appear as a victim of the explosion but he discovers that she was found washed up on the banks of the Mississippi before the explosion. The victim is Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton) and Carlin is sure that if he finds her killer he’ll find the bomber (James Caviezel).

Pryzwarra brings Carlin secretly into the fold as he takes him to a device that looks a lot like a superconductor. Inside the device he finds a small group of scientists headed by Denny (Adam Goldberg). They have a very high end multimedia system that lets them use satellites to recreate a full 3-D rendering of events that happened about 4 days prior to their present time...or at least that’s the story they feed him. They are trying to use the device to track down and locate the bomber by looking into the past so they can find him in the present.

Carlin eventually learns the truth behind the device and starts poking holes in the theories of the whiz kids. It boils down to the fact that the machine is a predecessor to a transporter on Star Trek combined with an H.G. Wells novel. I’ll let you figure it out from there. Carlin decides that not only is he going to find the killer, but he’s going to turn himself into a guinea pig to prevent the events from ever occurring.

The beginning of Déja Vu made me worry at first because a lot of footage was being shot in a slow motion type of way, including Washington’s first screen appearance. Of course there’s the explosion, but what would a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer be without explosions, car chases and shots fired? Overall, the acting and directing is well done. Washington, although a serious agent, takes everything in stride and cracks a joke and a smile here and there. Sometimes he seems to take things too casually as he walks instead of runs to get from Point A to Point B.

Val Kilmer doesn’t really have much to do in this film except to look fat. Caviezel is dead on as a psychotic with a cause. Oddly enough he seems to believe that it has something to do with the divine and you can’t help but looks at him as Jesus. Patton, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer who has talent and looks. Although she’s married into the entertainment business, she’s got a good career ahead of her.

The high-tech gadgets and special effects in this film are awesome. The action is exciting and the drama can be suspenseful. There are some scenes that are rather vivid of people being killed, so it’s not a film for everyone and definitely not for children. It was actually shot in and around New Orleans giving some authenticity as well as showing some of the damage that hurricane Katrina did and how the city has revived.

That being said, the plot is a bit obvious 15 minutes into the film. From the moment that Carlin enters Claire’s house and we see a message on the refrigerator it seems rather transparent as to what Carlin will eventually end up doing. It’s only driven home when another agent calls him and mentions that his fingerprints are all over the house. Plus. if you’re familiar with a conductor, it also seems obvious that these guys are playing with a lot of energy and doing more than looking at a satellite image and dealing more with a particle accelerator.

Still, I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with the ending. The movie seemed to be well-written (Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio) until the last scene. I won’t give it away, but by the laws laid out within the film, I don’t see how the ending would be possible.


*Review by Nahteboy, PopSyndicate

 

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* Reviews posted here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wizard of 'OZ'

* Reviewers do not necessarily endorse MovieGoods.com®


Déjà Vu


Starring: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam Goldberg


Déjà Vu
Buy this and other great posters from MovieGoods.com®


Synopsis: Everyone has experienced the unsettling mystery of déjà vu--that flash of memory when you meet someone new you feel you've known all your life or recognize a place even though you've never been there before. But what if the feelings were actually warnings sent from the past or clues to the future? It is déjà vu that unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin through an investigation into a shattering crime. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover that what most people believe "is only in their heads" is actually something far more powerful--and will lead him on a mind-bending race to save hundreds of innocent people.

Review: It’s Déjà Vu as Denzel Washington has a bit of a reunion teaming back up with Man On Fire director, Tony Scott (Elle Fanning, the sister of Washington’s Man On Fire co-star Dakota Fanning is briefly in this new film). Déjà Vu is an almost intelligent sci-fi whodunit. It’s smartly written all the way up until the Hollywood ending.

ATF agent Doug Carlin (Washington) is investigating the terrorist explosion of a ferry in New Orleans that kills over 500 people, mainly military men and their families. During the course of his investigation alongside the FBI’s Agent Pryzwarra (Val Kilmer), Carlin is notified of a body that would initially appear as a victim of the explosion but he discovers that she was found washed up on the banks of the Mississippi before the explosion. The victim is Claire Kuchever (Paula Patton) and Carlin is sure that if he finds her killer he’ll find the bomber (James Caviezel).

Pryzwarra brings Carlin secretly into the fold as he takes him to a device that looks a lot like a superconductor. Inside the device he finds a small group of scientists headed by Denny (Adam Goldberg). They have a very high end multimedia system that lets them use satellites to recreate a full 3-D rendering of events that happened about 4 days prior to their present time...or at least that’s the story they feed him. They are trying to use the device to track down and locate the bomber by looking into the past so they can find him in the present.

Carlin eventually learns the truth behind the device and starts poking holes in the theories of the whiz kids. It boils down to the fact that the machine is a predecessor to a transporter on Star Trek combined with an H.G. Wells novel. I’ll let you figure it out from there. Carlin decides that not only is he going to find the killer, but he’s going to turn himself into a guinea pig to prevent the events from ever occurring.

The beginning of Déja Vu made me worry at first because a lot of footage was being shot in a slow motion type of way, including Washington’s first screen appearance. Of course there’s the explosion, but what would a film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer be without explosions, car chases and shots fired? Overall, the acting and directing is well done. Washington, although a serious agent, takes everything in stride and cracks a joke and a smile here and there. Sometimes he seems to take things too casually as he walks instead of runs to get from Point A to Point B.

Val Kilmer doesn’t really have much to do in this film except to look fat. Caviezel is dead on as a psychotic with a cause. Oddly enough he seems to believe that it has something to do with the divine and you can’t help but looks at him as Jesus. Patton, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer who has talent and looks. Although she’s married into the entertainment business, she’s got a good career ahead of her.

The high-tech gadgets and special effects in this film are awesome. The action is exciting and the drama can be suspenseful. There are some scenes that are rather vivid of people being killed, so it’s not a film for everyone and definitely not for children. It was actually shot in and around New Orleans giving some authenticity as well as showing some of the damage that hurricane Katrina did and how the city has revived.

That being said, the plot is a bit obvious 15 minutes into the film. From the moment that Carlin enters Claire’s house and we see a message on the refrigerator it seems rather transparent as to what Carlin will eventually end up doing. It’s only driven home when another agent calls him and mentions that his fingerprints are all over the house. Plus. if you’re familiar with a conductor, it also seems obvious that these guys are playing with a lot of energy and doing more than looking at a satellite image and dealing more with a particle accelerator.

Still, I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with the ending. The movie seemed to be well-written (Bill Marsilii & Terry Rossio) until the last scene. I won’t give it away, but by the laws laid out within the film, I don’t see how the ending would be possible.


*Review by Nahteboy, PopSyndicate

 

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* Reviews posted here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wizard of 'OZ'

* Reviewers do not necessarily endorse MovieGoods.com®


Monday, November 13, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction


Starring: Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson


Stranger Than Fiction
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Synopsis: Karen Effiel is an author writing her latest novel about an isolated man named Harold Crick. What she doesn't know is that her fictionalized character is real. The real Harold Crick is an IRS agent who has lived a dull existence and one day begins to hear Karen's voice as she narrates what she puts on paper to what Harold has and is doing. Because of this Harold insists the help of a literary professor to find out what is happening and ends up changing things about his life including beginning a relationship with his IRS client, a government-hating bakery owner named Ana Pascal. Harold, however, finds trouble when he hears that Karen plans to kill him.

Review: Will Ferrell playing a bland tax man who’s every move is narrated by the irritating drones of Emma Thompson may not sound like an enticing prospect, but strangely this film has a lot to offer and its scriptwriter Zach Helm is the hot new kid on the Hollywood block.

Helm’s script is shaped in the same mould as a Charlie Kauffman tome, providing an interesting and imaginative insight into the troubled world of being a writer with a strange twist, deftly handled by director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland).

Set in present day Chicago, Stranger Than Fiction follows a dull, single tax agent called Harold Crick (Ferrell) whose life is like an endless Groundhog day with everything timed and controlled down to the number of strokes of his toothbrush. We hear a female voice narrating his morning schedule and his trip to work, his arrival at work, his day and his solitary evening. So far you get the impression this is just another Truman Show. But the premise of the film changes when suddenly Crick can also hear the voice correctly predicting what he will do next and, worst of all, announcing that his death is imminent.

The woman’s voice is that of Karen Eiffel (Thompson), a lonely and depressed novelist with writer’s block struggling to find an appropriate way to kill off Crick, the lead character in her book, oblivious to the fact that he actually exists.

Crick quickly discovers that only he can hear the voice and is distracted as he goes out to audit the rather lovely looking local baker, Ana, (Maggie Gyllenhaal) listening as the voice tells him how attracted he is to her. Desperate to avoid his death, he sets about discovering who is narrating his life, enlisting the help of a literary theorist called Jules Hilibert, played brilliantly by an obsessive-compulsive Dustin Hoffman, who suggests that he turn his story from a tragedy to a comedy and embark on a love story with Ana.


Stranger Than Fiction Stranger Than Fiction
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The climactic ending sees Crick eventually catch up with Eiffel (Thompson) as she is torn between finishing her masterpiece and therefore finishing him off in reality or saving him and going against what she has done in every other book she has written.

Ferrell’s performance is beautifully understated with none, or very few, of the eccentricities we have come to expect from The Anchorman. He is ably supported on his journeys by the subtly humorous Hoffman and the surprisingly funny Thompson who pulls off the suicidal writer role with aplomb and even manages to generate scenes of genuine warmth and emotion with Ferrell, if overacting a little in the process.

I was fortunate enough to get to see this film at a Bafta screening, courtesy of a generous colleague, the downside being that I had to listen to geriatric Bafta members waffle effusive praise on the cast members in the Q&A session afterwards. But that was a small price to pay for what proved to be an enjoyable viewing experience, especially seeing Hoffman trade comedy blows with Ferrell.


Stranger Than Fiction
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Visit the Official Site.


*Review by FutureMovies.com

 

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* Reviews posted here do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wizard of 'OZ'

* Reviewers do not necessarily endorse MovieGoods.com®


 

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