It was only a matter of time before revolutionary rock-opera "Rent," was brought to the silver screen. Director Rob Marshall did it magnificently with his "Chicago," a production which earned six Academy Awards. And while director Chris Columbus may have trouble boasting the same for "Rent," the film doesn't do the Broadway musical anything short of justice.
Yes, that is Joaquin Phoenix, the guy from "Gladiator." And yes, he is singing "Folsom Prison Blues" perfectly, hitting the low notes and conveying the persona of an outlaw in the way a nation of fans thought only the Man in Black — country legend Johhny Cash — could. Perhaps that's because before his recent demise, Cash himself hand-picked Phoenix to portray him in "Walk The Line," an enveloping biography of the man who grew to become one of country music's most colorful characters — in spite of his monochromatic wardrobe.
As a play, "Rent," an award-winning musical based on the opera "La Boheme," was simultaneously castigated as blunt and commended as revolutionary. As a movie, it's bound to draw just as much controversy from self-proclaimed "Rent Heads," aficionados of the show who are just as likely to be wowed by the film as they are to be frustrated by the changes made in its adaptation.
The latest screen adaptation of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is the darkest, most action-packed and most gratifying yet. Although still guilty of plot omissions and hasty narrative that has plagued previous movies, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" manages to breathe new life and inject new thrills into the story.
The step up from a PG to PG13 rating was the first clue to a likely quantum leap of intensity with the 4th Harry Potter film in the series. But a movie so powerful that you can detect the heart rate of the person sitting next to you through a firm grip of their hand is another story, and one that is a reality with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
A free spirited girl who believes that "nothing but the deepest love will induce me into matrimony" and a snobbish man who has a straightforward approach to life are a very unlikely couple. However, this is type of bond is very much likely in Jane Austen's classic story "Pride and Prejudice," directed by Joe Wright.
Most of us will never deal cocaine, shoot a gun or get shot at. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson has done all of these things in director Jim Sheridan's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," a loose biography of the rapper's life, that gives entertaining insight into the hustler lifestyle.
"Jarhead" is based on a strange concept for a self-proclaimed action-drama: boredom. Sam Mendes' vivid and riveting film based on author Anthony Swofford's personal account of fighting in the Persian Gulf War sheds light on the not-so-romantic and not-so-provocative aspects of modern-day warfare.
In Zorro's 90 year history, numerous films have been created to honor Johnston McCulley's pulp fiction story. First there was the soundless "Mark of Zorro," released in 1920; then a twelve-chapter film created in 1937, titled "Zorro Rides Again;" a Disney television series in 1957; and finally, the prequel to the "Legend of Zorro," "The Mask of Zorro." The latest installment in the already sizable franchise inspired by the swashbuckling charmer, "The Legend of Zorro" provides fast-paced, fun entertainment, romance and hair raising stunts – but because of its new PG rating, doesn't quite live up to its predecessors.
Do not be fooled by the warm, inviting commoners of Elizabethtown. For all the spectators who intend to enter the world of sappy, chick-flick torture, be prepared for 123 minutes crying "Is it over yet?" and resisting the urge to punch the movie screen in frustration.
Long days, smarmy customers, the ever-present smell of grease and mediocre food are all in a day's work for the crew of the restaurant "Shenanigans" in Rob McKittrick's new comedy "Waiting." It stars Ryan Renolds, Justin Long, Anna Harris, and Dane Cook whose combined talents make this film a genre-defying blend of humor and raw human emotion.
Chava is a little boy growing up in a world of machine guns and hand grenades. He lives in a leaky house made of corrugated iron and watches his friends being recruited into the army or joining the peasant guerrilla group Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN). Chava is fast approaching his 12th birthday, the age at which boys are forcibly recruited to the army, and his life hangs in the balance between his family and the army of his country, El Salvador.
Warning: do not go into "Waiting" expecting a classy comedy with philosophical undertones, deep themes and subtle humor that takes thought to appreciate. In fact, do not even walk into "Waiting" expecting fart jokes. Walk into "Waiting" expecting to laugh hard for 93 minutes at some of the sickest humor Hollywood has to offer.
If "In Her Shoes" was a pair of shoes, it would be the kind a girl might buy on a whim – pink patent-leather stilettos, perhaps – and that she wears for only an hour or two before her feet are so pinched and blistered she can only hobble a few torturous steps before collapsing in agony. A week later, they're stuffed into a box in the back of the closet, never again to see the light of day. Cute on the surface, but ultimately painful – that's "In Her Shoes."
"Crónicas", from Ecuadorian writer/director Sebastian Cordero, is an intelligent, suspenseful Spanish-language journalism thriller that examines the power of sensationalistic tabloid reporting. Although the film's conclusion is anticlimactic, "Crónicas" is nevertheless a riveting and authentic portrait of the harrowing destitution of Central America and a commentary on the ruthlessness of the corporate media.
"Roll Bounce" ? yet another movie where the neighborhood kids gather to compete against, and hopefully defeat the rich enemies with all odds against them ? is very similar to last year's "You Got Served." However, "Roll Bounce" is much more successful in its character presentation than "You Got Served." The only mistake director Malcolm D. Lee made was casting Bow Wow as X, the main character.
Imagine "Law and Order." Now imagine "Law and Order" with a screaming, hysterical girl with an appetite for spiders. That's the gist of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," which features the young, pretty Jennifer Carpenter in a role that consists entirely of flailing like a harpooned walrus.
Director Lasse Halstrom's "An Unfinished Life" combines the beautiful country setting of a Wyoming ranch with brilliant acting to create one of this summer's most memorable, yet plot-less films. Although the movie has its flaws, Halstrom's ability to turn the seemingly typical cowboy romance story into a dramatic, emotional tale manages to be both heartwarming and moving.
The best way to describe Peter Hyam's new sci-fi adventure movie "A Sound of Thunder" is a good idea gone bad - horribly bad. Based on Ray Bradbury's short story of the same name, the movie combines the originally interesting themes of time travel and evolution and mixes them into a jumbled mess, leaving viewers wanting to thunder out the door.
It takes a special type of American to truly appreciate foreign films. Scores of foreign films are released in limited theaters across the United States each year, but only a few manage to burrow their ways into the hearts of Americans. Who can really say why some movies just can't break into the wonderland of wide release? Well, it's easy to tell with "Tropical Malady," a Thai film filled with interesting cinematography, a confusing plot and complex existential situations.
Andrew Bujalski's directorial debut brought an easy world of free love and free beer into a light that reflects raw emotion and simplicity. "Funny Ha Ha" is a snapshot of the life of Marnie (Kate Dollenmayer), a Bostonian who is looking for a permanent job and a real love. She is depressed with the way her life revolves around drinking and partying, but does not know what to do instead.
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