Unlike my previous "one-line movie reviews," this one was inspired not from a lack of inspiration, but from the simple fact that I've been catching up on movies.
Across the Universe (2007) - an intriguing musical set to the songs of The Beatles. Both a love story and a glance at the social chaos of the 60s, this film is worth watching simply for its creativity. While the second act meanders in what is a clear and simple attempt at filling a movie with the Fab Four's songbook (including a less-than-successful cameo by Bono of U2), the first and third acts of the film are solid. Verdict: SEE it (especially if you're a fan of The Beatles).
Birth (2004) - an excellent and almost hypnotic film about a woman who meets a 10 year-old boy who claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. While such a plot device could have easily lent itself to a farce, this movie pulls it off. Nicole Kidman headlines a stellar cast that includes Danny Huston, Anne Heche, Lauren Bacall, and Peter Stormare. Verdict: SEE it.
Bunshinsaba (2004) - a Korean horror film that, in typical Asian fashion, is a bit hard to describe. Basically, an outcast girl at a local school invokes an evil spirit and havoc ensues. Also in typical Asian fashion, the plot involves a guilt complex. I got a kick out of this one because it starred a Korean favorite of mine, Gyu-ri Kim. Other than that, however, there's nothing new here... although the most popular murder technique in the film is rather disturbing. Verdict: SEE it if you like Asian horror, or horror in general, SKIP it otherwise.
Ghost Town (2008) - a charming little romantic comedy starring Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Tea Leoni. One part Ghost and one part It's a Wonderful Life, it's a solid movie that stands out only because it's Gervais' first American star vehicle. Personally, I think he's overrated as a comedian, but his humor is a bit refreshing in this day and age of "rock star" comics (cough, Dane Cook, cough). Verdict: SEE it, but only because I can't think of anything overtly negative about it.
Into the Wild (2007) - a Sean Penn-helmed tale of the true story of Chris McCandless, who set off on a great adventure following his college graduation, only to starve to death in the Alaskan wilderness at the age of 24. A brilliant, brilliant movie (not perfect, but brilliant). I honestly hate myself for not seeing this one the big screen. Verdict: SEE it. SEE it. SEE it.
Sheitan (2006) - a French horror film. A group of teens meet a gorgeous girl (Roxane Mesquida) in a nightclub and accompany her to her country home. The film is typically French and progresses extremely slowly until the final act... a final act which is disturbing in its intensity and intense in its disturbance. Verdict: SEE it (fans of horror and European film).
The Situation (2006) - supposedly a film about Iraq, highlighted by a love-triangle between an American diplomat, an American journalist, and a Christian Iraqi photographer. I couldn't even get 45 minutes into it. Why? It's boring, preachy, and poorly acted (which is odd, considering the two leads were Connie Nielsen and Damien Lewis). Verdict: SKIP it.
Stateside (2004) - a love story that is purportedly based on a true story, but is rife (and I do mean rife) with cliche. The cast is surprisingly good (Val Kilmer, Joe Mantegna, Carrie Fisher, Diane Venora, Rachel Leigh Cook, Jonathan Tucker), but the story is remarkably flat. Which is odd, because the story had everything. Which might be why it came across as so cliche, now that I think about it. Not entirely bad, but you're not missing much. Verdict: whatever.
They (2002) - a "Wes Craven presentation," which means that he neither had the time nor the desire to write, direct, or produce this thing. It sucked. Very lame. Decent cast, too, including some of my "obscure favorites" (Ethan Embry and Dagmara Dominiczyk... mmm... Dagmara). Unfortunately, it sucked... or did I mention that already? Verdict: SKIP it.
Touch the Sound (2004) - a documentary film about a partially deaf Scottish percussionist (Evelyn Glennie) who travels the world searching for sound. I'm a sound geek, so I loved it. Musicians, documentary fans, and biography fans would love this one. Verdict: SEE it.
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