Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Movie Review: "Knight and Day"

5. "Knight and Day" is a pleasant enough romantic action movie in the style of "Bird on a Wire" or "Romancing the Stone."

4. Tom Cruise plays a secret agent on the run and Cameron Diaz is the grinning goofy girl who gets entangled in his version of "Run, Lola, Run."

3. Cruise and Diaz sizzle in their second pairing (the first was the wretched "Vanilla Sky"), which is noteworthy given that Cruise is hardly the box office bounty he once was and Diaz is 12 years removed from her breakout-role in "There's Something About Mary."

2. This may dent my manly-man armor, but I could have done with a little more kiss-kiss and a lot less bang-bang.

1. Still, the flick manages to be good, entertaining fun that hinges on the stars' money shots -- Cruise looking intense over the top of a pair of sun glasses and and Diaz's grin, perhaps the most cheerful and charismatic in cinema -- especially when she's wearing a bikini.

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"Knight and Day"
Run time: 1 hour, 50 minues
Rated PG-13
Genre: Comedy-Action-Adventure‎
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Maggie Grace, Peter Sarsgaard, Marc Blucas
Finney's Flicks Grade: B

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Movie Review: "Harry Brown"

5. Great actors can elevate mediocre material so Michael Caine's lead role in "Harry Brown" gives the unoriginal movie a sense of gravitas the script does not actually offer.

4. Decorated veteran Harry Brown is a retiree who lives in a hellish London apartment complex overrun by drug-dealing thugs and juvenile delinquents to make "Boys In The Hood" and "Menace 2 Society" proud.

3. In the tradition of "Death Wish," Brown is pushed to the edge -- his wife dies of old age and his best friend is murdered by a gang of street toughs who hang out in a pedestrian subway near their apartments.

2. What follows is what you'd expect -- Caine's Harry Brown takes the law into his own hands and seeks a reckoning with his friend's killers.

1. Caine is, of course, excellent and is as believable pumping bullets into creepy drug dealers as he is giving warm soliloquies about falling in with his wife, but the film offers few notable surprises and is generally unsatisfying.

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"Harry Brown"
Run time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Rated R‎‎
Genre: Suspense-Thriller‎
Director: Daniel Barber
Cast: Emily Mortimer, Michael Caine, Iain Glen, Liam Cunningham and Jack O'Connel
Finney's Flicks Grade: C+

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Movie Review: Jonah Hex

5. I read an interview by one of the creators of the "Jonah Hex" movie in which he said it would be impossible to pace this Western to match the great spaghetti Westerns because studios would never distribute it.

4. I'm guessing the reason for that is they don't think such a movie would make any money in the hyperbolic modern marketplace, which defies logic as the so-called "Man With No Name" trilogy still rakes in cash with multiple cable and satellite TV airings and DVD and Blu Ray sales.

3. Nonetheless, "Jonah Hex" makers decided to go with something to benefit the attention deficiet disorder generation — a godawful annoyance that attempts to be a parable about terrorism, the Obama Administration and a whole bunch of other stuff that is even dumber than it sounds.

2. This movie is a waste of the talented Josh Brolin, who plays scarred bounty hunter Hex, goofball actor John Malkovich, who plays a villain with bad hair, and, heck, it's even a waste of all-jiggle-no-act Megan Fox, who manages to be unconvincing as a prostitute.

1. "Jonah Hex" is based on a DC comic book from the 1970s that was clearly derivatives of Clint Eastwood Western archatypes and if the mopes who made this film could've taken anything from the source material — or even Westerns — it should've been the old addage: "Dance with the girl that brung ya."

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"Jonah Hex"
Run time: 1 hour, 21 minutes
Rated PG-13
Genre: Action-Adventure-Drama-Suspense-Thriller‎
Director: Jimmy Hayward
Cast: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Michael Fassbender
Finney's Flicks Grade: D-

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

5. Those folks over at Pixar sure know how to make a good movie.

4. Their latest, "Toy Story 3," taps their original genre-changing computer-generated characters from 1995 to continue thier well-deserved box office dominace.

3. The third "Toy Story" installment surpasses the overly surupy second and nearly matches the first in rip-roaring good time, all-heart storytelling, but shares more in common with it's brother Pixar flick, "Up," which was also a story aging and revitalization in twilight years.

2. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and the rest of the gang face being donated to a child care center as their owner Andy prepares to go to college and the film lovingly addresses what becomes of the trappings of youth when a one who is no longer a child puts away childish things.

1. Despite a glum theme, the flick is replete with the usual action, silliness and humor that makes "Toy Story" the greatest animated feature-length film trilogy in history.

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"Toy Story 3"
Run time: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Rated G‎‎ 
Genre: Animation-Comedy-Action-Adventure‎
Director: Lee Unkrich
Cast: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn
Finney's Flicks Grade: A+

Movie Review: The Secret In Their Eyes

5. I have a recurring dream that one day I won't have to read subtitles to be treated to a classic mystery thriller devoid of noisy, impossible special affects but rich with human drama.

4. Until that time, though, the Argentine film "The Secret In Their Eyes" delievers everything a movie-goer could ask for: rich, fleshed-out characters, murder, revenge, romance and redemption.

3. Set in 1999 and told in flashbacks, retired detective Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darin) decides to write a novel about the  most vexing case of his career: a rape and murder in which the killer is de facto pardoned to work for the government.

2. Along the way, we meet Ben's true love and boss Irene Menéndez-Hastings (Soledad Villamil), his drunken investigative partner Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francella) and feel the true grief and rage of young widower Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago.)

1. The movie already won the 2010 Oscar for Best Foriegn Language Film and I can offer little better praise than that, other than it appears films, like soccer, are an activity mastered better by our international neighbors than our domestic pals.

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"The Secret In Their Eyes"
Run time: 2 hours, 36 minutes
Rated: R
Genre: Suspense-Thriller
Director: Juan José Campanella
Cast: Ricardo Darín, Guillermo Francella, José Luis Gioia, Javier Godino, Pablo Rago
Finney's Flicks Grade: A+

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Movie Review: "The A-Team"

5.When "The A-Team" debut after the Super Bowl in 1983, my 7-year-old brain thought, "This is the greatest television show that has ever been made" and when the show finally went away five seasons later, a great wave of sadness fell over me that has never quite faded.

4. So, you could say my anticipation for the feature film was high.

3. The movie disappointed me, not because it's bad but because every time I looked at the screen, I wanted to see my Hannibal and my Murdock rather than the Liam Neeson's and Sharlto Copley's updates.

2. I will say this -- Bradley Cooper owns the role of "Faceman" Peck (hell, it's Cooper's movie and the rest of the gang are along for the ride) and Rampage Jackson fills in amiably for Mr. T as B.A. Baracus.

1. The adult in me sees "The A-Team" movie for what it is -- harmless, stupid fun that's a bit on the shallow side -- but the kid in me is queuing up the original series on Hulu.com.

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"The A-Team"
Run time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
Rated: PG-13‎‎ - Action/Adventure/Comedy‎ -
Director: John Singleton
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Liam Neeson, Sharlto Copley, Patrick Wilson, Rampage Jackson
Finney's Flicks Grade: C+

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Movie Review: "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

5. "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is easily the best movie I've seen in 2010, which may read like damning with faint praise, but this is, in fact, a damned fine movie.

4. This Swedish thriller, based on an international best-selling novel of the same name, packs all the things that makes movies great into its 2-hour, 28-minute runtime.

3. The characters are layered, flawed and terrific with a classic detective pairing of antisocial computer hacker Lisabeth (Noomi Rapace) and magazine reporter Mikael (Michael Nyqvist).

2. The mystery is captivating and filled with unforeseen twists (but not M. Night Shyamalan twists) and there's tense action, graphic violence, romance, sexuality and, well, it's just a really good movie.

1. The book this flick is based on is sure to come to Hollywood sooner rather than later, but I recommend seeing the Swedish version as no American studio will produce a movie of this quality without watering it down from a fine wine into spiked Kool-Aid for mass market appeal.

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"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
- 2hr 28min‎‎ - Rated R‎‎ - Suspense/Thriller‎ -
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Cast: Peter Haber, Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, David Dencik, Georgi Staykov
Finney's Flicks Grade: A+

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