November 07, 2012 7:24am EST
He's done it, people. Barack Obama has won himself a second term as the President of the United States of America. You probably caught election coverage last night on one of the many television outlets broadcasting the event, but those of you who prescribe to the early-to-bed maxim might not have actually seen the Commander-in-Chief's victory speech. Luckily, the bounties of the Internet allow us to view the entire video below:
The inspiring, impassioned diatribe from our newly reelected POTUS got us thinking. Not about the issues, or the state of the world, or any of that garbage. About movies. Movies with the most inspiring sports speeches in history. After all, we can only assume Obama took his oration lessons from the likes of Irv Blitzer, Danny O'Shea, and Mickey from Rocky. These are the men who taught the Prez a thing or two about delivering a heartfelt speech, and encouraged the man in charge to win a Round 2 in the Oval Office.
After all (with just a few minor tweaks), these famous speeches do seem to directly serve Obama. Check them out below!
Irv Blitzer from Cool Runnings"Winning a presidential election is about one thing: the push-start. Now, I know you dainty, little senators think you're fast. Well, let's see how fast you are when you push a six-hundred pound economy. Now a respectable unemployment rate is five-point-seven percent. If you can't whip off an even six flat, you have a better chance of becoming a municipal alderman."
Danny O'Shea from Little Giants"Who said you had to be good to run a country? You run a country because you want to. You run a country because it's fun. You run a country so you could pretend you're James Monroe writing a doctrine, or Dwight Eisenhower going for a long war. And even if those republicans are better than you, even if they beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves ... one time."Jimmy McGinty from The Replacements"All right, Obama. Listen up. There are some who will say that your accomplishments today will soon be forgotten, that you're not a real American, that this isn't a real country. And I say that's bulls***. Because as of four years ago, you're a professional world leader. You're being paid to lead, and I want to you to remember that, because the men whose places you've taken, like Taft, forgot that a long time ago. Let's bring it in. Let's play some democracy." Herb Brooks from Miracle"Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, Obama. That’s what you have earned here tonight. One debate. If you debated ‘em 10 times, they might win nine. But not this election. Not tonight. Tonight, you argue with 'em. Tonight, you counter their foreign policies, and you shut them down because you can! Tonight, you are the greatest presidential candidate in the world. You were born to be President. You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done; it’s over*. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great candidate the republicans have. Screw ‘em. This is your time! Now go out there and take it!"
*Kind of confusing since Barack Obama is the standing president and Mitt Romney the challenger, but hey... that's politics.Mickey from Rocky"You're gonna eat the deficit, and you're gonna crap jobs!"
Bonus: commenting specifically on Obama's mention of his 20 year anniversary to Michelle during the first round of debates: "Women weaken legs!"The Mighty Ducks"Have you ever seen a flock of ducks flying in perfect formation? It's beautiful. Pretty awesome the way they all stick together. Ducks never say die. Ever seen a duck fight? No way. Why? Because the other animals are afraid. They know that if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock." (No edits necessary)Fortune from Rudy"You're six feet nothin'. A hundred and somethin'. And hardly have a spec of presidential ability. And you hung in with the best governmental administration in the land for four years. And you're going to walk out of here with a White House commemorative tote bag. In this lifetime, you don't have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen."Whatever your stance, you can't help but feel the magic of an inspiring sports movie speech. As such, this might be just what Obama would need to clinch his upcoming debate against former Gov. Romney. Who knows? If he does call upon the likes of Coaches Blitzer, O'Shea, Bombay, and Brooks, he might very well win just one for the Gipper. Reagan played him — it works on both levels!
[Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
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October 08, 2012 12:04pm EST
For everyone disappointed with President Barack Obama's performance in the first round of presidential debates, you seem to be forgetting a simple fact inherent in any cinematic competition: whoever loses the first round always nabs the victory in the end. Look at the Mighty Ducks, the Average Joes, the Washington Sentinels: all first-round losers who came up big by the rolling of the credits.
Yes, this might be a truth confined to the reality of the big screen, but let's face it — movies are better than real life. And if Barack Obama aligns himself with this universal maxim, he might indeed be in for a victorious next round in the presidential debates. Of course, he's going to need some help. According to The Hollywood Reporter, several of the democratic candidate's supporters have vocalized an interest in coaching the POTUS for his future face-offs with opponent Mitt Romney. But perhaps Obama will need a different kind of help. Help from the sort of forces who have pulled together the likes of professional athlete rejects, rapscallion youths, the uncoordinated attendees of rinky-dink gymnasia, or four Jamaican guys to achieve some of the greatest victories in human history. (Or at least fictional human history... but again, which is better?)
So who might be able to help the Pres make it all the way to state/earn his name on the Urbania water tower/win a spot on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish? Here are a few great men who are up to the challenge. Of course, some of them might have to change a few of their usual talking points to make their motivational speeches a bit more relevant...
Irv Blitzer from Cool Runnings"Winning a presidential debate is about one thing: the push-start. Now, I know you dainty, little senators think you're fast. Well, let's see how fast you are when you push a six-hundred pound economy. Now a respectable unemployment rate is five-point-seven percent. If you can't whip off an even six flat, you have a better chance of becoming a municipal alderman."
Danny O'Shea from Little Giants"Who said you had to be good to run a country? You run a country because you want to. You run a country because it's fun. You run a country so you could pretend you're James Monroe writing a doctrine, or Dwight Eisenhower going for a long war. And even if those republicans are better than you, even if they beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves ... one time."Jimmy McGinty from The Replacements"All right, Obama. Listen up. There are some who will say that your accomplishments today will soon be forgotten, that you're not a real American, that this isn't a real country. And I say that's bulls***. Because as of four years ago, you're a professional world leader. You're being paid to lead, and I want to you to remember that, because the men whose places you've taken, like Taft, forgot that a long time ago. Let's bring it in. Let's play some democracy." Herb Brooks from Miracle"Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here tonight, Obama. That’s what you have earned here tonight. One debate. If you debated ‘em 10 times, they might win nine. But not this debate. Not tonight. Tonight, you argue with 'em. Tonight, you counter their foreign policies, and you shut them down because you can! Tonight, you are the greatest presidential candidate in the world. You were born to be President. You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done; it’s over*. I’m sick and tired of hearing about what a great candidate the republicans have. Screw ‘em. This is your time! Now go out there and take it!"
*Kind of confusing since Barack Obama is the standing president and Mitt Romney the challenger, but hey... that's politics.Mickey from Rocky"You're gonna eat the deficit, and you're gonna crap jobs!"
Bonus: commenting specifically on Obama's mention of his 20 year anniversary to Michelle during the first round of debates: "Women weaken legs!"Gordon Bombay from The Mighty Ducks"Have you ever seen a flock of ducks flying in perfect formation? It's beautiful. Pretty awesome the way they all stick together. Ducks never say die. Ever seen a duck fight? No way. Why? Because the other animals are afraid. They know that if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock." (No edits necessary)Fortune from Rudy"You're six feet nothin'. A hundred and somethin'. And hardly have a spec of presidential ability. And you hung in with the best governmental administration in the land for four years. And you're going to walk out of here with a White House commemorative tote bag. In this lifetime, you don't have to prove nothing to nobody except yourself. And after what you've gone through, if you haven't done that by now, it ain't gonna never happen."Whatever your stance, you can't help but feel the magic of an inspiring sports movie speech. As such, this might be just what Obama would need to clinch his upcoming debate against former Gov. Romney. Who knows? If he does call upon the likes of Coaches Blitzer, O'Shea, Bombay, and Brooks, he might very well win just one for the Gipper. Reagan played him — it works on both levels!
[Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
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December 08, 2011 12:15pm EST
Ice Cube, real name O'Shea Jackson, enrolled in drafting classes at the Phoenix Institute of Technology in Arizona when he was 18 but abandoned his artistic dreams to pursue a career in music.
And now the hitmaker has gone back to his roots by shooting Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA 1945-1980 to show fans the true beauty of such buildings as the historic Eames House.
He tells NME.com, "The Eames (architects) made structure and nature one. This is going green 1949 style, b**ch. Believe that... It's not about the pieces, it's how the pieces work together, you know, taking something that already exists and making it something special… kinda like sampling.
"A lot of people think LA is just eyesore after eyesore… so what? They don’t know the LA I know. One man's eyesore is another man's paradise."
He isn't the only star paying tribute to architects Charles and Ray Eames onscreen - James Franco has signed on to narrate a new film about the brothers after his former college professor at UCLA in Los Angeles suggested he would be perfect to voice the film.
The 127 Hours star is now part of director Jason Cohn's new movie Eames: The Architect & The Painter.
March 15, 2011 10:47am EST
If a major motion picture studio gave you $50 million to make the movie of your choice what would it be like? If you’re producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and writers Simon Pegg and Nick Frost it’d be a loving lampoon of geek culture and an homage to the films of the Spielberg/Lucas revolution but nostalgia is both an advantage and disadvantage in director Greg Mottola’s Paul.
Pegg and Frost star as a pair of nerds from across the pond who fulfill lifelong dreams when they fly to San Diego for the annual Mecca of nerdom Comic-Con. The doofy duo extend their trip to tour America’s extraterrestrial hot spots including Area 51 where they pick up an unexpected alien hitchhiker on the run from the proverbial men in black. Across the country they go getting into trouble picking up more passengers and building bromantic bonds as the little green man Paul inches closer to his escape from planet Earth and the shadowy government official who has been exploiting his knowledge of the universe since he crash landed in Wyoming over 60 years ago.
Fan-favorite filmmakers since 2004’s Shaun of the Dead Pegg and Frost have been making geek chic for years now and continue to create identifiable roles for themselves while finding humorous ways to write their like-minded friends into their movies. Their collection of wacky characters is charming if incredibly derivative but for better or worse they are the heart and soul of the film. Jason Bateman Kristen Wiig Bill Hader and Jo Lo Truglio turn in fun performances but I expected a bit more from the Jane Lynch David Koechner and Sigourney Weaver cameos. Still Seth Rogen’s vocal performance as Paul adds significant layers to an already adorable alien and enlivens the adequately rendered CG character.
The comedy is surprisingly sweet and doesn’t bite like Mottola’s Superbad though there are enough religious jabs and signs of anti-establishment fervor to call it mildly subversive. Lack of laughs isn’t the issue here; lack of originality is. Mottola is too dependent on pop-culture references and inside jokes pertaining to E.T. Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind so much so that the film ultimately becomes a parody of itself as its storyline mirrors that of Steven Spielberg’s massive 1982 blockbuster (in this world the movie mogul actually consults the incarcerated alien for inspiration for his beloved family film). While these nods are all amusing they’re not enough to carry the film and Mottola/Frost/Pegg offer little else. At its worst Paul will give you a reason to revisit those classic sci-fi staples and remember the good old days. At best it provides a few mindless chuckles and gives you good reason to give the geek next to you a great big hug.
June 13, 2008 5:48am EST
Improving on his last two duds The Village and the dreadful aquatic nymph tale Lady In The Water writer/producer/director M. Night Shyamalan gets back to the kind of eerie paranoid thriller he so successfully mined in early efforts like The Sixth Sense and Signs. The results this time are mixed in this story of a mysterious environmental “happening” on the East Coast that is causing large groups of people to commit suicide. As he does in his most effective films Shyamalan focuses on a core group of people who must find a way to survive these strange events. Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) is a Philadelphia science teacher already dealing with marital problems with his attractive but rather unstable wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) now thrust into full crisis mode as he his wife a fellow math teacher Julian (John Leguizamo) and Julian’s daughter Jess (Ashlyn Sanchez) hit the road by train then car to escape the unusual plague first thought to be a terrorist attack. The group soon realizes it is more than that perhaps a forceful message from Mother Nature cued by the growing winds and rustling of tree leaves. Joined eventually by two older boys Jared (Robert Bailey Jr.) and Josh (Spencer Breslin) Elliot tries to be the voice of reason as each person begins to meet their own fates on a journey into a heartland of unexplainable terror. Unlike most contemporary horror films in which actors must battle butt-ugly creatures most of the genuine frights in this flick are left to our imagination. Here Shyamalan wants us to experience what the characters are going through the abject fear on their faces. Wahlberg is particularly good at expressing a growing feeling that events are slipping out of his control. He’s amusing in a direct encounter with a house plant he fears may now have the upper hand and in the film’s best sequence where he must convince a batty paranoid old woman (an intense Betty Buckley) to let the group stay in her remote farmhouse. Forced to utter lines like “just when you thought there couldn’t be any more evil invented ” the quirky Deschanel has her work cut out for her but is likeable enough in the end. As a math teacher Leguizamo spends much of his screen time calculating everyone’s odds for survival until his own becomes questionable. As his daughter Sanchez is appealing and handles herself well. Shyamalan is the heir apparent to Alfred Hitchcock--in his own mind at least. Hitch’s The Birds seems to be the template but that 1963 classic is light years ahead in every way. Unfortunately Shyamalan is becoming something of a one-trick pony as The Happening is basically a retread of things we’ve seen him do before. There is no question he has superior skills. He clearly gets the horror genre; he just doesn’t seem to know how to make it fresh anymore and the answer isn’t by ratcheting up the body count. Reportedly 20th Century Fox asked him deliberately to make an R rated film (his first) and its those gore-filled elements which seem superfluous here. Do we really need to see a guy commit suicide by willingly letting some zoo lions rip off his arms? It’s glaring and out of place with the subtler aspects of the director’s style. Plus the use of overbearing and obvious music cues (score is by James Newton Howard) shamelessly telegraphs whatever scares the movie and only serves to emphasize the shortcomings of M. Night’s sketchy screenplay. Still as a summertime time-waster The Happening fills the bill but as an eco-thriller with dire warnings for humankind it drowns in its own promising potential.
June 05, 2006 1:42pm EST
Everything appears to be status quo between humans and mutants. There’s a president who is sympathetic towards mutants Prof. Charles Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) school is thriving and Magneto (Ian McKellen) is quiet--for the moment. But when a “cure” for mutancy is discovered which would give those with the mutant gene the choice to give up their powers and become human Magneto sees red. Cure mutants? Dem’s fightin’ words. With a few more allies on his side--including the resurrected Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) who now calls herself the Phoenix and has unlimited powers--Magneto prepares to trigger the war to end all wars while the X-Men--lead by the stalwart Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and milquetoasty Storm (Halle Berry)--try to stop him. I seriously doubt this is really their Last Stand. All the usual suspects are back. Stewart is once again sufficiently wise as Xavier while McKellen’s Magneto continues to be one of the cooler comic-book villains. It’s amusing to watch him calmly mangle cars or dislodge the Golden Gate bridge with a gleam in his eye. Janssen also seems to relish playing dual roles--the tormented Grey and her evil alter ego Phoenix who is one scary broad. Unfortunately Jackman doesn’t have as much to chew on in Last Stand as he did in X2 and Berry is once again only good for drumming up fog. But the new mutants are kind of fun: Ellen Page (so deadly in Hard Candy) plays sweet this time as Kitty Pryde who can “phase” through solid material; Vinnie Jones (Snatch) is boisterous as the aptly named Juggernaut; Kelsey Grammer is diplomatic as the highly intelligent--and very blue--Dr. Hank McCoy aka Beast; and Dania Ramirez (Fat Albert) as the blink-of-an-eye quick Callisto gets to kick Storm’s ass. Cool cat fight. How dare director Bryan Singer leave his X-Men to go direct another superhero movie even if it is Superman Returns. If Wolverine had anything to say about he might have ripped Singer a new one. You really do feel Singer’s absence in The Last Stand. All of the director’s tormented pathos towards his mutant comrades and their struggles to live in the human world are not as prevalent in this third installment. Instead we’ve got happy-go-lucky director Brett Ratner of Rush Hour fame who turns The Last Stand into one giant id--big explosive and campy. Of course to his credit Ratner is pretty good at delivering a rousing albeit superficial action movie. It’s just not as gripping as X2. But listen the spirit of the comic is already built in from the previous installments so in essence we already know these characters pretty well. Do we really need more angst?
November 10, 2004 8:37am EST
Based on Chris Van Allsburg's enchanting award winning children's book the story begins on a snowy Christmas Eve where a doubting young boy lies in his bed waiting to hear the sound he doesn't know if he believes in anymore: the tinkle of Santa's sleigh bells. What he hears instead however is the thunderous roar of an approaching train where no train should be: it's the Polar Express. Rushing outside in only a robe and slippers the incredulous boy meets the train's conductor who urges him to come onboard. Suddenly the boy finds himself embarking on an extraordinary journey to the North Pole with a number of other children--including a girl who has the tools to be a good leader but lacks confidence; a know-it-all boy who lacks humility; and a lonely boy who just needs to have a little faith in other people to make his dreams come true. Together the children discover that the wonder of Christmas never fades for those who believe. As the conductor wisely advises "It doesn't matter where the train is going. What matters is deciding to get on." Gives ya goose bumps doesn't it?
Talk about a vanity project for Tom Hanks. He portrays several of the characters in the film--the conductor the hobo who mysteriously appears and disappears on the Polar Express the boy's father. Wait isn't that Hanks playing Santa Claus as well? But if anyone can pull off some cheesy dialogue about the spirit of Christmas this Oscar-winning actor can. Interestingly the film also incorporates adults to play the children (none of the characters have names actually) with Hanks as the Hero Boy; Hanks' Bosom Buddies pal Peter Scolari as the Lonely Boy; The Matrix Revolutions Nona Gaye as the Hero Girl; and veteran voice actor Eddie Deezen as the Know-It-All Boy. Everyone does a good job but trying to make CGI-created people seem real is a difficult undertaking. With
The Polar Express director Robert Zemeckis has created an entirely new way to do computer animation called "performance capture." "[It's a process that] offers a vivid rendering of the Van Allsburg world while infusing a sense of heightened realism into the performances. It's like putting the soul of a live person into a virtual character " visual effects wizard and longtime Zemeckis collaborator Ken Ralston explains. Oh is that all? Problem is no matter how hard they try it doesn't work--not completely. Similar to flaws in the 2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within virtual characters just can't convey human emotion as well as real-life actors plain and simple. And with a touching story like Polar Express that real-life connection is missed at times.
Of course like the images in the book it's still an exceptionally beautiful film to watch. Zemeckis enjoys being a filmmaking innovator. He charmed audiences with a lively blend of live action and manic animation in the 1988 classic action comedy Who Framed
Roger Rabbit? and then wowed them with the 1994 Oscar-winning Forrest Gump blending authentic archival footage of historic figures with the actors. Now with The Polar Express it's this performance capture which gives Zemeckis unlimited freedom in creating the world he wants. And boy does he make use of it. True the story is a classic but the director knows he has to make The Polar Express exciting for the tykes-- simply riding around in a train to North Pole without any thrills certainly wouldn't be enough for the ADD world we live in. To accomplish this the film is padded with exhilarating scenes such as the train going on a giant roller coaster ride through the mountains and across frozen lakes (too bad Warner Bros. doesn't have a theme park) and the boy's race across the top of the snowy Polar Express. Even the North Pole is a booming magical Mecca filled with some pretty boisterous (and weird looking) elves who like to send Santa off in style Christmas Eve--watch out for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler making a cameo as a jammin' elf. Ho-ho-ho!
April 15, 2004 2:20pm EST
Since they were young girls growing up in the Midwest Connie (Nia Vardalos) and Carla (Toni Collette) have shared the same dream--to become the next biggest thing to hit musical theater but so far performing in an airport lounge is the closest they've come. Their lives change however when they witness a murder by some nefarious drug dealers and in an attempt to escape end up in Los Angeles which has "no dinner theater no musical theater no culture at all." It's the perfect place for them to hide out and all goes to plan until Connie and Carla happen upon a local drag club. Suddenly they see an excellent way to elude their pursuers--and fulfill their need to be on stage at the same time. Pretending to be men dressed as drag queens Connie and Carla are soon headlining at the club belting out the show tunes they love. They become a huge hit getting the fame and recognition they've always wanted--but as time wears on the whole charade turns out to be a real "drag" ("pun intended " as the gals like to say) especially when Connie falls for nice guy Jeff (David Duchovny). Still with the killers hot on their trail Connie and Carla have to stay incognito--at least until they can find a way to come out of the closet without getting killed or disappointing their growing legion of fans.
The very charismatic Vardalos wowed audiences with her first feature the smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding and is probably feeling more than a little pressure to follow up with something just as good especially since the Big Fat Greek spin-off TV series failed miserably. Luckily she succeeds with Connie and Carla due in large part to her co-star Collette who finally--after a string of dramatic movies such as The Sixth Sense and The Hours--gets to use the comedic skills she deftly showed in her feature film debut Muriel's Wedding. Together the actresses' natural rapport and infectious charm permeate the film and despite a sometimes hackneyed script they keep things lively and boy can they sing! Vardalos and Collette make the most of their musical theater backgrounds working the stage and making the film's musical numbers truly memorable. Vardalos also displays a fair amount of chemistry with Duchovny as the straight Jeff desperately struggles with his burgeoning feelings for someone he believes is a man. The last little plus is C and C's supporting cast including the bonafide drag queens the girls befriend at the club. Led by the Tony-winning Stephen Spinella (Angels in America) as Robert/"Peaches " who also happens to be Jeff's estranged brother the supporting guys/dolls add that certain La Cage joie de vivre.
As she did in My Big Fat Greek Wedding writer/actress Vardalos' script speaks from the heart with genuinely fresh funny and down to earth dialogue. Apparently she did loads of dinner theater in her early years so she's familiar with the subject. Unfortunately she relies on a contrived Some Like It Hot plot about vengeful drug dealers to get Connie and Carla to L.A. but once the film gets into drag it zings. Connie and Carla is also in capable hands with director-actor Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 2) a former song-and-dance man himself at the helm. The broad comedic style he picked up directing countless television sitcom episodes serves well here and he turns the musical numbers into mini show-stoppers each one topping the next. The last is the best of course when the girls launch into "I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No" from Oklahoma capped by a special guest appearance from the musical theater goddess herself Debbie Reynolds. Classic.
October 08, 2003 12:48pm EST
Based on the best-selling novel by Dennis Lehane Mystic River is full of characters wrought with heavy emotions--and burdens. Yet it is also a fairly simplistic murder mystery. Three 13-year old boys Jimmy Sean and Dave are playing on a street in a tough Boston neighborhood when two pedophiles pretending to be cops grab Dave and take him away. In that moment all three lives are irrevocably changed. Jimmy (Sean Penn) grew up as tough as his neighborhood doing time for robbery but finally settling into a comfortable family life with his wife Annabeth (Laura Linney). Sean (Kevin Bacon) went on to become a cop but his personal life is in a shambles and he is estranged from his wife. Dave (Tim Robbins) has never been able to face his demons despite being a loving father and husband to Celeste (Marcia Gay Harden). Now 25 years later tragedy brings them together once again. Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter is found murdered and while Sean is assigned to the case with his partner Whitey (Laurence Fishburne) Jimmy seeks his own vigilante investigation with the local hoods--and Dave emerges as a prime suspect. As the mystery is unraveled all are pulled closer toward an abyss that will force them to face their true selves--and will mark them as irrevocably as the past itself has tainted their lives.
This is one of those dream scripts serious actors simply go gaga over--and the high-quality ensemble in Mystic River does their jobs superbly. To pinpoint the best performance of the bunch however is virtually impossible--and the Academy may have a tough time making the same distinction as there is surely going to be a nomination or two coming from this film. Penn as the emotionally charged Jimmy stands out a little ahead of the rest with his fury resonating throughout the film. Robbins' ultra-vulnerable Dave is also a remarkable study of a soul completely wounded by the horrors he has experienced. Linney and Harden too are excellent as the spouses; Linney as Annabeth is a strong defiant mother whose only impetus is to protect those she loves while Harden in contrast is meek and unsure as Celeste faced with the dilemma of showing faith and loyalty to her husband while at the same time being convinced he committed the murder. All the performances will quite literally blow your socks off.
With all its excellent acting Mystic River has the added benefit of being helmed by director Clint Eastwood who has enormous talent behind the camera. He likes his films to simmer; his Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Oscar-winning Unforgiven are two examples. Mystic River is beautifully put together with lingering shots of Boston neighborhoods and the people who live in them. He doesn't move the camera much keeps things steady but knows when to pull in or pull out as the drama escalates (an aerial shot of an anguished Jimmy being held back by several policeman after he discovers his daughter's body shakes you to the core). Still there are some problems with this slow-burn technique in that sometimes things should move along rather than stand still. Eastwood seems also to have had trouble finding the ending. After a pivotal powerful climactic scene with Jimmy and Sean discussing Dave's kidnapping 25 years ago and its effect on all their lives Eastwood tacks on a few more final scenes of the men tying up loose ends resolving feelings with each other and their wives--and then going to watch a parade. It's a minor point compared to the quality of the rest of the film but it still leaves things on an anti-climactic note.
June 01, 2001 7:50am EST
Sean (Kerr Smith) takes a week off from his job in Los Angeles to attend his sister's wedding in Miami and deliver a car at the same time. But the owner has one rule: No hitchhikers! As this titillating bit of foreshadowing suggests Sean gets a flat tire on a deserted highway loses his wallet and has no choice but to pick up hitchhiker Nick (Brendan Fehr) who offers to cover the cost of gas. What Sean soon finds out is that Nick is actually hunting down the leader of a band of roving vampires and he must kill him in order to avoid becoming a vampire himself. On their trek they find Megan (Izabella Miko) also a victim of the telepathic "vampire virus " and use her as bait to lure the undead to sacred grounds and lop off their heads. A hesitant Sean is forced to play along after Megan bites him. If the story is hard follow don't worry--Sean and Nick rehash the plot each time they sit down to eat.
The performances in this film are passable at best. While Dawson's Creek heartthrob Smith and Roswell's Fehr work as best they can with such a silly script they spend most of the film sweaty grimy and on the run. Johnathon Schaech plays lead vampire Kit who looks creepy enough but never really says much. The same goes for his sidekicks Cym (Phina Oruche) and Teddy (Alexis Thorpe) except they don't even try to be eerie they just walk around pouting seductively in tight short outfits. Miko as the film's waifish bait spends most of the 105 minutes in a half-naked and morphine-induced state. In the rare instances when she is not being carried in someone's arm she is either screaming or spitting up blood. Not much talent needed there but perhaps this is for the best: when she finally does muster a line in the film's final moments you almost wish she hadn't.
Loaded with shots of Sean's vintage Mercedes driving down Arizona highways with sunset backdrops and loud music The Forsaken at times looks and feels like a music video. The special effects which consist mostly of blood and gore are so basic that you can almost see the fake blood capsules spurting out of the actors' mouths. And because the lighting is so stark and the action scenes shot so tightly it is hard to get a sense of who is shooting at whom. In terms of suspense director J.S. Cardone uses every trick in the horror movie handbook resulting in predictable scenarios seen a hundred times before only this time they're worse. This lack of originality coupled with lame scares and virtually no screams is--as one might expect--ultimately this film's downfall. It's too derivative of horror movies of the past (think Vampires and The Hitcher). A shame really. There hasn't been a good teen horror film in a quite some time.