The movie star slipped out of Miami, Florida after cheering the New Orleans Saints to victory and flew to Santo Domingo's Dario Contrera Hospital, where dozens of survivors of the 12 January (10) earthquake are receiving medical help.
A source claims Jolie, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, toured the hospital on Monday (08Feb10) and spoke with several patients, accompanied by Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, the son of Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa.
It’s 1936 and shy 7-year-old Moncho (Manuel Lozano) feels painfully out
of place in his Galician village until a kindly schoolteacher (Fernando
Fernán Gómez) takes him under his wing inspiring in the youngster a
love for nature and poetry. But the exciting New World that opens up
before Moncho’s eyes is soon threatened by the dark tide of fascism
rising around him.
Perfect casting from the awkwardly adorable Lozano to renowned Spanish
national treasure Fernán Gomez does much of the work for the
filmmakers. Uxía Blanco and Gonzalo Uriarte also make strong impressions
as Moncho’s parents whose divided loyalties (hers to the Church his to
the Republic) are played subtly at first but become increasingly evident
as the political atmosphere intensifies. In the end though it’s Fernán
Gómez’s youthful energy and quiet dignity that give the film its soul.
Director-producer José Luis Cuerda creates a magical world in which
fable-like episodes such as a romantic interlude between Moncho’s older
brother and a mute Chinese woman seem perfectly believable then
seamlessly makes the difficult transition to the more serious tone of
the last section. At times he loses his grip on the loose-jointed
narrative but all that is forgotten when he gets to the brutally honest
finish a masterfully set-up sequence as unexpected as it is inevitable.
Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) Krank have enjoyed many wonderful years celebrating Christmas with their only daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) but when she goes off to Peru on a Peace Corps mission the two suddenly find themselves alone during that most precious time of year. Collectively now Awww! Not too worry Luther has a brilliant plan. He convinces the reluctant Nora to skip Christmas altogether--no decorations no tree no presents--and go with him on a sun-filled Caribbean cruise instead. Unfortunately the neighbors have a huge problem with it especially the neighborhood Christmas Nazi Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and the battle between the Kranks and their neighbors soon threatens peace harmony and good will towards men. But then like a little Christmas miracle Luther and Nora get a call from Blair saying she's coming home after all (she's a sneaky one isn't she?). Can the Kranks crank it in gear and get themselves back into the Christmas spirit in time for their beloved daughter's arrival? Oh for the love of Kris Kringle I hope so!
It's not really Tim Allen or Jamie Lee Curtis' fault the movie fails to connect. Both are extremely adept at playing it for laughs especially with the physical comedy. Curtis is hysterical chasing the last canned ham through the grocery store parking lot as it slips out her hands and rolls out of control into the street while Allen's comic talents shine through as he attempts to eat after having Botox injections (though it's time for the actor to move on from Christmas movies). Yet somehow the Kranks slowly denigrate into whining screeching paranoid curmudgeons while the neighbors turn into creepy militants. By the time the Kranks get that all-important call from Blair and get all Christmas-y again it's too late; you're already thoroughly irritated with the lot of them. Only Aykroyd seems to rise slightly above starting off as the villain but ultimately becoming the beacon of community togetherness as he rallies the neighborhood to help the Kranks get back into Christmas.
Sing with me: "Have yourself a Kranky little Christmas..." Is it me or are the Christmas movies this season cynical downers? Of course they don't mean to be but they are just the same including the obnoxiously bad Surviving Christmas the eerily non-human
Polar Express--and now the ill-tempered Christmas with the Kranks. The idea of two people whose child has left the nest deciding to skip Christmas while those around them chastise them for it has some potential. But in this case the story comes from a John Grisham book Skipping Christmas--yes the same guy who writes legal thrillers. That should be your first clue. A second clue is that the script is written by Chris Columbus the same creative mind behind another Christmas favorite Home Alone. It's evident from both movies that Columbus is a sap for the whole holiday spirit thing but a tad mean-spirited at the same time. Only director Joe Roth (America's Sweethearts) recognizes what he's got to work with highlighting as much slapstick comedy as he can before the schmaltz takes over.