Tag Archives: Jessica Biel

DVD Review: Total Recall–Less Weirdness; More Butt-Kicking!

total-recall-dvd

It may not be as joyously weird as the Paul Verhoeven take on Philip K. Dick’s immortal short story (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), but it makes up for that with a protagonist who seems genuinely vulnerable (C’mon! You never really thought Arnold was in real peril, did you?) and more pure intensity.

Continue reading DVD Review: Total Recall–Less Weirdness; More Butt-Kicking!

Total Recall Remake Is Not a Total Disaster! It’s Actually Rather Fun!

925842 - Total Recall

It may not be as joyously weird as the Paul Verhoeven take on Philip K. Dick’s immortal short story (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), but it makes up for that with a protagonist who seems genuinely vulnerable (C’mon! You never really thought Arnold was in real peril, did you?) and more pure intensity.

Continue reading Total Recall Remake Is Not a Total Disaster! It’s Actually Rather Fun!

MOVIE REVIEW: The A-Team – Overkill is Underrated!

1 - The Team

We all know the story – even the shortest TV spot gives us the spine of it – the Alpha, or A-Team is set up whilst on a covert ops mission and court-martialed for a crime they didn’t commit, so they break out of prison to clear their names and nail the person[s] responsible for the frame. Sounds simple, probably because it is.

This is the part where I’d admit to being just a little bit ashamed [if I wasn’t so darned shameless]: The A-Team is bereft of anything even remotely approaching story or character development; it is nothing more than an excuse to brawl and shoot and blow stuff up real good; the pacing barely ever deviates from frenetic [and when it dials down, it only drops to furious] and, yes, the headline quote from former-Colonel Hannibal Smith [Liam Neeson] accurately describes the flick [and make no mistake, this a flick – not a film, not a movie – a flick]. And I enjoyed it.

Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: The A-Team – Overkill is Underrated!

MOVIE REVIEW: Easy Virtue – Not Quite Vintage Coward But Entertaining Nonetheless!

Stephan Elliott’s adaptation of Noel Coward’s breezy comedy of manners, Easy Virtue [which he co-wrote with Sheridan Jobbins], is a bit of pleasant counter-programming to give anyone who is tired of explosions and rude comedies something smart and light in which to indulge themselves.

easy virtue poster

The story is centered on a battle of wits, and quips, between two women – one a tightly wound Englishwoman of the gentry trying to preserve the family property as the family fortune has withered away; the other a brash young American who makes a living racing cars – when she can get past the prejudice against female drivers. Veronica Whittaker [Kristin Scott-Thomas] is the heroically stiff upper-lipped woman who has pinned all of her hopes for saving the family estate on her son’s marrying into a wealthy family. Jessica Biel, in her best work since The Illusionist, is Larita Huntington, the brash American woman who arrives as the new wife of John Whittaker [Ben Barnes] – and destroyer of Veronica’s hopes.

Colin Firth co-stars as Veronica’s burnt out husband, Colonel Jim Whittaker, who has not been the same since he led men to theirs deaths in World War One, and spends most of his time in the barn puttering about. Charlotte Riley has the thankless task of playing the Sarah Hurst, the woman Veronica expected John to marry. There are also a couple of conniving but not terribly bright Whittaker sisters [Kimberly Nixon and Katherine Parkinson] and a subversively perceptive [and funny] butler, Furber [Kris Marshall], who steals scenes in the manner of the best British butlers.

Being Coward, naturally there is a scandal and a turn in tone, but Elliott does a nice job of keeping everything flowing just smoothly enough to keep our attention and return us from the momentary emotional glitch to a spot on ending that works out for the best for everyone – even though they might not realize it at the time.

Because the soundtrack includes a number of beautifully placed songs –mostly by Coward, and Cole Porter – I was surprised to note, in the closing credits [you bet I watch them!], that there were a few contemporary tunes mixed in and given period arrangements. They work just fine, too. Another reason to stay for the credits is the introduction of the Easy Virtue Orchestra [an affectation that adds a Radio Age feel to the film in retrospect].

Easy Virtue is an adequate adaptation of Coward, which makes it an above average film filled with wit and humor and just the right tinge of appropriately placed melancholy.

Final Grade: B

Review by Sheldon Wiebe

Posted June 6, 2009