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The Latest in ShowBiz News

Alex Florez

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2008/04/26 at 12:00am

Paraíso Travel

04.26.2008 | By |

Rated: Not available
Release Date: 2008-04-26
Starring: Jorge Franco Ramos, Juan Manuel Rendon
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Country: Colombia
Official Website: http://www.paraisotravelmovie.com/

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Paraíso Travel
Alex Florez

By

2008/04/24 at 12:00am

Deception

04.24.2008 | By |

Rated: R for brief violence and sexuality.
Release Date: 2008-04-25
Starring: Mark Bomback
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Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.deception-movie.com/site/index.html

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Deception
Mack Chico

By

2008/04/17 at 12:00am

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

04.17.2008 | By |

Rated: R for sexual content, nudity and strong language.
Release Date: 2008-04-18
Starring: Jason Segel
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Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.forgettingsarahmarshall.com/

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Elena Calvo

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2008/04/15 at 12:00am

The Life Before Her Eyes

04.15.2008 | By |

Rated: R for violent and disturbing content, language and brief drug use.
Release Date: 2008-04-18
Starring: Emil Stern
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Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.lifebeforehereyes.com/

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The Life Before Her Eyes
Mack Chico

By

2008/04/11 at 12:00am

Street Kings

04.11.2008 | By |

Rated: R for strong violence and pervasive language.
Release Date: 2008-04-11
Starring: James Ellroy, Kurt Wimmer, Jamie Moss
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Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/press/

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Street Kings
Alex Florez

By

2008/04/10 at 12:00am

The Visitor

04.10.2008 | By |

Rated: PG-13 for some strong language.
Release Date: 2008-04-11
Starring: Thomas McCarthy
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Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.thevisitorfilm.com/

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The Visitor
Ted Faraone

By

2008/04/04 at 12:00am

Nim’s Island

04.4.2008 | By |

Rating: 3.0

Rated: PG for mild adventure action and brief language.
Release Date: 2008-04-04
Starring: Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
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Official Website: http://www.nimsisland.com/

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First, the good news:  Jodie Foster can play comedy.  As agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive action novelist Alexandra Rover in “Nim’s Island,” an adaptation by Joseph Kwong, Paula Mazur, and co-directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett of Wendy Orr’s eponymous novel, Foster is both funny and convincing.  At physical comedy she approaches Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett.  “Nim’s Island” should earn Foster her fifth Oscar nomination.
 
Now the bad news:  The screenplay does not do justice to the performances.  Rather than show the idyllic love between 11-year-old prodigy Nim Rusoe (Abigail Breslin), her dad Jack (a scientist, the other half of Butler’s dual role), and their menagerie of almost-human animals on an uncharted island, the screenplay hammers it home.  Every scene between Breslin and Butler fairly oozes saccharine.
 
Plot centers on the unlikely convergence of a monsoon, which maroons Jack in mid ocean, the chance discovery of the island by a cruise ship crew who resemble modern day pirates, and Alexandra “Alex” Rover’s writer’s block.  With Jack gone, Nim reads his emails and answers one from Alex, her favorite novelist.  An email relationship develops almost overnight.  There’s a catch.  Nim believes that Alex Rover, the author, is the swashbuckling, Indiana Jones – style adventurer of novels.  Nim does not know that ‘he” is a “she,” let alone a nutcase.  With her island about to be invaded by tourists and her dad in danger, Nim begs Alex to travel half-way around the world to come to her aid.
 
Challenged to overcome her fears, Alexandra’s inner conflict, played out with her alter ego, brings out just about every agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive joke that one can imagine, and Foster plays them to the hilt.
 
When the chips are down, Nim and Jack resort to the Mr. Wizardry that endeared the “MacGyver” TV show to a generation of kids.  His mast broken by the monsoon, his boat leaking, Jack rigs a pump and fashions a propeller, turning his sailboat into an airboat.  Nim enlists Selkie the sea lion to pass noxious gas near the tourists’ launch.  She then catapults lizards onto their faces on the beach.  Finally, she fakes a volcanic eruption – and gets a real one – to scare off the cruise ship crowd.
 
Expect PG-rated “Nim’s Island” to fare well with kids and fans of the novel.

Alex Florez

By

2008/04/04 at 12:00am

Shine a Light

04.4.2008 | By |

Rating: 3.0

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Release Date: 2008-04-04
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Official Website: http://www.shinealight.es/

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The Rolling Stones was here for a concert not too long ago, but since tickets were priced way out of my league, there was no way I could have seen them in action live unless I opted for the cheapest of the lot and sat well away from the stage. So I got to thank Martin Scorsese for having design and capture some definitive moments from a Rolling Stones performance, and share that stage magic the quartet provide when they’re at their element, on a celluloid screen, captured for posterity.

Make no mistake, the entire movie is just like being there at a Rolling Stones concert, only that you’ll have to ensure the cinema hall has great sound system installed, and you can’t actually smell the sweat the rockers exude, even though you get to go really up close and personal during their performance, something which even the standing-only front row pit will not allow. You can even throw your hands up in the air only to irk those seated behind you, unless they and everyone else are game enough to turn the sedate cinema atmosphere into a party one. So this review (if I can call it one) largely depends on whether you’re a Stones fan to appreciate, or for non-fans to want to give them a go, to kick back, relax (if you can) or just soak in the rollickingly wild atmosphere and immerse yourself into a Rolling Stones experience.

More than 20 songs were performed (if my mental counter serves me right), and for a Rolling Stones fan, you’ll likely be satisfied them all for the price that you fork out. For a simple fleeting fan like me, it’s an eye (ear?) opener to a lot more of their music, as well as an opportunity to watch them in action on the cheap. The first 10 minutes or so was the setup, with Scorsese worrying and fussing over how to film the Stones in action, and to want to have their set of songs as early as possible so that he could plan certain shots. But of course Mick Jagger and the gang got other ideas, as they flit from performance to performance during their “A Bigger Bang” tour, only to connect physically with Scorsese when they’re at the designated performance stop at the Beacon theatre for the Clinton Foundation – where you’ll get to see how big a fan Bill and Hillary are, together with their 30 strong entourage.

Interspersed throughout the concert performance are plenty of vignettes culled from past interviews spanning from the 60s, which will bring on some laughter as you watch them with perfect hindsight. You will get to see how youthful all of them looked when they first started out, and be amazed at their longevity in this business where bands come and go after making it to the top, if at all. Despite being grand-daddies, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts still look in great physical condition to be touring and strutting their stuff, dishing out high energy, high performance concerts, with Watts even cheekily feinting tiredness at a point. In fact, none of them thought earnestly thought, back in their youths, that they will sustain their popularity, or would have reasons for it, except perhaps Jagger himself who jested that he had dreamt about rocking the stage into his 60s.

Shine a Light doesn’t break any new cinematic ground, even though it has cameras almost everywhere in a concert hall to capture every aspect and angle of the performing stage. In fact, despite Scorsese making appearances in front of the camera, his work behind it, with all due respect, could be replaced with any other director, and the outcome would probably be more or less the same, only because of the fact that it is a Rolling Stones concert with the band holding court from start to end. Would have been more of a blast to be able to see this in the IMAX version though.

 

Mack Chico

By

2008/04/04 at 12:00am

Leatherheads

04.4.2008 | By |

Rated: PG-13 for some strong language.
Release Date: 2008-04-04
Starring: Duncan Brantley, Rick Reilly
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Country: USA
Official Website: http://www.leatherheadsmovie.com/

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Leatherheads
Mack Chico

By

2008/03/28 at 12:00am

21

03.28.2008 | By |

Rating: 3.0

Rated: PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity.
Release Date: 2008-03-28
Starring: Peter Steinfeld, Allen Loeb
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Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/21/

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21 is a perfect example of how something that’s “based” on a true story can nevertheless exist mainly in the realm of fiction. While it’s true that the source material for the movie, Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House relates events that actually happened, screenwriters Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb have fictionalized the entire story, leaving intact only the central idea that a group of MIT students devised a card-counting scheme that allowed them to fleece the Vegas casinos. And, while I’m firm believer in the adage “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, ” 21 doesn’t spin a good enough yarn to justify all the changes. In fact, when one character indicates to another that he started out smart then got sloppy and stupid, he might have been referring to the script.

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Our “entry point” into 21 is Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a graduating MIT senior who has already been admitted to Harvard Med School. There’s a problem, though: Ben can’t raise the needed $300,000 (never heard of student loans, I guess) and his chances of getting a “free ride” scholarship appear slim. Along comes Professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), who brings with him a too good to be true offer: a space has opened up on his “team” and he’s offering it to Ben, one of the most gifted mathematical minds he has encountered during his time teaching at MIT. The “team” is a group of five students who visit Las Vegas regularly and put into effect a sophisticated card-counting scheme that the casinos have been unable to break. Initially, Ben refuses, but the allure of Harvard Med plus his attraction to Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), one of Micky’s special students, pulls him in. After a local initiation, it’s off to Sin City for Ben’s official induction. There, waiting to match wits with him is Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne), the head of security at Planet Hollywood.

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The idea behind 21 is compelling – tell how a group of college kids beat one of the most sophisticated anti-crime systems in place anywhere around the world. Unfortunately, the problem is with the execution. Perhaps because there’s math involved, 21 doesn’t do an effective job of providing the bare-bones details of how the crime is pulled off. It hedges and cheats and employs lots of quick edits but we don’t get anything close to a coherent description of what the kids’ methods are. It doesn’t take long before the film relegates the heist elements to the background so it can focus on clichéd interpersonal relationships, including a tepid romance between Ben and Jill. Finally, the movie ends with a series of Hollywood staples, including a chase and a “twist” that won’t surprise anyone.

 

21 is yet another instance of Hollywood dumbing-down smart people. In order to pull off something as audacious and successful as what the MIT students did, they had to be geniuses. Yet, as portrayed in the movie, they’re ineffectual blunderers. Some of the things they do are so stupid that they’re insulting. Of course these characters are eventually going to get caught doing these sorts of things. How could they not? Audiences enjoy watching heist movies where the characters are two steps ahead (not two steps behind) and where the narrative provides some surprises. Neither characteristic is evident here. And, in addition, the resolution has an unpleasant “have your cake and eat it” quality. The fingerprints of those demanding a Hollywood ending are all over this screenplay.

 

Jim Sturgess, who has survived the Beatles debacle Across the Universe relatively unscathed, gives a nice turn as shy Ben, who gradually emerges from his shell as he gains more confidence in his newfound skills. It’s a familiar character arc but Sturgess’ performance allows us to buy into it. Kevin Spacey provides his customary intensity; he’s fun to watch even when he’s not in peak form. His Superman Returns co-star, Kate Bosworth, isn’t as successful. Her performance is wooden and she and Sturgess don’t click as a couple. Laurence Fishburne is wasted in a stereotypical thug role and no one else has enough lines to be worth mentioning. The supporting characters in 21 truly are one-dimensional.

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Another disappointing aspect of 21 is its sluggish pace. The high-energy Vegas setting doesn’t increase the wattage of the production. The movie is a little over two hours in length but feels longer. Some of the movie’s last-act “action” sequences have been inserted primarily as a way to liven things up, but they’re so pointless and derivative that all they do is drag out the running length. (Are we really supposed to be thrilled by scenes of Sturgess and Bosworth being chased by bad guys through a series of casino kitchens?) When it comes to the other two heist movies currently playing in theaters, The Bank Job and Flawless, the only advantage one could attribute to 21 is the youth of its cast. When judged on the basis of story, excitement, surprises, and character development, 21 comes in a distant third.

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