Boy Wonder (2010) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Boy Wonder is another film in the line of Kick-Ass and Super in which the lead character moonlights as a wanna-be super hero. Sean Donovan (Caleb Steinmeyer) witnessed the brutal murder of his mother at a very young age. He’s grown up obsessed with finding her killer. A straight A student by day, and a hooded crime fighter at night, Sean finds himself closing in on the murderer as his two worlds collapse around him. His once abusive alcoholic father (Bill Sage) is the only family Sean knows, and the memories of drunken fights and bruises continue to push Sean closer to the edge. As he blurs the lines between hero and vigilante taking out the city’s lowlives, a detective (Zulay Henao) begins to close in on him. Who decides what’s right and wrong in a world where evil goes unpunished?
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Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 (2011) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Based on the 1957 book of the same name, Atlas Shrugged is the tale of a railroad tycoon’s attempt at saving her failing company during an economic squeeze in the near future. The year is 2016, and the economy of the US is in collapse. Most of the infrastructure in the country is lacking serious upkeep. Dagny Taggart (Taylor Schilling) must repair her railroad lines if she’s to keep her company afloat, and she’s just found some amazing new metal, Rearden metal, that is stronger than steel and will last for centuries. Now as she tries to get the new track laid, a stranger lurking in the shadows works against her by luring away the best and the brightest industrialists. As the CEO’s around her disappear and abandon their companies to greedy political interests, she finds it more difficult than ever to ensure not only her future, but the future of the country. Helped by Henry Rearden (Grant Bowler), the owner of Rearden Metal, they set off to uncover the force working against them, and to find the inventor of a revolutionary new engine.
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An Invisible Sign (2010) – Review

2 Stars

An Invisible Sign stars Jessica Alba as Mona Gray, a mathematically inclined woman who uses numbers as a coping mechanism for her father’s illness. As a young girl Mona’s father tells her a fairy tale with the moral of giving things up for love. She decides to give up everything she loves in hopes that the universe will return her father’s mental capacity back to normal. Years later her mother is tired of her daughter refusing to grow up. She spends all her time with her insane father, and it isn’t helping either of them. So she throws her out and sets her up with a job teaching math at Mona’s old elementary school. Forced into contact with a group of snotty kids, save one, Mona must learn to relate to and let others in. This includes the pushy science teacher, Ben Smith (Chris Messina) who is attracted to her strange and awkward ways. Will Mona uncover the true meaning of love? Of course she will.
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5 Nights in Hollywood (2009) – Review

1 Star

Originally titled The Harsh Life of Veronica Lambert, but changed to play up multiple story lines, 5 Nights in Hollywood is the story of a coked out loose group of friends who sleep around Hollywood. The story is structured like Crash, in which each character’s story is told separately, yet intertwined. The film opens with a great scene, shot with a frenzied energy, as movie producer Mr New York (Ed O’Ross – the bad guy from Red Heat) commits suicide after a media interview. It’s immediately downhill from there as the majority of screen-time is represented by the uninteresting Veronica Lambert (Ricki Noel Lander) story. Her life isn’t what’s harsh, she is. Basically she runs around doing coke, being a horrible person and trying to deal with her pregnancy with her married lover. The last half an hour consists of a loosely connected string of events that wrap up the film and are somewhat influenced by the opening scene.
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A Little Help (2010) – Review

2 Stars

A Little Help is the story of a recent widow who gets entangled in a series of lies to help herself and her twelve year old son. Laura (Jenna Fischer) has a burned out marriage and to make matters worse she’s pretty sure her husband, Bob (Chris O’Donnell), is cheating on her. Their son, Dennis (Daniel Yelsky), is distant and pushes Laura away. She moves on with her life, pretending everything’s ok. But one afternoon during a family get together she lets loose on Bob and accuses him of adultery. While chasing after her something happens with his heart, but he is given a clean bill of health by their doctor. Later that night Laura makes up with Bob, but his heart issue pops up again, this time for the last time. Now everything Laura has been sweeping under the rug is being forced out into the open. Her family pressures her into a malpractice lawsuit where Bob’s infidelity plays a major role. Her son tells a lie at his new school about his father dying as a fireman in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. She goes along with it, maybe in the hopes of winning him over, but mostly because she’s a pushover and has been throughout her life. Once the lies start coming undone can Laura and her son withstand the results?
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Smokin’ Aces (2007) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

‘Smokin’ Aces’ is a frantic and curiously nihilist picture directed with verve and confidence by Joe Carnahan. Mob boss Buddy ‘Aces’ Israel has turned informant and is currently set up in a penthouse high above Lake Tahoe, N.V. Unbeknownst to him a rival has put out a million dollar contract for his heart, leading to various (racially divided) assassins descending on one Tahoe hotel. Carnahan is credited as sole screenwriter and his script is a tight, lean if thinly sketched story that goes off the tracks completely in the closing moments. Owing more than a little to the works of Trantino and Tony Scott, this interlocking narrative structure has been done so many times before that it doesn’t resonate and at times comes off as nothing more than an exercise in style.
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