Reel Shorts | Terrific Torino, Still (Un)born and War Fatigue!

9 01 2009

photo_17_hires
While we may have put 2008 in the rear view, unfortunately that also brings to an end a run of some pretty strong movies. Fortunately for us, some of those award-nominated films expand to wider audience in the New Year. Which brings us to this week in Reel Reviews where Eastwood is Grand, creativity is stillborn in “The Unborn” and a pair of best friends wage bridal civil war.

Gran Torino
At first glance, this story of a crotchety old man with Archie Bunker-tendencies (Clint Eastwood) who comes to the aid of his Asian neighbors feels like a throwback movie rooted in themes that were popular in the 1970s. But in the capable hands of Eastwood, “Gran Torino” is another of his strong films that fit the iconic auteur like well-worn gun holster. The wrong senior to mess with, Eastwood dominates the screen in this story of urban tough love and values for a new generation. Much like the characters in many of his films, Eastwood exerts tough love, but manages to show his caring side, nonetheless. Surprisingly entertaining, the film succeeds to a certain extent as both heavy handed drama with many humorous moments. With shades of “The Unforgiven” and “Dirty Harry,” Eastwood simultaneously salutes and pays homage to the tough characters of his award-winning career. Besides, what other actor on earth can rock the Eastwood sneer?

Grade: A-

the-unborn1The Unborn
When an attractive young girl (newcomer Odette Yustman) suddenly begins to see a dead person, she begins to suspect that something isn’t right in this “Exorcist”-lite thriller. Problem for us is that not only is she correct, but her problem isn’t the possessed boy who may be her dead twin brother, but the script written by “The Dark Knight’s” co-screenwriter David Goyer. Not overly scary, but not necessarily campy, the film lumbers along with a barely clad Yustman who must uncover the mystery on why this distant spirit is trying to re-enter our world through her body. While the answer is obvious (sexy, sexy, sexy!), the story wastes the talent of a gang of established actors including Meagan Good, Idris Elba and Gary Oldham. The film’s biggest sin is it’s nonsensical script which ultimately makes “The Unborn” cinematically stillborn!

Grade: D

44335655Bride Wars
Golden Globe nominee Anne Hathaway almost pulls an Eddie Murphy, ruining her award chances with a wretched film during the awards season. This story of two best friends (Hathaway and Kate Hudson) who dream about marriage at the Plaza turns ugly and petty when a glitch has the friends sharing the same wedding date. At this point, the gowns come off as the two try to one-up the other hoping to destroy the other’s wedding. For Hudson, bad movies early in the year are beginning to become a habit (“Fool’s Gold”), but this estrogen-driven ultimate chick flick is so gender-slanted that even the male characters, who serve as window dressing, are clueless. Simply watching last year’s disappointing wedding film, “27 Dresses” not only saves you time, but much-needed money as well.  While you may still waste two hours, at least you can watch the same theme . . . for free!
Grade: D

photo_09_hiresNot Easily Broken
A car accident threatens to sever the already fragile bond between Clarice Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) and her husband, Dave (Morris Chestnut) — especially when they both begin to develop feelings for other people.

Grade: I (we did not review)

Which one of these films will you most likely see and give us your review!

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One response

15 01 2009
coffee

Clint Eastwood did a great job of using his outward crankiness to come across as mean as well as somehow heroic this newest film of his

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