Reel Shorts | The International | Shopaholic | Friday the 13th!

13 02 2009

This week at the box office, we celebrate the agony and ecstasy. Women will crowd theaters coast-to-coast hoping for a reason to become a “Shopaholic,” horror fans will try to get lucky on “Friday the 13th” and Clive Owens tracks bad guys, “International-ly.”

With writer/director Tyler Perry freezing critics out of his upcoming film the cold opening “Madea Goes To Jail,” next week, there are several other films that target diverse audiences but all share one single characteristic – each is mediocre in their own way.

confessions_of_a_shopaholic_31Confessions of a Shopaholic
What happens in Hollywood when a poor little girl grows up fantasizing about the finer things in life? She becomes fashion-driven airhead, Isla Fisher in the marginally funny comedy, “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”

New York journalist and fashionista, Rebecca Bloomwood eats, sleeps and breathes for one thing – the opportunity to shop till she drops. Her mantra, “a man will never treat you like a store, drives this young materially obsessed deep in debt and suddenly without a job. In a situation that could ONLY happen in the movies, Bloomwood gets a job that’s she’s not qualified for working one heartbeat away from her dream job Soon this fish-out-of water becomes New York’s hottest columnist, the girl with the green scarf!

Based on the novel by Sophie Kinsella, this film feels like it is woefully miscast and continues Hollywood’s disturbing pattern of showing professional women at their absolute worst. Combining elements of “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Sex and the City” with a little “Pretty Woman” sprinkled in for effect, this comedic mashup lacks originality, relies on silly gags and substitutes cuteness for storytelling.

Lacking the charm of Anne Hathaway, the spunk of Sarah Jessica Parker and the sweetness of Julia Roberts, all Fisher has is a weak script and plenty of pretty clothes. Too bad, she needed so much more!

Grade: D+

friday_the_13th_25Friday the 13th
28 years later, Jason lives in a brand new film that pays homage to the original by simply making the same film all over again. After a creative prologue, the film with a no-name young cast of non-actors stumble, bumble and ultimately perish at the hands of the steroid-driven slasher.

While the gore factor is what you would expect in a “Friday the 13th” story, the surprise was how much sex influences the story. There were several scenes that bordered on pornographic, which became even more uncomfortable to watch because of the children under ten at a screening we attended.  With a disposable cast and a Swiss-cheese plot, the producers understand that the real star of the show is Jason who continues to feed his murderous urge because filmmakers keep bringing kids up to Camp of Horrors movie after movie. Maybe they should rename Jason’s home Camp Crystal Meth – at least that would give audiences an idea why kids constantly want to vacation somewhere where NOBODY ever comes back.

Grade: D

The International
In a story literally ripped from the headlines, Clive Owens stars as INTERPOL agent on the trail of a group of corrupt bankers in the tale of two stories, “The International.” This story globe-trots throughout Europe and New York City as Owens and a miscast Naomi Watts try to take down a bank that may be the hub for money used to influence criminal enterprises around the world.

Owens, the man who COULD be James Bond, is more than adequate as a man who has a scent of his prey and refuses to relent. Watts is totally useless in a role that could have clearly been written out of the film to tighten the story – and save time. The one saving grace is that the film features the best single scene of the year and the best gunfight scene since “Heat.” While that one scene gives the film a much-needed jolt, it feels like it belongs in another film.

What keeps “The International” from ascending from a fair film to a good one is that the film spends so much time being quiet and laconic that the constantly twisting story deserves maybe too much attention and detail for film audiences. Several years ago, director Tom Twyker stunk up theaters with the aptly named, “Perfume.” While this film is better, perhaps in more favorable hands, “The International” could have been a sensation!

Grade: C




One response

13 02 2009
Angeline Neal

I just saw “The International”, and agree with the review: Good..not exceptional. Could have been better with more action.

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