FSR’s Weekly Report Card for 02.13.09

FSR's Weekly Report Card


Studio: New Line Cinema

Rated: R for strong bloody violence, some graphic sexual content, language and drug material.

Starring: Jared Padalecki, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Travis Van Winkle, Aaron Yoo and Derek Mears

Directed by: Marcus Nispel

What it’s about: Jason Voorhees is living in the woods like any mild-mannered deformed man-child when a group of insanely good looking college students come a-sexin’ and a-drinkin’ in his back yard. He does what anyone else would do in that situation… hack them to death with a machete. When one of the victim’s brother comes looking for her, fresh meat is delivered to Jason’s front door.

What I liked: While I don’t consider the Friday the 13th series untouchable and beyond reproach, there was a certain nostalgia to these old slasher films. The original Halloween and Texas Chain Saw Massacre were far superior, in my opinion, which is why I thought those remakes were godawful. Yet, I never held Friday the 13th in the same regard. So this reimagining isn’t trampling on sacred ground.

Friday the 13th delivers in all the departments for a slasher film. It has plenty of violence with unique kills. It has quite a few scary scenes. And it also had plenty of bare boobies flopping across the screen. For a Friday the 13th movie, this flick is pretty good.

What I didn’t: I can’t find any huge flaws in this film aside from the fact that it borrows a little too much from Marcus Nispel’s TCM remake and The Hills Have Eyes. Jason does seem to have a rather complex home life in this film, complete with Viet Cong-style tunnels.

The only complaints you might find are the standard slasher movie complaints… shallow characters, exploitation cinema and gratuitous violence.

Oh, and I wouldn’t have minded it a bit if Danielle Panabaker or Amanda Righetti joined their fellow actresses in going topless in this movie.

Who is gonna like this movie: Jason junkies and people who love the Michael Bay horror movie remakes.

Grade: B


Studio: Touchstone

Rated: PG for some mild language and thematic elements.

Starring: Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Fred Armisen and Leslie Bibb

Directed by: P.J. Hogan

What it’s about: Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) is a spunky Manhattan journalist who can’t stop shopping. She has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt and is ducking collection calls left and right. When her magazine dissolves, she accidentally lands as a writer for a money management magazine, and she must avoid her work discovering her financial woes, all the while falling in love with her boss (Hugh Dancy).

What I liked: I’ve had a thing for Isla Fisher ever since she played the off-kilter little sister in Wedding Crashers. That Sacha Baron Cohen is a lucky, lucky man.

Fisher makes this movie work, and she’s proving herself as an adorable screen presence, likely to be the next Reese Witherspoon. Fisher’s goofy attitude makes the fluffy story bearable, and her knack for comedy works, at least in the first part of the film.

What I didn’t: Like last month’s Bride Wars, Confessions of a Shopaholic is strongest when it’s just trying to be funny. However, about half-way through the film, it’s as if someone reminded the director and writers that they needed to wrap up the characters and the story. The film derails in the last act by trying to resolve storylines and give every character their just desserts. (And it also completely ignores general credit laws, which are much more in the public’s awareness now that we all have creditors banging on our doors and ringing our phones to get their own 30-, 60- or 90-day-late payday.)

Who is gonna like this movie: Chicks and guys hoping to get laid on Valentine’s Day.

Grade: B


Studio: Columbia Pictures

Rated: R for some sequences of violence and language.

Starring: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Ulrich Thomsen

Directed by: Tom Tykwer

What it’s about: Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is an INTERPOL agent who is trying to uncover some unsavory shenanigans in the international financial world. His search leads him to the IBBC bank, which is at the center of a conspiracy involving assassinations and weapons deals. Salinger attempts to blow open the conspiracy by sticking his face in sink full of ice water and trying to act like Jack Bauer.

What I liked: The film had a good look to it. Reminded me of other international thrillers that had no substance, like The Interpreter.

Oh, and there’s a wicked-cool shoot-out in the middle of the film that takes place in the Guggenheim. An awesome few minutes. At least Clive Owen didn’t kill anyone with a carrot.

What I didn’t: Okay, take all the ridiculous political and international action thrillers like Vantage Point and Shoot ‘em Up and mash them together. It would still make more sense than The International.

There’s a line near the end of the film where one bad guy says, “There is the difference between fiction and the truth: fiction has to make sense.” With this in mind, The International is one of the most truthful films ever.

The plot is convoluted and ridiculous. On one hand, the bank is supposed to be all powerful. On the other hand, it hinges its entire existence on one smoke-and-mirrors weapon deal. In one case, it’s manipulating political assassinations and double-books assassins so they get the job done. On the other hand, it hires an assassin who blends in everywhere he goes but is stupid enough to wear the most easily traceable shoes known to man.

Finally, Clive Owen just can’t shrug off the desire to have been the next James Bond. But with his Tom Hanks from Bosom Buddies hair-do, he’s just plain goofy in this movie.

Who is gonna like this movie: People who hate banks, love Clive Owen or isn’t bothered by dumb plot points.

Grade: D+

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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