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PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME

Studio: Disney

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton and Alfred Molina

Directed by: Mike Newell

What it’s about: Jake Gyllenhaal plays a Persian prince who is helping his father and brothers lay siege to a city. There, he finds a magical dagger that can allow the user to reverse time for up to one minute. After being framed for the murder of his father, he goes on the run and tries to keep the dagger from falling into the wrong hands.

What I liked: Anyone who knows me knows that I get into the big summer blockbusters. And they don’t have to be the standard massive action films, either. They can be something as silly and needlessly effects-driven as The Core, and I’ll like them to a certain degree. It is this element of my tastes that made me look forward to Prince of Persia this summer.

As a big effects-driven summer action flick, Prince of Persia will do. It has some excellent action sequences, and the visual effects are pretty cool to watch. Plus, it has Gemma Arterton in a performance reminiscent of Clash of the Titans, which could have been more revealing but was still enjoyable to see on screen.

Not being a gamer myself, I can’t say whether this makes the grade as a video game adaptation, but I’ve been told by some folks who play the game that it does give that feel. At least that’s the only explanation I can think of for all the back-flips that Gyllenhaal’s character does.

What I didn’t: For the most part, Jake Gyllenhaal worked as the summer movie action hero. He’s not great, and I don’t think Will Smith needs to be threatened by his box office status, but Gyllenhaal will do. On the same token, he’s okay with Arterton on screen, but their chemistry isn’t great.

The story to Prince of Persia stumbles around a bit, and really the film could have been fifteen minutes shorter… and that’s with some pretty awkward editing moments, which made me wonder how many hours more the original cut of the film was. But murky storytelling and sometimes random action scenes just seem to be a way of life for video game adaptations.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time isn’t a great film, and it’s not nearly at the level of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (which seems to be the lightning that Disney is trying to capture in a bottle again), but it’s okay for those who want to spend some time in an air conditioned theater this hot Memorial Day weekend.

Who is gonna like this movie: The Disney adventure crowd.

Grade: B-

SEX AND THE CITY 2

Studio: New Line Cinema

Rated: R for some strong sexual content and language

Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon and Chris Noth

Directed by: Michael Patrick King

What it’s about: Carrie and the girls get an all-expense-paid trip to Abu Dhabi, which they take as a vacation from their crazy lives, their problematic relationships and a chance to sip cosmos in the desert and make tired puns about vaginas.

What I liked: Two words… Alice Eve.

Seriously, guys. If you have to be dragged to this movie by your wife or girlfriend, the saving grace is when Eve literally bounds into the scene. She could have been wearing a Groucho Marx mustache and glasses, and I wouldn’t have noticed. Seriously.

Other than that, Sex and the City 2 was made for its fans. If you’re one of those folks who slipped into your slinky black dress, put on your Jimmy Choos and drank a cosmo with your girlfriends while watching the series in the 90s, this is for you. So our illustrious Executive Editor Neil Miller is gonna love love love it.

What I didn’t: I actually watched the show (sans slinky black dress, Jimmy Choos and cosmos) back in the day and enjoyed it to a certain degree. I also though the first film two years ago was a decent flick that took the characters to new places and capped off the overall storyline well. Unfortunately, this film is everything I was worried the first one would be.

Sex and the City 2 is nothing more than an excuse to extend the story. The characters are insipid and wretched. They represent caricatures of themselves are forced into moments where they can make crass comments over cosmos and coffee. In essence, Sex and the City 2 is a bloated, 2 1/2 hour episode with a bigger budget and a sweeping setting. And the fans are going to eat this shit up. So on one hand, I can’t really fault it for playing to its audience.

Sigh… it’s Twilight for the middle aged ladies.

Who is gonna like this movie: Women and gay men.

Grade: C-

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these films on TV? Check out his interview on FOX…


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