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Clash of the Titans

Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Mads Mikkelsen, Alexa Davalos, Danny Huston, Pete Postlethwaite, Hans Matheson, Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson
Review [2.Apr.2010]


Clash of the Titans
Warner Brothers

What went wrong with Clash of the Titans? Well, first there was the whole 3-D thing. The movie became the poster child for bad 3-D conversions when Warner Bros. decided, in the wake of Avatar‘s success, to slap 3-D onto a movie that had not been conceived or shot that way. So even though the film made money, there was plenty of grumbling about the way it looked. But really, it’s the movie itself that’s the big problem. Louis Leterrier’s film is full of action spectacle but little substance. The plot is difficult to follow, with seemingly random character motivations both from the men and Gods leading to a big mess of a story in between the action sequences. Ultimately it makes for an action junkie’s worst nightmare: a boring movie. It’s really no surprise, then, that there’s apparently a much saner cut of the film somewhere at Warner Bros. that actually makes sense. That version sounds like a pretty good movie. Too bad we’ll probably never see it. Chris Conaton



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Cop Out

Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Pollak , Seann William Scott, Jason Lee, Rashida Jones
Review [26.Feb.2010]


Cop Out
Warner Brothers

Kevin Smith’s Cop Out is an example of what happens when an artist steps outside of his bounds, and does so with reckless abandon. While Smith has always, and rightfully so, maintained he is a writer above all else, Cop Out seems to say that for him should he ever feel the need to never utter that statement again. While the direction he provides isn’t terrible, the script by Robb and Mark Cullen is riddled with clichés and predictable contrivances, and Tracy Morgan’s overacting is so oppressive, the specter of his performance permeates even the scant portions of the film he’s not in. Kevin Brettauer



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Sex and the City 2

Director: Michael Patrick King
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, John Corbett


Sex and the City 2
Warner Brothers

Of the many sins that Sex and the City 2 commits against its fans—and there are many in the film’s grueling two-and-a-half hours, including the minutes wasted on the endless tour of an Abu Dhabi hotel—it’s the sound, thorough beating of the series’ greatest romance. Carrie was our heroine. Big was her fairytale prince. John Preston is, well, just a guy. He likes to curl up on his couch and watch TV—not horrid by any means, but nothing to make you clutch your hand to your chest and breathe a heavy sigh. Sex and the City 2 shows that Big is all limousine with nothing inside, a revelation that actually goes back and makes the entire series a little worse. And when Carrie berates him for wanting to hole up with take-out instead of squiring her away to a fancy restaurant, it diminishes her, too. Forget their relationship to each other – it’s our view of both of them that the movie tarnishes Marisa LaScala



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The Tourist

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell, Christian De Sica


The Tourist
Columbia Pictures

One goes to some films really, really wanting to like them, only to find one’s expectations inexorably crushed by long, desolate stretches of painful mediocrity. The Phantom Menace comes to mind. This wan, lazy waste of scenery comes with an attention-grabbing pedigree, being the first feature by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck since 2006’s phenomenal Lives of Others, and a script by Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, not to mention a batch of top-notch Brit actors like Paul Bettany and Rufus Sewell. Unfortunately, the actual film is Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie creaking stiffly through a padded, contrived scenario that fails woefully at being Charade in Venice. Undeniably pretty to look at, The Tourist has perhaps five minutes of engaging drama in its whole running time, and exactly two good jokes—both of which are run into the ground long before it all wheezes to a halt. Chris Barsanti



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Director: Brothers Strause
Cast:   Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, David Zayas, Donald Faison, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins, Robin Gammell



Skyline comes courtesy of the brothers Strause, a duo best known for its special-effects work in films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One of Skyline‘s protagonists, is in fact—if you are able to parse it out—also in charge of special effects on a big-budget film. So, when it came time for the film to deliver its aliens-vs.-humans story, what, apart from budget concerns, possessed the directors to ignore a special-effects-heavy, military-on-alien explosion-fest in favor of a smaller, human drama? Not that the latter would be bad in the hands of others—Monsters, for example, handled similar themes with intelligence—but it’s clear that this type of constricted storytelling is not the Strauses’ forte. In the few scenes when fighter planes engage in an out-and-out battle with alien invaders, the movie is pretty enjoyable (and looks pretty great, to boot). Yet the film fails to find a believable way to explain why two characters would bring a third’s digital camera into a bathroom to document a secret tryst, and why a separate fourth character would come across the photos in passing. The fact that Skyline is mostly these kinds of machinations, taking place in an isolated apartment, makes us wonder if there was a better Skyline movie going on just outside Marisa LaScala

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