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Rating History

Zoom (2006)
3 years ago via Flixster

"They're going to save the world . . . as long as they're home for dinner"

Former superhero Jack Shepard, (also known as Captain Zoom), is called back to work to transform an unlikely group of ragtag kids into a new generation of superheroes at a privacy Academy and save the world from certain destruction. The project holds an audition of would-be members, most of whom possess useless or disgusting powers. In the end, Dylan, a 17-year-old boy who can turn invisible Summer, a 16-year-old girl with telekinetic powers Tucker, a 12-year-old boy with the power to enlarge any part of his body Cindy, a 6-year-old girl with super strength.

"Zoom" is a kids' superhero flick based on the novel "Zoom's Academy" written by Jason Lethcoe. In it, Tim Allen stars as a has-been superhero who's tasked to train four young superheroes to battle a nemesis. With that, you pretty much know what to expect. Unfortunately, that's all. While the film has all what comprises a prototype of this milked-dry genre, the experience is overtly familiar and dull.

Jack Shephard (Allen... nope, not Matthew Fox) was Captain Zoom, a superhero who can travel at superhuman speeds, and one of the members of the military-sponsored superhero group "Team Zenith." But he has since lost his powers after a military experiment has gone awry that also has his teammates killed. 30 years later Jack is brought back to train four youngsters with superpowers when a new malevolent threat from the past emerges.

First of all, the script of Adam Rifkin and David Berenbaum doesn't attain new heights with their blunt dealing of a theme that's been done more excellently with "The Incredibles" and "Sky High." And director Peter Hewitt ("Garfield"), who clearly isn't exactly a master storyteller himself, has little to work from with such a dull and hollow material. All of the characters are perfunctory parts rather than humans portraying genuine conflicts.

Also, for a film that's called "Zoom," the film drags: it lacks a sufficient amount of action. We're supposed to see the kids train, but all we're mostly shown are unfunny attempts at slapstick humor that the filmmakers assume would elicit laughters from the little tots among the audience (uhm, Courteney Cox tripping down and Chevy Chase getting slime on his face, anyone?). What constitutes for training involve at the most paint balls and a drive-thru chaos at a Wendy's restaurant. Yes, there's the climactic fight sequence at the end but it's too quick, unexciting, and not enough by a mile for a film that has terribly dragged along.

Ultimately, what transpires is a terribly unfunny movie that wears out its welcome faster than its main character runs.

Rundskop (Bullhead)
5 years ago via Flixster

"Sometimes in a man's life stuff happens that makes everyone go quiet"

A young cattle farmer is approached by a veterinarian to make a deal with a notorious beef trader.

Michaël R. Roskam's finely directed first feature is a character-driven and plot-driven drama that draws an incisive portrayal of a huge Limburgian man who has been marked for life by a terrible occurrence from the past that now confronts him and becomes even more upsetting. This unconventional tale of a Belgian underground crime syndicate that is shaken when a local policeman is killed, contains a wide range of rare characters and is both an atmospheric mystery and an internal study of character about friendship and the afflicting consequences of lost innocence. Finely photographed by cinematographer Nicolas Karakatsanis, this at times humorous, violent and well-paced thriller is reinforced by Matthias Schoenaerts' riveting acting performance in the leading role. Schoenaerts has a short fuse the entire film and you never know when he's going to explode. That's the beauty of his performance. He's so dangerous yet you can't help but feel sympathy for the guy. Schoenaerts is a ferocious powerhouse that chews you up and spits you out like the most devastating hurricane imaginable. An unsettling and engagingly narrated independent film which gained a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

5 years ago via Flixster

"How big is it?"
"Four miles wide!"

Everyone knows what to do if one morning the sky would be absolutely full of UFOs: run as fast as you can. However, what would happen if the invasion started while you are in the flat of the girl of your dreams, the one you have just met?

A low key, sci-fi romantic comedy from "Timecrimes" director Nacho Vigalondo, "Extraterrestrial" is about a girl (Julia) and a guy (Julio) who engage in a one night stand, only to wake up the next day and discover an ominous looking spacecraft hovering above the city. Stuck with each other and nowhere else to go, the UFO becomes the least of their worries when Julia's boyfriend comes into the picture to make things more awkward for all three of them. For anyone expecting this to be a Hollywood-type alien invasion film, you will be sorely disappointed because the film mostly focuses on the three main characters (and one nosey neighbor) and the weird, sexual politics they're all caught up in. The sci-fi part is mostly backdrop and looking at the overall picture, is mostly inconsequential to the main narrative drive of the film. The cast do a stand up job of riffing off with each other and Vigalondo's painfully dry humor (and the comedy gold that is mined from a hilariously awkward situation) is brimming with character and charisma that bounces off the four corners of the apartment from the which the story mostly takes place in. A minimalist, very cheeky sci-fi comedy, but also an astute observation on human behavior, "Extraterrestrial" is understated brilliance, its out of this world.

Total Recall
Total Recall (2012)
5 years ago via Flixster

"If I'm not me, then who the hell am I?"

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run.

I totally recall the 1990 movie version of Philip K Dick's short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" as both exciting and entertaining. Arnold Schwarzenegger as manual worker Doug Quiad brought a certain vulnerability to the role as this mountain of man who had no idea what was going on and Dutch director Paul Verhoeven gave a real verve to the whole production. Sadly this remake 22 years later is something of a disappointment, although some critics have been overly harsh. Colin Farrell now in the lead role is a far better actor than Arnie but the pace is so frenetic that he is not given much opportunity to display his thespian talents.

The role of his 'wife' - memorably filled by Sharon Stone in the original - now goes to Kate Beckinsale (wife of director Len Wiseman) and is much expanded from the first outing, so that the part of the rebel agent, originally taken by Rachel Tocotin and now played by Jessica Biel, is rather underwritten. It seems perverse to call a remake derivative, but so much of this version of "Total Recall" reminds one not just of the original film, but of so many other sci-fi movies: the world of the workers looks like "Blade Runner", the flying cars evokes "The Fifth Element", the synthetic troops are retreads of either the Storm Troopers or the clones from "Star Wars" films, even the relentless pursuit by Beckinsale's character echoes Arnie in the first "Terminator" movie. Oddly this work is both too dark, in that there is rarely enough lighting, and not dark enough, in that - unlike the original - there is little ambiguity about whether the whole thing is a dream.

The Campaign
The Campaign (2012)
5 years ago via Flixster

"May the best loser win."

In order to gain influence over their North Carolina district, two CEOs seize an opportunity to oust long-term congressman Cam Brady by putting up a rival candidate. Their man: naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Center.

Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is a four term Democratic representative of the 14th district of North Carolina, based around the city of Hampton. He is running unopposed for the seat but he is in trouble after he accidentally leaves a sexually explicit message on a born-again Christian's answering machine. His backers, the industrialists the Motch Brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) decides that Cam is a dud and set out to find a someone to run against him. They find the nice, but naïve and weird Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) to run as a Republican. The campaign quickly descends into false accusations, personal attacks and physical violence. But the Motch Brothers have their own dastardly plan for Hampton.

Ferrell is the best comic performer out of the pair but both comic leads have their moments. The jokes vary from verbal, crude and swearing based, Ferrell's trademarked adlibbing and physical gags : the biggest laugh in the audience I was in was when the baby got punched in the face. As a political satire this is a film that lacks subtlety, but to anyone who is interested in American politics you can easily see the references to negative campaigning, making false accusations that someone is a communist/socialist or an Islamic terrorist just through implication, how candidates just use any rhetoric to get elected without actually having any ideas or policies and how political campaign teams think more about image then they do about doing what they think is best for the district and the country. Prepare for an unexpected twist at the end, including a clever throw-away line involving the recent Chick-Fil-A controversy. Hysterical as it is, this movie might be even funnier if not so close to the truth.