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Wonderfully heartwarming, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story captures four decades of Spinney's affection and love for both muppets and children. Though a bit melancholy bordering on sappy, I Am Big Bird demonstrates Spinney's pure artistry, personal integrity, and how a sorrowful childhood can result in a bountifully flourishing adulthood. As an aside, it was lovely to see a married couple so focused on each other's greater good. Overall, a touching, if not maudlin, nostalgic, and enjoyable documentary.
Echelon Conspiracy seems like a made for television movie that was accidentally released to theaters. Greg Marcks must be a Will Smith fan to make a movie that is the average of two Smith flicks: Enemy of the State and I, Robot. Echelon Conspiracy offers nothing new and blandly imitates its successful predecessors. And my goodness, who was in charge of casting? Shane West is too weak of a lead actor and Martin Sheen is too strong of a supporting actor for this film to feel properly balanced; it's like watching a white belt fight a black belt. There was a lot of potential here, but its unrealized and the movie is ultimately disappointing.
Awful. Films that are dark must be substantive, feature outstanding performances, and offer some sense of purpose and realism. Freelances does none of these things. There are no heroes in this film and no characters worthy of audience investment; from the beginning of the movie, we're waiting for the end. Even Robert De Niro cannot redeem this mess of cop cliche and poor film-making. I think we've learned that 50 Cent is two quarters short of solid acting ability. Time to make change...
Recently terminated college professors form a successful business hunting down specters, becoming a locally famous group entitled "Ghostbusters." Ghostbusters is a 1980s comedy that has become an American classic. Nearly every American old enough to remember this film will always respond to the question, "Who ya gonna call?" with "Ghostbusters," regardless of its relevance to the situation at hand. Despite its significance in American culture and film, Ghostbusters is mostly an average '80s comedy. Its weak screenplay and unique style of comedy (a corny blend of Mel Brooks and National Lampoon style comedies) leaves much wanting. There are too many plot holes and inconsistencies that Reitman tries to cover up with goop and ghouls -- that didn't work for me. Nevertheless the comedic genius and powerful personalities of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd redeem its faults and make the film the classic it has come to be. Not my cup of tea, but I understand why so many loved it.
Enemy of the State tells the story of Attorney Robert Dean, who through a series of unfortunate events, becomes the target of a corrupt National Security Agency operation aimed to maintain political influence. Enemy of the State is a basic but solid action thriller that is carried by the on screen chemistry between Will Smith and Gene Hackman. With the exception of Smith and Hackman, the remaining characters were unimpressive. Regina King and Lisa Bonet are certainly forgettable (if not nerve grating). Jon Voight plays the stereotypical sociopathic spook with an extra dose of cliche. Though it is a bit formulaic, the film's real success is found in its eerily prophetic concern regarding government surveillance and the accountability of those responsible for national security. Released only three years before September 11, 2001, Scott's Enemy of the State captured the heart of a policy debate before it was once again center stage in American news and politics. Overall, an enjoyable movie.