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Reviews for the Week of 10/5:

Lost In Translation



Rated R | 102 mins


     Lost in Translation is so stunningly beautiful, insanely refreshing, and hysterically funny, I could watch it a thousand times, and never get tired of one scene that’s featured in it. Its subtlety is astounding—the theme, in which it chooses to convey, is communicated through normal people living unwanted lives—a simple, but amazing concept. There is more emotion packed into Lost in Translation then there ever will be in any Hollywood movie. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson give amazing performances, and deserve Oscars for their work, indeed. Murray is one of the few talents, still acting, who could’ve delivered such a genuine performance, in this role. Johansson has always been one of the most underrated actresses in the business; as expected, her interpretation of her character is believable, true, and she always gains the audience’s sympathy. Especially when together onscreen, performing under the forces of brilliant writer/director Sofia Coppola, these two are extraordinarily fabulous. Lost in Translation will stay with me for a long time; it’s undeniably one of the best movies of the entire year.


Step Into Liquid



Unrated | 88 mins


     In granting Step into Liquid a very mixed review, I’m hardly blaming the filmmakers. While I would’ve preferred some edgier production and shorter scenes, the ultimate reason why I only found this movie to be half-decent is because I’m not very interested in surfing. Those who love the sport are more aware of the tremendous skill one must have to master the art of riding waves than the average person. The majority of people, who are not intrigued by surfing, will have a hard time admiring Step into Liquid.

     Make no mistake, I have a clear understanding of how talented certain surfers are, and cannot deny that some of the footage in this movie is absolutely insane. I’m just not all that enthralled by it. The message of Step into Liquid basically states that the sport will always enjoyable, no matter what the circumstances. Since I feel the exact opposite way about this, as a film, it failed to hook me in. I was entertained by it, though. At times, it can be one hell of a ride.

     Another problem is that the material that the filmmakers have chosen to present doesn’t translate well onto the big-screen. Half of the excitement that comes from witnessing giant ocean-waves is generated by their massive size. When compressed down the confines of you’re local cinema, the experience isn’t nearly as fun or amazing as it is, in person. This one would’ve been a much better movie if it had been released in IMAX format. If you’re going to see Step into Liquid, however, you mustn’t wait for it to come onto video; the smaller the size of the screen, the more magic it will loose. If you’re a fan of surfing, this is a definite must-see. Everyone else will have a better time, watching another type of film, though.


The Shape of Things



Rated R | 96 mins


     Neil LaBute’s writing and sense of humor are an acquired taste. His latest film, The Shape of Things, is no exception. While I enjoyed every single bit of it, LaBute virgins should proceed with caution. The writer and director of this film, he engages us in consecutively witty passages, which are all divinely rich in flowing content. The scenes in The Shape of Things run for about ten minutes each, and have a very subtle, elegant tempo. LaBute is amazingly gifted at writing dialogue; we’re always intrigued in what he has to say. He doesn’t rely on quick cuts and an MTV-style production to move the flick along; the softly appealing tempo works fabulously. While many other filmmakers do not take advantage of every minute of footage shown in their motion picture, LaBute keeps us interested in The Shape of Things, until the very end of its ninety-six minute running length. The concluding crisis is spectacularly marvelous. It does have a few flaws, but on the whole, this one is fantastic.


The Kid Stays in the Picture



Rated R | 91 mins


     While this documentary on the life of Hollywood producer Robert Evans, narrated by the subject himself, may fudge facts, it’s a stylishly done and entertaining journey. I’m not a fan of this genre, but when watching The Kid Stays in the Picture, I was captivated and admired the work of the filmmakers behind it. If this one had been trimmed down by a solid fifteen minutes, it would’ve been more tolerable and consistently fascinating. It’s just fine the way it is, however. This is a very good movie, and is definitely worthy of checking out. The fact that Bowling for Columbine won the award for “Best Documentary Feature” at the Oscars and this wasn’t even nominated is a crime, in itself. The Kid Stays in the Picture is usually enthralling; the few boring moments are outnumbered by the great ones.


No Good Deed



Rated R | 103 mins


A Review By Contributor Daniel Leonhard:

     No Good Deed has a rather interesting story with a little something for everyone in it: action, suspense, drama, romance, and even its fair share of laughs.  Trying to attract more than one kind of audience will turn the average film dry, but thanks to superb writing and acting, No Good Deed is far from average. Samuel L. Jackson does an extraordinary job at performing in this twisted tale of con-artists, bank robbers, and amazing characters. He plays a cop, who mistakenly stumbles into a world of insanity, while looking for a missing girl, when off-duty. Even though he spends most of the movie tied to a chair, No Good Deed still manages to keep the audience entertained and captivated. This is certainly one of the better movies in release at this time and well worth a theatre trip. Bravo!


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