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Worth A Look: Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland Three stars Director: Ruben Fleischer Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin. Rated: R  Running time: 1:20 Examine the individual parts to “Zombieland” and frankly, the sum of those parts really shouldn't add up to much. Can the zombie subgenre of horror movies really thrive anymore? Okay, so "The Walking Dead" may be an exception. Beyond that, how is anyone going to pull off a film with stereotypes instead of real, fleshed out characters (yes, pun fully intended)? A tough guy, a neurotic geek, a con artist and her kid sidekick don’t seem to be the stuff of inspired efforts. Yet, director Ruben Fleischer manages to prove naysayers in waiting wrong despite the limitations he was working with. It’s the present day and a virus has turned practically the entire world into flesh eating zombies, save for a few fortunate folks who are immune. The four main characters that eventually converge here don’t want to get too
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Worth a Look: The Young Victoria (2009)

  Since people may be staying at home for a little bit longer, because of the pandemic, I have continued the reviews of movies you can get on streaming services.  The Young Victoria Three and a half stars Director: Jean-Marc Vallee. Stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong, Jim Broadbent, Paul Bettany. Rated: PG (for some mild sensuality, a scene of violence and brief incidental language and smoking). Running time: 1:45 When England ’s Queen Victoria lost her husband, Prince Albert , she retreated from the public eye for several years. The depth of their love for each other and Albert’s value as a trusted advisor to her and the monarchy meant that much to the Queen. “The Young Victoria” illustrates the year leading up to Victoria ’s coronation and just how she and Albert, first cousins, came to be so close. It is first a love story. But it also plays like a chess match on the most elaborate and ornate chess board. With Victoria just a teenag

Worth a Look: Solaris (2002)

  Solaris Four stars Director: Steven Soderbergh, based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem Stars: George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Davies, Viola Davis, and John Cho With the opening scenes of “Solaris,” the mood is unquestionably somber. George Clooney plays Dr. Chris Kelvin, a psychiatrist who seems to be just going through the motions. One of the first scenes is him just sitting in bed alone. Many will recognize in his body language as one of those times where something weighs on our minds so heavily, it is a Herculean effort just to get up and begin the day. Much of this film is shot in dark, muted colors to further enhance the overall tone. Make no mistake, science-fiction is the vehicle here. But this is a psychological/existential thriller, if we must assign labels. Kelvin is visited by two strange men who are part of a private company that has taken over a mission from NASA. Kelvin’s friend, Dr. Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur) and a small crew are aboard a space station or

Great Films of the 20th Century: Inside Job (2010)

  Inside Job Directed by: Charles Ferguson Written by: Charles Ferguson, Chad Beck, and Adam Bolt When I was still a reporter, I remember trying to wrap my head around the machinations of the global economic crisis that took place in 2008. I had covered some of the peripheral fallout such as the local construction sites that had been left abandoned, seemingly overnight, but never had the chance to get to the heart of the matter. However, I had a valuable resource -- childhood friend James Pressler -- an economist and terrific writer. He took me behind the scenes, dispensed with the political spin surrounding the events, and helped me grasp exactly what was going on. It was a tragic turn of events for many, to say the least. But it sparked something in me. And then this film came out, which furthered my interest in the subject. Not only is “Inside Job” one of the best documentaries of the 21 st Century so far, it is one of the best films of any genre, and certainly one of the

Great Films of the 20th Century: Inception (2010)

  Inception  Director: Christopher Nolan.  Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard.  Rated: PG-13 (for sequences of violence and action throughout).  Running time: 2:28.  Cinema has angered me, moved me to tears, made me laugh until it hurt. It has enthralled, exhilarated me and physically drained me at times. But I have not seen anything quite like “Inception;” a film that left me shaking my head at how creative it is. I cannot recall a time when I finished watching a film and was awed by its accomplishment. And mind you, this is an exhibition of creativity within a rather conventional framework. It uses characters we’ve perhaps seen before, a story that is also quite familiar to us. Yet Nolan’s work still comes across as new and exciting, which is perhaps his most subtle yet most significant accomplishment here. It’s just one of many within the film. Here, Nolan goes back to familiar territ

Great Films of the 21st Century: The King's Speech (2010)

We haven't quite gotten to the point yet where movie theaters are fully open. But we're getting closer. For those of you who will still stream movies at home for the time being, the films I've reviewed for "Great Films of the 21st Century" are certainly worth your time. The King’s Speech Director: Tom Hooper Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon. Rated: R (for some language) Running time: 1:58 Some have greatness thrust upon them. “The King’s Speech” opens with the man who would become King George VI of England attempting to speak publicly at the opening of the British Empire Exhibition in the mid-1920s. He stands before a massive crowd that has fallen dead silent so they can hear every word. Under the intense pressure and scrutiny, with the eyes of thousands upon him and a menacing-looking red light indicating the microphone is live, he can’t get the words out. He stutters uncontrollably.

Worth a Look: The Town (2010)

  Theaters are finally starting to open up after being closed for more than a year. But if you're still not comfortable going out in public and are still streaming your films at home, this series, "Worth a Look," might give you an idea of what to watch. These may not be the most critically acclaimed films. But they are still worth your time. The Town Three stars Director: Ben Affleck Stars: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, John Hamm, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper. Rated: R (for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use). Running time: 2:05 The bank heist film can be approached from the angle of how complex a job is and whether the main characters are good enough at what they do to pull it off. Then there is the cat and mouse game between the guy who heads the bank robbing crew and the federal agent who wants to catch him. This is the tack Ben Affleck takes in the film he co-wrote, directed and starred in. It could be pred