Archive for April, 2011

Starring: John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow & Dennis Franz
Written & directed by Brian de Palma

A sound-effects man believes he has accidentally captured a political assassination on tape.

A blown tire, a mic
De Palma tries for his own
The Conversation.

Grade: B+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Blow Out is available on Criterion Collection Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow.

Haiku Review: Insidious (2011)

Starring: Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson, Barbara Hershey & Lin Shaye
Written by Leigh Whannell
Directed by James Wan

A couple is plagued by spirits and demons fighting to take over the body of their comatose son.

The Saw guy scores scares
sans his trademark torture porn,
just old-timey ghosts.

Grade: B

By Daniel J. Hoag
Insidious in now playing in theaters nationwide.

Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts & Hayden Panettiere
Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Wes Craven

When frequent Ghostface Killer target Sidney Prescott returns to her hometown after ten years, a new wave of murders begin.

So much potential
Reboot script needed fresh blood
Psst! Irony’s dead

Grade: B-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Scream 4 is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce & Michael Gambon
Screenplay by David Seidler
Directed by Tom Hooper

Based on the true story of King George VI who struggled to overcome a lifelong, debilitating speech impediment and become the inspiring voice of nation facing war.

Hooper’s a thief but
Firth earned the Oscar on his

Grade: A-

By Daniel J. Hoag
The King’s Speech is available on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow.
It was the winner of the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director (Tom Hooper) and Best Orginal Screenplay (David Seidler), 2010. It was also nominated for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), and Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush).

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes & Alan Rickman
Screenplay by Steve Kloves
Directed by David Yates

Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the run from the Death Eaters and in search of Voldemort’s horcruxes in the first half of the final Potter film.

Two films may charm your
wallet, but the extra time
summons welcome depth.

Grade: A-

By Daniel J. Hoag
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.
It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and Best Visual Effects, 2010.

Starring: Stephen Dorff & Elle Fanning
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola

After a visit from his 11-year-old daughter, a movie star begins to rethink his fast-paced, vacuous lifestyle.

Stylish and artful
but not exactly profound
“Help me, I’m shallow!”

Grade: B

By Daniel J. Hoag
Somewhere is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/19/11.

Starring: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet & Billy Connolly
Screenplay by Joe Stillman and Nicholas Stoller
Directed by Rob Letterman

In the latest take on Jonathan Swift’s novel, a lowly mailroom clerk is shipwrecked on the fantastical island of Lilliput where he is a giant to the tiny natives.

A hackneyed update.
How did Blunt get in this mess?
Swift rolls in his grave.

Grade: D+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Gulliver’s Travels is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/19/11.

Starring: Jim Sturgess, Clémence Poésy, Eddie Marsan & Timothy Spall
Written and directed by Philip Ridley

A young man with a disfiguring birthmark on his face makes a Faustian deal with a demon to have it removed.

Atmospheric creeps
lurk despite a lethal pace.
Boo hoo, a birthmark.

Grade: C+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Heartless is available on DVD today.

Haiku Review: Hanna (2011)

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Olivia Williams & Cate Blanchett
Screenplay by Seth Lochhead and David Farr
Directed by Joe Wright

A teenage girl, raised by her father to be the perfect assassin, comes out of hiding to seek revenge on the ruthless operative who murdered her mother when she was just a child.

Hip, Euro-style thrills
(Deadly) fish out of water
Modern Grimm fable

Grade: B+

By Daniel J. Hoag
Hanna is now playing in theaters nationwide.

Starring: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Will Poulter, Tilda Swinton, Liam Neeson & Simon Pegg.
Screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and Michael Petroni
Directed by Michael Apted

In this third installment based on the novels by C.S. Lewis, Lucy & Edmund Pensive return to Narnia with their unpleasant cousin Eustace and join the adventures of King Caspian aboard the ship The Dawn Treader.

Like so many faiths,
all illusion, no magic.
Metaphor hammer!

Grade: C

By Daniel J. Hoag
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 4/8/11.