Saturday, February 14, 2009


Crime drama

Liam Neeson: Bryan Mills, former CIA agent
Famke Janssen: his ex-wife Lenore
Maggie Grace: their 17-year-old daughter Kim
Katie Cassidy: Kim’s best friend Amanda
Olivier Rabourdin: Jean-Claude, a French intelligence operative

It’s got all the makings of an action packed shoot ‘em up thriller with great chases (car and on foot) coupled with excellent editing to keep things moving at a good clip. The only requisite of the viewing audience is a complete suspension of disbelief otherwise you will be too busy trying to figure out so many imponderables.

My advice: just sit back and enjoy the mayhem as a one-man-army sets out to seek justice.

for violence, sexuality, language and drug content.



Ian Burfield: Tom, Louis’ associate
Clive Owen: Interpol Agent Louis Salinger
Naomi Watts: Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman
Ulrich Thomsen: Jonas Skarssen, CEO of the International Bank of Business and Commerce
Brian F. O'Byrne: The Consultant, an assassin
Armin Mueller-Stahl: Wilhelm Wexler, an advisor to the I.B.B.C.

Recent revelations of just what big banks have been up to makes the premise of this story much more credible. Typical of thrillers, the writers have gone to some length to make it too convoluted with too many people involved and too much dialogue. Why they do that is beyond me. But I digress.

By dint of being attentive to what transpires the story line becomes clear enough to follow the action. And a lot there is. Too much in fact: the big shootout lasts about 10 minutes with at least 500 rounds. Two minutes and 50 rounds would have been enough.

One thing they got right: the camerawork is top-notch.

for some sequences of violence and language.

• Tom is sitting in the backseat of the car and looks out the windshield at three cars parked directly in front: a black one on the left, a grey one on the right and a white one beside it. He then gets out of the car but the white car is no where to be seen. It has disappeared.
• Louis gets a scratch on his right temple area. It changes position and shape from one scene to the next.
• The french newspaper shows the date to be mecredi, le 21 novembre, 2008. That was a Friday not a Wednesday.
• From her New York city office Eleanor dials 011-135 to call Luxembourg; the correct international telephone country code is 352 not 135.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Crime drama
Based on a true story

A polytechnic is a school of higher education offering instruction in a variety of vocational, technical, and scientific subjects. École Polytechnique is an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montreal.

Maxim Gaudette: Marc Lépine
Karine Vanasse: Valérie, a mechanical engineering student
Évelyne Brochu: her roommate and best friend Stéphanie
Sébastien Huberdeau: friend of the girls and fellow student Jean-François

Filmed in the style of a documentary, it is not. Although the film faithfully recreates the horrific events that took place at the École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989 it says little about the killer’s motives, hardly anything about the students and nothing about the impact it had afterwards on the victim's families, on those who were spared and on Canadian society.

Additionally it misses a splendid opportunity to explain the delayed intervention by the police (and subsequent change in police emergency response tactics) or the changes to Canadian gun control laws.

So I’m left with one unanswered question: why did they make the movie?

for disturbing images.

Sunday, February 8, 2009



Anne Hathaway: Kym Buchman
Rosemarie DeWitt: her older sister Rachel
Bill Irwin: their father Paul
Debra Winger: their mother Abby
Tunde Adebimpe: Rachel’s fiancé Sidney, a musician

Half way through I began to think the producers had such a limited budget there was no money for post-production film editing. But I was wrong. According to the end credits there was someone assigned the job but he was obviously playing it loose and free because just about everything goes on far too long: the unscripted toasts, the wedding vows, the reception (I didn’t time it but it must be 15 minutes long) not to mention more than a few of the conversations leading up to that.

Filming with a hand-held camera resulting in jerky, out-of-focus, whirling shots is fine when there is no other alternative to capturing the images. But this technique has no place in a movie of this sort. It belittles this story about a dysfunctional family that has serious issues to deal with.

There are some good performances (Hathaway and Irwin in particular) but they are wasted in this overblown depiction of life.

for language and brief sexuality.

Despite crashing with quite some force into a highway sign the front of the car hasn’t got so much as a scratch on it. Not that I can blame them; I wouldn’t want to mess up a brand new Mercedes-Benz either.



John Cleese: Chief Inspector Dreyfus of La Sûreté Nationale
Steve Martin: Inspector Jacques Clouseau
Emily Mortimer: his secretary Nicole
Jean Reno: Ponton, Inspector Clouseau’s right-hand man
Andy Garcia: Vicenzo, the Italian member of the international police Dream Team
Alfred Molina: Pepperidge, the British team member
Yuki Matsuzaki: Kenji, the Japanese representative
Aishwarya Rai: Sonia, the Indian representative
Lily Tomlin: Mrs. Berenger, a political-correctness counselor

No one is ever going to suggest this is a fine example of intellectual humour at its best. But what it does offer is quite a few laughs from the many one-liners, some sight gags and lots of slapstick. Lots.

Not everything works of course. For example the rather overblown sequence following the opening credits may not appeal to everyone but after that it settles down to a series of one bumbling episode after another. It’s pretty silly and not likely to offend too many despite some utterances by Clouseau, ergo, the need for Mrs. Berenger.

So for an hour and a half you get to forget about your own problems and concentrate on those created by Clouseau. Not a bad trade-off.

for some suggestive humor, brief mild language and action.

• A copy of the Magna Carta is on display in the British Library not in the British Museum.
• When Vincenzo meets Clouseau for the first time a lock of hair dangles from his head when the camera angle is over his shoulder but mysteriously disappears when seen from Clouseau’s perspective.
• Lathered in shampoo Clouseau manages to sprinkle his head with some grains of corn, one of which has a mind of its own as it disappears only to reappear in subsequent scenes.

Saturday, February 7, 2009



Dakota Fanning: 11-year old Coraline Jones
Teri Hatcher: her mother
John Hodgman: her father
Ian McShane: Mr. Bobinsky, a former circus contortionist
Robert Bailey: a neighbourhood kid Wybourne “Wybie” Lovat
Keith David: a black cat
Dawn French: Miss Forcible, a former vaudeville performer
Jennifer Saunders: her partner Miss Spink

The big question is “Who is the target audience?”. Certainly not young children (it’s far too scary for them and they’ll wind up having nightmares) and definitely not anybody looking forward to having a good time: there is hardly a happy moment during the entire one hour and forty minutes. Instead we are subjected to bony skeletal figures in the “other world” with huge bugs and fearsome bats lurking about.

Although we should be rooting for our heroine Coraline that’s practically impossible: she is anything but sweet, she’s got an attitude and is not someone you’d much care about.

One final comment: it’s insufferably too long by at least fifteen minutes; some would say by one hour and forty minutes .

for thematic elements, scary images, some language and suggestive humor.