Author: Jesse Hassenger

Downloading Nancy

Downloading Nancy

Maria Bello's world-weary seriousness and plainly-bared sexuality have been put to excellent use in movies like The Cooler and A History of Violence, exploring relationships fraught with wounded desperation and suspicion. Given the existence of...

Movie Review posted on 4th June 2009

What Goes Up

What Goes Up

What a baffling film this is, as if coming to us from an alternate movie universe where Olivia Thirlby got pregnant instead of Ellen Page and never hooked up with Josh Peck in The Wackness,...

Movie Review posted on 28th May 2009

12 Rounds

12 Rounds

You might think that 12 Rounds is the exact same movie as The Marine, an already-forgotten 2007 action movie also starring wrestler-turned-pretty-much-still-just-a-wrestler John Cena, but you'd be wrong. In The Marine, Cena plays an unstoppable...

Movie Review posted on 30th March 2009

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder

Bringing back Matt Groening and David X. Cohen's brilliant animated epic Futurama in the form of DVD movies has presented a logistical challenge for the creative minds behind the original TV series: a quartet of...

Movie Review posted on 26th March 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning

Amy Adams and Emily Blunt make uncommonly convincing sisters in Sunshine Cleaning, shrinking what is actually a ten-year age difference down to three or four. It's not that they look or act particularly alike; Rose...

Movie Review posted on 13th March 2009

Fanboys

Fanboys

Fanboys, a spoof of and tribute to hardcore Star Wars fans, clearly comes from one of their own. Lines are quoted, references are made, and knowledge of Star Wars is assumed: This movie is for...

Movie Review posted on 9th February 2009

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Upon first description, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans appears completely unnecessary, even for one of the Underworld movies, which, like the Resident Evil pictures, are well-practiced in the art of spinning inessential straw into inessential...

Movie Review posted on 23rd January 2009

The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux began life as a children's book, and the animated film version does its best to reproduce the sounds of a storybook: The characters, especially the brave little titular mouse, are earnest...

Movie Review posted on 19th December 2008

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Repo! The Genetic Opera clearly strives to defy description, which of course makes it fun to describe: It's a futuristic rock musical about organ repossession from the director of Saws II through IV, starring Giles...

Movie Review posted on 9th December 2008

Punisher: War Zone

Punisher: War Zone

As superheroes go, Frank Castle, also known as The Punisher, doesn't seem like the most worthy candidate to warrant three different movie adaptations in 20 years. His mission is vengeance, and his superpower is just...

Movie Review posted on 5th December 2008

My Name Is Bruce

My Name Is Bruce

My Name is Bruce resembles a lot of neat stuff -- an elaborate DVD extra, fanboy souvenir, good-natured roast, enthusiastic home movie -- but not really a full-length feature film. At one point, we see...

Movie Review posted on 5th November 2008

Sex Drive

Sex Drive

Speaking in semi-awe of two snorting, greasy teenage vulgarians, Lance (Clark Duke) diagnoses their problem thusly: "They don't know how to close." His appreciation comes from their relentless, unfazed ability to open -- they will...

Movie Review posted on 17th October 2008

Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married

Anne Hathaway looks like a movie star, but more often than not acts like a studious, earnest head of the class. Rather than filtering characters through some kind of star persona or actorly invention, she...

Movie Review posted on 3rd October 2008

The House Bunny

The House Bunny

In The House Bunny, Anna Faris looks significantly more glammed up than when she came into movies as the star of Scary Movie. In that film, she was stuck in a poor man's Neve Campbell...

Movie Review posted on 24th August 2008

Mirrors

Mirrors

Writer-director Alexandre Aja, along with his co-writer Gregory Levasseur, had been cruising along, showing promise within the horror genre, until (cue overwrought score) the mirrors got hold of him. Their film Mirrors is another remake...

Movie Review posted on 18th August 2008

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003)

Star Wars: Clone Wars, a "micro-series" that originally aired on Cartoon Network and on the Star Wars website, bridges the gap between two films in the popular epic; the clone wars began during Episode II's...

Movie Review posted on 13th August 2008

Dark City

Dark City

For all of the acclaim Dark City received after its initial, disastrous theatrical release in 1998 -- movie-of-the-year and DVD commentary honors from Roger Ebert; cult adoration; an eventual director's cut -- it probably still...

Movie Review posted on 9th August 2008

Dark City

Dark City

For all of the acclaim Dark City received after its initial, disastrous theatrical release in 1998 -- movie-of-the-year and DVD commentary honors from Roger Ebert; cult adoration; an eventual director's cut -- it probably still...

Movie Review posted on 29th July 2008

Baghead

Baghead

The first feature film by Jay and Mark Duplass, The Puffy Chair, chronicled a fragile twentysomething relationship and, as such, fell into a subgenre of DIY movies about young-ish people struggling with adulthood (sort of...

Movie Review posted on 16th July 2008

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs

After Matt Groening's dystopian vision of the future was given a welcome revival with Bender's Big Score, Groening and company have delivered the second of four direct-to-DVD Futurama movies. With the triumph and novelty out...

Movie Review posted on 25th June 2008

The Promotion

The Promotion

It's rare to find an American movie that cares about what its characters do for a living, and rarer still for that living to be a recognizable one. Most film characters seem to hold glamorous...

Movie Review posted on 10th June 2008

The Fall

The Fall

The filmmaker Tarsem (he now drops his surname, Singh, for his filmmaking credits) was last seen cross-sectioning horses, hoisting a man up by gruesome back hooks, and wandering the landscapes of a serial killer's mind...

Movie Review posted on 18th May 2008

Delirious

Delirious

I have seen Steve Buscemi in person, and he is not particularly ratlike -- he's actually a bit dapper, almost handsome. But on screen, Buscemi persists in embodying the most rodentlike of characters -- twitchy,...

Movie Review posted on 6th May 2008

Deception (2008)

Deception (2008)

According to web reports, this Hugh Jackman/Ewan McGregor thriller was originally titled The Tourist and The List before the filmmakers and/or studio finally settled on Deception. The alternates are not exactly the most eye-catching or...

Movie Review posted on 5th May 2008

Smart People

Smart People

In acting, chameleon-like versatility can be overrated. In Smart People, the principle actors are assigned roles right in their natural strike zones, and it's a pleasure to watch them swing away with ease. Dennis Quaid...

Movie Review posted on 13th April 2008

I Could Never Be Your Woman

I Could Never Be Your Woman

Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lead character in Amy Heckerling's I Could Never Be Your Woman, is believably beleaguered in a manner not often seen in a Hollywood romantic comedy, where a typical dilemma has an...

Movie Review posted on 3rd April 2008

Penelope

Penelope

Make no mistake: Penelope is a fairy tale. I mention this at the outset because the filmmakers do too, appearing almost desperate to point it out as often and early as possible. The movie begins,...

Movie Review posted on 29th February 2008

Step Up 2 the Streets

Step Up 2 the Streets

Despite all of the cheap, cheesy, and/or thoroughly unnecessary sequels I've seen on purpose in my time, a second helping of the 2006 dance-romance (ro-dance?) Step Up was not high on my list of potential...

Movie Review posted on 19th February 2008

Bender's Big Score

Bender's Big Score

Matt Groening's first animated series, The Simpsons, has had the sort of extended (and in television terms, practically infinite) run that confounds just about everyone's expectations. His turn-of-the-millennium second series, Futurama, was an ambitious sci-fi...

Movie Review posted on 3rd December 2007

Awake

Awake

Surprising, really, that "anesthetic awareness" -- helpless, immobile and, it should be noted, very rare consciousness during surgery -- hasn't been explored in a thriller before. Or maybe it has and I don't remember; that...

Movie Review posted on 3rd December 2007

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