Author: Jesse Hassenger Page 2

Saw IV

Saw IV

Who would've guessed that from the lengthy list of gimmicks employed by the Saw series, the one to try patience in Saw IV would not be its elaborate, torture-happy deathtraps, serial killer Jigsaw's dour sermonizing,...

Movie Review posted on 28th October 2007

We Own the Night

We Own the Night

James Gray has assembled what looks and sounds like a good, smart thriller with We Own the Night: a strong cast, serious aspirations, a specific time and place (Brooklyn, 1988). The story is shopworn, but...

Movie Review posted on 16th October 2007

Dragon Wars

Dragon Wars

If you happen to gravitate toward a movie about legions of resurrected dragons smashing their way through California because of its innate, pleasurable simplicity, Hyung-rae Shim's Dragon Wars has a nasty twist in store: It...

Movie Review posted on 1st October 2007

Resident Evil: Extinction

Resident Evil: Extinction

I can't say I remember what exactly happened in the first two Resident Evil movies, other than I watched them and didn't dislike them enough to take a pass on Resident Evil: Extinction, a potential...

Movie Review posted on 23rd September 2007

Across The Universe

Across The Universe

Julie Taymor's Across the Universe is a musical that tells its story through a couple dozen Beatles songs and in service of this ambition, it is necessary to forgive a certain degree of yearning nostalgia....

Movie Review posted on 20th September 2007

The Nines

The Nines

In the opening moments of John August's The Nines, an actor (Ryan Reynolds) drinks, drives, scores some crack, hangs out with a hooker, and totals his car. This series of events reverberates through the film,...

Movie Review posted on 4th September 2007

War

War

The problem with being a connoisseur of B-grade action movies is that eventually you start applying the kind of elevated expectations that this genre is supposed to guard against. You get so accustomed to, say,...

Movie Review posted on 30th August 2007

The Hottest State

The Hottest State

The film version of Ethan Hawke's The Hottest State, which he adapted from his own novel of the same name, represents a strange form of time-travel. In it, the young actor Mark Webber embodies the...

Movie Review posted on 30th August 2007

Dedication

Dedication

Justin Theroux, the director of Dedication, wants to have it both ways, and in this case there's no shame in that. The film aims to mix romantic comedy with indie darkness; the ideal result would...

Movie Review posted on 30th August 2007

The Invasion

The Invasion

Many will look at Oliver Hirschbiegel's The Invasion, the fourth film treatment of the '50s novel The Body Snatchers, with an eye towards what came from the director of Downfall and what was added later...

Movie Review posted on 17th August 2007

I Know Who Killed Me

I Know Who Killed Me

I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes, I Know You Killed Me has a titular line of dialogue. In the fine tradition of exploitation movies, it has to -- the lead character...

Movie Review posted on 5th August 2007

Hot Rod

Hot Rod

If you're reading this review of Hot Rod, you are likely on the internet, which means you have probably seen previous work by filmmakers Andy Samberg (star), Jorma Taccone (co-star), and Akiva Schaffer (director), whose...

Movie Review posted on 4th August 2007

Becoming Jane

Becoming Jane

Newly minted young star Anne Hathaway stars as a twentysomething Jane Austen in Becoming Jane, and the real excitement of the film is not her actual performance -- which is basically perfunctory -- but the...

Movie Review posted on 3rd August 2007

Veronica Mars: Season Three

Veronica Mars: Season Three

Though the rocky third season of Veronica Mars, the television adventures of the tough, vengeful daughter of a California PI, was not as universally acclaimed as its predecessors, it set out about demonstrating the oft-spouted...

Movie Review posted on 22nd July 2007

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew

After watching the postmodern teen-detective stars of Brick and Veronica Mars, reviving Nancy Drew, girl detective, might seem a redundant, backwards task. The trailers for this project appeared in line with those expectations, casting Nancy...

Movie Review posted on 21st June 2007

Ocean's Thirteen

Ocean's Thirteen

The jazzy music, saturated-to-bleeding colors, and even the credits font make it clear from the outset: Ocean's Thirteen is more variety show than heist thriller. The gang of thieves from Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve...

Movie Review posted on 8th June 2007

Waitress

Waitress

Keri Russell had a certain low-key, empathetic quality as the sensitive coed on the WB series Felicity, but nothing about that whispery, earnest role indicated she could carry a movie herself, especially as a different...

Movie Review posted on 24th May 2007

Severance

Severance

The creators of Severance came up with a great pitch: it is, according to their press kit, The Office (presumably the U.K. version, as this is a British film) meets Deliverance. The problem is, I'm...

Movie Review posted on 24th May 2007

The Invisible

The Invisible

The trailers for The Invisible ask, "How do you solve a murder when the victim is you?" This indeed poses several mysteries, but not the ones the trailer-makers have in mind. First, there's the question...

Movie Review posted on 14th May 2007

Perfect Stranger

Perfect Stranger

Perfect Stranger brings us to the end of an era: Halle Berry finally sports nice hair. Gone is the too-close crop of Swordfish and Die Another Day, the single-mom bangs of Monster's Ball, and that...

Movie Review posted on 17th April 2007

The Lookout

The Lookout

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a soft baby face and a lanky frame, so it's easy to see why, Eight years after Third Rock from the Sun and 10 Things I Hate About You, he can still...

Movie Review posted on 30th March 2007

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider

It's gotten to the point where almost any movie with a narrated prologue is suspect. But the opening section of the comic-book adaptation Ghost Rider starts with a particularly troubling apocalyptic rumble of exposition. See,...

Movie Review posted on 17th February 2007

The Puffy Chair

The Puffy Chair

Usually when people tell me they want realism from the movies, I don't believe them. Typically what they want is attractive people behaving how they imagine they would behave under similar circumstances. That is to...

Movie Review posted on 6th February 2007

Factory Girl

Factory Girl

At the outset, Factory Girl looks like thin material for a biopic: It covers the life of Edie Sedgwick, a college dropout propelled to "it" girl status by Andy Warhol in the sixties, only to...

Movie Review posted on 5th February 2007

Catch And Release

Catch And Release

Susannah Grant's Catch and Release is a nice movie. It tells the story of Gray (Jennifer Garner), a nice woman whose nice fiancée Grady has just died; in the days and weeks following his funeral,...

Movie Review posted on 5th February 2007

A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints

Dito Montiel grew up in an ungentrified Astoria, Queens, in the '80s, running with semi-hoodlums and raising misdemeanor-sized hell. But unlike a lot of teenage thugs-in-training, Montiel escaped his neighborhood to become a writer. His...

Movie Review posted on 4th February 2007

Cursed

Cursed

Although Arrested Development's Portia De Rossi and Judy Greer co-star in the werewolf mishmash Cursed, fellow Arrested cast member and erstwhile Teen Wolf Jason Bateman is nowhere to be found. Too bad; this horror-comedy could...

Movie Review posted on 28th January 2007

Blood And Chocolate

Blood And Chocolate

During the first chunk of the werewolf thriller Blood and Chocolate, I was intrigued with the notion that I was watching a more realistic, grounded version of Underworld. By the time the characters whipped out...

Movie Review posted on 26th January 2007

The Marine

The Marine

When The Rock unofficially decided, several years ago, that he'd like to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, someone must've sensed an opening down the action-hero totem pole; who's going to be the next Jean-Claude Van...

Movie Review posted on 19th January 2007

The Dead Girl

The Dead Girl

With her debut feature Blue Car, Karen Moncrieff zeroed in on a troubled adolescent girl and a relationship with her favorite teacher; the film had the focus of a short story (a mixed blessing for...

Movie Review posted on 18th January 2007

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Album of the Week: Pablo Honey and the birth of Radiohead

Album of the Week: Pablo Honey and the birth of Radiohead

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