Reviews for November 23rd, 2007
Everything's Cool-Directed by Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand. Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio reminded us in An Inconvenient Truth and The 11th Hour, respectively, of global warming’s threat on the environment. This anti-global warming documentary presents these threats and shows how many activists struggle to encourage public awareness. Their obstacles include greedy, power-hungry and ignorant politicians who care more about the survival of oil and gas companies than the environment itself. With plenty of humor, pizzazz and insightful interviews with insiders such as Heidi Cullen, whose 30-minute Weather Channel show on global-warming has now turned into a full hour, co-directors Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand highlight the importance of taking immediate action to fight global warming before it’s too late. The effects of global warming are certainly frightening, but what’s even scarier is how our government just makes it worse. Before you know it, you’ll see palm trees growing in New Jersey and the blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow that showed NYC flooded and eventually frozen might become a harsh reality. Number of times I checked my watch:0. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: High. Released by City Lights Pictures. Opens at the Cinema Village.
Midnight Eagle->- Directed by Izuru Narushima. In Japanese with subtitles. A U.S. stealth bomber, known as Midnight Eagle, crashes into the Alps with a nuclear device on board which poses a dangerous threat to Japan. It’s up to Yuji (Takao Osawa), a photographer taking pictures in the Alps, to successfully defuse the bomb. With a dull plot that often feels contrived, Midnight Eagle, sacrifices character development and suspense for tedious and somewhat melodramatic scenes. Director Izuru Narushima fails to make any of the action sequences exciting and you never really care about what happens to any of the characters. If only he could have added some well-needed comic relief or a more twisted, imaginative plot, this blockbuster could have at least been entertaining. At a running time of 131 minutes, many scenes drag and the film overstays its welcome. Number of times I checked my watch: 6. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Low. Released by Shochiku. Opens at ImaginAsian.
Starting Out in the Evening-Directed by Andrew Wagner. Heather (Lauren Ambrose), a grad student, interviews a 70-year-old, burned-out novelist Leonard (Frank Langella) for her thesis paper and inspires him to continue writing. He lives with his daughter, Ariel (Lily Taylor), who would rather move out of the house to live on her own. It’s not quite clear where the relationship between Heather and Leonard will go, which makes the plot a bit unpredictable. Co-writer/director Andrew Wagner does a great job of including strong character development with complex, realistic characters. It takes a while to get used to the slow pace and slow plot development that sometimes meanders, but these are the kind of characters who gradually grow on you. There’s at least one scene, though, that could have used better directing: when Heather and a high-class publisher hold a wine glass, both of them hold it the wrong way—the publisher should have at least held it correctly to make the scene work. Nonetheless, what makes Starting Out in the Evening truly engaging and adds some much-needed gravitas is Frank Langella’s poignant strong performance, one of the best and memorable of his acting career. Number of times I checked my watch: 2. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: High. Released by Roadside Attractions. Opens the Paris Theatre and Landmark Sunshine Cinema.