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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Orphan

The “creepy kid” subgenre of horror films has been just about done to death, but thanks largely to a solid cast, Orphan overcomes its own ludicrously slapdash plot and stands as one of the better horror films released in 2009.

The film revolves around John and Kate (played by Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga, respectively), a married couple with two children. In the film’s grim opening scene, we learn Kate miscarried the couple’s third child. From there we flash forward an indeterminate amount of time and get a few quick scenes to introduce the couple’s kids. Their eldest child Daniel is played by Jimmy Bennett, while their younger daughter is Max, played by Aryana Engineer.

Long story short, the couple decide to adopt, and before you know it, they’re introduced to Esther, a seemingly introverted young girl who charms them immediately. They bring her home and things are peachy for awhile until, of course, it all goes horribly awry, leading to a third act that’s as outlandish as it is violent.

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Mad Men season four premiere tonight

The fourth season of Mad Men premieres tonight, and I can’t wait.

For the uninitiated, the show is basically a window on upper-middle class American culture in the early 1960s. It centers on Madison Avenue and the ad men who work there, especially the ever-mysterious Don Draper. The season one trailer should give you some idea of the series’ tone.

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Trailer for The Social Network looks surprisingly good

A little late to the party  – and this will often be the case with movie news on this site, I’m not here to break stories since Ain’t It Cool, CHUD, Film.com, Cinematical, /Film and a million other sites are already doing that – but I have to say I was pretty impressed by the trailer for The Social Network.

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Unbreakable

(Note: This is a slightly longer review than the type I usually go for. It’s intended to be similar to the Great Movies column Roger Ebert does on his website. The idea here isn’t so much to introduce readers to a film, but to show why I like a particular film so much, delve a little more into its subtleties, and make readers want to take another look at it. Hope you enjoy.)

There was once a time when M. Night Shyamalan was a promising, young, visionary director. Back in 2002, Newsweek went so far as to run a cover story proclaiming him “the next Spielberg.”

Ah, those were the days…

Looking back over his filmography, the general consensus is Shyamalan has never quite been able to top himself since his stunning debut, The Sixth Sense. Quite the opposite, in fact – with the exception of Signs, the critical community’s response  to Shyamalan’s work has grown more and more negative with each subsequent feature, culminating in nearly universal disdain for his most recent film The Last Airbender.

How the mighty have fallen…

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Norton out as Hulk in The Avengers?

So according to Hitfix, Edward Norton apparently won’t be playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the upcoming Avengers movie.

I can’t create a scenario in my mind where this doesn’t suck. Especially if Marvel are to blame, which is certainly the impression one gets from reading Drew McWeeny’s article.

Yep, apparently Norton was all but chomping at the bit to team up with Joss Whedon and co. for more superhero shenanigans until, “Marvel made a decision to hire an unknown, and they informed Norton that they won’t be using him in the film.”

It’s certainly sad if it’s true, but I can’t totally blame Marvel. Norton has a bit of a rep for being a pain to deal with. Just look at the troubles they had with him for The Incredible Hulk.

The guy is a phenomenal actor, and I count many of his films (Fight Club, Primal Fear, 25th Hour, Rounders) among my favourites. But he’s not a guarantee at the box office. Norton’s previous Hulk film cost $150 million and grossed under $135 million.

The bottom line is actors get replaced in ongoing franchises all the time, and the Hulk is bound to be CGI for the majority of his time onscreen anyway. Yeah, it would be great if the studio and Norton patch things up, but if it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. All it means is some other actor will get to step up into the role.