Wednesday, September 30, 2009

[REC] (2007)

[REC] is a movie within a movie. Ángela (Manuela Velasco), Spanish TV journalist and Pablo (Pablo Rosso), her cameraman, hungry for good material while covering a story on the night shift at a local Barcelona fire station stay the course in the name of journalism.La zombie nina

Angela is zealous. She wants to turn an ordinary topic into something big. She flirts with the firemen, plays basketball with them, even foregoing sleep to make sure she doesn't miss a thing. So, when that call comes in, Angela and Pablo are ready.

When they arrive at the apartment building, they learn that a woman had gone wild--screaming and shouting. Cops are on the scene and they're not down with the camera. When the cops, firemen, Angela and Pablo head upstairs to investigate, they find the woman in a darkened room, covered in blood. She attacks the security guard, biting him. They retreat to get him medical attention. That's when they learn that everyone inside the building are now quarantined. No one can leave and if they try, they might be shot. Trying to keep the restless apartment dwellers inside proves difficult, especially when people start turning into zombies.

This one is dark, although you wouldn't expect it, as it begins quite playfully, almost in a comedic vein. While it lacks an arc, it's suspenseful, entertaining and has a kid zombie (when was the last time you saw that?). At some point though, you realize this story can't go any further and you just finish the ride and turn it off. That said, I learned there is a [REC 2]. Not sure how that one will play out, but I'm curious.

Co-Writer/Director: Jaume Balagueró

Country: Spain

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 79 minutes

Scale: 3

XXY (2007)

The crush There's a secret in XXY. It's obvious and alluded to but, there's a character who's either in denial, playing dumb or really isn't in the know until he's forced to be.

When Alex's (Inés Efron) parents receive guests in their isolated Uruguayan home far from their former life in Argentina, the guests' son, Alvaro (Martín Piroyansky), and Alex, hit it off. Alex is aggressive, letting Alvaro know she'd like to have sex. Alvaro is stoic but interested. When Alex forces her secret upon Alvaro, he's shocked, confused and, ultimately, smitten.

The two sets of parents are so worried over Alex that they miss the hotbed. Alex's parents worry about her future, especially now that her secret has been discovered both by force and people talking. The parents are divided about what course of action is best for Alex. Alvaro's father is a surgeon who can help "fix" Alex if her father agrees, but it's Alex who isn't sure. Although confused and unable to identify herself one way or the other, she is coming to the conclusion that she may not have to. Alex and her dad have a close relationship, while Alvaro and his father's is strained and harsh. Alex/Efron steals this movie with her androgynous beauty, her strength of character and her vibrant eyes. The three youths in this film are excellent--it's their movie. They bound in emotive energy that keeps you glued and with a stake in the outcome. In the end, Alex is up against her parents' fears and worries, not her own. She is a confident, secure heartbreaker.

Adapted from short story Cinismo by Sergio Bizzio, this is a quality movie about gender confusion and identity. It delves into gender roles in modern society. Alex has the confidence and aggression stereotypically assigned to and expected from men. She also possesses the femininity that makes them crazy. Loved it.

Writer/Director: Lucía Puenzo

Country: Argentina

Genre: Drama

Run time: 86 minutes

Scale: 5

Friday, September 25, 2009

Girl Talk @ Showbox--9.21.09

First time I heard Girl Talk, it was on the Sasquatch! Music Fest site. That sample alone made me want to go to Sasquatch this year, but Girl Talk wasn't on until Monday night (and George is far). After listening to that sample, I purchased Feed the Animals, the fourth Girl Talk CD. I was hooked. When I heard he was coming to the Showbox at the Market (IMO, best venue for live music in Seattle), I said, "Sign me up." I invited Scott Campbell, the only person I knew who would not only love the music and not give a crap it was on a Monday night, but, most importantly, would want to dance.

I had read that GT shows are legendary dance-a-thons. It's true! It's a non-stop, sweaty dance party with an enormous frat boy-mosh pit. Scott and I made our way to the front (after securing ear plugs). It was LOUD, crowded and F to the U to the N. Girl Talk is a one-man operation: Gregg Gillis, a former bioengineer who gave up his career to focus solely on music in 2007. Not exactly mash-ups (which combine two songs), his songs use samples (from you name the band and he's probably sampled them--including Wu, Tang Clan, Metallica, Britney, Siouxsie, Veruca Salt, Radiohead) to create new songs. From start to end, it's one long remix. Gillis works it. He's spinning, jumping and sweating along with the crowd. Random folks jumped on stage and danced alongside him. By the end, most of the men and woman had lost their shirts.

Rolls and rolls of sturdy toilet paper towels came in handy to wipe off the sweat or to use to lei some of the folks in the crowd. The people who constantly blew the cold air dryers and water over the crowd probably saved a few individuals from heat exhaustion. The paper confetti flying into the crowd at intermittent rounds was excellent.

When it was over, no one had dry hair or clothes. I found pieces of confetti stuck to my face and arms (didn't notice until I got home). To top off the evening, I dropped Scott off at his car in a North Seattle parking lot. Next to his car cops were making a bust...not sure if it was prostitution, drugs or something else but there were 2-3 cop cars, one alleged perp waiting to be taken somewhere and a woman being searched.

The most fun I've had on a Monday night in years. And, one of the most memorable shows in my concert history.

Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)

Part road movie, part dark comedy, Wristcutters is based on a short story by Etgar Keret called Kneller's Happy Campers. Set in the afterlife, it's a boring limbo-type place for folks who've committed suicide.

Power trio Likable Zia (Patrick Fugit) meets Eugene (Shea Whigham) and Eugene's family (parents and brother) who are all together again in this suicide limbo. When Zia hears that Desiree (Leslie Bibb), his ex, was spotted in the same suicide limbo, he convinces Eugene to embark on a road trip to find her. During this road trip, they pick up hitchhiker Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon) who insists her appearance in this place is an accident--she didn't mean to suicide. She's looking for "the people in charge" to state her case and go back to her living, breathing life on the other side.

The road trip portion of the movie is fun and jaunty. After this, it slows down. Then, enter Kneller (Tom Waits) and the Messiah (Will Arnett), two excellent characters that make the slow-down less tiring. Wristcutters plays like a fairy tale and despite its too perfect an ending, especially for a dark comedy, I liked it. The relationship between Zia and Eugene was realistic and Mikal added both tension and an affecting touch to their bromance. The black hole provides some laughs but in the end, it's too easy of a plot-ending device. I loved that many of the characters had Slavic names.The sounds of Gogol Bordello provide much of the soundtrack. GB is supposed to be Eugene's band (his suicide is worked into a band'll see). He discusses how much they suck, but it's difficult not to liven up when listening to Gogol Bordello.

Writer/Director: Goran Dukic

Country: US

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 85 minutes

Scale: 3.5

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008)

Polanski Roman Polanski made innovative films in his native Poland. A child survivor of the Holocaust (both his parents were killed), he adjusted well to his transition to America. He married actress Sharon Tate. He continued in his successful career with films such as Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown. By all accounts, his marriage was loving. Tate was pregnant with their first child. When she was nearly nine months pregnant, Tate and four guests at their Hollywood home were viciously murdered by Manson followers. Then, came his notorious night with a 13-year-old child model in Los Angeles that led to Polanski's fleeing the United States, never to return. Wanted and Desired chronicles this chapter in Polanski's past.

It explores the legal proceedings and delves into the seemingly intentional, knowing missteps committed by Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, portrayed as a man who sought high-profile celebrity trials and who may have thought of himself as a director in the courtroom. The details provided are fascinating and more in-depth than I'd previously heard.

The documentary uses many clips with people who help create an image of the man behind the notoriety--interviews with Polanski, friends, a gossip columnist and Polanski's attorney as well as the prosecutor. Both lawyers exhibit honesty and integrity. Even the victim appears and speaks about the incident and how her life was altered because of it. After Polanski publicly apologized to her, she publicly forgave him.

Polanski committed a crime. However, the way it was handled by Rittenband was an abuse of the legal system. In the US, Polanski was condemned for this incident, while in France, he is still hailed and loved. Polanski is hard to dislike--he's made clever films and has survived a lot of trauma. However, his grand mistake and superior lack of judgement is hard to rectify. Whatever you opine, this documentary is thought provoking.

Director: Marina Zenovich

Country: US

Genre: Documentary

Run time: 100 minutes

Scale: 5

The Zeros at the Funhouse, Seattle, WA--9.19.09

I wasn't acquainted with the music of The Zeros before Saturday night. Now, I'm pleased to have made their auditory acquaintance.

The Zeros...then Often referred to as the Mexican Ramones (love the Ramones but The Zeros' sound is more complex), The Zeros formed in 1976 in Chula Vista, CA. The band members are Javier Escovedo, guitar and lead vocals; Robert Lopez, guitar and vocals (Lopez also performs as El Vez, the Mexican Elvis); Hector Penalosa, bass, vocals; and Baba Chenelle, drums. Considered among the first West coast punk bands, they often drove the hundreds of miles north to LA to play since "their kind of music wasn't heard or played" in San Diego at the time. They'd have to make the trek back to go to school the next day. Best known for their anthems Wimp and Beat Your Heart Out, they were popular on the new wave and punk scenes. They played with bands including The Germs, The Clash, The Avengers, The Weirdos and the Go-Go's. (They almost added X to this list, but the show ended prematurely before X could go on.) In 1978, Hector left to join F-Word; they continued as a trio for a while. The day came when they realized something was missing and the three parted. They went on to play in other bands and musical projects.

2009 has been a big year for them. The original four reunited for a 30th anniversary tour. See the then-and-now video. Earlier this month, they were presented with a Lifetime Achievement honor at this year’s San Diego Music Awards.

On Saturday night at the Funhouse, they exuded Velvet Underground '60s dapper--dressed in black, except for the light-colored shirt of Mr. Lopez/El Vez. From their confidence and chemistry, I had no idea this was a recent reunion. They possessed a familiarity, a playfulness that resulted in a great performance. Is that what happens when you form a successful band in high school? Maybe the excitement and emotion of being recognized for making music you love and believe in, especially at such a young age, is a feeling that can't be eradicated. Perhaps after decades of performing on stage, these guys are at home on stage, instruments in hand, with a grateful crowd showing up and cheering them on.

Seattle band The Greatest Hits opened the show with their '80s glam look. What I liked most about this five-piece was their vigor and heart. Another local band, Head, followed. No theatrics from these guys--played fast and sweated in their Ramones-esque style. A fun three-band bill!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sorry, Haters (2005)

 Who's in there?Gripping, manic, cringe inducing.

When Philly (Robin Wright Penn) gets into Ashade's (Abdel Kechiche) taxi, he has just been ticketed.He's also troubled by lusty thoughts about his sister-in-law, who he's looking after on behalf of his jailed brother. By the end of the evening, his fare has met Ashade's sister-in-law, Eloise (Élodie Bouchez), told them the story of her failed marriage and has signed on to help them get a lawyer to plead the case of Ashade's brother/Eloise's husband who has been wrongly arrested and deported to Syria, where they fear he is being tortured. Maybe it was the desperation or the powerlessness Ashade felt. Perhaps it was that impossible piece of hope--the one you never quite relinquish--the last morsel, but with evident signs, Philly turns his life into a mine field. When he realizes she is disturbed, she's already lured him into her first sociopathic trap. When he learns just how much further she's screwed him, Ashade does some table turning and learns that her motivations only get more sinister.

Sorry, Haters presents a unique twist on 9/11. And, instead of vilifying an Arab, Ashade is driven and hard-working. (Not something often depicted in American cinema.) Wright Penn's Phoebe is dark, moody and unstable. She is unflappable as a complex woman full of hate and emptiness. Wright Penn knows how to embody these characters and twist them up. Her sullen face, her moments of vulnerability and her intense cruelty are testament to her incredible ability to become these characters. It's unnerving watching her create the lair that Ashade so easily stumbles into...several times (something I didn't quite believe). I was unprepared for the final scene. I wasn't buying that things would end with twinkles bouncing off the teeth, but to say it was unsettling is not enough. A singular movie with phenomenal acting. Some things seem purposefully left opaque. What's it really about? A definite must-see.

Writer/Director: Jeff Stanzler

Country: US

Genre: Drama/Thriller

Run time: 82 minutes

Scale: 4

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wendy and Lucy (2008)

I expected a quiet, small budget independent film from Wendy and Lucy--a slow movie with decent acting but lacking an arc. It turned out to be a Herculean effort made possible by Michelle Williams' Wendy, lovely Lucy and excellent directing.

Protagonist Wendy is on her way from Muncie, Indiana, to Lu and WendyAlaska--Ketchikan specifically. She's hoping to secure a job at a fishery. You sense she's after something more that making money--a fresh start perhaps, a connection? She's got her stash of cash, her belongings and her beloved hound, Lucy, packed in her Honda Accord. In Portland, Oregon, Wendy and Lucy are caught sleeping in the car in a parking lot. As she tries to start the car and move it off the lot, she cannot turn over the engine. The security guard, (Wally Dalton) helps her push the car out. This sets off a downward trajectory that stands to derail Wendy's plan to get herself and Lucy to Alaska. Her family offers no support or sympathy. When Wendy makes a desperate, short-sighted move and is caught, Lucy disappears and Wendy has to find her. Based on a short story by Jonathan Raymond (who also wrote the screenplay), you read much in Wendy's face despite the fact she's mostly stoic. (The gal can act.)

This movie is about a journey, not simply a road-trip. It's about determination and how strangers impact you with kindness in surprising ways. It's also about pets, their unconditional love and the bond with their owners. The tiny cast plays well together. The security guard is endearing. The mechanic (Will Patton) you wonder about. Lucy the dog steals a lot of the show. Makes me revisit the topic of the underrated dog acting. (One of the best dog acting jobs was that of Sam the German Shepherd in I Am Legend.) The Oscars should add a Best Acting by an Animal or Dog category. Check out this entertaining piece, The Old Yeller Award for Best Canine Performances. Enjoy!

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time:  78 minutes

Scale: 4.5

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Goal! (2005)

Predictable and maudlin, yet it's hard not to cheer at least a few times for the hero protagonist. Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) is so charismatic, we ride his coat tails through his dad's disapproval and sabotage, several false starts, travails and ultimate goals.

Native Mexican Santiago dreams of making it as a professional soccer player. He plays for a local recreational league, but he is certainly the star. When Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane), a former soccer player and scout, catches Santiago in action, he gets an idea--if Santiago can get to England, he gets a chance to try out for Newcastle United. Santiago, an illegal immigrant, who has bigger dreams than owning his father's landscaping biz, takes the necessary steps to make his dream, aided by Glen Foy, happen.

With cameos from Zinédine Zidane, David Beckham and other soccer greats, good casting and a tale of an skilled unknown with a giant dream, the story scores.You know how it's gonna end and when I got there, I was happy for the likable Santiago. When I learned Goal! has a sequel called Goal II: Living the Dream, I smiled and added it to my To Watch list.

Director: Danny Cannon

Country: US

Genre: Drama/Feel-Good

Run time:  116 minutes

Scale: 3.5

District 9 (2009)

We're used to alien stories, but this one is different. It's set in a refugee camp called District 9 in South Africa. Here, the Prawns (named so for their resemblance to crustaceans) have been housed after being "rescued" from their alien ship, after it hovered motionless over Johannesburg for three months.

The eerily likable Christopher Johnson

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

Fast forward 20 years. The Prawns are still living in D9. They spend their days foraging through trash, searching for cat food and forging a life among gun-toting gang lords. Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a government employee/case manager has worked helping the aliens integrate. Through an act of nepotism, Wikus gets promoted. He's now charged with evicting the Prawns from D9, in an effort to clean up the neighborhood. It is during this effort that he is contaminated by a dark fluid (we don't know exactly what) and his transformation to Prawn begins. After Wikus becomes a lab project, he escapes, enlisting the help of Christopher Johnson (the hilarious name of the intelligent and sharp Prawn he tried to evict) and Johnson's charming son.

Told in documentary style with a mostly unknown cast gives the original concept authenticity. Add to that the excellent acting chops of our protagonist (who's introduced as a bumbling office drone you care little about, becomes dislikable, turns sympathetic then cowardly, until finally he grows a pair, redeems himself and you can't help root for him). However, the real beauty of this movie is in the CGI-ed Prawns and how realistically they move, how well they're developed and how realistically they interact with the humans. Wikus and Christopher become the unlikely ass-kickin' duo.

The hand-held camera adds to the realism and suspense but will likely make you nauseous (a la Blair Witch project style)...that and the frequent oozing of abrasions; heads, limbs and bodies being shot; fingernails being yanked off; teeth falling out; and constant blood splattering. The movie lasts nearly two hours and you are dragged through the gory story, left contemplative and wondering what if? With obvious parallels to Apartheid and segregation, District 9 ends, ready for a definite sequel--leaving much unanswered and many angles ripe for exploration.

Co-writer/Director: Neill Blomkamp

Country: South Africa

Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller

Run time: 110 minutes

Scale: 4.5

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

500 Days of Summer (2009)

It's ideal to see a movie before you read anything about it. This way, you go into it unadulterated...a blank slate. Sometimes, curiosity wins. I read a disparaging review for 500 Days of Summer. I didn't think I'd end up seeing it, despite my love of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But, when a friend wanted to see it, I decided, why not?Good times at IKEA

When Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel), he is enchanted, certain she's The One. The movie chronicles their romance over 500 days, presenting many of the days out of order but weaving the story, giving the audience the nuts and bolts of their situation. Summer declares from the start she doesn't want a relationship. You learn her parents' divorce had a huge impact and she's not ready/sure about going there. Tom is over the moon so he accepts her limitations. When he wants more definition about their relationship, she doesn't; they're having fun, it should be enough, she declares. They continue like this until Summer calls for a break. Then, Tom is left having to analyze the situation and discover what went wrong. Did he miss the signs? From this viewer's perspective, Summer was explicit from the beginning, but she also played certain games and gave mixed messages. Tom tries to sort it out, ultimately feeling this love is worth it. He doesn't give up hope he can win Summer back.

I loved it, the reviewer hated it and my friend wasn't thrilled with it. The leads are excellent--they embody their roles and give us authenticity. They both love The Smiths (huge boon). Gordon-Levitt is genius at portraying any emotion. The secondary characters are fun, especially's Tom's buddy, McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend). The IKEA scene is whimsical. The movie made me smile a lot. I liked that it was left of the usual romantic comedy formula. It presents a view about what love is, how two folks in a relationship can view it so diametrically opposed and how it can go awry unexpectedly with you in the driver's seat. And, the music is an excellent framework for a good story.

Director: Marc Webb

Country: US

Genre: Rom-com

Run time: 95 minutes

Scale: 4

Rudo y Cursi (2008)

Toto (Gael García Bernal) and Beto (Diego Luna) are brothers working on a plantain farm. Beto is married with a baby, while Toto spends his nights hanging out with friends playing his guitar to requests. Beto is a gambler. He's no good at it and getting desperate, betting items like his wife's blender when he runs out of cash. (Now what will she use to make her smoothies?) Toto is simple. He just wants to make it as a singer--The End. Like the rest of the young men in their town between Colima and Jalisco, they play soccer whenever they can. When a soccer scout, Batuta (Guillermo Francella), discovers them, he tells them they are talented (albeit past their soccer prime age) and he'd like to of them--they must choose. Toto wins on a penalty kick and he's off to the big city to see if he has what it takes. Beto is left to stew with envy and anger. "But you have a family," Toto tells him. "Yes, even more reason why I should go."Brothers from the same mother

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

Toto goes. Although usually able to score constantly and consistently, he is unable to prove himself at his try-out. When Batuta fears his 15 percent cut on Toto is diminishing, he dangles a recording contract and Toto starts performing. Initially, he's a miserable bench warmer, but then he hits his stride. Life changes immediately. Toto gets a house, a ride and a famous girlfriend. He even gets his brother a spot on a rival soccer team. And, he gets to record a song--the Spanish version of "I Want You to Want Me." (It's a treat.)

This is not a soccer movie. It's a movie about brothers, sibling rivalry and dreams. About wanting something so badly and getting it. Then what? Rudo y Cursi is an entertaining what if. Garcia and Luna were made for these roles opposite each other. The colors are vivid and bright. They parallel the passion the characters possess. The influence of women on these characters is explored. The brothers' mother has children from several different men. The brothers want to do right by their mother and get her the house she's dreamed of. With all their money, neither comes through. It isn't until their sister marries the town narco-trafficker that their mother gets her crib. Beto's wife is driven--she's sensible, besides staying with a gambler, and has lofty goals, especially when she starts making it as a Wonderlife rep. The long climactic scene near the end is a suspense builder as the brother face off. Don't miss Toto's chunky highlights, the annoying narration and the excellent humor of Rudo y Cursi.

Writer/Director: Carlos Cuarón

Country: Mexico

Genre: Drama

Run time: 103 minutes

Scale: 4.5

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Education of Charlie Banks (2007)

Three's company, Charlie Charlie (Jesse Eisenberg) meets teen thug Mick (Jason Ritter) at a party. Mick gets into a fight and proceeds to nearly kill two teens who got lippy. Charlie is shaken; he identifies Mick as the culprit and the cops set to work on the case. But, Charlie is a neighborhood kid and he keeps his chat with the cops quiet. After a conversation about loyalty with his best friend, Danny (Chris Marquette), Charlie returns to the cops and recants. He doesn't want to be a rat.

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

Fast forward a year or two and Mick's back in Charlie and Danny lives. He appears at their college dorm, still equipped with violent tendencies, but now, he covets the same girl Charlie covets. Things get more complicated as the plot progresses until Charlie is forced to revisit his previous choice, even when Danny still sympathizes with Mick.

The movie has several disturbing scenes and violent fisticuffs. The oppositional characters are impressive. There's chemistry. Charlie's fear of Mick is palpable. As Mick positions himself deeper in Charlie's territory, Charlie becomes stronger. Movie delves into class issues--upper crust versus middle class, plus throws in all the kookiness of navigating life away from home for the first time. Maybe it's because I'd just watched Bobby, but I kept wishing Shia LeBoeuf played the character of Danny. He would have been excellent but he may have been too big a number for the secondary role.

Director: Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit lead singer)

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time:  100 minutes

Scale: 4

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bobby (2006)

Despite being nominated and winning several awards (including a Golden Globe nod), I wasn't expecting a fantastic movie. Not sure if it was that I'd heard mediocre reviews or what, but after watching it the first time, I liked it; however, after watching it the second time, I had quite the opposite opinion.

The plot centers on the Ambassador Hotel, presidential-hopeful Robert F. Kennedy's campaign headquarters. Bobby begins pre-dawn on June 5, 1968, the day of RFK's assassination. The stories, while fictional, delve into real-world issues faced by folks working in, lodging at or visiting the hotel.

Director Emilio Estevez gives daddy Martin Sheen a role as Jack, a man with a much younger partner, Samantha (Helen Hunt), an artist (we never learn about or see her art/art form). Samantha struggles to provide the perfect-wife persona and with Jack's depression. Kitchen staff manager Daryl (Christian Slater) butts heads with his Latino employees, including Jose Rojas (Freddy Rodríguez) who laments that he has been scheduled for a double-shift but holds two tickets to the Dodgers game where Don Drysdale is pitching to break a record. Virginia Fallon (Demi Moore) is a well known singer married to Tim Fallon (Estevez--her real-life ex-boyfriend), who lives in her shadow. Virginia is jaded, angry and drunk. Sharon Stone sizzles as the hotel stylist married to hotel manager, Paul (William H. Macy), who is having an affair with switchboard operator, Angela (Heather Graham). Cooper (Shia LeBeouf) and Jimmy (Brian Geraghty) are canvassers who instead of going door-to-door to secure votes for RFK, meet Fisher (Ashton Kutcher) who assists them in their first acid trip. There's also Dwayne(Nick Cannon), a hard-working campaign manager who gets personal recognition from RFK for his efforts. Diane (a bored Lindsey Lohan) is the wife to-be of William (Elijah "Frodo" Wood), whom she help keep him off the front lines of Vietnam. There's Nelson (Harry Belafonte), a hotel employee mourning the arrival of old age and fearing his memory is going.

PROS: Impressive ensemble cast. Sharon Stone, Shia LeBeouf and Nick Cannon are stand-outs. The tennis scene on acid is hilarious. Actual RFK footage is used. With no actor portraying RFK, the footage made everything much more real.

CONS: The second viewing opened my eyes to the movie being too long and lacking real drama. Lindsey Lohan barely shows up. Ashton Kutcher plays himself, again.

Writer/Director: Emilio Estevez

Country: US

Genre: Drama

Run time: 120 minutes

Scale: 3