Posts Tagged ‘Eva Mendes’

This week’s releases include: two exploits of the “Man with no name”; a cop thriller about an impressionist killer; an environmental documentary; a cop thriller about an impressionist killer; a humorous, relatable documentary; an interpretation of a bloody civil war; the reimagining of history with marionettes; an interesting exercise in examining a relationship; a samurai film turned western; a religious murder mystery; an original sequel to a remake; the tale of two blue lovebirds; a crime drama; a real-life success story; and a vampire apocalypse film. (more…)

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The buddy cop movie has been produced to great success many times, with the Lethal Weapon series being a prime example. There is a template that most follow and a short list of scenarios that show up in each. Writer/director Adam McKay was the man behind the widely popular Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. However, in creating The Other Guys, McKay appears to have ignored most of the standards as well as his own recipe for funny.

NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are the baddest and most beloved cops in New York City. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). They’re not heroes – they’re “the Other Guys.” But every cop has his or her day and soon Gamble and Hoitz stumble onto a seemingly innocuous case no other detective wants to touch, but it could be New York City’s biggest crime.

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It was not long ago a foreign film called 13 Tzameti about an underground gambling ring involving Russian roulette made a lasting impression on indie movie fans. Live! has taken this concept and put it under the spotlight of international television.

Katy (Eva Mendes) is a TV programming executive seeking the next big thing that will permanently engrave her name in history. When an associate jokes about broadcasting a live game of Russian roulette, Katy latches on and goes to great lengths to make her morbid vision a reality. The process from conception to realization is captured by a documentary crew (David Krumholtz) that becomes gradually less impartial.

There have been numerous films that centre on reality TV gone amok. Live! is just another to add to the list and it’s not going to land near the top. Katy is in no way a redeemable or realistic character. She is beyond ruthless and uncaring, which makes her annoying and a distraction from the very obvious point attempting to be made. While Mendes can be over the top at times, the blame cannot lie solely in her lap.

Another issue is with the film’s length; or rather the lack of relevant content filling the time. Endless scenes of Katy’s calculating become tiresome and repetitive. It could have had far more of an impact as a short; especially because the most captivating section of the film is the actual broadcast. The extensive lead up could have been shorter and stronger.

There are no DVD special features, which was surprising considering the subject matter.


There are movies based on comics and then there are comic book movies – The Spirit is definitely the latter, bringing each frame from the page to the big screen.

Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht) is a murdered cop mysteriously reborn as the masked crime fighter called the Spirit. Central City is his mistress and to keep his beloved city safe, the Spirit hunts villains from the shadows. His nemesis, the psychotic megalomaniac Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), is the worst and most difficult to capture as he and the Spirit are unusually evenly matched. But despite his ongoing mission, the dashing crusader always manages to make time for beautiful women regardless of their intentions. However, the only one that can make the Spirit’s heart skip a beat is the alluring international jewel thief Sand Saref (Eva Mendes).

Respected comic book innovator Frank Miller makes his solo directorial debut with comic originator Will Eisner’s The Spirit, which was first introduced in 1940. Having befriended Eisner early in his career, Miller could not allow anyone else to handle the adaptation after his death in 2005. In creating the film version, Miller maintained the tone of the comics, presenting an adventure and romance with an undercurrent of humour. But Miller also brought to the script his own specific point of view.

The Spirit has always implicitly been a cad; his only true loyalty lies with his soul mate, Central City. But to that effect, he is surrounded by exquisite women. His seductresses and sweethearts include the aforementioned Saref, the police commissioner’s daughter Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson), exotic chanteuse Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega), the underwater angel of death Lorelei (Jaime King) and the icy genius Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson). Johansson, by far, plays the most intriguing female character as she indulges in the Octopus’ whims to ward off boredom. And the gorgeous and varied costumes only further the comic fantasy.

The grittiness and violence is updated to match today’s standards versus the source era’s. On the other hand, the clash between Octopus and the Spirit is entertainingly cartoonish, accompanied by overstated sounds and non-fatal impact. Additionally, the dialogue mirrors that of the gumshoe detective and gets its wit from various decades. The previously unknown Macht has just the right look and his deep rumbling voice provides for a perfect delivery in the film noir tradition. At the other end of the spectrum, Jackson takes the theatricality of the larger-than-life villain to a whole new level.

Using the same techniques employed to create Sin City, the similarities are undeniable. However, The Spirit’s look is also unique. Rather than simply black and white with vibrant splashes of colour, several of the scenes are washed in colour, allowing skin tones to be visible. Alternatively, others are presented in the bare minimum, displayed as silhouettes as the Spirit moves through the city. The landscape also puts a twist on contemporary, with the men dressed in suits and cars from the ‘50s mixed with cell phones, flak jackets and cloning.

In The Spirit, Miller’s approach to the comic book movie achieves new excellence.


It is hoped the title is based on the status of the women playing the roles because the characters are nothing but patterned stereotypes of women.

Mary (Meg Ryan) designs for her father’s clothing label, alongside being a mother to a tween and wife to a workaholic. Her best friends are Sylvia (Annette Bening), editor of a sinking fashion magazine; Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith), a lesbian enjoying bachelorhood; and Edie (Debra Messing), who is pregnant for the umpteenth time. But Mary’s world is turned upside-down when she discovers her husband’s late nights away from home have been spent with another woman (Eva Mendes). What follows is Mary’s struggle to discover her independent identity and overcome the betrayal of a friend.

Most of the great chick flicks share certain common plot points: revenge, death and/or birth. The Women only covers one of the three and based on the major plot point, it’s the wrong one. Infidelity screams for reprisal and although self-improvement is the best theoretically, it is not the most entertaining; particularly when Mary’s selfish pursuit of her own happiness results in her neglecting her daughter.

Each of the four women is a cliché but Sex and the City has been done and these women are not nearly as interesting no matter how well they fit their roles; i.e. Ryan has always been the perfect mate and Bening can surely play the career woman. On the other hand, Ryan is repeatedly outshined by strong cameos from Candice Bergen, who plays her experienced mother, and Bette Midler, who portrays a flamboyant, reefer-loving Hollywood agent with philosophical advice.

There are three DVD special features. In “The Women: The Legacy,” writer/director Diane English discusses her adaptation against clips from the original 1939 version, which inevitably highlights the superiority of the black-and-white classic. “The Women Behind the Women” has a 16-year-old junior journalist interviewing cast and crew, which consists almost entirely of women, about body image and self-esteem. It is clips from this featurette that appear at the end of the film’s credits. And there are two additional scenes: the first is entirely insignificant, while the second includes a fantastic extension to Midler’s section but more sappy drivel between Ryan and Bening.

IT'S JUST LINGERIE LADIES: Meg Ryan and Annette Bening in a scene from The Women (Photo: Alliance Films)It doesn’t take much to deduce this is a chick flick. Unfortunately, it is not one of the better ones.

Mary (Meg Ryan) designs for her father’s clothing label, alongside being a mother to a tween and wife to a workaholic. Her best friends are Sylvia (Annette Bening), editor of a sinking fashion magazine; Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith), a lesbian enjoying bachelorhood; and Edie (Debra Messing), who is pregnant for the umpteenth time. But Mary’s world is turned upside-down when she discovers her husband’s late nights away from home have been spent with another woman (Eva Mendes). What follows is Mary’s struggle to discover her independent identity and overcome the betrayal of a friend.

Most of the great chick flicks share certain common plot points: revenge, death and/or birth. The Women only covers one of the three and based on the major plot point, it’s the wrong one. Infidelity screams for reprisal and although self-improvement is the best theoretically, it is not the most entertaining; particularly when Mary’s selfish pursuit of her own happiness results in her neglecting her daughter.

Each of the four women is a cliché but Sex and the City has been done and these women are not nearly as interesting no matter how well they fit their roles; i.e. Ryan has always been the perfect mate and Bening can surely play the career woman. On the other hand, Ryan is repeatedly outshined by strong cameos from Candice Bergen, who plays her experienced mother, and Bette Midler, who portrays a flamboyant, reefer-loving Hollywood agent with philosophical advice.

In any case, if you do venture to see this movie, stay until after the credits for interview snippets with the actresses.