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turn, and, with the help of a sage black cat, Coraline soon finds herself fighting for her very soul.
30 MAR 25 - MAR 31, 2009 | WWW.CONNECTSAVANNAH.COM
It’s almost a given that the pitch meeting found the film’s creators, uh, pushing the picture by declaring, “It’s X-Men meets Jumper meets Heroes meets The Matrix!” Had they any sense of integrity, they would have ended the sentence by adding, “Only not very exciting or enjoyable!” In short, here’s another sci-fi muddle that never breaks out of its geekspeak ghetto, with David Bourla contributing an overly busy screenplay that doesn’t always come together and Paul McGuigan providing draggy direction that takes this far past the point of audience involvement. Set in Hong Kong, the film centers on the Division, a U.S. government branch whose members are tasked with seeking out folks with psychic abilities and either recruiting them or (if that fails) killing them. These psychics have different powers, which places them into one of several different categories: Pushers, Watchers, Movers (but, alas, no Shakers), Bleeders, etc. Nick (Chris Evans), a Mover, has tried to maintain a low profile, but once Cassie (Dakota Fanning), a teenage Watcher, shows up and insists he help her find Kira (stiff Camilla Belle), a Pusher who holds the answer to taking down the Division, all hell breaks loose, as Division agents (led by Djimon Hounsou as a suave Pusher) and evil Asian psychics try to take them down. Some interesting ideas soon get buried under a jumbled narrative, a choppy shooting style and an unflattering visual scheme -- all of which combine to make viewers feel as if they’re watching a movie from inside a spinning clothes dryer.
March 31 • 7:30pm Johnny Mercer Theatre Visit The Civic Center Box Office, www.savannahcivic.com or call
912-651-6556 Groups call 912-651-6557 a
Taken Moral ambiguity seems to be the order of the day in most of modern cinema (recent examples include Body of Lies, Traitor, The Dark Knight, and even Gran Torino), but for purely cathartic purposes, there’s still something to be said about films -- competent ones, mind you -- in which the line between Good and Evil is drawn oh-so-clearly in the sand. Take Taken, which operates on a very simple premise: Scumbags kidnap Liam Neeson’s daughter; Liam Neeson screws them up good. That’s all the plot needed for this lightning-quick
(91 minutes, and not a second over) action yarn in which Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, a former CIA operative who took early retirement in order to live close to his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). Bryan’s frosty ex-wife (Famke Janssen) approves of their child traveling unsupervised with a friend (Katie Cassidy) to Paris for a vacation, but the overprotective Bryan doesn’t like the idea and only reluctantly signs off on it for the sake of Kim’s hap piness. But it turns out that father knows best after all: Within hours of their arrival, the two American teens are kidnapped by an Albanian organization that turns young women into prostitutes and sex slaves. Bryan immediately springs into action, jetting off to Paris and employing his ample CIA training to locate his missing daughter. The film’s PG-13 rating means that punches are pulled in more ways than one, and the script by Robert Mark Kamen and Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) disappointingly turns Bryan from an ordinary man with highly specialized skills in the early going into a James Bond knockoff by the third act. But Pierre Morel directs crisply and efficiently, and Neeson delivers a typically compelling performance.
the wrestler After a brief reign of glory in the early 1980s, Mickey Rourke’s career went up in flames, thanks to personal problems as well as a tendency to pick dreadful material. A comeback via 2005’s Sin City failed to take root, but no matter: Rourke now has the role of a lifetime in Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler. On paper, The Wrestler sounds like Rocky reconfigured for the wrestling rather than boxing arena. But Robert Siegel’s screenplay fleshes out the basic storylines in unique ways, and Aronofsky and Rourke add a rich palette to the proceedings, resulting in a movie that’s frequently as colorful as it is meaningful. If Milk touches on America’s prejudices and The Dark Knight examines America’s fears, then The Wrestler explores America’s regrets. Rourke stars as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, who was quite the big deal in the wrestling world back in the 1980s. Twenty years forward, however, and Randy is now long past his glory days. Two decades of hard partying have wiped him out, and if he has any emotional reservoirs to tap, he wants to make sure to save them for the two women in his life. The first is Cassidy (an excellent Marisa Tomei), a stripper