Posts Tagged ‘Jessica Alba’


Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.47.59 PMCP24’s film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘Sin City’, ‘The F Word’, ‘If I Stay’ and ‘When the Game Stands Tall’.

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.44.30 PMCanada AM’s film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘Sin City’, ‘The F Word’, ‘If I Stay’ and ‘When the Game Stands Tall’.

Watch the whole thing HERE!





Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 4.40.23 PM

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR: 2 ½ STARS. “resembles a graphic novel sprung to life.”

-74e968b4-d9d9-4aa1-9ffc-9b4457da0fc8From the perspective of an adult here’s how I would describe the new Robert Rodrigues film: “An exercise in extreme neo-noir aesthetics, the movie resembles a graphic novel sprung to life.”

Here’s how my fourteen-year-old self would express his thoughts on the same film: “WOW. Eva Green is naked. Did I mention she has no clothes?”

Neither description gets it wrong. “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is the most heavily stylized movie of the year, maybe the century so far. Rodrigues and co-director Frank Miller (the comic book legend who created the original “Sin City” series in print) have created a dark vision of a shadowland known as Sin City, a corrupt place where crime is a way of life for both citizens and all femmes are fatale.

Four stories interweave. The thread that ties them together is Marv (played by noted Putin booster Mickey Rourke), a massive hulk of a man who aids Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) in his efforts to free his former flame Ava Lord (Eva Green) from her abusive husband. He also helps stripper Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) settle an old score with a corrupt senator (Powers Booth), the same man who savagely beat gambler Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to teach him a lesson about power.

“Sin City” A Dame to Kill For” feels like it was made by someone with an eye for the aesthetics of noir but the interests of a 14-year-old boy. It’s an exercise in style over substance that will make your corneas tingle, tickle your prurient side and provide an experience that may be memorable (especially if you are a fourteen year boy) but not particularly rewarding.

These unendingly grim crime stories aren’t so much hard-boiled as they are over-baked. Rodrigues and Miller’s outlook is as bleak as the stark black-and-white palette they use to illustrate the movie. “Death is just like life in Sin City,” they say, hammering the point home that the only relief from the ennui many of these characters live with is a bullet to the head. The characters seem to welcome it. “He’ll eat you alive,” a bartender tells Johnny about the senator. “I’m a tough chew,” he replies, playing chicken with his life.

The directors try to distract from the cynical goings on with hyper-German Expressionist cinematography and the abovementioned Ms. Green’s wardrobe, or lack thereof, but no matter how much style or skin are exposed, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” remains a slickly styled exercise in pointlessness.

The new Sin City has a cast many directors would kill for

GagaSinCity_2989923aRobert Rodriguez, co-director of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, has assembled an impressive cast of marquee names for the long awaited followup to 2005’s Sin City.

Actors like Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and Bruce Willis are returning from the first instalment, while newcomers to the series include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green and Josh Brolin.

Rodriguez welcomes back another name, Lady Gaga, who he first cast in Machete Kills.

“When I asked if she was interested in acting she said, ‘I studied acting and I always wanted to be in one of your movies because of the theatricality and the showmanship.”

When she finished shooting her role of a deadly assassin in Machete Kills, Rodriguez tweeted, “Holy Smokes. Blown away!” and promptly cast the singer in A Dame to Kill For.

For years, directors have looked to musicians to bring their natural charisma to the screen. Perhaps no one more than Nicolas Roeg has explored the potential for rock stars to become movie stars. “They have,” he said, “a greater ability to light up the screen than actors.”

In 1970 Roeg and co-director Donald Cammell made the psychedelic crime drama Performance, starring Mick Jagger in his first on screen role. The Rolling Stone played the mysterious Mr. Turner, a jaded former rock star who gives shelter to a violent East London gangster (James Fox). In 2009 Film Comment declared Mick Jagger’s Turner the best performance by a musician in a movie.

Next came The Man Who Fell to Earth, an existential sci-fi film about an extraterrestrial named Thomas Jerome Newton, starring a perfectly cast David Bowie in his feature film debut. Roeg says he “really came to believe that Bowie was a man who had come to Earth from another galaxy. His actual social behavior was extraordinary. He seemed to be alone — which is what Newton is in the film — isolated and alone.”

Finally, Bad Timing was advertised as a “terrifying love story” and called “a sick film made by sick people for sick people” by its own distributor. Art Garfunkel, of 60s folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, stars as a psychology professor living in Vienna whose sadistic relationship with a pill addicted woman (Theresa Russell) ends with a battle for her life. The sexually explicit film was difficult for the actors, and at one point Garfunkel even wanted out. Over martinis Roeg told his nervous actor, “I must ask you to trust that I know where I’m going. It’s a maze, but there is an end to it.’”

Garfunkel stayed on, delivering a performance that the New York Times called “very credible.”


Fantastic-Four01At the beginning of The Rise of the Silver Surfer the Fantastic Four—Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Thing and The Human Torch—are tabloid celebrities. They have endorsement deals, always travel in first class and their every move is followed by the press. They’re just like Paris Hilton, except that she’s in jail and they aren’t. Oh, and rather than commit crimes, they solve them, and by the end of this movie will have saved the entire world.

On the eve of the marriage between Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) and The Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba) strange atmospheric disturbances begin to plague the earth. Seas freeze and giant craters start to pop up everywhere. Despite the trouble the superheroes decide to go ahead with the wedding as planned. Just before the “I do’s” a shiny silver man on a shiny silver surfboard whizzes by, disrupting everything, and very nearly mussing Jessica Alba’s really fake looking blonde hair.

Some scientific mumbo jumbo later it is revealed that every time the Silver Surfer buzzes a planet, it dies eight days later. Call him Mr. Global Warming.

No one likes a deadline, but the Fan 4 jump into action, with the help of the army and their former nemesis Victor Von Doom (Nip and Tuck’s Julian McMahon) who has returned from the dead and may have some crucial information to help save the world. With time counting down the Silver Surfer will, to paraphrase Brian Wilson, have fun, fun, fun until the Fan 4 take his surfboard away.

The Rise of the Silver Surfer is a vast improvement on the first movie in this franchise, 2005’s Fantastic Four, which made a lot of money (hence the sequel) but offered little in the way of good story-telling or even interesting special effects. Neither film is as smart as any of the X-Men movies, as stylish as Spider-Man 1 or 2, or even as action-packed as Batman Begins, but they do manage to capture some of the goofy fun of the comic books. Corny jokes pepper the script, and instead of taking their usual powers seriously, the superheroes seem to have fun with them. The Invisible Girl uses her magical cloaking abilities to make a zit disappear on her wedding day and Mr. Fantastic, more colloquially know as Rubber Man really struts—or should that be stretches—his stuff on the dance floor.

Teenagers and fans of the comic books should enjoy the action sequences, the bad guy, Dr. Doom, a villain so over-the-top dramatic he makes the Phantom of the Opera look like he’s auditioning for a high school glee club, the straightforward story—there’s no background info, dark sides or any of the other stuff that often make movies based on comic books a bit of a slog—and The Silver Surfer who is just flat out cool.

Too bad the acting isn’t better—we’re looking at you Alba and Grufudd—and the dialogue a little sharper. The Fantastic Four are hugely popular comic book characters, unfortunately when translated to the screen they’re not quite fantastic, just adequate.


good_luck_chuck02Romantic comedies are the most reliably predictable form of movie entertainment. The template for many 21st century rom coms goes something like this: Boy meets girl. Boy loses Girl. Boy realizes the error of his ways and runs through a busy airport to win back the heart of his soul mate who is about to start a new life elsewhere. We’ve seen it a thousand times and usually know how the movie will end before it even starts, so the challenge for filmmakers is to keep the journey interesting. How the lovers wind up together is as important as why.

Good Luck Chuck follows the formula to a tee—everything except the interesting journey part.

Internet comedy sensation Dane Cook plays Chuck, who as a youngster refused to kiss a Siouxsie Sioux wannabe during a hot-and-heavy game of spin the bottle. Hurt and embarrassed she placed a hex on him. To paraphrase—for a ten-year-old she has a pretty good sense of the dramatic—she says that every woman he sleeps with will dump him and marry the next man they meet. Twenty years later the curse seems to have taken hold. He’s a rich, successful, but single dentist who exists on a diet of casual sex with women who ditch him and immediately fall into the arms of Mr. Right. When he meets Cam Wexler (Jessica Alba) a beautiful but clumsy penguin trainer (I’m not kidding) he realizes how empty his life of one-night-stands has been. He loves her, but is convinced that if he consummates the relationship he’ll lose her to another man.

Unlike Knocked Up from earlier this year Good Luck Chuck doesn’t have one moment in it that rings true. Everything in this movie is contrived, from the premise to the silly attitude of the film that women are so desperate to find a man that they would debase themselves with Chuck on the off-chance that a tryst with him could lead to nuptial bliss to the dull leading actors.

None of it connects and at the base of it there is no humanity here. Cook and Alba lack on-screen chemistry and are blander than plain oatmeal. Because no sparks fly between them it’s hard to buy into the love story and with no believable romantic moments it’s not quite a romance and with no laughs—you know you’re in trouble when the characters on screen are laughing more than the audience—it’s not really a comedy.

So what is it then? At best it is a chance for teenage boys to ogle some gratuitously topless women. At worst it is an unfunny sex farce that cries out for the deft touch of The 40 Year Old Virgin director Judd Apatow who seems to understand how to make a raunchy comedy with real heart.