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MOVIE REVIEWS: SAW 3D

The SAW horror franchise comes to an end with the final chapter SAW 3D.  

As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror...  The film stars Tobin Bell, Cary Elwes, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell and Sean Patrick Flannery.

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MOVIE REVIEWS: The Company Men

The Company Men movie poster While most Americans have no love for corporate America during the recession, you will be feeling sorry for these company men played by Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, and Chris Cooper.

In THE COMPANY MEN, Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is living the American dream: great job, beautiful family, shiny Porsche in the garage. When corporate downsizing leaves him and co-workers Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) and Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) jobless, the three men are forced to re-define their lives as men, husbands, and fathers.

At first you dislike these men who flaunt their wealth with lavish homes and expensive toys but when they come to face to face with potentially losing the life they were comfortable with, the story becomes interesting. The ensemble cast does a great job of conveying the feelings of their characters and of most Americans. The story will hit home for everyone, even the working class.

After losing his job as a Sales Executive in a ship building corporation, Ben Affleck's Bobby character believes he will rebound with another job with equal pay and thus refuses to cut back on his lavish life when his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) recommends it.  Reality soon hits Bobby when the jobs aren't coming his way and the bills have gone unpaid.  He eventually has to accept a blue-collar job with his brother-in-law's (Kevin Costner) carpenter business and endure the grueling physical work.

Bobby's older co-worker played by Chris Cooper is facing an even harsher reality.  Who is going to hire a 60 year-old man?  They recommend he clean up and dye his hair to look younger.  Tommy Lee Jones' Gene is one of the head honchos at the company fighting to keep his sales execs from being layed off but going head to head with the President of his corporation  (Craig T. Nelson), his best friend, lands him in the unemployment line.  However, he's not worrying about money since he owns stocks in the company, but his guilt over his rich lifestyle and watching the other's lives crumble leaves him feeling powerless.  He also soon butts heads with the head of Human Resources doing the firing who also happens to be his mistress (Maria Bello).

THE COMPANY MEN is a human story done well.  Thanks to Michael Moore and countless other films and documentaries chronicling the crumbling economy and the effects on the working class, THE COMPANY MEN offers a different perspective. Director John Wells, best known for his work as a television producer, writer, and director for ER, West Wing, and Southland, crafts the multiple storylines very well without losing focus and uses the veteran actors to their fullest potential.

Ben Affleck is proving himself a great actor in dramatic roles such as last year's The Town and now with THE COMPANY MEN. As the Bobby character, Affleck clearly transforms from a cocky sales executive loving the good life to a vulnerable husband and father feeling the pressures of reality. Chris Cooper, as always, gives a heartfelt performance exemplified through his expressive facial features which leaves you feeling the pain along with him. Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Kevin Costner and Affleck's on screen wife Rosemarie DeWitt give exceptional performances as well.

The one complaint about THE COMPANY MEN is it's lack of perspective from a female's point of view. While the film's title suggests it's a men's world, you can't help but need that side of the story.  In the background a female executive  in the company joins the rank of unemployed alongside Affleck but her story is not told. The woman's perspective are told from the wives of these company men, some understanding and others selfish.

For some, like Michael Moore, the film will definitely have you feeling angry towards capitalism. In THE COMPANY MEN, Tommy Lee Jones is appalled that the company is showing off their multi-million dollar skyscraper under going construction when they have just cut half their sales staff. His suggestion that they sell the building to guarantee jobs gets him fired. In another instance, the company honchos mention cutting back in other areas such as healthcare but they refuse because that is the one sector making profits. THE COMPANY MEN hits on a personal level.

The finale of the film is a bit romanticized but the message is clear. America has to start with a clean slate and working people must come before profit margins.

THE COMPANY MEN is a must see and relevant to the times. Add a comment

FAN MOVIE REVIEWS: Ryan Reynolds in BURIED

Ryan Reynolds takes a break from Hollywood big-budget films for this independent thriller that takes place in a coffin with one actor for the entire film.  

What did fans think of the movie?  Watch video movie reviews and add you own text or video comment below. 

Suspense/Thriller.  Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds, truck driver and family man, wakes up buried alive in an old wooden coffin. Not knowing who might have put him there or why, his only chance to escape this nightmare is a mysterious cell phone. Poor reception, low battery and lack of oxygen are his worst enemies in a race against time: Paul has only 90 minutes to be rescued.

Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Directed By: Rodrigo Cortés

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MOVIE REVIEWS: Paranormal Activity 2

Spooky hauntings are once again the main course in this Paramount Pictures follow-up to Oren Peli's wildly successful supernatural thriller, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Kip Williams directs from a script by Michael Perry.

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Fan Movie Reviews: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Watch fan reviews below.

Twilight's Kellan Lutz and TV's Melrose Place and Supernatural's Katie Cassidy plus Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and the new Freddy Krueger (Watchmen's Jackie Earle Haley) star in the re-imagining of NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

INTERVIEW: No Funny Business For New Freddy Krueger

A HORRIBLY DISFIGURED KILLER IS HUNTING TEENAGERS IN THEIR DREAMS…AS LONG AS THEY STAY AWAKE…THEY CAN PROTECT ONE ANOTHER…BUT WHEN THEY SLEEP…THERE IS NO ESCAPE…  

CineMovie Reviews Freddy Krueger's Return

WARNER BROS. PICTURES PRESENTS…THE INTENSELY TERRIFYING, RE-IMAGINING OF A HORROR CLASSIC…A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET…IN THEATERS APRIL 30TH…FREDDY’S COMING FOR YOU…WELCOME TO HIS NIGHTMARE.

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Movie Review: The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid movie poster 

                     Now Blu-Ray on DVD October 5, 2010

There is a new kid in town and he will steal your heart. Trading Karate for the Chinese practice of Kung Fu, Jaden Smith (The Pursuit of Happyness) travels to Beijing, China to study from the master, Jackie Chan (Rush Hour). I cannot say enough good things about this film. I was enthralled from the very beginning and I loved the journey that took us through China both old and new. From the cinematography, to the music, to the heartfelt performances, The Karate Kid does not disappoint and does honor to the original film.

In THE KARATE KID (2010), Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) plays a single mother who is transfered to China along with her twelve year old son. On his very first day, Dre makes the mistake of talking to the wrong pretty girl and receives the beating of his life. Zhenwei Wang plays Cheng, the vicious leader of a group of boys. They all study at the same Karate School under a ruthless, sadistic teacher. When Dre can no longer stomach living in fear, he begs the janitor, Mr. Han (Chan) to teach him how to fight. Mr. Han stops the boys right in the middle of savage drubbing where he literally ties the gang up in knots. Dre has discovered a newfound respect for the insular custodian, and Mr. Han has found a ready pupil.

The training of Dre takes us through China at its best. We see a beautiful country struggling to respect its past, while expanding and embracing its future. I fell in love with the country and the people within. What a wonderful love letter to China. The bond between Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith was also a thing to behold. It was natural, close knit and warm. You really believe in the relationship.

Young Jaden Smith proved that he could act playing opposite of his father Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness. But in this film he shows us even more. He was cocky, without being precocious, impudent without being insolent, and scared without being cowardly. He showed tenacity, courage, sensitivity and compassion. It is a finely nuanced performance for such a young man.

Relieved of the lion’s share of martial arts in this film, Jackie Chan was able to concentrate on his acting, showing us colors that we have not seen before. Without the responsibility of fighting his way out of every scene he was able to reveal his vulnerable side. When he finally breaks down and is consoled by Jaden Smith, it is truly a touching scene. Without all the comedy and Kung Fu distractions, Jackie Chan shows us that he too, can act.

Watching this film I saw two new action stars in the making. The intensity and focus that these young men displayed was mind-blowing and awesome to see. In ten year’s time these boys will be formidable. I can easily see young Wang as the next Jet Li. The look on his face is fierce and frightening. Jaden Smith is also in for a fabulous career. At twelve years old he is already cut and chiseled like a competitive athlete. Girls of America, watch out! Your new heartthrob has arrived.

Melanie Wilson
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