3 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Joshua (2007)
Clearly not what the ignorant masses were expecting
15 July 2007
I had been waiting quite impatiently for the release of Joshua from the moment I saw the trailer. Unlike the people who walked out of the theater, I was not disappointed. But that doesn't mean you won't be. Joshua is clearly not a movie for the everyman and it never really tries to be.

It is a story about a boy who longs to be understood by parents who choose to watch from the sidelines. The previews made the boy seem like he was just a creepy weirdo, but it becomes obvious quite quickly why he is the way he is. Joshua tells his father that he does not like soccer and baseball. In an attempt to seem open-minded and understanding, his father tells him that it's okay and that he should just do what he wants (without ever asking exactly what it is that his son wants). His mother just doesn't care as long as she's not bothered.

Dark, disturbing, creepy, but occasionally sadistically humorous, events unfold slowly (much to the dismay of people expecting shock after gratuitous shock) proving Joshua to be a far more calm and calculating boy than originally perceived. Jacob Kogan's performance is reminiscent of Haley Joel Osment in A.I. (if that character were a sadistic schemer). He is the only character who stands out and I believe this was intentional; the other characters can tell, right along with the audience, that the boy ain't quite right.

This movie is certainly not for the impatient and/or those who need to be smacked in the face repeatedly to stay awake during movies. But if you want a movie that slowly and coolly toys with your mind until the very end, Joshua will likely deliver what you are looking for.
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300 (2006)
Not the Messiah
27 April 2007
The hype was mounting in the months leading up to the release of 300, the film adaptation of Frank Miller's (Sin City) graphic novel of the same name. Even following the release, the publicity kept rolling. It was virtually impossible to go anywhere without hearing people praise the movie. Never skeptical, but always vigilant, I brought my critical eye to the theater to put 300 to the test.

The film tells the tale of the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta and its impending decline at the hands of the Persian Empire. After being called to kneel before Persian King Xerxes, Spartan King Leonidas calls on the Ephors, Sparta's executive council, to send the army to war. Corrupted by Persian gold, the Ephors decline, forcing Leonidas to build his own small army of 300 men to take on the vast thousands of Persians.

As was expected, the battle scenes were extremely well done. The cinematography was fresh and stylish, but the editing was very subtle, straying from the modern technique of short shots and quick cuts. This greatly improved the look of the film, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in each shot.

Narration is a wonderful tool in film-making; it allows the director to show and tell simultaneously. 300 is a fine example of how narration can be used to detract from the story. Narration was necessary for this story, but it was poorly executed. There were several cases where the narration described the action on the screen. The viewer does not need to be told what they are seeing, especially when it is something as easily understood as an adolescent Leonidas fighting a wolf.

Simply stated, 300 is not the Jesus Christ of modern cinema. Though beautifully shot and edited, the film fails to deliver much more substance than the standard Hollywood gore-fest.
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The best film I've seen in the past 8 months.
7 September 2002
One Hour Photo is a must-see movie. Robin Williams does an incredible job playing a lonely and creepy man. Unlike most of the pictures I've seen recently (Signs and Minority Report for example), the ending was not flat or anti-climactic. I never once felt like a line was out of place or unimportant. Everything made sense and there were no true surprises. A well-written screenplay and many great performances made this a movie worth seeing over and over.
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