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Kudos To Proyas For This Surprisingly Good Flick!
It may seem improbable, but Knowing actually adds something fresh and inspiring to the disaster genre.
Certainly the action scenes are well staged they are as grand and tense as the previews would have you expect. But Knowing really stands out from the likes of Next and various Roland Emmerich movies because of its heart (there is a profoundly human element amongst the chaos and destruction), and because of the surprising, riveting turns the story takes. In no way was it a generic "save the world" flick, like I feared going in. It is an original with a memorable ending that should not be spoiled, but it will almost definitely have people talking.
In my mind, director Alex Proyas deserves a lot of the credit for the fact that the film is brave, and does not try to replicate a typical Hollywood blueprint. In fact, he even has Nic Cage back on solid footing, an actor I used to love but have been quite weary of lately. But I think Proyas deserves the main kudos for turning this into something creative and special, and I'd go as far as to say this it is his best movie since Dark City.
There really isn't much to complain about regarding the film, but the one exception might be the middle, where the action sags a bit. Still, I think the captivating final third more than makes up for it.
I definitely recommend the film - you will be pleasantly surprised!
Just Saw It, Amazingly Well-Done.
I just saw this at a local screening and found out that it's going to show on PBS in April. If you didn't catch it in theaters, mark your calendars it is an extremely compelling story of the Iraq war told through the eyes of the men and woman who've fought there. I first read about it in the New Yorker a couple of years ago the National Endowment for the Arts sponsored this program where those fighting the war and their friends/families were encouraged to write letters chronicling their experience. Even on paper they were moving accounts and I believe actual writers and literary figures were involved to help mentor them, etc. This is like our generation's eye witness account of day to day life in Iraq and Afghanistan and having friends who are marines over there, this really hit me hard. The way the film shows the stories, I think, is very powerful and brings out the impact of the words there are excerpts from each person's letter read over by celebrities (Robert Duvall and Josh Lucas were two I recognized), who really dramatize the situation told in the letters, and each section has different visual theme. Some are animated, some are reenactment of the story, or simply scenery from the war zone. It's more personal and heartfelt than any other war reporting I've seen through the media, even the embedded journalist and such, and I think everyone should check it out if they get a chance. Like I said, this will be shown on PBS later this spring as part of a series called America at a Crossroads (http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/) and there seem to be a companion piece to this film called Warriors that will also broadcast on April 16. Based on what I've seen here, I am planning on checking out to whole series, as it seems like the films will give a variety of perspectives into what we're facing in the war today.
Bridge to Terabithia (2007)
Faithful to Book, Don't Miss It
I was able to see a preview screening for this at the MPAA last Friday and thought it was wonderful. The film does such a good job of showing us how a child's imagination works, and is able to really show us how they're imagining Terabithia together. I loved it! The movie is very faithful to the book but also brings new life to the material. The actors who play Jesse (Hutcherson) and Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb) were both fantastic and literally could have stepped straight out of the book. Given their respective ages, I was very impressed with the level of acting talent, especially as the film draws on some adult-related themes. The visuals were fantastic and potential viewers of this film should know that the "fantasy" element was not at all overdone. Overall, I found the film fantastic, very well-adapted for the big screen, and well-balanced. I highly recommend it.