Reader Reviews: May 11th-18th 2005

By Garth Franklin Wednesday May 18th 2005 06:41PM

Click (script) ""Click" is the a straightforward family comedy outside the typical Adam Sandler vein. It's more in line with 50 First Dates than Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison. Sandler seems to be moving more towards family-style comedy, but his fondness for the low-brow still bleeds through..." (full review)

Charlie & The Chocolate Factory "Depp is phenomenal and delivers countless laughs, sometimes he's a little too dark and odd though for a PG rating in my opinion. The kids do their jobs, Charlie best of all and Veruca worst of all but her demise is GLORIOUS though. The parents and g-parents are great. Other supports are good and the OOMPAS rocked out totally! Almost everyone there loved the flick..." (full review)

"Remaking classic films makes perfect sense on paper. You'll strike the nostalgia chord with filmgoers familiar with the material, all while making it accessible to new ones. The thought being why create new stories when you can just remake old ones. Sometimes the results are spectacular but more often than not, remakes tend to struggle to match up to the legacy laid forth by their predecessors. Unfortunately, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory falls into this category..." (full review)

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang "'Kiss' is a blast back to what Shane Black brought us in the first place. The 'Lethal Weapon' scribe packs in some great one liners and plenty of sarcasm in this buddy buddy detective yarn. The directing needs work and its not too strong..." (full review)

A History of Violence "In short, a great film, far from the usual Cronenberg films. The topics in "A history of violence" are wonderfully developped and all actors, from Tom's son to Tom himself are excellent. The best film I've seen so far in this Festival..." (full review)

Exorcist: The Beginning "This film is screamingly funny. From the annoying, persistent music to the over-earnest acting to the hilariously bad special effects, just about every element is off-key, and the cumulative effect is staggering - think "Showgirls" with a demon possession (and Elizabeth Berkeley's dancing doesn't count)..." (full review)

Mr. & Mrs. Smith "Overall I can safely say this is just good old fashioned action fun, similar to True Lies and just as entertaining. It's good to see in-camera stuff and an attempt to make a good fun action yarn. Anyone who had the misfortune of seeing for example the utterly detestable and effects heavy Torque would surely appreciate a film of this ilk. It's brainless but very enjoyable..." (full review)

The Devil's Rejects "I enjoyed DR because it's not a re-tread of any old horror movie. It's got a very 70's-feel--thanks in no small part to its soundtrack, which boasts tons of 70's rock like "Freebird" and "Rock On", among others. A dash of "Bonnie & Clyde", a pinch of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", with a healthy dose of "Wild Bunch" tossed in and you have an idea of what you're going to see..." (full review).

Cinderella Man - A Review by 'Shogo' "Boxing films have been a staple of sports films for a long time. From Raging Bull to Rocky and Million Dollar Baby, they have drawn audiences in with their action sequences and their ability to make the audience cheer for the underdog. It made a relatively nobody into an action star and proved women can fight in the ring as well as any man. With the success of last year's Million Dollar Baby, Ron Howard's Cinderella Man may be able to capitalize on this movie trend.

Cinderella Man is the story of depression era boxer Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe). We meet him as his career starting to rise as a boxer in New York. He is a struggling boxer with a good right hand. Braddock is a strong family man, a wife and children, from Irish roots. When he pushes his limits too far during one fight Braddock breaks his hand and is forced to retire.

Things then go from bad to worse when the great depression strikes America. There are countless jobless and people camping out in Central park. Braddock and his wife (Renee Zellweger) do their best to keep themselves off the street and earn a meager living. Braddock works for odd shifts at a dock for several years until his old manger, Joe Gould, (Paul Giamatti) comes to give him the offer of a lifetime. A big time promoter needs a one time fill-in for a secondary match and a possible comeback. Braddock agrees and eventually is matched against the heavy weight champion of the world.

Cinderella Man is a film that has many things going for it. Crowe's portrayal of Braddock shows not only the hardened boxer but a little of a soft family man as well. He is not only an underdog coming from a poor background that overcomes the odds but he is also the everyman with romantic heart which he shows through the scenes with his wife and children. Zellweger as Mae Braddock turns in another memorable performance. In every scene that she is in, we want to follow her struggles to keep her family together and support her husband in a profession that could eventually lead to his death in the ring. Paul Giamatti continues to demonstrate why he is one of most popular characters actors around.

Instead of playing Braddock's trainer like Burgess Meredith in Rocky, Giamatti brings depth to the role. He isn't just a cheerleader to Braddock but someone who uses his words to motivate him both in and out of the ring. Ron Howard's direction is very strong in the movie. Howard weaves a tale that is not just like another Raging Bull or Rocky but one which has many elements of romance as well as action. The film doesn't quite feel like a period piece or a typical action movie. The camerawork on the whole were done. The outdoor scenes integrated older Toronto buildings with computer generated inserts to form New York in during the depression. The boxing elements were shot using a mix of longer shots and ones that made you feel a part of the event.

This film though had its share of issues. Many of the actor's accents slipped several times during course of the film. One of the children went from sounding almost English then back to a New York accent. Crowe had an Irish accent during some scenes and a New York one in others. The film also made it seem like Braddock spent the majority of his time when not boxing either working or away from his wife. The audience doesn't get a real sense of why Mae loved Jim other than he was a good provider and had good intentions. Braddock's relationship with his manager seemed to a bit thin as well. Even though Gould knew Braddock's family and visited them, when times got bad he seemed to abandon him until there was a chance for them to make a comeback.

Cinderella Man is film that despite its flaws is quite good. It has good performances by the main leads and story about an underdog that didn't give up. There is some good camerawork as well in this film that is very reminiscent of older boxing films. Ron Howard could very well have a summer hit on his hands. 8/10 "