Archive for August 1st, 2009


August 1st, 2009
Year One - Jack Black

Orphan - Jaume Collet-Serra

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Movie: Orphan (2009)

Studio : Warner Bros.

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 123min

Website :

Trailer :



Movies about creepy kids have long been a reliable box office draw. Usually consisting of some seemingly angelic little boy or girl who starts out all wide-eyed and innocent but in the end is revealed to be a granny-mangling demon from the bowels of pre-pubescent hell, this sub-genre has given us such nightmarish cinematic icons as Regan from The Exorcist and Damian from The Omen.

The Orphan probably sits somewhere between the above classic examples of how to do creepy kid movies and Children of the Corn (as an example of how not to). Essentially it’s a domestic horror tale centering on the troubled Coleman clan and the swirling black-hole of loss and guilt that resides at the core of the family. We soon come to learn that the black-hole is the result of the tragic loss of Kate and John’s unborn baby. Kate is in therapy for her drinking problem while John deals with things by wandering around the house in a near perfect state of semi-consciousness. And so, to fill in the hole they decide to adopt another (older) child. Enter Esther.

Believed to be born in Russia and possessing prodigious musical and artistic abilities, the delightfully polite Esther immediately impresses Kate and John with her quiet and sad demeanor and they quickly decide to take her home from the orphanage. What was interesting at this point was that Esther was not simply being depicted as a one-dimensional mini -monolith of evil, but rather seemed genuinely vulnerable and moved by her introduction to the Colemans’ (relatively) stable family life.

It wasn’t long however before the creepy kid clichés began to pile up. But still, I reassured myself, that’s okay – heck, you could argue that all genre movies are just a series of orchestrated clichés! It was in the final act though that I finally gave up on The Orphan. Back-pedaling furiously from the complex position of having created an almost sympathetic killer kid, the film-maker instead took the easy way out by inserting one of the most ridiculous “twists” to come down the pipeline since Bobby Ewing came back from the dead in Dallas. Yes, the “twist” did answer a few (unimportant) questions – but it also provoked a new one: why did I spend $10 dollars on this crap?

In the end, despite the strong first half, the only person I would recommend this orphan to is Madonna.

-Paul Meade

Drama, Horror, In Theaters, Mystery, Thriller , , , ,

The Hurt Locker

August 1st, 2009
Year One - Jack Black

The Hurt Locker- Kathryn Bigelow

Rating: ★★★★☆

Movie: The Hurt Locker (2009)

Studio : Kingsgate Films

Info : Click Here

Runtime : 130min

Website :

Trailer :



The Hurt Locker is the story the Army’s elite Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) squad and their call to missions in modern-day Iraq. The story focuses on the Bravo Company, specifically commissioned to handle IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices. We follow this company—which comprises Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie), and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty)—on their 39-day tour of Iraq. We watch as they weave through each mission with their lives on the line, and as they consistently escape death, the layers of their complicated emotions and intentions unfold right before us.

It doesn’t take very long to realize that the real star of this film is director Kathryn Bigelow. Although her claim to fame up to this point might be Point Break and being the mega-director James Cameron’s former better half, this movie should cement her as a serious and formidable new voice.

The amazingly authentic script by Mark Boal aids her vision. Much like In the Valley of Elah, Boal has researched a real story in order to create a compelling fictitious one. Here, Boal imbedded himself with an actual EOD squad and fashioned himself part-journalist, part-screenwriter. And upon the viewing of this film, it will be hard to deny that he has succeeded exceptionally as both.

Jeremy Renner as Sergeant James does a commendable job of turning his performance into a bona-fide character study. As the most complex character, he gives an appropriately understated performance while maintaining a certain amount of bravura, making him fascinating to watch.

There’s a noticeable dip in the quality of the action at the end of the second act where a particular soldier goes AWOL. It’s the only part of the movie that feels a little “Hollywood.” Nevertheless, it doesn’t take away from the overall excellence of the film, and fortunately, it gets back on track shortly thereafter.

However, there is a major oversight that does affect the overall impression of this film: Although directed by a female, it is mysteriously devoid of female soldiers. For a film that’s committed to being so real and so true, it’s an unfortunate critique for a film that is otherwise virtually flawless.
The crux of this film lies within its final 5-10 minutes. And it’s these minutes that catapult it from being a run-of-the-mill war story to modern parable.

-Sam Henderson

Action, Drama, In Theaters, Thriller, War , , , ,