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items tagged with Roger Donaldson

Midnight Below Paris: "As Above, So Below" and "The November Man"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-09-01 00:58:15

Marion Lambert and Perdita Weeks in As Above, So BelowAS ABOVE, SO BELOW

Sometimes, because our expectations for it are usually so low, all a horror film needs to get by is a really juicy setting. Of course, it helps if there’s also some talent involved, and I’m pleased to report that John Erick Dowdle’s As Above, So Below actually has both. This claustrophobic creep-out may be frequently silly and too inscrutable for its own good, but it boasts a spectacularly eerie locale in its Parisian catacombs (home to the remains of 6 million deceased), and Quarantine and Devil director Dowdle continues his impressive run of lending superb craftsmanship to routine scare-flick scenarios.


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Tyler-san: "Never Back Down," "The Bank Job," and "Doomsday"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-03-19 08:40:31

Sean Faris and Djimon Hounsou in Never Back DownNEVER BACK DOWN

Watching the so-silly-it's-almost-fun mixed-martial-arts melodrama Never Back Down, I felt instantly transported to the summer of 1984, when my friends and I saw The Karate Kid the first time around. Fight Club was still 15 years away, so we weren't yet treated to this film's bone-crunchingly "kinetic" violence, nor to the sight of shirtless brawlers pummeling each other with their pants buttoned 12 inches below their navels. (Nor, for that matter, to topless teenage lesbians making out in a jacuzzi.) But Never Back Down is still pretty much Karate Kid redux, and the experience of watching it felt like time-travel for another reason: The movie's high-schooler lead is played by Tom Cruise.

 


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Host with the Most: "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Madea's Family Reunion," "16 Blocks," "Running Scared," "The World's Fastest Indian," and "Doogal"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-03-08 00:00:00

Dave Chappelle in Dave Chappelle's Block PartyDAVE CHAPPELLE'S BLOCK PARTY

Dave Chappelle’s Block Party is teeming with something that has been sorely absent from 2006’s movie crop: joy. In the late summer of 2004, Chappelle, fresh from signing his now-legendary – and currently defunct – $50-million contract with Comedy Central, spontaneously decided to throw a block-wide bash, and recruited a batch of rap and R&B performers (including Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Jill Scott, and Lauryn Hill and the reunited Fugees) to perform a day-long gig in Brooklyn; the resulting concert doc features highlights from the concert interspersed with scenes of Chappelle kicking back with the stars and the block-party attendees, and the movie, directed by Michel Gondry, is a giddy, oftentimes exhilarating spectacle. It’s hard to determine who’s having more fun – the musicians, whose on-stage performances are heartfelt and vital; the Brooklyn masses, whose enjoyment of the show is palpable; or the movie’s audience.


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"The Recruit" Shouldn’t Be Boring – But It Is: Also "Darkness Falls" and "Final Destination 2"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2003-02-05 00:00:00

Al Pacino and Colin Farrell in The RecruitTHE RECRUIT

In Roger Donaldson’s The Recruit, Colin Farrell plays M.I.T. graduate James Clayton, whose astonishing computer prowess catches the attention of C.I.A. agent Walter Burke (Al Pacino). Burke enlists Clayton to join the organization, bringing the young man to a top-secret, governmental compound nicknamed The Farm, where Clayton will train as a C.I.A. operative. While at The Farm – a hall-of-mirrors environment where, we’re told ad nauseum, “nothing is what it seems” – Clayton falls for fellow recruit Layla (Bridget Moynahan), who, Burke later reveals, is secretly a mole, attempting to sabotage the C.I.A. from within; Clayton’s assignment is to catch her in the act. Will Clayton’s love for Layla threaten his allegiance to the C.I.A.? Does Layla even have a secret agenda? Is Burke really who we think he is? Is anything what it seems?


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Enjoyable Junk Triumphs over Dull Intelligence: "Thirteen Days" and "Finding Forrester"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-01-17 00:00:00

Steven Culp, Kevin Costner, and Bruce Greenwood in Thirteen DaysTHIRTEEN DAYS

Just because a movie is smart doesn’t mean it’ll avoid dullness. Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days, which documents the terrifying two weeks of the Cuban Missile Crisis, is evidence of this, a well-scripted, well-acted drama that might still cause you to doze off.
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