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items tagged with Stephen Gaghan

For the Children, or Merely Childish?: "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe" and "Syriana"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-12-14 00:00:00

Tilda Swinton and Skandar Keynes in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the WardrobeTHE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH, & THE WARDROBE

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, director Andrew Adamson’s imagining of the first book in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series, is almost childishly clunky, but it’s nearly impossible to dislike. Geared, as it appears, toward a very young audience – I’d say seven or eight – the movie is sweet, and it’s sincere, and it displays a welcome touch of fairy-tale simplicity. Despite the rather prosaic nature of its presentation, Narnia is one of those movies that, if it catches children at the right age, might linger in their memories for some time to come; it’s just magical enough to suggest how magical it should have been. For kids who are finally seeing their beloved Narnia novel translated to the big screen, Adamson’s Narnia will be good enough. It just doesn’t have much to offer the rest of us. Adamson is co-director of the Shrek movies, and he does a fair enough job with the movie’s CGI wonders; the lion Messiah Aslan (voiced, to the surprise of no one, by Liam Neeson) moves with regal grace, and the beavers who accompany the Pevensie children on their quest seem to be, for kids in the audience, enjoyably frisky characters. But all throughout the film, I had the nagging feeling that, if he was allowed, Adamson would have happily computer-generated his humans, too.


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More Trick Than Treat: "The Ring" and "Abandon"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2002-10-23 00:00:00

David Dorfman and Naomi Watts in The RingTHE RING

Since she previously gave one of my all-time favorite film performances in Mulholland Dr., one of my all-time favorite films, it’s going to take a lot more than a cheesy little scare flick for me to write off Naomi Watts. But it must be said that in The Ring – a horror movie by Gore Verbinski, with a script by Arlington Road’s Ehren Kruger – Ms. Watts comes off as a very poor actress indeed.


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Gripping "Traffic" Is One for the Ages: Also, "All the Pretty Horses" and "Miss Congeniality"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2001-01-10 00:00:00

Catherine Zeta-Jones in TrafficTRAFFIC

Sitting in the audience for Steven Soderbergh’s drug drama Traffic, I heard a sound that had been sorely missing from 12-plus months of moviegoing: rapt, appreciative silence. It was the sort of silence that you only get when a director is in full control of his work, when the actors are working at peak form, and when the storyline is so gripping that you can’t wait to see where it will lead you next. Based on a British mini-series, Traffic is something increasingly rare in modern films: a large-scale epic with a human pulse, in which every character and nuance is sharply defined, and in which your alliances and points of view change with each passing scene. The accolades and awards already bestowed on the film aren’t simply a matter of it being the best of a bum year; it’s one of the best movies released in many years.


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