Daily Archives: April 27, 2007

Spider-man 3

Even longer than its predecessors, 3 piles on the series’s usual comedy scenes and action sequences while adding some black slime from outer space and a few new actors (Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace) to the more familiar faces (Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Rosemary Harris). And a pile is what it feels like, especially when two superheroes ultimately join forces to defeat three supervillains. Given how bogus the movie is whenever it departs from formula, it’s not surprising that the funniest bit (in which Peter Parker becomes a disco smoothie) is stolen from Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor or that the best special effects, involving a gigantic Sandman, dimly echo King Kong. Director Sam Raimi tries to pump some life into this dutiful enterprise but seems more than a little bored himself, especially when he’s getting mushy about Spider-Man’s moral decline and regeneration. PG-13, 140 min. (JR)… Read more »

Diggers

Set on the south shore of Long Island in 1976, around the time of the Ford-Carter presidential debates (which are glimpsed on TV), this smart and sensitive 2006 feature focuses on the social milieu of young clam diggers whose profession is getting phased out by a corporation. Director Katherine Dieckmann, a former film critic at the Village Voice, has also made music videos and one earlier feature (A Good Baby), and she has a good feeling for the period and the characters’ sexual attitudes and interactions. Ken Marino, who plays the silliest of the diggers, wrote the script, and when it isn’t straining after elegiac moments, it’s fresh and unpredictable. With Paul Rudd, Lauren Ambrose, Ron Eldard, Josh Hamilton, Sarah Paulson, and Maura Tierney. R, 90 min. (JR)… Read more »

Kickin’ It Old Skool

A gifted young breakdancer (Jamie Kennedy) cracks his head during a competition and goes into a 20-year coma; after coming to, he has to catch up with the times and reclaim his former sweetheart (Maria Menounos) from her scuzzball fiance (Michael Rosenbaum). Joining forces with his old pals (Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Bobby Lee, Aris Alvarado), he enters another competition. About eight minutes of this comedy is devoted to some terrific breakdancing; the rest consists of wall-to-wall product placement and politically incorrect bad-taste comedy (a homeless geezer pissing on himself and others, the hero vomiting Mexican food on another dancer). PG-13, 108 min. (JR)… Read more »

The Invisible

A troubled teenage punk (Margarita Levieva) believes she’s killed a classmate (Justin Chatwin) and hides his body in the woods. But the victim’s still not dead, and while he’s unconscious his spirit roams around, visible only to animals. Adapted from a 2002 Swedish film that was based in turn on a novel by Mats Wahl, this feature by David S. Goyer wasn’t screened for the press, perhaps because its poetic fantasy premise is so hard to understand. (The inconsistencies don’t help; another character almost dies but doesn’t become a ghost.) Yet originality and even a certain amount of obscurity are more appealing than formula. This doesn’t work, but I was never bored. With Marcia Gay Harden. PG-13, 97 min. (JR)… Read more »

Disappearances

I have nothing against regional folklore, magical realism, or masculine rites of passagemuch less Kris Kristofferson, Gary Farmer, or Genevieve Bujoldso this 2006 tale of a Vermont farmer crossing the Canadian border with his 15-year-old son in 1936 to steal some bootleg whiskey sounded inviting. But Jay Craven’s stilted adaptation of a novel by Howard Frank Mosher lacks the urgency, the poetry, or the feeling for period that might have brought the material to life, while the cast seems to be largely squandered. Nice props and scenery, though. With Charlie McDermott, Lothaire Bluteau, and Luis Guzman. 103 min. (JR)… Read more »