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From Paris with Love: A govt rookie teams up with an unconventional seasoned spy to take down a drug / terrorist ring in the city of love. This is essentially an action film with every cliché in the book: rookie cop with trigger issues, unconventional old-timer who gets results, and some of the most obvious twists in history – you all know the drill. There’s a lot of flashy direction with fast wooshing CGI pans, and action set pieces. Other than a couple of big, loud, fighty action scenes the only major redeeming feature is Travolta hamming it up: albeit with a brazen, overly offensive script. While it’s definitely not his finest 90, he is rrrather entertaining – even sneaks in a “Royale with cheese” – OH NO HE DIII IIINT!!! His partner (Jonathan Rhys Meyers – form a queue, ladies) is ok, but is basically there to say Travolta’s name (Wax) about 2,000 times. Despite using as many tricks as the budget could facilitate – flashy stunts / big action jumps / explosions / swearing / big stars – nobody could hide the fact that this is the kind of film you’ve seen a thousand times before, but in Paris instead of somewhere Stateside. From Paris with Love is a wild ride, but it’s the very definition of braindead action, even by Europacorp/Besson standards!

Score: 3.5/10

PFR is marking the 500th post by putting up a bunch of DVD extras this week. This guest paragraph review is from Fogs at Fogs Movie Reviews; an awesome review site that generates a LOT of discussion about films.

Searching for Bobby Fischer: Directed by noted screenwriter Steve Zaillian (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Moneyball, Schindler’s List), “Searching for Bobby Fischer” is an intimate look at the challenge of growing up “gifted”. It’s the story of young Joshua Waitzkin (Max Pomeranc), and what happens when it’s discovered that he’s a chess prodigy. Joe Montegna and Joan Allen play young Josh’s parents, and the two do a great job of showing the pride, anxieties, and inner conflicts involved in raising a brilliant child. How far do you push him? How much time do you have him dedicate to his gift vs a “normal” childhood? As they begin to train Josh and enter him in competitive events, he meets two very different mentors. One is a “speed chess” hustler in Washington Square Park (Lawrence Fishburne), and the other is a very exclusive, private, traditional tutor (Ben Kingsley). The two clash over the boy’s training, as you might imagine, but the true conflict of the film revolves around just how hard a child should be pushed to grow up, to compete, and to hone a killer instinct that might jeopardize the innocence of youth. With such a great cast (it also features small roles by William H. Macy, Dan Hedaya, and Laura Linney), and such a compelling story, “Searching for Bobby Fischer” winds up being a very moving, heartfelt film. It’s sitting at 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert gives it four stars, and I myself recommend it very highly.

 

Score 8/10


Born to Raise Hell [Blu Ray]: an Interpol agent assigned to Eastern Europe gets a replacement partner (his last one died on the job) to help him take down a Gypsy gang. The first time director constantly misses the mark with a poorly handled rape/burglary, then laugh-out-loud ‘intimate scene’, and a ton of woeful action moments. My biggest gripe surfaces with entire minutes of filler shots and blurry cam montages between the scenes. It’s amateur hour behind the camera, and in front of the camera we have Seagal (!!) with an ominously lit face and awkward gun-holding poses. He and his crew do the script justice, with classic lines like “lemme see yo hands bitch”, “wat the fuck is wrong wit chu boy” and every other Seagal sentence ending with “maaaaan”. His new colleague even dares to whisper the line “I’m one month away from becoming a father” – I WONDER IF HE WILL MAKE IT TO THE END?!?!!? Written solely by Seagal, It’s little surprise that he penned himself as a one-man-army cop with an unfeasibly hot girlfriend and mad fighting skillz – despite being a big oaf. The Bucharest setting is in more bad taste than you could imagine, everyone’s has a crazy Russian-esque accent, but talks English, is involved with drugs and works as a gangster or stripper. The entire film just reeks of cheap and is possibly the flattest and most uninspired Seagal flick you could imagine – it makes his ‘Lawman’ TV show look like Oscar Bait. The Blu Ray’s decent enough, but there’s nothing here worth watching. Proof if proof be needed that Seagal definitely is a one-no-trick-pony-tail. Why are people still letting him do films?

Score: 0.5/10