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Movies Friday With Michael Doherty

Friday, 11 April 2008

What films is Michael reviewing?

. 21
. Shine a Light
. Leatherheads
. Step Brothers (Sneak Preview)

21 (12A)          

Courtesy: Sony Pictures
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth
Director: Robert Luketic

Verdict: There's a terrific, exciting movie to be made from the true story of the six MIT students who earned millions in Las Vegas during the 1990s by utilising their mathematical skills to card-count at Black Jack. Unfortunately, 21 is not that movie.

For reasons best known to the producers (Kevin Spacey included) their story has been fictionalised and (effectively) diluted. Given the potential of a glossy Vegas locale and the drama involved in high stakes gambling, the film also suffers from a lack of pace, a lack of urgency and a general lack of excitement.

Ben Sturgess toplines as the MIT maths whiz recruited by Professor Kevin Spacey to join a team of collegiate card-counters heading for Vegas. So far so good, but throw in a series of feeble sub-plots including Spacey's back history, love interest Kate Bosworth, and casino security guy Laurence Fishburne, and 21 turns out to be about as exciting as Beggar my Neighbour. File under what might have been.

Trivia: MIT wouldn't allow filming on its campus, so the movie was actually filmed at Boston University. (source imdb)

Shine A Light (12A)         
Courtesy: 20th Century Fox
Starring: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards
Director: Martin Scorsese

Verdict: After delivering the definitive Bob Dylan documentary, Martin Scorsese turns his attentions and his cameras on the equally legendary Rolling Stones. Ostensibly a look at the band's major New York concert in 2006, Scorsese takes the opportunity to revisit early footage of the band and introduce eye-opening cameos from the likes of Bill and Hilary Clintons and Christina Aguilera.

Leatherheads (PG)    
Courtesy: Universal Pictures
Starring: Renée Zellweger, George Clooney
Director: George Clooney

Synopsis: With the future or pro football in the balance, Dodge Connelly (Clooney), washed-up quaterback for the Duluth Bulldogs, has the bright idea of drafting in a college-ball sensation (Krasinski) to attract the crowds and save the sport he loves.
(source empire online)

Trivia: The script was written way back in 1993. The writers brought it to the attention of Steven Soderbergh who then took it to the then president of production at Universal Pictures, Casey Silver. It went into script limbo after Silver left the studio to become an independent producer. Soderbergh then came back and brought Clooney along to make the film. (source imdb)

Exclusive Look at Upcoming Summer Blockbuster:

Courtesy: Sony Pictures
Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Director: Peter Berg

Synopsis: There are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there's Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility - everyone knows that - everyone, that is, but Hancock.

Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock's well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake.

The public has finally had enough - as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy.

Hancock isn't the kind of man who cares what other people think - until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all.

Facing that will be Hancock's greatest challenge yet - and a task that may prove impossible as Ray's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he's a lost cause.