Elie Samaha

Elie Samaha

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A Sound Of Thunder Review


Bad
The best thing that can be said for the embarrassing A Sound of Thunder is that at least it presupposes an audience whose belief in evolution is ironclad, sadly a minor triumph in these increasingly Scopes monkey trial-like times.

Adapted with sub-simian grace from the iconic Ray Bradbury story, the film puts us in the year 2055, where a Chicago firm called Time Safari takes wealthy, bored men back in time and hunt dinosaurs. The trick here is that Bradbury - prefiguring all the great time travel paradox stories and films to follow - realized one couldn't just do this without creating massive complications further down the time pipeline. So Time Safari has its hunters walk through the 65-million-year-old jungle on a pathway suspended above the ground, with the strict dictum not to touch anything, never step off the path and not to bring even the most microscopic thing back with them. And the dinosaur that they "hunt" (over and over again) has been selected for the fact that it's going to die anyway, bare seconds after the safari team shoots it. Thusly the time continuum remains unchanged and everybody's happy.

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The In-Laws (2003) Review


Excellent
Has Michael Douglas found The Fountain of Youth in Catherine Zeta-Jones? Since the Gordon Gekko days of Wall Street fame, his body is certainly a little less nimble, his face a little more wrinkled, and his hair a shade too light. But the guy looks great, and he's once again an action hero. That bumps him up from "silver spoon" to "ageless wonder" in the Hollywood classification book - ever closer to the royalty of perennial good lookers Redford and Basinger.

In The In-Laws (based on the 1979 film of the same name), like most other Michael Douglas vehicles, his gaunt face is rarely off the camera. Wisely, director Andrew Fleming inserts a hilarious Albert Brooks as the perfect remedy for Douglas's self-absorption.

Continue reading: The In-Laws (2003) Review

The Boondock Saints Review


Good
Already an insanely overrated cult classic, The Boondock Saints has Irish (and super-religious) brothers (Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus) taking Boston by storm as vigilantes ridding the town of evildoers. Meanwhile, a gay FBI agent (Willem Dafoe, who steals the show completely) is hot on the trail, while the boys also get hunted by kooky crime lord (Billy Connolly).

Stylish and fun in a cheeseball sort of way (think Tarantino without the retro hipness), these Saints are amusing enough -- until the endless gunplay, blood-splattering, and monotonous SCREAMING MATCHES wear you down. I'd had enough within 45 minutes, but you'll have to make it through 110... and then there's the sequel that's on the way.

Continue reading: The Boondock Saints Review

The Break Up (1998) Review


Terrible
Pedestrian thriller. Nonsensical and obvious why it went straight to cable, despite a decent cast of stars. What's with Weber's big moustache, anyway?

If... Dog... Rabbit... Review


OK
Promising film starts out great then turns into yet another predictable caper-gone-awry homage to The Killing. A rather unfortunate vanity production from first-time writer/director Modine. Special award for having the worst title in the history of movies (though it is "explained" in the credits).

Continue reading: If... Dog... Rabbit... Review

Get Carter (2000) Review


Weak
Forget Get Carter. Instead... get me a cup of coffee.

What the hell has happened to all good American action movies? Did I unknowingly miss a meeting somewhere? When did all of the bad-ass, kicking butt and taking names, gun-toting, crazed, vengeful characters of the 1980s -- from such films as Commando, Cobra, Predator, Raw Deal, First Blood -- suddenly turn into innocent, compassionate, sensitive, teary-eyed knuckleheads. The only place to turn these days for an honest action film is towards the East -- and I don't mean New York City.

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Half Past Dead Review


Weak
Martin Boris Velanov is the hardest working man in show business. According to the end credits for the prison thriller Half Past Dead, Mr. Velanov works full-time (some would say "overtime") as the stand-in for Steven Seagal, a past-his-prime action hero mistakenly labeled as marketable after his last endeavor, Exit Wounds, found an audience.

By my calculations - and this is far from scientific - Seagal appears in approximately 15% of his own scenes. The rest of the time, director Don Michael Paul uses quick-cuts, (very) large shadows and wide-angle shots taken from a distance to hide the liberal use of a body double. So why use Seagal at all? Is he really a draw? An effective marketing tool?

Continue reading: Half Past Dead Review

Driven Review


Good
What better way to start an action movie than with... statistics!

From that rousing introduction we are thrown into the world of Driven, the highly anticipated CART-inspired movie that takes us on a whirlwind tour of made-up races.

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Spartan Review


Extraordinary
What is the man behind such parlor-room films as The Winslow Boy and House of Games doing directing an explosive military thriller, complete with airdrops and sniper rifles? And starring Val Kilmer? Trust me: Give Spartan ten minutes, and you'll stop asking such stupid questions.

David Mamet's latest project is far from conventional fare, and ultimately that works in his favor. From the opening scene, where two soldiers pursue each other through a jungle, Mamet keeps us guessing. What kind of movie are we watching? Within about 10 minutes, the bones of the story are made clear: the president's daughter (Kristen Bell) has been kidnapped from her dorm room, and the Secret Service pulls out all the stops to get her back. That includes recruiting special operations soldier Robert Scott (Val Kilmer), an uncannily capable military man who's as intuitive with people and motives as he is skilled with weapons.

Continue reading: Spartan Review

Green Dragon Review


Good
The Vietnam War is a time and place most people have chosen either to forget or to ignore as a culturally significant event in American history. Following the days and weeks after the fall of Saigon in 1975, America took upon itself the role of big brother in welcoming the mass exodus of refugees streaming from that chaotic country into its arms. Green Dragon recounts the tale of those Vietnamese refugees' arrival in America and tackles their internal struggles in leaving behind both their beloved country and family members and facing the unknown future in an alien land.

Helming the project are brothers Timothy Lihn Bui (director/screenwriter) and Tony Bui (story/producer), previously responsible for the Harvey Keitel film Three Seasons. For Green Dragon, the film uses a refugee camp as purgatory for the Vietnamese people and constructs a vivid backdrop for examining the attitudes and actions of a displaced people forging new lives.

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Elie Samaha Movies

A Sound Of Thunder Movie Review

A Sound Of Thunder Movie Review

The best thing that can be said for the embarrassing A Sound of Thunder is...

The In-Laws (2003) Movie Review

The In-Laws (2003) Movie Review

Has Michael Douglas found The Fountain of Youth in Catherine Zeta-Jones? Since the Gordon...

Get Carter (2000) Movie Review

Get Carter (2000) Movie Review

Forget Get Carter. Instead... get me a cup of coffee.What the hell has happened...

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Half Past Dead Movie Review

Half Past Dead Movie Review

Martin Boris Velanov is the hardest working man in show business. According to the...

Driven Movie Review

Driven Movie Review

What better way to start an action movie than with... statistics!From that rousing introduction we...

Spartan Movie Review

Spartan Movie Review

What is the man behind such parlor-room films as The Winslow Boy and House of...

Green Dragon Movie Review

Green Dragon Movie Review

The Vietnam War is a time and place most people have chosen either to forget...

3000 Miles To Graceland Movie Review

3000 Miles To Graceland Movie Review

Those of you hoping to hear about a clever casino heist picture in the style...

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