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Sci-Fi-Fantasy

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Editor's rating: 
 4.4
 
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Golden Compass, The After the worldwide success of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the ongoing success of the Harry Potter movies, , it’s no wonder movie studios have been pouncing on fantasy series novels, particularly those aimed at children.  New Line, who backed the Rings movies, got back into the game with the first of a initially proposed three films, based on Philip Pullman’s novels, grouped under the title “His Dark Materials” (though none of the books—so far—is called that; this one was “Northern Lights” in Pullman’s home country of England).  The most significant difference between “The Golden Compass” and the Rings movies is that the Tolkien films were aimed at adults, though of course stuffed with the kinds of things children love (elves, dragons, wizards, etc.), while “The Golden Compass” is aimed more directly at children.  This probably cost it ...
Editor's rating: 
 2.7
 
Tuesday, 01 July 2008 |  Written by Darren Gross  | 
6th Day, The It is an unspecified date in the near future.  War veteran Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) runs a high-end helicopter charter service catering to a rich clientele.  In order to run their next charter, their client, powerful biotechnology executive Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), requires Adam and his partner, Hank (Michael Rappaport), take a quick, high-tech drug test.  As it is Adam’s birthday, Hank offers to run the charter for him, allowing him to take the rest of the day off.  When he arrives home that night, he finds that his birthday party has begun without him, but peering through the window, he sees an exact duplicate of himself celebrating in his place.  Before Adam is able to interrupt this surreal scene, he is attacked by Robert Marshall (Michael Rooker) and his cronies.  After a series of chases and escapes, Adam uncovers ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.3
 
Sunday, 01 June 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The “Prodigious” is a good word; the dictionary says it means “wonderful, marvelous,” but also has the additional meaning of gigantic.  And it sounds fine, too.  It's rare to have a movie to which that adjective can be readily applied, “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” is, at the very least, prodigious. But whatever it cost to make this gigantic fantasy was worth it, even if it never made Columbia Pictures a dime.  Yeah, I know, it ain't my money invested -- but I wish it were.  I would be very proud to own a part of such a glorious work of wonderment, even if I never got my money back.  Near the beginning of this colossal undertaking, set in the mid-18th century, written by Charles McKeown and Terry Gilliam and directed by Gilliam, the theater manager-star (Bill Paterson), appearing in his ...
Editor's rating: 
 4.1
 
Thursday, 01 May 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
I, Robot This is not based on Isaac Asimov’s well-known collection of short stories of the same title; as the credits say, it’s only “suggested” by the famous book.  The movie does use his famous “Three Laws of Robotics” and generally treats them with respect; a couple of characters come from Asimov, too, notably Dr. Susan Calvin, here played somewhat stiffly by Bridget Moynahan, much younger than Calvin was in most of the stories.  The movie is reasonably entertaining and spectacularly well produced. The script was originally titled “Hardwired” and had nothing to do with Asimov.  When Alex Proyas, a long-time science fiction reader, was hired to direct, he had rewrites done that incorporated Asimov’s ideas.  The story is credited to Jeff Vintar (who wrote “Hardwired”); he also cowrote “Final Fantasy” and is adapting Asimov’s “Foundation” books to the screen.  The co-writer of ...
Editor's rating: 
 3.2
 
Thursday, 01 May 2008 |  Written by Bill Warren  | 
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Supposedly Dustin Hoffman wanted to play Willy Wonka in Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory;” when he wasn’t able to, he signed on for this.  In the future, I hope Mr. Hoffman gets to play the roles he wants to; what he does instead can have unpleasant consequences, like this movie.  Few qualities are more annoying than failed whimsy, which describes “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” perfectly.  Zach Helm wrote the film and makes his directorial debut, but his direction is more successful (or less unsuccessful) than his writing.  Everything is labored; all the people are adorable; all the children are cute.  Furthermore, Hoffman, as Mr. Magorium, is given a “funny” haircut and talks in a “funny” manner.  He pulls in his lower lips, squints a little (I suspect he thinks that makes his eyes twinkle), and talks like Ed ...
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