A young man receives an emergency phone call on his cell phone from an older woman. The catch? The woman claims to have been kidnapped; and the kidnappers have targeted her husband and child next. (IMDb)
A great popcorn thriller: There’s the exciting central premise (admittedly dated, offering a few cringe-worthy moments–the final credits in particular), the goofy secondary characters (snobby Porsche guy is fun to love to laugh at), and hilarious well-timed one-liners (“It’s a day spa, you fuck!”), with an average plot boosted by a solid threesome of protagonists (Basinger’s resourceful victim, Evans’ good guy-turned-action star, and Macy’s kind-hearted cop–see his saving of the goldfish).
A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem. (IMDb)
The rap battles laced throughout are awesome and really get your adrenaline pumping, but they’re by far the best parts of the film. Though Jimmy is a decent protagonist, the gritty drama of poverty and racial tension in his life is never fully realized (though the themes do come together poignantly in his final confessional rap battle), thanks to a script that doesn’t take the time to develop any plot points beyond a couple scenes (the caught-cheating romantic interest being a perfect example).
As corruption grows in 1950s LA, three policemen – one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy – investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice. (IMDb)
A classy 1950s-set crime drama with a focus on the cops instead of the criminals-or are they the same thing? Corruption abounds in this intricately written neo-noir that showcases the shady schemes found on both sides of the law. The three-pronged set of policemen protagonists and their distinct character arcs give the narrative a uniquely varied and diverse perspective, although the emotional impact that can be garnered from a single character focus is lacking, despite the hints at backstories.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker. (IMDb)
This take on Batman is less than mediocre, with a thin plot (barely boosted by a couple funny lines) and uninspired main characters (Keaton’s Batman is dry and Nicholson’s Joker feels more silly and contrived than evil) thrown into a childish, ill-paced, and painfully awkward script (see the awful scene with Wayne and the Joker). The quasi-campy vibe just doesn’t work here–it’s not written and directed seriously enough to be compelling, and it’s not intentionally goofy enough to be funny.