Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Review: I Am Number Four
2 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

Don't Alex Pettyfer, Dianna Agron and Teresa Palmer look pretty up there on the screen? Don't Pettyfer's glowing palms provide nice spotlights for everyone's poreless complexions? Doesn't “I Am Number Four” strike you as the latest installment of the “Fantastic Four” franchise? Because not since Jessica Alba went bottle-blond as Susan Storm, and Chris Pine went literal with his flamer tendencies, has a hero-driven genre film been more superficially concocted. Casting for talent ended with the hiring of Timothy Olyphant, who, at 42, is regarded as an old man in this Kiddie-City production. The rest of the cast may just as well have sent their headshots to the set, as one actor can't hide his English accent worth a shilling, another wields staggeringly stupid one-liners like concrete boomerangs, and another plays damn-near every scene like a mouse in need of Metamucil. They're all great on the retina, as are the polished visual effects, but a moviegoer can't live by window-dressing alone, and this is a brain-in-hibernation, fingers-in-the-ears flick, through and through.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Review: Kaboom
4.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

The moment the flawless face of primed-to-explode star Thomas Dekker appears in the opening shot of “Kaboom,” you're given a good sense of what you're about to receive from the Gregg Araki genre-bender. Dekker is naked, his lips and eyes are as pink and blue as cotton candy, he's dreaming, and he's drifting down an ethereal path toward absurd, befuddling and possibly meaningless ends. That's “Kaboom” for you: a candy-colored, apocalyptic sex noir that deals in the subconscious and the supernatural as it barrels through a mystery that may well have no significance beyond its surrounding pleasures. Named, one should think, for the common result of hitting a g-spot or a doomsday button, “Kaboom” is a sprightly, slightly nihilistic grab bag of indulgences sprung directly from Araki's id. Bold and berserk, yet exuberant and cohesive, it shows that Araki not only has balls, but also some killer juggling skills.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Review: Sanctum
2 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

You've seen “Sanctum” before, only it was called “The Poseidon Adventure” or “Daylight” or “Deep Blue Sea.” The key difference is those movies each had at least one likable character. This Australian action production, about a team of explorers trapped in a network of underground caves, features a rogues gallery of archetypes ranging from unsympathetic to outright unbearable. Without a soul to cheer for, it's exceedingly difficult to look past the B-movie acting and the F-movie screenplay, written by real-life divers John Garvin and, inspiring the story with his own experiences, Andrew Wight. Garvin and Wight are chums with beneath-the-surface obsessive James Cameron, who funded the project and supplied the 3-D cameras. But consulting and creating are two wholly different disciplines, and these two adventurers were apparently as fit to pen Cameron's new spectacle as a certain blind pianist was to write the script for “Ray.”