Movie reviews - 2004-07-22

  • 2004-07-22
This week:- Walking Tall- Jersey Girl- Ni Pour, Ni Contre

Walking Tall
Director: Kevin Bray

In this remake of a 1973 movie, The Rock plays Vietnam War veteran Chris Vaughn who comes back to his once peaceful childhood town only to find that it has been taken over by gambling, drugs and police corruption. So he takes it upon himself to clean up the mess. Storywise, nothing seems to make much sense, which probably wouldn't matter all that much if the action was a little more enthralling. It is, however, badly shot, choreographed, edited and generally quite pathetic to watch. The end result is neither good nor outright bad, but something rather wishy-washy and pointless. But never mind, Johnny Knoxville and The Rock at least do their best to get some fun out of the whole thing. * 1/2
Julie Vinten

Inspired by a true story, as well as the superior 1973 film with the same title, "Walking Tall" is a slow-motion act on the road to nowhere. From all the many miles of film reels that this reviewer has ever seen, this one takes the cake. Yes, The Rock is a really likable guy, but this flick needs a proper hatchet job to be watchable. In other words, some drastic editing may have saved potential viewers from being completely bored. Even some decent background music, now and then, would have helped. If you're still awake when the action finally happens, consider yourself lucky. This motion picture is so forgettable that you will already be forgetting it as soon as it sluggishly passes in front of your sleepy eyes. *
Laimonis Juris G

Jersey Girl
Director: Kevin Smith

To think that this isn't a Kevin Smith movie, just because Jay and Silent Bob are missing, couldn't be more wrong. The characters, the witty dialogue and the quirky humor are indeed Kevin Smith the way we love him. The movie is less rude than "Clerks" and less hysterical than "Chasing Amy" - it has found a fine place in between. Ben Affleck is a New York publicist who, when his wife dies in childbirth, has trouble dealing with the responsibility of being a single father. "Jersey Girl" became the victim of a bad movie-year for Affleck, with the public and press seemingly determined to hate it. It's a shame because "Jersey Girl" has some seriously funny moments, and it's an honest, clever and altogether touching piece of romantic comedy. ***
Julie Vinten

It's rather unfortunate that Ben Affleck is such a bad actor. His idea of dramatic acting is to scream his lines at the top of his lungs. It's more than obvious he can't possibly carry any film by himself. This movie also stars Liv Tyler, who isn't exactly one of the great dames of the cinema. Then there's Jennifer Lopez, who might have breathed some life into this clunker. However, her character dies after 15 minutes on screen. Raquel Castro, the little kid actress, is just too cute and too precocious to be taken seriously. Still, George Carlin delivers a few laughs, but even he can't salvage this meaningless bit of fluff from flopping flat on its face. "Jersey Girl" is more of an irritation than irreverent entertainment. **
Laimonis Juris G

Ni Pour, Ni Contre
Director: Cedric Klapisch

Young and innocent TV camerawoman Caty (Marie Gillain) lives an uneventful life in Paris until one day she is offered the chance to film a robbery by a group of petty criminals. Caty accepts because the money is good, but she soon realizes that holdups give her a rush, and she joins the gang. This comedy-drama is influenced both by classic noir films and the modern French thriller genre. The humor is pleasantly understated, and the look of the film is elegant. One minus is that the story follows a rather well-known path, which takes away any real sense of suspense or surprise. However, director Cedric Klapisch obviously has a good eye for types and characters, and this film succeeds largely due to the refinement with which the characters are depicted. ** 3/4
Julie Vinten

Cedric Klapisch is a phenomenal force in European cinema. His previous effort titled "L'Auberge espagnole" (also known by its international title as "Euro Pudding") was an amiable concoction as well as a landmark production in that particular genre of filmmaking. Klapisch's newest work is a film noir thriller. Jean (Vincent Albaz) has a fetish for expensive, stylish shoes. This has lured him into a life of crime. Caty (Marie Gillain) is a poor television camera operator. She meets La Call-girl (Diane Kruger) during a documentary film shoot. One thing leads to another and she soon becomes part of Jean's band of thieves. Albaz is quite noteworthy as leader of the gang. Gillain is the ideal innocent and Kruger is more effective here than she was as Helen in "Troy." ***
Laimonis Juris G