September 2010 Movie Releases Part 2 - Movie Reviews

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Jason Bourne she isn’t, but Angelina Jolie’s formidable starpower and blazing performance help to rescue Salt (director: Phillip Noyce), from its many plot loopholes. Who wants to ponder over screenplay logic, anyway, when one is wholly engaged in watching an icy-cool Jolie kick and karate-chop her way through some thirty secret agents, rappel down an elevator shaft (minus a rope) and perform jumps that would have Spiderman applauding? As for the plot, Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, an ace CIA agent who is both hunter and hunted – sounds familiar? The Russians of the Cold War have been resurrected to play the villains. Surprisingly, these done-to-death baddies from the days of 007 make for a refreshing change from the technology loaded action flicks with which Hollywood inundates our screens these days. Reach for the popcorn, sit back and enjoy Jolie in full form.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

It’s obvious from the start that the exclusive target for Disney’s latest, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, is the pre-teen audience. A twenty-first century youth with magical powers, an ancient wizard who tutors him, a powerful, wicked sorcerer and impending doom for the world – what more could a kid ask for? Nicholas Cage turns in a seasoned performance as Balthazar, the ageless wizard, while Alfred Molina has fun being the villain. Jon Turteltaub’s direction is focused and competent, allowing for a good balance between action, adventure, comedy and a dash of romance. A reasonably well-crafted, family-friendly movie.
Going the Distance

Erin (Drew Barrymore), a newspaper intern in New York, meets Garrett (Justin Long) from the music industry. Love blooms; but can their six-week long, high voltage union stay the course when Erin goes back to graduate school at Stanford? Going the Distance, directed by Nanette Burstein, takes a part-serious, part-comic look at the competing priorities of career over love, a troubling issue of our times. Barrymore and Long are eminently watchable and have good onscreen chemistry. Perhaps to attract a wider male audience, the dialogue is peppered with sexual innuendos and toilet humour. If that’s not your thing, don’t let it put you off; the sheer charm of the two leads makes Going the Distance worth a watch.

Agora, directed by Oscar-winning Chilean Alejandro Amenabar is grand and riveting drama. The setting is Alexandria, Egypt, during the last days of the Roman Empire. Agora revolves around Hypatia, a 4th century philosopher famed as much for her beauty as her passion for knowledge. Rachel Weisz is Hypatia, a perfect choice, with Michael Lonsdale as Theon, her father, Oscar Isaac, her student Orestes and Max Minghella as Davus, her adoring slave. Tensions among the Christians, pagans and Jews are reaching flashpoint. A thinker and rationalist, Hypatia is too absorbed in the pursuit of knowledge to foresee the anarchy that is about to befall Alexandria and in particular, its superb library where she teaches. Civilisations are fragile; for them to prosper, good sense and tolerance must prevail over fundamentalism – a relevant message for our times, wouldn’t you say?


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