Friday, February 22, 2008

Movies opening this week

Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin, Robert Downey Jr., Hope Davis, Kat Dennings, dir. Jon Poll)
A lot of people have compared this film to both Rushmore and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and even though I'm not a Rushmore fan I think Charlie comes off poorly in relation to both. It really has a sitcom understanding of teen life, and despite its R rating and plot involving prescription drugs, it's about as cuddly a portrait of high school as something on the Disney Channel. Yelchin is irritating and not believable as Charlie, who never comes off like a real person. The plot puts an "edgy" spin on the same tired kids vs. authority tropes we've seen a million times, and the film overall just seems to think it's a lot cooler than it really is. Wide release

Vantage Point (Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, William Hurt, Edgar Ramirez, dir. Pete Travis)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
No matter how hard they try with the dumb, pointless storytelling gimmick, the filmmakers can't make this movie into anything other than a second-rate thriller full of plot holes. Nothing really comes together in the end, and all the relative excitement (there is a pretty good car chase) isn't worth much when the credits roll and you realize that you have no idea why any of the stuff happened, and that it could have all easily happened in about 45 minutes less of your time. Wide release

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