A Review of “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”

I’m almost embarrassed to be posting this review, but sometimes a dumb spoof comedy is just what the doctor ordered.  When the greater world outside you seems to be going mad, and the holiday season is stressing you out, sometimes you just want to laugh for a few hours.  It’s good to laugh at ourselves…laugh hard

The Wrong Movie Bombed, 28 December 2007

When young Dewey Cox accidentally cuts his brother in half with a machete, it sets him on a long, hard, and winding road that traverses the most profoundly important moments in modern music history spanning the 1950’s to today. “Walk Hard” was erroneously advertised as yet another comedic romp from Judd Apatow. While as the co-screenwriter here many of Apatow’s trademarks can be found including the usual sophomoric sexual humor and ironic pop-culture references, “The Dewey Cox Story” is actually closer in spirit to the mocumentaries of Christopher Guest (“This is Spinal Tap!” and “Best in Show”) as channeled through the spastic colon of the “Naked Gun” films.

This is a parody played hilariously straight. The target of its mockery is so succinct and sharply pointed–the recent Oscar-winning musical biopics “Ray” and “Walk the Line”–that the film’s true comedic genius may be lost on people who didn’t really pay attention to those films or thought this would just be another “Superbad.” The film’s mimesis of its source materials is so spot-on, that it even follows their same cadence and nearly falls apart midway as it glosses over many points in history and aspects of the musician’s life while covering every cliché possible from the temptations of life on the road with drugs and groupies to bouts in rehab and bitter divorces to long dry periods that suddenly make way for life-altering inspiration.

At the center of “Walk Hard” is John C. Reilly who sings and acts his heart out to hilarious effect. A former Oscar nominee for “Chicago”, Reilly has since cut a niche for himself as the second banana to bigger comedy stars like Will Ferrell in “Talladega Nights” and for the first time gets a film to call his own. Tim Meadows is shockingly funny as the friend who ushers in Cox’s decent into drug use (his overly accentuated but still deadpan line deliveries are priceless), while Jenna Fishcher is sprite and lovely as the June Carter cutie to Cox’s Johnny Cash wannabee. Other SNL players including Kristin Wiig and Chris Parnell and Apatow alumni like Paul Rudd (as John Lennon!) and Jonah Hill pop in and out of the film amidst an onslaught of funny sight-gags and one-liners. Also in on the fun is a cavalcade of current music stars including the lead singer of the White Stipes as Elvis and Eddie Vedder as himself doing a nonsensical quasi-spiritual riff on Cox’s legacy while presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The heart of “Walk Hard” is in the music. If you were to not listen so closely, you might be fooled into thinking these were actual hit songs from their respective time periods. Of course, listening to the lyrics is part of the fun. The ridiculously silly double-entendres in Cox’s duet with his honey-to-be Darlene are especially funny, while I personally found their spoof of a Bob Dylan song to be downright brilliant. Since the writers took the time to be so verbose and intricate with their nonsensical free-form versing, they allowed the bit to work on multiple levels as both an homage and a biting jab at Dylan’s alleged lyrical genius.

Utimately “Walk Hard”, in ways both monumentally stupid and unfathomably smart, proves to be almost too clever for its own good. It may have bombed in it’s first-run at the box office, but I would imagine it will eventually find its audience. In one pivotal early scene Cox begs his wife to believe in him and his dreams of becoming a successful singer. She replies something to the effect of, “Oh, baby, I do. I just believe you’re gonna fail.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, and it still has me laughing.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database

Benazir Bhutto, Dead at Age 54

I knew the name and the face, but not much about her until today, sadly the day of her brutal assassination at the hands of an as yet unnamed militant terrorist group.  Benazir Bhutto was the most important political figure in Pakistan during the past twenty years, and someone everyone in the world should know and remember.  With her untimely murder, the fate of Pakistan hangs in the balance: will the much maligned President Musharraf allow the free elections to go on, and if so, will there be a candidate capable of carrying on Bhutto’s progressive message of peace and stability in the most volatile of the world’s political theaters?

Benazir Bhutto was the first female leader of a post-colonial Muslim country, the daughter of a political dynasty (her father was the first popularly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan and was eventually executed by a military regime that later seized power), a champion for democracy in the Muslim world, and a world leader who experienced a roller coaster ride of ups and downs from winning elections to living in exile to facing assassination attempts by suicide bombers during her triumphant return to her homeland this October.  Despite the attempt on her life, she vowed not to back down, comforted the widows and orphans of those who died in the attack, and her People’s Party was primed to win enough seats in the upcoming elections in January that would usher her return to the world stage as Prime Minister–this time, what could have been her third time, as a counter-agent to President Musharraf’s military rule and the strongest American ally in the Muslim world. 

To put it in the simplest terms, Benazir Bhutto was the best hope of Pakistan achieving a stable democracy and the best hope of reigniting the search for Osama Bin Laden.  If anyone could’ve prompted Musharraf to “grow a pair” and bring in Bin Laden come hell or high-water, it was her…if she had only been given the chance.

Despite controversy surrounding her political party and family (mostly involving kick-backs and financial corruption), Benazir Bhutto, for all her flaws was a brave woman beloved by the people she fought for (moderate, middle class and poor Muslims in Pakistan and around the world), ruthlessly hated by those she rallied against (militant extremists, the Taliban, al-Qaida) and viewed by the West as a harbinger of democracy in the Muslim World, an essential ally in the War on Terror, and a woman who could single-handedly bring stability to a nuclear-armed nation on the brink of crisis.

From AlJazeera, the YouTube video below gives the layman a quick run down of her life and times:

While it may seem cynical to use a tragedy like this an open door to political plotting, one can not dismiss the effect her assassination might have on the Presidential Primaries about to start just a few days from now with the Iowa caucuses.  Hillary Clinton, who knew Bhutto well from when she personally visited Bhutto and her children in Pakistan while Bhutto was still Prime Minister with her own daughter Chelsea, responded in way that was intimate, heartfelt, and statesman-like.  Quite frankly, she oozed presidential authority and appeared in her statements as a calm, confident woman who related to not only the fallen idol that has become Benazir Bhutto, but also as a leader who can connect with Bhutto’s supporters, and most importantly the American people.  Meanwhile, the lack of experience and personal connections made the response from Barrack Obama feel cold, calculated, and without the proper perspective.

On the Republican side, John McCain emerged today as the gruff statesman who knows the players, knows the dangers, and can make the tough decisions that will be vital to protecting America and our interests abroad.  Meanwhile, Romney displayed an icky case of the “blah, blah, blahs” while Huckabee found nothing meaningful to say beyond the obvious.  Yes, any sane person mourns her loss and prays for her family and supporters.  Thanks for the insight, Huck.

With the other candidates submerged in the typical sea of tailored responses calling the assassination a “cowardly act” and one that “won’t go unnoticed”, Clinton and McCain reminded U. S. voters today why experience counts.

Meanwhile, Benazir Bhutto reminded us how one woman could change the world, and how the game of politics will always be a dangerous proposition, especially when your message champions the common people elitists and militarists wish to control.  Bhutto today became a martyr.  The actions of her political movement before her death will echo throughout history, while this single succint moment of three gun-shots fired by a suicide bomber who then detonated himself into oblivion will have ramifications we might only understand years from now when hindsight is 20/20.  Let us hope then that it is not too late.

Written by David H. Schleicher

A Review of Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd”

Grim Musical OJ’s the Audience, 22 December 2007
7/10

Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

Tim Burton’s gleefully macabre adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical smash hit “Sweeney Todd” is the strangest holiday season Oscar bait to come out of Hollywood…well, ever. I’ll be the first to admit I am not a fan of film musicals as they are inherently loud and full of paper-thin characters singing and dancing their way through horribly obvious and clichéd plots. However, every so often one comes along that I thoroughly enjoy, like “Chicago” with its hot-blooded dames committing cold-blooded murder during the roaring ’20’s. Here, bloody revenge is the topic, and Victorian London the setting. The stage was set for a bizarre juxtaposition of seemingly disparate genres: the over-the-top operetta and the over-the-top horror film. On both levels, “Sweeney Todd” delights and horrifies in equal measure.

The film starts awkwardly with foggy CGI set designs and off-key singing covering a clunky exposition about a barber wrongly imprisoned (for, well, I never caught why) and looking for revenge against the judge who drove his wife to suicide (allegedly) and kidnapped his daughter. The film moves slowly until Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) shows up with a gin-swilling moppet in tow (Ed Sanders as Toby, the best singing orphan this side of “Oliver!”) adding a sense of color, humor, and heart to the film’s bleeding core. Once the killings start, the set designs and gore seem to take on a life of their own as Burton paints his vision on screen with the rare wanton abandon of an auteur with final cut.

It would be unfair for me to judge the music and the songs (they were adequately lively in my humble opinion), but the acting was far better than I expected. Johnny Depp was perfectly off-kilter in the lead role. His lack of expression during the “By the Sea” fantasy sequence was priceless. Meanwhile, Helena Bonham Carter performed her third successful evolution as an actress. She was once the darling of the Merchant/Ivory costume drama, then the cult star of “Fight Club”, and now the Cockney-accented comic relief in the darkest movie musical ever made. I thought her facial expressions and timing where especially spot-on. I can’t think of another actress who has such distinct groups of rabid fans. Alan Rickman is effectively creepy in the villain role, while the two young stars playing the whatever-the-heck-his-name-is-pretty-boy and Johanna were appropriately annoying and dewy-eyed.

While the film goes through the requisite motions of an operetta, it succumbs to a fantastically grim and fitting conclusion that ultimately won over the audience. With more dark psychologically rich subtexts and better acting then you come to expect from a film musical, “Sweeney Todd” OJ’s its audience with cartoonish gore and spirited song and dance. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s bloody good fun.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

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One Year Ago Today

 

CAPTION: Dave, you’ve been forcing me to read your blog for how long?

So it was one year ago today that I reluctantly entered the blogosphere primarily as a way to promote my novel, The Thief Maker, which continues to accumulate accolades and new readers through my grassroots marketing campaign.

Now it seems like I can’t live without blogging.  Through simple word-of-mouth my blog has opened up my writing and ideas to new victims, I mean readers.

Over the course of the year I’ve explored in humorous fashion the Presidential Primaries, the social ramifications of HornyManatee.com, and my loathing of Barry Bonds while seriously discussing and dissecting contemporary and classic films, books, and art.  People also seemed to have enjoyed my pop-culture and politically inspired drinking games (lushes) and my endless parade of lists (ironic, as I consider myself an anti-list-ite).

Here’s the modestly appalling numbers over the course of this first experimental year:

Hits: 15,200+

Posts: 92+

Reader Comments: 170+

Movie Reviews Posted: 40+

Book Reviews Posted: 15+ 

Readers Tortured: Countless

Here’s to continued growth next year.  Thank you to all who have made this blog a small success in the vast sea of meaningless internet content.  I promise to continue to post worthwhile material designed to make you think, laugh, or explore while continuing to shamelessly self promote my writing.  I welcome all and any feedback, suggestions, complaints, winning lottery numbers, gossip, and donations.  Cheers to all in the New Year!

A Review of Jason Reitman’s “Juno”

Ellen Page and Michael Cera: Finally, a teen movie where the kids look like real kids. 

For Realz, 17 December 2007
8/10

Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

Ellen Page (in a star-making performance) plays an accidentally pregnant smart-alleck 16 year-old named Juno (named after the Roman goddess, not the town in Alaska) in the latest hyper-smart comedy from Jason Reitman (director of “Thank You for Smoking”). “Juno” follows the latest Hollywood trend of quirky comedies that actually deal with some heavy issues. Unlike most of those films, “Juno” manages to stay funny even as it gets serious and treats its characters and audience with respect by keeping the jokes coming even as it gets cutesy or plays for tears.

Screenwriter Diablo Cody (a pen-name destined for greatness) has a knack for writing hipster dialog that doesn’t wear thin or get annoying. She manufactures big laughs from both quasi-goofy pop culture references and nervous situations inherent to adolescence. She keeps things fresh even when the film starts showing its sweet side. Think of her as Judd Apatow without as much of the raunchy humor. Director Reitman gives the film the appropriate indie-feel and populates the movie with a great soundtrack of songs whose lyrics perfectly match Cody’s storyline and dialog.

Ellen Page is eternally likable in the lead role, and the decision Juno makes in the end feels totally organic and true to her character, giving the film a ring of truth instead of feeling manufactured to make the audience feel good. Michael Cera proves again to be one of the most amiable and subtly funny young actors working today. His performance is a perfect companion piece to his more overtly hilarious work in the riotous “Superbad”. The rest of the supporting cast is equally likable, and even Jennifer Garner, and actress who always seems to try so hard, seems perfectly cast here as an adoptive mother-to-be who tries way too hard.

Though not as laugh-out-loud funny as most of Apatow’s films, “Juno” swings as one of the best of the quirky indie-comedies of the past five years. It’s funny and has a heart, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with it like “Little Miss Sunshine” did, and instead, thanks to Ellen Page and Diablo Cody, feels like the real deal.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

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A Review of “I Am Legend”

I Am Legend is based on the novel by Richard Matheson.  It has been adapted twice before for film under different titles: The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price and The Omega Man with Charlton Heston.  This latest version is directed by Francis Lawrence.

 CAPTION: Quick, dog, look cool.  People will love us.

I Am Overrated, 15 December 2007
5/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

“I Am Legend,” an inexplicable remake of the Charlton Heston minor classic “The Omega Man”, posits itself as another mass-marketed star vehicle for the always likable Will Smith. Here the mega-star who can do no wrong plays the last man on earth (SPOILER: HE’S NOT!) after a nasty virus wipes out the world population and leaves behind some infected sourpusses in the vein of “28 Days Later”. This movie has all the key ingredients for a Will Smith box office behemoth (which no doubt it will be), but fails to engage on any higher level.

Here’s the recipe:

1. Will Smith playing Will Smith: No other movie star can be such an egotistical show-off and get away with it as well as Will Smith does. No matter how many times we see him do his funny little bits, show off his buff bod, or watch him stretch his acting muscle with an unnecessary emotional breakdown scene, the audience still loves him. He carries “I Am Legend” and makes it watchable even when he starts doing a “Shrek” impersonation (don’t ask) or carries on conversations with mannequins (think Tom Hanks and Wilson the volleyball from “Cast Away”).

2. A futuristic setting: The set designers do a fantastic job here with a post-apocalyptic New York tableau that is expansive and eerie and will leave you wondering, “How in blue blazes did they film that?” Sadly, the special effects team and creature designers didn’t do a complimentary job. The zombie/vampire/whatever-the-heck-they-are monsters look like something from a second rate video game circa 1999. Given the PG-13 rating, they are only allowed a moderate amount of fun. Gore hounds and horror buffs will be greatly disappointed. Sci-fi fans will also be angered that after a decent set-up, the film devolves into a preachy messianic family-friendly death-fetish film.

3. A kick-ass dog: Remember how everyone rooted for that dog from “Independence Day?” Well, this German Sheperd named Sam puts that dog to shame. However, you know there’s a problem when the dog becomes the most dynamic and sympathetic character in a film. I won’t carelessly give away what happens to Sam in any explicit detail, but suffice it to say, when two non-characters named Anna and Ethan show up in the film’s final moments, you’ll be wishing Sam was there to keep it real.

“I Am Legend” offers nothing new but is diverting enough as a matinée. In its depiction of a man and a dog in a post-apocalyptic city, it scores as populist entertainment. As a monster movie, it’s a joke. As some sort of end-of-the-world message film, it’s abhorrent. But with Will Smith headlining, expect it to be the biggest hit of the holiday season.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

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A Review of Michael Ondaatje’s “Divisadero”

Divisadero

4.0 out of 5 stars Divided Attention

By  David H. Schleicher “Author of The Thief Maker”See all my reviews

Michael Ondaatje’s “Divisadero” tells the tale of Anna, her adopted sister Claire, and their father’s farmhand Coop, growing up in the poetic splendor of their California homestead. After scandal and tragedy separate the three, Anna eventually ends up in France years later researching the life story of a French novelist and poet, Lucien Segura, who found fame, fortune, and heartbreak in the years surrounding WWI.

Ondaatje (best known for penning “The English Patient”) has a fluid and emotional writing style that is as wondrous and evocative as it is frustrating. The casual reader might find themselves lost or distracted by dialog without quotation marks, arbitrary flashbacks, shifting POV’s, and stories within stories that fold in on themselves and only relate to other characters through mere coincidence. Ondaatje creates a vivid sense of place with both Californian wine country and rural France, but often times a reader might forget where they are and be left wondering what happened to a certain character who had been a focus for so long.

“Divisadero” sometimes reads like a collection of short stories where a few of the characters or settings overlap. There’s no central plot, and the prose meanders to no solid conclusion. Ondaatje populates the novel with thematic repetition (fathers uncovering secrets of their grown daughters, men wishing they were carefree boys again, love triangles) and character foils that make it an endlessly interesting read for those with the patience for his literary style. The book, though at times maddening, is full of small moments, captured with great clarity of vision, that add up to something ponderous that is beyond the scope of any words.

A Review of Joe Wright’s Adaptation of Ian McEwan’s “Atonement”

(01/04/2008) I rarely do this, but I felt compelled after a second viewing of Atonement to admit where I may have been off base with my initial review.  I judged the characters rather harshly, but on second look felt them worthy of forgiveness from the audience.   I was especially unfair to Keira Knightley.  Her emaciated appearance adds a bizarre element to her character in that it could be viewed as a physical manifestation of her character’s lovesick nature.  She loses herself and her body in this role much like Christian Bale did in The Machinist and Rescue Dawn.  There were also certain nuances in her body language and performance I witnessed the second time around that made the film richer and more emotionally complex.  Joe Wright’s camera adores Keira, lingers on her unique features, and makes her a far better actress. I also found the ending, which at first look seemed all too clever, to be a fitting conclusion and mirror of the film’s greater themes that honored the source material from Ian McEwan.  Atonement is a brilliant and haunting piece of work.  I still can’t get the Dunkirk tracking shot out of my mind.  The rest of my original review appears below unabridged. –DHS

Suite Britianna, 10 December 2007
9/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

A budding young writer named Briony witnesses an innocent act she doesn’t fully understand between her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and long-time family servant Robbie (James McAvoy) one restless summer day on her family’s lavish country estate in 1935 England that leads to scandal in Joe Wright’s dreadfully sumptuous adaptation of Ian McEwan’s international best-selling novel, “Atonement.” Four years later, all three characters try to find their own personal sense of peace or redemption during WWII.

This brief synopsis does nothing to explain the intricate complexities of the plot and actions that take place. Although Keira Knightley’s performance is slightly off-putting due to the fact she appears like she just escaped from a concentration camp (surely young British socialites did not look like this in the 1930’s), the stunning cast shows full range here racing through curious emotions: spite, lust, recklessness, and selfish wanton abandon. The facial expressions, especially from the children in the early scenes on the estate, are priceless. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic as they are often vain, self-absorbed, and quite silly in their drama, but they are fascinating to watch. The first third of the film is played like a “Masterpiece Theater” production of “The Great Gatsby” as seen through the eyes of Nancy Drew.

However, what makes “Atonement” soar is the impeccable direction of Joe Wright. He makes the most audacious coming-of-age as an auteur since Anthony Minghella delivered “The English Patient” back in 1996. Wright displays a near Kubrickian mastery of sound effects (notice the strikes of the typewriter keys) that transition from scene to scene and often bleed into the amazing score from Dario Marianelli. Wright also crafts a finely textured mise-en-scene that visually translates McEwan’s richly composed story onto the screen with near note perfect fashion. Nothing can really prepare you for how well directed this film is until you see it, and the scene of the three soldiers arriving on the beach at the Dunkirk evacuation is one of the greatest stand alone unedited panning long shots ever captured on film. It left me gasping.

That scene leads to the heart of the film. The often clichéd romance at the core is trumped by Wright’s depiction of Robbie, a single man forlorn and obsessed, his dizzying inner turmoil reflected against the grand canvas of a chaotic world at war. Likewise, Briony’s redemption comes not in the too-clever conclusion at the end of the film, but in the intimate and symbolic confessional at the bedside of a dying French soldier. These moments leave lasting impressions, and left me imagining that if Joe Wright were to ever adapt Irene Nemiorovsky’s “Suite Francaise” onto the silver screen, he would knock it so far out of the park it would leave “Gone With Wind” spinning in its gilded Hollywood grave.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database:

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A Review of Chris Weitz’s Adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass”

*Note to readers: I have not read any of Philip Pullman’s books, but I have read numerous interviews with the author and book excerpts to have a decent grasp of his intent and the books’ message. 

Ask the Dust, 9 December 2007
6/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

An evil empire called the Magestirium attempts total control of the population by hiding the secrets or parallel universes and a unifying particle called Dust in Chris Weitz’s clunky but entertaining adaptation of Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass”.

“Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings” have never apologized about their overt paganism. Likewise, “The Chronicles of Narnia” have never been accused of being subtle as a Christian allegory. These series, in both literary and film forms, have been monster hits due to their unapologetic natures that speak truths to their ardent fan bases. British writer Philip Pullman’s darkly subversive anti-religious fantasy books have also been hugely successful, more so overseas than here in the States. Stripped of the books’ overt atheistic messages, “The Golden Compass” takes a reverse psychology approach in its film treatment and oddly positions itself as an apology for Pullman’s work. The result is a tepid affair that joins a long line of fantasy films about children discovering they are the chosen ones destined to save the world. At least this film is refreshing in its stance on girl-power as represented in the main character Lyra, played wonderfully by newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, who apparently is a graduate of the Dakota Fanning school of acting. Whether or not this tactic to strip the film of its soul (much like the Magesiterium strips children of their daemons) will make the film broadly appealing enough to warrant a franchise has yet to be determined.

The film comes across as more anti-authoritarianism in general than specifically anti-religion. In the 21st century the line between authoritarian politics and organized religion has become increasingly blurred. Since we currently live in a world where a born-again Christian sits in the White House and wages wars in Muslim nations, it’s easy to see why folks from both sides of the aisle, ardent fans of the books and conservative Christians alike, have been worked up into a mindless and silly frenzy over even just a watered-down film version of the first of Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, with one side saying it’s not wickedly subversive enough, and the other side saying it’s still subversively wicked.

However, viewing the film out of the context of the books upon which it is based and the ridiculous faux-controversy surrounding them, it makes the grade as a big-budget fantasy flick. Yes, there are too many characters to keep track of, and the film has rushed feel to it as if it was edited at the last minute, but it still makes for an interesting trip. Kids will be wowed by the elaborate set designs and CGI effects, which are far superior to the ones in the similarly clunky but still entertaining “Chronicles of Narnia” and culminate in an awesome battle sequence involving armored polar bears–take that Global Warming! Adults will get a kick out the nimble ensemble cast, who all seem to be having a great deal of fun with the self-seriousness of the whole production and are headlined by Nicole Kidman–botoxed, full-lipped and deliciously frosty in a creepy villain role that suits her perfectly.

Possibly the strangest aspect of the film comes as an accidental subtext resulting from its apologetic nature. With its depiction of mystical-minded do-gooders rallying against the totalitarian Magestirium, “The Golden Compass” almost comes across as a period piece anti-Communist allegory rallying for the fall of the Soviet Union. It makes the film feel charmingly dated. There’s also the disturbing subtext of child abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church as seen in the Magestirium’s cruel experiments with kidnapped children, which makes the film feel charmingly grotesque.

Bottom Line: Any movie that depicts Nicole Kidman walking around with a monkey and preaches the importance of free will, making bonds, sticking together, and fighting for your friends and loved ones can’t be all that bad.  Despite some of the themes of the books being exorcised and arbitrarily presented by a poorly chosen Chris Weitz (a director known for his comedies “American Pie” and “About a Boy”), “The Golden Compass” still has enough interesting elements and old-fashioned razzle dazzle presented with new age CGI to make it entertaining. At its worst, it presents two hours of dark fantasy-land eye candy. At its best, it encourages adults and children alike to use their free will to do something far better with their two hours, like read.

Originally published on the Internet Movie Database:

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