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Subtleties, humor make ‘Martian Child’

REVIEW – In the first act of John Cusack’s one-two patriarchal-tearjerker punch this season, Martian Child (soon to be followed by the Oscar-buzzed Grace Is Gone) shows Cusack in his first major role as a father, and it’s just enough to make you fall in love.…

Cusack and Peet discover new life on Mars

NEW YORK – John Cusack walked into the room, listening to his iPhone. He’s deeply involved in the new Bruce Springsteen album, Magic, and sat down looking reluctant to pull away from either the Boss or his shiny gadget.…

Dane Cook tries his luck as Chuck

When I hear the name Dane Cook, a barrage of images comes to mind. Dane, clad in black, running around animatedly on stage while dousing himself with bottled water. Dane writhing on the floor and shouting unintelligibly for a laughing crowd.…

Trade a melodramatic tale of slavery, prostitution

REVIEW – Don’t feel bad if you aren’t familiar with Martin Kreuzpaintner’s film Trade. Before reviewing it, I wasn’t either. Now I understand why. While Kreuzpaintner makes a noble effort to raise awareness of sexual slavery in his American theatrical debut, Trade falls short with its cringe-inducing melodrama, predictable plot and stale character development.…

Philly’s Secret Cinema: cult classics on 16mm

Last Friday marked the ninth screening at the Eastern State Penitentiary for the Secret Cinema, the 15-year-old brainchild of Temple alumnus Jay Schwartz. Nearly a hundred guests were neatly seated in the narrow corridor of Cell Block Seven to watch the original 1978 Scared Straight!…

“Shoot ‘Em Up”: blood, wit and tears

NEW YORK – One is a rough-around-the-edges Brit who permeates a masculine musk from every pore. The other is a balding schlub who could pass for your local postman. Yet despite these differences, Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti are both equally cool and have two of the most dynamic new careers in Hollywood.…

Review: “Shoot ‘Em Up.”

There comes a time in every dramatic actor’s career when he just wants to get silly. A time when he just wants to drop the heavy dialogue and act out the action dreams that he had as a little boy.…

‘Invasion’ does little to thrill audiences

If director James McTeigue can’t spruce up a movie, it’s doomed to Blockbuster purgatory. The assistant director of “Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones” and “The Matrix” trilogy co-directs “The Invasion,” loosely based on the novel and several movie remakes of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” The flick follows psychiatrist and mother Carol Bennell, portrayed by Nicole Kidman, as she embarks on a hellish journey to find her son, Oliver, before she succumbs to an evil alien virus that is trying to take over her body.…

Finding a name, leaving a typecast

Los Angeles – In another daring Hollywood move to break out of being typecast, Kal Penn, best known for his stereotypical stoner lead in “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” takes on the leading dramatic role in the film adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s’s “The Namesake.” In this tale of heritage and self-acceptance, a couple from Calcutta, India moves to New York to raise a family.…

A song for the L-word

In the music business, there is undeniable shame and desperation for a one hit wonder. In the film “Music and Lyrics,” Hugh Grant leaves “Bridget Jones Diary” behind and becomes Alex Fetcher, a 80s pop singer from the group ironically named ‘Pop.’ The talented songwriter (depending on your definition of talent) finds himself without a hit song after his partner stole his award-winning lyric and gave him a fizzling career.…