FILM FAVE OF THE WEEK: Christian Bale

Written by Mckay Stevens on . Posted in Film

We’re going to try something new here at Rhombus: we originally planned on announcing a “Movie of the Week” selection, but I thought we’d take it a bit further and point out the best of our favorite actors, writers and directors for your leisurely consumption.

This week’s segment will focus on our actor of the week, Christian Bale. With such an extensive profile, one might think that Bale would begin to weaken and become more boring and predictable in his role selection, but this is not the case.

Christian Bale is the type of actor who performs each role as his craft, not his job. He is one who chooses his roles based on how far they will make him stretch. His philosophy is that, in order to obtain recognition and do a fine job on-screen, you have to be willing to feel and look like an idiot. Then, when it’s all said and done, people will sit back and be amazed at what you have done. This philosophy has done well for Bale.

I recently held a mini-poll through Facebook and my Twitter account, asking people for their top three Christian Bale movies. Following are the top responses I received:

1. Not surprisingly, The Dark Knight. This follow-up in the newest Batman franchise has been the most successful yet, with writer/director Christopher Nolan taking a more realistic approach to the comic book hero. No other movie could have caused the newest Harry Potter release date to be pushed back eight months. (Both were Warner Brothers release and there was no need for the studio to release Harry Potter while TDK was still raking in the cash.)

2. Newsies. When Bale was asked in an interview if he really understood how big of a flop Newsies was, he said, “You say something bad about Newsies and you have an awful lot of people to answer to.” Many of us may not admit it, but director Kenny Ortega (High School Musical series) was apparently ahead of his time with Newsies. It was the High School Musical of earlier years. That’s why so many of us in our early 20s are big fans of the movie. I mean, who didn’t want to be a paperboy at the turn of the century during an era of poor hygiene and no child labor laws? I call it the ideal setting for a high-flyin’ musical.

3. Claiming the third spot all by itself is Batman Begins. The first installment of the newest Caped Crusader franchise, Batman Begins brought entirely new ground to a hero portrayal attempted multiple times before. Batman had never fully reached his potential until this film.

4. In a three-way tie for fourth, we have The Prestige, Rescue Dawn, and Equilibrium.

5. Another three-way tie for fifth: Public Enemies, The Machinist, and Henry V. Don’t see Henry V if you have a choice.

My favorite Christian Bale movie didn’t even make the list. Empire of the Sun, released in 1987, stars Christian Bale in the role of James Graham. Young Graham lives comfortably with his well-to-do parents in Shanghai until the invasion of the Japanese on December 8th, 1941. He is separated from his parents, captured and taken to a confinement camp, where he must learn how to survive on his own.

Based on the autobiography of J.G. Ballard and directed by Steven Spielberg, Empire of the Sun is a moving and emotional tale. Bale’s performance is outstanding from beginning to end and, for that reason, I regard it as one of my all-time favorite movies and by far my favorite Christian Bale performance.

So set aside a few hours, grab some fellow movie-lovers and enjoy the heart-wrenching performance of today’s big star in his younger days. You will not be disappointed.

Empire of the Sun runs 153 minutes and is rated PG. It is available at your local video store, as well as through various online outlets.

Mckay Stevens is a film correspondent for Rhombus. He really wants to meet Christian Bale. Follow him on Twitter @S_Mckay.

FILM: Your Boredom-Blasting Classic Movie List

Written by Jess Jones on . Posted in Film

Let’s pretend you have nothing to do (which is often the case when you are on the computer). Why not watch a movie? Now you may not want to go out to see some movie at the theater, and thinking up a classic might be too taxing and/or time-consuming. Well, since we here at Rhombus are so keen on making sure you have the resources to have a good time, I’ve included a list of some classic movies below that might help you make it through those late nights and lame-o Fridays.

Comedy

Tommy Boy — Dumb and Dumber — Ferris Beuller’s Day Off* — Anchorman* — Get Smart — Monte Python and the Holy Grail (definitely save this for a late night: it’s better that way) — Groundhog Day — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — The Pink Panther w/ Peter Sellers (not Steve Martin) — Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery* — Spaceballs* — Ghostbusters — The Three Amigos — The Princess Bride — Ace Ventura: Pet Detective*

Action

Hunt for Red October — Braveheart* — Black Hawk Down* — The Bourne Trilogy (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, and Bourne Ultimatum) — The Indiana Jones Trilogy — Terminator 2* — Top Gun — Lord of the Rings Trilogy (you could definitely pull an all-night marathon) — Gone in 60 Seconds — Goldeneye — Gladiator* — original Star Wars trilogy — Back to the Future Trilogy — Alien* — The Last Samurai*

Romance

Casablanca (this is really old, but extremely well done; I totally recommend it) — When Harry Met Sally — The Notebook — It’s a Wonderful Life (a bit seasonal, but it’s still one of my favorites) — Ghost (you may want to take up pottery after watching this) — Pretty Woman* — Pride and Prejudice — Hitch — 50 First Dates — Return to Me — As Good as it Gets — My Big Fat Greek Wedding — How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days — Singing in the Rain — Sleepless in Seattle

Drama

Man from Snowy River — Dances with Wolves — The Godfather* — Lawrence of Arabia — The Shawshank Redemption* — Mr. Smith Goes to Washington — Dead Poet’s Society — Apollo 13 — Bridge over the River Kwai — Schindler’s List* — Life is Beautiful — Rocky I, IV — V for Vendetta* — Frequency — A Few Good Men*

*Rated R or excessive inappropriate content

Now these are just a few and obviously you may think of others. Most likely you will dispute the picks I have made, but guess what? This is where you come in…

Post a list of your favorite movies and recommendations in the comment space below. This could very well become a living database for great movies. So let me know what you think. Here’s looking at you, kid!

Jess Jones is a conservative political columnist for Rhombus who also dabbles in film from time to time — but only when his righteous conservative fury subsides long enough to allow him to sit through one.

FILM REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Written by Mckay Stevens on . Posted in Film

With the latest wave of Pottermania now crashing over the world with the release of the series’ sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we thought it would be appropriate for Rhombus to weigh in with its first ever movie review. Film writer Mckay Stevens shares his thoughts and insights on the flick below. As always, you are welcome (and encouraged) to give us your thoughts and opinions in the comment box at the bottom of the page. We look forward to reviewing more movies and having a continuing conversation with our readers in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy Mckay’s review below. — Steve Pierce, Editor

I’ve been preparing my thoughts carefully. I want to be extremely cautious on what I am about to say, because I’m afraid of sounding like I did not like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Visually, Half-Blood Prince is the most stunning of all the franchise’s previous films. Everything is intricately and delicately placed right where it needs to be. The special effects are some of the best I have ever seen.

Half-Blood Prince seems to contain much more humor than its predecessors, and for good reason: the kids are growing up and starting to take notice of the opposite sex. This area of the film is very exciting to watch. It seems like just a small taste of what the franchise faithful have been so anxious to see. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, and I give credit not solely to the writers, but to the actors themselves. It is fascinating to watch the actors diving deeper into their characters as their characters dive deep into themselves.

The film’s acting is even more impressive than before. The “Big Three” are completely consumed in their roles and they make it nearly impossible to turn away from the screen while they are occupying it. Alan Rickman is outstanding (as usual) as Snape. Even though I think of the Sheriff of Nottingham every time I see him, it doesn’t matter because he’s just so cool.

Professor Slughorn (played by Jim Broadbent) is also a delightful addition to this film. He represents an essential part of the plot, but I enjoyed watching him for other reasons. He is a goofy old man falling off the edge of sanity and into the fathoms of senility, and he pulls it off with ease.

Viewers will finally find themselves free from the obnoxious bullying of Draco Malfoy in this chapter. Instead, he is granted more screen time, one-fifth the amount of lines and a deal-of-all-deals that will force him to face his biggest fears. Malfoy spends most of the movie alone and he succeeds in exploiting his inner dilemma, bringing it to the surface for the viewers to absorb.

I came to enjoy the acting of Daniel Radcliffe as the title character much more in this film. If you’ve already seen it (or read it), you’ll understand why. If not, let’s just say that Harry employs some bizarre methods for accomplishing his tasks and it’s just plain fun to watch.

The film’s story is both interesting and fun, but for some reason I found myself bored at certain points. Granted, this is possibly because I have never read the books and, therefore, my understanding and appreciation are limited. But I kept getting excited during the build-up of a big scene and then, before I knew it, the scene was over and I felt like nothing special had happened. It felt like there were a lot of people almost doing things throughout the whole movie — and then the movie was over.

But what I’ve realized in the hours since I saw the film is that it was a masterful setup for the two-part finale. The more I replay the movie in my head, the more I like it. There’s a lot of story to cover in two hours and thirty-three minutes, so there may not be as much action as you might expect from a Potter movie. It is a transition of both the characters and the whole story. Our favorite teenage wizards are maturing, getting romantic and realizing that great sacrifice will be necessary now more than ever before. The Dark Lord is expanding his kingdom and his legions, and his network will be too close for Hogwarts to remain a safehouse. The film appears to focus more on telling us what’s about to happen rather than what is happening right now.

And so, as nice as it was to watch the Olsen twins grow up on Full House, watching Harry, Hermione and Ron mature into their own powerful characters has been even more rewarding, with the greatest rewards beginning to present themselves in the hilarious and emotional Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Mckay Stevens is a film correspondent for Rhombus. He apparently enjoyed Full House more than most.

FILM: The Oscars They Are A-Changin'

Written by Mckay Stevens on . Posted in Film

Does anyone remember when the Oscars were still on TV? All the stars in their glitz and glamor would walk the red carpet and be presented as nominees for the most prestigious awards in the movie industry. It was a real spectacle, and a chance for us as fans to see our favorite actors being recognized for their roles in our favorite movies. Ah, those were the good ol’ days.

Okay, okay, so the Oscars are still on TV. Barely.

In an attempt to bounce back from the lowest ratings ever received for the program, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the guys who do the Academy Awards) is announcing some serious change, and it all begins at the top: Best Picture.

Diverting back to a standard that hasn’t been in place since 1943, the Academy will be announcing twice the number of nominees for the Best Picture award. This means that the 2010 Academy Awards will feature ten (yes, 10) nominees in the Best Picture category.

So here’s how it works: according to the Academy website, there are over 6,000 members. Each belongs to a specific branch depending on their specialty. They vote for the five best that fall within their category. If the first film/person on their list gets eliminated, their vote will count for the second name on the list, and so on.

The Best Picture Award is slightly different, however. All members vote for their top ten movies of the previous calendar year. The ability to place ten titles on the list seems like a small change at first, but more underdog and “uncategorized” films are now sure to make the list, which will call for more loyal fans to participate in the Awards.

In the San Diego Union-Tribune, a similarly related article last week cited a quote from academy president, Sidney Ganis, responding to a follow-up question regarding the reason behind doubling the nominees for Best Picture: “I would not be telling you the truth if I said the words ‘Dark Knight’ did not come up.”

My guess is that most of our readers have seen The Dark Knight, which is the sequel to the famous rebirth of the Batman franchise, Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale and written and directed by Christopher Nolan. If you are one who has seen the film, you can most likely agree that it should have at least been nominated for Best Picture, although you may not be able to pinpoint the exact reasons why. I will briefly attempt to do just that, hopefully without detracting too far from the purpose of the article.

Although falling under the category of “comic book movie,” The Dark Knight was so much more than that. It was so unique to its own genre that it became a lost puppy of sorts. The acting was more than convincing (Heath Ledger was scary-good), the score was engaging (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard tag-teaming), the special effects, stunts and visuals were spot-on, and you could tell that not one person cut corners on their job. It was a monster of a film. It had certain expectations as a sequel and as a ‘comic book movie,” and it far exceeded both. It ended up being nominated for eight awards anyway, but it never made it on the Best Picture top five, even though many thought it should have.

So the question at hand here is: If a movie like The Dark Knight would have been among the nominees for Best Picture, would there have been more people watching? The Academy seems to think so and, therefore, changes are coming.

Considering all of this, I am going to be so bold as to suggest my list of Best Picture nominees for the 2009 year. Obviously we are barely into our seventh month, but I have done a lot of research to find what I believe will be voted as the ten best films of the year. Please take into account that I have not seen many of these films but I am basing my choices off the selections from previous years, the actors involved, the current hype and the new intentions of the Academy.

In no particular order, I present:

1. The Stoning of Soraya M. This is a shot-in-the-dark selection. A powerful topic, based on a true story, completely unique, Jim Caviezel is extremely talented, underdog film, and potential Best Picture quality based solely off that criteria.

2. The Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner has my vote for most underrated actor in Hollywood. The film looks gritty, new, raw and, with all joking aside, explosive. I actually doubt it would ever make it to be a real nominee for Best Picture but, with a few exceptions, this is a bad year for movies.

3. Cold Souls looks so intriguing I find myself wondering about it in random moments of the day. Paul Giamatti is one of those guys who acts because he loves acting, not because he loves money. It’s listed under “comedy” and the chances of something besides a drama making it to the realm of Best Picture are slim, but with five more slots being open, we could have some surprises on our hands.

4. Public Enemies has been one of the best reviewed films of the year and, with Christian Bale and Johnny Depp starring opposite each other, it just screams Oscar victory. I am positive it will be a nominee in several categories, including Best Picture.

5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince promises to be the most exciting Harry Potter yet. Last year I would have been mocked for even suggesting Harry Potter as a Best Picture nominee, but having ten spots open in a year full of copycat horror films and cookie cutter chick flicks, our list will be very expansive.

6. Angels and Demons is another gripping story from the talented Dan Brown. His ability to mix real-life organizations, artifacts and locations with fictional characters and settings has proven to be a much-craved recipe, and it appears to have transferred well to the big screen, at least for those who enjoy this type of literature. Also, Tom Hanks.

7. Burma VJ uses smuggled footage of a 2007 protest which included over 100,000 people and over 1,000 monks. Went to Sundance. ‘Nuff said.

8. Moon is a surprising pick for me, even though I picked it. I don’t know if I would have ever given Sam Rockwell that much credit (see GalaxyQuest). Moon looks startlingly great.

9. Away We Go has been the recipient of more praise than almost any other movie this year. It has a certain Juno feel to it, but with its own uniqueness and character. It’s a movie with heart, and I’m sure it will be recognized as something special.

10. Star Trek is a movie I am in love with. I generally like to keep my strong opinions as something you find as you read between the lines of my articles, but I simply cannot hide my infatuation with Star Trek. It is a complete film from start to finish. It satisfies the old school Trekkies and the newbies (generally speaking). It is the Dark Knight of 2009. Also, I saved it for last because it’s my favorite.

Chances are you will be tuning in to the Academy Awards on March 7, 2010. I say that with a seemingly shallow confidence, but I am confident nonetheless. More of your favorite movies from 2009 will be there, and it should give you more reason to be there as well.

Mckay Stevens is a film writer for Rhombus. He really liked Star Trek.

FILM: Utah Gets Ready To Go Hollywood

Written by Mckay Stevens on . Posted in Film

4,500 new jobs. Massive rebates. 20% tax credits.

This may sound like a government bailout, but it isn’t. These are the major highlights to Senate Bill 14, approved by the Utah legislature and scheduled to take effect tomorrow.

But what does this have to do with film? In a word: everything. SB 14 is an initiative that aims to bring even more major studio productions to Utah. It offers savings and incentives that will make shooting a picture here nearly impossible to refuse.

With roughly 90% of all film crew members hailing from Utah and possession of the widest spectrum of locations of any state, Utah is truly a one-of-a-kind establishment for quality productions.

The more frequent usage of our state for major productions means even more jobs for you. If it were not for the universities in Utah Valley with ever-expanding film programs, this may have been only a distant dream.

Once the bigger scale productions arrive, many of the crew positions, extras casting and even leading roles will all be found right here, plucked from amongst the students. For those who have always dreamed of a career in Hollywood: don’t move a muscle. Hollywood is coming to you.

Utahns really are about to become full-time participants in big budget film production.

Nothing can quite compare to working on a film set. It seems as though there is a consistent flow of adrenaline streaming right out of the lens and bringing a welcome infection to cast and crew alike. Working on-set is intense, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, everyone else can see it. The phrase ‘fake it till you make it’ does not exist on a movie set.

Now, by bringing this to light, Rhombus feels it necessary to also give you a few explanations and introductions to working in the industry. So sit back, pop some of that whole wheat, gluten/sugar/taste free, ‘I can’t believe it’s not Styrofoam’-based health corn, and enjoy.

  • If you’ve never worked in film before, you will find it difficult beginning anywhere other than a Production Assistant, or PA. The PA is responsible for absolutely everything that nobody else wants to do. You are the grunt man, the pawn, the servant. If you ever assume yourself to be more than that, you won’t have a job much longer. That being said, as soon as you learn the ropes of production assistant, it can be a very rewarding job, and your dedication in that area will usually start you on the path to where you’d like to be.
  • The vocabulary and methods of film vets is in a world of its own. If you don’t know the names of all the gear and the slang for the different aspects of the set and of the shoot, you will be lost. This article would be far too long if I listed everything about their slang and methods. The best way to prepare yourself is to find some related literature. I found this little tidbit called “The Production Assistant’s Pocket Handbook.” It’s a 63-page booklet containing everything you need to know and then some. I find the sub-heading more than fitting: “Because nobody has time to tell you what you need to know.”
  • You’ve seen them in the credits, but never known what they do. Grip: adjusts and maintains production equipment on set. Gaffer: head of the electrical department. Foley Artist: sound effects. Best boy: the two kinds are ‘best boy grip’ and ‘best boy gaffer.’ The best boys serve as assistants to the Key Grip and Gaffer.
  • What if I want to direct, produce or do something else on set?” Take it from someone who has been there, had the experience, and made his share of mistakes: you do not start right at the top. It would be a lie to say that nobody has ever done it, but I guarantee that whatever position you would like to hold on a film set, you will be better off by beginning at the bottom, because that’s what everyone else around you has done, and there’s no such thing as entitlement in this industry. You prove your worth by being dedicated to the position you’re in, and not necessarily the position you want. Even those with great ideas don’t become writers and directors overnight.
  • Avoid stepping on toes. There is a specific process from concept to production. It has always been there and the fruit of said process can be witnessed in the bounty of great films we have before us. Don’t try and change that. The old adage rings true, “Don’t speak unless spoken to,” but only in regards to trying to rewrite what is already in place.
  • And going hand-in-hand with the previously stated, I would add: Ask questions. Nothing will frustrate a director, 1st assistant director, line producer, or anyone else more than a person who prefers his pride over a few minutes of humble pie and a successful shoot. If you don’t know something, and even if you’ve already been told but forgot, you have to ask! Shooting days are budgeted down to the last dime, and if it drags on because some assistant or intern doesn’t know what he’s doing, it can be very damaging to a shoot and people may lose their trust in you.
  • Most (locally) are very forgiving of early mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. The point is that you look for your mistakes instead of waiting for someone else to point them out. It costs money, and nobody wants to pay you to lose their money. You will find in your experience that it is not the intention of veteran filmmakers to degrade you. They have all been in your shoes and understand the tremendous pressure you feel. Now multiply that by ten and you will begin to understand their pressure. They mean nothing personally, and you must learn from your mistakes and move on confidently.

If this post has scared you out of the film career you thought you wanted, please reconsider. There are strict guidelines you must follow, and many things you must know, but if you heed the previously outlined points, you will make it.

There are so many other aspects to this industry. We could go on for pages, but most would get bored and move on to another article. This should be a sufficient introduction for you, however, to the magical world of filmmaking. Welcome.

Mckay Stevens (NOT the one from the Vibrant Sound) is a film writer for Rhombus. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/S_Mckay.

FILM: Say Hello To The Slumbering Giant

Written by Mckay Stevens on . Posted in Film

I’d like to welcome you to the film page at Rhombus. As an introduction, I’d like to tell you more about what exactly you can expect from us.

Generally speaking, everybody loves movies. For decades, Utah has been known as somewhat of a ‘secondary hotspot’ for major film production. Furthermore, Utahns adore the movie theater. A big family means a big night at the movies or a big night at home with a movie. Either way, film has woven its own way into the fabric of our very society.

Unfortunately, the theater can suffer from droughts like those in this frenzied desert. Months may go by without a single drop of worthwhile entertainment. We begin to feel desperate and wonder what to do when this escape from reality provides no real getaway.

Enter Rhombus.

There is so much more to the Utah film scene than your local Cinemark. From film festivals to indie films to sitcoms to major feature films, the Utah film world is a thriving one, and we are offering you the best seat in the house.

We’ll bring you film reviews, festival reviews and locations, filmmaker interviews, links to interesting sites and much more. We will discuss anything and everything that falls within the realm of film. We will show you who is doing what, which films were made by people you know, and how you can be a part of the action.

Utah is so much more than “Mormon Cinema.” There is a force here, like a towering beast in a slumber, about to be awoken. But don’t worry, he’s a good guy.

Still looking for more? Send us a message at rhombusmag@gmail.com and we will include your inquiries and suggestions in future articles.

WEEKEND UPDATE: June 26th & 27th

Written by Steve Pierce on . Posted in Film, Music

It’s the weekend and, as such, the next two nights will undoubtedly be marked by thousands of college students sitting in their apartments, repeating the same tired refrain: “There’s nothing to do in Provo.”

While Provo isn’t exactly a bustling metropolis of nightlife, it certainly isn’t dead. There are cool things going on — you just need to know where to look. This is where we at Rhombus want to step in and offer you some advice. We’ve included below a list of some awesome, Rhombus-approved activities going down in the Provo/Orem/SLC area this weekend, as well as some must-avoid schlock that will do nothing but turn your nubile, young brains to mush.

So please peruse our merry list and check back next week for more delectable weekend exploits. And remember — if you still find yourself sitting on the couch this weekend, it’s not our fault.

WEEKEND UPDATE: June 26th & 27th

MUSIC

The Good:
Chris Merritt | Friday, 8:00 p.m., Velour Live Music Gallery (135 N. University Ave., Provo), $7
Contrary to popular opinion, Chris Merritt isn’t god in human form. The Merritt worship in Provo seems to have reached a record high in recent years and unnecessarily so. Don’t get me wrong: he’s a fine artist and certainly better than most alternatives. But the fact remains that his entire shtick is a shameless aping of Ben Folds. Given young Mormons’ natural proclivities for piano-based pop songs, the match was inevitable. However, regardless of the hype, Merritt is a legitimate artist with some great songs. (I challenge anyone to try and listen to “Dance Karate” without shaking their groove thing.) His Friday night show at Velour was especially booked by the venue’s owner, Corey Fox, as a rare solo show, featuring just the artist and his piano. Merritt billed the performance as an “intimate, sit-down, storyteller-type show” on his blog. As such, it won’t be a regular, standing-room-only show. There will only be about 150 seats available so, if you choose to attend, go early.

The Vibrant Sound (with RuRu and Marlee & Hayley Hernandez) | Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Velour Live Music Gallery, $7
This may very well be the local concert of the summer. Serving as the album release party for the Vibrant Sound’s new disc, Downtown, the show is sure to be packed with good tunes and fun times. To take it up even another notch (as if the much-anticipated VS disc wasn’t enough), folk phenom Isaac Russell, a.k.a. RuRu, will also be playing and — I’m not exaggerating here — you need to be there. Your musical salvation depends on it. Big things have been happening for young Isaac recently and the kid is going places, so take the opportunity to see him for pennies while you can. McKay Stevens has put together a top-notch lineup for his band’s long-awaited album release and Velour will undoubtedly be rocking all night. If you do only one thing this weekend, this should be it!

The Bad:
The Cab | Friday, 7:00 p.m., Kilby Court, $12
I can only imagine two things worse than seeing the Cab perform live: a) seeing Boys Like Girls perform live (July 7th! Oh no!), or b) being slowly beaten to death with my own arms. Enough said. Stay far, far away.

FILM

The Good:

Away We Go | Broadway Centre Cinemas (111 E. Broadway, SLC), Rated R
Starring: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels, Catherine O’Hara
Directed by Sam Mendes | Written by Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida
Good independent films don’t come to Utah very often. Just a few weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact that Away We Go wasn’t playing anywhere in the state on its opening weekend. My prayers were answered. This heartfelt indie flick has been receiving rave reviews and it’s easy to see why, given the ingredients. Mastermind Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) is in the director’s chair, working from the first original screenplay penned by perhaps the finest writer of our generation, Dave Eggers. Throw in a dynamite cast of outstanding actors and it’s easy to see why Away We Go has myself (and others) so excited.

The Bad:
Transformer: Revenge of the Fallen | All Theatres, Rated PG-13
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Robots, Explosions, etc.
Directed by Michael Bay | Written by Ehren Kruger & Roberto Orci
I will confess that I haven’t seen the second installation of Transformers yet and have no intent to do so. If the first Transformers film weren’t bad enough to convince you of the sequel’s complete and utter stupidity, just soak in what our good friend Roger Ebert (not the most discerning of critics) had to say about this monstrosity:

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

Yikes. But really, what else did you expect? It is Michael Bay…