Thursday, August 30, 2007


Released: August 24, 2007

Reviewed: August 24, 2007

Rated: C+

Director Franc Reyes (Empire) knew he needed a solid team for this sophomore effort, and that’s exactly what he got. With John Singleton (Hustle&Flow) holding down the production side, Reyes remixed a classic mob film and came out with a hit. When Millie DeLeon (Wanda De Jesus) loses her husband to the street life, she vows to shield her son Wilson DeLeon, Jr. (Rick Gonzalez) from falling into his father’s footsteps. Little did she know that Wilson would have to step into his father’s shoes to defend the family name. After being spotted for the third time in 20 years by her dead husband’s affiliates, Millie is ready to pack up her two sons in search of a safe place. With Wilson Jr. being a strong-willed and very bright 21-year old college student now, he refuses to leave and demands answers. Fearing this day would come, Millie is forced to leave Wilson Jr. behind (not without leaving him a gun), to protect himself from the assassins hot on her trail. After a botched home invasion ends with Wilson Jr. shooting a man that came to kill his mother, Wilson Jr. decides that enough is enough. Tired of his mother on the run, Wilson Jr. takes the family matters into his own hands. Will he be able to persuade the man who had his father killed to accept a truce? It’s gonna take more than a gentleman’s agreement to end the hunt of his mother and Wilson Jr. knows it. Reyes did a decent job with Illegal Tender. This film is relatable and gut-wrenchingly real. With De Jesus’ Millie, there’s no doubt it’ll take nothing short of her death to breakup her family. Gonzalez again proves that he’s versatile and consistent at the same time. It’s not the best movie I’ve seen but it is refreshing, seeing as it’s a predominantly Latino cast and there’s nothing predictable about it. –ZS

Friday, August 17, 2007


Released: August 17, 2007

Reviewed: August 17, 2007

Rated: C+

Though expectations were pretty lofty for this high school-aged laugher, they didn’t seem unattainable. Two likable losers, the foul-mouthed Seth (Jonah Hill) and gentlemanly Evan (Michael Cera), were to give it their hormone-charged all to have sex once before college began, or until their parents realized they’d been subscribing to porn sites with their credit cards—whichever came first. And with Knocked Up masternut Judd Apatow producing, Superbad seemed as can’t-miss as getting some action from the drunk freak at the frat party. Sadly, this one came up super limp. Evan and Seth were as witty as 18-year-old virgins could be –“Nobody’s gotten a handjob in cargoes since Nam”- but the circus surrounding them was simply exhausting. The movie’s essentially about those two (and their geeky, tag-along of a pal, Fogell) using a fake ID to get some alcohol to a hot chick’s graduation party. Yeah, there’s one MILF, two bumbling cops with way too much camera time and, maybe, three side-splitting, politically incorrect jokes, but really it’s just about getting some booze to a damn party. What a bummer. DW

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Released: July 27, 2007

Reviewed: July 29, 2007

Rated: B

Master chef Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) seemingly has the recipe for success – she’s skilled, witty and practically runs Manhattan hotspot 22 Bleecker blindfolded. A self-professed control freak, Kate maintains her personal life much like her kitchen, without advice or interruption. Her perfectionism is put to the test when two people enter the picture, her nine-year-old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin) and new sous chef Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart). Upon meeting the free-spirited Nick, Kate immediately despises him. A rising culinary star himself, Nick sings Pavarotti while working; Kate enjoys the sounds of sizzling stir-fry and itemized orders being called out. Nick loves to make everyone around him laugh; Kate sees everything as a distraction. His informal approach to everyday life and cuisine couldn’t be more polar to hers, yet the magnetism between them is like peanut butter and jelly. Desperate to bridge the grief-filled gap between Zoe and herself, Kate takes her niece somewhere she feels safe—the restaurant’s kitchen. Nick and Zoe build an instant bond with their similar taste in food and jokes. Kate can’t help but gush at the sight of her niece’s smile. Still, she can’t help but believe this is all a ploy by Nick to steal her kitchen either. Forced into overnight parenthood, Kate learns to be ready for the unexpected all the while learning that life is, in fact, a cookbook filled with her own recipes. Director Scott Hicks (Snow Falling on Cedars) does an excellent job with this order. From the screenwriting to the soundtrack, this film is well-balanced. Eckhart shows that he’s a chameleon on the screen. Zeta-Jones masters down-to-earth classic beauty over the stove. Breslin captures our hearts again, further proving there’s only one thing more satisfying than a good meal…. A good movie. –ZS