February 3, 2003 |
Action movies are in David R. Ellis' bones -- part of his cinematic DNA you might say. A onetime stuntman on "Days of Thunder" and "Lethal Weapon," he's been shooting second-unit footage on high-end action projects such as "Patriot Games," "The Perfect Storm" and the upcoming "The Matrix Reloaded," for more than 20 years. Ellis has watched the genre evolve from straight-on action sequences in "Bullitt" and "The Dirty Dozen" to the pyrotechnics of "The Matrix."
September 10, 2004 |
Action thrillers are fun when filmmakers teeter at the edge of implausibility -- without slipping over it. If "Collateral" is an excellent example of how to go right up to the brink with finesse, "Cellular" illustrates what happens when a viable premise is spoiled by sheer preposterousness. The movie strains to divert audiences but short-changes them instead. Written by Chris Morgan from a story by shrewd veteran Larry Cohen and directed by David R.
September 3, 2011 |
Sharks have it bad enough as endangered, misunderstood predators with a terrible public relations image without seeing their serial-killing stardom drowned out by hammy acting and torture-porn villainy. But that's the take-away from "Shark Night 3D," a disposable hard-body-count B movie in which party-hearty college students (including "American Idol" alum Katharine McPhee) hit the Louisiana bayou for a weekend of looking tan and beautiful so moviegoers can hit the multiplex for low-rent "Jaws"-knockoff carnage.
August 31, 2009 |
It doesn't take 3-D trickery to see everything coming at you from a mile away in "The Final Destination," the silly and predictable fourth installment in the lucrative thriller series about pretty young people attempting to cheat death. Director David R. Ellis and writer Eric Bress, who previously collaborated on "Final Destination 2," unimaginatively rehash the earlier films' basic premise: Someone foresees a gruesome group death that may or may not play out in reality if the order of the originally envisioned victims can be disrupted.
January 31, 2003 |
In the first "Final Destination," 40 high school seniors from a Manhattan suburb take off from JFK for a 10-day Paris field trip with four teachers. The jet barely leaves the ground before it explodes, killing everybody aboard. The catch was that the disaster hadn't actually occurred -- yet. It was a premonition in one student's mind so vivid and terrifying he desperately tries to get everyone to disembark.
March 8, 1996 |
Giving voice to a dog's inner life is probably a noble pursuit, so it's inspiring to hear Michael J. Fox straining against his tether to do so in "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco"--even if the film exhibits a bit too much physical evidence of a dog's inner life to suit me.