Inside Man was in the “almost, but not quite there” department. It was a very clever movie about a very clever bank robbery. It had very clever dialogue, very clever shots, and even very clever direction… well, right up until they had to resolve the story. It was there that the cleverness fled only to be replaced by seriously amounts of, “I can’t believe they are falling into that garbage.”

insdie2.jpgYou have heard many times before that any film with Clive Owen starts off with a thumbs up in my book. I was even willing to overlook the horrible abundance of product placement. Sure, Denzel Washington turned in what can only be described as a standard Denzel performance, sure it was good to see Jodie Foster in anything, and once again, Clive was impeccable, but the oh-so-clever little film fell flat once the moral was revealed.

At first I was impressed to see Spike Lee doing such a good job with a film that didn’t stand on some overdone moral high ground… it was all a hoax. In the end this was just another preachy film preaching a tired story. The real bad news is that the sequel is scheduled for release in 2008. Groan.

RATING 7 out of 10

pasnys-1.jpgPan’s Labyrinth was a total shocker. From the previews, I was expecting a fairy tale. I literally thought I was in for fairies, goblins, and all manner of fantastical creatures. Sure, there was some of that in PL… but this is no kids film.

I was blown away by the sheer violence and gore. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bloodbath film, but this just seemed a bit too gratuitous. The story itself was okay, but in reality it was just a retelling of an old theme with added gore.

One of the reasons I watch films is to be surprised… to not know what to expect… to have a film lead me somewhere as I follow engrossed in it all. The only thing that wasn’t standard “I know what comes next” fare were the occasional bouts of violence. I have seen both storytelling and violence handled much better.

RATING 6 out of 10