July 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Rob Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
Directed by: David Slade (“30 Days of Night”)
Written by: Melissa Rosenberg (“New Moon”)

“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” has a few factors working in its favor that the two prior installments were sorely lacking. With more humor, feasible action scenes, and less-tacky romantic interludes, the teenage vampire-werewolf pairing manages to give the series a bit more entertainment value than before right at its midway point. It’s just too bad the actors still have to open their mouths and actually say things.

In “Eclipse,” jealousy hits an all-time high as vampire hunk Edward Cullen (Rob Pattinson) and wolf boy Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) continue to vie for the love of human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart).

This time, however, the monster men must put their detestation for one another on hold and team up so they can protect Bella from killer vampiress (Bryce Dallas Howard who takes the role over from Rachelle Lefevre) and a brand new threat she has formed. An army of vampires led by Riley (Xavier Samuel), a missing college student from Seattle, has been transformed by Victoria and sent out to recruit “newborn” bloodsuckers.

“Twilight” fanatics will be pleased to know that while the cast doubles in size in the newest film, the love triangle between Bella, Edward, and Jacob still takes precedence over any additional plots that keep the saga moving forward. Along with the tweeny melodrama, Bella continues where she left off in “New Moon” and still longs for Edward to make her immortal.

Directed by David Slade (“Hard Candy,” “30 Days of Night”), “Eclipse” is the best of the franchise. That, however, doesn’t say much since “Twilight” and “New Moon” – despite raking in hundreds of millions of dollars and being adored by a committed fan base that actually think Stephanie Meyer’s books are well written – are nothing more than the equivalent of a supernatural Disney Channel-type show.

While darker and a bit less ridiculous that the first two movies, “Eclipse” is still adapted from sappy source material into a tired script by screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg. “Eclipse” – along with its next two installments – won’t have any trouble reeling in the alliance of screaming teenage girls and creepy moms that are already hooked, but no amount of Robert Frost poetry (“Fire and Ice” is recited in the opening scene) or ripped abdominals has made this sexless, angst-driven fad a memorable franchise thus far.

Remember Me

March 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Rob Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper
Directed by: Allen Coulter (“Hollywoodland”)
Written by: Will Fetters (debut)

If British actor Robert Pattinson has proven anything to us during his six-year career in Hollywood it’s that there are many ways to look forlorn without showing any real emotion.

Pattinson doesn’t need to be a bedazzled vampire hunk to get his pout on in “Remember Me,” a drama that exhibits a slew of characters feeling sorry for themselves for nearly two hours before the surprising albeit gimmicky twist at the end tries desperately to be affecting.

In “Remember Me,” Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, a NYU college student with daddy issues who continues to struggle with the death of his older brother. First-time screenwriter Will Fetter writes Tyler’s father (Pierce Brosnan) as a cold and distant lawyer with little time for his family. It’s a personality trait that infuriates Tyler mostly because his pop pays little attention to his youngest kid Caroline (Ruby Jerins, the best part of the film). It’s also a plot point Fetter flip-flops on later without much motive.

While “Remember Me” likes to flaunt its dysfunctional family elements, this is a love story…mostly. After Tyler is arrested one evening by Sgt. Neill Craig (Chris Cooper), his roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) somehow talks him into asking the cop’s daughter Ally (Emilie de Ravin) out on a date as some type of lamebrain idea for revenge. Here, too, Fetter offers no real purpose behind these characters’ decisions. Tyler gives no evidence that he is the type of person who would do something like this, so why set it up that way?

Nevertheless, the courting begins as Tyler and Ally lean on each other for emotional support (Ally’s mother was murdered in the subway a decade prior to her fling with Tyler and her overprotective father has suddenly become abusive). The time can’t pass fast enough as Tyler and Ally exchange sob stories as well as tacky and cliché dialogue from Fetter. He seems to be writing for the prejudiced tween audience who is simply trying to pass the time until Pattinson’s Edward Cullen returns for “Eclipse.” Words such as “Fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch” might read like a genuine sentiment if it was etched on a tombstone, but no one says stuff like that out loud.

Tweens may love the way Pattinson dishes out “freaky, poetic crap,” a phrase Aidan uses to describe his misunderstood and sensitive friend, but this unrealistic romance is built on unstable concepts, overacted melodrama and limited chemistry from the leads. Even Pattinson can’t charm his way out of this one.