Screening Room: “Extremely Loud” & “Red Tails”

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Thomas Horn and Tom Hanks star in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

If you buy in, the overly melodramatic “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” can be a magical experience. It’s not a happy journey but a moving story that will likely leave you in tears and needing a hug.RUSS
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” could just have easily have been titled, “Extremely manipulative and incredibly contrived.” That doesn’t mean that this well made movie doesn’t have it’s merits, but Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel wrings its sentiment from a very easy target; the aftermath of 9-11.
Sure using 9/11 as the backdrop of this story isn’t entirely fair. Just the thought of that day will choke most people up. But what makes this movie so brilliant is Thomas Horn. The young actor narrates and carries every scene with his quirky personality in this odd coming of age slash father/son slash family drama.
Young Thomas Horn plays a brilliant 9-year-old savant who goes on a quest prompted by something he finds shortly after his father’s death in the World Trade Center disaster. Yes, you’ll probably be moved by the story. Who wouldn’t be touched by a child trying to cope with the tragic loss his father? But you may also resent having your emotions manipulated in such a calculated way.SHAWN
Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock are excellent in their limited roles. Max Von is fabulous and once again Viola Davis in a stirring cameo maximizes her five minutes of screen time with a powerful performance that left me speechless. That girl is good.
3 out of 5 Popcorn Bags.
I loved “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and found it moving and brilliant. 5 out of 5 Popcorn Bags.
Red Tails is a high flying and superbly executed story about the Tuskegee Air Men and all black fighter pilot squadron that got busy during World War Two. Produced by Mr. may the force be with you — George Lucas — who felt compelled to fund the entire $93 million project out of his own pocket. The dog fighting scenes are spectacular. Duh! But unfortunately the social injustices that these men had to endure have been reduced to minor issues and character development is non existent. Overall,  “Red Tales” which is a little too squeaky clean is a School House Rock version of an important chapter in American History with really cool effects. But the movie gets a strong 3 out of 5
Quick what number Underworld is Awakening? Well, it’s number four and the weakest of the bunch. It’s also clumsy, loud and messy. But dare I say slightly entertaining — in a video game sort of way. Kate Beckinsale still has it. She’s sexy. Just wish I knew what the heck was going on. Oh, wait the existence of vampires and Lycans have been discovered by the clueless humans and mayhem ensues. lots of mayhem. 2 out of 5
Also opening this week:
HAYWIRE is an action thriller from director Steven Soderberg starring mixed martial arts star Gina Carano. She plays a special ops agent on the run from assassins.
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: THE SACRED STAR OF MILOS is a fantasy anime adventure flick.

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