The big-screen welcomes back Stuart Little, after his 1999 computerized debut that pleasantly surprised audiences with polite-mannered, pragmatic, homespun dilemmas triggered by a fantastic little man — or mouse. But the second time around, the littlest Little has lost some of his charm.
Drive-in-flavored arachnid anarchy in a post-drive-in era, Freaks is funny, but keeps the action serious enough to make you jump and squirm as humans are swallowed up by trap-door spiders or web-mummified for a treat later on — with David Arquette.
Basing his script on actual catastrophic events, screenwriter Christopher Kyle distills them into a drama of true heroes. And director Kathryn Bigelow earns her stars and admittance into was has been almost exclusively a men’s club of major action filmmakers.
Director Sam Mendes' follow-up to his acerbic debut, American Beauty, has been adapted by Daniel Self from a graphic novel (i.e. ambitious comic book) and this may account for the film's curious shortcomings. Though visually it can't be faulted, it's not nearly as resonant as it could have been — with Tom Hanks and Paul Newman.
The idea that cinema is life has always been the heart of Cinema Paradiso (1988). Director Giuseppe Tornatore has rescued 51 minutes of footage from the cutting room floor to create his truly Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. And the lengthy additions to the film’s final act ironically redeem its love plot.