Valdosta Daily Times


March 12, 2013

‘Jack the Giant Slayer’ grows on you


VALDOSTA — Movie Review: This is follow-up to 2010’s “The Last Exorcism” (Director: Daniel Stamm), which was nominal. If the prequel was supposed to be the last exorcism, why does this one exist?

Sequels are always in demand when prequels made money. This sequel is a waste of time and not nearly as effective as its prequel.

Nell Sweetzer (Bell) has found a new place in Louisiana, a happy life. Her situation does not remain that way. The evil force that haunted and possessed her years ago has returned with a sadistic plan. It turns out the demon is in love Sweetzer and wants to seduce her.

Talk about the stalker you do not want. Sweetzer is in the worst relationship. Bell plays the character with a certain creepiness that screams institutionalization is needed, yet everything around her fails to be noteworthy or memorable.    

Grade: D- (Please be the last.)


“Phantom” (War Drama: 1 hour, 38 minutes)

Starring: Ed Harris, William Fichtner and David Duchovny

Director: Todd Robinson

Rated: R (Violence)

Movie Review: Ed Harris plays Demi, the captain of a Soviet submarine. He is a commanding officer secretly suffering from seizures. His medical condition surfaces at an inconvenient time. Demi and his crew execute a classified mission under the directions of a rogue KGB group, led by Bruni (Duchovny). The Russian sub’s mission is a secret, even to the crew of the submarine, but their mission has something to do with the United States and a nuclear weapon.

This film’s biggest faux pas is that it does not create a setting to match its story. It is based on true events, but the crew does not feel like a Russian group. Instead, this feels like a slight documentary and drama that fails to convince.

The cast is a group of swell actors. They do their best, but this screenplay allows little time to know the characters in a way that feels non-American. Sometimes, the application of foreign accents helps the setting. If only the players employed a Russian accent — at least, this would feel like it was about a Soviet submarine.

Instead, this feels like just a story, and it does not stand out as a prominent production about military heroes and zealous government operatives.

The conclusion is perplexing because it tries to bring meaning to what transpired via artistic license. If the story and the actions of the characters do not do this, a quasi “in memoriam” tribute is no good either.

Director Robinson (“Lonely Hearts,” 2006) is known for his documentaries mainly. Robinson never embraces the needed will to make this the drama it needs to be.

Grade:  C (An intriguing story made unconvincing.)


“21 & Over” (Comedy: 1 hour, 33 minutes)

Starring: Miles Teller, Skylar Astin and Justin Chon

Directors: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore

Rated: R (Profanity, alcohol-drug usage, nudity, crude humor, sexuality, sexual innuendo)

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