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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Mini Reviews: February 13
by John P. McCarthy

Here are the Mini Reviews from Cineman Syndicate for three films opening on February 13, 2009:

CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. Hollywood's reputation as a recession-proof industry is put to the test by this fairy tale concerning a spendthrift fashionista (Isla Fisher) who racks up a mountain of debt while writing an advice column for a NY-based financial magazine. She may fool her downy editor (Hugh Dancy) but her credit with the audience gets maxed-out early on. Yearning to be a frothy screwball comedy, the picture has a humor deficit that all the slapstick in Fort Knox couldn't offset. It condones materialism and shuns the discipline necessary for escapism. Retail therapy simply isn't an option these days. Thrift is in, so save your hard-earned money. (PG) BORING ROMANTIC-COMEDY. Director - P.J. Hogan; Lead - Isla Fisher; Running Time - 100 minutes. 

THE INTERNATIONAL. The villain in this non-pandering thriller is a nefarious Luxembourg bank that, for reasons that go unexplained, serves as Moby Dick to an Interpol agent's Captain Ahab. Clive Owen plays the obsessive investigator and Naomi Watts is the assistant district attorney from Manhattan he's working with. Although the plot's connective tissue is thin and much of the dialogue abstract, the architectural settings are dazzling and the tense atmosphere keeps you glued. Proving that a movie's tactile qualities trump theoretical musings, the best scene by far is pure action -- a long gun battle inside New York's Guggenheim Museum. It's one you won't soon forget. (R) GOOD THRILLER. Director - Tom Tykwer; Lead - Clive Owen; Running Time - 116 minutes. 

UNDER THE SEA 3D. Multiple varieties of cuttlefish dominate the latest IMAX movie from the makers of Deep Sea 3D and Into the Deep 3D. Peculiar creatures from the coral rich waters of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia's Great Barrier Reef are showcased. A field of Garden Eels is amazing, as are the means of camouflage adopted by many of the marine animals on display. In its role as an educational vehicle, the film encourages viewers to pay attention to how man is damaging this fragile ecosystem and the overall environment, which makes one wonder about the carbon footprint of the production. Jim Carrey unctuously intones the narration. (G) FAIR DOCUMENTARY;  Director - Howard Hall; Running Time - 40 minutes. 

(All three capsule reviews by John P. McCarthy.)


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