I, Robot

Name: I, Robot
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 115
Description: Set in a future Earth (2035 A.D.) where robots are common assistants and workers for their human owners, this is the story of “robotophobic” Chicago Police Detective Del Spooner’s investigation into the murder of Dr. Alfred Lanning, who works at U.S. Robotics, in which a robot, Sonny, appears to be implicated, even though that would mean the robot had violated the Three Laws of Robotics, which is apparently impossible. It seems impossible because… if robots can break those laws, there’s nothing to stop them from taking over the world, as humans have grown to become completely dependent upon their robots. Or maybe… they already have? Aiding Spooner in his investigation is a psychologist, Dr. Susan Calvin, who specializes in the psyches of robots.
Stars: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan and Bruce Greenwood
Genres: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Pretty good. The sound effects were nicely distributed across all the channels. The score worked but was unmemorable. Will Smith’s ‘aaarghs’ did sound all the same.

Catwoman

Name: Catwoman
Year: 2004
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 104
Description: Catwoman is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips, a woman who can’t seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate conspiracy. What happens next changes Patience forever. In a mystical twist of fate, she is transformed into a woman with the strength, speed, agility and ultra-keen senses of a cat. With her newfound prowess and feline intuition, Patience becomes Catwoman, a sleek and stealthy creature balancing on the thin line between good and bad. Like any wildcat, she’s dangerous, elusive and untamed. Her adventures are complicated by a burgeoning relationship with Tom Lone, a cop who has fallen for Patience but cannot shake his fascination with the mysterious Catwoman…
Stars: Halle Berry, Sharon Stone and Benjamin Bratt
Genres: Action, Crime, Fantasy

Okay, uh, what was that? I’d have liked it if the company had accidentally turned her into Catwoman with one of their products, but this… Senseless action, stupid plot twists (cats reviving humans, for God’s sake…)… I just kept watching because it’s too late to start watching anything else. This was really ridiculous. Sharon Stone’s husband has the worst fake British accent I’ve ever heard. Pff, waste of time.

One interesting note about the audio description: they used a woman for the story, but a man to read the credits. Nice touch.

The Forgotten

Name: The Forgotten
Year: 2004
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 91
Description: A grieving mother, Telly Paretta, is struggling to cope with the loss of her 9-year-old son. She is stunned when her psychiatrist and her husband tell her that she has created eight years of memories of a son she never had. But when she meets the father of one of her son’s friend who is having the same experience, Telly embarks on a mission to prove her son’s existence and her sanity.
Stars: Julianne Moore, Dominic West and Christopher Kovaleski
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

It wasn’t bad, certainly not as bad as Rotten Tomatoes claims it is. The only huge flaw came when Julianne Moore says to her sidekick: ‘Do you think your daughter is still alive?’ And then he goes, ‘Maybe, yeah, I dunno,’ in such a ridiculously uninterested manner that it was laughable. But the plot itself was quite interesting and I liked how they kept up the tension till the very end. The very last scene, however, ruins it. Julianne Moore is great as usual, but, also as usual, tends to overplay the frantic part. But what’s worse, Moore being frantic or telling Moore at the very end that — spoiler alert! — the aliens did it? If you’ve got Julianne Moore as your protagonist, put a little thought into it, for God’s sake.

James Horner’s score is effective and at times quite moving (the opening cue, for instance). I didn’t really like the electric guitar, but the Inception-like dreamy sound effects at the end were quite interesting.

The Stepford Wives

Name: The Stepford Wives
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 93
Description: Joanna Eberhart, a wildly succesful president of a TV Network, suffers a nervous breakdown after a series of shocking events and is moved by her milquetoast of a husband, Walter, from Manhattan to the chic, upper-class and very modern planned community of Stepford, Connecticut. Once there, she makes good friends with the ascerbic Bobbie Markowitz, a jewish writer who’s also a recovering alcoholic. Together they find out, much to their growing stupor and-then horror, that all the housewives in town are strangely blissful, and somehow… doomed. What is going on behind the closed doors of the Stepford Men’s Association and the Stepford Day Spa? Why is everything perfect here? Will it be too late for Joanna and Bobbie when they finally find out?
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick
Genres: Comedy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Not sure what to say.

First, David Arnold’s score is fantastic! End credits still playing here. I love the blend of romance and comedy. The ball music is a true gem too.

As for the story… I was interested in the beginning but began to have serious doubts as it progressed. The concept is intrigueing enough, but the acting/script was just off. Nicole Kidman also slightly overacted (I keep writing that, don’t I?). As Claire was telling us why she had done what she did, I really thought they were taking things too far. And is it me or does Christopher Walken have a strange accent?

On a final sidenote, the audio description was okay, except for the fact that it was crackling horribly all the time.

The Machinist

Name: The Machinist
Year: 2004
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 101
Description: Trevor Reznik is a lathe-operator who suffers from insomnia and hasn’t slept in a year. Slowly, he begins to doubt his sanity as increasingly bizarre things start happening at work and at home. Haunted by a deformed co-worker who no one seems to think exists, and an ongoing stream of indecipherable Post-It notes he keeps finding on his fridge, he attempts to investigate what appears to be a mysterious plot against him and, in the process, embroils two women in his madness.
Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Excellent.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Name: Harry Potter 3-Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
Year: 2004
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 141
Description: Harry Potter is having a tough time with his relatives (yet again). He runs away after using magic to inflate Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge who was being offensive towards Harry’s parents. Initially scared for using magic outside the school, he is pleasantly surprised that he won’t be penalized after all. However, he soon learns that a dangerous criminal and Voldemort’s trusted aide Sirius Black has escaped from the Azkaban prison and wants to kill Harry to avenge the Dark Lord. To worsen the conditions for Harry, vile shape-shifters called Dementors are appointed to guard the school gates and inexplicably happen to have the most horrible effect on him. Little does Harry know that by the end of this year, many holes in his past (whatever he knows of it) will be filled up and he will have a clearer vision of what the future has in store…
Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

I’m trying to watch these films without thinking about the novels now and the result is really interesting. Cuarón did his own thing with Rowling’s world and it payed off too. Nearly a perfect result, except for some minor issues: the first part of the time-travelling sequence does some weird things with the time in question (Harry and Hermione can’t possibly have the Pettigrew discussion in the short space of time in the initial sequence, but I loved Dumbledore waffling about the strawberries). The Marauders’ backstory also isn’t covered well at all, though I suppose one receives enough hints throughout the rest of the films to understand it. I’d forgotten how good Emma Thompson was too, and of course Rickman (is he really gone?) The score is really interesting and I absolutely love the medieval-sounding parts. Great film all in all.