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Original post made by Bill Johnson, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, on May 30, 2006

Movies are a big source of entertainment for Palo Alto residents and we welcome your recommendations, comments and reactions to our movie reviews in the Palo Alto Weekly and on Palo Alto Online. With lots of Netflix subscribers in Palo Alto, feel free to post recommendations on DVDs too.

Comments (5)

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Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on May 30, 2006 at 10:11 am

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

I look forward to reading and responding to topics about the cinema scene, from DVDs to theatrical releases. The big movie news this week was the impressive opening of the new "X-Men" film, which soared at the box office over the Memorial Day weekend and helped invigorate an otherwise lackluster year as far as box-office receipts are concerned. Look for one of this weekend's opening -- "An Inconvenient Truth" -- to receive a great deal of attention.

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Posted by Trivial Pursuer
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 2, 2006 at 10:40 am

Here's a film you might not have seen before: John Sayles' "Return of the Secaucus 7" which is essentially a more down-to-earth "Big Chill" before Lawrence Kasdan ever thought up the "Big Chill."

The first scene, where we see a toilet being cleaned, may put off some. But stick around. The film is a great character portrait and an intriguing launching pad for one of the better independent film makers of the past 30 years.

Check it out!

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Posted by Nat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2006 at 3:56 pm

Do not go to see "Monster House"! It is a horrible film, for both adults and children. It has objectionable stereotypes, loud persistent music to artificially crank up the excitement which is inadequate, and lacks humor. The movie is actually boring for adults. It is simply repetitive and violent. Probably too scarey for little ones. We also found it depressing.

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Posted by Fei
a resident of another community
on Apr 10, 2007 at 9:14 pm

Sunshine (2007)

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Chris Evans, Rose Byrne, Hiroyuki Sanada, etc.

It is impossible to classify this smart film into any particular genre. It starts off on a sci-fi premise and morphs into a suspense flick in the middle and ends on a philosophical note. The latest film from Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting, is certainly worth a watch.

In the near future, the spacecraft Icarus II is on a mission to the re-ignite a fading Sun by dropping a bomb on it. On their way there, they detect the presence of Icarus, the lost spacecraft of the crew that failed on the same mission seven years earlier. The resident physicist, Capa, makes a fateful decision to change their course to meet with Icarus, a decision that leads to an addition to their spacecraft in the form of a deranged killer.

At its heart is an optimistic message to intellectually-equipped youths unprepared for the real world. Capa, played by Cillian Murphy, is the central character in the story. He grows from zero to hero. Initially a background player in the crew (his sole function on the spacecraft is to detonate the bomb), he becomes a decisionmaker when the captain Kaneda (played with steely strength by Sanada Hiroyuki) gives him the power to decide whether to divert their course or not. Finally he is forced to abandon prudence and embrace instinct to fight against a deranged killer.

Along the way, the audience is treated to awesome visual effects of the Sun’s fearsome power. Scientific jargon and innovations such as the oxygen supply farm would appeal to geeks in the know but they confuse the layman at times.

This show does not lack in human drama, like the typical space-disaster movie: someone always has to sacrifice himself for the mission; and each crew member eventually dies by his or her passion. This is incredibly sad when such realities are in your face.

Atypical of the classic space-disaster movies is the sudden switch midway through the film, when Boyle cranks up the horror and suspense, by the superimposition of images and a predator-hunting-prey sequence a la the Alien movies.

Three-quarters way through the movie changes tack again and asks the question: do Man have the right or power to challenge nature? This philosophical question, however, was left unanswered in a predictable ending, which was a disappointment for this reviewer but nonetheless does not mar the overall enjoyment of the movie.

Verdict: Worth a watch!

(just my two cents worth - Fei)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2007 at 8:38 am

Offside - a movie in Farsi opening in San Jose April 20th.

Since we have had the success of reading "Funny in Farsi" and also the write up about Persian New Year in the Weekly recently, I thought I would pass on this information.

Offside is a movie about teenage girls in Iran who want to see the World Cup soccer matches. It is against the law for women to attend sports so the girls disguise themselves as boys to attend the event.

The movie is being shown in the downtown arts cinema and is in Farsi with English subtitles.

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