A gimmicky thriller without much of a gimmick or many thrills, “Vantage Point” suffers, too, from being out of synch with its time. Its premise may be current — an assassination attempt at an anti-terrorism summit — but its tone is off. A good thriller — or even a good episode of “Law and Order” — uncovers our underlying fears, recognizes that they are closely tied to curiosity, and pushes them to the point of pleasurable fear and cathartic release. This film clumsily builds on the headlines with a simplistic story that, even told in mosaic bits and pieces is obvious and clunky, with big logical gaps. It would be more intriguing to see the same story told several times from different perspectives, each one adding another layer of information, if the underlying story was worthwhile. But this story of a terrorist attack at an anti-terrorism summit, is too thin to withstand the repetition. Instead of making it deeper and more complex, the retellings get tiresome and overblown.
PalTalk has a site where you can put in any name — yours or a friend’s — and it will create a remarkably real-looking news broadcast about how the name you type in has become a massive nationwide political phenomenon and could just be elected the next President. Very clever! And very funny.
Get ready for the upcoming release of the first American Girls feature film, “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl,” starring Abigail Breslin, with the DVD series, The American Girl Movie Collection, including “Samantha – An American Girl Holiday,” “Felicity – An American Girl Adventure,” and “Molly – An American Girl on the Home Front.” These are fine introductions to history for children and fine stories of brave young girls dealing with challenges at home and in the greater world.
Just after the Children’s Television Workshop realized that if children could memorize advertising jingles they could learn the alphabet and numbers and other important lessons through lively short films for PBS, a group of advertisers and educators got together to create “Schoolhouse Rock,” a series of fifty-two short films with irresistibly catchy songs about history, grammar, math, science, and economics shown on ABC in the 70’s and 80’s.
Schoolhouse Rock was discontinued because for technical reasons it did not count toward the network’s obligation for educational programming. But the films are delightful and the content is valuable. They are available today on DVD and YouTube. Here is one to help children understand why we celebrate Independence Day.
Families will also enjoy Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks with covers of “Schoolhouse Rock” songs by indie all-stars like Blind Melon, Moby, and Daniel Johnston.
Tribute: Wes Craven We mourn the loss of director Wes Craven, who knew what scared us and knew how much we loved being scared. His series films included "Scream," "Nightmare on Elm Street," and "The Hills Have Eyes." My friend Simon Abrams interviewed Craven for ...
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