Archive for the ‘Reviews '08’ Category

‘Jumper’ Steps Up

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

A young man matures in the energetic sci-fi tale about teleporting.
Minneapolis Star Tribune

With great power comes no responsibility in the high-concept science fiction adventure “Jumper,” about a young man with the ability to teleport wherever he wishes.

David (Hayden Christensen) discovers his talent at 15, leaves small-town Ann Arbor for Manhattan and lives the high life, making withdrawals from the city’s sturdiest bank vaults.

In young adulthood, living in a cool bachelor apartment that looks like a showroom for Toys for Multimillionaires, he watches a live news report on stranded flood victims who could only be saved by “a miracle.” And — he does nothing. With an insouciant shrug, he goes about his business, setting off for a round-the-world tour of beaches and singles bars that will have him back in his cozy bed by nightfall. Big Ben, Rome’s Coliseum and the Great Sphinx of Giza are seldom so slickly and appreciatively photographed.

It’s a testament to Christensen’s amiability that we don’t dislike David. You might feel guilty for laughing at his caddish complacency, but you probably will laugh nonetheless. How many of us, given unlimited powers, would make it our business to alleviate human suffering? George Clooney, maybe.

David’s immaturity seems a natural byproduct of his ability to do whatever he wants and get off scot-free. “Jumper,” which soon upshifts into over-the-top chase and action scenes, is gorgeous pop art on a grand scale, but it’s also a painless morality tale about taking responsibility, treating women as individuals and growing up.

Maturity is thrust upon David when a mysterious cabal of assassins called “paladins” track him down. He is not unique in the world, explains Griffin (Jamie Bell), who arrives out of thin air to rescue him, but doesn’t intend to make a habit of it.

As Griffin details, paladins snare “jumpers” in electrified nets that disable them, then gut them alive because “only God should have such powers.” These killers are more than willing to kill anyone their targets hold dear. And because a hop back to Ann Arbor has rekindled David’s feelings for his homegirl Millie (Rachel Bilson), he finally has something in his life worth fighting for.

And what battles they are! David tangles with the paladins’ ferocious leader (Samuel L. Jackson) in hyperactive brawls that turn the screen into a pinball table where the ball is hitting everything: lighting up, buzzing, clanging, ka-chinging.

Doug Liman (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) directs in deliriously dynamic punk-rock style. A punch thrown in Tokyo could knock an opponent into the Sahara; every showdown becomes a maelstrom of shifting locales and sly visual surprises.

Liman is in on the joke of superhero movies; the overkill here is laced with dark, ironic humor, a knowing wink to the audience that says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Griffin has a moment involving a red London double-decker bus that must be seen to be disbelieved.

The film’s mythology is very lightly sketched. We’re left to surmise for ourselves how this teleportation gimmick works and how the paladins operate. The battle is no deeper than a scrimmage between shirts and skins, and burdening “Jumper” with expository details would only have slowed down its careening momentum. This is a movie about young romance, sightseeing and blowing things up, not necessarily in that order.

Despite plot holes big enough to jump through (so to speak), it’s a thoroughly satisfying mash-up of action-mad spy thriller and sci-fi blockbuster. It’s positioned as the first installment of a trilogy and, if Christensen follows through on the character’s promise of greater charisma and depth, I’ll willingly line up for the next two.

Review: ‘Jumper’ Makes Right Moves

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Before he set out to make the new wondrous wormhole thriller “Jumper,” director Doug Liman took a book called “The Bourne Identity” and made it one of the biggest franchises of recent Hollywood history.

And looking at young David Rice (Hayden Christensen), the supernaturally gifted 20-something at the center of “Jumper,” it’s hard not to notice a few key similarities between the genetically engineered super spy Jason Bourne and Rice, a masterful manipulator of space and time.

For starters, they both possess in their very DNA an array of special gifts that allow them to transcend average human abilities. Second, they are both being hunted — pursued by men who are determined to destroy them for possessing the very gifts that make them so unique in the first place. Beyond all this, both Rice and Bourne are distraught as they come to learn that they are a liability to those they love.

Look to the likes of “Lord of the Rings” or even “Star Wars,” and you’ll see the same themes taking center stage: Gifted young men, learning how to achieve their potential, all while enduring pangs of loneliness. And so it is with “Jumper” that we see the familiar formula being dusted off for a new run around the bend, this time polished with a coat of digital-age hyperactivity (forget e-mails and instant messages, imagine a 24/7 Internet connection that allows teens to hop from continent to continent in the blink of an eye).

It all starts when Rice is a teenager in high school, when a bully tosses his gift to his would-be girlfriend out on the frozen lake. Walking out on the thin ice, he falls through, and in a moment of panic, he awakes to find himself in a pool of water in the local library.

The same thing happens later that night, as his abusive father bangs on his locked bedroom door. Terrified, he again wakes up in the library, and it doesn’t take him long to realize that he has “teleported.” Curiously, his discovery of this ability - to rip a wormhole in space-time that allows him to hope from one location to another — doesn’t seem to surprise Rice all that much — but then again, for a 15-year-old, maybe anything seems possible.

Jump forward several years and we see what Rice has done with his gift. Having robbed one bank after another by teleporting into their vaults in the middle of the night, an older Rice is rich, keeping hold of an apartment in New York, London and who knows where else. Having traveled to every continent, and tracked down the best “jump sites” in almost every country, his days consists of a global routine - having lunch in Australia, afternoon tea in Europe, dinner in Japan, and a late-night drink back in NYC.

Think of it like “The Bucket List,” only this time, instead of a pair of dying old rich men, it’s a bored, young rich superhero.

Doesn’t it get lonely for Rice, hopping continents but never knowing anyone? The movie doesn’t seem all that interested in discussing such things. But it’s when a nostalgic Rice sets out to reconnect with Millie (Rachel Bilson), that would-be childhood girlfriend, that he realizes there are some out there who see his gift of “jumping” as something dangerous.

While in Rome, he is attacked, by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), who seems to know an awful lot about men like him. If not for the help of Griffin (Jamie Bell), another young jumper who saves Rice’s butt and tells him the rules about this ancient war being waged between those who jump and the religious fanatics who see jumpers as the product of the devil, Rice wouldn’t stand a chance.

Much like “Bourne Identity,” Liman drops us in the middle of this world, and trusts that we’ll keep pace as things heat up — that we’ll come to understand the rules governing Rice’s jumps across the universe, to appreciate the back story of how his mom abandoned him at a young age and left him wanting to flee from his Michigan home, and to comprehend the war being waged between the likes of Roland and Griffin.

And for the most part, we do. It’s an undeniably trippy thing that Rice can do, and we come to appreciate the freedom he feels, unburdened by any concerns of money or geography, and also the emotional distance that accompanies that freedom.

It’s these themes that work better in “Jumper,” proving far more rewarding than the foot chases and shootouts with Roland. Unlike “Bourne,” there are no rules of gravity in Rice’s world. At any second, he can disappear and reappear, turning the tables on his attacker or teleporting away to grab a gun — a fact that sucks the danger right out of the movie.

Curiously, “Jumper” isn’t as exciting as it is interesting. Near the film’s end, we kind of wish they had stopped fighting long enough to explore Rice’s power, and its implications, a little bit more. But maybe that’s for the sequel.

‘Jumper’ hurtles competition, earns $27M

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The globe-trotting thriller “Jumper” leaped to a box office win with $27.2 million on a weekend when Hollywood offered something for everyone, with new films for action fans, teens, family audiences and the date-movie crowd.

Starring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson in the tale of a man who can teleport himself instantly to any spot on the planet, 20th Century Fox’s “Jumper” has rung up $33.9 million since opening Thursday, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The new wide releases opened a day early, Valentine’s Day on Thursday, to get a head start at what studio executives viewed as a long holiday weekend, with President’s Day on Monday.

“Valentine’s Day has become a great movie-going day,” said 20th Century Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston. “Even though kids are not out of school and people are working, it’s still a holiday in the sense that in the evening, men take their wives, or girlfriends and boyfriends go out. Everybody goes to the movies.”

Debuting in second place was Disney’s teen dance sequel “Step Up 2 the Streets,” which pulled in $19.7 million for the weekend and $26.3 million since Thursday.

Paramount’s family fantasy “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” featuring Freddie Highmore and Mary-Louise Parker in the story of a mom and her kids who move into a house menaced by evil creatures, opened at No. 3 with a $19.1 million weekend. Since Thursday, it has taken in $26.8 million.

Universal’s romance “Definitely, Maybe,” with Ryan Reynolds as a dad looking back on his romantic life after he’s served with divorce papers, premiered at No. 5 with a weekend haul of $9.7 million.

The previous weekend’s top movie, the Warner Bros. romantic comedy “Fool’s Gold,” fell to fourth place with $13.1 million, raising its 10-day total to $42 million.

Despite the rush of solid openings, Hollywood was unable to match the weekend business of a year ago. The top 12 movies took in $119 million, down 16 percent from the same weekend in 2007, when “Ghost Rider” opened with $45.4 million, the best debut ever over President’s Day weekend.

“A record-breaking debut for ‘Ghost Rider’ led to a record-breaking President’s Day weekend last year. Inevitably, that was going to be very tough to beat,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box office tracker Media By Numbers.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Tuesday.

1. “Jumper,” $27.2 million.

2. “Step Up 2 the Streets,” $19.7 million.

3. “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” $19.1 million.

4. “Fool’s Gold,” $13.1 million.

5. “Definitely, Maybe,” $9.7 million.

6. “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,” $8.9 million.

7. “Juno,” $4.6 million.

8. “The Bucket List,” $4.1 million.

9. “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert,” $3.3 million.

10. 27 Dresses,” $3.2 million.

Awake with Hayden Christensen

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

I have to admit. The movie “Awake” with Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba was way better and way more intense then first anticipated. When you think of a movie about someone who’s awake during surgery, but can’t tell anybody about it, you think, “boring!” However, the movie Awake is just the opposite as the twists and turns have you awake and thinking, “What the heck just happened?”
Hayden Christensen does his part
This was my first time watching Hayden Christensen in action. I am a pretty average movie watcher, but I have never heard of Hayden Christensen. In Awake, Christensen plays the character of a young wealthy business man. As wealthy as he is, you’d think he’d have obtained knowledge with that wealth. It turns out that this isn’t the case. During the entire movie, Christensen is surrounded by liars and deceivers who act as his friends only to gain knowledge of his personality so they can build wealth for themselves. Overall, Hayden Christensen played the role perfectly. I couldn’t have seen his character played by anybody else.
Jessica Alba’s Shocking Role
I’ll be honest with you guys. This wasn’t Jessica Alba’s best movie. To be honest, she didn’t really seem to do anything in the movie. It’s weird. She’s one of the main characters, but it’s almost as if she was not in it. In the end, everything connects, and I think you will all be surprised to the role Alba takes over. I can’t tell you what happens now. I don’t want to give it away.
Awake Scores an 8 out of 10
I think the movie was great. If it’s not in theaters any more, you must rent it. I watched it through On Demand. It’s well worth the few dollars. The only reason I docked 2 points from Awake’s score is because I didn’t feel that the movie was long enough. To top the cherry on the pie, it kind of just stopped at the end. Again, overall it’s a great movie. It’s especially fun for those people who like solving puzzles. I’d check it out. “Awake,” starring Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba. It’s not a must watch film, but it’s definitely a watchable film.

DVD Review:Jump Into Summer Movies- Jumper on DVD!!

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

If you managed to skip JUMPER when it hit theaters, you did miss something. I must be one of the few people in my rather large-ish circle of friends who saw this flick when it hit theaters. It did respectable business as long you are realize that it’s a *fun* movie- not meant to be taken so seriously but an action-oriented flick about a young man who finds out that he can teleport himself (or *jump*) anywhere he wants just by thinking about it -even inside a bank vault!)The point of the flick isn’t just that he can teleport himself but that there is a genetic mutation that creates this ability and that he has it. David,played by Hayden Christensen, uses it to escape the desperate existence of living with his father as the solo parent since his mom died or left when he was a small child. The brutal treatment by his father sets up the escape scenario and ultimately that David has left the area by a twist of fate where the town thinks he has drowned.The film is fun, truly action-oriented and one that the guys and teens will love because you see Rachel Bilson in it too and so there is some relationship between them on screen (and in real life because of the film).David finds out that he’s not the only jumper when he meets semi- antagonistic other “jumper” whom he partners up with belatedly played by Jamie Bell (aka Griffin in the movie). Surprisingly the filmmakers made little of Samuel L Jackson’s appearance (sporting white hair and a sort of Matrix-esque type attitude and style) as the bad guy in the entire movie.At one point, David decides to return to his home town, practically blows up an apartment building, because Jackson’s character is out to exterminate every jumper alive, goes back to his home and realizes that he must find his mother. That’s a lot of plot to pull off in a movie that’s light on sequencing other than jumping and not a lot of narrative dialogue.

What happens in the end is for you to find out as I am not going to spoil this movie. If you don’t like this, that’s ok. It’s not Oscar caliber material though they have actors who can actually ACT. However don’t blame me for wasting some popcorn and time watching the fun. It’s perfect summer TV stuff because I am sick of reality shows! If I told you what would be the point? It’s a fun movie. Get a bunch of friends over or get the family together with a big (read BIG) bowl of popcorn and watch the flick. It’s not too bad, it’s rated PG-13.

I actually liked it because it’s a vacation for the brain. You just sit back and enjoy the thrill ride!! There’s enough here for a sequel- hopefully they will not dumb it down and can get the cast back to do a second episode.

So head to Netflix, your local store to rent this or buy it (because it’s fun to watch) from lots of retail outlets and mass market stores or places like


Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Hold on to your seats and get ready for Jumper the first big action flick for 08. Imagine being able to jump through time? Davey played by Hayden Christensen has the power to teleport though time. He is on a mission to solve a family mystery and stay ahead of the law at the same time.

Having escaped his father Davey knows that he has a special skill. He can transport himself between different locations and times throughout the universe. His special skill earns the attention of corrupt government agent, Cox, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

Davey soon finds out that he is not the only one with this skill. Griffin, played by Jamie Bell joins Davey and they both become a high level target of the Government and other “Jumpers”. There has been a war going on between the Jumpers that they both find themselves caught in the middle of.

Jumper is a fast paced, high action thriller. Shot throughout the world on locations including Rome, Egypt and Mexico this is a visual stunning film. The special effects are over the top as you would expect. Jamie Bell is the stand out actor here; his scenes with Christensen come across well on screen.

Jumper, Now on DVD & Blu Ray from Fox Home Entertainment.

Jumper (Cert 12A) DVD Review

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

EVER been stuck in a situation where you wish you could shut your eyes and escape from it all?

And in escaping, what if a genetic anomally allows you to teleport to anywhere in the world and do, say or take whatever you fancy without any consequences?

That’s pretty much the premise for Doug Liman’s film Jumper, starring Hayden Christensen, last seen sporting a big black helmet and cloak as Darth ‘noooooo’ Vader and Jamie ‘he loves to boogie’ Bell.

Christensen is David Rice, deserted by his mother at five, raised by his abusive father and somewhat of a misfit at school – until he takes his first leap of faith that is.

Cut to 10 years later and David is living the high life, thanks to his hidden talents. He’s got pots of cash, a penthouse apartment and a licence to leap to wherever he wishes in the world.

It’s a lonely life though and when he encounters Roland, one of a group of secret service men sent to bring down the ‘jumpers’, he has something of an epiphany and goes back home for some answers.

It’s excellent action fare and a wonderful idea… wouldn’t it be a great super power to have up your sleeve when the going gets tough?

It’s just a little short and all gets tied up a tad too soon.

Rumour has it there may be a sequel on the the way … watch this space.