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PCR # 308  (Vol. 7, No. 7)  This edition is for the week of February 13--19, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
One and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"Freedomland"  by Mike Smith
About Valentine's Day  by Dylan Jones
Florida Filmmakers Helping Each Other  by Mark Terry
Peter Benchley....Rondo Awards Voting  by Matt Drinnenberg
Cheney's Got a Gun....Thank You....You Can't Buy This Kind of Publicity....My Favorite Films--Chapter 7  by Mike Smith
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Columbia Pictures     
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard and William Forsythe
Directed by: Joe Roth
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 57 mins

Before I begin this week I would like to pay tribute to author Peter Benchley, who passed away this past weekend at the age of 65. Long time readers know that my favorite film is "JAWS," which was based on Mr. Benchley's novel. I had the great opportunity last summer to see Mr. Benchley when he spoke at JAWSFest and I will remember that moment forever. His book, and the film version, have had a large impact on me. I can honestly say that without it I wouldn't be writing this now. Thank you.

A story about a missing child. A drama about police and community. A comment on race relations in this country. Throw in the kitchen sink and you have the mess that is Freedomland.

Brenda Martin (Moore) shows up in the hospital emergency room hysterical and bloodied. She tells the police that she is the victim of a car jacking. During questioning by Detective Lorenzo Council, Brenda tells him that a black man stole her car. She then informs him that her four year old son was in the back seat. Her words start a chain of events that will take the surrounding community through hell and back. And sadly the audience as well.

Joe Roth used to be a very successful film producer and formed his own studio (Revolution) in 2000. Like the old Hollywood saying goes, "what I really want to do is direct." And so Roth has. He has filled Freedomland with so many slow motion images intended to draw the audience into the story that the almost two hour film seems like three. Joe, leave the directing to someone who knows how like, say Ridley Scott. Remember what a great job he did for you on Blackhawk Down? But it's not all Roth's fault. A terrible script with so many holes you could drive a truck through is a major co-conspirator.

The cast should be commended for taking this film seriously. Everyone in the cast has done great work. Jackson and Moore have five Academy Award nominations between them. Heck, one time Moore was nominated twice in the same year. Falco has two Emmy's for her work on "The Sopranos." And Forsythe and Eldard are excellent character actors. So why are they here? I have no idea. And neither will you. As I sat there watching the final slow motion image of a young man framed against the flames of a burning refrigerator box I couldn't help but think, "boy, I should have gone and seen Eight Below instead."

On a scale of zero to four stars, and because the cast tries so hard, I give  One and a half stars

This week's movie review of "Freedomland" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2005, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.