Wrath of the Titans: Forget the Kraken!

by Ethan Alter March 30, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Wrath of the Titans:</i> Forget the Kraken!

Pity poor Wrath of the Titans; arriving in theaters a week after The Hunger Games stormed the box office with its youthful heroine, stripped-down action sequences and pointed social commentary, that film makes this overproduced, underwritten F/X extravaganza look about as ancient as the Greek myths it's (very loosely) based on.

The Debt: Keep On Playing Those Spy Games

by Ethan Alter August 31, 2011 6:00 am
<i>The Debt</i>: Keep On Playing Those Spy Games

The Debt has one of the worst endings to an otherwise well-crafted thriller in recent memory. It's not just that the final 10-15 minutes are full of illogical contrivances (though they are) -- it's that they fundamentally contradict the movie's intended message. As star Helen Mirren informs us in a voiceover that precedes the closing credits, our takeaway is supposed to be that lies -- even the well-intentioned variety -- will inevitably be uncovered and the guilty may not always be brought to justice. But while she's soberly intoning those words, the events occurring onscreen tell a very different story, one that tries to put a positive, crowd-pleasing spin on what's otherwise a darker, more emotionally complex story. (Don't worry -- as much as I'd like to prepare you for the silliness of the ending, I'll restrain myself from giving it all away.)

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