August 21st, 2007

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Stardust" is golden

"Stardust" is a victim of the law of diminishing, returns.
After Harry Potter month, the public may have become weary of visiting another realm of fantasy. It is too bad because "Stardust" is an entertaining movie with heart and provides a few lessons about morality and ethics.

Claire Danes is the central character "Stardust," a star who falls from the sky and is pursued by three diverse groups. The surviving sons of a dying king (Peter O'Toole) seek the power of Stardust to claim the throne. The aged Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her crone sisters want to eat the heart of Stardust to regain the beauty of their youth. Only Tristan (Charlie Cox) seeks Stardust for pure motives, the boy wants to woo the prettiest girl in his village.

The race to find Stardust mixes Grand Guignol humor with odd visuals and personality disorders. Robert DeNiro has an elongated cameo as the pirate, Captain Shakespeare, who is not as fearsome as his bloody reputation. The behavior of king's sons is contains all the annoying elements of being a 13 year old boy in a private boarding school.

Michelle Pfeiffer provides some visual highlights of her own. While she is in crone makeup throughout the motion picture, she is given some moments of siren and vain beauty. At one point she rides a charity powered by her beasts of burdens, goats. Yet Pfeiffer shines with comic frustration as her beauty fades as she races to eat the heart of Stardust.

As the central character, Danes is given one last opportunity to play an innocent ingénue reminiscent of her previous roles in "Romeo & Juliet" and "To Gillian on her 37th Birthday." As Tristan, Charlie Cox is likely to give Orlando Bloom some competition for future roles in Summer Blockbusters.

"Stardust" will be received better on DVD. It is a fun movie with well directed and easy to follow action sequences. It is a lighthearted **Pan's Labyrinth** and may be the only motion picture in which one can see Robert DeNiro perform an interpretive dance. "Stardust" provides more family entertainment than the "The Simpsons Movie."
Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

Time for "Rocky part 7?"

A Serbian village is hoping to channel some of Rocky Balboa's fighting spirit with a 10-foot-tall statue of the fictional boxer portrayed by Sylvester Stallone.

Zitiste, a village about 35 miles north of Belgrade that has been beset in recent years by flooding and landslides, unveiled the statue in the village square late Saturday.

The monument, unveiled as part of a music festival, is made of bronze and concrete. It was created by Croatian artist Boris Staparac.

Zitiste has repeatedly suffered flooding and landslides, gaining a disaster-prone reputation. Fed up, the locals contemplated how to change that image and revive the village—one of the poorest in northern Serbia—and came up with the idea of a statue of the tenacious fictional fighter.

"Our idea has really stirred the public," said local official Zoran Kasalovic. "Now, no one in Serbia can say they don't know about Zitiste."

Stallone, 61, portrayed Balboa in six movies, starting with "Rocky" in 1976.