Movie news: “Amelia” “Saw IV” and “Vampire’s Assistant” get poor reviews


When I heard that two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank was playing aviation legend Amelia Earhart in the movie of her life, I actually squealed. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate person to play the icon, and was really anticipating the movie. But when I started seeing trailers for the film that made it look like a Lifetime Movie of the Week – lots of slo-mo glamour shots, sweeping music, and kissy-face with Richard Gere – I started to get a sinking feeling. Looks like I’m not the only one: the current critical consensus of “Amelia” says it’s a dud.

Amelia is a frustratingly old-school, Hollywood-style, inspirational biopic about Amelia Earhart that doesn’t trust a viewer’s independent assessment of the famous woman pictured on the screen. The mystery we ought to be paying attention to is: What really happened on the legendary American aviator’s final, fatal flight in 1937? But the question audiences are left with is this: How could so tradition-busting a role model have resulted in so square, stiff, and earthbound a movie? Why present such a modern woman in such a fusty format? Dressed for the title role in a wardrobe of jumpsuits, leather jackets, scarves, and slinky evening wear dashing enough to stop air traffic, Hilary Swank’s Earhart doesn’t so much talk as make stump speeches even 
 when she’s at her own breakfast table. 
 And director Mira Nair (The Namesake), working from an overexplanatory script by Ron Bass and Anna Hamilton Phelan (based on dual biographies by Susan Butler and Mary S. Lovell), overloads the picture with a cargo of messages, so much so that she deadens her subject’s spirit. Some of these talking points are aimed at today’s teenage girls who might admire the subject’s highly personal fashion sense; others go out to older women who cherish her feminist cred. All of them add up to banners that might as well be flown from an aircraft tail over a beach: Amelia Earhart lived free in life and love! And Fly! She! Must!

[From Entertainment Weekly]

The aerial photography in this biopic looks slick, as does two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the rangy pioneer aviatrix Amelia Earhart, who went missing in 1937 while trying to circumnavigate the globe in her flying machine. But, oh mama, the minute the characters open their mouths, the onslaught of clichés brings the movie down in flames. The god-awful script by Ron Bass (Rain Man) and Anna Hamilton Phelan (Gorillas in the Mist) is assaultive in its insistence that “dreams have no boundaries” and other sentiments that even Hallmark would reject as too much. “Who wants a life imprisoned in safety?” Amelia asks in a voice-over. And you want to shout, “This movie does, honey.” There’s not a real or spontaneous minute in it.

[From Rolling Stone]

This is a huge bummer. I guess I’ll wait for it to come out on Lifetime, or Oxygen.

In less surprising news, the sixth installment in the “Saw” franchise also left critics underwhelmed, begging the question: do we really need six of these crapfests? Someone please explain to me why these torture porn fests are getting greenlighted. Also looking to cause box-office nausea is the latest film to hop on the Vampire bandwagon, “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant,” which EW gives a generous D+. My prediction: “Where the Wild Things Are” will reign again this weekend – by default.

Here’s Hilary Swank with Mira Nair and Mariska Hargitay at the world premiere of ‘Amelia’ at the Paris theatre in New York City on Tuesday. Images thanks to .

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24 Responses to “Movie news: “Amelia” “Saw IV” and “Vampire’s Assistant” get poor reviews”

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  1. Sumodo says:

    Qiana is back, my friends. I swear I wore that bridesmaid dress in 1979. Just spray it down with Static Guard, and you’re good to go! link:,9171,941636,00.html

  2. NIKKI says:

    I’m going to see Ong Bak 2 at City Cinema @5:20p yaaaaay!

  3. Firestarter says:

    LOL@Sumodo! My mom boought me so many Qiana shirts as a kid. I cringe when I see the bright prints in photos! *shame face*

    I am sorry but Amelia seemed like a dog from the git go. I hate anything Gere is in lately (Nights in Rodanthe anyone? Yeah, I didn’t think so!), that Vampire thing, well it could have potential for me when it comes to HBO, and Saw 12,789? Again, when it makes it’s way to HBO, I will watch it.

    I am actually looking forward to that Tyler Perry film coming out with Mariah, Precious I think it’s called. It looks good and the buzz is that everyone, Mo’Nique and Mariah, plus the girl who plays Precious, are very good in it.

  4. hatsumomo says:

    You know who made a good Amelia? Amy Adams. In night at the Mueseum2.Yes I saw that movie and I liked it. She was so spunky as Amelia. I loved her hair in it too. I tried to pin up my hair short and put a wave in it and looked nothing like her. sigh. Just not ready to cut my hair that short.
    And we were thinking of seeing good hair and Vampire’s ass. this weekend. Just for fun.

  5. Sumodo says:

    @hatsumomo Amy Adams Amy Adams! (Jumping up and down like a spazz)

  6. Praise St. Angie! says:

    Vampire’s ass?

    (j/k, I know what you meant, but that made me laugh.)

    reminds me of something that happened at a former employer. someone sent something to our “Assistant Manager” and used abbreviations in the address so that it said “Ass Manager”. we laughed about that for MONTHS.

  7. hatsumomo says:

    heehee, should have seen that one!

  8. Munkey says:

    The “Saw” movies get green-lighted because they make shitloads of money. Sure, they suck (and I’m a horror fanatic), but they reel in the cash, which is all that matters to the studio suits.

    And I feel compelled to give a shout out to my favorite movie critic, Peter Travers. He’s intelligent and witty, but unlike so many of his peers, resists the urge to turn every review into a plodding dissertation.

  9. TwinkleToes says:

    Hillary should never smile with her teeth showing. Just saying.

  10. NIKKI says:

    Twinkle!!! you bad bad mofo! Love your comment! hahah!

  11. GatsbyGal says:

    Um, the title of this article says “Saw IV” and it needs to be “Saw VI”

  12. Tia C says:

    Yes, the Roman numerals were a little mixed up in the title there, but it’s referring to a stupid “Saw” movie, so does it really matter?

    I’ve seen the bad reviews of “Amelia,” but I don’t care, I still want to check it out and form my own opinion. I’ve been looking forward to that one for awhile. Besides, Lisa Schwarzbaum from EW gives frickin EVERYTHING a bad review, so her opinion holds absolutely no weight with me. (I know others reviewed it badly too, but I’m just sick of her haughtier than thou attitude…lol)

  13. Kathie says:

    Hatsumomo: I am sure you looked perfectly lovely! I think those are finger waves and were always the bane of my existence in school. They are a technique from the 20s & 30s and (allegedly) easy to do your harstylist might be able to teach you to do them and then you can look even better than Amy. I am unsurprised this film is a bow-wow Hollywood cannot deal with real lives or History of any type for that matter and also I wish that new movie hadn’t stolen what I believe should be the default term for all this Vampire rip-off crap “Cirque du Freak”

  14. Essie says:

    I think Hilary Swank is butt ugly and I refuse to see her movies. However, Amelia Earhart was not exactly a good looking woman. In fact, Hilary’s giant teeth come in handy for playing Amelia who had a load of teeth also!!! In fact, I can’t think of anybody else who could play Amelia. Amy Adams is far too beautiful to play her for real.

  15. Susette says:

    My nephew is a fan of the Darren Shan books, so I have to defend Cirque du Freak (The Vampire’s Assistant) a little bit. The books have been around for a while and the movie finished filming over a year ago. It just has the fortune/misfortune to have been put in theaters after the Twilight madness. Personally, I probably won’t see it unless the kid drags me to it, but technically it doesn’t rip anything off.

  16. Beth says:

    I liked the first Saw movie but then they decided to make them into the same old slasher movies. I’m shocked that Amelia is getting bad reviews. The buzz was Hilary was the frontrunner for the Oscar.

  17. watch saw says:

    Can’t wait going to see saw tonight looks awesome! :D

  18. Blanca says:

    I love the saw movies.

  19. Mandy says:

    Why would you refer to Saw as a “porn fest”? There is hardly any nudity and no sex scenes at all. Why must people label it a horror film and dismiss it without seeing them? They are brilliant all around, that’s why they make money. And Saw VI was terrific, as always.

  20. you sick people says:

    the Saw movies were referred to as “torture p0rn”, and they are just that. (hostel and others like it fall into that category, too.)

    if you want to see people being tortured, you can watch the real thing on line. there’s really no need to simulate it and sell it as entertainment.


  21. Persistent Cat says:

    I think what’s sick is Walmart and theatre owners that play the Saw movies but refused to play Zack and Miri Make a Porno because of the word “porno” in the title. Again, sex is bad but pointless violence is perfectly acceptable.

  22. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    It seems to be increasingly evident that the only good Hilary Swank movies are the ones in which she gets beaten to death.

  23. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    to be, rather.

  24. danielle says:

    Amelia Earheart was fascinating, but I don’t want to watch a 2 hour long Hallmark card – disappointing.

    Persistent Cat – loved Zach & Miri!