Yes, it happened again -- a big horror film wasn't screened for critics. Is anyone surprised? I think I'm going to start mentioning this phenomenon only when studios have the balls to screen something they think critics might not dig, because at this point, that's much more notable than another film being hidden. American Dreamz and The Sentinel were offered to critics, and their conclusions, in sum, are that Tony Yalda is a genius (Paul Weitz not so much), and that The Sentinel is either thrilling and riveting or it's not. Details and copious links follow.
- American Dreamz: Like Kim, everyone and her brother sets some space aside in their reviews to praise Tony Yalda, who plays Omer-the-terrorist's queeny cousin. Apart from him, though, few have much good to say about the film, though a handful of critics find the chaos enjoyable, despite its lack of satirical teeth.
- The Sentinel: Reviews of this one are pretty mixed, and both sides are equally passionate. Some feel it's a well-constructed, tense thriller, while others (some of whom are unable to resist a 24 comparison), find it boring and absurd. Special credit this week goes to Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe, who wonders if Kiefer Sutherland can do anything other than save the world, asking "Can he dance? Does he juggle?" (Personally, I'm troubled by the fact that no major reviewers bother to mention that the guy playing the president was Sledge Hammer. Where the hell were these people in the 1980s?!)