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"Stardust"

Directed by Matthew Vaughn.
Written by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  8/1/07

Folks--

Although I have not even seen a trailer for "Stardust", I was walking out of a theater in Gaithersburg recently and saw the poster for this film...and, it looked so awful that when the DC Film Society said they were doing a free screening downtown tonight, I was all over it like white on rice because this puppy looked like "Highlander 8: Bad Fucking Idea" right down to the bad makeup job on the actors in the poster.

I'm disappointed to report that "Stardust" was just bad, not total dogshit.  As such, only one thing saves "Stardust" from the bottom of the barrel--Robert De Niro, and I still have no idea why he is in this movie.  Early on, we meet Tristan (Charlie Cox), an 18-year-old with a crush on local hottie Victoria (Sienna Miller).  Victoria kinda likes Tristan but has another suitor she is more interested in...but one night, while sipping champagne with Tristan in their quiet English town 150 years ago, the twosome see a shooting star land somewhere many miles east of town.  Tristan asks for the chance to marry Victoria, and Victoria agrees to give him a week to find the star and bring it back to her to win her hand in marriage.

So, Tristan goes off looking for the star...who just happens to be a girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes)...and, the twosome make their way back to the small English town with many others on their tail, like a couple of princes looking for a ruby that dangles around Yvaine's neck, and a witch (Michelle Pfeiffer) who seeks the fountain of youth, something Yvaine's heart can provide.  Adventure ensues, but nothing interesting ever really happens.

"Stardust" is big and dumb, occasionally comical, star-laden but poorly acted.  I can't believe this many big stars showed up--Peter O'Toole, De Niro, Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais (from the British version of "The Office"), Ian McKellan (the film's narrator), and Miller.  But, part of this must be the fact that Matthew Vaughn directed "Stardust"; he hit the jackpot with the incredibly good "Layer Cake" a few years back and I'm sure folks were lining up to be in his next movie.  The movie's pacing and tone just don't feel right, attempting to channel some mix of fantasy, straight comedy and some action/adventure elements...plus, the cross-dressing De Niro character and baddies who get mauled by wolves.  Yeah, it's that kind of (PG-13) movie, and more often than not, it doesn't work and it feels shockingly familiar if you've seen any of the "Teenage Boy Saves the World" movies of the last couple of years like "The Chronicles of Narnia", "Zathura", the upcoming "The Golden Compass" and "The Dark is Rising" and other films like it.  Even the soundtrack sounded warbly tonight, but maybe that was just the theater's sound system.

I would say you should avoid "Stardust", but maybe kids will enjoy the fantastical tale...or, maybe they won't.  But, if you've got half a brain in you, skip this one at least until it starts airing incessantly on TNT or your local FOX affiliate.

Rating:  Rental

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09