David Berngartt


'Rambo' blows stuff up - that's all

One could say that a strong message of togetherness exudes from "Rambo." While things like race, religion or social status might divide us on the surface, we all look the same when we're being pointlessly blown to pieces. Of course, that might be giving "Rambo" a little too much credit. Sylvester Stallone reprises his iconic role as John Rambo, the all-American ass-kickin' Vietnam vet who won his way into the hearts of American audiences by perfecting the time-honored national tradition of killing anything that moves.

Violence and nudity can't save 'Hitman'

"Hitman," which had all the promise of a sleek video game series and an intriguing trailer featuring a haunting choral Ave Maria, falls unfortunately flat in its delivery. Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), bred by a shadowy organization as an ultra-elite assassin, must survive all kinds of mayhem as his employers turn against him. He also must protect an attractive Russian prostitute caught up in the mix - who never fails to show her breasts at every opportunity. The fact that the movie's storyline is dangerously similar to the "Bourne" trilogy isn't a fault by itself.

Superficially enjoyable 'The Seeker' is nothing special

Based on the second book of the kid-lit series by Susan Cooper, "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising," isn't really that bad. With the recent success of certain fantasy movies, the inevitable slew of mediocre peer films has begun clogging your local box office. Just before Christmas, in a quaint English town, 14-year-old Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) realizes that with his recent birthday he's gained some interesting abilities. Naturally, with great power comes great responsibility, and Will must find six signs of light to fight an impending darkness.

Give up Halo 3?! That's blasphemy!

Um, excuse me, Professor. I know we have that state governments paper due this week, but, you see, there's an obvious problem. Through I'm sure it was simply an erroneous oversight on your part, you scheduled this assignment only a mere 18 days after the release of Halo 3. I know, I know, you're probably kicking yourself right now for this. But that's really no excuse. I mean, this syllabus must be from last year or something, right? I suppose at your age, you weren't aware that this due date would be just after the release of, arguably, the most exciting creation since DNA.

'Shoot 'Em Up' a violent letdown

Let's get one thing straight. Michael Davis, writer and director of "Shoot 'Em Up," is no Tarantino. So should we really trust him to make a pulp-action parody featuring the talents of Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti? No. "Shoot 'Em Up" follows a man known only as Smith (Owen) as he is forced to deliver and protect a baby in the middle of a shootout, all while trying to figure out why he's doing it. Sound ridiculous? Oh, that's only the beginning.

'War' delivers on action and more

Jason Statham and Jet Li face off to exciting effect in "War," the fast-paced action movie by rookie director Philip Atwell. A need to avenge the death of his fallen partner drives FBI agent Jack Crawford (Statham) to find the assassin known only as Rogue (Li). Navigating the politics of the rival crime families of the Chinese Triads and the Japanese Yakuza, Crawford attempts to find the brutally effective killer.

'Invasion' can't seem to snatch cohesion

An eerie and truly interesting take on a more subdued kind of alien invasion fails to overcome a disjointed plot in "The Invasion." Yet another remake of 1956's "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," this "Invasion" centers around psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and friendly doctor Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) attempting to stop a cosmic goo from taking over the minds and bodies of humans. The capable premise pits everyday, emotion-filled humans against a microscopic alien organism from a wrecked space shuttle.

Symphony set for classic show

Elgar, Mendelssohn and Mozart will provide a three-course musical feast on campus tonight, courtesy of the N.C. Symphony. Frequent visitors of Memorial Hall, the symphony has put together a show that will feature some heavyweights of the classical music world. "It's a very well-known kind of program," said Scott Freck, general manager of the symphony. "We return to what we do best and what has really stood the test of time." The performance will feature violinist Brian Reagin with a solo performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

Documentary on life in Iraq to be shown at UNC

Spending eight months in Baghdad during one of the most volatile periods of the war in Iraq was a harrowing experience for documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. But she said it was nothing compared to what the Iraqi people have to go through every day. Poitras, director of the critically acclaimed documentary "My Country My Country", will be presenting her film and speaking about her experiences at 7 p.m. today in the Hanes Art Center Auditorium.

'Wait Until Dark' delivers eye-opening performance

A thriller full of suspense and mystery, Lab! Theatre's "Wait Until Dark" features an exciting plot with the interesting twist of a blind main character. The story follows Susy, a blind woman who is the target of con-men, attempting to earn her trust while secretly putting her in danger. The show opened Friday night at the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, with successive performances on Saturday and Sunday. The final shows will be today at 4 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. Admission for all shows is free.