Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nick Stahl, AnnaSophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Deborra-Lee Furness
Written by: Zac Stanford
Directed by: Bill Maher
MPAA Rating: R for language and a scene of violence
Running Time: 100
Date: 01/22/2008

Sleepwalking (2008)

2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Sleepwalking is an unfortunate title for a movie that appears to be doing just that. Nick Stahl plays James, a drifting slacker who suddenly finds himself caring for his young niece, Tara (AnnaSophia Robb). He loses his job and tries to escape social services by hitting the road and staying with his volatile old man (Dennis Hopper) on the family's grim farm. Rookie director Bill Maher -- not the Comedy Central guy -- can't energize his scenes beyond crushing routine; the best he can manage is trailer-friendly shots of snow drifting across a road or underwater shots of Tara in a swimming pool. It's a failed attempt to use a poetic, scruffy, "indie" look to disguise the film's nothingness. Charlize Theron (who co-produced) plays a small role as the girl's mother.

DVD Details: Eleven years into the DVD revolution and Anchor Bay's new Sleepwalking disc actually comes with an option to view either the widescreen version or the "full frame" version of the film. How quaint! The main extra is a 15-minute making-of featurette, which actually includes a lot of on-set footage (this seems to be the new trend, rather than the traditional talking heads and clips). The only other extra is a trailer.

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