Juxtaposing a far more ominous tone with the clumsy romantic entanglements of its teenage protagonists, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is easily the funniest, darkest and most ambitious film of the successful series.
In addition to fantastic acting from all of the leads (Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci), the skillful direction and winning screenplay from Nora Ephron help seal the winsome appeal of Julie & Julia.
Probably one of Hollywood’s greatest chameleons, Johnny Depp forgoes his usual oddball character and fully embraces the role of a real-life criminal, who was something of a folk hero in the Great Depression era, in Public Enemies.
Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, Ponyo also includes some distinctive, dazzling visuals—a trademark of director Hiyao Miyazaki—but its magical moments don't overcome its weaknesses in storytelling.
Can lightning strike twice in the same place? It can if you switch locations and seriously revamp the storyline, which is exactly what the filmmakers smartly did this time around in the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
- December 01, 2009 |
This latest Terminator is full of action-movie clichés—acceptable by action-movie sequel standards—but it's a hollow, mechanical film that advances a story without expanding the underlying themes in any significant way.
- December 01, 2009 |
Michael Jr. does what few others can—be featured on The Tonight Show one night and then take his stand-up routine to a church the next. Wherever he steps up to the microphone, audiences agree Michael Jr. knows what it takes to keep it clean while keeping the crowd in stitches.
On film, Angels & Demons is rewritten to follow the events of The Da Vinci Code. And so Christians are perhaps not unjustified in expecting this prequel/sequel to deal with our faith in a heavy-handed fashion. But it does not.
Funny People, the latest Judd Apatow shock comedy, doesn’t have enough of a positive message to overcome its stream of bawdy stand-up comedy and profanity-laced script. Additionally, the film’s excessive length only magnifies its negative elements.
Four Christmases seems to have all the right ingredients to be fun, ‘tis-the-season escapist entertainment. Yet for all the effort the protagonists make to be likeable and the carefully-staged gags, the movie still falls horribly flat.
While its charms may be fewer for anyone over the age of 10, Shorts is an eccentric, time-jumping adventure that merges comedy, sci-fi and a short treatise on the dangers of too much technology into one mostly family-friendly movie.
A favorite sci-fi franchise is reborn with Star Trek, director J.J. Abrams' take on the early days of James T. Kirk, Spock and the other well-known crew members aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. The film’s fresh approach to the well-worn franchise takes viewers back to the origins of the crew's beloved characters.
Filmmakers decided Jodi Picoult’s novel, My Sister’s Keeper, had big-screen potential. They also agreed that the original ending was a little too much. So in a move that’s been widely debated online, the story’s conclusion has been softened a little.
As with all comedies built on outrageous gags, Brüno goes too far. There are a few laughs along the way, but a larger cost to be paid. One can only imagine what further images will comprise future “outrageous” comedies now that Brüno has lowered the bar.
Much like the trailer for Marley & Me, which was all doggie cuteness without any indication of the sadness waiting in the wings, there’s so much more to Up than balloons and barbs traded between an over-eager boy scout and a grumpy old man.
- November 10, 2009 |
What prevents The Ugly Truth from contributing anything worthwhile to the rom-com genre is its sheer absurdity. Not only does the dialogue—and attempts at humor—scrape the bottom of the barrel morally, but there aren’t even 10 seconds of this forgettable movie that are believable.
- November 10, 2009 |
G.I. Joe's reported $175 million budget can be seen up on the screen, as some of the film's special effects are effectively eye-catching. But viewers are left with a story that feels half-formed at best. Apparently not much of that $175 million went to the screenwriters.
This movie's banal title pretty much tells you everything you need to know. There are aliens in the attic, and there's no compelling reason for the audience to care. Surely Hollywood can offer far more substantive and entertaining kiddie fare, can't it?
The Taking of Pelham 123, a remake of a 1974 film that starred Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw, has two solid lead performances from Denzel Washington and John Travolta but suffers from certain excesses common to modern-day action films.
Many squeamish moments aside, Food, Inc. is still a great example of informative, compelling filmmaking, aside from those occasional diversions into boring pie chart territory à la An Inconvenient Truth.