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Away We Go Makes for a Superficial, Absurd Concoction

Certainly Sam Mendes' direction in Away We Go bears part of the burden of the film's success. And while his guidance is certainly found wanting, the mood Mendes sets largely masks what is a superficial and absurd concoction.

  • Jeffrey Huston |
  • September 29, 2009 |
  • comments
Stars Give Special Quality to Management

Management is a great example of the power of casting. By giving Steve Zahn the starring role alongside Jennifer Aniston, we become witness to an unexpected, winning chemistry, thanks in part to impressive performances from lead actors and stellar supporting work.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 29, 2009 |
  • comments
3-D Gives Battle for Terra Its Fighting Spirit

While low-budget, Battle for Terra is still an engaging tale that provides an intriguing change of pace for sci-fi fans. And in 3-D, Terra positively sparkles, thanks to eye-popping visuals and imaginative set-ups.

  • Christa Banister |
  • September 22, 2009 |
  • comments
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past Lifts the Spirit a Bit

The jokes and discussion about the main character’s sexual escapades push Ghosts of Girlfriends Past well into “PG-13” territory. But the central character’s transformation, while predictable, gives the film a bit more depth than might be expected.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 22, 2009 |
  • comments
Observe and Report Disturbs and Offends

Observe and Report shares the boundary-breaking mentality of other R-rated comedies as of late: casual drug use and casual sex are par for the course, but its moments of outrageous humor ultimately take a back seat to the story’s darker underbelly.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 22, 2009 |
  • comments
The Sharpest Thing About Wolverine Are the Claws

Unlike last year's Iron Man, a perfect blend of larger-than-life popcorn movie with a coherent, intriguing storyline, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is nothing more than a series of special effects eventually wasted on a predictable script.

  • Christa Banister |
  • September 15, 2009 |
  • comments
Sex, Guns and Blood Charge Crank: High Voltage

Like its predecessor, Crank: High Voltage is the twenty-first century equivalent of ‘70s exploitation B-movie cinema—but taken to a whole other graphic level. It’s utterly pointless, intentionally ridiculous and very explicit as it revels in sex, guns and blood.

  • Jeffrey Huston |
  • September 08, 2009 |
  • comments
State of Play Sags from Sluggish Pacing, Unconvincing Plot

Like last year’s Body of Lies, State of Play tries to seriously challenge American policy in an entertaining fashion, but unlike Lies, Play never grips the viewer. Its pacing is too often sluggish; its plot unconvincing.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 01, 2009 |
  • comments
Duplicity Doubles Star Power but Sparks Don't Ignite

In Duplicity, the banter between Julia Roberts and Clive Owens is too sporadic, held back by the film’s stop-and-start quality which hinders the emotional bond that might have formed between the audience and the stars.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 25, 2009 |
  • comments
Stars Shine Bright in Sunshine Cleaning

It shares a word ("sunshine") and an actor (Alan Arkin, again in a supporting role) with Little Miss Sunshine, but in Sunshine Cleaning lead performances from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt may yet vie for Academy recognition at next year’s ceremony.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 25, 2009 |
  • comments
A Nostalgic Story Is Found in Adventureland

Adventureland captured me as strongly as any film I've seen in a long time. Disparage its R-rated content if you must (and I wouldn't disparage anyone in return who would), but there is an authentic core to this nostalgic story that can't be denied.

Love Doesn't Give Up in Goodbye Solo

Ramin Bahrani’s Goodbye Solo is a simple tale, quietly told, and one of the best films you’ll ever see. While God is never mentioned during its 90-minute run time, it works as an eloquent parable of God’s love for fallen people.

Fame and Family Collide Predictably in Hannah Montana

Considering the way art seems to imitate Miley Cyrus' life these days, the timing probably couldn't be better for the big-screen treatment of Hannah Montana. Not only does it solidify Cyrus' place as the ultimate good girl, but Hannah is a character Cyrus can play convincingly.

Dramatic Sparks Fly in The Class

The Class, which won the top award at the most recent Cannes Film Festival, mixes teacher-student interaction throughout the course of one year at a school in Paris with behind-the-scenes political maneuvers and struggles.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 11, 2009 |
  • comments
Fast-Paced Race to Witch Mountain Has a Few Sci-Fi Charms

Instead of shooting for a straight remake, filmmakers prefer to call the latest installment a "reimagining." And given the slightly cheesy, low-grade special effects of Race to Witch Mountain’s predecessor, that's probably accurate.

The Soloist Is a Pitch Perfect Portrayal of Grace

The Soloist entertains and inspires with its pitch-perfect portrayal of redemption between an unlikely duo. And for Christians and otherwise, it’s also a powerful reminder that authenticity and not bailing when the going gets tough is always the best way to live.

Fast & Furious? More Like Dull and Depressing

Apart from the film's ho-hum plot and performances, the most worrying thing of all about Fast & Furious is this: its astounding box-office take. As I write this review following the film's opening weekend, its box-office haul exceeds $70 million.

Watchmen Puts the "Graphic" in Graphic-Novel Adaptation

Dark and violent, Watchmen one-ups last year’s blockbuster, The Dark Knight, in explicit imagery, and it cannot be recommended. However, the story has potent themes that will resonate with viewers and demand discussion.

Dark Coraline Too Nightmarish for Kids

Coraline’s cinematic qualities are spectacular and many; its themes important and biblically sound. Nevertheless, its dark content and tone—which are nightmarish, among other things—make it inaccessible for many kids.

Life After Rwandan Genocide Depicted in As We Forgive

As We Forgive, an award-winning documentary directed by Laura Waters Hinson and narrated by Golden Globe recipient Mia Farrow, explores what it means to forgive against the backdrop of two African villages deeply scared by the Rwandan genocide.

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