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There's Little to Love About Beth Cooper

Unlike '80s movies where the viewer got a real sense of who the geeky guy and his popular-girl crush were and what endeared the unlikely duo to each other, I Love You, Beth Cooper never bothers with those important details.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 01, 2009 |
  • comments
Creativity of Ice Age Series Close to Extinction

While the filmmaker’s efforts weren’t a total bust, thanks to colorful animation, some cool CGI effects and a decent accompanying soundtrack, it’s simply not enough to elevate Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs from mediocrity.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 27, 2009 |
  • comments
Faithful Christian Witness Not Part of Whatever Works

Whatever Works sums up the philosophy of the film’s main character and of director Woody Allen himself. The filmmaker has lived out a no-judgments view of human nature that is reflected in his film scripts and characters.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 27, 2009 |
  • comments
Transformers Sequel Lacks Any Real Human Connection

Just in case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to watch someone else play videogames for two and a half hours, sitting through Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen will definitely satiate your curiosity.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 20, 2009 |
  • comments
Land of the Lost Should've Stayed Lost

Unlike the smart writing and savvy direction of Star Trek, Land of the Lost only has Will Ferrell's over-the-top attempts to deliver the funny. And when some of the movie’s biggest laughs involve Matt Lauer, you know you're in trouble. Deep trouble.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 20, 2009 |
  • comments
People Are Shallow, Observations Are Deep in Cheri

Chéri is a period-piece about shallow, immoral and deceptive people, yet its ultimate observations are deep, its resolution moral, and its strength is in how deceptively it reaches those conclusions.

Sandra Bullock Should've Rejected This Proposal

While it's been said there aren't nearly enough good parts for women over 40, surely, there's much better material out there than The Proposal. And if not, then maybe all actors should take a hiatus from romantic comedies until Nancy Meyers or Nora Ephron get around to writing something new.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 13, 2009 |
  • comments
Imagine That ... Murphy Makes an Enjoyable Family Film

Eddie Murphy’s previous efforts in family films have left a lot to be desired: stories really worth telling and a heartbeat beyond those gimmicky attempted laughs. Fortunately for Murphy, Imagine That has both in spades.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 06, 2009 |
  • comments
Year One Mashes Up Creation, Covenant and Cain and Abel

Year One is not the story of Adam and Eve but of Zed and Oh (Jack Black and Michael Cera, respectively), a primordial tale of male friendship with the requisite fart jokes and sexual boasting that characterizes modern tales in the same genre.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 06, 2009 |
  • comments
Slapstick and Stereotypes Leave My Life in Ruins Flat

In My Life in Ruins, characters are the most broad versions of themselves—well suited for a short sketch but insultingly flat for a feature-length film. It's comedy-as-cliché, sticking solely to slapstick and stereotypes and lacking any hint of dimension.

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
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