Based on the comic book series, The Spirit was adapted for the screen and directed by another graphic novelist, Frank Miller. His first directorial effort, it reflects the bizarre nature of graphic novels. Some do work on-screen, but this one doesn’t.
- April 20, 2009 |
Now that Adam Sandler has a couple of daughters of his own, he wanted to make a movie that kids could safely enjoy. And from both a moral and artistic level, he’s mostly succeeded with the imaginative Bedtime Stories.
The Tale of Despereaux is fitfully delightful, and should satisfy most audiences. It’s not a perfect movie, and it departs from Kate DiCamillo’s book in some important ways. But overall, the story’s power translates well enough to be recommended.
Meryl Streep dominates in another remarkably precise performance in Doubt. As Sister Alouysis, she is helping to preserve her school and church against a tide of change she finds unsettling. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn is her acting equal.
Longtime fans of Jim Carrey’s comedic charms will be ecstatic about the holiday arrival of Yes Man, a flick that’s more of a thinly veiled morality tale like Liar Liar than say, Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber.
While some movies have benefited immensely from a modern-day makeover, filmmakers still would be wise to leave a few originals alone—especially if it happens to be a science-fiction classic like 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Like typical onscreen haunts, the House created by screenwriters Rob Green and Frank Peretti is creepy. Terrifying, in fact. But, unlike most C-genre blood flicks being churned out by Hollywood, this one has a much deeper meaning.
Slumdog Millionaire, an uplifting story about a young man triumphing on an Indian game show, is a colorful, vibrant film that reaffirms Danny Boyle as one of the more interesting filmmakers working today.
Don’t be fooled by the trailers that make this out to be some lighthearted tale. Anyone who has read the book that inspired the movie already knows that this broadly funny story of puppy love is destined for major tearjerker territory.
In Seven Pounds, themes of integrity, sacrifice and redemption are worthy ones, but they’re explored in a truly weird mix of sentimentality and despair—afraid to challenge its audience or itself, languishing in an ever-increasing muck of manipulations.
In Quantum of Solace, the complex story is the driving force, especially in the final act when the plot machine takes over so completely that characters become little more than cogs in the wheel—but oh, what a spectacular wheel it is.
- March 24, 2009 |
Bolt is probably the best-looking Disney movie in a good long while. Crafted in gorgeous 3-D splendor, it’s a feast for the eyes complete with lavish attention to detail. And the engagingly drawn leads are only further enhanced with stellar vocal talent.
- March 24, 2009 |
With so much already known about the Holocaust, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ unusual perspective must have seemed like a fresh take on history. But in the end it comes across as misconceived, despite the film’s strengths.
Everyone needs a Poppy. She is the personification of Happy-Go-Lucky, a breath-of-fresh-air kind of movie that is sure to do more than put smiles on peoples faces (though it will) and actually lift their tired, world-weary spirits.
Rachel Getting Married's title is vaguely misleading, and its ads are borderline deceptive. Based on those alone, one might assume this is a feel-good dramedy with an indie vibe. It’s not and is one of the most intense depictions of familial conflict since Ordinary People.
Charlie Kaufman has won praise as an innovative screenwriter for movies that took insightful looks into human nature without sacrificing the story. Now, marking the first time he’s directing his own screenplay, Synecdoche, New York, is missing the resonance of his earlier work.
Soul-stirring performances, a fantastic musical score and an intriguing story of breaking boundaries—racially and otherwise—elevate Cadillac Records, even it’s technically just another biopic.
Moments of broad humor and Baz Luhrmann’s directorial flourishes add spice to the early stretch of this otherwise bland muddle of a movie, but it doesn’t take too long to recognize that Australia is an overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey.
- March 03, 2009 |
Those who are looking for mainly inoffensive entertainment, and don’t mind weak attempts at humor, may enjoy Beverly Hills Chihuahua. But those looking for something better than a retread of themes from better films are advised to stay away.
- March 01, 2009 |
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is based on a memoir detailing a young Vanity Fair writer’s transformation from snarky to sycophant. On-screen, however, the material has been dumbed down to a slapstick comedy/rom com without any punch.
- February 20, 2009 |