What ultimately lifts Penelope from been-there-seen-that, “believing in yourself” status are the charming performances from leads Christina Ricci, James McAvoy—and even Penelope’s hideously superficial mother, played by Catherine O’Hara.
- July 15, 2008 |
Stop-Loss, the latest in a growing line of disappointing dramas about the Iraq war, centers around the flight of an AWOL soldier. On the day he thinks he’s returning full-time to civilian life, he’s told instead to head back to Iraq.
- July 08, 2008 |
With the basic elements of most Lifetime made-for-TV movies, a slow-moving Sleepwalking keeps getting worse as the minutes tick by. Not only is the writing formulaic, but the situations are so unbelievably horrible that even when redemption seems in sight it never materializes.
- July 08, 2008 |
In his first English-language driven project, award-winning Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai has created a movie that, despite its lush visuals, is only mildly interesting. The acting is good, but this isn’t enough to give depth to a film with such a slow narrative and clunky dialogue.
- July 03, 2008 |
What could have been a forgettable thriller, Vantage Point instead gives the audience something to puzzle over. Such a film certainly takes advantage of the current popularity of “tell the story out of order” television shows like “Lost.”
Producer/screenwriter Judd Apatow has quickly made a name for himself as the bankable funny guy in Hollywood. But without the right material, (see Drillbit Taylor) it may not be easy to maintain this Midas touch.
Generous in its spirit and sweet-natured in its ribbing, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns offers a strong endorsement of Christian faith and perseverance while delivering plenty of laughs.
As the debut of writer/director Christopher Rowley, Bonneville—but only barely. It’s full of the usual road trip clichés (the road-tripping gals pick up a handsome hitchhiker and one falls in love with a trucker), but it lacks substance.
- June 26, 2008 |
Unlike the mindless frivolity of Fool’s Gold or the by-the-numbers cuteness of 27 Dresses, Definitely, Maybe is a well-conceived love story that doesn’t insult your intelligence. Seriously.
The typical magical, fantasy-type outlook pervades The Spiderwick Chronicles' dark worldview. Creatures, spells and potions, and flying and time travel abound. But there are also some interesting spiritual parallels that are worthy of discussion.
Charlie Bartlett is a well-made, funny but sad, targeted look at the very real emotions that plague our children. It is an enlightening case study on the cynicism, meaninglessness, relativism, disillusionment with authority, and desperate search for authenticity that teens deal with daily.
10,000 B.C. works as sheer spectacle, but its story is forgettable. Its unknown actors make an impression because of their striking looks, but it’s hard to fathom what their future roles might be based on this special-effects driven extravaganza.
In Fool’s Gold, one might expect more of the comedy and chemistry Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson first had in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But a hokey script has quickly washed away any hope of striking rom-com gold twice.
Be Kind Rewind starts as a tale about the passing of the torch and serves as a wistful look at the fading days of video-rental shops. It evolves into a sci-fi slapstick comedy before settling into a series of cinematic recreations that play like gag reels. Yet somehow, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
How so many talented actors ended up in Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is a mystery. Many of the big names have only a few lines and are wasted in a film that just leaves viewers cold.
“Find the joy in your life.” That’s the bottom-line message of director Rob Reiner’s The Bucket List, delivered by one of two characters who are facing death and trying to find meaning in their existence. But the film reflects another saying as well: “Everything old is new again.”
Jumper could have been the start of an entertaining franchise had it registered a pulse. Unable to clear even lowest of plot thresholds, however, it deserves to make a quick trip through theaters and materialize on video shelves imminently.
Starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, The Other Boleyn Girl is nothing more than a soap opera that accentuates immorality, embellishes facts and celebrates its deviations from the historical record.
Directed by Michael Radford and based on a script by newcomer Edward Anderson, Flawless sends the usual heist message. That is, as long as you’ve got good intentions—and are desperate enough—crime does indeed pay.
- June 05, 2008 |
At a time when one can’t pronounce the word “Darfur,” documentaries about the ongoing genocide in this African region are a welcome relief. But as needed and as well intentioned as this is, unfortunately Darfur Now falls far short of its potential.
- June 05, 2008 |