Writer-director Tamara Jenkins has created a wise and thought-provoking film about facing the truth and taking care of our parents, even when they haven’t taken care of us. It’s also about what it’s really like to grow old and die—a subject we will all eventually come to know, if we haven’t already.
- April 25, 2008 |
Charlie Wilson’s War is a fascinating story of insider politics and war, but unfortunately the movie has an R rating for nudity and violence. It could easily have been toned down to a PG-13 and had a much wider audience.
- April 22, 2008 |
One Missed Call takes the mortal consequences of cell-phone use to a new extreme, suggesting that the dead can use cell-phone technology to transmit messages and warnings to the living.
- April 22, 2008 |
An Academy Award nomination. A Sundance Film Festival award. Both are testaments to the outstanding direction, cinematography, editing and composition of War Dance. Yet even they fail to convey its power.
- April 18, 2008 |
Although these films couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in terms of sheer crudeness, there’s been a decidedly pro-life theme running through several flicks this year: Knocked Up, Waitress and now, this month’s Juno.
- April 15, 2008 |
Portrayed by Ron Livingston, Richard Pimentel is largely credited with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. Music Within, written by novice screenwriters and directed by the equally inexperienced Steven Sawalich, tells his story.
- April 10, 2008 |
Walk Hard pokes fun of the oh-so-basic plot and all the clichés we’ve come to expect in music biopics. With a drinking and drugging main character, it swats hardest at Walk the Line, while Ray also gets a little prodding as well.
- April 10, 2008 |
A film for film lovers, There Will Be Blood is not for those seeking fast-food entertainment. An adaptation of the classic Oil!, it is replete with symbols and metaphors that are destined to become film student fodder for many years to come.
If you overlook the obvious comparisons to E.T. and a predictable plot, The Water Horse isn’t a bad flick. Instead of the usual scatological humor that drags down so many movies aimed at the younger set, there’s actually a good story here about letting go of the things we love.
Reservation Road take on issues of loss, grief and the ways in which we cope with the sudden death of a loved one. While not without merit, it has a few too many bumps. Steer clear for now, but this one may be worth catching on home video.
Though it has a star-studded cast, Lions for Lambs is a heavy-handed, low budget, political lecture that, mercifully, only lasts about ninety minutes. When movies like this come out around election time, we should realize that such timing is quite intentional.
Alvin and the Chipmunks is adorable, and it’s even fun for adults to watch the combination of live action and stellar animation. With a sweet story that has tons of humor, romance, and even a memorable moral, it’s a delightful holiday movie for the whole family.
Resurrecting the Champ has plenty of redeeming values and will likely be a great choice for families this summer. Josh Hartnett does a fine job as the husband, father and reporter-on-the-ropes, while Samuel L. Jackson is fabulous as the resurrected champ.
Unfortunately, the torrents of blood make Sweeney Todd disgusting in several spots, so much so that the film cannot be recommended, despite outstanding production design by Dante Ferretti, striking cinematography by Darius Wolski, and Tim Burton’s deft direction.
An outstanding adaptation of a well-regarded book is currently playing at theaters. Unfortunately for fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, that movie is Atonement—not the big-screen version of Hosseini’s widely read book-club favorite.
- March 25, 2008 |
After the first few scenes, Revolver’s plot descends into nonsensical logic. Different endings for scenes are shown, and it rewinds much like a pick-your-own-ending storybook. Perhaps that is why it’s named Revolver, which means “to return” in Spanish.
- March 21, 2008 |
Love in the Time of Cholera spans 50 years, so adapting this novel to the screen was a formidable undertaking. But in the hands of experienced screenwriter Ronald Harwood and talented director Mike Newell, one would have expected something better.
- March 20, 2008 |
Based on the novel by Susan Cooper, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising is the first film adaptation of the author's five-book series. Apparently the filmmakers have softened the overtly magical elements of the books and instead emphasize bravery, faith, discernment and unity.
Enchanted is a completely adorable, delightful movie whose packed screening audience of little girls ages four to fourteen gave it a rousing applause at the end. The story wraps up in a compelling way, hinting that the good life just might be a healthy mix of both seasoned reality and fairy tale dreams.
Directed by Joe Wright, Atonement is both sumptuous and satisfying. With the exception of the gorgeous English scenery and attractive lead actors, however, there’s little else about the flick that’s truly memorable.