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Thought-Provoking Savages Faces Truth, Mortality

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 25, 2008 |
  • comments
Sex, Patriotism, Skullduggery Part of Charlie Wilson’s War

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.

Cell-Phone Scrutiny Follows One Missed Call

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.

Heart-Wrenching War Dance a Must-See Documentary

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 18, 2008 |
  • comments
Juno Provides Quirky Commentary on Growing Up Fast

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.

Pimentel's Life and Work Portrayed in Music Within

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 10, 2008 |
  • comments
Walk Hard Pokes Fun at Music Biopics

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 10, 2008 |
  • comments
Symbolism Runs Deep in There Will Be Blood

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 08, 2008 |
  • comments
Heavy-Handed Water Horse Still Has a Few Charms

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.

A Few too Many Bumps along Reservation Road

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.

Lions for Lambs Preaches Leftist Politics

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 Offers Something for the Whole Family

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.

Redeeming Champ a Knockout Cinematic Choice

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.

Copious Blood May Make Sweeney Todd Viewers See Red

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.

The Kite Runner Can’t Overcome Contrivances

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.

Nonsensical Logic, Multiple Endings Ruin Revolver

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • March 21, 2008 |
  • comments
Love in the Time of Cholera Disappoints On-Screen

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.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • March 20, 2008 |
  • comments
Spiritual Allegories Abound in The Seeker

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 a Healthy Mix of Reality and Fairy Tale

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.

Atonement Has Plenty of Style But Little Substance

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.

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