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Big Debt Is Big Business in Maxed Out

Because we can’t resist the lure of credit, documentary Maxed Out insists, more than 10 million Americans declared bankruptcy between 1994 and 2004. This year, more of us will go bankrupt than will divorce, graduate form college or get cancer.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 08, 2007 |
  • comments
The Messengers Delivers a Lifeless Tale of the Undead

A sense of irony can add a lively dimension to films in the weary horror genre, but The Messengers barely nods in that direction. In taking itself so seriously, it bogs down. Neither scary nor interesting, The Messengers adds nothing to the genre but a pale imitation of what’s come before.

Crass Outweighs Cute in Norbit

For those who saw Daddy Daycare and Doctor Doolittle, and were hoping for some more “Eddie-Murphy’s-now-a-dad-so-he’s-making-cute-family-films” movies, don’t hold your breath. His latest comedy, Norbit, has way more crassness going for it than cuteness.

Hannibal Rising Sinks Like a Stone

If Hannibal Rising isn’t bad enough to kill off this film franchise, nothing will do the trick. Ghastly and often disgusting, it somehow manages also to be dull, all the while providing a strange but not entirely convincing impetus for Hannibal Lecter’s taste for human flesh.

Ambling Plot Mars Brooding Good German

Based on the best-selling novel by author Joseph Kanon, The Good German is the frame-by-frame recreation of a 1940s film noir. It’s dark, it’s brooding and it’s a mystery, although the plot ambles way too much.

Mel Gibson's Apocalypto - It's No Bloody Good

With Apocalypto, there is no central theological debate as there was with The Passion of the Christ. No ties to European ancestry and national pride, as in Braveheart. No, this film is a savage, repellant work that raises serious questions about director Mel Gibson’s interest in the worst kinds of human suffering.

Eternity and Immortality Explored in The Fountain

What does it mean to have eternity set in our hearts? Is immortality possible? These are the questions explored by writer/director Darren Aronofsky in The Fountain, his latest ambitious, artistic, science-fiction production.

Shaky Plot Arc Plagues Arthur and the Invisibles

Writer/director Luc Besson developed this script from two of his children’s books. As his first attempt at CGI, Arthur isn’t terrible, but it’s also not very inspired. The bigger problem is the subject matter itself with a plot arc so shaky, Besson seems to have haphazardly thrown it all together.

Last Sin Eater Mediocre Despite Strong Message

I applaud director Michael Landon Jr.'s goals, and I have no doubt that he put his very heart into this movie. I also sympathize with the film’s strong gospel message. As a film critic, however, I’m obliged to hold him to the same standard as other filmmakers.

Labyrinth an Adult Fairy Tale Not to Be Missed

Pan’s Labyrinth is a reminder that not all fairy tales are for children, and that imagination is something that can be kindled in adults, given the right material. This is one movie you won’t want to miss.

Complexity of Relationships the Focus in Painted Veil

The Painted Veil is one of those visual and cinematic masterpieces that we rarely see today. It’s uncomfortable, but it conveys how complex relationships—and emotions—truly are.

Music and Lyrics Hits Most of the Right Notes

Ultimately, much like those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate on Valentine’s Day, Music and Lyrics is a momentary pleasure - probably not good enough for your DVD collection, but an entertaining-enough escape for an hour and a half.

Unrealistic Catch and Release Isn't a Keeper

It's the clichés that take this movie's compelling premise and flush it down the drain in a hurry. In what could’ve been an insightful commentary on the grieving process, the writers wasted an opportunity by creating unbelievable characters in a by-the-numbers comedy that’s devoid of any substance.

No Real Romance or Comedy in Because I Said So

In Because I Said So, unfortunately the writers decided that character development and actual romance or comedy should be sacrificed for constant chatter about sex and humor of the lowest possible caliber.

Dreamgirls Not So Dreamy

The musical movie genre has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent years, but last year’s Rent and The Producers didn't really translate that well, and unfortunately the horribly over-hyped Dreamgirls follows suit.

Happily N'Ever After Can't Come Close to Shrek

The makers of Shrek now bring us another feature-length animation, Happily N'Ever After, a twist on the old Cinderella story. With similar animation to Shrek, though not with as hilariously funny a script, Happily N’Ever After” is generally acceptable, mindless entertainment.

It's All Bark and No Bite for Alpha Dog

Surprisingly enough, it’s not musician-turned-actor Justin Timberlake’s acting that makes Alpha Dog such a dud. Instead, it’s the faulty re-telling of a cautionary tale that’s really not worth all the effort in the first place.

Royal Roles the Subject in Engaging Queen

The Queen provides the perfect opportunity to discuss the role of our leaders. Do they exist to lead or serve us? And how might that look, during our times of national crises? This well-made, amusing and thoroughly engaging film nudges us to wonder.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 27, 2007 |
  • comments
"Night at the Museum" Makes for Mostly Frivolous Fun

While there’s certainly a few questionable moments with the movie’s worldview and a lengthy run time, "Night at the Museum" is largely a flick that both kids and adults will enjoy.

Deja Vu Wades into Unfamiliar Waters

It's not a profound work, but Déjà Vu may be the first film from either director Tony Scott or producer Jerry Bruckheimer to demand a second viewing — not only because of the complicated plot, but because of the existential issues it raises about God, man and foreordination.

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