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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.

"Thr3e" More Psychological Thriller Than Faith Film

The new Fox Faith Film "Thr3e" is a cleverly-written psychological thriller with a fun twist at the end and a truly "Wow, I didn’t see that coming" turn, but it’s not overtly a "faith film."

Stage-to-Screen Leap Not Successful for “History Boys"

Some plays make the transition to the big screen with great triumph. Others, like "The History Boys," are not as successful. On-screen, the six-time Tony-award winning play feels like a filmed play without any cinematic adaptation.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 20, 2007 |
  • comments
“Last King" More About Arrogance, Less About Dictatorship

In "The Last King of Scotland," director Kevin MacDonald shows a bit too much torture and dismemberment, but his talent is evident and his message is important. It’s not so much about brutal dictators as it is about Western arrogance.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 20, 2007 |
  • comments
“Notes” a Reminder of Our Vulnerability to Sin

"Notes on a Scandal" reminds us how vulnerable we all are to sin – even the most egregious kind. We may think we’re impervious, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be so naïve.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 19, 2007 |
  • comments
Swank Shows Right Stuff in Inspirational Freedom Writers

Although it doesn't reach the peaks of last year's Akeelah and the Bee in its acting, and goes a bit too far in its sermonizing, Freedom Writers is a fine, uplifting tale of an idealistic woman and the hope she instills in her students.

Smokin' Aces Has Style, but Story Goes Up in Flames

Though it's derivative, Smokin' Aces also is surprisingly stylish and, for much of its running time, entertaining. But it's not noble, pure or lovely. It's an empty exercise in cinematic excess.

Uneven "Bobby" Revisits 1960s Idealism

"Bobby” is less concerned with its title character than it is with teaching 1960s history - presumably to those too young to have considered it previously. What we get is a “highlight reel” of late '60s turbulence set to the most obvious period songs imaginable.

Quirky “Volver” Delivers Ambiguous Moral Message

If you enjoy foreign films, you might like the latest by acclaimed Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar. It’s a bit quirky and melodramatic, like all of his films, with an ambiguous moral message. Overall, however, it’s good filmmaking.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 09, 2007 |
  • comments
Brutal “Good Shepherd” Explores C.I.A.'s Beginnings

"The Good Shepherd" revolves around the creation of the C.I.A. It’s the WASP version of a Mafia film, where characters kill one another without a thought, and like “The Godfather,” it’s brutal.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 06, 2007 |
  • comments
"Charlotte's Web" Is Some Movie

With a mix of live animals and CG-assisted animatronics and a well-chosen cast of voices, especially Julia Roberts as Charlotte, Steve Buscemi, the perfect choice for Templeton the rat and 10-year-old Dominic Scott Kay in the key role of Wilbur, "Charlotte's Web" is just as entertaining as inspiring.

Smith and Son Shine in "Happyness"

There are many reasons to love a good father/son movie. Fathers so often get the shaft in pop culture and on the big screen. “The Pursuit of Happyness” not only gives us a strong portrayal of a loving father, but an uplifting lesson in perseverance and being happy even when life is rough.

"Happy Feet" Is Wacky, Toe-Tapping Fun for Everyone

Much like the more vintage Disney fare (think “Bambi”, “Cinderella” or "The Little Mermaid" ), “Happy Feet” succeeds by creating memorable characters that viewers can’t help but care about.

Children of Men a Different Kind of Nativity Story

Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men tells a story of a woman with child, societal prejudice, and hope for a better tomorrow. But unlike the Bible’s nativity story, this account is set in the future, where the concern is physical, rather than spiritual.

Final “Rocky” a Pleasant Surprise and Fitting Sequel

Rocky’s back – although sweet Adrian is gone. And, although you’re probably bracing yourself for another bad sequel, as I was, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at this final episode in this series.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • March 23, 2007 |
  • comments
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