Like this past summer's surprise hit The Expendables, the bulk of Red's cast may qualify for AARP card-carrying status—Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, etc. But it's a serious mistake to underestimate their strength.
- October 15, 2010 |
Secretariat is a quintessential family film in this respect: there's nothing to complain about and nothing to rave about. It's safe, conventional, professional; an old-fashioned movie made up of warm fuzzies. In short, Secretariat is as inoffensive as it is ineffectual.
In Life As We Know It, the latest rom-com to hit theaters, the combined charms of Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, plus a little help from an adorable baby, ultimately elevates what could've been a big-screen sitcom gone seriously wrong.
A film about depression that isn't depressing; how's that for a small miracle? Starring Keir Gilchrist and Zach Galifianakis, It's Kind of a Funny Story is a title perfectly suited to this appealing slice of despondent life, one that comes by its laughs in insightful ways.
Director Matt Reeves has taken the original Swedish film, Let the Right One In, moved the setting to 1983 New Mexico, and has crafted a beautifully realized film about the uncertainties and loneliness of adolescence. It also explicitly raises the idea that evil is quite real—although not always in the places we might think.
Whether or not viewers wholeheartedly agree with how documentarian Davis Guggenheim actually goes about proving his thesis, Waiting for "Superman" is still an important and compelling look at the current state of public education—unsightly warts and all.
Unlike many documentaries, Freakonomics is not dry or academic. The multiple directors, each of whom was assigned different segments of the film, often handle the material with humorous scripting and entertaining re-enactments of true-life events.
The Social Network asks a broader question of us about the Web site Mark Zuckerberg founded: does Facebook offer true connection or false validation? The answer lies, as with all things, not in the amoral device being used but rather in the souls that use it.
- October 01, 2010 |
If you've never seen a romantic comedy, or a story about old rivalries rekindled, then you might—just might—find You Again tolerable, even enjoyable. It's well performed by a game cast that tries to make the most of a limp screenplay that's virtually free of surprises.
- September 27, 2010 |
Purely as escapist entertainment, this film is far from boring. But the lack of insight, not to mention the kinder, gentler Gordon Gekko who emerges certainly makes you miss the era of greed being good—which isn't the conclusion the filmmakers were probably hoping for.
In tying together multiple books, director Zack Snyder and screenwriters John Orloff and Emil Stern pack in too much and too little—too many characters in a plot that tries to cover too much ground for its 90-minute running time, leaving its characters and ideas underdeveloped.
A heavy wooden coffin is where all of Buried takes place. Thanks to a seemingly never-ending supply of tight camera shots and rather limited lighting in those incredibly close quarters, the audience can't help feeling equally claustrophobic while tuning in.
A good horror movie is hard to find. A good horror movie full of Christian themes and spiritual teachings that validate the reality of God is virtually non-existent—and yet this is precisely what audiences get with Devil, conceived and written by M. Night Shyamalan.
- September 20, 2010 |
Alpha and Omega doesn't bother scraping the bottom of the barrel for cheap laughs. But even with a healthy dose of aw-shucks charm, this road-trip romance still lacks the warmth and sophistication, not to mention those essential eye-popping visuals, of its recent animated counterparts Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me.
- September 17, 2010 |
With The Town, Ben Affleck gets ambitious serving as the film's director, co-writer and star. For the most part, he pulls off his duties with aplomb. And like his directorial debut (Gone Baby Gone), this is a multi-layered, unsettling morality tale where drugs and four-letter words are used in abundance.
- September 17, 2010 |
It's hard to imagine this Resident Evil chapter expanding the franchise's audience. The film should have a brief theatrical run before finding its "afterlife" on home video, where its loyal audience can watch it over and over again. For everyone else, once will be quite enough.
- September 13, 2010 |
In an effort to defy conventional romantic comedy, the screenwriter of Going the Distance took an intriguing premise—how does a long-distance couple actually make it work?—and immediately shot it in the foot with a bazooka.
- September 03, 2010 |
Director Anton Corbijn creates a moody but minimalist atmosphere in The American. The camera is mostly static, music scarcely heard, and shots linger. While thrillers usually depend on opposite tactics to set the tone, Corbijn strips those away—instead allowing circumstance and psychology alone to create confusion and build tension.
- September 01, 2010 |
When there's been nothing more than mindless popcorn flicks at a theater near you this summer, you can't help but want to root for a seemingly charming little movie like Flipped. But when the end product is little more than a plodding slice of nostalgia, you simply want something more.
- August 27, 2010 |