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May 2008
What Happens in Vegas Should've Stayed in Vegas

With a threadbare plot straight out of a sitcom, What Happens in Vegas is not only the worst commercial for Sin City in a while, but the comedy is so insipid and low-brow you would’ve thought the script was penned by a junior-high boy.

 
Multiple Dylans Confuse in I’m Not There

Director Todd Haynes seems to be mirroring the confusion about Bob Dylan’s life by making this film so confusing. There is no plot, no chronology, and no thesis—save perhaps that there is no way to ever truly understand this man.

 
Bella a Good Choice for Life-Affirming Entertainment

Bella is fabulous entertainment. You’ll watch, expecting a date movie. In the end, you’ll be smiling—and perhaps even crying—over its moving, life-affirming message of love, hope, reconciliation and redemption.

 
Better Luck Next Time for Iron Man

During a preview screening, squeals upon the first full look at Iron Man were a resounding signal as to what the audience had come to see—not Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. No, this man of steel—"titanium alloy" Stark specifies—is the star of the show.

 
Made of Honor Glamorizes Sex without Commitment

Made of Honor is basically the equivalent of 1997’s My Best Friend’s Wedding. But instead of Julia Roberts doing all the scheming, we’ve got Patrick Dempsey as the single guy who doesn’t realize what he’s got until it’s (almost) gone.

April 2008
Stunning Cinematography Can’t Save a Shallow Romulus

Despite its stunning cinematography, Romulus, My Father plods along, moving from one scene to another, without reaching any real resolution. Director Richard Roxburgh doesn't seem to have any message, either, which makes the film feel shallow.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 28, 2008 |
  • comments
 
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
 
Big Laughs but Troubling Morality in Baby Mama

Former Saturday Night Live star and screenwriter (of Mean Girls) Tina Fey has perfected the role of a successful working woman who longs for a baby in her role as Liz Lemon on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Now Fey finds similar success with Baby Mama.

 
“The Visitor” Certainly Doesn’t Overstay Its Welcome

Instead of opting for the oh-so-informative documentary or an intense political thriller to address the hot-button topic of illegal immigration, The Visitor goes straight for the heart with an emotionally compelling drama.

 
Expelled Promotes Intriguing Intelligent Design Dialogue

If those who write off intelligent design as nothing more than conservative, right-wing rhetoric would be willing to put aside their notions, they may be surprised by the provocative dialogue that’s been initiated in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

April 2008
Chan and Li Unite in an Action-Packed “Forbidden Kingdom”

The Forbidden Kingdom brings together for the first time ever, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Despite a storyline that’s about 20 percent plot and 80 percent fighting, kung fu movies have proven to be hits in America, and this one should be no exception.

 
88 Minutes Stops Short of Satisfaction

88 Minutes doesn’t offer much to recommend. Like the Diane Lane thriller Untraceable from earlier this year, it’s a mediocre, at times distasteful thriller that isn’t its lead actor’s finest hour. But like that film, the presence of the star makes the film better than it might have been otherwise.

 
Faith Plays a Part in The Life Before Her Eyes

The Life Before Her Eyes suggests potent themes, but settles for a surface resolution that feels like a gimmick. In the end, it is reduced to a third-rate M. Night Shyamalan twist rather than rising to the largely unexplored Bergman-esque spiritual drama at its core.

 
Formulaic Prom Night Provides More Laughs Than Terror

If you’re squeamish about blood, there’s little to worry about there in Prom Night, a remake of the campy 1980 horror flick by the same name. For anyone who has actually seen the original, there’s surprisingly little resemblance.

 
You Wouldn’t Think Smart People Could Be So Dumb

With the success of quirky, independent comedies like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno, expect to see more movies like Smart People. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold a candle to either of these recent screen gems.

 
"Street Kings" Is a Royal Waste of Time

Based on a screenplay co-written by James Ellroy, Street Kings is a punishing film that wastes its talent on extensive and excessive shootouts and acts of sadism. And they have, sadly, become so common on screen that they’ve lost their power to shock.

 
Zellweger, Clooney Make an Affable Team in Leatherheads

Taking its cues from fast-talking screwball comedies of years past, Leatherheads is a sports-themed battle of the sexes that largely succeeds because of the chemistry of its leads—George Clooney and Renée Zellweger.

 
It's a Waste of Time to Meet Bill

Meet Bill appears to be somewhat aimed at kids, but its content makes it only appropriate for adults. For those and many other reasons, it should have simply been left in pre-production purgatory. In other words, don’t meet Bill.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 04, 2008 |
  • comments
 
A Hero Lies within on Nim’s Island

Likely targeting kids five through twelve, the latest Walden Media film is a family-friendly, take-me-away adventure with a good message about finding heroism from within.

March 2008
Effective 21 a Cautionary Tale of Greed, Gambling

Winning big isn’t that easy, unless you happen to be a math whiz with a knack for counting cards. Based on the true story of MIT students who actually managed to beat the Vegas system, 21 is a slickly crafted cautionary tale of greed and gambling.

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