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December 2008
Yes Man Is the Perfect Channel for Carrey’s Wackiness

Longtime fans of Jim Carrey’s comedic charms will be ecstatic about the holiday arrival of Yes Man, a flick that’s more of a thinly veiled morality tale like Liar Liar than say, Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 19, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Powerhouse Wrestler Is Mickey Rourke's Finest Hour

In The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke plays Randy “the Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler who can’t function outside the ring. Past his prime physically, Robinson still performs regularly but struggles to make enough to pay the rent on his mobile home.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 17, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Cool Special FX Can't Save The Day the Earth Stood Still

While some movies have benefited immensely from a modern-day makeover, filmmakers still would be wise to leave a few originals alone—especially if it happens to be a science-fiction classic like 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 12, 2008 |
  • comments
 
No Doubt, Streep and Hoffman Are at the Top of Their Games

Meryl Streep dominates in another remarkably precise performance in Doubt. As Sister Alouysis, she is helping to preserve her school and church against a tide of change she finds unsettling. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn is her acting equal.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 12, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Milk Promotes Agenda, Provides Food for Thought

Based on the career of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office, Milk’s divergence from an evangelical worldview doesn’t make it completely void of merit. It can provide food-for-thought to the contemplative Christian who is willing to watch and listen even while disagreeing.

 
Cadillac Records Is a Bumpy but Satisfying Ride

Soul-stirring performances, a fantastic musical score and an intriguing story of breaking boundaries—racially and otherwise—elevate Cadillac Records, even it’s technically just another biopic.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 08, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Frost/Nixon Proves to Be a Historical Curio

A fascinating moment in history comes to life in Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, an adaptation of Peter Morgan's stage play. Starring Frank Langella as Richard Nixon and Michael Sheen as interviewer David Frost, the film stands out as a retelling of a landmark TV interview.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 05, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Kaufman's Earlier Flair Missing from Synecdoche, New York

Charlie Kaufman has won praise as an innovative screenwriter for movies that took insightful looks into human nature without sacrificing the story. Now, marking the first time he’s directing his own screenplay, Synecdoche, New York, is missing the resonance of his earlier work.

  • Stephen McGarvey |
  • December 05, 2008 |
  • comments
November 2008
There's Boredom Down Under in Australia

Moments of broad humor and Baz Luhrmann’s directorial flourishes add spice to the early stretch of this otherwise bland muddle of a movie, but it doesn’t take too long to recognize that Australia is an overstuffed Thanksgiving turkey.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 26, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Family Dysfunction Takes Center Stage in Four Christmases

Four Christmases seems to have all the right ingredients to be fun, ‘tis-the-season escapist entertainment. Yet for all the effort the protagonists make to be likeable and the carefully-staged gags, the movie still falls horribly flat.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 26, 2008 |
  • comments
November 2008
Bolt Has Plenty of Bark and Comedic Bite

Bolt is probably the best-looking Disney movie in a good long while. Crafted in gorgeous 3-D splendor, it’s a feast for the eyes complete with lavish attention to detail. And the engagingly drawn leads are only further enhanced with stellar vocal talent.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 21, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Moody Twilight Launches a Teen Franchise

For those familiar with Stephenie Meyer’s books and drawn to the buzz around the story, that should be more than enough. But those interested in character motives beyond unspoken physical attraction may find Twilight wanting.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 21, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Complex Story Drives a Spectacular Quantum of Solace

In Quantum of Solace, the complex story is the driving force, especially in the final act when the plot machine takes over so completely that characters become little more than cogs in the wheel—but oh, what a spectacular wheel it is.

 
Vibrant Slumdog Millionaire Reaffirms Boyle's Talent

Slumdog Millionaire, an uplifting story about a young man triumphing on an Indian game show, is a colorful, vibrant film that reaffirms Danny Boyle as one of the more interesting filmmakers working today.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 12, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Boy in the Striped Pajamas Offers an Unusual Perspective

With so much already known about the Holocaust, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ unusual perspective must have seemed like a fresh take on history. But in the end it comes across as misconceived, despite the film’s strengths.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 07, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Zany "Madagascar 2" Far Surpasses Its Predecessor

While not up to the Pixar level yet, the animation is more vivid and vivacious this time around in Madagascar 2 . Rather than flat, one-dimensional drawing, there’s plenty of texture, movement and attention to detail.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 07, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Intense Familial Conflict Portrayed in Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married's title is vaguely misleading, and its ads are borderline deceptive. Based on those alone, one might assume this is a feel-good dramedy with an indie vibe. It’s not and is one of the most intense depictions of familial conflict since Ordinary People.

 
Haunted House Has Much Deeper Meaning

Like typical onscreen haunts, the House created by screenwriters Rob Green and Frank Peretti is creepy. Terrifying, in fact. But, unlike most C-genre blood flicks being churned out by Hollywood, this one has a much deeper meaning.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • November 07, 2008 |
  • comments
October 2008
Hope and Love Drive a Mother’s Search in Changeling

Praise for Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of a working-class mother in 1928 is justified. But it is just one element of Changeling that features lush cinematography, strong performances and potent Christian themes.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 31, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Only Good, Clean Fun in High School Musical 3

Disney’s High School Musical franchise graduates from TV to the big screen for its third installment, and the result is an infectious family film that will satisfy younger viewers and won’t alienate their parents. In short, it is a lot of fun—good, clean fun.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 24, 2008 |
  • comments
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