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September 2008
Simplistic Melodrama Mires Visually Stunning Duchess

A metaphor common to period pieces is how opulent exteriors often mask sordid realities. It’s certainly a staple of The Duchess, although the metaphor isn’t restricted to the film’s themes. It expands to its quality as well.

  • Jeffrey Huston |
  • September 24, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Funny, Insightful Ghost Town Worth a Visit

Almost dying allows Ricky Gervais’ character to experience living in a whole new, rewarding way. And that definitely elevates Ghost Town a step above your typical, supernatural romantic comedy.

  • Christa Banister |
  • September 19, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Senior Citizens Still Rock in Young @ Heart

You’ve probably seen this band before. No, it’s not the Ramones—although they do a rousing chorus of “I Want to Be Sedated.” They’re the “Young @ Heart” chorus—a group of septa- and octogenarians who perform rock tunes.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • September 18, 2008 |
  • comments
 
A Faulty Sense of Empowerment Fuels The Women

If it wasn’t for the success of the recent Sex and the City on the big screen, chances are The Women, a remake of the 1939 classic that’s been in the works for over a decade, probably wouldn’t be playing at a theater near you as we speak.

  • Christa Banister |
  • September 12, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Good Cop Goes Bad in Righteous Kill

Righteous Kill stars two of the most revered actors of their generation: Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Not since Heat have the men shared a scene. But those hoping for acting fireworks here will need to wait for their next joint appearance.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 12, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Burn After Reading Boasts Big Laughs and Moral Truths

A blatant attempt at parody, Burn After Reading is a send-up of modern Oscar-bait conspiracy thrillers like Michael Clayton and Syriana. And interestingly enough, also stars George Clooney (star of both those films).

  • Jeffrey Huston |
  • September 12, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Boredom Is the Ever-Present Danger in Bangkok

There’s nothing new in Bangkok Dangerous, which caps its dreary running time with a downbeat ending that might have been more credible if the movie preceding it sustained any semblance of a pulse.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 08, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Relationships Are Celebrated in Then She Found Me

Celebrates the arbitrary nature of relationships and delves into the bond of motherhood through adoption.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • September 04, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Diverting Babylon A.D. Eventually Falls Apart

Babylon A.D. probably won’t do much for Vin Diesel’s action-movie career. But its failure may be for the best if it pushes the actor into roles that require him to do more than mumble one-liners and shoot bad guys.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 02, 2008 |
  • comments
August 2008
“Traitor” Explores Religion, Terrorism to Little Effect

A story about Islamic terrorists infiltrated by a Muslim explosives expert with ties to the West, Traitor manages to be unsatisfying as a thriller, dreary as a thought piece, and somewhat offensive in the amount of screen time it spends as a terrorist apologia.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 28, 2008 |
  • comments
August 2008
Feel-Good “Longshots” Is Winning Family Fare

If someone would’ve told me that rapper Ice Cube and Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst would one day team up for an inspirational, family-friendly movie such as The Longshots, I wouldn’t have believed them.

 
Miss Pettigrew Lives for Finding True Love

As a romance, the main message is that finding love is what matters most in life. It’s a “chick flick,” to be sure, but one that will be appreciated by that audience—especially those of a certain age.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • August 21, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Fly Me to the Moon Isn't One Giant Step Forward

As the third space-themed, family-friendly film of summer 2008, Fly Me to the Moon falls somewhere in between the far superior Wall·E and the lackluster Space Chimps in terms of sheer quality.

 
Tropic Thunder Skewers Hollywood Cliches

Tropic Thunder, a new comedy from director and star Ben Stiller, is profane, crude and politically incorrect. It's also uproariously funny—the year's best comedy—and has a winning performance from Robert Downey Jr.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 13, 2008 |
  • comments
 
No Clear Answers Found in The Counterfeiters

Based on Adolf Burger’s wartime memoir, The Devil’s Workshop, The Counterfeiters wisely keeps its focus on the far more nuanced character of Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch—an unlikely protagonist who insists that to survive, you must adapt.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • August 07, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Three Years Later, the Traveling Pants Still Fit

Proving that popular books can be beautifully adapted for the big screen, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 has all the verve and spunk of the original as the four friends are now wrestling with being college-age girls.

 
Funny, Entertaining Pineapple Express Is Also Super-Bad

Pineapple Express serves as a stark contrast to (and improvement over) the recent Will Ferrell misfire, Step Brothers. While both push the limits of R-rated humor, Step Brothers is wholly reliant on its crudity in a way that Pineapple Express is not.

 
Aimless Mummy 3 Never Comes to Life

For the Mummy series, the third time offers no charm. Neither darkly compelling nor thoughtfully entertaining, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is an also-ran.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 01, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Politics Gets Some Comic Relief in Swing Vote

Weary of the 24/7 coverage of the upcoming presidential election and wondering if your vote really makes a difference anyway? Swing Vote is timely and just cynical enough to garner a few much-needed laughs as the race lingers on.

July 2008
X-Files May Work for Fans, but not Newcomers

The sight of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson assuming well worn roles will be enough for true fans of the series. But those who are new to the franchise may find themselves wondering whatever drew people to The X-Files to begin with.

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