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June 2008
Gory Happening Doesn’t Make a Twitch of Sense

Not only are there no tidy (or even quasi-rational) answers to why people are spontaneously killing themselves in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, but the movie actually gets more confusing—and eye-roll inducing—as the minutes tick on by.

 
The Incredible Hulk Unremarkable Comic Book Fare

Summer action movies are often nothing more than mindless explosions and special effects. Occasionally these popcorn flicks offer something a little deeper. With The Incredible Hulk, clearly the filmmakers are reaching for the latter... with mixed results.

 
Kids and Adults Will Get a Kick Out of Kung Fu Panda

Pursuing your dreams—no matter how big or small—has been a time-honored theme in many a kid’s movie. And the new Jack Black vehicle, Kung Fu Panda, doesn’t stray too far from form.

 
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan Is Good Advice

You Don’t Mess with the Zohan isn’t merely the name of Adam Sandler’s new comedy; it’s also good advice. If you were to try and take this movie on—one predicated on sexual jokes, ethnic stereotypes and ludicrous sight-gags—it would simply beat you down.

May 2008
More Manolos and Meaninglessness in Sex and the City

In the midst of the meaninglessness, a movie like Sex and the City does manage to offer a powerful reminder. It demonstrates, yet again, how utterly pointless life is—and how difficult relationships are—without a greater purpose for living.

 
Ford Still Has the Indy Flair in Crystal Skull

It’s been 19 years since we’ve last seen Indiana Jones. And in the fourth installment of the popular film franchise, Harrison Ford actually seems rather inspired when he grabs his bullwhip and dons that legendary fedora.

 
Prince Caspian Is the Narnia We've Been Waiting For

In every way that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe tried but failed, Prince Caspian succeeds. What was originally slavish adherence to the source has now become inspired filmmaking—a major step forward that represents the Narnia for which we’ve waited.

 
Speed Racer Has Low Impact Despite Spectacular Effects

Directed by the Wachowski brothers—the duo behind the Matrix trilogy—Speed Racer is another visual wonder, but it’s doubtful its impact on future films will come anywhere close to that of the Matrix films.

 
Surfwise Looks at the “First Family of Surfing”

Directed by Doug Pray, Surfwise is a bizarre and shocking, yet strangely fascinating documentary, about a narcissistic, controlling and charismatic man and the ongoing effects on his large family, dubbed “the first family of surfing.”

 
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.

May 2008
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.

 
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.

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