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November 2007
Love in the Time of Cholera Disappoints On-Screen

Love in the Time of Cholera spans 50 years, so adapting this novel to the screen was a formidable undertaking. But in the hands of experienced screenwriter Ronald Harwood and talented director Mike Newell, one would have expected something better.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • November 16, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Embellished, Sexed-Up Beowulf Falls Flat

In the hands of screenwriters Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, this adaptation of Beowulf adds a large dose of sex, nudity and moral failing to the epic poem’s story of a hero from across the seas who fights monsters at his own peril.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 16, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Christmas Spirit Falls Flat in "Fred Claus"

When I first heard about Vince Vaughn trying to pull off a family-friendly scenario, my suspicions were on high alert. Especially when I heard that Fred Claus was directed by the same guy who did the raunchy, R-rated Wedding Crashers a couple of years ago.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 09, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Ineffective and Corrupt Healthcare Exposed in Sicko

Michael Moore makes a devastating point with his newest movie. He shows us that the American healthcare system has become inaccessible, ineffective and frighteningly corrupt.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • November 09, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Lions for Lambs Preaches Leftist Politics

Though it has a star-studded cast, Lions for Lambs is a heavy-handed, low budget, political lecture that, mercifully, only lasts about ninety minutes. When movies like this come out around election time, we should realize that such timing is quite intentional.

  • Eric & Lisa Rice |
  • November 09, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Heart-Wrenching War Dance a Must-See Documentary

An Academy Award nomination. A Sundance Film Festival award. Both are testaments to the outstanding direction, cinematography, editing and composition of War Dance. Yet even they fail to convey its power.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • November 09, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Evil Thrives Where God Is Absent in No Country

No Country for Old Men’s greatest asset—or liability, depending on how you interpret it—is the struggle for answers to profound questions: How can well-meaning people confront unstoppable evil? Is there any hope to do so apart from God?

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 09, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Well-Intentioned Darfur Now Falls Short

At a time when one can’t pronounce the word “Darfur,” documentaries about the ongoing genocide in this African region are a welcome relief. But as needed and as well intentioned as this is, unfortunately Darfur Now falls far short of its potential.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • November 07, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Witty Dialogue Makes Bee Movie Buzzworthy

I admit that I didn’t really want to like Bee Movie. Like so many films that are overly hyped, I assumed that any redeeming value was probably sacrificed for the bottom line. But that’s the funny thing about jumping to conclusions—sometimes you’re wrong. And I was definitely way off with this one.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 02, 2007 |
  • comments
 
American Gangster Robs Viewers of Time and Money

Two great actors and a great director have teamed up for the not-so-great American Gangster, yet another look at one man’s rise to power and his struggle to maintain hold of that power as the law moves in.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 02, 2007 |
  • comments
November 2007
John Cusack Keeps Martian Child Down to Earth

Much like Hugh Grant’s foray into more serious fare with 2002’s About a Boy, John Cusack, another consummate bachelor in real life, proves he’s got dramatic range and emotional gravitas in the otherworldly drama Martian Child.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 02, 2007 |
  • comments
October 2007
Feel-Good Dan in Real Life a Nice Option

Overall, Dan in Real Life is a must-see, a total feel-good movie. It’s been a long time since I’ve observed an audience laughing and cheering so unabashedly. So it’s good to have a nice moviegoing option again.

 
Truths Are Gained in Things We Lost in the Fire

“Accept the good.” That’s the moral of Things We Lost in the Fire, and although the characters’ ideas of good aren’t consciously grounded in the ultimate Good, director Susanne Bier’s drama is tough to shake.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 19, 2007 |
  • comments
 
A Few too Many Bumps along Reservation Road

Reservation Road take on issues of loss, grief and the ways in which we cope with the sudden death of a loved one. While not without merit, it has a few too many bumps. Steer clear for now, but this one may be worth catching on home video.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 19, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Rendition Tortures Viewers with Simplicity and Slow Pacing

While “extraordinary rendition” is certainly a provocative topic in a post 9/11 world, the team behind Rendition doesn’t mind choosing the most simplistic, even manipulative, methods to getting its message across.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 19, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Gritty Gone Baby Gone Begs Tough Decisions

Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, Gone Baby Gone beckons us to play God right along with the protagonist and ask ourselves what hard decision we would make about the life and well-being of a little kidnapped girl.

  • Eric & Lisa Rice |
  • October 19, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Small-Town Spirit Falls Short in “The Final Season”

Although they’re both set in Iowa and they’re both about baseball, let’s get something straight right off the bat (no pun intended): The Final Season just can’t compete with Field of Dreams.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 12, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Polished Michael Clayton Tells Its Story with Panache

Michael Clayton is crisp and propulsive, without being at all alienating. The story tackles clear, documented corporate criminality that will have even the most hardened supporters of Big Business wanting to see justice done.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 12, 2007 |
  • comments
 
New Twists Given to Sleuth Remake

This remake of the 1972 classic of the same name has been given some distinctly new twists. Based on the successful stage production by Anthony Shaffer, it featured Lawrence Olivier as Wyke and Michael Caine as Tindle, in Jude Law’s current role.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • October 12, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Prodigal Son Echoes to Be Found in We Own the Night

Echoes of the prodigal son parable abound in the latest crime film by director-screenwriter James Gray. Although the plot isn’t brilliant and suffers from obvious contrivances, it’s still an engaging spectacle.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • October 12, 2007 |
  • comments
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