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March 2008
Stale Story Hurts Spectacle of 10,000 B.C.

10,000 B.C. works as sheer spectacle, but its story is forgettable. Its unknown actors make an impression because of their striking looks, but it’s hard to fathom what their future roles might be based on this special-effects driven extravaganza.

 
The Other Boleyn Girl Soaps Up History

Starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, The Other Boleyn Girl is nothing more than a soap opera that accentuates immorality, embellishes facts and celebrates its deviations from the historical record.

 
Charming Actors Save Penelope by a Nose

What ultimately lifts Penelope from been-there-seen-that, “believing in yourself” status are the charming performances from leads Christina Ricci, James McAvoy—and even Penelope’s hideously superficial mother, played by Catherine O’Hara.

February 2008
Semi-Pro Only Semi-Funny

Maybe you’ve heard the adage: "If you’ve seen one Will Ferrell movie, you've seen 'em all." Well maybe no one’s said that yet, but they will. Especially if he keeps making vapid, vulgar comedies that are hardly even amusing.

  • Stephen McGarvey |
  • February 29, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Vantage Point Gives Action Film Genre a Fresh Look

What could have been a forgettable thriller, Vantage Point instead gives the audience something to puzzle over. Such a film certainly takes advantage of the current popularity of “tell the story out of order” television shows like “Lost.”

  • Stephen McGarvey |
  • February 22, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Wacky Be Kind Rewind Has Lots of Laughs

Be Kind Rewind starts as a tale about the passing of the torch and serves as a wistful look at the fading days of video-rental shops. It evolves into a sci-fi slapstick comedy before settling into a series of cinematic recreations that play like gag reels. Yet somehow, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • February 22, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Charlie Bartlett an Excellent Case Study on Today’s Teens

Charlie Bartlett is a well-made, funny but sad, targeted look at the very real emotions that plague our children. It is an enlightening case study on the cynicism, meaninglessness, relativism, disillusionment with authority, and desperate search for authenticity that teens deal with daily.

 
Inert Jumper Could Use a Jump-Start

Jumper could have been the start of an entertaining franchise had it registered a pulse. Unable to clear even lowest of plot thresholds, however, it deserves to make a quick trip through theaters and materialize on video shelves imminently.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • February 15, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Definitely, Maybe Defies Predictable Rom-Com Experience

Unlike the mindless frivolity of Fool’s Gold or the by-the-numbers cuteness of 27 Dresses, Definitely, Maybe is a well-conceived love story that doesn’t insult your intelligence. Seriously.

  • Christa Banister |
  • February 14, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Darkness Pervades a Thought-Provoking Spiderwick Chronicles

The typical magical, fantasy-type outlook pervades The Spiderwick Chronicles' dark worldview. Creatures, spells and potions, and flying and time travel abound. But there are also some interesting spiritual parallels that are worthy of discussion.

February 2008
No Cinematic Treasure Found in Fool's Gold

In Fool’s Gold, one might expect more of the comedy and chemistry Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson first had in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. But a hokey script has quickly washed away any hope of striking rom-com gold twice.

  • Christa Banister |
  • February 08, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Home Is Where the Hum-Drum Is in Roscoe Jenkins

How so many talented actors ended up in Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is a mystery. Many of the big names have only a few lines and are wasted in a film that just leaves viewers cold.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • February 08, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Good Taste Is Endangered in Strange Wilderness

With bottom-of-the-barrel laughs aimed squarely at the same adolescent males who liked Superbad, Strange Wilderness is a stoner comedy with little substance, style or anything resembling good taste.

  • Christa Banister |
  • February 04, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Look Away from The Eye

The Eye, a remake of a film directed by Danny and Oxide Pang, makes the brothers 0 for 2 in American films they directed or that were remade from their original work. It’s deadly dull—worse than 2007’s tepid The Messengers—and should vanish quickly.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • February 04, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Don’t Even Bother with Over Her Dead Body

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, women will be searching for chick-flicks on the marquis. But before you bother paying ten bucks for Over Her Dead Body, keep in mind its implausible premise and boatload of issues.

January 2008
Blonde Ambition Achieves Little for Simpson Fans

The target audience for Blonde Ambition is a mystery. With such patently silly production values, it seems geared to young girls and fans of Jessica Simpson. But its language and sexuality make it only appropriate for older teens or adults.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • January 29, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Rambo a Bad Flashback to '80s Excess

The new film Rambo, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, presents an interesting case study on the idea of suffering and reacquaints us with John Rambo, a troubled Vietnam vet who has a hard time overcoming his killer instincts.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • January 28, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Good Acting Can’t Save The Air I Breathe

Unfortunately, the acting isn’t enough to save this film, which views like an off-kilter copycat of Crash with lesser production values. Not really worth the effort, even if you can stomach the violence.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • January 25, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Untraceable Is Thrilling but Pointlessly Gruesome

Untraceable is one of the first technology thrillers to generate actual thrills. Too bad that the film is also representative of a terrible cultural trend, a mystery built around videotaped torture and suffering.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • January 25, 2008 |
  • comments
 
Woody’s Worth Increases with Cassandra’s Dream

London has been good to Woody Allen. Cassandra’s Dream, the third film in Allen’s London-based trilogy, rivals his earlier moral drama, Match Point, while exceeding that film’s technical craft and giving Colin Farrell the role of his career.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • January 22, 2008 |
  • comments
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