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July 2007
Dysfunctional Family Overstays Its Welcome in The Dwights

Last year’s Little Miss Sunshine proved there was an audience for a quirky indie film about a dysfunctional family. And naturally, when a film like that meets with unexpected success, it’s not long before copycat efforts follow—like the largely unimpressive Introducing the Dwights.

 
Cheadle Keeps it Real and Raw in Talk to Me

In Talk to Me, Don Cheadle’s character’s slogan is “keep it real.” And while many critics are crying for “realness” in movies, I’m hoping the pendulum is allowed to swing back to the middle with realness that doesn’t barrage with clutter (sex, violence, language, nudity) that’s hard to erase.

 
Less Darkness, More Lessons in Fifth Harry Potter

In all the Harry Potter movies, witchcraft, wizardry, magic, spells and fleshly power look very appealing. The Order of the Phoenix stays away from some of the more overt dark images and teaches (whether intentionally or not) some interesting spiritual lessons.

 
Rescue Dawn - Herzog’s Birthday Present to America

Opening July 4, Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn is a celebration of America and the spirit that motivates our servicemen. But like a great celebration that goes on a little too long, it has a few lulls, some uncomfortable silences and certain excesses.

 
Director Takes Wrong Turn With Driving Lessons

Jeremy Brock’s Driving Lessons is largely autobiographical. This may be the reason that this talented writer/director was unable to remain objective about this project—much less give it what it needed to succeed.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • July 03, 2007 |
  • comments
 
A Morality Tale Is Told in Black Snake Moan

Depicting things in the Deep South as sordid and bizarre, Black Snake Moan, is definitely not for the masses—especially those who like their movies sanitized. But even if it doesn’t look particularly moral, this is actually a well-made morality tale.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • July 03, 2007 |
  • comments
 
License to Wed a Bad Endorsement for Marriage

License to Wed only gets more ridiculous as the minutes tick by, leaving you wonder why a film so bad would be green-lighted in the first place. It’s also a horrible endorsement for marriage and ministers alike, as neither are portrayed in a flattering light.

 
Transformers Goes for Style over Substance

Transformers proves yet again that a movie needs just a little bit more that mind-numbing special effects to be any good. Lack of substance, however, will not prevent this movie from making the studio a big pile of cash this summer.

 
Stars Can’t Salvage a Long Evening at the Movies

Late in Evening, the protagonist, Ann (Vanessa Redgrave), is reunited on her deathbed with her old friend Lila (Meryl Streep). The opportunity to see two of the greatest actresses ever in the same scene should justify the price of admission. Save your money.

June 2007
Coach's Example Makes the Difference in Cheer

Before Hoop Dreams, before Glory Road, there was Something to Cheer About. What a shame we don’t have more mentors like Coach Crowe instilling values in today’s basketball players.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 29, 2007 |
  • comments
June 2007
Ratatouille an Unexpected Delight for Kids and Adults

Armed with loads of life lessons (and thankfully, not presented in a cloying, heavy-handed manner) and a clever script, Ratatouille has all the right ingredients to delight—even if resourceful rats aren’t usually your speed.

 
Willis Shines in Frivolous Live Free or Die Hard

Proving that 50+ is apparently the new 30, Bruce Willis’ John McClane may be a dinosaur in the digital age; but he’s still got the killer instincts and witty comebacks in the face of many, many dangers in Live Free or Die Hard.

 
A Mighty Heart Has Very Little

A Mighty Heart tells the story of the events leading up to journalist Daniel Pearl’s vicious murder in 2002. And while it is presented with technical precision, Heart largely fails to induce the emotions that such a compelling story should.

 
1408 Checks in to Horror and Hopelessness

Should moviegoers check in to 1408? Only if you’re a little low on your claustrophobia, schizophrenia, acrophobia, and especially “blood-o-phobia.” Based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, the horror flick stars John Cusack as a skeptical author of two books on paranormal phenomena.

 
Silly Evan Almighty Stays Afloat

Evan Almighty deliver laughs. Not the side-clutching, gut-busting guffaws of the best comedies, but a gentle amusement, with several chuckles along the way. It’s a summer blockbuster for the under-10 set, as well as teens and adults.

 
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer Falls Flat

With its amazing special effects, this sequel to the 2005 summer blockbuster looks like it should be a hit. Sadly, problems involving lack of chemistry, a poor story structure and a faulty worldview cause Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer to only fall flat.

 
Brains Triumph Over Beauty in Nancy Drew

In light of recent, more self-centered ‘tween/teenage fare like Disturbia, the decidedly countercultural message of Nancy Drew--with a main character who genuinely cares about helping people--is most refreshing.

 
Poor Script Makes for Bad Blood and Chocolate

Blood and Chocolate’s biggest problem, aside from the fact that it contains hardly any blood or chocolate, rendering the title meaningless, is its script. The pacing lags, the characters have little depth and the story lacks credibility.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 12, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Bad Acting, Theology Propel a Doomed Ghost Rider

With a lot of parental guidance, parents might be able to use Ghost Rider to teach kids about some aspects of evil. However, there are far better sources for that—ones that involve good theology. And good acting.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 12, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Ocean's Thirteen and the "Enormity of Success"

Director Steven Soderbergh’s latest film is not an “enormity of success,” but it is disappointing. An outrage? Not really, but that’s the disappointing aspect of Ocean’s Thirteen: It’s hard to care about it much at all.

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