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June 2007
Penguins Charm, Yet Again, in Surf’s Up

Unlike Happy Feet’s heavy-handed commentary on the environment and animal rights, the messages in Surf's Up are far less controversial: a lifelong dream often involves risk, winning isn’t everything and respect for elders (and mentors) is essential for success.

 
Big Debt Is Big Business in Maxed Out

Because we can’t resist the lure of credit, documentary Maxed Out insists, more than 10 million Americans declared bankruptcy between 1994 and 2004. This year, more of us will go bankrupt than will divorce, graduate form college or get cancer.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 05, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Twisted Reasoning Makes for Scatterbrained Secrets

Even if you can somehow follow the twisted reasoning in Secrets of the Code, its presentation of information is so completely scatterbrained that most people will find it incredibly boring. So even if you are inclined to believe this bunk, you’ll still have to stay awake to hear it.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • June 05, 2007 |
  • comments
 
Costner Dances with Outrageousness in Mr. Brooks

The creepy new Kevin Costner flick, Mr. Brooks, is played out in a way that dances on the line between terrifying believability and over-the-top, almost comic-book-like-splatter film outrageousness. Consider yourself warned.

 
Vulgarity Eclipses Humor in Knocked Up

Knocked Up has some great comic appeal. It has many endearing emotional moments. It even has an uplifting pro-life message. Unfortunately, you will have to stomach a mountain of obscenity to get to the good stuff.

May 2007
Pirates 3 Goes Overboard with Confusing Plotlines

If you thought Pirates 2 was difficult to follow, you ain’t seen nothing yet. In fact, I’ve never been more in the dark about whose allegiance is with whom, and what in the world Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Davy Jones are actually trying to accomplish anyway.

 
Ambling Plot Mars Brooding Good German

Based on the best-selling novel by author Joseph Kanon, The Good German is the frame-by-frame recreation of a 1940s film noir. It’s dark, it’s brooding and it’s a mystery, although the plot ambles way too much.

 
Top-Notch Humor, Animation Mark Shrek the Third

With cleverly-written, well-voiced, all-star humor and impeccable animation, Shrek the Third is marred only by a few typical Hollywood worldview elements and some scatological humor.

 
Marriage, Perseverance Propel Away from Her

In Away from Her, the depiction of a 44-year marriage devastated by the onset of a degenerative condition may be smart counterprogramming—especially for adults and older teens looking for a respite from the youth-oriented movies that dominate the screens each summer.

 
Shaky Plot Arc Plagues Arthur and the Invisibles

Writer/director Luc Besson developed this script from two of his children’s books. As his first attempt at CGI, Arthur isn’t terrible, but it’s also not very inspired. The bigger problem is the subject matter itself with a plot arc so shaky, Besson seems to have haphazardly thrown it all together.

May 2007
Music and Love Make the Story for Once

This film’s plot is so sparse that the main characters don’t even have names. But that doesn’t matter at all. Once is a short, but straightforward, story about two people who are looking for love, though neither realizes it, and who live and view the world through music.

 
Eternity and Immortality Explored in The Fountain

What does it mean to have eternity set in our hearts? Is immortality possible? These are the questions explored by writer/director Darren Aronofsky in The Fountain, his latest ambitious, artistic, science-fiction production.

 
Complexity of Relationships the Focus in Painted Veil

The Painted Veil is one of those visual and cinematic masterpieces that we rarely see today. It’s uncomfortable, but it conveys how complex relationships—and emotions—truly are.

 
Lessons Are Learned the Crass Way in Georgia Rule

Georgia Rule is a super-heavy downer with a high cringe factor and a steady infusion of crassness and perversion. Yes, there are important lessons to be learned about relationships and generational patterns, but it’s not worth the ride to get there.

 
Waitress an Entertaining But Disturbing Slice of Life

Despite an engaging storyline and well-crafted performances all around, a particularly skewed worldview is what ultimately makes Waitress so disturbing to watch as a Christian.

 
28 Weeks Later: Return of the Moral Horror Movie?

Director Danny Boyle’s terrifying vision of societal decay and survival of the fittest reinvigorated the horror genre in 2003 with 28 Days Later. Now, its sequel, 28 Weeks Later, introduces a stronger family dynamic than its predecessor.

 
Despite Flaws, Spider-Man 3 Works Hard to Amaze

You won’t be disappointed if you’re looking to be wowed by heretofore unseen action sequences in Spider-Man 3. But if it's more of the poignant storytelling of the first two films that you want, you may be dissatisfied.

 
Age Bests Beauty in Lucky You

Actors Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana have both recently made People magazine’s “most beautiful” list. But in Lucky You, it is the performance of their older, wiser co-star Robert Duvall that is the most beautiful by far.

April 2007
Lackluster Script Overshadows Message in Hidden Secrets

While there’s certainly some important, timely lessons to be learned about how not to evangelize or the power of forgiveness, the worst flaw of Hidden Secrets is the lackluster script.

 
Royal Roles the Subject in Engaging Queen

The Queen provides the perfect opportunity to discuss the role of our leaders. Do they exist to lead or serve us? And how might that look, during our times of national crises? This well-made, amusing and thoroughly engaging film nudges us to wonder.

  • Annabelle Robertson |
  • April 27, 2007 |
  • comments
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