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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.

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.

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