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October 2006
Latest Esther Movie Inspires in "One Night With the King"

Since 1913, Hollywood has produced at least nine movies about the biblical Esther. But perhaps the most intriguing is the latest, "One Night With the King", which does a laudable job telling the timeless, inspiring story of a young girl’s bravery amidst treachery, scandal, and genocide.

 
No Votes Here for Robin Williams in "Man of the Year"

What if someone like Jon Stewart beat the odds and was elected president? "Man of the Year" provides that premise, but in order to work, the script would actually have to be funny, and trust me, this story is really short on laughs – even with Robin Williams in the starring role.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 13, 2006 |
  • comments
 
Scorcese Displays His Heart of Darkness in "The Departed"

With “The Departed,” director Martin Scorcese's passion returns in spades. But the film is, like so many other Scorcese-directed works, overly long, terribly profane, brutally violent and extremely dark.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 13, 2006 |
  • comments
 
"Open Season" Gets Back to Nature With Amazing Animation

What fun my eleven-year-old son and I had at a recent screening for “Open Season.” We got to see the 3-D IMAX version of the movie with animation and effects that are simply breathtaking and amazing.

September 2006
Facing the Giants Scores a Touchdown for Faith-Based Films

While Facing the Giants isn't exactly breaking new ground in the sports drama sense, the faith element leaves you feeling inspired. And for a movie with a low budget and no recognizable Hollywood actors to speak of, that's a miracle in and of itself.

  • Christa Banister |
  • September 29, 2006 |
  • comments
 
Kevin Costner Helps "The Guardian" Stay Above Water

Underneath all his steely gazes and rapid-fire commands, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Ben Randall is ultimately likeable and even noble in his intentions. Kevin Costner does a great job of displaying those nuances in "The Guardian."

  • Christa Banister |
  • September 29, 2006 |
  • comments
 
"Flyboys" Barely Gets off the Ground

In its desire to reach a broad audience, "Flyboys" intersperses action with romance, settling for clichés in both instances. The bland performances from a mostly undistinguished cast don’t help matters either.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 27, 2006 |
  • comments
 
Penn Dominates a Handsome "All the King's Men"

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 22, 2006 |
  • comments
 
Children Will Be Inspired by Christopher Reeves' "Hero"

"Everyone's Hero" was the dream of the late Christopher and Dana Reeves. Throughout the film, it is clear they wanted to inspire children to value little life experiences along the road so that, if handled properly, they can all help when life calls us up to bat.

 
September 2006
Hollywoodland Tells a Fallen Superhero's Hopeless Tale

Superman Returns revived the superhero's franchise, but Hollywoodland gives us a much more serious side to the Superman story. Unfortunately, this tale of the rise and fall of actor George Reeves delivers the same mixed results as Bryan Singer's over-hyped vision of the superhero.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • September 11, 2006 |
  • comments
August 2006
How to Eat Fried Worms is a Questionable Concoction

How to Eat Fried Worms is not a cinematic delicacy by any means, but neither is it difficult to digest. Like a decent fast-food meal, it’s bound to please kids but leave adults thinking about their next entrée.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • August 30, 2006 |
  • comments
 
Invincible Triumphs Over Usual Sports Movie Clichés

Before one assumes that Invincible follows all the sports movie cliches, it doesn't. Instead, the movie is the true story of the rather unlikely NFL career of Vince Papale.

 
Tricky Illusionist Plays With Our Expectations

Not all it could be, but it has one big trick up its sleeve — and it’s a doozy. Is it magic, manipulation, or a little of both? If it’s judged to be the former, the film will prove rewarding; if the latter, the film will feel like a cheat.

 
 
Talented Cast Makes Little Miss Sunshine Glow

Much about this independent film is formulaic and clichéd. But brilliant acting by a colorful cast has deservedly won the film high marks from critics.

 
Value of Fathers, Role Models Highlighted in Barnyard

Several recent movies, such as “Chicken Little” and “Curious George,” highlighted issues related to the need for good fathering. In the same vein, “Barnyard” is a vivid portrayal of the need for children to model their lives after strong, sacrificial role models.

 
Talladega Nights Takes the Lowbrow Course

Ultimately kind to its simpleminded characters, and all demographics represented. Unfortunately, the movie has decided that you can’t be funny without also being over-the-top vulgar. Too bad, since Talladega could have been one of 2006’s funniest.

July 2006
Crud Outweighs Character in "The Ant Bully"

There is something mechanical about "The Ant Bully," and the writers seem to rely heavily on scatological humor to juice up their formulaic script. My eleven-year-old son insists that “Kids love that stuff, Mom." But anyone over eleven might wish they had held out for “Barnyard,” which opens in theaters next week.

 
Miami Vice Brings Nothing New to the Cop Movie Genre

There is no lack of "spoof-worthy" material in television's Miami Vice. The show's '80s outfits and décor are generally remembered by most with a chuckle. Yet director Michael Mann, who was involved in the creation of the original, has taken his new film in exactly the opposite direction.

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