|21 (2008) |
April 10, 2008
When the movie "21" was announced with Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne, it sounded like a winner.
When everybody else involved in "21" was mentioned, it was doomed to be a loser.
"21" came from "Bringing Down the House," a nonfiction b ... more
|American, The (2010)|
|At Any Price (2012) |
May 23, 2013
At Any Price is a melodrama set in Iowa. So it has crops, flags, churches, and is corn-fed. It's as wayward and off-the-wall as an Iowa caucus.
At Any Price is the story of a farm dynasty gone wobbly. Over the years times hav ... more
|August: Osage County (2013) |
December 30, 2013
August: Osage County is the most unpleasant film of the year. It's two hours of bilious caterwauling.
It may have worked on the stage, but on film it's a sour mess.
It's for people who enjoy witless pettiness, wi ... more
|Battleship (2012) |
May 21, 2012
Someone told me I'd have to suspend my disbelief when I saw Battleship.
Not true. After a while you have no brain left with which to disbelieve.
Battleship is a loud lobotomy.
Based loosely - slackly & ... more
|Beer League (2006)|
|Beginners (2011) |
July 8, 2011
Boy, Beginners was a movie I was hoping and planning to like.
It had Christopher Plummer in a role that had to be tours de force and probably even Oscar worthy. It had Ewan McGregor, who is a solid talent.
And it had a dog w ... more
|Blind Side, The (2009)|
|Blood Diamond (2006) |
December 14, 2006
Blood Diamond is a movie zircon.
It doesn't cut glass, but it cuts plot, character, and credibility. It could be Hotel Rwanda, but instead it's Motel Deep-Six.
What is most bothersome about Blood Diamond is that it tries to be an incisive ... more
|Burn After Reading (2008)|
|Cars 2 (2011) |
June 29, 2011
Cars 2 runs out of gas. It's on fumes -- and some of them pretty noxious.
Pixar decided to dumb down the franchise. Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is not the star of Cars 2. The new star is Mater, the rusted to ... more
|Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)|
|Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)|
|Chloe (2010) |
March 23, 2010
Chloe is an atrocious movie. It's artsy-fartsy-tartsy.
A female voice-over at the beginning says, "I can become your unflinching dream."
Pretension does that to me.
Chloe is con ... more
|Cloverfield (2008) |
January 31, 2008
I think when they started filming Cloverfield, somebody accidentally dropped the camera. Someone else said, "Cool."
So they kept dropping the camera. And they threw it, and jerked it, and kicked it. And it went into terminal spasms.< ... more
|Company You Keep, The (2013) |
April 27, 2013
Who is Adam M. Stone?
He represents the essence of The Company You Keep.
Is he the director? No, that's Robert Redford.
Is he the screenplay writer? No, that's Lem Dobbs.
Well, then who is Adam M. St ... more
|Contender, The (2000)|
|Dangerous Method, A (2011) |
January 21, 2012
A Dangerous Method is a lustreless squabble.
Much of the essence of drama is conflict - often verbal. A Dangerous Method, based on actual figures was a book, then a play, and now it's a film, but somewhere in the long ... more
|Date Night (2010) |
April 23, 2010
In today's movie comedies, wit is as rare as Angostura bitters.
If movie comedies were stored at the supermarket, most would be in the day-old section. They certainly aren't fresh.
Comedy doesn't have to be raw, but it ... more
|Detachment (2012) |
April 1, 2012
Education is under attack. It always has been.
If the essence of education is independent thinking, it's in free fall these days.
Most homeschooling offers just a single, limited, often anti-social view; corporations don't ... more
|Drinking Buddies (2013) |
September 9, 2013
I have always championed actress Olivia Wilde.
I admired her in tv's House. I even affirmed Cowboys and Aliens (2011). But when I heard she was appearing in a nonscripted movie, I was leary. As much as I liked her, I did ... more
|Evening (2007) |
July 5, 2007
What's the difference between slasher films and chick flicks? In slasher films they suffer less, and they die quicker. Evening, bless its banal heart, is a chick flick in all its fatuous glory.
Evening has a stellar cast, which includes some o ... more
|Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) |
December 22, 2011
People Magazine picked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as, "The Best Film of the Year!" At least that's what the ads blare.
There are at least a dozen movies that could validly be picked as best of the year. Extre ... more
|Feast of Love (2007)|
|Fighter, The (2010) |
December 13, 2010
A 3-ring circus goes to Lowell, Massachusetts, in The Fighter. Based on actual events, this circus is mayhem.
In the main ring are the daredevils, led by junior welterweight boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg).
|Fountain, The (2006)|
|Four Lions (2010) |
December 4, 2010
Four Lions is a wayward, fitful attempt at incisive comedy.
Finding humor in Four Lions is like searching for a weapon of destruction in Iraq -- where is it? Relating Four Lions to the brilliant Dr. Strangelove< ... more
|Get Smart (2008)|
|Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)|
|Good Day to Die Hard, A (2013) |
February 13, 2013
A Good Day to Die Hard might be titled Rocky and Bullwinkle Die Hard. Except it's not that subtle. Or that good.
Those going to see the latest John McClane movie (the 5th) expecting another smart and sassy Die Hard, inste ... more
|Happening, The (2008)|
|Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) |
February 16, 2009
Happy-Go-Lucky is flibbertigibbet cinema.
Mike Leigh directed Sally Hawkins in this paean to a peahen.
Sally Hawkins plays Sappy -- I mean Poppy. Poppy is a primary school teacher in London; she's on a journey to see the ... more
|Hereafter (2010) |
October 20, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock should not have made musicals. He didn't.
Probably Clint Eastwood should not make sentimentalized, epical films about wish fulfillment. But there's Hereafter.
It's a film that might make Clint ... more
|I'm Still Here (2010) |
September 11, 2010
There has been a lot of discussion by reviewers whether or not I'm Still Here is a put-on.
Casey Affleck has made a "documentary" about his addled brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix and JP's announcement that he is not g ... more
|Intolerable Cruelty (2003)|
|Iron Lady, The (2011)|
|K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)|
|Kill Your Darlings (2013) |
November 24, 2013
Kill Your Darlings is more about the makers of the Bleat Generation than the Beat Generation.
Set in 1944, the movie focuses on three young, burgeoning writers - Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and ... more
|Kite Runner, The (2007)|
|Ladykillers, The (2004)|
|Lone Ranger, The (2013) |
July 3, 2013
When I was a small boy, I thought The Lone Ranger was The Long Ranger.
Little did I know how prescient I was.
In 2013 The Lone Ranger is long. Very, very long. And clumsy. And tacky. Director Gore Verbinski shows how tacky a ... more
|Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)|
|Loren Cass (2006)|
|Malena (2001) |
February 1, 2001
Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena lacks emotional resonance
For those of us who love Cinema Paradiso, the news that its Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore and his musical soulmate Ennio Morricone were getting back together to do another ... more
|Man on Fire (2004)|
|Miami Vice (2006)|
|Micmacs (2010) |
July 4, 2010
Micmacs is a Gallic mishmash.
It's a sloppy souffle that falls more than it rises. It's airless whimsy.
Micmacs is the sporadic story of Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father was killed by a landmine in north Africa. Bazil ... more
|Monkeybone (2001) |
March 1, 2001
The already flopping Monkeybone deserves its fate
The film Monkeybone is a raucous mess. Director Henry Selick mixes animation and live action to the noisy, clumsy detriment of both.
It's the strident story of cartoonist Stu Miley ( ... more
|Night Listener, The (2006)|
|Nowhere Boy (2009)|
|Oblivion (2013) |
April 23, 2013
Scientologists, forget wives.
Get Tom Cruise some actresses. Please.
Cruise's forte, as an actor, is his solid credibility. But in Oblivion he has more chemistry with drones than with his two love interests.
They ... more
|Passion of the Christ, The (2004)|
|Pink Panther 2, The (2009)|
|Pink Panther, The (2006)|
|Rachel Getting Married (2008)|
|Rambo (2008) |
February 7, 2008
Rambo and Stallone
Do you want disembowelment and decapitation with your popcorn? Is gore glorious? Is brutality orgasmic? Is spurting blood the fountain of fun?
If so, Rambo is 4 U.
There is an audience that goes to the mo ... more
|Reader, The (2008)|
|Revolutionary Road (2008)|
|Righteous Kill (2008) |
September 25, 2008
Imagine this conversation
A phone call between actor Bob De Niro and director Marty Scorsese
Bobby: Hello, Marty. I've been calling and texting, but you never answer.
Bobby: I'm talking to you. Are you ... more
|Road, The (2009) |
November 4, 2009
Alaska has its Bridge to Nowhere. The movie The Road has its Bridge to Less Than Nowhere.
One wonders why it was made. It's misery, misery, misery. It's misery for The Man (Viggo Mortensen), The Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and t ... more
|Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) |
August 19, 2010
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a film full of sound and fury signifying WTF. It's slick shtik.
It begins with 22-year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), as he's trying ... more
|Sex and the City 2 (2010) |
June 9, 2010
Films that are aimed at a particular target audience can cause a critic dyspepsia.
The latest Target movie -- actually more Saks Fifth Avenue or Bergdorf Goodman -- is Sex and the City 2, which is erratically slung toward middle-age ... more
|Snake Eyes (1998)|
|Synecdoche, New York (2008) |
December 4, 2008
Writer Charlie Kaufman is the pseudo-intellectuals' "intellectual." He's pompous, self-flagellating and pretentious. So they love him.
Kaufman makes Sarah Palin seem humble.
Kaufman wrote Being John Malkovich, which was a diverting ... more
|Taking Woodstock (2009)|
|Thanks to Gravity (2006)|
|Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) |
July 3, 2011
Animator Chuck Jones was a brilliant master of comic destruction. It had wit, style, and grace.
Director Michael Bay is a master of destruction. It is witless, styleless, and graceless.
Jones's movies went "beep, beep." ... more
|Tree of Life, The (2011)|
|Trouble with the Curve (2012) |
September 24, 2012
Trouble with the Curve should be titled Trouble with the Cliche.
It was not written by a hitter; it was written by a hacker.
It's depressing to think that Clint Eastwood's final screen appearance may be in thi ... more
|Unraveled (2012) |
April 24, 2012
Unraveled is a con job.
It has the clammy hands of its crooked main figure all over it.
Unraveled is a documentary, directed by entertainment attorney and filmmaker Marc H. Simon, about Marc Dreier, who bilked hedge f ... more
|Vantage Point (2008)|
|Because I Said So (2007) |
February 15, 2007
There are chick flicks and upchuck flicks. The movie Because I Said So is an upchuck chick flick.
In Because I Said So, Diane Keaton gives the worst performance of her storied career. She goes to the head of the line as contender for a Razzie ... more
|Black Dahlia, The (2006)|
|Friends with Money (2006)|
|Girl Most Likely (2013) |
July 25, 2013
Girl Most Likely is phony from beginning to end. It's disingenuous tripe.
When I first heard much of it was set in Ocean City, New Jersey, I had some faint hopes that the fresh setting might stimulate a little life into the woul ... more
|Good German, The (2007)|
|Green Hornet, The (2011)|
|Lions for Lambs (2007)|
|Postman, The (1997)|
|Salinger (2013) |
September 22, 2013
My name's Holden.
If you really want to hear about it, Salinger is a lousy movie.
Some crumb-bum named Shane Salerno just made a crappy documentary about my mentor. I'm a liar myself, but - as you may know - ... more
|Squid and the Whale, The (2005)|
|Sugar and Spice (2001) |
January 25, 2001
Sugar and Spice is more like snips and snails and puppy dog tails
Director Francine McDougall thinks of her film Sugar and Spice as "a sophisticated black comedy." Yeah, right. Its as sophisticated as a Twinkie, and as black as a marshm ... more
|Tropic Thunder (2008)|
|10,000 BC (2008)|
|4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)|
|Alien vs. Predator (2004)|
|Duchess, The (2008)|
|Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)|
|Paris 36 (2008)|
|Paul Blart, Mall Cop (2009)|
|Resident Evil (2002)|
|Six Degrees of Separation (1993)|
|Transatlantic Coffee (2011)|
Home (Recent work)
- Reviews by date:
--- 2014 - 2013
- Browse films by title
--- 1 - E
--- F - J
--- K - O
--- P - T
--- U - Z
- Browse films by rating
--- 5 stars
--- 4.5 - 4 stars
--- 3.5 - 3 stars
--- 2.5 - 2 stars
--- 1.5 - 1 stars
- Criticism and Essays