|...Around (2008) |
February 25, 2009
For much of its length ...Around seems like a companion piece to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). It could be titled Doyle Simms's 4 Years Off.
It's not only that the leading character Doyle Simms is glib a ... more
|10,000 BC (2008)|
|127 Hours (2010)|
|2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)|
|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
|21 Jump Street (2012) |
March 20, 2012
21 Jump Street is a cockamamie movie.
It's as rowdy as a dick joke. And another dick joke. And another dick joke. After the 21st dick joke, I wanted to jump off.
And after the dick jokes there's a load of excrement joke ... more
|28 Days Later (2002)|
|3 Women (1977)|
|3:10 to Yuma (2007)|
|4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008)|
|40 Year Old Virgin, The (2005)|
|400 Blows, The (1959)|
|42 (2013) |
April 15, 2013
There are no violins in baseball.
At least that's what I thought.
In the movie 42, there are more violins than baseball bats. I never realized Jackie Robinson played baseball in the middle of an orchestra.
In sce ... more
|50/50 (2011) |
October 1, 2011
50/50 is a movie in which the protagonist is very human, and his best friend is obnoxious.
It's also an apt study in acting. One actor is human; the other is obnoxious.
50/50 is the story of 27-year old Ad ... more
|500 Days of Summer (2009)|
|About a Boy (2002)|
|About Schmidt (2003) |
February 1, 2003
Payne capsized an actor and a novel in this misfire
About Schmidt drives another nail in the coffin of irony. About Schmidt is as lacking in irony as its blatant crayon drawing ending. It's a synthetic antidote to a ... more
|Ace in the Hole (1951)|
|Adjustment Bureau, The (2011) |
March 10, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau should be titled The Demolition Bureau. It takes Philip K. Dick's story and blows it up.
One of course realizes that in Hollywood literature is passe. The late Philip K. Dick was a popular and renown ... more
|Adventureland (2009) |
April 9, 2009
Was young actor Jesse Eisenberg in the latest Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden? He should have been. He's as cute as a puppy.
Eisenberg's doggone precious looks are in evidence all over his latest movie ... more
|Adventures of Tintin, The (2011)|
|Age of Innocence, The (1993)|
|Agent Cody Banks (2003)|
|Albert Nobbs (2011) |
January 25, 2012
2011 was the year of the actress.
At least five or six female performances perhaps were superior to any male performance last year.
These were Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn, Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, R ... more
|Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)|
|Alice In Wonderland (2010) |
March 14, 2010
Maybe I'm not as jaded as I should be. Maybe I'm still too wide-eyed. But I found Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to be a treasure trove full of delight and near-amazement. The imagery is bold and ravishing. Alice in Wonderl ... more
|Alien vs. Predator (2004)|
|All About Eve (1950)|
|All Fall Down (1962)|
|All God's Children Can Dance (2007)|
|All the President's Men (1976)|
|Almost Famous (2000)|
|Amazing Spider-Man, The (2012) |
July 6, 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man shouldn't work. It's a reprise of a movie that was released only ten years ago. Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst couldn't be replaced, could they? There was a lasting charm to their relationship. And Maguir ... more
|American Gangster (2007)|
|American Splendor (2003)|
|American Wedding (2003)|
|American, The (2010)|
|Angels and Demons (2009) |
May 11, 2009
Angels and Demons performs a miracle. It makes 2 hours seem like 4 hours.
Angels and Demons should thrill, but director Ron Howard's suspense has no edge or vitality. Most of it is running, panting, doggy-paddling. And si ... more
|Animal House (1978)|
|Animal Kingdom (2010)|
|Another Year (2010)|
|Apartment, The (1960)|
|Apocalypse Now (1979)|
|Apostle, The (1997)|
|Appaloosa (2008) |
November 27, 2008
I give thanks for westerns.
Every time they seem to be about to gasp their last, dusty breath, one comes along to give them a bit of renewed life. Bless it, the western genre will not die. Last year it was the excellent remake 3:10 to Yuma< ... more
|Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, The (1974)|
|Artist, The (2011)|
|As Good as It Gets (1997)|
|Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007)|
|Astronaut Farmer, The (2007) |
March 8, 2007
The Astronaut Farmer is one of those movies that you don't believe for a moment while you're watching it, but you leave with a warm glow. But by the time you've driven home, you realize you've been conned.
It's one of those synthetic-looki ... more
|Avengers, The (2012) |
May 5, 2012
Although it takes a while to hit its stride, once it does Marvel's The Avengers is a razzle-dazzle, rip-roaring entertainment.
It introduces its various characters without much panache, then they bicker, and one begins to wonder ... more
|Aviator, The (2004)|
|Away from Her (2008)|
|Bad Habits (2007)|
|Bad Seed, The (1956)|
|Bad Teacher (2011) |
June 27, 2011
Bad Teacher should be held back for bad comedy.
It's probably better just to see the previews than see the entire tired movie in a theater. It's the kind of movie that after the first ten minutes, one decides whether to leav ... more
|Ballad of Cable Hogue, The (1970)|
|Ballonatic, The (1923)|
|Bank Job, The (2008)|
|Barney's Version (2010)|
|Barton Fink (1991)|
|Battle Cry (1955)|
|Battle of Algiers, The (1966)|
|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
|Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)|
|Beautiful Mind, A (2001)|
|Beauty and the Beast (1991)|
|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
|Beer League (2006)|
|Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)|
|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
|Beguiled, The (1971)|
|Beowulf (2007) |
November 29, 2007
700 A.D. is now 21st Century American 3-D. It's a hell of a transformation.
As a would-be litterateur, I should be aghast at what has become of Beowulf, which was once the bane of English majors. At least some of us. But as a film fan ... more
|Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The (2012) |
May 29, 2012
Old folks like familiarity. For most of them, familiarity breeds comfort.
Seniors are a major reason why NCIS stays #1 in the tv ratings. They're also probably the reason that NCIS recently recruited Jamie Lee Curtis as a "romantic ... more
|Best Man, The (1964)|
|Better Life, A (2011) |
July 16, 2011
A Better Life is steeped in decency.
But how does decency survive in an indecent world?
Carlos Galindo (Demian Bichir) is an undocumented, Mexican day laborer, who works as a gardener in the posh neighborhoods of Los Angeles ... more
|Big Lebowski, The (1998)|
|Big Red One, The (1980)|
|Big Shave, The (1967)|
|Big Sleep, The (1946)|
|Billy Elliott (2000)|
|Birdcage, The (1996)|
|Birds, The (1963)|
|Birth of a Nation, The (1915)|
|Biutiful (2010) |
January 30, 2011
Biutiful is a harrowing, battering experience at the movies. Although titled with a word scrawled by a child on her drawing, the movie is steeped in ugliness.
In Biutiful, Mexican director/writer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ( ... more
|Black Dahlia, The (2006)|
|Black Swan, The (2010) |
December 6, 2010
The Black Swan is balletic and bombastic. It soars and bumbles, pirouettes and postures. It fights a featherweight war with heavyweight pretensions.
The war is in the mind and body of a young prima ballerina Nina (the not-so-young 2 ... more
|Blade Runner (1982)|
|Blind Side, The (2009)|
|Bliss (2007) |
July 14, 2009
Bliss is a provocative voyage across the exotic landscape and placid waterways of Turkey.
Set in an intriguing locale, based on an important novel, Bliss is the tale of diverse culture and sharp -- sometimes brutal -- confli ... more
|Blood and Wine (1996)|
|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
|Blood Work (2002)|
|Bob Roberts (1992)|
|Body of Lies (2008)|
|Bonnie and Clyde (1967)|
|Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story (2012) |
May 12, 2012
It drives me nuts when an interviewer doesn't follow up.
If Charlie Rose on tv was interviewing someone who said, "I have the secret of life," Charlie would look at his notes and say, "I see you were born in the Midwest. ... more
|Born to be Wild (2011) |
April 23, 2011
Born to be Wild is a 40-minute return to innocence.
The documentary is so engaging and affirmative, the viewer may have a smile on his or her face for the entire showing.
Unfortunately many potential viewers probably will mi ... more
|Bottle Shock (2008) |
September 4, 2008
Movie ads in the newspapers are a great barometer of … nothing. Except perhaps gullibility.
Studios often get pseudo-reviewers who are their lackeys to trumpet praise over the least deserving of movies. These dupers get their names in ... more
|Bourne Legacy, The (2012) |
August 12, 2012
When a very successful movie franchise makes some major changes, it is likely that it will face a deluge of rejection and preconception.
"They changed it. OMG, they made changes!"
The Bourne Legacy comes with a lot o ... more
|Bourne Supremacy, The (2004)|
|Bourne Ultimatum, The (2007)|
|Boys are Back, The (2009) |
October 9, 2009
The Boys Are Back is a poignant and rowdy celebration of a broken family dealing with grief and drastic change.
It has a lame title and a rambling story, but it also has an outstanding performance by Clive Owen and beautiful Austral ... more
|Brave One, The (2007)|
|Breaking Away (1979)|
|Brideshead Revisited (1981)|
|Bridges at Toko-Ri, The (1954)|
|Bridges of Madison County, The (1995)|
|Brokeback Mountain (2005)|
|Broken Arrow (1950)|
|Brothers Bloom, The (2009) |
May 27, 2009
The Brothers Bloom is a movie about con men that winds up conning itself.
It is one of those films that should be better than it is. The Brothers Bloom has a first-rate cast, a good basic plot, and great locales.
But ... more
|Buck (2011) |
July 4, 2011
If I were a young colt, I'd sure try to keep my distance from Buck Brannaman.
Brannaman is the main figure in the documentary Buck, about a horse teacher who is able to accomplish wonders with difficult young horses.
|Bucket List, The (2007)|
|Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson (1976)|
|Bullet to the Head (2013) |
February 4, 2013
"Let's go see a movie based on the compelling fiction of a French writer."
"No, Bullet to the Head."
"It's much shorter, and has more behea ... more
|Burn After Reading (2008)|
|Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)|
|California Split (1974)|
|Candidate, The (1972)|
|Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) |
September 25, 2009
Michael Moore titled his most recent film Capitalism: A Love Story, probably because in Capitalism you never have to say you're sorry.
And Moore never says he's sorry as he trashes Capitalism in America.
An assault o ... more
|Carlito's Way (1993)|
|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
|Casino Jack (2010) |
January 4, 2011
Casino Jack is as erratic as a floating craps game.
Part comedy, part character study, part satire, part fantasy, part violence, it has a heady run before crapping out.
Based loosely on the career and downfall of mega-lobbyi ... more
|Casino Royale (2006)|
|Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)|
|Catch and Release (2007) |
February 8, 2007
Don't worry, Ben. Your marriage to Jennifer is still safe.
"Catch and Release," Jennifer Garner's latest film, will not cause Ben Affleck any husband-envy. It's a harmless romantic comedy that will garner Garner no awards and middling succ ... more
|Catch Me If You Can (2002)|
|Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011) |
August 5, 2011
Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a 30,000-year leap of faith.
Written, directed, and narrated by Werner Herzog, the intriguing documentary explores the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave in Southern France, which contains the oldest cave art ev ... more
|Cellmates (2012) |
May 4, 2012
Cellmates is an indie film that shouldn't work. And at times it doesn't, but at other times it has an offbeat integrity that engages.
The plot is threadbare, and many of the allusions seem dated and forgotten.
Cel ... more
|Charlie Wilson's War (2007) |
January 3, 2008
Few people know how our government works. Even fewer know how it is supposed to work.
Over the years I've received countless phone calls promoting a political candidate. I ask the caller: "Who is the Secretary of Agriculture?"
No o ... more
|Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)|
|Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)|
|Children of Men (2007) |
January 11, 2007
Children of Men is a glorious mess. It's a Frankenstein monster of a movie. Part sci-fi, part thriller, part action genre, part religious allegory, it flays and lumbers after meaning-- sending off occasional sparks of style.
Concocted by direc ... more
|Children of Paradise (1946)|
|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
|Christmas Story, A (1983)|
|Cinderella Man (2005)|
|Cinema Paradiso (1988)|
|Citizen Kane (1941) |
|City Island (2010)|
|Clear and Present Danger (1994)|
|Clockmaker, The (1973)|
|Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)|
|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
|Coco Before Chanel (2009) |
October 29, 2009
French biographical dramas are a mixed bag. Coco Before Chanel is a mixed Chanel bag.
French films of its ilk usually emphasize character, evocative settings, substantial performances, and often a sense of predestined foreboding. Th ... more
|Color of Money, The (1986)|
|Company Men, The (2010)|
|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
|Compliance (2012) |
January 8, 2013
We live in a world of spam and religion.
Once the seed is planted, it may take root. Whom do you trust?
It's not implausible that one might give credence to a phone call from someone who says he is a policeman and has the voice ... more
|Conspirator, The (2001) |
April 12, 2011
The Conspirator marks a return for Robert Redford as a director. If not triumphant, at least serious.
Like director Clint Eastwood -- who made several important movies in his 70s -- Redford has made a significant one in The Consp ... more
|Contagion (2011) |
September 15, 2011
Don't touch that computer screen!
You don't know where it's been -- or who has coughed on it. Or who has made contact with it.
In Contagion, plain surfaces are deadly. And -- like governments -- computers lie. < ... more
|Contender, The (2000)|
|Conversation, The (1974)|
|Cool Hand Luke (1967)|
|Coraline (2009) |
February 19, 2009
Coraline is a mesmerizing tale with macabre stitching.
There's no blood, but Coraline is a haunting horrorfest located in a weird wonderland.
Coraline is the animated story of Coraline Jones (winningly voic ... more
|Coriolanus (2011) |
February 5, 2012
Ralph Fiennes has created a slashing, sprawling version of Shakespere's Coriolanus.
It's muscular Shakespeare. It's trimmed down - but has themes and a sensibility that fit into today's society and world.
|Cosmopolis (2012) |
September 2, 2012
It's rare to have a good movie made from a novel by an artistic American author. Extremely rare.
For every successful No Country for Old Men (2007), there are legions of duds, e.g., Updike's Rabbit, Run (1970), Mailer ... more
|Cove, The (2009)|
|Cover Girl (1944)|
|Cowboys & Aliens (2011)|
|Crazy Heart (2009)|
|Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)|
|Crimson Tide (1995)|
|Croods, The (2013) |
March 26, 2013
DreamWorks' The Croods is like an animated Reality TV show about a dysfunctional cave family. It's cartoon mayhem.
It's Croods in Stone - the Stoned Kardashians. It's Honey Crood Crood. It's prehistoric Snook ... more
|Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The (2008)|
|Da Vinci Code, The (2006)|
|Damned United, The (2009)|
|Dances with Wolves (1990)|
|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
|Dark Knight Rises, The (2012)|
|Dark Knight, The (2008)|
|Darling (1965) |
April 1, 1966
John Schlesinger's Darling is a film of excessive and self-defeating brilliance. Schlesinger is intelligent, but his approach is one-dimensional. His characters are fashionable types, his symbols are too often gimmicks; and Darling b ... 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
|Days of Heaven (1978)|
|Dead Ringers (1988)|
|Dear Frankie (2004)|
|Dear Ruth (1947)|
|Debt, The (2011)|
|Deep Blue Sea, The (2012) |
July 30, 2012
The Deep Blue Sea is a fitful, poignant film about failed love. It's a movie that casts a harrowing spell.
Adapted from the play written by Terence Rattigan, The Deep Blue (1952) is set "around 1950."
It focus ... more
|Deer Hunter, The (1978)|
|Defiance (2008) |
January 5, 2009
Defiance runs for 137 minutes, but that doesn't make it an epic. It just makes it long.
Near the beginning, we are informed on screen that Defiance is "a true story." It may be a true story, but it is not truly told.... more
|Deja Vu (2006)|
|Departed, The (2006)|
|Descendants, The (2011) |
November 26, 2011
Calling Chevy Chase. George Clooney has taken your role.
The Descendants calls out for Clark Griswold and his brood -- The Griswolds in Hawaii.
This time around George Clooney plays the clueless dad.
The Descendan ... 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
|Devil Wears Prada, The (2006)|
|Dick Tracy (1990)|
|Dinner for Schmucks (2010) |
August 7, 2010
Rodents have often been the stuff of comedy. From Mickey and Minnie to Mighty Mouse to Remy the Rat to Despereaux, they've made us smile.
In Dinner for Schmucks they're the stuff that dreams are made of.
Barry (Steve ... more
|Dirty Dozen, The (1967)|
|Dirty Harry (1971)|
|Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The (1972)|
|District 9 (2009)|
|District B13 (2004)|
|Disturbia (2007) |
April 26, 2007
"Disturbia" is a well-made, very entertaining thriller.
It shouldn't be. Reflecting Alfred Hitchcock, it should be just another in a long line of Hitch wannabe retreads.
But it's much better than that. "Disturbia" -- a contrivance ... more
|Django Unchained (2012)|
|Don't Look Now (1973)|
|Don't Pave Main Street: Carmel's Heritage (1994)|
|Double Indemnity (1944)|
|Down to Earth (2001) |
February 22, 2001
Chris Rocks plays it safe and clean in Down to Earth
It had all the signs of being a disaster -- two directors, four writers, a duration of under 90 minutes and negative pre-release buzz. But despite the warning signs, Down to Earth is ... more
|Downhill Racer (1969)|
|Dr. Strangelove (1964)|
|Duchess, The (2008)|
|Duck, You Sucker (1971)|
|E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)|
|Eagle, The (2011) |
February 9, 2011
The Eagle is what an action-adventure should be -- gripping, literate, and entertaining.
It's a volatile tale that transports us to a faraway place and a faraway time. Although rooted in tradition, it avoids most of the cliches, ... more
|Eastern Promises (2007)|
|Easy Rider (1969)|
|Edge of Darkness (2010) |
February 4, 2010
Edge of Darkness gives Mel Gibson's career a needed jolt, actually several jolts.
Every time the movie threatens to lag, there's a startling shock of violence -- and Gibson is usually right in the middle of it.
Mel l ... more
|Eiger Sanction, The (1975)|
|El Cid (1961)|
|Emperor of the North Pole (1973)|
|End of Watch (2012) |
September 29, 2012
If you leave before the end of End of Watch - about 3/4 of the way through - you'll see a much better movie.
For much of its length, End of Watch is one of the stronger movies of the year. It's a taut, human d ... more
|English Patient, The (1996)|
|Entertainer, The (1960)|
|Erin Brockovich (2000)|
|Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)|
|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
|Everybody's Fine (2009) |
November 12, 2009
Film historian and critic Tony Macklin joins Josh to talk about Roland Emmerich's latest disaster movie 2012, plus three movies set in Britain in the 1960s and '70s (Pirate Radio, The Damned United, An Education ... more
|Everything Must Go (2011) |
May 20, 2011
Everything Must Go is not a bad movie, but saying in the credits that it's "based on" a story by Raymond Carver is a blunder. It may even be a fraud.
I suppose this is a way for a novice writer/director (Dan Rush) to try ... more
|Exorcist, The (1973)|
|Express, The (2008)|
|Exterminating Angel, The (1962)|
|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
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