Reviews

Gran Torino (Warner Bros. Pictures, R)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 09 January 2009 03:51

film_gran-torino_sm.jpgThe film is a perfect vehicle for Eastwood to show another side of himself, which he does wonderfully.

 

 

Valkyrie (United Artists, PG-13)

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008 08:16

valkyrie.jpgIt isn’t action-y enough to please the Tom Cruise-WWII-kill some Nazis crowd, and it isn’t thought provoking enough to please the intellectual crowd.
   

Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks/Paramount Vantage, R)

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008 08:06

revolutionary_kate.jpgOf course, Mendes has made a career out of directing for the stage and only sometimes for the screen, so my feeling is that he pushed our otherwise trustworthy Kate and Leo into these embarrassingly awful, career-worst performances.
 

Marley & Me (Twentieth Century Fox, PG)

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008 07:47

marley.jpgWilson and Aniston clearly have a strong chemistry together. Their scenes can be sweet and funny but they are also able to bring a realism to the characters when life is not easy or simple.
   

Doubt (Miramax, PG-13)

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008 07:36

doubt.jpgWhat goes on in Doubt, as far as one can reasonably tell, is that circa the 1960s a new, likeable priest named Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) comes to a church that is ruled unofficially by its meanest nun, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep).
 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount Pictures, PG-13)

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Wednesday, 24 December 2008 07:23

button2.jpgIt probably bears mentioning that I don’t like Forrest Gump at all, but of course most people do, so when others say Ben Button is like Forrest Gump it is a compliment, but from me it is an insult. That said, I think Button is a superior film to Gump, if only because it is lacking some of the appalling political undertones that Forrest Gump tried to sneak in subliminally.
   

Yes Man (Warner Bros. Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 19 December 2008 15:53

film_yes-man_sm.jpgZooey Deschanel struggles through most of her scenes to keep up with Jim Carrey.

 

 

Seven Pounds (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 19 December 2008 15:51

film_7lbs_sm.jpgSeven Pounds misses the opportunity to be extraordinary.

 

   

The Tale of Despereaux (Universal Pictures, G)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 19 December 2008 15:48

film_despereaux_sm.jpgThe animation is simply magnificent; each world has its own flavor and feel.

 

 

Nothing Like the Holidays (Overture Films, PG-13)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 11 December 2008 14:08

film_christmas_sm.jpgIt must be the Christmas season, that magic period when families both real and celluloid get together to bicker and bond, to rehash old grudges and inflict new wounds.

 

   

Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Thursday, 11 December 2008 14:05

film_slumdog_sm.jpgSlumdog Millionaire is a watered down City of God knockoff that is wrapped around a gimmick.

 

 

The Day the Earth Stood Still (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 11 December 2008 14:02

film_earth_sm.jpgScott Derrickson's remake of the 1951 classic provides the best evidence I've seen lately that money can't buy class.

 

   

Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains (Warner Brothers, NR)

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Friday, 05 December 2008 16:53

stranded.jpg

One question would be asked again and again: What did they do for food? At first they parried the question, but soon the truth came out: They survived by eating the flesh of those who died in the plane crash.

 

Cadillac Records (TriStar Pictures, R)

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Friday, 05 December 2008 16:31

cad_square.jpgMany of them lived hard lives filled with disappointment and seemed to expect more around every corner. It makes a certain amount of sense, then, that success before you've gotten your head on straight might make you act a fool.
   

Australia (20th Century Fox; PG-13)

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Written by Kevin Renick Wednesday, 26 November 2008 11:53

film_australia_sm.jpgIt's the scenery that unquestionably makes the strongest impression. It's important to say this, because there's something missing in the profundity department here.

 

 

Fear(s) of the Dark (IFC Films, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Wednesday, 26 November 2008 11:51

film_fears_sm.jpgThe fear inspired by these stories is more akin to dread, a slow, creeping suspicion that something is not quite right and that the world may not be as familiar and predictable as we thought it was.

 

   

I've Loved You So Long (Sony Pictures Classics, PG-13)

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Written by Joe Bowman Wednesday, 26 November 2008 11:50

film_loved_sm.jpgUnfortunately, it's only Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein who are worthy of the praise the film seems to be getting.

 

 

Milk (Focus Features, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 26 November 2008 11:46

film_milk_sm.jpgFollowing four successive films in experimental mode, Gus Van Sant is back in Oscar mode, and pretty full-throttle.

 

   

Twilight (Summit Entertainment, PG-13)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 21 November 2008 01:37

film_twilight_sm.jpgKristen Stewart brings so much life to the role of Bella that she doesn't even appear to be acting.

 

 

Bolt (Walt Disney, PG)

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Written by Adrienne Jones Friday, 21 November 2008 01:34

film_bolt_sm.jpgI had a feeling this movie would be pretty good, but I honestly did not expect to enjoy everything about it.

 

   

A Christmas Tale (IFC Films, NR)

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Written by Joe Bowman Friday, 21 November 2008 01:32

film_xmas-tale_sm.jpgDesplechin hardly ever serves up the "traditional" and "expected" in A Christmas Tale.

 

 

Quantum of Solace (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 14 November 2008 06:11

film_quantum_sm.jpgQuantum does little more than provide a few exciting car chases and some serious hand-to-hand fighting strongly reminiscent of the Jason Bourne movies.

 

   

Synecdoche, New York (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 14 November 2008 06:08

film_schnec_sm.jpgAfter Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, all easily among the greatest films of the past decade, I have the utmost respect for Charlie Kaufman the writer.

 

 

Filth and Wisdom (IFC Films, NR)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 06 November 2008 04:16

film_filth_sm.jpgIf this were the first film of a 17-year-old who got a camcorder for his birthday and proceeded to write, direct and produce a film using his friends as cast and crew, it could be called a promising first effort.

 

   

Changeling (Universal Pictures, R)

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Written by Matthew F. Newlin Friday, 31 October 2008 08:57

film_changeling_sm.jpgTo say Jolie gives a fantastic performance is to sell her short.

 

 

Ashes of Time Redux (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 31 October 2008 08:54

film_ashes_sm.jpgThe upside is that I do like films that have a strong visual aspect to fall back on.

 

   

Happy-Go-Lucky (Miramax, R)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 31 October 2008 08:52

film_happy-go-lucky_sm.jpgTo paraphrase H.G. Wells, if anything is possible then nothing is interesting.

 

 

Zack & Miri Make a Porno (The Weinstein Company, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 31 October 2008 08:50

film_zack-miri_sm.jpgSuspension of disbelief is not really something that is given an opportunity to occur here.

 

   

The Pool (Vitagraph Films, NR)

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Friday, 24 October 2008 02:56

thepoolposter.jpgThe influence of money and class in these character’s lives is so obvious that it doesn’t need to be stated. It brings to mind Warren Buffet’s famous question: if you could trade in your place as an American in return for taking part in a lottery where you could be reborn as any other person in the world, with your chances proportional to the actual numbers of people now living and their stations in life, would you?
 

Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Friday, 24 October 2008 02:17

rgm2.jpgRachel Getting Married hits on something about the way families function that is rare to find articulated so clearly in a film—there’s a sort of European intensity to the way the narrative progresses.
   

Death Note II: The Last Name (VIZ Pictures, NR)

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Written by Jim Ousley Tuesday, 14 October 2008 01:22

deathnote2-header.jpgKenichi Matsuyama's performance in particular is one for the books. He takes what could have been a very flat character and imbues him with so much substance and style, that you'll miss him when he's not onscreen.

 

 

Body of Lies (Warner Bros., R)

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Written by Kevin Renick Friday, 10 October 2008 14:04

film_body-of-lies_sm.jpgThe best performance is easily that of Mark Strong, who offers a career-making turn as the charismatic Hani, steely eyed and controlled at all times.

 

   

City of Ember (Walden Media, PG)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 10 October 2008 14:01

film_ember_sm.jpgLina and Doon quickly come to realize that most of the adults in Ember are useless, clueless or downright evil.

 

 

A Girl Cut in Two (IFC Films, NR)

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Written by Joe Bowman Friday, 10 October 2008 13:58

film_girl-in-two_sm.jpgLike almost all of Chabrol's films, the suspense is so layered beneath the surface that when the climax approaches, one almost forgets what he was building toward.

 

   

Blindness (Miramax, R)

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Saturday, 04 October 2008 09:12

blindness.jpgMetaphors on the page too often become literal on the screen. The result in this case is a mannered film that lacks the resonance of the original work, but is too fussy and improbable to work as a thriller.
 

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

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Saturday, 04 October 2008 08:58

nicknorahslider.jpg

I wish I could tell you what happens in Nick & Norah, but I can’t. See, nothing really happens in the film, and yet, the characters manage to do a lot of stuff. It’s very Seinfeldian that way. And, once I thought about it, that’s just the way it should be.

   

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