Latest Home Video Reviews
Ping Pong Playa (2008)
One way to break down cultural walls is assimilation, and that's where
Ping Pong Playa
has its dubious triumph: it's just about as generic as the next 'loser makes good by coaching kids' comedy...
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
Energetic, fast-paced, and pumped full of zany humor...sure to entertain the younguns and be fairly painless for their guardians.
High School Musical (2006)
There's no denying the tween audience was hungering for this movie, without even knowing it.
In Cold Blood (w/ Capote) (1967)
One of the most creditable true-crime films ever made.
Capote (w/ In Cold Blood) (2005)
Radiating serpentine self-absorption, Philip Seymour Hoffman embodies a youthful Truman Capote.
My Name Is Bruce (2008)
Pretty bad, but in a way, we'd be disappointed if it wasn't...it's all about Campbell, a limber linguist whose verbal sense seems straight out of the '40s, and a game physical comic.
As far as I can tell, no one is at the controls of
Body of Lies (2008)
If you’re going to have a mall-ready entertainment about the war on terror, you might as well have this one.
Friday the 13th (1980)
Whether you want to credit or blame
Friday the 13th
for its role in influencing modern cineplex cinema is a matter of taste.
The Pelican Brief (1993)
You'd think that Pakula would be just the man to tease the intellectual and emotional depth out of a Grisham potboiler, but you'd be wrong.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Stone isn't interested in merely bashing modern football:
Any Given Sunday
looks at the best and worst of the sport.
Frozen River (2008)
It’s hard not to think of the film as a timely reflection of today’s deep economic recession...writer-director Courtney Hunt has something of the eye for detail expected from a good short story writer.
Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
may not even be friggin' sweet, but it does have skills.
In vino veritas...Payne has supplanted the Coen Brothers as a reliable purveyor of smart comedy
A fascinating true-crime story, elegant period detail, and Clint Eastwood's consummate filmmaking technique mask [that]...
lacks enough grit and intellect to convert moody melodrama into thoughtful drama.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Pulls off the trick of the feel-good movie in a way movies haven't managed in a long time.
Clerks II (2006)
Makes a surprisingly convincing case for Dante and Randal as characters worthy of a revisit once a decade.
Soul Men (2008)
may get by on novelty, but what novelty!
Miracle at St. Anna (2008)
Problematic as a narrative...[but] Lee's simply too smart and talented to make a dismissible film.
RENT: Filmed Live on Broadway (2008)
Specially filmed in the final days, this version of
may not be definitive, but it certainly has sentimental value and...presents the unexpurgated play.
A most unusual musical...Learning something from his subject, Stone gives the picture a snappy rhythm.
Works precisely because it is so upsetting, unusually so for a studio film, and so empathetic for Connie at the hands of her attractive manipulator.
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008)
Americans shouldn't have to feel comfortable with the thought of kicking back and having a beer with their President, but it's not a bad criterion for a comedy filmmaker, and Smith is that guy.
Breaks no new ground for movies or for Ritchie, but it is an amusing diversion and therefore a return to form.
Antwone Fisher (2002)
Rings false, belittling instead of honoring its sensitive subject with its twinkly score, kid-glove nobility and cloying payoffs.
Pride and Glory (2008)
Relentlessly dour, filled with unsympathetic characters, and made out of cardboard melodrama. It's the last of those sins that is unforgivable.
Being There (1980)
is an indictment of our narrow view of the world, a celebration of empty-headedness or all of the above, "Life is a state of mind," and Ashby's film is a gift to treasure.
More infamous for its widespread ineptitude than for its artistic innovation...
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Perhaps the greatest compliment to be paid to
Vicky Cristina Barcelona
is that it serves as a spot-on emblem of Allen's own life philosophy: cling to the transient pleasures, as you're bound to be let down in the end.
The Rocker (2008)
Utterly predictable, formulaic, but not entirely unamusing.
Open Season 2 (V) (2009)
Works up decent comic energy, if few actual funny jokes, but we know we've been suckered when we arrive at...yet another animated sing-along to a bygone pop hit.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
A shaggy dog of a movie that will appeal big-time to its young target audience...
A funny and horrifying allegory of American politics and adult society, as seen through the prism—or shall we say "prison"?—that is secondary education.
Dexter: The First Season (2006)
The Showtime series
challenges comfortable assumptions about human nature...a winningly novelistic narrative.
Lakeview Terrace (2008)
The race-baiting thriller
is exactly what you would expect from a screenplay by a Hollywood hack and an established playwright: some sharp dialogue grafted onto a credibility-stretching and familiar plot.
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
Jovovich brings an intensity to the role well-matched to Besson's stylistic energy, though this comic-bookish take on Jeanne D'Arc won't be winning any historical-society awards.
Reverent docudrama...to those completely unfamiliar with the case,
should be every bit as satisfying as a true-crime paperback.
King Kong (2005)
is all things cinema, in the hands of a clever but overindulged filmmaker.
El Norte (1984)
On the surface
is the essence of simplicity. But in 1983, the simple story was both news to many and history to many others finally seeing their story depicted on screen on their terms.
The Last Emperor (1987)
Works the brain in two-part harmony: the melody skids effortlessly across the historical timeline of the Ching dynasty, China's last, and the harmony part is all aesthetic appeal...
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