Latest Film Reviews
Von Trotta's conceptual successes rarely translate into dramatic ones...Nevertheless, Von Trotta makes her points...while illuminating a subcultural story of the Holocaust.
Mean Creek (2004)
Estes's film casts prismatic light on the persistent issues of bullying, youth violence, and their mortal and emotional consequences.
Suspect Zero (2004)
Plays like a David Lynch movie thwarted by studio-mandated rewrites and...executives hoping for another
but willing to settle for another
Uncovered: The Truth About the Iraq War (2004)
Cogent...this too-rare piece of skeptical journalism may play a significant role in our consideration of this moment in history.
Broadway: The Golden Age—By the Legends Who Were There (2004)
Documentarian Rick McKay embarks, likeably, on a fool's errand in his film Broadway: The Golden Age—By the Legends Who Were There. To attempt to encapsulate the best years of Broadway into a 11...
Benji: Off the Leash! (2004)
Good intentions aside, the return of writer-director-producer Joe Camp's "Benji" is terminally boring.
The Village (2004)
A well-meaning, half-hour
episode stretched to the outer limits of a two-hour feature.
The United States of Leland (2004)
The United States of Leland has a puppy-dog sincerity and an I.Q. to match. This star-studded indie—which juggles Kevin Spacey, Ryan Gosling, Jena Malone, Don Cheadle, Chris Klein, Michelle Wil...
The Terminal (2004)
In his fluffily entertaining but sketch-thin comedy-of-hazing The Terminal, Steven Spielberg accounts for America in binary code: America is oppression and freedom, exclusion and inclusion, stamps an...
The Reckoning (2004)
Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning amounts to exactly as much as the sum of its parts. Though some of the numbers in this equation are irrational, the parts are generally good. Unfortunately, McGuigan sho...
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)
Toy tiaras for orphans! (the first one's always free)...Another day, another dollar for Disney's lucrative business of breeding...ever-longing dream princesses.
The Prince and Me (2004)
The Prince and Me appears to be one of those rare films by which a thoughtful director takes a stereotypical, obvious screenplay and tweaks it into a look at the enduring archetypes we could not shak...
The Pledge (2001)
In a few hours, the man's career will be over. As he packs up his office, he looks over the photos again—photos of a young, energetic man broadly grinning. The man is a police detective being...
The Perfect Score (2004)
Apparently, Hollywood knows two things about teens: they hate the SAT and they love The Matrix. Thus, we have The Perfect Score, an SAT-panic movie in which six teens conspire to steal the test (but...
The Notebook (2004)
The Notebook, based on Nicholas Sparks's best-selling novel, is almost good enough to bypass its own shortcomings and become a romantic-weepie classic...almost. Its parallel romantic plots, in past a...
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
An "A" for effort...Still, the frayed plot strands of the 2004
make it a lame duck to Frankenheimer's first-term thriller.
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Adheres to the popular tastes of its time; since this is an era of color-corrected, 5.1-surround-sound, pseudo-spiritual action epics, Gibson zealously tells his tale in action-movie language.
The Ladykillers (1955)
Ealing Studios represented, for many years, the gold standard in British comedy film production. Films like The Lavender Hill Mob, Kind Hearts and Coronets, and The Ladykillers bolstered Alec Guinnes...
The Hunting of the President (2004)
Before and during the Clinton presidency, Hollywood player Harry Thomason (along with wife and creative partner Linda Bloodworth-Thomason) served as image consultant for the president. Now that Bill...
The Fog of War (2003)
In the midst of the latest bout of global unrest, Errol Morris's documentary The Fog of War seems as much a glimpse of our future as a document of the present and a reflection of the past. This in-de...
The Dreamers (2004)
Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers is a beautiful, effusive mess of cinema. Though it suffers from preciousness, it is also precious in its affirmation of Bertolucci's visual mastery, contemplative t...
The Door in the Floor (2004)
In his intriguing adaptation of the first 183 pages of John Irving's A Widow for One Year, writer-director Tod Williams loses some emotional clarity but gains haunting ambiguity. Faithful, but not sl...
The Ladykillers (2004)
Illustrates the Coens' problem of ballooning fussiness and shrinking effect.
The Day of the Locust (1975)
With Nathanael West's 1939 novel as his vehicle, director John Schlesinger used what was left of the studio system to savage Hollywood in his seventies opus The Day of the Locust. Ironically, Schlesi...
The Corporation (2004)
Within the obvious limitation of tackling its enormous titular subject, The Corporation is a surprisingly breezy, compulsively watchable audio-visual book for all of its 145 minutes. Exploded from th...
The Company (2003)
Robert Altman's lovably fussy idiosyncrasy has a way of making his subjects seem like everything and nothing at once. With his infamous zooming camera and shotgun mikes trained on the ballet world, A...
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Could global warming lead, in our lifetimes, to a superstorm and the New Ice Age? Roland Emmerich's
The Day After Tomorrow
says: sure, why not?
The Clearing (2004)
Mildly diverting but bound to be forgotten, The Clearing marries a not entirely convincing kidnap melodrama to a domestic melodrama. In the process, no new ground is covered in either genre, nothing...
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
The Butterfly Effect opens with an epigram: "It has been said that something as small as a butterfly's wing can cause a typhoon halfway across the world." The words are attributed, with almost endear...
The Big Store (1941)
In the early 1930s, Groucho and Chico Marx performed an NBC radio show called Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, and fragments of those scripts found their way into a number of the Marx Brothers' subse...
The Big Bounce (2004)
Where did The Big Bounce go wrong? Hmmm, let's see. It's based on the 1969 novel Big Bounce by the always-spicy Elmore Leonard. It's directed by George Armitage (Miami Blues, Grosse Pointe Blank). It...
The Alamo (2004)
Originally designed as a 125 million-dollar, R-rated Ron Howard film, John Lee Hancock's The Alamo takes the rating down a notch and saves, when budget overruns are said and done, the cost of Russell...
The South African tale of Andre Stander adds fuel to the old chestnut that truth is stranger than fiction...a wild and gripping ride.
Code 46 (2004)
Given the 'Big Brother' promise that 'the Sphynx knows best,' this fusion of our sci-fi noir future and Ancient Greek tragic past looks not unlike our uneasy present.
This Old Cub (2004)
From the "labor of love" file...
This Old Cub
focuses on what Santo means to the Cubs organization and the bleacher bums, and what the team and the fans mean to Santo.
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)
Succeeds in hoisting Fox News by its own petard. Greenwald's approach may not be balanced, but it seems pretty fair.
Garden State (2004)
This may make me some sort of traitor to my generation, but I found
—the auteur debut of TV star Zach Braff...—to be a derivative vanity project.
My Mother Likes Women (2004)
A graceless film about hateful people...apart from some Prague scenery in the last act,
My Mother Likes Women
is thoroughly ugly.
Open Water (2004)
There's not much here, but
capitalizes on its slightness...[lets] our imagination do most of the work of putting the actors in sharks' way.
Mann skips off convention like a stone on a river...impassively observing his Hitchcockian hero: dragged into action and struggling to save the day from a sympathetic devil.
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