Latest Film Reviews
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.
Little Black Book (2004)
What if I told you that the most daring romantic comedy of the year wasn't Love Me If You Dare but Little Black Book? You might be a bit surprised. Rest assured, though: Little Black Book is still th...
Festival Express (2004)
Rolling out aptly with the Dead's contemporaneous tune "Casey Jones" ("Driving that train, high on cocaine..."), Festival Express documents the summer-of-1970 touring rock circus which trundled with...
La Grande séduction (Seducing Doctor Lewis) (2004)
The French-Canadian farce Seducing Doctor Lewis puts an interesting spin on the tired genre of the romantic comedy: it tells the love story of a man and a town. As usual, the romantic comedy needs co...
Confidences trop intimes (Intimate Strangers) (2004)
Director Patrice Leconte specializes in unconventional stories of love: obsessive, romantic or platonic, mutually revelatory. After thirty years of films like Monsieur Hire, The Hairdresser's Husband...
Maria Full of Grace (2004)
For his feature debut, writer-director Joshua Marston laces his title, Maria Full of Grace, with sardonic wordplay. The leading character, Maria, is a drug mule, who swallows 62 potentially deadly dr...
A Home at the End of the World (2004)
Unpredictable but sure-footed, A Home at the End of the World is as easy-going as its lead character, Bobby Morrow. In his most tender performance to date, Colin Farrell plays a man who's open to sug...
In Universal Pictures' expensive-looking adaptation of the popular 1960s British series Thunderbirds, the astronaut adventurers of the International Rescue Fleet cheerily assure each other "F.A.B.!"...
The pseudo-feminist action picture Catwoman has some camp cachet, but isn't self-aware enough to cross through bad and become good again. Make no mistake, though: Catwoman is a spectacle, with Oscar-...
I, Robot (2004)
Isaac Asimov's science fiction classic I, Robot threatened over a number of years to become a film via a 1978 screenplay by Asimov's friend—and respected sf author—Harlan Ellison. In 1987...
Zhou Yu de huo che (Zhou Yu's Train) (2004)
When people say they hate "arty" movies, they've obviously seen one too many movies like Zhou Yu's Train, a self-conscious "art film" that's a poetic meditation on the nature of love, blah blah blah....
25th Hour (2002)
With post-9/11 drama 25th Hour, Spike Lee proves once again that he resides in the highest echelon of contemporary American filmmakers. A turn of the millennium New York tapestry, 25th Hour, like the...
A Cinderella Story (2004)
To director Mark Rosman's credit, his surprisingly competent helming of A Cinderella Story makes this umpteenth insidious wish-fulfillment chiclet-flicklet fantasy go down with a shovelful of sugar....
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004)
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is an aptly named documentary creature. Besides referring to a song title from their recent album St. Anger (the end of a six-year dry spell), "Some Kind of Monster" d...
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy represents the purest effort of a New Wave in film comedy that lives to riff. It's a "Six Degrees of Ben Stiller" world of comedy right now, with chummy folk lik...
Riding Giants (2004)
In 2003, Dana Brown (son of Bruce "Endless Summer" Brown) reset the bar for surfing documentaries with Step Into Liquid, a memorable big-screen surfing magazine with breathtaking images, involving st...
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Aside from being the latest non-fiction film from Michael Moore, just what is Fahrenheit 9/11? In a sense, it is a documentary, which wears its bias on its sleeve. In some ways, it is political satir...
King Arthur (2004)
Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer dips his toe into Oscar-friendly epic filmmaking with the Braveheart-esque King Arthur. For all it does wrong, King Arthur intrigues with some stro...
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Freer and more commanding, even as it serves the grand designs of a superheroic trilogy.
Night and Day (1946)
Night and Day, a Technicolor curiosity "based on the career of Cole Porter," bares scant resemblance to the life of Cole Porter. If not for flashes of flair from an uncomfortable-looking Cary Grant a...
Before Sunrise (1995)
Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise is a romance classic, fueled by the intimacy of talk. Like his Slacker and Waking Life (and his eventual sequel, Before Sunset), Before Sunrise takes in wide-rangin...
Before Sunset (2004)
In Richard Linklater's 1995 film Before Sunrise, Julie Delpy's Celine walked with Ethan Hawke's Jesse through the Cemetery of the No Name. Celine says of lost souls, "People can invent the best and t...
White Chicks (2004)
White Chicks, which gleefully transforms African-American actors Marlon and Shawn Wayans into grotesque blonde debutantes, is the second 2004 film to warp Billy Wilder's deathless Some Like It Hot in...
La Finestra di fronte (Facing Windows) (2004)
However well-intentioned Facing Windows may be, Ferzan Özpetek's romantic drama sweats for stirring profundity but comes off as obvious, listless, and thoroughly cliched. Don't let the subtitles...
Two Brothers (2004)
With Two Brothers, Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear) ignores the old chestnut about never working with children or animals. The two brothers in question are Koumal and Sangha, two tigers who we see grow...
Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
A strange hybrid of Verne's story, goofy Disney fare like
The Absent-Minded Professor
, and cheerily anachronistic Jackie Chan buddy comedies like
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
The Oscar-winning Best Picture of 1956 may not have aged especially well, but remains a stalwart family film which, for all its Hollywood pageantry and epic bloat, tells Jules Verne's 1873 story with...
Garfield: The Movie (2004)
In my wanton youth, I read Jim Davis's Garfield comics with delight, chuckling over the fat cat's pithy punchlines, like "I hate Mondays." Soon, when I was old enough to understand why someone would...
Die Geschichte vom weinenden Kamel (The Story of the Weeping Camel) (2004)
The unusual semi-documentary The Story of the Weeping Camel employs the technique of Nanook of the North filmmaker Robert Flaherty to capture natural drama as it happens and accurately recreate or ar...
Control Room (2004)
Ruefully, Al Jazeera senior producer Samir Khader rounds off the documentary Control Room by reminding us of the world's short attention span: "History is written by the victors." With Control Room,...
A Day Without a Mexican (2004)
Though I haven't seen Sergio Arau's half-hour long 1998 short subject "A Day Without a Mexican," I expect it delivers more wicked snap than the watered down, 97-minute version now in theatres. Largel...
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
To movie lovers everywhere, "Mr. Potter" always meant the crotchety villain of It's a Wonderful Life. But now, Dame Maggie's stern intonations of "Mr. Potter" herald the arrival of the hottest liter...
In the early '70s, writer-director Melvin Van Peebles tired of being racist Hollywood's "niggerologist," threw caution to the wind, and set out to make an independent film. The result was Sweet Sweet...
Jeux d'enfants (Love Me If You Dare) (2004)
Love Me if You Dare, Yann Samuell's restless debut feature, begins beguilingly, develops into an intriguing but muddled midsection, and finally arrives at a frustrating split resolution which breaks...
Coffee and Cigarettes (2004)
In 1986, Jim Jarmusch sat down slow-talker Steven Wright and whirling dervish Roberto Benigni with a mess of coffee and cigarettes and encouraged them to riff a meet-weird scene. Ever since, Jarmusch...
Gojira (Godzilla) (1954)
Radioactive energy, thunderous footfalls, terror in the streets? These ominous signs can only mean one thing: the thrilla named Godzilla is back! Everyone's favorite 200-foot apocalyptic prehistoric...
Shrek 2 (2004)
The perfect sort of movie to pay attention to in the back of a minivan.
So is Wolfgang Petersen's Troy--inspired by Homer's 15,000-line epic poem The Iliad--true to its tony literary source, or just a post-Gladiator sword-and-sandal movie "epic"? Surprisingly, Troy is mo...
A Night in Casablanca (1946)
In the greater Marx Brothers canon, A Night in Casablanca is a relatively minor effort, but after a slow, expository start, the film slowly, steadily makes a case for itself as a fine comic adventure...
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