Latest Film Reviews
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.
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...
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