Movie Reviews

Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

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This could so easily have drifted into the realm of Full Frontal or, worse yet, a live-action Waking Life. Its jigsaw-puzzle structure is not dissimilar to the former (though it certainly has more point) and its philosophizing gets perilously near the 3 a.m. stoner profundity of the latter. Thankfully, Jill Sprecher’s film is in a […]

They

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They is this year’s apparent last gasp of a horror film. They is pretty lame. They looks like They was made for the bottom half of a double-bill at a drive-in that no one told the filmmakers had closed 25 years ago. All right, enough fun with grammar; I’ll stop trying to make my editor […]

The Yards

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There’s grime, grit and dust to spare in The Yards, writer-director James Gray’s new film about corruption and murder inside New York City’s subway system. After two hours in the theater, you’ll be marveling at the nearly palpable texture of this exceptionally photographed film noir — even though you might feel the need for a […]

The Wild Thornberrys Movie

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With little fanfare, an absolutely terrific animated movie is sparkling up the local movie screens. Compared to the fantastical themes of Treasure Planet and Lilo and Stitch, The Wild Thornberrys’ wildlife-conservation story may seem naively down-to-earth. It doesn’t try to compete with the wackiness of Monsters, Inc., nor does it achieve the mythic grandeur of […]

The Widow Of Saint-Pierre

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Patrice Leconte’s new film, The Widow of Saint-Pierre, is everything an old-fashioned (in the best sense of the word) romantic spectacle ought to be — at once involving, moving, beautiful to look at and (even better) laced with ironic observations and a sense of purpose. The story — based on the historical account of a […]

The Wedding Planner

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No, it’s not great. It isn’t going to change the world. It isn’t even going to change the way you think about movies. It isn’t going on anybody’s “10 Best” anything list. Almost no aspect of its plot is going to surprise even the most unsavvy moviegoer. However, The Wedding Planner is a fairly consistently […]

The Wash

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No sooner do we lose one Snoop Dogg picture than we get another. Conspiracy or blessing? You decide. I have no idea for whom this movie was made and even less of an idea as to why Lion’s Gate Films (usually associated with “art” films) released it. It is, I suppose, a comedy, but it’s […]

The Tuxedo

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The Tuxedo starts with a beautiful pastoral scene involving a deer urinating into a stream that feeds a bottled water factory — and goes downhill. It’s been obvious for some time that the studio knew they had a stinker on their hands — the summer release date kept getting pushed back while they fiddled with […]

The Truth About Charlie

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Seeing Stanley Donen’s 1963 Hitchcock-like thriller, Charade, for the first time is one of those rare, treasured childhood memories that has stood the test of time. I loved the film when I was 9 and I love it just as much at 48 (though for different reasons, I suspect). So I went to Jonathan Demme’s […]

The Transporter

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If we must have shaven-headed action heroes, then I’ll take the ultra-cool sophistication of Jason Statham over the guttural street-thuggery of Vin Diesel any day of the week — especially when Statham is showcased in a movie as agreeably over the top as Corey Yuen’s The Transporter. No, the movie doesn’t make any more sense […]

The Time Machine

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This latest attempt to translate H.G. Wells’ novel, The Time Machine, to the movies isn’t bad, but then again, it isn’t really all that good either — meaning that 2002 is still shaping up as the year of indifferent movies. It’s unlikely that this effort will ever reach the quasi-classic status of the 1960 George […]

The Taste Of Others

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Writer-actress Agnes Jaoui’s directorial debut is a deliciously funny and insightful comedy about people’s varied tastes and perceptions, especially perceptions of other people. The intricately criss-crossed plot of The Taste of Others centers on a wealthy manufacturer (just what he manufactures is never made clear and it hardly matters), Castella (Jean-Pierre Bacri, who also co-authored […]

The Tailor Of Panama

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It’s been 14 years since director John Boorman had a mainstream “hit” with Hope and Glory — or a mainstream film at all. Never the most prolific of filmmakers (most of his films are separated by two to four years), Boorman has willfully bitten the hand that was feeding him at least twice with Zardoz […]

The Sweetest Thing

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Almost as interesting as The Sweetest Thing’s good-humored efforts at giving women their very own “bad taste” comedy is the general tone of the reviews that blast the film. What’s especially interesting is the inescapable sense that more than a few of the film’s (predominately male) detractors are threatened by the concept of a movie […]

The Sum Of All Fears

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It’s supposed to be a “thinking man’s” spy flick, but, frankly, the old Michael Caine Harry Palmer pictures of the 1960s came a lot nearer that self-same accolade. There’s more unbelievable nonsense per square inch in the film version of Tom Clancy’s novel The Sum of All Fears than in an Austin Powers flick. But […]

The Son’s Room

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There’s nothing really wrong with writer/director/star Nanni Moretti’s The Son’s Room, but neither is there anything all that special about it. It’s a small, well-intentioned study of a family coping with — and not coping with — the drowning death of the son. I enjoyed it well enough while it was onscreen. I even admired […]

The Shipping News

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The Shipping News marks the fourth (the less we talk about the aberrant Something to Talk About the better) major English-language film from Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom since the success of My Life as a Dog brought him to America. After a tentative start with the little-seen Once Around, Hallstrom defined both his style and […]

The Scorpion King

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I hate to be the bearer of sad and sobering — even depressing and dispiriting — news, but the shocking truth is this: The Rock (nee Dwayne Johnson) can’t act. I know, I know. That’s hard to believe, after his brilliantly rounded original portrayal of the “Scorpion King” in The Mummy Returns, but I very […]

The Score

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DeNiro! Brando! Edward Norton! Take three powerhouse actors — one a bona fide legend and one virtually a legend — and put them in a film directed by … Frank Oz? Oz is a competent-enough director with a string of moderately successful, but decidedly undistinguished, films to his credit. And if The Score is his […]

The Santa Clause 2

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Ho, ho, no. There’s a spectacularly unfortunate moment in one of the last-gasp “Our Gang” shorts where the little girl replacing Darla Hood is hell-bent on showing that she not only knows her lines, but everybody else’s, and to prove it she mouths every one of those lines while the other actors are speaking. That’s […]

The Rules Of Attraction

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A word of warning before you read any further: The Rules of Attraction is an uncompromisingly ugly, unflattering, unsympathetic, unlikable portrait of a nightmarish collection of characters in an equally nightmarish world. To get an “R” rating, writer-director Roger Avary cut nine minutes from the original 110 minutes, and even its 101 minute version ranks […]