Movie Reviews

The Terminal


There’s a story — quite possibly apocryphal — that Abraham Lincoln once agreed to do a product endorsement. “For people who like this sort of thing,” he is reported to have said, “this is the sort of thing they will like.” And regardless of whether old honest Abe ever said any such thing, it’s the […]

The Notebook


There was a time when Hollywood snatched up nearly every popular (or even moderately popular) novel and turned it into a movie. Occasionally, these films actually had some connection to their literary sources. These were known as the “good old days.” And it is in this spirit that director Nick Cassavetes and screenwriter Jeremy Leven […]

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story


Your first reaction to Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is probably to think it’s funny, even hilarious. Desperate for a laugh these days, you dismiss hints of something unsavory lurking beneath the surface. Only later might you remember the homophobia, vulgarity and mean-spiritedness that dot Dodgeball like pockmarks. If you’re one of the rare people […]

Around the World in 80 Days


This is a long ways from the 1956 Oscar-winning Mike Todd film — and frankly, that suits me just fine. And, no, this film is most certainly not closely tied to the same-named Jules Verne novel — and I can’t say that bothers me a whole lot either. I also can’t say that Around the […]

The Stepford Wives


No, The Stepford Wives is not a great film — but in all honesty, neither was Bryan Forbes’ 1975 version of the Ira Levin novel. And, despite the fact that this adaptation is one of the most obviously flawed movies to be given a major release in living memory, I honestly think I prefer director […]

The Chronicles of Riddick


Apparently I’m supposed to dislike this aggressively pompous and unrelentingly silly movie a lot more than I did. And, come to think of it, maybe I really should. But I’m perhaps cutting The Chronicles of Riddick some slack because I liked it so much more than I did the last three Vin Diesel offerings foisted […]

Monty Python’s Life of Brian


Back in 1979, a fellow by the name of George Harrison — a genuine seeker of spiritual enlightenment and a former member of a not-wholly-obscure Brit music group — created Handmade Films specifically for the purpose of releasing the Monty Python opus Life of Brian. This was after the company originally slated to release the […]

Garfield: The Movie


If you’ve got kids — especially young ones — you might want to bump this film up a star on that basis. Garfield: The Movie is scrupulously clean (even both of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s primary talents are kept in check, though her skirts are still perilously short). Likewise, it has one of those typically safe, […]

Raising Arizona


This is the movie that put the Coen Brothers on the map, expanding their popularity far beyond the cult level of their first effort, Blood Simple. As such, Raising Arizona is certainly of interest as an early document of two of the most intriguing filmmakers working today. As a stand-alone film, however, I’m sticking to […]

Bon Voyage


I went into Bon Voyage knowing nothing about director/co-writer Jean-Paul Rappeneau, so I had no idea what to expect of his movie. When I came out, my primary thought was that this was an often-fascinating, always-clever film made in a style that went out of vogue about 40 years ago. Thus it came as no […]

The Day After Tomorrow


Disaster movies have to be given some slack in the realism department. Consider the sterling example of the 1969 classic for the geographically challenged, Krakatoa: East of Java, where no one involved noticed that Krakatoa was, in fact, west of Java. At least the makers of The Day After Tomorrow are aware that New York […]

Soul Plane


There’s one thing to be said for The Day After Tomorrow: It’s a whole lot funnier than Soul Plane, a movie that consistently mistakes tastelessness for bad taste. As director John Waters pointed out years ago, you actually have to have taste in order to produce something that’s in bad taste. The makers of Soul […]

Raising Helen


“She’s so cute! the women sitting behind me whispered to one another throughout the entire two hours of Raising Helen. I agree completely — no matter what actress Kate Hudson is doing, she’s cute. Those Goldilocks ringlets, that cupcake face, that dazzling smile — and let’s not forget the cute little butt perched northward on […]

The Fourth World War


Yes, The Fourth World War is deliberately inflammatory and often a little bit unfocused in approach, but it’s also one of the most courageously outspoken and creatively made documentaries I’ve seen in a while. As I’ve said before, I don’t think it incumbent of the documentary form to present an unbiased point of view. Indeed, […]

Shrek 2


If you liked the original Shrek, I can’t imagine you won’t like this one — and perhaps even more so than the first. Shrek 2 is that rarest of rarities: the sequel that lives up to and in some ways even surpasses the parent film. It’s not unheard of: Bride of Frankenstein and X 2 […]



I freely and unapologetically admit that I am not a fan of sword-and-sandals movies, and have never quite gotten their appeal beyond the beefcake level. They tend to bore me after a very short time, and their tendency toward irredeemably bad dialogue loses its amusement value in an even shorter one. So you might want […]

Little Annie Rooney


Personally, I find Mary Pickford a little frightening, and I find the idea of the 33-year-old actress playing a girl about 20 years her junior even more alarming. Still, I can’t say that Little Annie Rooney — either despite or because of these things — didn’t finally win me over as a charmingly old-fashioned entertainment. […]

Breakin’ All the Rules


Will somebody please get Gabrielle Union a good movie? She deserves something more than this kind of recycled junk that has her get all a-dither over Jamie Foxx’s character just because he says she looks like Halle Berry. It’s hard to imagine Union feeling the need for that sort of validation. Then again, just about […]

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory


I suspect that I never warmed to the charms of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory because I was about 16 years old when it made its cinematic bow. I was far too “adult” and cynical to care much about a “kid’s movie”; thus, it’s not a part of my childhood — and seeing it […]

Van Helsing


As a horror-movie geek, I’m supposed to hate Van Helsing and call it travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham as concerns its desecration of the 1930s horror films from Universal. And, truth to tell, were I to hold it up against those […]