Movie Reviews

Pokemon 3: The Movie

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In Bob Godfrey’s animated classic, The Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit, the viewer is informed, “Whether you’re 6 or 96, you’re sure to love The Do-It-Yourself-Cartoon Kit. If you’re any ages between the two, however, you’re going to be pretty miserable and might as well leave the cinema.” While I can’t address the issue of how 96-year-olds […]

Planet Of The Apes

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The good news is that Tim Burton has finally made a movie that is completely accessible to all audiences. That’s also the bad news. The usual gripes about Burton’s lack of story sense are not likely to be brought to bear on Planet of the Apes, which is admirably linear in construction. It’s a Tim […]

Place Vendome

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An intense and intensely intelligent film in the film-noir mold, Place Vendome is a work so multi-layered in its meanings and so complex in its story structure that it is just as apt to alienate its audience as it is to fascinate them. It isn’t that the plot itself is terribly complex — with his […]

Pinocchio

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This movie is so cosmically God-awful that when they finally catch Osama bin Laden, they’re going to make him sit through it — twice. Sure, Pinnochio looked bad from the trailers, but nothing — nothing — can prepare you for the sheer sick-making tedium, the jaw-dropping badness and the downright creepiness of Roberto Benigni’s bloated […]

Piglet’s Big Movie

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Oh, it’s cute. The little ones will love this charming tale of teamwork and the need to tell your friends how important they are. Children who already know A.A. Milne’s classic Winnie-the-Pool stories are likely to enjoy this movie the most. At the screening I attended, these kids followed every twist and turn in the […]

Phone Booth

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Admitting to liking a movie directed by Joel Schumacher is like peeling the skin off my face, yet I have to confess that I had a very good time at Phone Booth. The film is as nicely nasty a little suspenser as could be imagined. Little of its quality, alas, has much to do with […]

Personal Velocity

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An uneven film version of Rebecca Miller’s book of the same name — it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but it never really engages the viewer on a very deep level. And it’s an absolute monument to the Curse of Independent Filmmaking; Personal Velocity is the sort of movie (of which there are far too […]

Pearl Harbor

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In Pearl Harbor a lot of things blow up real neat, but is it history? Considering that one review I’ve read makes the astonishing claim that Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1942, maybe that doesn’t matter. And it really doesn’t matter what I say about this movie. This isn’t a movie, it’s a […]

Pay It Forward

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Hollywood gets plenty of flack for promoting violence, irresponsible sex, unfettered greed and countless other anti-social behaviors. So it seems a refreshing departure, if not borderline revolutionary, to find a major Hollywood release promoting basic human kindness. That’s exactly what Pay It Forward does; to “pay something forward,” you see, is the opposite of paying […]

Panic Room

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Intermittently effective, improbable and finally unbelievable, David Fincher’s Panic Room is a tidy 30-minute idea encased in 100 minutes of movie. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what the premise is. In fact, if you’ve seen the trailer, you pretty much know everything about the film except what’s hidden in the titular room — […]

Out Cold

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Where are Frankie and Annette when you need them? Out Cold, the new “comedy” from Touchstone, is like nothing so much as a beach party picture with snow substituting for surf and smarm standing in for charm. Granted, the beach party movies were never anything to get excited about. They seemed out of touch and […]

Osmosis Jones

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The film that answers the question: “Just how does a film get rated PG for ‘bodily humor’?” is here. And while I’m willing to bet that any savvy moviegoer has at least a clue as to the meaning of the phrase “bodily humor” (after all, comedies have never been quite the same since the campfire […]

Original Sin

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This is either the worst good movie I’ve ever seen or the best bad one. I can’t decide exactly which is the case with this deliriously trashy period melodrama. But make no mistake — good, bad or utterly awful — Original Sin is not only trashy melodrama, it revels in the fact. Writer/director Michael Cristofer’s […]

Orange County

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This movie is what happens when you put the son of director Lawrence Kasdan, the son of Tom Hanks and the daughter of Sissy Spacek (Schuyler Fisk) together. It’s known as being “connected,” in the Hollywood lexicon. It’s how you line up a supporting cast that reads like a Who’s Who of comedy — Catherine […]

One Night At McCool’s

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All the girl really really wants — in Harald Zwart’s promising directorial debut, One Night at McCool’s — is a house of her own with customized curtains, a dinette set on the installment plan and a DVD player. Whenever Jewel Valentine (Liv Tyler) gets depressed, she looks through her precious three-ring binder of House Beautiful […]

One Hour Photo

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The Kinks’ Ray Davies once sang, “People take pictures of each other, just to prove that they really existed. People take pictures of each other — and the moment will last them forever, of a time when they mattered to someone.” In One Hour Photo, Sy Parrish (Robin Williams) remarks, “If pictures have anything to […]

On The Line

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If you’re between the ages of 10 and 14 and you’re a girl, you’ll love seeing ‘NSYNC cute-boy, James Lance Bass, star as the limpid lover trying desperately to make up for being a dweeb in Eric Bross’s big screen-fanzine. Kevin is a quagmired young advertising executive whose team leader, Tamala Jones (The Brothers) in […]

Old School

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This movie is about exactly what you expect. I can just hear the pitch that director/co-writer Todd Phillips gave the studio: “It’s like Animal House, only the guys are 30 years old, see? And they’re trying to relive their college days.” This is what is known as putting a fresh spin on threadbare material. Well, […]

Ocean’s Eleven

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It started life back in 1960 as little more than a vanity vehicle for the “Rat Pack” — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. It wasn’t a very good movie, despite being directed by legendary Hollywood filmmaker Lews Milestone. But it didn’t have to be very good. The whole […]

O

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Made several years ago (so Josh Hartnett as a high-school kid isn’t the stretch it might seem), Tim Blake Nelson’s O was shelved following the events at Columbine High. The distributors thought that this story of high-school violence was too near the real-life events to be released, even though the actual connection is fairly tenuous. […]

Novocaine

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Eight years ago David Atkins wrote one of the most bizarre and original screenplays of the 90s, Arizona Dream — a work that managed to mix Eskimos, used cars, accordion playing, turtles, stand-up comedy, fantasy, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis, and Lili Taylor into a strangely cohesive and compelling whole. Now, Atkins appears on […]