Movie Reviews

Shadow Of The Vampire

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F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent horror classic Nosferatu is the granddaddy of all vampire pictures. An unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Nosferatu was a key work in the development of the horror film and one of the few silent horror films that still manages to be utterly chilling. (Nosferatu was so unauthorized, by the way, […]

Sexy Beast

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It’s very good, but Sexy Beast should have been great. It never quite is. Violent, cold-blooded, bitingly funny, deliberately quirky and boasting a script by newcomers Louis Mellis and David Scinto — replete with outrageous profanity (including a word common in British slang that tends to send some American viewers running for the exit in […]

Serving Sara

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No, it’s not quite in the realm of the cosmically God-awful, but Serving Sara has some pretty formidable competition for that accolade at the present time. Almost anything is going to have that lesser evil relief the week after you were Blue Crushed and Pluto Nashed. On any other week, this low-octane effort at a […]

Series 7: The Contenders

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“Can an ‘ex-gay’ pacifist become a Contender?” asks the announcer of the fictional TV show, Series 7: The Contenders, that makes up the narrative of this film. It’s a question utterly typical of this fresh, funny and ultimately deeply disturbing work. Many films are touted as being “different” and even “unlike anything you’ve seen before,” […]

Serendipty

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What do Serendipty and America’s Sweethearts have in common? Both are romantic comedies and both star John Cusack. The similarities end right there. America’s Sweethearts was a jokily contrived mess that never seemed to know what it wanted to be, and was as flatly directed as a sitcom. And Serendipity? Serendipity is not only the […]

See Spot Run

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See Spot Run is a cute, albeit predictable, movie for kids and dog lovers. The action scenes are admirably handled by first time feature-film director John Whitesell — indicating he has promise if given good material — but the movie’s inherent lack of substance suffers from his TV-only training. Spot is generously endowed with genuinely […]

Secretary

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Yep, it’s the year’s much-anticipated, much-discussed S&M romantic comedy. Is it worth the wait? And worth the discussion? Yes, and no. As a piece of writing, the movie is frequently fascinating. The acting by the two leads could not be better: James Spader handles an impossible role, bringing a depth I’d never have guessed he […]

Scooby Doo

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It’s 90-plus minutes in a live-action Hanna-Barbera hell. It’s directed by the man who gave us Home Alone 3 and Big Momma’s House. It stars Freddie PrinzeJr. with a blonde dye-job and make-up that occasionally looks like it was applied by someone who flunked out of mortician school. I’m not at all sure that anyone […]

Scary Movie 2

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Not wishing me to tackle this weighty cinematic offering unprepared, a kind soul brought me a copy of the original laugh riot that is Scary Movie. In a sense, I’m glad, if only because I can attest to the fact that — incredible as it may seem — the egregious Scary Movie 2 actually improves […]

Say It Isn’t So

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Hands-down this is far and away the best film I have ever seen in which the hero “disguises” himself with a fake beard crafted from a collection of pubic hair culled from a bikini-wax parlor. At least Say It Isn’t So currently occupies that position, but since this sort of thing seems to be the […]

Saving Silverman

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If this film was even half as funny as it thinks it is, it would be a comedy classic. The problem is that not only it isn’t, but Saving Silverman repeatedly mistakes cleverness for quality and the bizarre for the funny. Now, there’s no denying that the film is indeed clever, but much of the […]

Saving Grace

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Yes, here’s a feel-good movie of high order: Terrific script, uplifting story, superb acting. A virtually flawless technical production — from cinematography to editing — allows you to sit back and enjoy the ride. Here’s the plot: Sweet and delicate Grace Trevethyn’s dashing husband dashes right out of an airplane at high altitude, sans parachute, […]

Rush Hour 2

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You don’t have to rush to see Rush Hour 2. The latest martial-arts mayhem movie is sure to be such a box-office hit, it should stay in theaters for months. When Chinese martial arts whirligig Detective Lee (Jackie Chan, Rush Hour) isn’t bashing somebody’s brains in, he’s an amazingly nice guy. He’s loyal and teary-eyed […]

Rollerball

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I used to think that Renny Harlin was the poor man’s John McTiernan. Now, it looks like McTiernan has turned into the unbelievably impoverished man’s Renny Harlin. Harlin has made some turkeys in his day — The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Cliffhanger, Cutthroat Island. Indeed, when he took over the from McTiernan for the second […]

Roger Dodger

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Quite the most shocking thing about this out-to-shock indie is the discovery that it was shot on film, not on video. I wasn’t even aware that it was possible to make film look this amateurishly bad. The next-most-shocking thing — apart from the film’s really creepy insistence that it is basically a comedy — concerns […]

Rock Star

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Rock Star scales new heights … of predictability. The film is almost consistently disappointing. There aren’t more than a handful of truly great rock ‘n’ roll movies and Rock Star doesn’t come anywhere near that select pantheon. This started life under the more apt title, Metal God and later was called So You Want to […]

Road To Redemption

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If somebody could convince Road to Redemption’s director, Robert Vernon II, not to write the next movie he directs, he might have a future. Vernon has potential: Redemption is beautifully shot, the action scenes are powerfully choreographed and there are even a few chuckles. But the positives about this movie are like patches on a […]

Road To Perdition

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It has more style per square inch than can be found in the sum total of all the films released so far in 2002. It boasts an almost perfect period evocation. It features a screenplay with dialogue that can hardly be faulted on an intelligence level. It offers no less than five dynamic performances. And […]

Riding In Cars With Boys

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Years ago, movies like this were called “women’s pictures” or “three-handkerchief weepers,” and often as not featured Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck suffering stoically for one reason or another. The current model (sometimes degradingly termed a “chick flick”) differs very little. There’s a tendency to be a little less glamorous, and of course the stars […]

Return To Never Land

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With “faith, trust and pixie dust, anything is possible.” And so it seems — almost — in Return to Never Land, the first-ever sequel to Disney’s beloved Peter Pan original. Nearly 50 years have passed since 1953, when the boy who refused to grow up and his band of Lost Boys first took kids on […]

Resident Evil

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As someone who never made it all the way through the original, most basic video game Sonic the Hedgehog, I’m not in the best position to comment on just how successfully the film version of Resident Evil captures its source video game. As someone who has sampled all manner of cinematic cheese, however, I’d give […]