Movie Reviews

S.W.A.T.

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If it weren’t for the fact that it’s about 20 minutes too long and frankly rather boring, S.W.A.T. might just succeed on the merits of unintentional laughs. Unfortunately, the film is everything you expect, and less. If you’ve seen the trailer, you already know that the plot revolves around an arrested crime boss (Olivier Martinez […]

Freaky Friday

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I can hear the uproar now — “He gave Freaky Friday a higher rating than Seabiscuit?” And I can see the dismay in my friends’ eyes from here. Sure, it would be easy to do the curmudgeon shtick on this second remake of the 1976 Disney flick starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris in roles […]

Nowhere In Africa

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I went into Nowhere in Africa nursing a bit of a grudge over its Oscar trouncing of two movies I greatly admired, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Talk to Her. It didn’t help matters that I was facing a long film (141 minutes) at 10 p.m., right after seeing Swimming Pool, which had given me […]

Gigli

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How do you even begin to talk about a movie that includes Jennifer Lopez lying on a bed coyly opening and closing her legs and telling Ben Affleck, “It’s turkey time … gobble- gobble”? With great trepidation, I assure you. Yes, Gigli is every bit as bad as you’ve heard, but I’m not sure it […]

American Wedding

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They’ve gone through high school (American Pie) and college (American Pie 2). So now it’s time to dramatize the next big chapter in these sex-starved, retro characters’ lives — that contemporary rite of passage: getting married way too young in a wedding way too big. To quote the traditional wedding toast:* “Something borrowed”: The Porkey’s-esque […]

Spy Kids 3-D

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When Spy Kids came out, I gave it an unqualified five out of five. When Spy Kids 2 followed, I was less delighted, but felt it worth four out of a possible five. Now along comes movie No. 3, and I find the series losing yet another point. If Rodriguez keeps this up much longer, […]

Seabiscuit

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Seabiscuit is the ultimate in slick professionalism. It has gorgeous production design (Jeannine Oppewall deserves an Oscar), beautiful cinematography and carefully structured scenes, plus rock-solid performances from Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges, and an unreservedly brilliant one from Chris Cooper. It’s a movie my mother would love. And from what I’ve been able to overhear […]

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life

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Saying that Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is better than the original Tomb Raider is about on par with saying that sudden painless death is preferable to expiring by a long and painful disease. In either case, the results are unfortunate. At least with Cradle there’s something more in the way of […]

Beyond Re-Animator

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Here’s a doubly odd situation: First, there’s no guarantee this movie will still be playing locally by the time you read this review; second, this film gets a very specialized four-out-of-five rating from me, aimed strictly at admirers of modern horror films. Those who are offended or disturbed by horrific excesses (even for darkly comical […]

Johnny English

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Johnny English starts off with a really cool Robbie Williams tune, splendidly capturing the feel of a song from a real 1960s spy flick. This cut is played over some opening credits that cleverly (albeit cheaply) recall the old Maurice Binder titles than no self-respecting trendy ’60s film dared eschew. Unfortunately, this opening is followed […]

How To Deal

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Personal note to Hollywood veteran Nina Foch: After seeing you play stoner Granny and watching you have to be in an utterly superfluous scene where a small dog tries to marry Allison Janney’s long leg, I never want to hear another of your traditional complaints about how degrading it was to have to appear in […]

Bad Boys II

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At 150 minutes, Bad Boys II doesn’t so much burst into theaters as its elephantine self lumbers onto the screen and then refuses to leave, erupting every few minutes with overblown action sequences like some kind of cinematic flatulence. The film is too big, too loud, too stupid, too tasteless and way, way, way too […]

League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

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First, they aren’t all extraordinary. Second, they aren’t all gentlemen. And third, they’re not in much of a movie. What can you say about a seriously intended adventure flick that takes its principal plot device straight from the spoof Casino Royale, having Sean Connery’s Allan Quatermain “bombed, bullied and baited out of retirement” just as […]

L’auberge Espagnole

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This is not an Audrey Tautou picture, though she is in it. L’Auberge Espagnole is an ensemble film and Tautou is not even a part of the ensemble. I say this not to downgrade the film but to prevent disappointment in case anyone thinks this is another Amelie. And it certainly isn’t. L’Auberge Espagnole does […]

Whale Rider

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Had I been aware that the much-praised Whale Rider had received more “audience favorite” awards at film festivals than any film since Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful, I would have approached it with diminished expectations, and might have enjoyed it more. At least I would have known it was essentially a “feel-good” movie for the […]

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines

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Well, if nothing else, at 109 minutes, T3 is a lot shorter than its immediate behemoth predecessor. I don’t even know that I think Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a lot worse than the first two films, but they were never my dish of tea to begin with. I can see, however, that […]

Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas

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Sinbad is awesome, spectacular, gorgeous and thrilling — though my praise carries this caveat: You have to go into this movie without any preconceived notions. If you want a cartoon laugh riot, this isn’t for you. Sinbad has a few giggles, but no cuteness whatsoever. From start to finish, it’s a mythic adventure story in […]

Legally Blonde: Red, White And Blonde

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I’d like to start this review by offering my apologies to my viewing partner. Granted, he didn’t see but the last 45 minutes, but he did make it in time to see the movie’s “big” musical number. Never have I seen a human being in such a state of slack-jawed disbelief, and I fear he […]

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

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It’s big, loud, dumb, colorful and largely incoherent – and, I’m ashamed to say, entertaining. On any serious level, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle has virtually nothing to recommend it, beyond glossy Hollywood professionalism. In short, it’s junk. But there’s garbage and then there’s playfully amusing garbage — and about 90 percent of this film is […]

28 Days Later

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It has perhaps the worst title in the history of film (“Hey, is this the sequel to the Sandra Bullock movie?”). It occasionally suffers from the inherent limitations of shooting on digital video. The script has a couple of problems. And it’s undeniably derivative of a raft of earlier movies. But all that said, Danny […]