Movie Reviews

Punch-Drunk Love

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It’s shorter than the standard Paul Thomas Anderson movie, and seems slighter. But is it really? I don’t think so. In fact, Punch-Drunk Love may be the deepest film Anderson has made. But lacking the faux weightiness of an inflated running time, working within the formula of a romantic comedy and featuring a popular (but […]

Proof Of Life

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It sure keeps you on the edge of your seat, for which you’re grateful, because Proof of Life also has wide stretches of yawn-time. In this film, an American engineer, Peter Bowman (David Morse, The Green Mile), is kidnapped by narco-guerrillas in an Andean country. In a heartbreakingly haunting shot, Bowman looks behind as he […]

Possession

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At last — a truly great film emerges from the summer of 2002, and about damn time! Yes, there have been some very good films this summer — topping the list are Lilo Stitch and The Emperor’s New Clothes — but they’ve been sparse. This brilliant film by Neil LaBute shoots to the head of […]

Pootie Tang

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Sweet Merciful King of Glory! What the hell is this witless mess? According to the press kit, it’s a spin-off from a skit that was part of HBO’s The Chris Rock Show, which sounds all too plausible, since this jaw-dropper of unbelievable unfunniness plays like the beached whale (even if it is only around the […]

Pollock

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“If people would leave most of their stuff at home and just look at the paintings, I don’t think they’d have any trouble enjoying them. It’s like looking at a bed of flowers — you don’t tear your hair out over what it means.” So says Ed Harris as Jackson Pollock in his film, Pollock, […]

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 […]