Movie Reviews

Dawn of the Dead


Heretical statement: George A. Romero’s 1978 Dawn of the Dead is a plodding, overlong, absurdly overrated horror flick that made its mark by combining a whole lotta fake blood and entrails with not-very-deep social satire. (Zombies in a shopping mall? How can you tell the difference?) Its success probably had more to do with the […]

Boom: The Sound of Eviction


Local filmmakers Francine Cavanaugh and Adams Wood bring their 2002 feature documentary to the Fine Arts for one showing to benefit the Asheville Community Resource Center — which, not unlike many of the nonprofit organizations depicted in Boom: The Sound of Eviction, was forced out of its operating location against its wishes. While Boom deals […]

The Triplets of Belleville


Thank goodness for the 2003 releases that are now making their way into town, since those are about the only things keeping the first part of 2004 truly interesting! It took a while for first-time feature-writer/director Sylvain Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville to penetrate our environs, but it was worth the wait. So is his […]

Taking Lives


Yep, the opening credits to this film — and much of its mood — are an unabashed Se7en rip-off. Too, most — though not all — of its plot contrivances are fairly obvious. And, sure, Angelina Jolie hasn’t been in a good movie in ages (for that matter, I haven’t forgiven Ethan Hawke for Waking […]

Secret Window


I was probably expecting too much. Here I was faced with one of my favorite genres and one of my favorite (perhaps my very favorite) actors working today in a film by a director whose Stir of Echoes impressed me greatly with both its atmosphere and its general understanding of cinematic vocabulary. (You can keep […]

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London


“It’s not as bad as you’d expect,” the movie-theater staffer told me as I went in to see Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London. His prediction turned out to be true: Unlike most sequels, Destination London is better than the first Agent Cody Banks outing. Alas, that isn’t saying much. Sixteen-year-old Seattle sophomore Cody Banks […]

Starsky and Hutch


When I opined last week that Starsky and Hutch looked like it was going to be a “broad comedy centering on gay jokes and drug references,” I wasn’t wrong. What I didn’t know was quite how far the movie would take this somewhat limited approach to getting laughs — or just how genial it would […]



Since we live in a world where people think Forrest Gump is a real person and that the events depicted in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre actually happened, it’s probably best to set to rights the incredible fiction that the folks at Disney are trying to pass off as fact in Hidalgo. Oh, yes, there really […]



If you think that Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t possibly be in anything more tepid — or boring — than High Crimes and No Good Deed respectively, then you haven’t yet seen Twisted — a shoo-in for worst “thriller” of 2004. You look at the cast and you look at the director, and […]

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights


Prefacing Havana Nights with Dirty Dancing must have been some marketing guru’s idea to make the movie attractive to the teens, who have discovered the 1987 original with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze and turned it into a popular, oldie-but-goody video. Maybe that’s also why the 51-year-old, still-sexy Patrick Swayze was cast in a small, […]

Broken Lizard’s Club Dread


As someone who found Broken Lizard’s first effort, Super Troopers, more painful than funny, I was not predisposed to expect very much from their new film — and, in most respects, I was not disappointed. That’s a pity, because Club Dread starts off as a pretty sharp satire of the slasher movie, ends with what […]

Welcome to Mooseport


If exit remarks are any barometer, it can truthfully be said that not everybody loves Raymond. The word I most heard in connection with Ray Romano’s big-screen debut was “boring” — and that just about sums up my own feelings. I had never encountered Romano before, so I had no real preconceptions. Now, alas, I […]

The Passion of the Christ


As an agnostic with a mystical bent who’s also something of a non-fan of Mel Gibson, I am either the worst — or the best — audience for The Passion of the Christ. After all, if Gibson’s movie were to work on me, then it will have done more than just preach to the choir. […]



I settled in to watch Eurotrip in exactly the same frame of mind as if I were about to be subjected to a marathon of Beverly Hillbillies episodes. Only a few minutes into the film, and I was quite certain that my worst fears were about to be realized. Then, just as I was sinking […]

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen


Aimed all too squarely at the teenage-girl set, the provocatively titled Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is going to let down anyone who was agreeably surprised by Lindsay Lohan’s previous film, Freaky Friday. In fact, Drama Queen is so squarely aimed at the post-pubescent set that I’m guessing its appeal will be greatest with […]

Against the Ropes


An odd thing happens while you’re watching Against the Ropes: It’s entertaining enough for you to think, hey, this isn’t as bad as everyone says it is. The film is a competent effort for a first-time feature director (actor Charles S. Dutton), including some suitably grimy location shots from my beloved hometown of Cleveland, Ohio; […]

The Adventures of Ociee Nash


This nice little movie may be of more interest locally than it will be otherwise, since it’s set in Asheville (though shot in Atlanta), and feature’s our town’s own Jasmine Sky in a key supporting role. Based on the novel A Flower Blooms on Charlotte Street by Milam McGraw Propst, the story details the adventures […]

50 First Dates


It’s just about impossible to dislike any movie that offers Rob Schneider getting the crap beaten out of him with a baseball bat. That plus an engaging penguin, a remarkably clever walrus, a good use of Paul McCartney’s gooey “Another Day” and a surprisingly effective, elegant performance from Drew Barrymore makes 50 First Dates a […]

Girl With a Pearl Earring


In Michael Winner’s I’ll Never Forget What’s ‘Isname, Orson Welles remarks, while showing off his art collection, “This is one of 32 known Vermeers — 80 of which are in America.” With Peter Webber’s Girl With a Pearl Earring, you might boost that number to 81: Webber has in many ways made a copy of […]

Catch That Kid


Pity director Bart Freundlich. His last movie, World Traveler, though advertised for months, got almost no release, and quietly disappeared from the scene. Now he’s facing even worse luck: His latest film, Catch That Kid, is booked into theaters everywhere. Whether or not Mr. Freundlich has subsequently gone into hiding, I do not know — […]

Barbershop 2: Back in Business


Yes, Barbershop 2 lacks the original movie’s surprise factor (this time, we’re actually expecting something). The new film plows some now-familiar territory; worse, its “feel-good” ending is anticlimactic — a real comedown from the delightfully convoluted one in the first film. That said, Barbershop 2 doesn’t in the least disgrace the original. This installment is […]