Movie Reviews

The Human Stain


Having seen the previews of this movie, I was eager to see the full film, which promised a tragic May-December romance between Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins, direction by Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer) and writing by Nicholas Meyer (Fatal Attraction). Plus, it’s all based on the celebrated Philip Roth novel — how could it […]

Shattered Glass


I started watching Shattered Glass, the directorial debut from writer Billy Ray (Hart’s War), knowing the basic story: that New Republic writer Stephen Glass had been caught with his sources down, and was then fired in disgrace for either wholly fabricating (or at least mildly cooking) many of his articles for the magazine. I finished […]



While Gothika isn’t nearly as scary as The Cat in the Hat, it’s considerably funnier. (If only these two movies could just swap places!) Being funny is not, of course, the typical goal in a horror thriller — though that doesn’t mean the results can’t be entertaining. Such is the case with Gothika, as silly […]

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat


Not long ago, in a West wood called HollyLived a producer named Grazer, whose taste was sheer folly.He took a short children’s tale about a creature, the Grinch,Then enlarged much upon it, mindless of stench.It mattered to him not, if all charm were shorn ‘way,Since all Grazer wanted were audiences who’d pay.And pay, yes, they […]

Tupac: Resurrection


I know it will come as a great shock to many (especially those who grew up on the mean streets of Fairview), but I’m not an unreserved admirer of rap. And ownership of Sean (then “Puff Daddy”) Combs’ “Come With Me” CD single “featuring Jimmy Page” doesn’t quite buy me an encyclopedic knowledge of hip-hop, […]



Any survivor of Freshmen English has encountered the Sylvia Plath poems “Daddy” (dealing with the late poet’s legendary Electra complex) and “Lady Lazarus” (about Plath’s first serious suicide attempt at age 20, a decade before she finally made her death wish come true). Fierce as these poems are, they were dismissed by the poet herself, […]

Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World


It takes a brave soul to make a straight-faced movie in 2003 with old-fashioned, seafaring-adventure dialogue, where the commanding officers are always starting sentences with, “Come on, lads!” or some such bewhiskered variant. It helps, in the case of Master and Commander, that such nautical camaraderie is channeled through Russell Crowe as Capt. Jack Aubrey […]

Looney Tunes: Back In Action


As an escapee from Hollywood, I found the movie-biz in-jokes throughout Looney Tunes: Back in Action pretty hilarious. But as my husband’s glower cued me, I was actually the only one in the audience doing any laughing. In fact, the only reaction I could hear around me was the snoring from the woman down the […]

The Matrix Revolutions


I know I’m in the minority in giving The Matrix Revolutions a good review, but then I gave its immediate predecessor a good one, too — and not always for the reasons I think the Brothers Wachowski intended (and, in part, because I didn’t find The Matrix Reloaded all that much different from its much-praised […]

Just An American Boy


Just an American Boy came about in part when Artemis Records’ president Danny Goldberg asked writer/filmmaker Amos Poe if he’d like to do “a Don’t Look Back on Steve Earle” (referring to D.A. Pennebaker’s classic cinema verite documentary on Bob Dylan). Poe immediately loved the idea of a black-and-white documentary/concert film on the firebrand troubadour […]



Slogging through a Will Ferrell comedy in which he plays a human being who’s been raised as an elf at the North Pole was not high on the list of things I wanted for myself for Christmas. Imagine my surprise when I found that Elf was generally charming, often very funny and almost completely entertaining! […]

Love Actually


Christmas comes early this year with this completely captivating, wholly successful, unabashedly romantic (in every sense of the word) first-time directorial effort from writer Richard Curtis. Curtis’ name may initially mean little or nothing to you (writers, you know, rarely get the respect they deserve), but a quick scan of his credits tells all: from […]

In The Cut


Let’s face it, In the Cut — publicity-wise — is really about the utterly perky, utterly cute, utterly clean Meg Ryan popping her top. So let me assure you straight off that, yes indeed, this does occur. And, yes, Ryan actually does have breasts — which, I’m sure, has been a very troubling concern for […]

Brother Bear


The mere fact that Brother Bear is a cartoon, and streets ahead of Disney’s last attempt at a kiddie flick involving bruin antics (The Country Bears), is itself a cause for minor celebration (emphasis on the word “minor,” however). Brother Bear is not only a return to the corporate-filmmaking mentality the studio blessedly eschewed with […]

The Magdalene Sisters


Here’s a movie for people who thought Mystic River was too cheerful. Actually, that’s not entirely fair, since Peter Mullan’s The Magdalene Sisters does crack the occasional smile (if a crooked one), and does offer the viewer at least a few moments of personal satisfaction within its grim confines. (And classic-movie fans are excused a […]

Scary Movie 3


All right, so it ain’t art. It’s a parody. And parodies — as separate from outright satire — are almost never art. In this instance, that’s a good thing, since the main targets of this latest — and new-and-improved — Scary Movie entry are hardly significant enough to deserve satire. The closest the movie gets […]



If this movie were a tree in Vermont, it’d have a tap driven into it and be sporting a bucket to catch the sap. I have yet to figure out whether Radio was geared to bring a smile to the faces of the manufacturers of Kleenex or the Chapman Crane people. It’s a toss-up, but […]

Beyond Borders


Beyond Borders is advertised as a romantic epic, but don’t disillusion yourself that you’re in for some warm Valentine fuzzies. The movie is really a heart-wrenching overview of the plight of war-ravaged refugees around the world; Beyond Borders‘ love story is only the intermittent personal thread that connects the global hotspots. And while it’s really […]

Veronica Guerin


Veronica Guerin was a real-life Dublin journalist whose sensationalistic (we’re talking British Isles press here) exposes of the Irish drug trade shocked the nation, leading to her murder and sweeping reforms of Irish drug-enforcement laws. That much is true, but don’t go to director Joel Schumacher’s by-the-numbers biopic expecting to learn anything more than that […]

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre


When word leaked out that the Michael Bay-produced remake of Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was going to eschew the kind of uber gore that’s marked such recent horror flicks as Freddy Vs. Jason, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from some corners. Well, those who were upset about being shortchanged in […]

Runaway Jury


If you’ve read John Grisham’s bestselling novel about jury tampering, you’ll be underwhelmed by the movie version. Runaway Jury has been Hollywood-ized (surprise, surprise) — but in director Gary Fleder’s attempt to dramatize the story for the big screen, he’s dulled it into an over-simplistic, sanitized, flattened, cardboard version of its former self. Instead of […]