Movie Reviews

After the Sunset


Gorgeous and lusty young Lola Cirillo (Salma Hayek, Frida) wants nothing more than to watch the sunset from her seaside deck in the Bahamas. But for her older boyfriend, Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan, Laws of Attraction), the prospect of eternal horizon-gazing is terrifying. After a few months, paradise has become a bore. Max is sick […]

The Incredibles


There’s a certain irony in the fact that The Incredibles, with its undeniably gay-themed subtext about accepting those who are “different,” should arrive the same week conventional wisdom has it that the gay-rights debate cost John Kerry the presidency. It’s perhaps even more ironic that the film is apt to be welcomed with open arms […]

Finding Neverland


I think I was expecting too much from Finding Neverland. Since last year gave us what I considered the ultimate film version of Peter Pan, I was hoping that Finding Neverland would be the definitive biopic on the play’s author, J.M. Barrie. With Marc Forster, director of the heavy-hitting Monster’s Ball at the helm, and […]



Last week I called writer/director Charles Shyer a “lightweight,” and while I still don’t find credits like Irreconcilable Differences and Baby Boom impressive, I have to apologize for that remark in light of Shyer’s remake of Alfie. Whether or not this is a “necessary” film (in that it’s a remake), the movie is a remarkably […]



If you’re going to see Saw, be prepared for plenty of grisly doings, including the performance of actor Cary Elwes, who offers one of the most classically awful performances since the advent of the talking picture. Indeed, I have yet to encounter a limburger cheese less aromatic than his performance here. And while I won’t […]



Taylor Hackford’s Ray tells the story of musician Ray Charles, and features an inspired performance by Jamie Foxx that gets smothered in an uninspired movie. This disappointing effort is no great surprise, given Hackford’s generally lackluster filmography of largish movies that offer all the emotional and thematic depth of a mud puddle. Ray is the […]



The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines levity as “excessive or unseemly frivolity,” while offering a secondary, alternative meaning: “lack of steadiness.” I’m guessing that writer/director Ed Solomon had the first definition in mind as an ironic comment on the rather gloomy events in his film, though the second definition might be nearer the mark. This 2003 release, […]



Jonathan Glazer could not possibly have chosen a more different film — or a more different approach — for a follow-up to his debut feature, Sexy Beast, than Birth. Where Sexy Beast was an aggressively loud film, Birth is an understated one that seems to have been made while the filmmaker was channeling Stanley Kubrick. […]

The Grudge


Yes, it’s Buffy the Feature-film Slayer in another non-Scooby-Doo attempt to make it on the big screen. It’s also the most desperate effort anyone is ever likely to make at copying The Ring — and a pathetically inadequate attempt at that. Director Takashi Shimizu brings a certain degree of style to this Americanized remake of […]

Surviving Christmas


This is one of those movies that gets worse the more you think about it. Drew Latham (Ben Affleck, Paycheck) is a millionaire marketing genius who lives in a fabulous penthouse and has a girlfriend, Missy (Jennifer Morrison, Grind), who wants him to take her home to his family for Christmas instead of flying off […]

I Heart Huckabees


Calling a movie an “existential comedy” is a pretty tall claim, not to mention a risky proposition in today’s film market. But damned if writer/director David O. Russell hasn’t pulled it off! Russell’s now three for four with me. I have to admit I hated his second movie, Flirting with Disaster, which felt like warmed-over […]

Danny Deckchair


In a sane world, this utterly charming, sweet little fantasy of a movie would boost Rhys Ifans to stardom. Of course, this isn’t a sane world, and hardly anyone is going to see this film, so that’s not likely to happen. But for anyone lucky enough to catch Danny Deckchair, the notion that Ifans is […]

What the Bleep Do We Know!?


For viewers, the question about this movie is whether they consider its quantum physics-based “truth-or-illusion” exploration profound or just so much cosmic codswallop. How you answer will probably dictate how you feel about the film in general. Myself, I’m somewhere between noncommittal and the codswallop league. Perhaps that’s because I’m just a soupcon on the […]

Team America: World Police


I wanted to like Team America much more than I did, and can’t quite decide why I’m less than thrilled with this movie. Because it so tends to fall flat between the good bits? Because messieurs Stone and Parker don’t know when to let a good gag alone? Because it goes on at least 20 […]



By this point, I think I’ve seen three different cuts of Paul Schattel’s Sinkhole. I’ve been assured that this latest version, which shows this Thursday at the Fine Arts, is the absolutely final one. And I hope that’s true, because Schattel has now fine-tuned the film to its best possible form. Sinkhole is, as it […]

Silver City


Unlike Team America‘s Trey Parker and Matt Stone, writer/director John Sayles leaves no room for speculation on the nature of his political leanings with Silver City. The movie’s Boobus Americanus gubernatorial candidate, Richard “Dim Dickie” Pilager (Chris Cooper, Adaptation), is the scion of a wealthy political empire headed by ruthless Sen. Judson Pilager (Michael Murphy, […]

Waking Ned Devine


Another older, worthy film returns to the area with Kirk Jones’ Waking Ned Devine, a genial, critically acclaimed comedy of the “old school.” In terms of both plot and characterization, not to mention execution, this gentle, quirky movie is cut from the same cloth as such venerable Ealing comedies as A Run for Your Money […]



Queen Latifah handily walked away with the show in Chicago. She enlivened the uneven Bringing Down the House. Her scenes in Barbershop 2 were among the film’s highlights. So what is it with her and these steaming piles of donkey crap like The Cookout and the dreadfully unfunny, unexciting, uninspired and occasionally offensive Taxi? I […]

Shall We Dance?


I’m already getting the sense that it’s going to be fashionable to look down on Peter Chelsom’s Shall We Dance? as inferior to the Japanese film Shall We Dansu?, on which it’s based. Because, of course, Chelsom’s update features J-Lo in its cast. While I’ve not seen the original, I’ve little doubt that Audrey Wells’ […]

Raise Your Voice


Hilary Duff’s latest vehicle ought to be a hearse carrying the ashes of her career. OK, I admit I’m not a fan. But I did opine that most of what was wrong with her previous film, A Cinderella Story, (and there was plenty) wasn’t her fault. And while there are some problems with Raise Your […]