Movie Reviews

Racing Stripes


Now, I like a talking animal as much as the next fellow. After all, I grew up with Mr. Ed on the TV and reissues of Francis the Talking Mule movies on the big screen. So I’m not against the idea of a talking zebra in and of itself, and the one in this by-the-numbers […]

Mojados: Through the Night


Extremely powerful and very tight documentary (63 minutes) by first-time filmmaker Tommy Davis, who spent 10 days following the journey of four illegal immigrants into the United States as they searched for nothing more or less than to be exploited as cheap labor. Unflinchingly real and never glamorous, the film presents a harrowing picture of […]

Million Dollar Baby


According to nearly every early critical evaluation of this latest Clint Eastwood opus, I’m supposed to be on my knees at the altar of Clint. But I’m not. Where others found Eastwood’s movie just bubbling over with profundity, likening its maker to the Hemingway of film, all I found was a competently assembled collection of […]

In Good Company


In the annual winter of our discontent at the movies, what a delight it is to find this little gem. The film proves that Paul Weitz’s About a Boy (co-directed by brother Chris, who here shares only co-producer status) wasn’t just some freak of nature from the American Pie boys. Without a great Nick Hornby […]

House of Flying Daggers


Yes, this movie is stylish as all get out, and it features more than the requisite amount of astonishing martial arts derring-do and stupefying wire-work shenanigans. The settings are picturesque. The leads are appealing and attractive. But anyone expecting a film on the level of the director’s last work, Hero, is bound to be pretty […]

Final Solution


Here’s another film that’s frankly too long for its own good (and this is the short version). But Final Solution still manages to be a powerful indictment of the violence between Muslims and Hindus in India, especially concerning the “mandate of hate” gained by the hard-line conservative Hindu political party, which helped put the Muslim […]



There’s a story — possibly apocryphal, but I choose to believe it — that director Josef von Sternberg, while on loan to MGM from Paramount and forced to make a movie he detested, ended up pointing his camera at the studio rafters and filming them because he found this more interesting than his assignment. Not […]



Perhaps no topic is more controversial than the death penalty, and this tight, 90-minute documentary from Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson (the latter worked as a cinematographer on Fahrenheit 911) tackles it head on. The film examines one specific aspect of capital punishment in Illinois, where a number of condemned murderers were later proved innocent […]

Condor: Axis of Evil


A truly explosive — and potentially very controversial — documentary about Operation Condor. The name may sound like a 1970s spy yarn, but the reality is far more chilling than even the bleakest representatives of that genre. Condor was the code name given to a secret network of Latin American dictatorships working together to stamp […]

Coach Carter


Comic/social critic Bill Cosby and northern California high-school basketball coach Ken Carter have much in common. Both men acquired great success and an equal amount of vilification. Coach Carter tells the true story of a man who wanted to make a difference in the lives of boys and did it, despite public outcry and a […]

White Noise


The biggest question I have about this particular type of supernatural thriller is one that movies of this ilk never address: Why do these hauntings only happen to the more upscale among us? Do the spirits of those who have gone beyond the veil think that folks living in Architectural Digest photo-spread houses are the […]

The Accountant


Here’s a rare opportunity to actually see one of those Academy Award-winning short films (from 2002) that mean absolutely nothing to 99 percent of the movie-going public when the envelope is opened at the Oscars. Moreover, here’s something even rarer: a chance to see a short from a 35mm print, on the big screen as […]

Intimate Strangers


Intimate Strangers would be a good title for quite a number of films by Patrice Leconte; The Widow of St. Pierre and The Man on the Train come immediately to mind. His films have a tendency to focus on characters who become closely involved with one another, yet rarely interconnect enough to surpass their stranger […]

The Phantom of the Opera


There’s an interesting pattern to the bulk of the negative reviews of the new film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Nearly every such review comes from one of three types of critics bearing grindable axes: those who hate musicals in general, those who hate Andrew Lloyd Webber in particular, and […]

The Aviator


Even though I rarely like Martin Scorsese’s movies (The Gangs of New York being the notable exception), I’d never deny the fact he’s one of the greats of modern American film. I have mixed feelings about The Aviator, Scorsese’s massive biopic on Howard Hughes. This is a brilliantly made movie, a true filmmaker’s film. I […]

Meet the Fockers


This phenomenally popular sequel to the phenomenally popular Meet the Parents has been met with a great deal of critical scorn, most of which centers on the movie’s lack of subtlety and its inferiority when compared to the first film. Can these be serious criticisms? Did anyone expect subtlety from a movie with a title […]

Fat Albert


“Hey, hey, hey!” Fat Albert’s become real, at least for a day. See him quick, I say, the big boy can’t stay. Fadin’ away, he is, fadin’ away. “Hey, hey, hey!” It’s modern-day North Philly, a buzzing, energetic mecca so it seems, where multiethnic students live and study together in reasonable peacefulness and there’s not […]



People trying to sell me on this movie say that director Jaume Balaguero is the man who revitalized the Spanish horror-film industry. I must confess that I didn’t realize Spain had such an industry, much less that it needed revitalizing. But if this clunky rip-off of The Shining — with a few dashes of The […]