Movie Reviews

The Fountain


I hate using the words “not for everyone” simply because there really isn’t anything that is for everyone (claims by Sara Lee to the contrary), but Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain is probably a little more not for everyone than your average movie. With the exception (for very different reasons) of John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, The […]

Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny


Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny tells the fictional story of the creation of Jack Black’s real-life band, the aforementioned Tenacious D (which consists of Black and co-star Kyle Gass (Elf), both on guitar). If you’ve heard Tenacious D before and didn’t find it funny or necessarily good, or find Jack Black’s usual screen persona […]

For Your Consideration


If you’re a fan of Christopher Guest’s particular brand of humor, you may want to knock the star rating on For Your Consideration up a notch, though probably not much more. I freely confess to finding Guest’s “mockumentaries” too much of the one-joke variety, so I’m not the most sympathetic viewer in the house. Still, […]

Deja Vu


While — believe it or not — I go into every film hoping it will be good, the prospect of finding merit in just about anything signed by Tony Scott (Spy Game (2001) and The Hunger (1983) to one side) seemed sufficiently remote to warrant something approaching cinematic dread when settling in for Deja Vu. […]

Deck the Halls


There’s a rumor I’ve heard whispered that at some point in its creation, Deck the Halls contained at least one original idea. However, the producers were so outraged by this affront to their commercial sensibilities that the idea was surgically excised and the perpetrator summarily executed. That’s probably not true, if only because any original […]

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) was such a phenomenon at the box office that it became the first foreign language film to make over $100 million in the U.S. — a rare instance where box office receipts and artistic merit do go hand in hand. The film has so many different elements that […]



If Emilio Estevez had made this film under the name Fred Smith, I suspect it would be receiving a much fairer shake at the hands of a lot of critics than it is. But because Estevez was a member of the “Brat Pack,” starred in some dubious movies (one he made himself), and is the […]

The Queen


I have a tendency to like Stephen Frears’ work — not to mention unabashedly loving three of his films (anyone who can name the three has been reading this column too closely). Helen Mirren is like a small goddess to me. And I confess to being a staunch Anglophile as well — though this is […]

Let’s Go To Prison


When I was a high school freshman, my social studies class took a field trip to the local minimum security prison. Being that this was a group of 15-year-olds, I remember someone making the obvious “don’t drop the soap” joke. While the movie is occasionally a bit above that type of gag, it still remains […]



Catherine Deneuve is luminous as always in Indochine (1992), a film that picked up the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1993, and has the inherent sadness of all films set at the end of an era. (Regardless of how you feel about the era in question, there’s an inescapable melancholy that clings to […]

Happy Feet


Musically, George Miller’s CGI extravaganza Happy Feet is the Moulin Rouge! (2001) of animated all-singing, all-talking, all-dancing penguin movies. Like Baz Luhrmann before him, Miller takes an array of pop/rock songs — a little Queen, a little Prince, a dash of Elvis, a dollop of Stevie Wonder — and uses them to create a musical […]

Fast Food Nation


The latest film from director Richard Linklater (A Scanner Darkly), Fast Food Nation, would seem to be another in a long line of important message pictures — think Super Size Me (2004), Lord of War (2005) or Crash (2005) — preaching to us about the evils of our culture. Instead of just stating the obvious […]

Casino Royale


I have a great fondness for the original Casino Royale (1967). It was the first movie I ever paid to see twice (I was 12 at the time). It was also the movie that put an end to seeing movies as a family outing with my parents — I loved it; they hated it. I […]

Appointment With Death


The Hendersonville Film Society’s annual Thanksgiving turkey is Appointment With Death (1988) this year, a film that is less a seasonal fowl than a frustrating, interesting, wrongheaded film from a frequently frustrating, interesting, wrongheaded filmmaker, Michael Winner. Winner was one of the more interesting 1960s filmmakers to emerge from the British Invasion, making enjoyable films […]

Viva Zapata


Despite the fact that Viva Zapata (1952) hardly represents the best work of either writer John Steinbeck, director Elia Kazan or actor Marlon Brando doesn’t mean that it’s not a worthy endeavor. If it isn’t quite an essential of 1950s American film, neither is it too far removed from it. As a biography of Emiliano […]

The Return


Well, the results are in on The Return, and it seems that the reviews are generally scathing and that it’s being written off as a disaster at the box office. I can’t say that I’m shocked by either announcement, and I can’t say that I think The Return is exactly a good film. Neither do […]

Stranger Than Fiction


That I would end up loving a movie starring Will Ferrell rates pretty high on the scale of unlikely events. Yes, I knew that this was supposed to contain a Will Ferrell performance unlike any other, but I couldn’t help but remember how his “subdued” performance in Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda (2004) had marred […]

Harsh Times


When Christmas rolls around this year, I’m hoping Christian Bale gets filmmaker Christopher Nolan (The Prestige) a nice fruit basket or maybe some slipper socks, because if it weren’t for Nolan, Bale’s career would likely be toiling in obscurity right about now. That isn’t to say that Bale is a bad actor — far from […]

Everything Is Illuminated


Liev Schreiber’s directorial debut, Everything Is Iluminated (2005), makes a return visit thanks to the Hendersonville Film Society, and a welcome return it is. I often find it interesting to revisit a film I’ve already written about, if only to see how those original thoughts stack up against seeing the film again. (For a more […]



Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and his writing partner Guillermo Arriaga are certainly ambitious fellows. They demonstrated this with Amores Perros (2000) and again with 21 Grams (2003) — both films with multiple stories that ultimately connect to create a larger picture. With Babel they become more geographically ambitious with interconnected stories set in the U.S., Mexico, […]

A Good Year


Just exactly why anyone anywhere at anytime thought it would be a good idea to have Ridley Scott make a romantic comedy starring Russell Crowe is one of the great riddles of the universe. Actually, since Scott produced the film, one can only presume that the idea of making A Good Year was his, but […]