Movie Reviews

Rabbit-proof Fence


It’s more than a little shocking to learn that the harsh practices outlined in Philip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence, set in 1931, were still being used in Australia as recently as 1970. Indeed, it’s an outrage. At the heart of Noyce’s film is the practice of removing half-caste children from their Aborigine mothers and placing them […]


Philip Kaufman is a filmmaker whose intentions almost always seem greater than his abilities (The Right Stuff, Henry and June, The Unbearable Lightness of Being), so it’s a pleasure to report that intentions and ability have found even footing in Quills — one of the most fascinating and literate films to come along in some […]

Queen Of The Damned


Last year. the movies gave us one exceptional horror film, The Others; one extremely good horror film, From Hell; and one near-miss, Jeepers Creepers (let’s just leave such things as Soul Survivors and Bones out of this). And this year … well, our first such entry, Queen of the Damned, is nearer the level of […]

Punch-Drunk Love


It’s shorter than the standard Paul Thomas Anderson movie, and seems slighter. But is it really? I don’t think so. In fact, Punch-Drunk Love may be the deepest film Anderson has made. But lacking the faux weightiness of an inflated running time, working within the formula of a romantic comedy and featuring a popular (but […]

Proof Of Life


It sure keeps you on the edge of your seat, for which you’re grateful, because Proof of Life also has wide stretches of yawn-time. In this film, an American engineer, Peter Bowman (David Morse, The Green Mile), is kidnapped by narco-guerrillas in an Andean country. In a heartbreakingly haunting shot, Bowman looks behind as he […]



At last — a truly great film emerges from the summer of 2002, and about damn time! Yes, there have been some very good films this summer — topping the list are Lilo Stitch and The Emperor’s New Clothes — but they’ve been sparse. This brilliant film by Neil LaBute shoots to the head of […]

Pootie Tang


Sweet Merciful King of Glory! What the hell is this witless mess? According to the press kit, it’s a spin-off from a skit that was part of HBO’s The Chris Rock Show, which sounds all too plausible, since this jaw-dropper of unbelievable unfunniness plays like the beached whale (even if it is only around the […]



“If people would leave most of their stuff at home and just look at the paintings, I don’t think they’d have any trouble enjoying them. It’s like looking at a bed of flowers — you don’t tear your hair out over what it means.” So says Ed Harris as Jackson Pollock in his film, Pollock, […]

Pokemon 3: The Movie


In Bob Godfrey’s animated classic, The Do-It-Yourself Cartoon Kit, the viewer is informed, “Whether you’re 6 or 96, you’re sure to love The Do-It-Yourself-Cartoon Kit. If you’re any ages between the two, however, you’re going to be pretty miserable and might as well leave the cinema.” While I can’t address the issue of how 96-year-olds […]

Planet Of The Apes


The good news is that Tim Burton has finally made a movie that is completely accessible to all audiences. That’s also the bad news. The usual gripes about Burton’s lack of story sense are not likely to be brought to bear on Planet of the Apes, which is admirably linear in construction. It’s a Tim […]

Place Vendome


An intense and intensely intelligent film in the film-noir mold, Place Vendome is a work so multi-layered in its meanings and so complex in its story structure that it is just as apt to alienate its audience as it is to fascinate them. It isn’t that the plot itself is terribly complex — with his […]



This movie is so cosmically God-awful that when they finally catch Osama bin Laden, they’re going to make him sit through it — twice. Sure, Pinnochio looked bad from the trailers, but nothing — nothing — can prepare you for the sheer sick-making tedium, the jaw-dropping badness and the downright creepiness of Roberto Benigni’s bloated […]

Piglet’s Big Movie


Oh, it’s cute. The little ones will love this charming tale of teamwork and the need to tell your friends how important they are. Children who already know A.A. Milne’s classic Winnie-the-Pool stories are likely to enjoy this movie the most. At the screening I attended, these kids followed every twist and turn in the […]

Phone Booth


Admitting to liking a movie directed by Joel Schumacher is like peeling the skin off my face, yet I have to confess that I had a very good time at Phone Booth. The film is as nicely nasty a little suspenser as could be imagined. Little of its quality, alas, has much to do with […]

Personal Velocity


An uneven film version of Rebecca Miller’s book of the same name — it sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t, but it never really engages the viewer on a very deep level. And it’s an absolute monument to the Curse of Independent Filmmaking; Personal Velocity is the sort of movie (of which there are far too […]

Pearl Harbor


In Pearl Harbor a lot of things blow up real neat, but is it history? Considering that one review I’ve read makes the astonishing claim that Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1942, maybe that doesn’t matter. And it really doesn’t matter what I say about this movie. This isn’t a movie, it’s a […]

Pay It Forward


Hollywood gets plenty of flack for promoting violence, irresponsible sex, unfettered greed and countless other anti-social behaviors. So it seems a refreshing departure, if not borderline revolutionary, to find a major Hollywood release promoting basic human kindness. That’s exactly what Pay It Forward does; to “pay something forward,” you see, is the opposite of paying […]

Panic Room


Intermittently effective, improbable and finally unbelievable, David Fincher’s Panic Room is a tidy 30-minute idea encased in 100 minutes of movie. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know what the premise is. In fact, if you’ve seen the trailer, you pretty much know everything about the film except what’s hidden in the titular room — […]

Out Cold


Where are Frankie and Annette when you need them? Out Cold, the new “comedy” from Touchstone, is like nothing so much as a beach party picture with snow substituting for surf and smarm standing in for charm. Granted, the beach party movies were never anything to get excited about. They seemed out of touch and […]

Osmosis Jones


The film that answers the question: “Just how does a film get rated PG for ‘bodily humor’?” is here. And while I’m willing to bet that any savvy moviegoer has at least a clue as to the meaning of the phrase “bodily humor” (after all, comedies have never been quite the same since the campfire […]

Original Sin


This is either the worst good movie I’ve ever seen or the best bad one. I can’t decide exactly which is the case with this deliriously trashy period melodrama. But make no mistake — good, bad or utterly awful — Original Sin is not only trashy melodrama, it revels in the fact. Writer/director Michael Cristofer’s […]