Movie Reviews

Riding In Cars With Boys

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Years ago, movies like this were called “women’s pictures” or “three-handkerchief weepers,” and often as not featured Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck suffering stoically for one reason or another. The current model (sometimes degradingly termed a “chick flick”) differs very little. There’s a tendency to be a little less glamorous, and of course the stars […]

Return To Never Land

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With “faith, trust and pixie dust, anything is possible.” And so it seems — almost — in Return to Never Land, the first-ever sequel to Disney’s beloved Peter Pan original. Nearly 50 years have passed since 1953, when the boy who refused to grow up and his band of Lost Boys first took kids on […]

Resident Evil

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As someone who never made it all the way through the original, most basic video game Sonic the Hedgehog, I’m not in the best position to comment on just how successfully the film version of Resident Evil captures its source video game. As someone who has sampled all manner of cinematic cheese, however, I’d give […]

Reign Of Fire

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Way too much draggin’ and not nearly enough dragon, this overly serious talkathon is the perfect cure for insomnia, but little else. As a barometer of its cosmic dismalness, I saw it with a friend who hadn’t quite forgiven me for making him sit through Jason X. As soon as the film hit its jaw-droppingly […]

Red Planet

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Likable leading players, brisk pacing and gorgeous wide-screen cinematography by Peter Suschitzky (Mars Attacks!) aren’t nearly enough to overcome cardboard characters, a trite plot, inane dialogue (no less than three speeches by people wanting to be left to die for the good of the others and/or mankind in general) and a typically dismal computer-generated “monster” […]

Red Dragon

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Since novelist Thomas Harris hasn’t seen fit to continue the Hannibal Lecter story, the studios — ever mindful of milking the cash cow to the last drop — opted to go back to Harris’ second novel, Red Dragon, in order to cook up another Hannibal stew, despite the fact that the book was already filmed […]

Recess: School’s Out

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“I could never be with a man who doesn’t love recess!” schoolteacher Miss Phinster shouts at the evil arch villain in Disney’s newest animated feature, Recess: School’s Out. My sentiments exactly! If adults are allowed coffee breaks and flex-time, children should always have recess. I don’t mean study hall. I mean good, old-fashioned, play-outside, be-with-your-friends, […]

Rat Race

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Officially, Paramount Picture’s Rat Race is not a remake of MGM’s legendary ’60s ensemble comedy, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World. Too bad. A remake of something terrific would have been better than this disappointing original dud. The real stars of Rat Race are lots of cars — including Adolf Hitler’s Mercedes Benz and a […]

Race To Space

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A Sean McNamara film? Yes, that’s what it says on the posters and on the film itself. And who, pray, is Sean McNamara? Well, according to the Internet Movie Data Base, he’s a filmmaker who has been making movies in a similar key to this one for some considerable time. It’s just that previously, none […]

Rabbit-proof Fence

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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 […]

Quills

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

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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

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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

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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 […]

Possession

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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

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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 […]

Pollock

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“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

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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

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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

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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 […]

Pinocchio

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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 […]