Movie Reviews

All About The Benjamins



What separates Ice Cube from many rappers-turned-wanna-be-actors is that Cube seems to be content with being a personality. He isn’t really trying to be an actor — something Snoop Dog and LL Cool J need to learn (and that Sean Combs doesn’t need to think about). He seems perfectly happy being a stocky, slightly sexualized, […]

Ali



“I am The Greatest!” boxing legend Muhammad Ali often shouted, not needing to convince anyone really — least of all himself — that he was one of the 20th century’s top athletes. He was a loud-mouth braggart, a womanizer, the original rap artist. Yet underneath the huckster was a man of true courage. With indomitable […]

Agent Cody Banks



Teen Spy Adventure I was prepped to enjoy Cody Banks, the tale of a teenage CIA agent who has to smooch up a luscious schoolmate (Hilary Duff of Disney TV’s Lizzie McGuire) in order to get close to her daffy-scientist father (Martin Donovan, Insomnia), whose metal-eating ice cubes are being sought by power-mad nasties. I […]

Adaptation



The new film from the creators of Being John Malkovich has been praised up one side and down the other for its originality, daring, creativity and inventiveness. And I can’t deny that has all those things. I also can’t say I like it very much. I admire Adaptation’s audacity and, God knows, I’m glad to […]

Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights



You know, it’s not all that uncommon for infant children to evidence a fascination with their own feces. This scatological fixation usually occurs somewhere around the age of 18 months. By my reckoning, Adam Sandler is 36 years old, so what’s up with his apparent inability to let go of an obsession he ought to […]

About Schmidt



Anchored to a solid Jack Nicholson performance — one that is strangely like a 65-year-old take on Adam Sandler’s character in Punch-Drunk Love — and fleshed out with clever characterizations from Hope Davis, June Squibb and, especially, Kathy Bates, About Schmidt is a movie that ought to be a hands-down winner. And it very nearly […]

About A Boy



Now, I like Hugh Grant just fine — especially in films such as Lair of the White Worm, An Awfully Big Adventure, Sirens, Bitter Moon and Bridget Jones’s Diary — where he either acts against type, or makes a virtue of the limitations of that type. But I think it was only reasonable to approach […]

Abandon



A surprising number of laughs can be had in Traffic-author Stephen Gaghan’s directorial debut, Abandon. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t intended. The incredibly muddled screenplay includes such amazing moments as our heroine (well, sort of) Catherine Burke (Katie Holmes, The Gift) telling her shrink (Tony Goldwyn) how she’d awakened in the library late one night […]

A Walk To Remember



Don’t be fooled by the fact that I’ve given this unabashedly sentimental movie a high rating. It’s a very qualified high rating, because it comes with a warning: If an overly sentimental teen romance picture is not your cup of tea, then A Walk to Remember is not your movie. I’m not even sure it’s […]

A Shot At Glory



My friends and I were sitting around eating sushi, solving world problems. Where should some of us travel for vacation? “The best-looking men on the planet,” says I, “are in Scotland.” Yes, girls, if it’s men who look like Gaelic gods you’re craving then head for the Highlands. In the meantime, catch A Shot at […]

A Man Apart



Late in A Man Apart — after a particularly uninspired and painfully obvious faux climax — Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel) lurches from the carnage he’s inflicted on the bad guys, telling his partner: “This isn’t over.” Rarely have three words had such a devastatingly depressing effect on me. In his new movie, thrilling thespian Vin […]

A Knight’s Tale



A Knight’s Tale is the first film writer-director Brian Helgeland can completely call his own (though his name appears on Payback, star Mel Gibson had him replaced before filming was finished). It’s a pretty heady accomplishment for the directorial semi-debut of a guy who worked his way up from writing schlock horror (A Nightmare on […]

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence



Well, here it is: the bastard child of Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg. When Kubrick died before making his long-developed project, A.I., Spielberg decided to pick up the pieces and bring Kubrick’s film — or his version of it — to fruition. The results are something of a schizophrenic mess, but an utterly fascinating schizophrenic […]

A Hard Day’s Night



The first time I saw A Hard Day’s Night, I was 9 years old. The theater I saw it in has now been divided into a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall/Young Republicans’ Club. Fortunately, time has been far kinder to the movie than to the more concrete pieces of my childhood. Richard Lester’s landmark film — […]

A Guy Thing



There are laws in this country about dumping toxic waste. Unfortunately, they do not extend to theaters, which is where most such lethal bilge ends up at this time of year. (The good movies out there right now are all holdovers from 2002.) On the lame-o-meter, A Guy Thing is marginally better than Just Married, […]

A Beautiful Mind



Calling A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard’s best film does the picture a disservice, since, his commercial success apart, Howard’s never been the most exciting of filmmakers . And while A Beautiful Mind is most assuredly in tune with Howard’s mainstream Hollywood craftsmanship, it’s also a strikingly complex work that takes its share of risks … […]

8 Women



This delightful bon-bon of a movie joins hands with two other curios in my personal pantheon — Ernst Lubitsch’s The Smiling Lieutenant and Rouben Mamoulian’s The Gay Desperado — as musicals that I dearly love in spite of their having no very good or even very memorable songs. (Interestingly enough, director Francois Ozon deliberately evokes […]

8 Mile



If you took the “f” word in its various permutations, “yo,” “man,” “dawg,” “word” and the phrase “my bad” out of Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile, you’d have a silent movie — and that might be an improvement. Yes, I know, it’s the movie of the week. And yes, I know, the majority of my fellow […]

40 Days And 40 Nights



In Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jay questions the idea that Miramax would make a film of their lives: “Miramax? I thought they only made classy pictures like The Piano and The Crying Game.” Jason Lee then explains, “Well, after they made She’s All That, everything went to hell.” As if to […]

3000 Miles To Graceland



Probably the best comment I’ve heard about 3000 Miles to Graceland is that it’s “good for what it is,” which is a little bit like the possibly apocryphal story of Abe Lincoln offering to endorse a product by saying, “For people who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they’ll like.” […]

25th Hour



Love him or hate him, Spike Lee is undeniably a filmmaker to be reckoned with — both for his good and his bad qualities. And nowhere is this more in evidence than in the often remarkable and ultimately haunting 25th Hour. Make no mistake, Lee is still a filmmaker who has yet to include the […]