Movie Reviews

Say It Isn’t So

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Hands-down this is far and away the best film I have ever seen in which the hero “disguises” himself with a fake beard crafted from a collection of pubic hair culled from a bikini-wax parlor. At least Say It Isn’t So currently occupies that position, but since this sort of thing seems to be the […]

Saving Silverman

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If this film was even half as funny as it thinks it is, it would be a comedy classic. The problem is that not only it isn’t, but Saving Silverman repeatedly mistakes cleverness for quality and the bizarre for the funny. Now, there’s no denying that the film is indeed clever, but much of the […]

Saving Grace

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Yes, here’s a feel-good movie of high order: Terrific script, uplifting story, superb acting. A virtually flawless technical production — from cinematography to editing — allows you to sit back and enjoy the ride. Here’s the plot: Sweet and delicate Grace Trevethyn’s dashing husband dashes right out of an airplane at high altitude, sans parachute, […]

Rush Hour 2

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You don’t have to rush to see Rush Hour 2. The latest martial-arts mayhem movie is sure to be such a box-office hit, it should stay in theaters for months. When Chinese martial arts whirligig Detective Lee (Jackie Chan, Rush Hour) isn’t bashing somebody’s brains in, he’s an amazingly nice guy. He’s loyal and teary-eyed […]

Rollerball

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I used to think that Renny Harlin was the poor man’s John McTiernan. Now, it looks like McTiernan has turned into the unbelievably impoverished man’s Renny Harlin. Harlin has made some turkeys in his day — The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Cliffhanger, Cutthroat Island. Indeed, when he took over the from McTiernan for the second […]

Roger Dodger

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Quite the most shocking thing about this out-to-shock indie is the discovery that it was shot on film, not on video. I wasn’t even aware that it was possible to make film look this amateurishly bad. The next-most-shocking thing — apart from the film’s really creepy insistence that it is basically a comedy — concerns […]

Rock Star

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Rock Star scales new heights … of predictability. The film is almost consistently disappointing. There aren’t more than a handful of truly great rock ‘n’ roll movies and Rock Star doesn’t come anywhere near that select pantheon. This started life under the more apt title, Metal God and later was called So You Want to […]

Road To Redemption

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If somebody could convince Road to Redemption’s director, Robert Vernon II, not to write the next movie he directs, he might have a future. Vernon has potential: Redemption is beautifully shot, the action scenes are powerfully choreographed and there are even a few chuckles. But the positives about this movie are like patches on a […]

Road To Perdition

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It has more style per square inch than can be found in the sum total of all the films released so far in 2002. It boasts an almost perfect period evocation. It features a screenplay with dialogue that can hardly be faulted on an intelligence level. It offers no less than five dynamic performances. And […]

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 […]