Movie Reviews

Baby Boy

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Baby Boy is a testament to John Singleton’s brilliance as a filmmaker — and his weakness as a dramatist. This film, designed as a companion piece to his Boyz N the Hood and Poetic Justice, is undeniably made by an inventive, clever, daring filmmaker. The seamless manner in which Singleton intersperses moments of fantasy into […]

Auto Focus

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I’m not a huge fan of Paul Schrader’s work … or maybe it’s his worldview that I’m not exactly in tune with. In either case, Auto Focus represents both what I admire about Schrader’s work, as well as what I don’t. The film is stylish to a fault — in fact, maybe to its own […]

Austin Powers In Goldmember

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Yes, it’s chock full of gross-out gags, stupid jokes and even stupider characters. And, no, it isn’t much more than an elaboration on The Spy Who Shagged Me. But it’s also the first — and possibly only — non-stop hysterically funny comedy of the year, featuring more wild invention (both comedic and cinematic) than a […]

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

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In the main, the big Disney summer release, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, is the “spectacular” event it’s been touted as. Much of the film’s design is strikingly beautiful, the story line is effectively simple, the script is witty enough to pass muster with adult viewers, but there’s a central problem in that the film ultimately […]

Apocalypse Now Redux

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All too often, expanded special editions of movies are nothing but barefaced attempts to squeeze the last drop of milk out of a proven cash cow. With Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux, however, it’s a case of a cow that had never been properly milked in the first place. When Coppola’s beleaguered production was […]

Antwone Fisher

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Oh, yes, Antwone Fisher is manipulative as hell. It pulls out all the stops — and occasionally cheats shamelessly — in a full-frontal assault on the tear ducts. Every time the film looks like it’s going to take an unexpected turn, it pulls back and heads straight for the predictable. It’s often too tentative for […]

Antitrust

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Squarely aimed at a youth market, Antitrust is really little more than a typical tepid thriller that’s been tarted-up with modern technology (some of which looks pretty specious), an appealing cast of young actors, a handful of genuinely clever plot twists, and one of the most unfortunate unintentionally funny lines ever to sneak by preview […]

Anger Management

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Three things you must know before seeing Anger Management: 1) It’s not About Schmidt, 2) it’s not Punch-Drunk Love and 3) it’s not anywhere near as funny as its trailer. I say all this up front because I’ve been in the position of seeing no less than seven people walk out of this movie — […]

Angel Eyes

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“The deeper you look, the more you will find,” claims the advertising for Angel Eyes, but a more honest assessment would be, “The deeper you look, the more you will find wrong with this movie.” Alright, it’s not a complete wash-out, but Angel Eyes is one of the more indifferent movies to come along in […]

American Pie 2

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When you’ve built a surprise summer hit out of the precarious premise of one’s “first-time,” an impossible question looms: What can you possibly do for a follow up? The makers of American Pie 2 don’t waste their time trying to answer that question. Unlike its predecessor, the second helping of American Pie doesn’t include plot […]

American Outlaws

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“Bad is good again,” say the ads for this latest take on the Jesse James (played by Colin Farrell, Tigerland) saga — a somewhat bizarre claim since the storyline of American Outlaws is a more blatant whitewash job than ever Tom Sawyer perpetrated on Aunt Polly’s fence. Oh, sure, they rob banks and shoot up […]

America’s Sweethearts

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I really wanted to like this movie, but the movie itself kept getting in the way. Here, it seemed, was a chance for a comedy that wasn’t airheaded or grounded in “shock” humor that’s usually more puerile than actually shocking. Here was a dynamite cast working from a premise as solid as any classic “screwball” […]

Amelie

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Returning to France after the mixed blessing of helming a big-budget Hollywood film, Alien Resurrection, Jean-Pierre Jeunet disproves Thomas Wolfe’s adage that you can’t go home again. Not only did he go home, but once there he made his best film yet: the utterly captivating Amelie (Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain), an instant classic and […]

Along Came A Spider

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A superior suspense flick that showcases a great Morgan Freeman performance, a nicely twisty-curvy plot that never loses its way no matter how circuitous, Along Came a Spider is something rare these days: a movie that tries to be nothing more than a solidly entertaining genre effort and yet doesn’t skimp on the intelligence and […]

All The Real Girls

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For a change, Asheville is one up on New York and Los Angeles, since we get the world premiere of David Gordon Green’s All the Real Girls a day before it opens in those meccas of cinema. But don’t let the fact that Girls was shot locally be the only reason you go to see […]

All Over The Guy

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This is an agreeable little film that is almost certain to disappear without a trace theatrically before finding a home as a perennial on the Sundance or Independent Film Channel. And that’s something of a pity because, yes, it’s a small film and the only names you’re apt to recognize in the credits are supporting […]

All About The Benjamins

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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 […]