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What's The Worst That Could Happen? Review


Bad
Martin Lawrence is not funny. For the proof just turn to his newest film, What's The Worst That Could Happen? -- the answer to its own question if ever there has been one.

I don't know how Martin Lawrence -- the former 1987 Star Search winner with an arrest record that would make Tommy Lee envious -- has been able to survive with all of the bad, bad films he has starred in during the past 6 years. [Two words: Bad Boys. -Ed.] Big Momma's House, Blue Streak, Life, and A Thin Line Between Love and Hate are all forgettable movies which can be found in quantity on the clearance table at your local video store. But survive he has, and in Worst, Lawrence is a mediocre Eddie Murphy stuck playing another jewel thief in another run-of-the-mill studio comedy.

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November Review


Good
I remember when Greg Harrison was going to be The Next Big Thing. It was 1999, and he was shooting Groove, a movie about this crazy "rave" scene that the kids were into, which was going to be the next Blair Witch Project.

Well, the lackluster Groove eventually made a little over a million dollars at theaters, despite a crush of marketing and hype. (Blair Witch earned $140 million in the U.S.) And Harrison slipped back into obscurity.

Continue reading: November Review

Heartbreakers Review


Very Good
The problem with a movie like Heartbreakers is that as hard as you try to concentrate on the notable qualities of the film -- the clever camerawork, the strong ensemble acting, the deft script -- every time Jennifer Love Hewitt walks into a scene, her breasts take over. Even my date noticed the blatant attempts by the filmmakers in drawing all attention to the chests of both Sigourney Weaver and Hewitt. Alas, all those breasts are never fully revealed -- like some bad '80s teen horror film censored by Jerry Falwell.

Despite the massive amounts of boob time in Heartbreakers, the film delivers all the goods of a solid comedic vehicle. Max (Weaver) and Page (Hewitt) are a mother/daughter team who swindle rich guys out of their dollars in a con involving matrimony vows, extramarital trysts, and divorce settlements. Sort of like a cross between Anywhere but Here and The Grifters. With the IRS hot on their proverbial tails, the duo team up for one last job, bilking cigarette tycoon William B. Tensy (Gene Hackman) out of his cash. Alas, during the con job, Page ends up falling in love with a local bar owner (Jason Lee), a dead body ends up in their trunk, Princess Leia shows up as a divorce attorney, and a jilted ex-husband (Ray Liotta) shows up waving a gun and advising group therapy for everyone.

Continue reading: Heartbreakers Review

See Arnold Run Review


Good
Originally made for A&E television, this is a visualization of the early career and later political leanings of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was at the center of California's unprecedented and unbearably tacky 2003 Governer recall election.

Say what you will about the movie itself: The casting is either inspired or excruciating or both. Jürgen Prochnow as the older Schwarzenegger. Mariel Hemingway as Maria Shriver, and Nora Dunn as Ariana Huffington. Wow. Prochnow alone is terrifying: He doesn't really look much like Arnold (and he's about 120 pounds light), but they've done his hair up to make him look like a bizarro approximation of him. Hemingway and Dunn are equally disturbing: Hemingway lowers her voice an octave to play Shriver. Dunn sounds like she's been listening to Huffington on the radio for an hour, and this is her best approximation. I was disappointed that the producers didn't pull out a little guy to play Gary Coleman (who also ran for Governor) or get porn star Mary Carey to play herself.

Continue reading: See Arnold Run Review

Miami Blues Review


Very Good
Bizarre black comedy teams Alec Baldwin with Jennifer Jason Leigh in hot Miami. He's a crook that's new to town, she's a hooker with a heart of gold and a brain of coal. Against his promise, Baldwin continues his evil ways, stealing the badge of cop Fred Ward and using it to enhance his crime spree even further. Bloody, sarcastic, and oddly compelling.

Three Kings Review


Excellent
With two ex-rappers and a guy from ER leading the cast, I wasn't expecting much from Three Kings. Am I the only one that can still picture Ice-Cube being squeezed to death by a huge snake in possibly the worst movie ever, Anaconda? Or how about a buffed-up hood rat named Marky Mark dancing around, "Feeling the Good Vibrations?" And whatever happened to our favorite TV doctor? George Clooney is not supposed to be an action hero. Remember, he's a lover not a fighter.

One thing being a film critic has taught me is that in Hollywood, images can change faster and more frequently than Dennis Rodman's hair dye.

Continue reading: Three Kings Review

November Review


Good
Something akin to a dialed-down Darren Aronofsky thriller-- with a lot of David Lynch thrown in -- "November" dives headlonginto the unraveling, despondent psyche of a woman whose boyfriend has beenkilled in a convenience store robbery while she waited in a car outside.

Employing feverish flashes of iconic imagery to unsettlingeffect (as Aronofsky did in "Pi" and "Requiemfor a Dream"), director Greg Harrison buildsa non-linear storyline (like Lynch's "Lost Highway" and "MulhollandDrive") of seemingly conflicting memoriesthat keeps circling back to that fateful day, its events taking differentshapes each time.

Played with frazzled intensity by Courtney Cox-Arquette,the woman is an art-school photography teacher whose world turns disorientinglycold, foggy, gray, loud and claustrophobic (kudos to cinematographer NancySchreiber and composer Lew Baldwin) as she copes with grief and guilt thatseem to manifest in headaches, stomach pains and fainting spells.

But her reality -- or perhaps just her perception of it-- really begins to twist when a mysterious photo taken outside the storeon the night of the murder turns up in her slide carousel during a classlecture. Then her TV begins inexplicably broadcasting security-camera footagefrom the night of the shootings.

Continue reading: November Review

Three Kings Review


Good

Leave it to oddball indie auteur David O. Russell to take his first studio commission and make a bang-up action flick that's also a dark comedy, a political soapbox, a human drama and condemnation of war and gun violence. And "Three Kings" is pretty solid wow on all counts.

The first motion picture to reflect on the fallacies of the Gulf War as we have reflected on failures in Vietnam for 25 years, Russell ("Spanking the Monkey," "Flirting With Disaster") has created a stealthily thought-provoking document that also kicks butt.

In the movie's first scene, the writer-director mixes black comedy with unsettling truths of confusion in wartime. Into a blanched desert panorama steps Mark Wahlberg as young Army sergeant, his M-16 trained on a single Iraqi waiving a white flag. The final cease fire has just been called, but the rank and file aren't yet sure yet what it means to them.

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Max Keeble's Big Move Review


OK

Even when presented with a reasonably original idea for a kids' movie like "Max Keeble's Big Move," Disney can always find a way to bleed all the color out of it and give the resulting product that Mouse House assembly-line feel.

Max (Alex D. Linz), our hero, is a diminutive, idiosyncratic seventh-grader with a rubbery face and a hurricane hairdo, who starts junior high on the wrong foot, running afoul of two bullies and the conniving school principal on the first day of class. The original idea in here is that just when he's sure he's in for a miserable year, his father announces the family is moving away, and Max realizes he has a golden opportunity to assert himself and wreak some havoc without any consequences.

Max concocts a plan to humiliate the bullies, expose the principal's illicit designs for the school budget, and make time with a ninth-grader (Brooke Anne Smith) so babelicious that she gets Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" as her very own theme song.

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Bruce Almighty Review


Good

Jim Carrey may be unconvincing as a TV newsman in "Bruce Almighty" -- he wears khakis and plaid shirts on the air, he needs a haircut, and he hold his microphone as if he doesn't know which end is up -- but as an everyday joe temporarily granted all the powers of God, his return to crackpot comedy is a most welcome summer movie treat.

After some angry finger-waving toward heaven over a fairly minor bout of bad luck (he's been passed over for an anchor job, he crashes his car into a lamp post and he can't seem to housebreak his dog), Bruce Nolan (Carrey) becomes God for a spell when the Big Guy (Morgan Freeman having a little fun with his noble image) gets fed up listening to him whine. God decides to show Bruce how tough the job of the Almighty really is, and humorous havoc ensues.

Of course, at first Bruce just has a ball being omnipotent. He grins impishly to himself as his live-in girlfriend Grace (Jennifer Aniston) says over breakfast, "I woke up this morning and I swear my boobs were bigger." When he comes across some muggers who beat him up the day before and demands an apology (in the most Biblical language he can muster), the leader of the gang says "You'll get your 'sorry' the day a monkey comes out of my butt."

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What's The Worst That Could Happen? Review


OK

Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito -- two stars with pretty shaky comedy credits of late -- seem to be tempting fate with the title of their new criminal vs. corporate scoundrel caper. It's called "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" and the answer to that question is, the entire movie could have been as dim-witted and haphazard as its last five minutes.

But until director Sam Weisman ("George of the Jungle," "The Out-of-Tonwers" remake) starts running out of story and grasping at straws in the middle of the last act, it's pretty generous with the laughs.

Lawrence plays a professional cat burglar who hears on the news that a media tycoon (DeVito) has been ordered to vacate one of his mansions as part of a bankruptcy proceeding. Lawrence imagines easy pickings at a plush billionaire's pad that's guaranteed to be uninhabited. Little does he know that DeVito has figured on sneaking into the empty house to cheat on his snooty, country club wife (Nora Dunn) with a buxom centerfold sucking up to him for a job at his TV network.

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Cherish Review


Weak

Don't tell the other movie critics I said this, but once in a very great while I see an independent film I wish could have been a big budget Hollywood studio picture. Sometimes a good idea, a lot of enthusiasm and a shoestring budget just aren't enough.

Take "Cherish," for example. This creative but contrived and gimmick-driven comedy-thriller is about a geeky, socially inept young beauty (Robin Tunney), who is falsely accused of a hit-and-run and incarcerated in her own sparse and funky loft while awaiting trial, monitored by one of those electronic ankle bracelet programs.

Going stir-crazy because she's the kind of girl who can't stand to be alone (of men she says "I don't think I'd go out with so many if any one would call me back"), Tunney spends the movie trying to outwit the system that will set off an alarm at police headquarters if she wanders out of the bracelet's range.

Continue reading: Cherish Review

Runaway Jury Review


OK

There are enough holes in the legal minutia of "Runaway Jury" to keep anyone with a law degree laughing from beginning to end. But for the rest of us, this fast-paced thriller's twist-crescendo-ing plot and sharp performances should at least delay the feeling of being duped until after the credits roll.

Another popcorny courtroom concoction from a John Grisham novel, the movie is a sensationalized peek into jury tampering during a big-money wrongful-death suit filed against an assault-weapon manufacturer after a workplace shooting.

The film wears its politics on its sleeve: the rich, cigar-smoking, unrepentant gun industry honchos have hired an unscrupulous jury consultant (deliciously iniquitous Gene Hackman) with the high-tech means to dig up dirt and create graphic-intensive computer-screen portfolios on everybody who received a jury summons for the case.

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Laws Of Attraction Review


OK

Audrey Woods (Julianne Moore) is a driven career gal, all legal-eagle intellect and professional composure on the outside -- but on the inside more of an angst-riddled, Byronically befuddled singleton who, when nervous before a big case, sneaks into the restroom to inhale whole Hostess Snowballs in two bites.

Daniel Rafferty (Pierce Brosnan) is a disorganized, disheveled, disarmingly handsome pile of wrinkled laundry who is, on the outside, hard to take seriously in a court of law -- but inside lies a sneaky, charming courtroom shark for whom head games are half the fun.

They're both whip-smart, high-priced divorce lawyers who have never lost a case or lost their senses -- until they come up against each other in "Laws of Attraction," a head-butting romantic comedy that tries with such enthusiasm to be snappy and beguiling, it's hard to not like it a little just for the effort.

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Nora Dunn Movies

The Guilt Trip Trailer

The Guilt Trip Trailer

Andy Brewster is an inventor who is determined to sell his brand new product by...

Entourage: Season Three, Part Two Movie Review

Entourage: Season Three, Part Two Movie Review

It's next to impossible to discuss the HBO series Entourage without comparing it to the...

Laws of Attraction Movie Review

Laws of Attraction Movie Review

Heard a good lawyer joke lately? If not, there may be several to be found...

What Planet Are You From? Movie Review

What Planet Are You From? Movie Review

It's always a shame to see great comedic minds fall so far from the mark....

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The Hebrew Hammer Movie Review

The Hebrew Hammer Movie Review

It's the curse of the great-pitch movie: They can never live up to the premise....

Runaway Jury Movie Review

Runaway Jury Movie Review

It's a sunny weekday in beautiful New Orleans as a middle-aged, white-collar businessman arrives at...

What's the Worst That Could Happen? Movie Review

What's the Worst That Could Happen? Movie Review

Martin Lawrence is not funny. For the proof just turn to his newest film,...

November Movie Review

November Movie Review

I remember when Greg Harrison was going to be The Next Big Thing. It was...

Heartbreakers Movie Review

Heartbreakers Movie Review

The problem with a movie like Heartbreakers is that as hard as you try to...

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