An idea man, you see.
Continue reading: The Amateurs Review
Blades begins with the backstory of figure skating prodigy Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder). Plucked from an orphanage and given his last name by creepy entrepreneur Darren MacElroy (William Fichtner), Jimmy is groomed to become a champion. His only competition is the exquisitely named Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) who brings the swagger only a self-proclaimed sex addict can to the sport.
Continue reading: Blades Of Glory Review
Pearce plays Jimmy Starks, a walking grease bucket of a salesman who is waiting for his car to get fixed when we first meet him (as if the name left any room for ethical clarity). Jimmy is trying to sell everyone: He attempts to sell a jukebox to a bar owner (he already has one), tries to sell his intellectual cynicism to a fortune teller (J.K. Simmons, playing it surprisingly low key), and tries to sell his respect to his colleagues and coworkers (William Fichtner and Rick Gonzalez, respectively). When the fortune teller tells him that he will go tits-up when the first snow hits, Starks responds with impervious flaunting and jittery paranoia. Self-aware and gaunt with confusion and doubt, Starks begins to take action to ensure he won't die. Not an easy charge with a vexed ex-partner (Shea Whigham), sneering and prodding through late night phone calls.
Continue reading: First Snow Review
While not quite a Matrix replica, writer/director Kurt Wimmer's Equilibrium duplicates too many elements from its sci-fi predecessor to ignore the comparison. The film inhabits a Huxley-inspired fascist future society where emotions are chemically suppressed. World leaders believe it helps prevent global warfare. If love and happiness are sacrificed in the process, so be it.
Continue reading: Equilibrium Review
Believe me, I wanted - at times frantically - to like Ultraviolet. While the plot is entirely reductive, the acting painfully amateurish, most of the special effects uniformly crummy, Ultraviolet is breathtaking to watch. At times it looks like a 3rd generation bootleg of some ultra-obscure New Wave music video (perhaps, Experimental Projects' "Glowing in the Dark" - try tracking that one down), at others like goofy outtakes from Kill BillKill Bill: Volume 1. The film rampages wildly through neon infused colors and minimal THX 1138 styled sets, Matrix stunts, and gaudily shot sentimental close-ups. The entire film is an uncanny buffet of cult culture - we've got everything from Grant Morrison to Max Headroom, Tron to the Wachowski's Doc Frankenstein comic book, Iggy Pop's abs to Cassavetes' Gloria, all stuffed into a weirdly affected plot.
Continue reading: Ultraviolet Review
Let me put it this way: Go is the best movie I've seen since Fargo. Doug Liman, the man behind the brilliant Swingers, (which, I realized, came out much too long ago, in 1996), has concocted such a film that I'm almost compelled to pay the whopping $8.50 to see it again.
Continue reading: Go Review
But seriously, Carl Sagan's ode to the superior intelligence of aliens (and how us darned humans mess everything up) is consistently beautiful and interesting, but it never makes a point (except for that bit about the darned humans). The plot, which gives Jodie Foster schematics from space and focuses on the technical and bureaucratic minutiae that go into the construction of an extradimensional travelling device, is rather on the nose -- and the only real surprises in the film come from its obsession with God (in which the late Sagan did not believe) and the complete and utter disappointment received with the aliens are finally revealed.
Continue reading: Contact Review
Two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters go down in the mazelike streets of Mogadishu during a routine search-and-capture mission, leaving 100 G.I.'s stumbling around enemy territory with limited resources until the rescue Rangers show up. It's been oft-compared to having almost two full hours of Steven Spielberg's masterful 30-minute Omaha Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan, which sounds good on paper only because Ryan suffered by following up its amazing visual prologue with a glut of character-driven monologues to invest personality within each soldier before he get killed. But Spielberg understood the basic precepts of documentary filmmaking: no matter how chaotic things got, we always understood where the soldiers were, and where they were going. Black Hawk Down, by removing exposition and cohesion, couldn't care less.
Continue reading: Black Hawk Down Review
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.
Continue reading: What's The Worst That Could Happen? Review
AutoTrader.com dumps millions into a deal with ABC for Monday Night Football rights. Olympic highlights are now known as "Chevy Moments." The currency flooding the pro sports market is getting out of hand. Independent filmmakers could make 71 different Blair Witch projects for the amount of money Anheuser-Busch spent on one 30-second Super Bowl commercial.
Continue reading: The Longest Yard (2005) Review
Nine Lives opens strong on Sandra (Elpidia Carrillo), an imprisoned mother. Mopping up a floor, she's threatened by fellow prisoners, and harassed by a guard (Miguel Sandoval) who's convinced she can give him information. Everyone tells Sandra she's not going to make it, but you think she just might be able to, hunkering down turtle-like and just plowing through the rest of her sentence. But then her daughter visits, and the phone doesn't work, sending Sandra into a stunning explosion of rage, like a mother bear kept from her cub. It's a short, unrelentingly powerful story, and done by itself it would stand as a sublime little tragedy. The same goes for the final piece, in which Glenn Close and Dakota Fanning (hardly a better match could be imagined) visit a cemetery and talk with sublime ease about not much at all. But then comes the rest of the film in between.
Continue reading: Nine Lives Review
Moore's character has two lives: Marty lives in hard, bleak New York as a single, nervy, literary agent; Marie is a widowed mother of two in lush, romantic Provence. When she sleeps in one life, she dreams of the other, and yet cannot determine which is real. As Berliner introduces Marty/Marie and her dilemma, it's obvious that Passion of Mind will follow in the thematic footsteps of other similar, bland movies like Sliding Doors. A woman has two parallel lives - what if both are just too flat-out boring to be a movie?
Continue reading: Passion Of Mind Review
A "box drama" of classic design, Albino Alligator is a psychological thriller set largely inside a New Orleans Prohibition-era bar still open in the 1990s. Dova (Matt Dillon), Milo (Gary Sinise), and Law (William Fichtner) are criminals on the run. After killing three cops with their car, the trio holes up in Dino's Last Chance Bar until things cool over, but the cops catch up with them soon enough. A game of cat-and-mouse hostage negotiation ensues, with Faye Dunaway, Viggo Mortensen, Skeet Ulrich, John Spencer, & M. Emmet Walsh as the victims, and Joe Mantegna as the head cop on the case.
Continue reading: Albino Alligator Review
Canadian Julie (Miranda Otto) returns home from a trip with her two twin children, only to find husband Henry (William Fichtner) in bed with another woman. Like that, her marriage is ruined. Days later, she discovers her son (Ryan Smith) has cancer. Soon after that, we learn he's allergic to the chemotherapy. Julie just can't catch a break. Julie hears about a faith healer in Poland and decides to take her son there to get some healin'. (Why Poland? Could have something to do with writer/director Agnieszka Holland (Oscar nominated for Europa Europa in 1992), who hails from the country.)
Continue reading: The Healer Review
Suffice it to say that Drowning Mona is a bad film. It is a very bad film. Let us count the ways.
Continue reading: Drowning Mona Review
Michael is an ex-compulsive gambler, returned to his Austin hometown ostensibly to turn his life around and get a real job, but in reality having some less savory motives. His ex-wife, Rachel (Alison Elliott), is in town and attached to a local, small-time hood. When Michael tries to patch things up with Rachel, a plot suddenly (and quite inexplicably) develops between the three to rob the armored car that Michael drives. The plan is hatched, and the fun begins.
Continue reading: The Underneath Review
Arguably the two sexiest movie stars in America, and bothunderappreciated for their considerable talents as a result, the pair maketrying to kill your spouse seem entertaining and almost erotic.
Directed by Doug Liman ("TheBourne Identity") with tongue-in-cheekpanache, and an eye for metaphorical conflicts of real marriage, the filmopens with John and Jane Smith (Pitt and Jolie) in couples therapy.
"How often do you have sex?" ask the off-screenshrink. "I don't understand the question," Pitt deadpans in response.
Continue reading: Mr. & Mrs. Smith Review
Thus imprisoned in a dusty desert lock-up where the abusive,steroid-pumped guards (all played by wrestlers or former pro football linemen)have their own pigskin league, Sandler is compelled by the nasty warden(James Cromwell) to coach a scabby team of inmates for his boys to beatup on in practice. But for some reason known only to the screenwriter,these practices never happen. Instead, the movie follows the standard BigGame plot, and Sandler (who doesn't have the body mass to be credible asa former football player) recruits and trains the biggest, meanest prisonershe can find, then leads them onto the field himself (with Reynolds' helpas another ex-NFL inmate) for a full-contact finale picked up by ESPN2for a novelty national broadcast.
Unfortunately, once he's in the hoosegow and sobered up,all the bite goes out of Sandler's QB and he is severely upstaged by thecast of crazies (Cloris Leachman is the warden's aged, sex-mad secretary,Tracey Morgan leads the transvestite cheerleading squad) and muscle-boundtoughs (Brian Bosworth, Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Steve Austin, BillGoldberg, etc.). Most of these guys can barely act, but at least directorPeter Segal ("50First Dates") figures out how to use themfor laughs.
What Segal can't seem to do is get a handle on the movie'sbalance of comedy and drama, on one hand relying heavily on race-basedone-liners (ChrisRock plays the joint's resident wisecracker),while on the other trying for moments of poignancy that fall awkwardlyflat. Because "The Longest Yard" takes itself seriously at times,it's harder to forgive the occasional gigantic plot hole -- like the factthat the inmates seem to have access to any room they want in the penalcomplex, even getting into the guards' locker room and personnel files.
Continue reading: The Longest Yard Review
An impressive ensemble cast lends strong character to acultural cross-section of Los Angeles denizens who are connected to eachother through crime, corruption, obligation, indignation and chance overa two-day period. The most powerful storyline features Matt Dillon andRyan Phillippe as beat cops -- one jaded and abusive, the other fresh andidealistic -- who pull over and harass (much to Phillippe's dismay) a blackyuppie couple (Terrence Howard and Thandie Newton) because the SUV they'redriving vaguely fits the description of a carjacked vehicle.
Within 24 hours, these characters all cross paths againin separate incidents of incredibly high tension that challenge both theprejudices that have formed between them and the conclusions we've beenled to as an audience.
Although they do not meet again, similarly potent table-turningand judgment-testing events occur in the lives of the actual carjackers(Larenz Tate and rapper Ludacris, whose character is ironically obsessedwith being stereotyped) and their victims, an ambitious district attorneyand his uptight wife (played with depth and conviction by Brendan Fraserand Sandra Bullock).
Continue reading: Crash Review
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.
Continue reading: What's The Worst That Could Happen? Review
Less than 30 seconds into the first reel, "Passion of Mind" practically trumpets the fact that its narrative in is a mess.Employing a catch-you-up expository voice-over, director Alian Berliner ("Ma Vie En Rose") drops you into the middle of this story like he's removing a blindfold to reveal you're behind the wheel of a car going off a cliff.
Literally the first thing you hear after the lights go down is Demi Moore's voice saying, "I could no longer tell my dream world from my real world. I don't know who I am any more."
Demi is confused because she's a balls-in-the-air, single Manhattan career gal with her own literary agency by day, but when she goes to sleep every night she dreams a whole other life in the south of France as a lovelorn widow with two daughters and a beautiful estate...
Continue reading: Passion Of Mind Review
A screwball whodunit set in an upstate New York hamlet full of highly motivated potential murderers, "Drowning Mona" is kind of a Robert Altman ensemble movie gone wrong.
Funny in fits and starts, the story opens with the tyrannical title character, played by Bette Midler, driving her Yugo off a cliff into a river. It's a tragedy that doesn't seem to have anyone in town all that broken up.
Upon hearing the news, her dimwitted, stoner, bully of a lay-about son (Marcus Thomas) only wants to know "What was she doing driving my car!" After making a half-assed attempt to feign grief, her cheatin' and brow-beaten husband (William Fichtner) drives off for a happier than usual rendezvous with his mullet-haired, diner waitress concubine (Jamie Lee Curtis). Everybody else in town tries -- although not very hard -- to stifle the fact that they're pleased as punch Mona has met her end.
Continue reading: Drowning Mona Review
As "Son of Pulp Fiction" movies go, "Go"one is a pretty good ride.
Doug Liman's follow-up to the now infamous pop-classic"Swingers," this caustic comedy follows sarcastic grocery clerk Sarah Polley ("TheSweet Hereafter") through her botched first attempt at dealing drugs, before rewinding and covering some of the sameevents from two other perspectives.
The petulant Ronna (Polley) is all attitude and bad judgmentas a bitter and behind on her rent SoCal grocery clerk who takes a shiftfor Simon (Desmond Askew), a Ecstasy-dealing co-worker, so he can go toLas Vegas for the weekend. Desperate for cash, she decides to fill in forhim on a drug run as well after being approached by a pair of TV actors(Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr) looking to score some X.
Continue reading: Go Review
On September 11th 2001, the America was hit by one of the worst tragedies imaginable;...
Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...
Donatello, Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael are back in full force and ready to protect their...
Everyone knows the tale of David Levinson and Captain Steven Hiller, the two men at...
George Briggs is a claim jumper who has only ever known a dishonest life. When...
Some years ago, four baby turtles were discovered in a puddle of radioactive ooze in...
April O’Neil is a fearless news reporter whose job to land stories is all the...
In a city rife with crime and destruction, there's danger at every turn and suffering...
As he did with District 9, South African filmmaker Blomkamp grounds this sci-fi thriller in...
Everything about this film screams excess, from the ludicrous two-and-a-half hour running time to the...