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the rock is destined to be the 21st century's new " conan " and that he's going to make a splash even greater than arnold schwarzenegger , jean-claud van damme or steven segal . 
the gorgeously elaborate continuation of " the lord of the rings " trilogy is so huge that a column of words cannot adequately describe co-writer/director peter jackson's expanded vision of j . r . r . tolkien's middle-earth . 
effective but too-tepid biopic
if you sometimes like to go to the movies to have fun , wasabi is a good place to start . 
emerges as something rare , an issue movie that's so honest and keenly observed that it doesn't feel like one . 
the film provides some great insight into the neurotic mindset of all comics -- even those who have reached the absolute top of the game . 
offers that rare combination of entertainment and education . 
perhaps no picture ever made has more literally showed that the road to hell is paved with good intentions . 
steers turns in a snappy screenplay that curls at the edges ; it's so clever you want to hate it . but he somehow pulls it off . 
take care of my cat offers a refreshingly different slice of asian cinema . 
this is a film well worth seeing , talking and singing heads and all . 
what really surprises about wisegirls is its low-key quality and genuine tenderness . 
 ( wendigo is ) why we go to the cinema : to be fed through the eye , the heart , the mind . 
one of the greatest family-oriented , fantasy-adventure movies ever . 
ultimately , it ponders the reasons we need stories so much . 
an utterly compelling 'who wrote it' in which the reputation of the most famous author who ever lived comes into question . 
illuminating if overly talky documentary . 
a masterpiece four years in the making . 
the movie's ripe , enrapturing beauty will tempt those willing to probe its inscrutable mysteries . 
offers a breath of the fresh air of true sophistication . 
a thoughtful , provocative , insistently humanizing film . 
with a cast that includes some of the top actors working in independent film , lovely & amazing involves us because it is so incisive , so bleakly amusing about how we go about our lives . 
a disturbing and frighteningly evocative assembly of imagery and hypnotic music composed by philip glass . 
not for everyone , but for those with whom it will connect , it's a nice departure from standard moviegoing fare . 
scores a few points for doing what it does with a dedicated and good-hearted professionalism . 
occasionally melodramatic , it's also extremely effective . 
spiderman rocks
an idealistic love story that brings out the latent 15-year-old romantic in everyone . 
at about 95 minutes , treasure planet maintains a brisk pace as it races through the familiar story . however , it lacks grandeur and that epic quality often associated with stevenson's tale as well as with earlier disney efforts . 
it helps that lil bow wow . . . tones down his pint-sized gangsta act to play someone who resembles a real kid . 
guaranteed to move anyone who ever shook , rattled , or rolled . 
a masterful film from a master filmmaker , unique in its deceptive grimness , compelling in its fatalist worldview . 
light , cute and forgettable . 
if there's a way to effectively teach kids about the dangers of drugs , i think it's in projects like the ( unfortunately r-rated ) paid . 
while it would be easy to give crush the new title of two weddings and a funeral , it's a far more thoughtful film than any slice of hugh grant whimsy . 
though everything might be literate and smart , it never took off and always seemed static . 
cantet perfectly captures the hotel lobbies , two-lane highways , and roadside cafes that permeate vincent's days
ms . fulford-wierzbicki is almost spooky in her sulky , calculating lolita turn . 
though it is by no means his best work , laissez-passer is a distinguished and distinctive effort by a bona-fide master , a fascinating film replete with rewards to be had by all willing to make the effort to reap them . 
like most bond outings in recent years , some of the stunts are so outlandish that they border on being cartoonlike . a heavy reliance on cgi technology is beginning to creep into the series . 
newton draws our attention like a magnet , and acts circles around her better known co-star , mark wahlberg . 
the story loses its bite in a last-minute happy ending that's even less plausible than the rest of the picture . much of the way , though , this is a refreshingly novel ride . 
fuller would surely have called this gutsy and at times exhilarating movie a great yarn . 
'compleja e intelectualmente retadora , el ladrón de orquídeas es uno de esos filmes que vale la pena ver precisamente por su originalidad . '
the film makes a strong case for the importance of the musicians in creating the motown sound . 
karmen moves like rhythm itself , her lips chanting to the beat , her long , braided hair doing little to wipe away the jeweled beads of sweat . 
gosling provides an amazing performance that dwarfs everything else in the film . 
a real movie , about real people , that gives us a rare glimpse into a culture most of us don't know . 
tender yet lacerating and darkly funny fable . 
may be spoofing an easy target -- those old '50's giant creature features -- but . . . it acknowledges and celebrates their cheesiness as the reason why people get a kick out of watching them today . 
an engaging overview of johnson's eccentric career . 
in its ragged , cheap and unassuming way , the movie works . 
some actors have so much charisma that you'd be happy to listen to them reading the phone book . hugh grant and sandra bullock are two such likeable actors . 
sandra nettelbeck beautifully orchestrates the transformation of the chilly , neurotic , and self-absorbed martha as her heart begins to open . 
behind the snow games and lovable siberian huskies ( plus one sheep dog ) , the picture hosts a parka-wrapped dose of heart . 
everytime you think undercover brother has run out of steam , it finds a new way to surprise and amuse . 
manages to be original , even though it rips off many of its ideas . 
singer/composer bryan adams contributes a slew of songs — a few potential hits , a few more simply intrusive to the story — but the whole package certainly captures the intended , er , spirit of the piece . 
you'd think by now america would have had enough of plucky british eccentrics with hearts of gold . yet the act is still charming here . 
whether or not you're enlightened by any of derrida's lectures on " the other " and " the self , " derrida is an undeniably fascinating and playful fellow . 
a pleasant enough movie , held together by skilled ensemble actors . 
this is the best american movie about troubled teens since 1998's whatever . 
disney has always been hit-or-miss when bringing beloved kids' books to the screen . . . tuck everlasting is a little of both . 
just the labour involved in creating the layered richness of the imagery in this chiaroscuro of madness and light is astonishing . 
the animated subplot keenly depicts the inner struggles of our adolescent heroes - insecure , uncontrolled , and intense . 
the invincible werner herzog is alive and well and living in la
morton is a great actress portraying a complex character , but morvern callar grows less compelling the farther it meanders from its shocking start . 
part of the charm of satin rouge is that it avoids the obvious with humour and lightness . 
son of the bride may be a good half-hour too long but comes replete with a flattering sense of mystery and quietness . 
a simmering psychological drama in which the bursts of sudden violence are all the more startling for the slow buildup that has preceded them . 
a taut , intelligent psychological drama . 
a compelling coming-of-age drama about the arduous journey of a sensitive young girl through a series of foster homes and a fierce struggle to pull free from her dangerous and domineering mother's hold over her . 
a truly moving experience , and a perfect example of how art -- when done right -- can help heal , clarify , and comfort . 
this delicately observed story , deeply felt and masterfully stylized , is a triumph for its maverick director . 
at heart the movie is a deftly wrought suspense yarn whose richer shadings work as coloring rather than substance . 
the appearance of treebeard and gollum's expanded role will either have you loving what you're seeing , or rolling your eyes . i loved it ! gollum's 'performance' is incredible ! 
a screenplay more ingeniously constructed than " memento " 
if this movie were a book , it would be a page-turner , you can't wait to see what happens next . 
haneke challenges us to confront the reality of sexual aberration . 
absorbing and disturbing -- perhaps more disturbing than originally intended -- but a little clarity would have gone a long way . 
it's the best film of the year so far , the benchmark against which all other best picture contenders should be measured . 
painful to watch , but viewers willing to take a chance will be rewarded with two of the year's most accomplished and riveting film performances . 
this is a startling film that gives you a fascinating , albeit depressing view of iranian rural life close to the iraqi border . 
an imaginative comedy/thriller . 
a few artsy flourishes aside , narc is as gritty as a movie gets these days . 
while the isle is both preposterous and thoroughly misogynistic , its vistas are incredibly beautiful to look at . 
together , tok and o orchestrate a buoyant , darkly funny dance of death . in the process , they demonstrate that there's still a lot of life in hong kong cinema . 
director kapur is a filmmaker with a real flair for epic landscapes and adventure , and this is a better film than his earlier english-language movie , the overpraised elizabeth . 
the movie is a blast of educational energy , as bouncy animation and catchy songs escort you through the entire 85 minutes . 
a sports movie with action that's exciting on the field and a story you care about off it . 
doug liman , the director of bourne , directs the traffic well , gets a nice wintry look from his locations , absorbs us with the movie's spycraft and uses damon's ability to be focused and sincere . 
the tenderness of the piece is still intact . 
katz uses archival footage , horrifying documents of lynchings , still photographs and charming old reel-to-reel recordings of meeropol entertaining his children to create his song history , but most powerful of all is the song itself
like the film's almost anthropologically detailed realization of early-'80s suburbia , it's significant without being overstated . 
while mcfarlane's animation lifts the film firmly above the level of other coming-of-age films . . . it's also so jarring that it's hard to get back into the boys' story . 
if nothing else , this movie introduces a promising , unusual kind of psychological horror . 
in a normal screen process , these bromides would be barely enough to sustain an interstitial program on the discovery channel . but in imax 3-d , the clichés disappear into the vertiginous perspectives opened up by the photography . 
writer-director burger imaginatively fans the embers of a dormant national grief and curiosity that has calcified into chronic cynicism and fear . 
 . . . a roller-coaster ride of a movie
i enjoyed time of favor while i was watching it , but i was surprised at how quickly it faded from my memory . 
chicago is sophisticated , brash , sardonic , completely joyful in its execution . 
steve irwin's method is ernest hemmingway at accelerated speed and volume . 
a refreshing korean film about five female high school friends who face an uphill battle when they try to take their relationships into deeper waters . 
on the surface , it's a lovers-on-the-run crime flick , but it has a lot in common with piesiewicz's and kieslowski's earlier work , films like the double life of veronique . 
the values that have held the enterprise crew together through previous adventures and perils do so again-courage , self-sacrifice and patience under pressure . 
if it's possible for a sequel to outshine the original , then sl2 does just that . 
a romantic comedy that operates by the rules of its own self-contained universe . 
4 friends , 2 couples , 2000 miles , and all the pabst blue ribbon beer they can drink - it's the ultimate redneck road-trip . 
the film is often filled with a sense of pure wonderment and excitement not often seen in today's cinema du sarcasm
it might be tempting to regard mr . andrew and his collaborators as oddballs , but mr . earnhart's quizzical , charming movie allows us to see them , finally , as artists . 
a feel-good picture in the best sense of the term . 
edited and shot with a syncopated style mimicking the work of his subjects , pray turns the idea of the documentary on its head , making it rousing , invigorating fun lacking any mtv puffery . 
a mostly intelligent , engrossing and psychologically resonant suspenser . 
it's this memory-as-identity obviation that gives secret life its intermittent unease , reaffirming that long-held illusions are indeed reality , and that erasing them recasts the self . 
hip-hop has a history , and it's a metaphor for this love story . 
in scope , ambition and accomplishment , children of the century . . . takes kurys' career to a whole new level . 
this may not have the dramatic gut-wrenching impact of other holocaust films , but it's a compelling story , mainly because of the way it's told by the people who were there . 
between the drama of cube ? s personal revelations regarding what the shop means in the big picture , iconic characters gambol fluidly through the story , with charming results . 
a gentle , compassionate drama about grief and healing . 
somewhere short of tremors on the modern b-scene : neither as funny nor as clever , though an agreeably unpretentious way to spend ninety minutes . 
digital-video documentary about stand-up comedians is a great glimpse into a very different world . 
unlike most teen flicks , swimming takes its time to tell its story , casts mostly little-known performers in key roles , and introduces some intriguing ambiguity . 
an enthralling , playful film that constantly frustrates our desire to know the 'truth' about this man , while deconstructing the very format of the biography in a manner that derrida would doubtless give his blessing to . 
 " extreme ops " exceeds expectations . good fun , good action , good acting , good dialogue , good pace , good cinematography . 
you should pay nine bucks for this : because you can hear about suffering afghan refugees on the news and still be unaffected . dramas like this make it human . 
a thunderous ride at first , quiet cadences of pure finesse are few and far between ; their shortage dilutes the potency of otherwise respectable action . still , this flick is fun , and host to some truly excellent sequences . 
it's obviously struck a responsive chord with many south koreans , and should work its magic in other parts of the world . 
run , don't walk , to see this barbed and bracing comedy on the big screen . 
a classy item by a legend who may have nothing left to prove but still has the chops and drive to show how its done . 
it is nature against progress . in fessenden's horror trilogy , this theme has proved important to him and is especially so in the finale . 
it's not exactly a gourmet meal but the fare is fair , even coming from the drive-thru . 
this is what imax was made for : strap on a pair of 3-d goggles , shut out the real world , and take a vicarious voyage to the last frontier -- space . 
merely as a technical , logistical feat , russian ark marks a cinematic milestone . 
[schweiger is] talented and terribly charismatic , qualities essential to both movie stars and social anarchists . 
it's a great deal of sizzle and very little steak . but what spectacular sizzle it is ! . . . in this incarnation its fizz is infectious . 
an original gem about an obsession with time . 
it will delight newcomers to the story and those who know it from bygone days . 
gloriously goofy ( and gory ) midnight movie stuff . 
the film overcomes the regular minefield of coming-of-age cliches with potent doses of honesty and sensitivity . 
if your senses haven't been dulled by slasher films and gorefests , if you're a connoisseur of psychological horror , this is your ticket . 
it's a minor comedy that tries to balance sweetness with coarseness , while it paints a sad picture of the singles scene . 
it is intensely personal and yet -- unlike quills -- deftly shows us the temper of the times . 
as lo-fi as the special effects are , the folks who cobbled nemesis together indulge the force of humanity over hardware in a way that george lucas has long forgotten . 
like mike doesn't win any points for originality . it does succeed by following a feel-good formula with a winning style , and by offering its target audience of urban kids some welcome role models and optimism . 
it's a hoot and a half , and a great way for the american people to see what a candidate is like when he's not giving the same 15-cent stump speech . 
far from perfect , but its heart is in the right place . . . innocent and well-meaning . 
a sad , superior human comedy played out on the back roads of life . 
waydowntown is by no means a perfect film , but its boasts a huge charm factor and smacks of originality . 
tim allen is great in his role but never hogs the scenes from his fellow cast , as there are plenty of laughs and good lines for everyone in this comedy . 
more a load of enjoyable , conan-esque claptrap than the punishing , special-effects soul assaults the mummy pictures represent . 
enormously likable , partly because it is aware of its own grasp of the absurd . 
here's a british flick gleefully unconcerned with plausibility , yet just as determined to entertain you . 
it's an old story , but a lively script , sharp acting and partially animated interludes make just a kiss seem minty fresh . 
must be seen to be believed . 
ray liotta and jason patric do some of their best work in their underwritten roles , but don't be fooled : nobody deserves any prizes here . 
everything that has to do with yvan and charlotte , and everything that has to do with yvan's rambunctious , jewish sister and her non-jew husband , feels funny and true . 
sweet home alabama " is what it is – a nice , harmless date film . . . 
the year's happiest surprise , a movie that deals with a real subject in an always surprising way . 
fans of behan's work and of irish movies in general will be rewarded by borstal boy . 
its mysteries are transparently obvious , and it's too slowly paced to be a thriller . [but it's] worth recommending because of two marvelous performances by michael caine and brendan fraser . 
the film is faithful to what one presumes are the book's twin premises -- that we become who we are on the backs of our parents , but we have no idea who they were at our age ; and that time is a fleeting and precious commodity no matter how old you are . 
stephen earnhart's homespun documentary mule skinner blues has nothing but love for its posse of trailer park denizens . 
a solidly seaworthy chiller . 
if you can get past the fantastical aspects and harsh realities of " the isle " you'll get a sock-you-in-the-eye flick that is a visual tour-de-force and a story that is unlike any you will likely see anywhere else . 
there are as many misses as hits , but ultimately , it finds humor in the foibles of human behavior , and it's a welcome return to the roots of a genre that should depend on surprises . 
a well-made thriller with a certain level of intelligence and non-reactionary morality . 
there's enough science to make it count as educational , and enough beauty to make it unforgettable . 
remains a solid , if somewhat heavy-handed , account of the near-disaster . . . done up by howard with a steady , if not very imaginative , hand . 
makmalbaf follows a resolutely realistic path in this uncompromising insight into the harsh existence of the kurdish refugees of iran's borderlands . 
for a good chunk of its running time , trapped is an effective and claustrophobic thriller . 
most of crush is a clever and captivating romantic comedy with a welcome pinch of tartness . 
nair does capture the complexity of a big family and its trials and tribulations . . . 
the seaside splendor and shallow , beautiful people are nice to look at while you wait for the story to get going . 
rare is the 'urban comedy' that even attempts the insight and honesty of this disarming indie . 
ranks among willams' best screen work . 
engagingly captures the maddening and magnetic ebb and flow of friendship . 
an experience so engrossing it is like being buried in a new environment . 
it's traditional moviemaking all the way , but it's done with a lot of careful period attention as well as some very welcome wit . 
thoroughly enjoyable . 
maybe it's just because this past year has seen the release of some of the worst film comedies in decades . . . but honestly , analyze that really isn't all that bad . 
a droll , well-acted , character-driven comedy with unexpected deposits of feeling . 
this is simply the most fun you'll ever have with a documentary ! 
a very funny movie . 
watching haneke's film is , aptly enough , a challenge and a punishment . but watching huppert , a great actress tearing into a landmark role , is riveting . 
a cop story that understands the medium amazingly well . 
one of the best , most understated performances of [jack nicholson's] career . 
britney has been delivered to the big screen safe and sound , the way we like our 20-year-old superstar girls to travel on the fame freeway . 
those outside show business will enjoy a close look at people they don't really want to know . 
the kind of nervous film that will either give you a mild headache or exhilarate you . 
watching beanie and his gang put together his slasher video from spare parts and borrowed materials is as much fun as it must have been for them to make it . 
children may not understand everything that happens -- i'm not sure even miyazaki himself does -- but they will almost certainly be fascinated , and undoubtedly delighted . 
a fascinating and fun film . 
tadpole is a sophisticated , funny and good-natured treat , slight but a pleasure . 
this insightful , oscar-nominated documentary , in which children on both sides of the ever-escalating conflict have their say away from watchful parental eyes , gives peace yet another chance . 
i admired this work a lot . 
whether you're moved and love it , or bored or frustrated by the film , you'll still feel something . 
 . . . there are enough moments of heartbreaking honesty to keep one glued to the screen . 
my goodness , queen latifah has a lot to offer and she seemed to have no problem flaunting her natural gifts . she must have a very strong back . 
a smart , sweet and playful romantic comedy . 
australian actor/director john polson and award-winning english cinematographer giles nuttgens make a terrific effort at disguising the obvious with energy and innovation . 
without heavy-handedness , dong provides perspective with his intelligent grasp of human foibles and contradictions . 
solid , lump-in-the-throat family entertainment that derives its power by sticking to the facts . 
as an entertainment , the movie keeps you diverted and best of all , it lightens your wallet without leaving a sting . 
it is interesting and fun to see goodall and her chimpanzees on the bigger-than-life screen . 
it won't bust your gut -- and it's not intended to -- it's merely a blandly cinematic surgical examination of what makes a joke a joke . 
a somewhat crudely constructed but gripping , questing look at a person so racked with self-loathing , he becomes an enemy to his own race . 
it extends the writings of jean genet and john rechy , the films of fassbinder , perhaps even the nocturnal works of goya . 
narc may not get an 'a' for originality , but it wears its b-movie heritage like a badge of honor . 
with the film's striking ending , one realizes that we have a long way to go before we fully understand all the sexual permutations involved . 
[drumline] is entertaining for what it does , and admirable for what it doesn't do . 
at its best early on as it plays the culture clashes between the brothers . 
[a] rare , beautiful film . 
an unabashedly schmaltzy and thoroughly enjoyable true story . 
a thoughtful look at a painful incident that made headlines in 1995 . 
you walk out of the good girl with mixed emotions — disapproval of justine combined with a tinge of understanding for her actions . 
tsai ming-liang has taken his trademark style and refined it to a crystalline point . 
purely propaganda , a work of unabashed hero worship , it is nonetheless -- and likely inadvertently -- a timely and invaluable implicit reminder of the role that u . s . foreign policy has played in the rise of castro . 
now trimmed by about 20 minutes , this lavish three-year-old production has enough grandeur and scale to satisfy as grown-up escapism . 
we get some truly unique character studies and a cross-section of americana that hollywood couldn't possibly fictionalize and be believed . 
though this film can be clumsy , its ambitions are equally -- and admirably -- uncommercial . 
daring , mesmerizing and exceedingly hard to forget . 
the dangerous lives of altar boys' take on adolescence feels painfully true . 
moore's performance impresses almost as much as her work with haynes in 1995's safe . 
visits spy-movie territory like a novel you can't put down , examines a footnote to history seldom brought to light on the screen , and keeps you guessing from first frame to last . 
an absorbing , slice-of-depression life that touches nerves and rings true . 
mr . parker has brilliantly updated his source and grasped its essence , composing a sorrowful and hilarious tone poem about alienated labor , or an absurdist workplace sitcom . 
the result is something quite fresh and delightful . 
all but the most persnickety preteens should enjoy this nonthreatening but thrilling adventure . 
despite its many infuriating flaws -- not the least of which is amy's self-absorbed personality -- amy's o's honesty will win you over . 
this is one of polanski's best films . 
day is not a great bond movie , but it is a good bond movie , which still makes it much better than your typical bond knock-offs . 
polished korean political-action film is just as good -- and bad -- as hollywood action epics . is this progress ? 
elling , portrayed with quiet fastidiousness by per christian ellefsen , is a truly singular character , one whose frailties are only slightly magnified versions of the ones that vex nearly everyone . 
denis and co-writer michele petin's impeccable screenplay penetrates with a rawness that that is both unflinching and tantalizing . lead provocatuers testud and parmentier give superlative performances
an absorbing trip into the minds and motivations of people under stress as well as a keen , unsentimental look at variations on the theme of motherhood . 
i admired it , particularly that unexpected downer of an ending . 
the passions aroused by the discord between old and new cultures are set against the strange , stark beauty of the mideast desert , so lovingly and perceptively filmed that you can almost taste the desiccated air . 
remarkably accessible and affecting . 
never mind whether you buy the stuff about barris being a cia hit man . the kooky yet shadowy vision clooney sustains throughout is daring , inventive and impressive . 
a triumph of art direction over narrative , but what art direction ! 
behan himself knew how to spin a tale and one can't help but think he'd appreciate this attempt to turn his life into art . 
jirí hubac's script is a gem . his characters are engaging , intimate and the dialogue is realistic and greatly moving . the scope of the silberstein family is large and we grow attached to their lives , full of strength , warmth and vitality . . 
moore's complex and important film is also , believe it or not , immensely entertaining , a david and goliath story that's still very much playing itself out . 
the additional storyline is interesting and entertaining , but it doesn't have the same magical quality as the beginning of the story . i like the new footage and still love the old stuff . 
though mama takes a bit too long to find its rhythm and a third-act plot development is somewhat melodramatic , its ribald humor and touching nostalgia are sure to please anyone in search of a jules and jim for the new millennium . 
you might not buy the ideas . but you'll definitely want the t-shirt . 
provides an intriguing window into the imagination and hermetic analysis of todd solondz . 
windtalkers is shapelessly gratifying , the kind of movie that invites you to pick apart its faults even as you have to admit that somehow it hit you where you live . 
presents an astute appraisal of middle american musical torpor and the desperate struggle to escape it . 
just what makes us happy , anyway ? 
a thoughtful , moving piece that faces difficult issues with honesty and beauty . 
one of the greatest romantic comedies of the past decade . 
you wouldn't call the good girl a date movie ( an anti-date movie is more like it ) , but when it's good , it's good and horrid . 
benefits from a strong performance from zhao , but it's dong jie's face you remember at the end . 
this is a film brimming with detail and nuance and one that speaks volumes about the ability of the human spirit to find solace in events that could easily crush it forever . 
the director , steven shainberg , has succeeded by focusing intently on his characters , making them quirky individuals rather than figures of fun . 
it ultimately stands forth as an important chronicle of the abuses of one of latin america's most oppressive regimes . 
the movie has a soft , percolating magic , a deadpan suspense . 
a well-made and often lovely depiction of the mysteries of friendship . 
using his audience as a figurative port-of-call , dong pulls his even-handed ideological ship to their dock for unloading , before he continues his longer journey still ahead . 
 . . . understands that a generation defines its music as much as the music defines a generation . 
the transporter is as lively and as fun as it is unapologetically dumb
as a witness to several greek-american weddings -- but , happily , a victim of none -- i can testify to the comparative accuracy of ms . vardalos' memories and insights . 
has it ever been possible to say that williams has truly inhabited a character ? it is now . 
by presenting an impossible romance in an impossible world , pumpkin dares us to say why either is impossible -- which forces us to confront what's possible and what we might do to make it so . 
an impressive debut for first-time writer-director mark romanek , especially considering his background is in music video . 
an incendiary , deeply thought-provoking look at one of the most peculiar ( and peculiarly venomous ) bigotries in our increasingly frightening theocracy
all the performances are top notch and , once you get through the accents , all or nothing becomes an emotional , though still positive , wrench of a sit . 
 " its successes are also tempered with elements which prove the direct antithesis of what it gets right . " 
it's solid and affecting and exactly as thought-provoking as it should be . 
this is such a dazzlingly self-assured directorial debut that it's hard to know what to praise first . 
parker holds true to wilde's own vision of a pure comedy with absolutely no meaning , and no desire to be anything but a polished , sophisticated entertainment that is in love with its own cleverness . 
münch's genuine insight makes the film's occasional overindulgence forgivable . 
thankfully , the film , which skirts that rapidly deteriorating line between fantasy and reality . . . takes a tongue-in-cheek attitude even as it pushes the croc hunter agenda . 
ultimately , the message of trouble every day seems to be that all sexual desire disrupts life's stasis . 
if you're like me , a sucker for a good old fashion romance and someone who shamelessly loves to eat , then mostly martha offers all the perfect ingredients to more than satisfy your appetite . 
the film has just enough of everything -- re-enactments , archival footage , talking-head interviews -- and the music is simply sublime . 
there are a few stabs at absurdist comedy . . . but mostly the humor is of the sweet , gentle and occasionally cloying kind that has become an iranian specialty . 
a wonderful character-based comedy . 
it would be interesting to hear from the other side , but in talk to her , the women are down for the count . 
an endearingly offbeat romantic comedy with a great meet-cute gimmick . 
the unique tug-of-war with viewer expectations is undeniable , if not a pleasure in its own right . 
it uses an old-time formula , it's not terribly original and it's rather messy -- but you just have to love the big , dumb , happy movie my big fat greek wedding . 
it's almost impossible not to be moved by the movie's depiction of sacrifice and its stirring epilogue in post-soviet russia . 
who knows what exactly godard is on about in this film , but his words and images don't have to add up to mesmerize you . 
the tone is balanced , reflective and reasonable . 
the principals in this cast are all fine , but bishop and stevenson are standouts . 
it could change america , not only because it is full of necessary discussion points , but because it is so accessible that it makes complex politics understandable to viewers looking for nothing but energetic entertainment . 
what's most striking about this largely celebratory film . . . is the sense of isolation that permeates these bastions of individuality in an ikea world . 
 . . . if you're in a mind set for goofy comedy , the troopers will entertain with their gross outs , bawdy comedy and head games . 
somewhat blurred , but kinnear's performance is razor sharp . 
as a director , mr . ratliff wisely rejects the temptation to make fun of his subjects . 
for anyone who remembers the '60s or is interested in one man's response to stroke , ram dass : fierce grace is worth seeking out . 
intriguing and beautiful film , but those of you who read the book are likely to be disappointed . 
the new guy does have a heart . now , if it only had a brain . 
a savvy exploration of paranoia and insecurity in america's culture of fear . 
legendary irish writer brendan behan's memoir , borstal boy , has been given a loving screen transferral . 
the film's greatest asset is how much it's not just another connect-the-dots , spy-on-the-run picture . 
this clever caper movie has twists worthy of david mamet and is enormous fun for thinking audiences . 
it's one of the saddest films i have ever seen that still manages to be uplifting but not overly sentimental . 
morton is , as usual , brilliant . 
even with all those rough edges safely sanded down , the american insomnia is still pretty darned good . 
i don't know precisely what to make of steven soderbergh's full frontal , though that didn't stop me from enjoying much of it . 
the tug of war that ensues is as much a snapshot of modern china in microcosm as it is a crash course in movie mythology . 
nearly surreal , dabbling in french , this is no simple movie , and you'll be taking a risk if you choose to see it . i enjoyed the ride ( bumps and all ) , creamy depth , and ultimate theme . 
you could say that it's slow at times , you could say that a few of the characters act in ways that real people wouldn't , but one thing you couldn't say is that alias betty is predictable . 
asia authors herself as anna battista , an italian superstar and aspiring directress who just happens to be her own worst enemy . 
roman coppola may never become the filmmaker his dad was , but heck – few filmmakers will . but based on cq , i'll certainly be keeping an eye out for his next project . 
an amusing , breezily apolitical documentary about life on the campaign trail . 
high on melodrama . but it's emotionally engrossing , too , thanks to strong , credible performances from the whole cast . 
finally , a genre movie that delivers -- in a couple of genres , no less . 
it's not so much enjoyable to watch as it is enlightening to listen to new sides of a previous reality , and to visit with some of the people who were able to make an impact in the theater world . 
spielberg is the rare director who does not want to invite viewers to gawk at or applaud his special effects . he just wants them to be part of the action , the wallpaper of his chosen reality . here , thankfully , they are . 
post 9/11 the philosophical message of " personal freedom first " might not be as palatable as intended . 
hu and liu offer natural , matter-of-fact performances that glint with sorrow , longing and love . 
this bold and lyrical first feature from raja amari expands the pat notion that middle-aged women just wanna have fun into a rousing treatise of sensual empowerment . 
easier to respect than enthuse over , andersson's rigorous personal vision is not only distanced but distancing . 
girls gone wild and gone civil again
 . . . tunney is allowed to build an uncommonly human character , an almost real-live girl complete with trouble and hope . 
while this film is not in the least surprising , it is still ultimately very satisfying . think of it as a sort of comfort food for the mind . 
clever , brutal and strangely soulful movie . 
 . . . always remains movingly genuine . 
an intelligent fiction about learning through cultural clash . 
will grab your children by the imagination and amaze them and amuse them . 
a remarkable 179-minute meditation on the nature of revolution . 
those who would follow haneke on his creepy explorations . . . are rewarded by brutal , committed performances from huppert and magimel . 
an involving true story of a chinese actor who takes up drugs and winds up in an institution--acted mostly by the actual people involved . 
hands down the year's most thought-provoking film . but it pays a price for its intricate intellectual gamesmanship . 
it's a terrific american sports movie and dennis quaid is its athletic heart . 
this is such a high-energy movie where the drumming and the marching are so excellent , who cares if the story's a little weak . 
compelling revenge thriller , though somewhat weakened by a miscast leading lady . 
it's amazingly perceptive in its subtle , supportive but unsentimental look at the marks family . 
a whole lot foul , freaky and funny . 
family fare . 
attal mixes comedy with a serious exploration of ego and jealousy within a seemingly serene marriage . 
the diversity of the artists represented , both in terms of style and ethnicity , prevents the proceedings from feeling repetitious , as does the appropriately brief 40-minute running time . 
the pianist is a fine valedictory work for polanski , made richer by his own experiences , making his other movies somehow richer in the bargain . 
foster nails the role , giving a tight , focused performance illuminated by shards of feeling . 
even if you can't pronounce " gyro " correctly , you'll appreciate much of vardalos' humor , which transcends ethnic boundaries . 
is office work really as alienating as 'bartleby' so effectively makes it ? 
farrell . . . thankfully manages to outshine the role and successfully plays the foil to willis's world-weary colonel . 
audiences conditioned to getting weepy over saucer-eyed , downy-cheeked moppets and their empathetic caretakers will probably feel emotionally cheated by the film's tart , sugar-free wit . 
bennett's dramatization of her personal descent into post-breakup perdition has a morbid appeal that's tough to shake . 
an intriguing and entertaining introduction to johnson . 
as expected , sayles' smart wordplay and clever plot contrivances are as sharp as ever , though they may be overshadowed by some strong performances . 
a model of what films like this should be like . 
as weber and weissman demonstrate with such insight and celebratory verve , the cockettes weren't as much about gender , sexual preference or political agitprop as they were simply a triumph of the indomitable human will to rebel , connect and create . 
yeah , these flicks are just that damn good . isn't it great ? 
an unbelievably fun film just a leading man away from perfection . 
over-the-top and a bit ostentatious , this is a movie that's got oodles of style and substance . 
 . . . a poignant and powerful narrative that reveals that reading writing and arithmetic are not the only subjects to learn in life . 
nicely serves as an examination of a society in transition . 
boisterous , heartfelt comedy . 
a tender and touching drama , based on the true story of a troubled african-american's quest to come to terms with his origins , reveals the yearning we all have in our hearts for acceptance within the family circle . 
as a randy film about sexy people in gorgeous places being pushed and pulled ( literally and figuratively ) by desire . . . [sex and lucía] makes for an arousing good time . 
absorbing character study by andré turpin . 
celebrated at sundance , this slight comedy of manners has winning performances and a glossy , glib charm that's hard to beat . 
renner's performance as dahmer is unforgettable , deeply absorbing . 
if no one singles out any of these performances as award-worthy , it's only because we would expect nothing less from this bunch . 
if you love reading and/or poetry , then by all means check it out . you'll probably love it . 
though of particular interest to students and enthusiast of international dance and world music , the film is designed to make viewers of all ages , cultural backgrounds and rhythmic ability want to get up and dance . 
energetic and boldly provocative . 
star wars is back in a major way . 
it's a movie -- and an album -- you won't want to miss . 
it's rare to find a film that dazzles the eye , challenges the brain , and satisfies our lust for fast-paced action , but minority report delivers all that and a whole lot more . 
while not all transitions to adulthood are so fraught , there's much truth and no small amount of poetry in girls can't swim . 
if there's nothing fresh about wannabes , which was written by mr . demeo , who produced and directed the film with charles a . addessi , much of the time the movie feels authentic . 
jacquot's tosca is a treat . 
by the end of no such thing the audience , like beatrice , has a watchful affection for the monster . 
if you liked such movies as notting hill , four weddings and a funeral , bridget jones' diary or high fidelity , then you won't want to miss about a boy . 
 . . . the gentle melding of drama and comedy makes " what time is it there ? " something the true film buff will enjoy . 
romanek keeps the film constantly taut . . . reflecting the character's instability with a metaphorical visual style and an unnerving , heartbeat-like score . 
i whole-heartedly recommend that everyone see this movie-- for its historical significance alone . 
hey , who else needs a shower ? 
longley has constructed a remarkably coherent , horrifically vivid snapshot of those turbulent days . 
although it bangs a very cliched drum at times , this crowd-pleaser's fresh dialogue , energetic music , and good-natured spunk are often infectious . 
often gruelling and heartbreaking to witness , but seldahl and wollter's sterling performances raise this far above the level of the usual maudlin disease movie . 
go see it and enjoy . 
the stunning , dreamlike visuals will impress even those viewers who have little patience for euro-film pretension . 
george clooney proves he's quite a talented director and sam rockwell shows us he's a world-class actor with confessions of a dangerous mind . 
there's a vastness implied in metropolis that is just breathtaking . 
murderous maids may well be the most comprehensive of these films and also strike closest to the truth . 
the people in dogtown and z-boys are so funny , aggressive and alive , you have to watch them because you can't wait to see what they do next . 
as green-guts monster movies go , it's a beaut . 
as bundy , michael reilly burke ( octopus 2 : river of fear ) has just the right amount of charisma and menace . 
a deceivingly simple film , one that grows in power in retrospect . 
ana is a vivid , vibrant individual and the movie's focus upon her makes it successful and accessible . 
a slick , skillful little horror film . 
a very witty take on change , risk and romance , and the film uses humour to make its points about acceptance and growth . 
[anderson] uses a hit-or-miss aesthetic that hits often enough to keep the film entertaining even if none of it makes a lick of sense . 
bubba ho-tep is a wonderful film with a bravura lead performance by bruce campbell that doesn't deserve to leave the building until everyone is aware of it . 
despite the long running time , the pace never feels slack -- there's no scene that screams " bathroom break ! " 
bullock does a good job here of working against her natural likability . 
a film of precious increments artfully camouflaged as everyday activities . 
kinnear gives a tremendous performance . 
the best movie of its kind since 'brazil . ' lucas , take notes . this is how you use special effects . 
 " frailty " has been written so well , that even a simple " goddammit ! " near the end takes on a whole other meaning . 
one hour photo is an intriguing snapshot of one man and his delusions ; it's just too bad it doesn't have more flashes of insight . 
kaufman creates an eerie sense of not only being there at the time of these events but the very night matthew was killed . 
chalk it up to my adoration for both de niro and murphy , but i had a pretty good time with this movie - despite its myriad flaws . 
its scenes and sensibility are all more than familiar , but it exudes a kind of nostalgic spy-movie charm and , at the same time , is so fresh and free of the usual thriller nonsense that it all seems to be happening for the first time . 
it represents better-than-average movie-making that doesn't demand a dumb , distracted audience . 
a charming yet poignant tale of the irrevocable ties that bind . 
an enchanting spectacular for potter fans anxious to ride the hogwarts express toward a new year of magic and mischief . 
the talents of the actors helps " moonlight mile " rise above its heart-on-its-sleeve writing . 
it's a humble effort , but spiced with wry humor and genuine pathos , especially between morgan and redgrave . 
this examination of aquatic life off the shores of the baja california peninsula of mexico offers an engrossing way to demonstrate the virtues of the imax format . 
dark and disturbing , but also surprisingly funny . 
the movie has an avalanche of eye-popping visual effects . 
starts off with a bang , but then fizzles like a wet stick of dynamite at the very end . it's still worth a look . 
most impressive , though , is the film's open-ended finale that refuses to entirely close its characters' emotional wounds . 
a hip ride into hyper-time , clockstoppers is a lively and enjoyable adventure for all ages at any time . 
grenier is terrific , bringing an unforced , rapid-fire delivery to toback's heidegger- and nietzsche-referencing dialogue . 
 . . . a polished and relatively sincere piece of escapism . 
the story wraps back around on itself in the kind of elegant symmetry that's rare in film today , but be warned : it's a slow slog to get there . 
the whole cast looks to be having so much fun with the slapstick antics and silly street patois , tossing around obscure expressions like bellini and mullinski , that the compact 86 minutes breezes by . 
 . . . has freaky scenes where the crew wonder if they're ghosts imagining themselves as alive . it's a sly wink to the others without becoming a postmodern joke , made creepy by its " men in a sardine can " warped logic . 
long after you leave justine , you'll be wondering what will happen to her and wishing her the best -- whatever that might mean . 
still pretentious and filled with subtext , but entertaining enough at 'face value' to recommend to anyone looking for something different . 
call me a wimp , but i cried , not once , but three times in this animated sweet film . 
notorious c . h . o . has oodles of vulgar highlights . 
an inspiring and heart-affecting film about the desperate attempts of vietnamese refugees living in u . s . relocation camps to keep their hopes alive in 1975 . 
the level of maturity displayed by this 33-year-old first-time feature director is astonishing , considering her inexperience and her subject matter . 
a splendid entertainment , young in spirit but accomplished in all aspects with the fullness of spirit and sense of ease that comes only with experience . 
disney's live-action division has a history of releasing cinematic flotsam , but this is one occasion when they have unearthed a rare gem . 
if the message seems more facile than the earlier films , the images have such a terrible beauty you may not care . 
whether kiss is a future cult classic or destined to be completely forgotten is open to question , but the risk-takers in the crowd should check it out and form their own opinion . 
there are moments in this account of the life of artist frida kahlo that are among cinema's finest this year . unfortunately , they're sandwiched in between the most impossibly dry account of kahlo's life imaginable . 
there are moments it can be heart-rending in an honest and unaffected ( and gentle ) way . 
stay clear of reminding yourself that it's a " true story " and you're likely to have one helluva time at the movies . 
there are just enough twists in the tale to make it far more satisfying than almost any horror film in recent memory . 
the sundance film festival has become so buzz-obsessed that fans and producers descend upon utah each january to ferret out the next great thing . 'tadpole' was one of the films so declared this year , but it's really more of the next pretty good thing . 
working from elliott's memoir , rohmer fashions the sort of delicate , articulate character- and- relationship study he's favored for decades . 
the story feels more like a serious read , filled with heavy doses of always enticing sayles dialogue . 
when it really counts . . . bloody sunday connects on a visceral level that transcends language . 
the crime matters less than the characters , although the filmmakers supply enough complications , close calls and double-crosses to satisfy us . 
[an] hilarious romantic comedy . 
the actors are fantastic . they are what makes it worth the trip to the theatre . 
ranging from funny to shattering and featuring some of the year's best acting , personal velocity gathers plenty of dramatic momentum . 
i complain all the time about seeing the same ideas repeated in films over and over again , but the bourne identity proves that a fresh take is always possible . 
recalls quiet freak-outs like l'avventura and repulsion . 
only an epic documentary could get it all down , and spike lee's jim brown : all american at long last gives its subject a movie worthy of his talents . 
 . . . as the story congeals you feel the pieces of the star wars saga falling into place in a way that makes your spine tingle with revelation and excitement . 
a great comedy filmmaker knows great comedy needn't always make us laugh . tim story's not there yet - but 'barbershop' shows he's on his way . 
the movie is one of the best examples of artful large format filmmaking you are likely to see anytime soon . 
lends itself to the narcotizing bland ( sinister , though not nearly so sinister as the biennial disney girl movie ) machinations of the biennial disney boy movie . 
well-written , nicely acted and beautifully shot and scored , the film works on several levels , openly questioning social mores while ensnaring the audience with its emotional pull . 
jason x has cheesy effects and a hoary plot , but its macabre , self-deprecating sense of humor makes up for a lot . 
[taymor] utilizes the idea of making kahlo's art a living , breathing part of the movie , often catapulting the artist into her own work . this isn't a new idea . it's been done before but never so vividly or with so much passion . 
an impressive if flawed effort that indicates real talent . 
two generations within one family test boundaries in this intelligent and restrained coming-of-age drama . 
it sounds sick and twisted , but the miracle of shainberg's film is that it truly is romance
disturbing and brilliant documentary . 
 . . . mesmerizing , an eye-opening tour of modern beijing culture in a journey of rebellion , retreat into oblivion and return . 
one of the best examples of how to treat a subject , you're not fully aware is being examined , much like a photo of yourself you didn't know was being taken . 
not too far below the gloss you can still feel director denis villeneuve's beating heart and the fondness he has for his characters . 
as if to prove a female director can make a movie with no soft edges , kathryn bigelow offers no sugar-coating or interludes of lightness . her film is unrelentingly claustrophobic and unpleasant . 
[villeneuve] seems to realize intuitively that even morality is reduced to an option by the ultimate mysteries of life and death . 
the result is mesmerizing -- filled with menace and squalor . 
fisher has bared his soul and confronted his own shortcomings here in a way . . . that feels very human and very true to life . 
it's fun , but the code-talk will fly right over everyone's head
bourne , jason bourne . he can scale a building like a super hero , he can out-stealth any agent , he'll get the girl . he's super spy ! 
what makes the movie a comedy is the way it avoids the more serious emotions involved . 
an exhilarating experience . 
this cuddly sequel to the 1999 hit is a little more visually polished , a little funnier , and a little more madcap . 
the pleasures of super troopers may be fleeting , but they'll register strongly with anybody who still retains a soft spot for precollegiate humor . 
the film is exhilarating to watch because sandler , liberated from the constraints of formula , reveals unexpected depths as an actor . 
a distant , even sterile , yet compulsively watchable look at the sordid life of hogan's heroes star bob crane . 
the film delivers not just the full assault of reno's immense wit and insight , but a time travel back to what it felt like during those unforgettably uncertain days . 
what might have been a predictably heartwarming tale is suffused with complexity . 
sound the trumpets : for the first time since desperately seeking susan , madonna doesn't suck as an actress . 
although very much like the first movie based on j . k . rowling's phenomenal fantasy best sellers , this second go-round possesses a quite pleasing , headlong thrust and a likably delinquent attitude . 
[ " take care of my cat " ] is an honestly nice little film that takes us on an examination of young adult life in urban south korea through the hearts and minds of the five principals . 
as the story moves inexorably through its seven day timeframe , the picture becomes increasingly mesmerizing . 
maguire is a surprisingly effective peter/spider-man . 
not a cozy or ingratiating work , but it's challenging , sometimes clever , and always interesting , and those are reasons enough to see it . 
the film runs on equal parts of innocence and wisdom -- wisdom that comes with experience . it has fun being grown up . 
like old myths and wonder tales spun afresh . 
rarely do films come along that are as intelligent , exuberant , and moving as monsoon wedding . 
one scarcely needs the subtitles to enjoy this colorful action farce . 
quite funny for the type of movie it is . . . 
it's often infuriatingly glib and posturing , and yet it has been made with great evident care and manages to deliver up the man in a way to arouse further curiosity in even the most unknowing viewer . 
one of [herzog's] least inspired works . 
this boisterous comedy serves up a cruel reminder of the fate of hundreds of thousands of chinese , one which can only qualify as a terrible tragedy . 
elling really is about a couple of crazy guys , and it's therapeutic to laugh along with them . 
never [sinks] into exploitation . 
an irresistible combination of a rousing good story set on a truly grand scale . 
there's no denying the physically spectacular qualities of the film . . . or the emotional integrity of the performances . 
few films this year have been as resolute in their emotional nakedness . 
exquisitely acted and masterfully if preciously interwoven… [the film] addresses in a fascinating , intelligent manner the intermingling of race , politics and local commerce . 
stevenson's performance is at once clueless and fiercely committed , a volatile combination . 
this is a very fine movie -- go see it . 
as shaky as the plot is , kaufman's script is still memorable for some great one-liners . 
despite its flaws , secretary stays in your head and makes you question your own firmly held positions . 
one of those rare , exhilarating cinematic delights that gets even better in hindsight , as you mull over its every nuance in your mind . 
not everything works , but the average is higher than in mary and most other recent comedies . 
a byzantine melodrama that stimulates the higher brain functions as well as the libido . 
a sensitive and expertly acted crowd-pleaser that isn't above a little broad comedy and a few unabashedly sentimental tears . 
the film's sharp , often mischievous sense of humor will catch some off guard . . . 
does what a fine documentary does best : it extends a warm invitation into an unfamiliar world , then illuminates it fully and allows the larger implications of the journey to sink in unobtrusively . 
almost every scene in this film is a gem that could stand alone , a perfectly realized observation of mood , behavior and intent . 
a psychologically rich and suspenseful moral thriller with a stellar performance by al pacino . 
you won't believe much of it , but you will laugh at the audacity , at the who's who casting and the sheer insanity of it all . 
this version's no classic like its predecessor , but its pleasures are still plentiful . 
the bourne identity is what summer screen escapism used to be in the decades when it was geared more to grownups . 
provide[s] nail-biting suspense and credible characters without relying on technology-of-the-moment technique or pretentious dialogue . 
if it tried to do anything more , it would fail and perhaps explode , but at this level of manic whimsy , it is just about right . 
too sincere to exploit its subjects and too honest to manipulate its audience . 
the saturation bombing of reggio's images and glass' evocative music . . . ultimately leaves viewers with the task of divining meaning . 
for all its serious sense of purpose . . . [it] finds a way to lay bare the tragedies of its setting with a good deal of warmth and humor . 
a depressing confirmation of everything those of us who don't object to the description " unelected " have suspected all along : george w . bush is an incurious , uncharismatic , overgrown frat boy with a mean streak a mile wide . 
this road movie gives you emotional whiplash , and you'll be glad you went along for the ride . 
sure , it's more of the same , but as the film proves , that's not always a bad thing . 
a lighthearted , feel-good film that embraces the time-honored truth that the most powerful thing in life is love . 
a bowel-curdling , heart-stopping recipe for terror . 
daughter from danang is a film that should be seen by all , especially those who aren't aware of , or have forgotten about the unmentioned victims of war . 
zhang yimou delivers warm , genuine characters who lie not through dishonesty , but because they genuinely believe it's the only way to bring happiness to their loved ones . 
 . . . breathes surprising new life into the familiar by amalgamating genres and adding true human complexity to its not-so-stock characters . 
' . . . both hokey and super-cool , and definitely not in a hurry , so sit back , relax and have a few laughs while the little ones get a fuzzy treat . '
a pleasant romantic comedy . 
it's a count for our times . 
greengrass has delivered an undoubted stylistic tour-de-force , and has managed elements such as sound and cinematography with skill
smith's point is simple and obvious -- people's homes are extensions of themselves , and particularly eccentric people have particularly eccentric living spaces -- but his subjects are charmers . 
a romantic comedy , yes , but one with characters who think and talk about their goals , and are working on hard decisions . 
vividly conveys both the pitfalls and the pleasures of over-the-top love . 
 . . . a weak , manipulative , pencil-thin story that is miraculously able to entertain anyway . 
a pro-fat farce that overcomes much of its excessive moral baggage thanks to two appealing lead performances . 
for the first two-thirds of this sparklingly inventive and artful , always fast and furious tale , kids will go happily along for the ride . 
majidi's poetic love story is a ravishing consciousness-raiser , if a bit draggy at times . 
the smartest bonehead comedy of the summer . 
effectively feeds our senses with the chilling sights and sounds from within the camp to create a completely numbing experience . 
i love the way that it took chances and really asks you to take these great leaps of faith and pays off . 
in his debut as a film director , denzel washington delivers a lean and engaging work . 
only two words will tell you what you know when deciding to see it : anthony . hopkins . 
the movie's quiet affirmation of neighborhood values gives it an honest , lived-in glow . 
a teasing drama whose relentless good-deed/bad-deed reversals are just interesting enough to make a sinner like me pray for an even more interesting , less symmetrical , less obviously cross-shaped creation . 
hayek is stunning as frida and . . . a star-making project . 
it's both a necessary political work and a fascinating documentary . . . 
hilarious , acidic brit comedy . 
as a revenge thriller , the movie is serviceable , but it doesn't really deliver the delicious guilty pleasure of the better film versions . 
an ironic speculation on democracy in a culture unaccustomed to it . 
it's not life-affirming — its vulgar and mean , but i liked it . 
several degrees shy of the gross-out contests one expects from current teen fare . 
the inherent strength of the material as well as the integrity of the filmmakers gives this coming-of-age story restraint as well as warmth . 
led by griffin's smartly nuanced performance and enthusiasm , the cast has a lot of fun with the material . 
tuck everlasting achieves a delicate balance of romantic innocence and philosophical depth . 
a gentle blend of present day testimonials , surviving footage of burstein and his family performing , historical archives , and telling stills . 
a generation x artifact , capturing a brief era of insanity in the sports arena that surely cannot last . 
possession is elizabeth barrett browning meets nancy drew , and it's directed by . . . neil labute . hmm . 
an uneven but intriguing drama that is part homage and part remake of the italian masterpiece . 
windtalkers celebrates the human spirit and packs an emotional wallop . 
having never been a huge fan of dickens' 800-page novel , it surprised me how much pleasure i had watching mcgrath's version . 
the best thing the film does is to show us not only what that mind looks like , but how the creative process itself operates . 
for all its failed connections , divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood is nurturing , in a gauzy , dithering way . 
this is pretty dicey material . but some unexpected zigs and zags help . 
compellingly watchable . 
the filmmakers skillfully evoke the sense of menace that nature holds for many urban dwellers . 
the laser-projected paintings provide a spell-casting beauty , while russell and dreyfus are a romantic pairing of hearts , preciously exposed as history corners them . 
you don't have to be an especially tough grader to give a charitable b-minus to the emperor's club . 
this romantic thriller is steeped in the atmosphere of wartime england , and ably captures the speech patterns , moral codes and ideals of the 1940s . 
divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood may not be exactly divine , but it's definitely -- defiantly -- ya ya , what with all of those terrific songs and spirited performances . 
viewed on its own terms , treasure planet is better-than-average family entertainment , but true fans of the stevenson's novel will likely prefer disney's more faithful 1950 live-action swashbuckling classic . 
a journey through memory , a celebration of living , and a sobering rumination on fatality , classism , and ignorance . 
resourceful and ingenious entertainment . 
 " antwone fisher " is an earnest , by-the-numbers effort by washington . it won't rock any boats but is solid meat-and-potatoes filmmaking . 
a historical epic with the courage of its convictions about both scope and detail . 
we need [moore's] noisy , cocky energy , his passion and class consciousness ; we need his shticks , we need his stones . 
although the editing might have been tighter , hush ! sympathetically captures the often futile lifestyle of young people in modern japan . 
[gai] comes closer to any actress i can remember to personifying independence in its purest and , yes , most intimidating form . 
these are lives worth watching , paths worth following . 
it's rather like a lifetime special -- pleasant , sweet and forgettable . 
a moody horror/thriller elevated by deft staging and the director's well-known narrative gamesmanship . 
as a singular character study , it's perfect . it's also the year's sweetest movie . 
a graceful , contemplative film that gradually and artfully draws us into a world where the personal and the political get fatally intertwined . 
while not as aggressively impressive as its american counterpart , " in the bedroom , " moretti's film makes its own , quieter observations
the experience of watching blobby old-school cgi animation in this superlarge format is just surreal enough to be diverting . 
time changer may not be the most memorable cinema session but its profound self-evaluation message about our fragile existence and the absence of spiritual guidance should at least invade an abundance of mindsets
 " the emperor's new clothes " begins with a simple plan . . . . well , at least that's the plan . 
haynes has so fanatically fetishized every bizarre old-movie idiosyncrasy with such monastic devotion you're not sure if you should applaud or look into having him committed . 
[director peter] jackson and his crew have so steeped themselves in the majesty of tolkien's writing that every frame produces new joys , whether you're a fan of the books or not . 
while the glass slipper doesn't quite fit , pumpkin is definitely a unique modern fairytale . 
the drama is played out with such aching beauty and truth that it brings tears to your eyes . 
an exciting and involving rock music doc , a smart and satisfying look inside that tumultuous world . 
an offbeat , sometimes gross and surprisingly appealing animated film about the true meaning of the holidays . 
this version incarnates the prophetic book in a way even its exacting author might admire . 
sometimes , nothing satisfies like old-fashioned swashbuckling . and in this regard , on guard delivers . 
 . . . ambition is in short supply in the cinema , and egoyan tackles his themes and explores his characters' crises with seriousness and compassion . 
an impossible romance , but we root for the patronized iranian lad . 
like dickens with his passages , mcgrath crafts quite moving scenes throughout his resolutely dramatic variation on the novel . 
there's a disreputable air about the whole thing , and that's what makes it irresistible . 
an exceedingly clever piece of cinema . another great ‘what you don't see' is much more terrifying than what you do see thriller , coupled with some arresting effects , incandescent tones and stupendous performances
a carefully structured scream of consciousness that is tortured and unsettling--but unquestionably alive . 
a quietly reflective and melancholy new zealand film about an eventful summer in a 13-year-old girl's life . 
cute , funny , heartwarming digitally animated feature film with plenty of slapstick humor for the kids , lots of in-jokes for the adults and heart enough for everyone . 
very solid , very watchable first feature for director peter sheridan
a budget affair that exposes the generally sad existence of the bedouins while providing a precious twinkle of insight into their lives . 
it suggests the wide-ranging effects of media manipulation , from the kind of reporting that is done by the supposedly liberal media . . . to the intimate and ultimately tragic heartache of maverick individuals like hatfield and hicks . 
workmanlike , maybe , but still a film with all the elements that made the other three great , scary times at the movies . 
a pleasant enough comedy that should have found a summer place . 
branagh , in his most forceful non-shakespeare screen performance , grounds even the softest moments in the angry revolt of his wit . 
though the violence is far less sadistic than usual , the film is typical miike : fast , furious and full of off-the-cuff imaginative flourishes . 
compelling as it is exotic , fast runner has a plot that rivals shakespeare for intrigue , treachery and murder . 
what it lacks in originality it makes up for in intelligence and b-grade stylishness . 
the warm presence of zhao benshan makes the preposterous lying hero into something more than he reasonably should be . 
this is as powerful a set of evidence as you'll ever find of why art matters , and how it can resonate far beyond museum walls and through to the most painfully marginal lives . 
director rob marshall went out gunning to make a great one . 
skip work to see it at the first opportunity . 
bow's best moments are when he's getting busy on the basketball court because that's when he really scores . 
offers enough playful fun to entertain the preschool set while embracing a wholesome attitude . 
in the end , punch-drunk love is one of those films that i wanted to like much more than i actually did . sometimes , that's enough . 
an intimate , good-humored ethnic comedy like numerous others but cuts deeper than expected . 
ice cube holds the film together with an engaging and warm performance . . . 
both deeply weird and charmingly dear . 
as blunt as it is in depicting child abuse , el bola is a movie steeped in an ambiguity that lends its conflicts a symbolic resonance . 
despite a story predictable enough to make the sound of music play like a nail-biting thriller , its heart is so much in the right place it is difficult to get really peeved at it . 
it's a masterpiece . 
an incredibly low-rent danish film , it brings a group of people together in a sweet and charming way , if a little convenient
it's the cinematic equivalent of a good page-turner , and even if it's nonsense , its claws dig surprisingly deep . 
director nalin pan doesn't do much to weigh any arguments one way or the other . he simply presents his point of view that ayurveda works . no question . 
what " empire " lacks in depth it makes up for with its heart . 
claude miller airs out a tight plot with an easy pace and a focus on character drama over crime-film complications . 
what full frontal lacks in thematic coherence it largely makes up for as loosey-goosey , experimental entertainment . still , i'm not quite sure what the point is…
rich in detail , gorgeously shot and beautifully acted , les destinees is , in its quiet , epic way , daring , inventive and refreshingly unusual . 
 ( a ) hollywood sheen bedevils the film from the very beginning . . . ( but ) lohman's moist , deeply emotional eyes shine through this bogus veneer . . . 
do we really need a 77-minute film to tell us exactly why a romantic relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman doesn't work ? 
ford deserves to be remembered at oscar time for crafting this wonderful portrait of a conflicted soldier . 
the film's 45-minute running time stops shy of overkill , though viewers may be more exhausted than the athletes onscreen . 
don't expect any surprises in this checklist of teamwork cliches . . . 
as adapted by kevin molony from simon leys' novel " the death of napoleon " and directed by alan taylor , napoleon's journey is interesting but his parisian rebirth is stillborn
the movie addresses a hungry need for pg-rated , nonthreatening family movies , but it doesn't go too much further . 
this warm and gentle romantic comedy has enough interesting characters to fill several movies , and its ample charms should win over the most hard-hearted cynics . 
a yarn that respects the marvel version without becoming ensnared by it . 
this is a happy throwback to the time when cartoons were cinema's most idiosyncratic form instead of one of its most predictable . 
complex , affecting and uniquely almodóvar , the film evokes strong emotions and pushes viewers to question their deepest notions of moral right and wrong . 
good ol' urban legend stuff . 
not so much a movie as a picture book for the big screen . this isn't my favorite in the series , still i enjoyed it enough to recommend . 
it's one of the most honest films ever made about hollywood . 
it is a film that will have people walking out halfway through , will encourage others to stand up and applaud , and will , undoubtedly , leave both camps engaged in a ferocious debate for years to come . 
on its own cinematic terms , it successfully showcases the passions of both the director and novelist byatt . 
light , silly , photographed with colour and depth , and rather a good time . 
pray's film works well and will appeal even to those who aren't too familiar with turntablism . 
troubling and powerful . 
good movie . good actress . but if you expect light romantic comedy , good gosh , will you be shocked . 
it has the courage to wonder about big questions with sincerity and devotion . it risks seeming slow and pretentious , because it thinks the gamble is worth the promise . 
with youthful high spirits , tautou remains captivating throughout michele's religious and romantic quests , and she is backed by a likable cast . 
it's an example of sophisticated , challenging filmmaking that stands , despite its noticeable lack of emotional heft , in welcome contrast to the indulgent dead-end experimentation of the director's previous full frontal . 
a very funny look at how another culture handles the process of courting and marriage . 
but tongue-in-cheek preposterousness has always been part of for the most part wilde's droll whimsy helps " being earnest " overcome its weaknesses and parker's creative interference . . . 
much of the movie's charm lies in the utter cuteness of stuart and margolo . their computer-animated faces are very expressive . 
the path ice age follows most closely , though , is the one established by warner bros . giant chuck jones , who died a matter of weeks before the movie's release . 
anchored by a terrific performance by abbass , satin rouge shows that the idea of women's self-actualization knows few continental divides . 
awkward but sincere and , ultimately , it wins you over . 
smith profiles five extraordinary american homes , and because the owners seem fully aware of the uses and abuses of fame , it's a pleasure to enjoy their eccentricities . 
though the plot is predictable , the movie never feels formulaic , because the attention is on the nuances of the emotional development of the delicate characters . 
sam jones became a very lucky filmmaker the day wilco got dropped from their record label , proving that one man's ruin may be another's fortune . 
goyer's screenplay and direction are thankfully understated , and he has drawn excellent performances from his cast . 
binoche and magimel are perfect in these roles . 
when your leading ladies are a couple of screen-eating dominatrixes like goldie hawn and susan sarandon at their raunchy best , even hokum goes down easily . 
while undercover brother is definitely one for the masses , it's also full of sharp , smart satire . 
gets under the skin of a man who has just lost his wife . 
it may not be " last tango in paris " but . . . 
no wonder they're talking about " talk to her . " it's astonishing . 
for its seriousness , high literary aspirations and stunning acting , the film can only be applauded . 
look , this is a terrific flick replete with dazzling camera-work , dancing and music . 
it is inspirational in characterizing how people from such diverse cultures share the same human and spiritual needs . 
it's fairly self-aware in its dumbness . 
a triumph , relentless and beautiful in its downbeat darkness . 
tailored to entertain ! 
a compelling , moving film that respects its audience and its source material . 
has a plot full of twists upon knots . . . and a nonstop parade of mock-tarantino scuzbag types that starts out clever but veers into overkill . 
a work of astonishing delicacy and force . 
the film benefits greatly from a less manic tone than its predecessor , as cho appears to have settled comfortably into her skin . 
for the first time in several years , mr . allen has surpassed himself with the magic he's spun with the hollywood empress of ms . leoni's ellie . 
isn't quite the equal of woo's best earlier work , but it's easily his finest american film . . . comes close to recapturing the brilliance of his hong kong films . 
the film hinges on its performances , and both leads are up to the task . 
an intelligent , earnest , intimate film that drops the ball only when it pauses for blunt exposition to make sure you're getting its metaphysical point . 
a modest pleasure that accomplishes its goals with ease and confidence . 
a breezy , diverting , conventional , well-acted tale of two men locked in an ongoing game of cat-and-cat . 
what jackson has accomplished here is amazing on a technical level . 
as teen movies go , " orange county " is a refreshing change
makes s&m seem very romantic , and maggie gyllenhaal is a delight . 
a deliciously mordant , bitter black comedy . 
although life or something like it is very much in the mold of feel-good movies , the cast and director stephen herek's polished direction pour delightfully piquant wine from aged bottles . 
it is risky , intelligent , romantic and rapturous from start to finish . 
the movie sticks much closer to hornby's drop-dead confessional tone than the film version of high fidelity did . 
a pleasant ramble through the sort of idoosyncratic terrain that errol morris has often dealt with . . . it does possess a loose , lackadaisical charm . 
 . . . spiced with humor ( 'i speak fluent flatula , ' advises denlopp after a rather , er , bubbly exchange with an alien deckhand ) and witty updatings ( silver's parrot has been replaced with morph , a cute alien creature who mimics everyone and everything around ) 
this is a raw and disturbing tale that took five years to make , and the trio's absorbing narrative is a heart-wrenching showcase indeed . 
a beautiful and haunting examination of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the mundane horrors of the world . 
aside from being the funniest movie of the year , simone , andrew niccol's brilliant anti-hollywood satire , has a wickedly eccentric enchantment to it . 
watstein handily directs and edits around his screenplay's sappier elements . . . and sustains off the hook's buildup with remarkable assuredness for a first-timer . 
just another fish-out-of-water story that barely stays afloat . 
there's an energy to y tu mamá también . much of it comes from the brave , uninhibited performances by its lead actors . 
it's the kind of pigeonhole-resisting romp that hollywood too rarely provides . 
reinforces the often forgotten fact of the world's remarkably varying human population and mindset , and its capacity to heal using creative , natural and ancient antidotes . 
you can feel the heat that ignites this gripping tale , and the humor and humanity that root it in feeling . 
it's hard not to be seduced by [witherspoon's] charisma , even in this run-of-the-mill vehicle , because this girl knows how to drive it to the max . 
a movie for 11-year-old boys with sports dreams of their own and the preteen girls who worship lil' bow wow . 
a refreshingly authentic coming-of-age tale . 
if you're not into the pokemon franchise , this fourth animated movie in four years won't convert you -- or even keep your eyes open . but fans should have fun meeting a brand-new pokemon called celebi . 
from the big giant titles of the opening credits to elmer bernstein's perfectly melodic score , haynes gets just about everything right . 
whether seen on a 10-inch television screen or at your local multiplex , the edge-of-your-seat , educational antics of steve irwin are priceless entertainment . 
has a shambling charm . . . a cheerfully inconsequential diversion . 
ferrara directs the entire film with the kind of detachment that makes any given frame look like a family's custom-made christmas card . 
the movie has lots of dancing and fabulous music . there are slow and repetitive parts , but it has just enough spice to keep it interesting . 
an incredibly clever and superbly paced caper filled with scams within scams within scams . 
there's not much more to this adaptation of the nick hornby novel than charm -- effortless , pleasurable , featherweight charm . 
as a belated nod to some neglected all-stars , standing in the shadows of motown is cultural history of the best kind : informative , revealing and richly entertaining . 
even if the ride's a little bumpy , with a final lap that's all too suspiciously smooth , you gotta give director roger michell , best known for the superfluous notting hill , credit for trying . 
not as distinctive or even as humorous as its needs to be to stand out , but it has clearly been made with affection and care . 
this is carion's debut feature but his script and direction hums with a confidence that many spend entire careers trying to reach . 
an intelligent , moving and invigorating film . 
ofrece una buena oportunidad de cultura ( aunque sea condensada ) que bien vale la pena aprovechar . 
 . . . one of the most ingenious and entertaining thrillers i've seen in quite a long time . 
a clever blend of fact and fiction . 
a vivid cinematic portrait . 
hilarious , touching and wonderfully dyspeptic . 
es divertida , visualmente espectacular y muy entretenida . simple y sencillamente te sorprenderá . 
theirs is a simple and heart-warming story , full of mirth that should charm all but the most cynical . 
the film is an enjoyable family film -- pretty much aimed at any youngster who loves horses . 
a frisky and fresh romantic comedy exporing sexual politics and the challenges of friendships between women . 
it's a good film -- not a classic , but odd , entertaining and authentic . 
flavorful and romantic , you could call this how martha got her groove back -- assuming , that is , she ever had one to begin with . 
happily for mr . chin -- though unhappily for his subjects -- the invisible hand of the marketplace wrote a script that no human screenwriter could have hoped to match . 
thurman and lewis are hilarious throughout . 
the plot is so amusingly contrived and outlandish in its coincidences that no one could ever mistake it for anything resembling reality
hits one out of the park for the 'they don't make 'em like that anymore' department . 
it dares to be a little different , and that shading is what makes it worthwhile . 
[fessenden] is much more into ambiguity and creating mood than he is for on screen thrills
the comic performances are all spot on , especially lee ross's turn as ken . 
a compelling journey . . . and " his best friend remembers " is up there with the finest of specials . 
at nearly three hours , the whole of safe conduct is less than the sum of its parts . 
the hours makes you examine your own life in much the same way its characters do , and the experience is profound . the hours is what movies are supposed to be . . . 
a bold and subversive film that cuts across the grain of what is popular and powerful in this high-tech age , speaking its truths with spellbinding imagery and the entrancing music of philip glass . 
pretty darn good , despite its smarty-pants aura . 
so young , so smart , such talent , such a wise * * * . 
woo's fights have a distinct flair . his warriors collide in balletic explosion that implies an underlying order throughout the chaos . 
barney has created a tour de force that is weird , wacky and wonderful . 
the ending does leave you unfulfilled , but these are performances to enjoy in a memorable ensemble piece . 
 . . . an agreeable time-wasting device -- but george pal's low-tech 1960 version still rules the epochs . 
it's a brave attempt to tap into the heartbeat of the world , a salute to the universal language of rhythm and a zippy sampling of sounds . 
offers an unusual opportunity to observe the inequities in the death penalty , not just the inherent immorality but also the haphazard administration of it and public misperception of how the whole thing works . 
i don't think i've been as entranced and appalled by an asian film since shinya tsukamoto's iron man . 
it is so refreshing to see robin williams turn 180 degrees from the string of insultingly innocuous and sappy fiascoes he's been making for the last several years . 
director benoit jacquot , making his first opera-to-film translation with tosca , conveys the heaving passion of puccini's famous love-jealousy- murder-suicide fandango with great cinematic innovation . 
lilia's transformation from strict mother to sensual siren is superficially preposterous , but abbas infuses the role with an unimpeachable core of emotional truth . 
frida's artistic brilliance is undeniable -- it's among the most breathtakingly designed films i've ever seen . 
the perfect film for those who like sick comedies that can be snide . 
'charly' will divide its audience in two separate groups , those reaching for more tissues and those begging for mercy . . . 
nervy and sensitive , it taps into genuine artistic befuddlement , and at the same time presents a scathing indictment of what drives hollywood . 
a marvellous journey from childhood idealism to adolescent self-absorption . 
the film is just a big , gorgeous , mind-blowing , breath-taking mess . 
sharp , lively , funny and ultimately sobering film . 
though the film's scenario is certainly not earthshaking , this depiction of fluctuating female sexuality has two winning lead performances and charm to spare . 
a worthy tribute to a great humanitarian and her vibrant 'co-stars . '
a recent favourite at sundance , this white-trash satire will inspire the affection of even those unlucky people who never owned a cassette of def leppard's pyromania . 
the recording session is the only part of the film that is enlightening -- and how appreciative you are of this depends on your level of fandom . 
occasionally funny and consistently odd , and it works reasonably well as a star vehicle for zhao . 
bright seems alternately amused and disgusted with this material , and he can't help throwing in a few of his own touches . 
the 3d images only enhance the film's otherworldly quality , giving it a strange combo of you-are-there closeness with the disorienting unreality of the seemingly broken-down fourth wall of the movie screen . 
andersson creates a world that's at once surreal and disturbingly familiar ; absurd , yet tremendously sad . 
it's predictable , but it jumps through the expected hoops with style and even some depth . 
often hilarious , well-shot and , importantly , entertaining , hell house is a fascinating document of an event that has to be seen to be believed . 
de oliveira creates an emotionally rich , poetically plump and visually fulsome , but never showy , film whose bittersweet themes are reinforced and brilliantly personified by michel piccoli . 
 . . . an inviting piece of film . 
the film's real appeal won't be to clooney fans or adventure buffs , but to moviegoers who enjoy thinking about compelling questions with no easy answers . 
the fact that the rookie is a nearly impeccable cinematic experience -- and a wonderful all-ages triumph besides -- is a miracle akin to the story the film portrays . 
a deviant topical comedy which is funny from start to finish . 
a startling and fresh examination of how the bike still remains an ambiguous icon in chinese society . 
a highly intriguing thriller , coupled with some ingenious plot devices and some lavishly built settings . . it's a worthwhile tutorial in quantum physics and slash-dash
as hugh grant says repeatedly throughout the movie , 'lovely ! brilliant ! '
cho's fearless in picking apart human foibles , not afraid to lay her life bare in front of an audience . her delivery and timing are flawless . 
works because , for the most part , it avoids the stupid cliches and formulaic potholes that befall its brethren . 
at its best , the good girl is a refreshingly adult take on adultery . . . 
an amazing and incendiary movie that dives straight into the rough waters of contradiction . 
about nowhere kids who appropriated turfs as they found them and become self-made celebrity athletes -- a low-down version of the american dream . 
occasionally , in the course of reviewing art-house obscurities and slam-bam action flicks , a jaded critic smacks into something truly new . 
a miniscule little bleep on the film radar , but one that many more people should check out
desta vez , columbus capturou o pomo de ouro . 
 " 13 conversations " holds its goodwill close , but is relatively slow to come to the point . 
a slick , well-oiled machine , exquisitely polished and upholstered . 
don't plan on the perfect ending , but sweet home alabama hits the mark with critics who escaped from a small town life . 
it has a subtle way of getting under your skin and sticking with you long after it's over . 
the movie stays afloat thanks to its hallucinatory production design . 
it helps that the central performers are experienced actors , and that they know their roles so well . 
a provocative movie about loss , anger , greed , jealousy , sickness and love . 
worth the effort to watch . 
that rara avis : the intelligent romantic comedy with actual ideas on its mind . 
boisterous and daft documentary . 
hawke draws out the best from his large cast in beautifully articulated portrayals that are subtle and so expressive they can sustain the poetic flights in burdette's dialogue . 
a work of the utmost subtlety and perception , it marks the outstanding feature debut of writer-director eric byler , who understands the power of the implicit and the virtues of simplicity and economy . 
full frontal is the antidote for soderbergh fans who think he's gone too commercial since his two oscar nominated films in 2000
it turns out to be a cut above the norm , thanks to some clever writing and sprightly acting . 
you might not want to hang out with samantha , but you'll probably see a bit of yourself in her unfinished story . 
a work of intricate elegance , literary lyricism and profound common sense . 
it's as close as we'll ever come to looking through a photographer's viewfinder as he works . 
thoughtful , provocative and entertaining . 
witty , touching and well paced . 
lee jeong-hyang tells it so lovingly and films it so beautifully that i couldn't help being captivated by it . 
you have to pay attention to follow all the stories , but they're each interesting . the movie is well shot and very tragic , and one to ponder after the credits roll . 
enjoy it for what it is ; you can hate yourself later . 
a map of the inner rhythms of love and jealousy and sacrifice drawn with a master's steady stroke . 
más sarcástica , divertida y demencial que su predecesora , es un buen ejemplo de lo que es el cine de entretenimiento puro y sin complejos . 
a psychological thriller with a smart script and an obsessive-compulsive's attention to detail . 
often hilarious . 
grant gets to display his cadness to perfection , but also to show acting range that may surprise some who thought light-hearted comedy was his forte . 
at times funny and at other times candidly revealing , it's an intriguing look at two performers who put themselves out there because they love what they do . 
westfeldt and juergensen exude a chemistry and comfort level that's both saucy and endearing . 
harsh , effective documentary on life in the israeli-occupied palestinian territories . 
the film is all a little lit crit 101 , but it's extremely well played and often very funny . 
earns its laughs from stock redneck 'types' and from the many , many moments when we recognize even without the elizabethan prose , the play behind the thing . 
a real story about real people living their lives concerned about the future of an elderly , mentally handicapped family member . 
it's absolutely spooky how lillard channels the shagster right down to the original casey kasem-furnished voice . 
a dream cast of solid female talent who build a seamless ensemble . there isn't a weak or careless performance amongst them . 
smart science fiction for grown-ups , with only a few false steps along the way . 
it's a refreshing change from the self-interest and paranoia that shape most american representations of castro . 
often moving and explores the discomfort inherent in the contacts between the american 'hosts' and their 'guests . '
though the controversial korean filmmaker's latest effort is not for all tastes , it offers gorgeous imagery , effective performances , and an increasingly unsettling sense of foreboding . 
lathan and diggs have considerable personal charm , and their screen rapport makes the old story seem new . 
the story may not be new , but australian director john polson , making his american feature debut , jazzes it up adroitly . 
it's endearing to hear madame d . refer to her husband as 'jackie' -- and he does make for excellent company , not least as a self-conscious performer . 
the film often achieves a mesmerizing poetry . 
more than makes up for its mawkish posing by offering rousing spates of genuine feeling . 
it's neither as romantic nor as thrilling as it should be . but it offers plenty to ponder and chew on as its unusual relationship slowly unfolds . 
occasionally funny , always very colorful and enjoyably overblown in the traditional almodóvar style . 
merchant effectively translates naipaul's lively mix of characters from the page to screen . 
some movies are like a tasty hors-d'oeuvre ; this one is a feast . 
what could have become just another cautionary fable is allowed to play out as a clever , charming tale – as pleasantly in its own way as its self-dramatizing characters . 
davis has filled out his cast with appealing fresh faces . 
achieves a sort of filmic epiphany that revels in the true potential of the medium . 
once you get into its rhythm . . . the movie becomes a heady experience . 
 " auto focus " works as an unusual biopic and document of male swingers in the playboy era
if mr . zhang's subject matter is , to some degree at least , quintessentially american , his approach to storytelling might be called iranian . 
a fast-moving and remarkable film that appears destined to become a landmark in japanese animation . 
 . . . a sour little movie at its core ; an exploration of the emptiness that underlay the relentless gaiety of the 1920's . . . the film's ending has a " what was it all for ? " feeling to it , but like the 1920's , the trip there is a great deal of fun . 
a worthy entry into a very difficult genre . 
[broomfield] uncovers a story powerful enough to leave the screen sizzling with intrigue . 
eight crazy nights is a showcase for sandler's many talents . 
a sweet-natured reconsideration of one of san francisco's most vital , if least widely recognized , creative fountainheads . 
this is one of the most visually stunning and thematically moving epics in recent memory , and in spite of numerous minor flaws , scorsese's best in more than a decade . 
everywhere the camera looks there is something worth seeing . 
a richly imagined and admirably mature work from a gifted director who definitely has something on his mind . 
it's a nicely detailed world of pawns , bishops and kings , of wagers in dingy backrooms or pristine forests . 
a charming , quirky and leisurely paced scottish comedy -- except with an outrageous central gimmick that could have been a reject from monty python's meaning of life . 
it never fails to engage us . 
its direction , its script , and weaver's performance as a vaguely discontented woman of substance make for a mildly entertaining 77 minutes , if that's what you're in the mood for . 
a charming romantic comedy that is by far the lightest dogme film and among the most enjoyable . 
this is the kind of movie that used to be right at home at the saturday matinee , and it still is . 
the spark of special anime magic here is unmistakable and hard to resist . 
like its two predecessors , 1983's koyaanisqatsi and 1988's powaqqatsi , the cinematic collage naqoyqatsi could be the most navel-gazing film ever . 
baran isn't the most transporting or gripping film from iran -- or , indeed , by its director -- but it's a worthy companion to the many fine , focused films emerging from that most surprising of nations . 
the visuals alone make metropolis worth seeing . 
dark , resonant , inventively detailed and packed with fleet turns of plot and a feast of visual amazement . 
a picture that extols the virtues of comradeship and community in a spunky , spirited fashion . 
a resonant tale of racism , revenge and retribution . 
noyce's film is contemplative and mournfully reflective . 
here , adrian lyne comes as close to profundity as he is likely to get . 
evokes a little of the fear that parents have for the possible futures of their children--and the sometimes bad choices mothers and fathers make in the interests of doing them good . 
uno de los policiales más interesantes de los últimos tiempos . 
rain is a small treasure , enveloping the viewer in a literal and spiritual torpor that is anything but cathartic . 
an elegant , exquisitely modulated psychological thriller . 
this concoction , so bizarre to the adult mind , is actually a charming triumph where its intended under-12 audience is concerned . 
droll caper-comedy remake of " big deal on madonna street " that's a sly , amusing , laugh-filled little gem in which the ultimate " bellini " begins to look like a " real kaputschnik . " 
it's a beautifully accomplished lyrical meditation on a bunch of despondent and vulnerable characters living in the renown chelsea hotel . . . 
is it a total success ? no . is it something any true film addict will want to check out ? you bet . 
zany , exuberantly irreverent animated space adventure . 
dolgin and franco fashion a fascinating portrait of a vietnamese-born youngster who eagerly and easily assimilated as an all-american girl with a brand new name in southern tennessee . 
the disarming cornball atmosphere has a way of infecting the entire crowd as the film rolls on . 
a refreshingly honest and ultimately touching tale of the sort of people usually ignored in contemporary american film . search it out . 
engrossing and affecting , if ultimately not quite satisfying . 
the story , like life , refuses to be simple , and the result is a compelling slice of awkward emotions . 
a sly game of cat and mouse that's intense and thrilling at times , but occasionally stretches believability to its limits and relies on predictable plot contrivances . 
funny and , at times , poignant , the film from director george hickenlooper all takes place in pasadena , " a city where people still read . " 
this horror-comedy doesn't go for the usual obvious laughs at the expense of cheap-looking monsters -- unless you count elvira's hooters . 
the movie's eventual success should be credited to dennis quaid , in fighting trim shape as an athlete as well as an actor
not a bad journey at all . 
sits uneasily as a horror picture . . . but finds surprising depth in its look at the binds of a small family . 
windtalkers blows this way and that , but there's no mistaking the filmmaker in the tall grass , true to himself . 
there is a refreshing absence of cynicism in stuart little 2--quite a rarity , even in the family film market . eventually , it wins you over . 
noyce films it more as a shocking history lesson than as drama . 
like a south-of-the-border melrose place . 
those with an interest in new or singular sorts of film experiences will find what time is it there ? well worth the time . 
a wildly funny prison caper . 
huppert gives erika a persona that is so intriguing that you find yourself staring hypnotically at her , trying to understand her and wondering if she'll crack . 
despite what anyone believes about the goal of its makers , the show . . . represents a spectacular piece of theater , and there's no denying the talent of the creative forces behind it . 
you'll be left with the sensation of having just witnessed a great performance and , perhaps , give in to the urge to get on your feet and shake it . 
the actors are so terrific at conveying their young angst , we do indeed feel for them . 
the reason this picture works better than its predecessors is that myers is no longer simply spoofing the mini-mod-madness of '60s spy movies . 
it is a kickass , dense sci-fi action thriller hybrid that delivers and then some . i haven't seen one in so long , no wonder i didn't recognize it at first . 
a compelling portrait of moral emptiness
in adobo , ethnicity is not just the spice , but at the heart of more universal concerns . 
it is ridiculous , of course . . . but it is also refreshing , disarming , and just outright enjoyable despite its ridiculousness . 
 . . . blade ii is more enjoyable than the original . 
a film that takes you inside the rhythms of its subject : you experience it as you watch . 
the movie exists for its soccer action and its fine acting . 
the movie is saved from unbearable lightness by the simplicity of the storytelling and the authenticity of the performances . 
the film starts out as competent but unremarkable . . . and gradually grows into something of considerable power . 
nothing denis has made before , like beau travil and nenette et boni , could prepare us for this gory , perverted , sex-soaked riff on the cannibal genre . 
reinforces the talents of screenwriter charlie kaufman , creator of adaptation and being john malkovich . 
greene delivers a typically solid performance in a role that is a bit of a departure from the noble characters he has played in the past , and he is matched by schweig , who carries the film on his broad , handsome shoulders . 
finds a way to tell a simple story , perhaps the simplest story of all , in a way that seems compelling and even original . 
a stunning piece of visual poetry that will , hopefully , be remembered as one of the most important stories to be told in australia's film history . 
this is art paying homage to art . 
 . . . a joke at once flaky and resonant , lightweight and bizarrely original . 
invincible is a wonderful movie . 
 . . . a cute and sometimes side-splittingly funny blend of legally blonde and drop dead gorgeous , starring piper perabo in what could be her breakthrough role . 
dazzling and sugar-sweet , a blast of shallow magnificence that only sex , scandal , and a chorus line of dangerous damsels can deliver . 
occasionally amateurishly made but a winsome cast and nice dialogue keeps it going . 
japan's premier stylist of sex and blood hits audiences with what may be his most demented film to date . 
culkin , who's in virtually every scene , shines as a young man who uses sarcastic lies like a shield . 
cuts right through the b . s . giving a big middle-fingered " shut up " to those who talk up what is nothing more than two guys beating the hell outta one another . 
the am-radio soundtrack and game cast -- tierney and the inimitable walken especially -- keep this unusual comedy from choking on its own conceit . 
 . . . does such a fine job of engulfing you in its world and allying you with its characters' choices , good and ill , that its shortcomings are remembered only as an afterthought . 
marvelous , merry and , yes , melancholy film . 
from spiritual rebirth to bruising defeat , vincent's odyssey resonates in a profound way , comparable to the classic films of jean renoir . 
novak manages to capture a cruelly hilarious vein of black comedy in the situation with his cast of non-actors and a gritty , no-budget approach . 
insomnia is involving . still , i thought it could have been more . 
there was time on that second round to see the subtleties of ramsay's portrait of grief . 
we can see the wheels turning , and we might resent it sometimes , but this is still a nice little picture , made by bright and friendly souls with a lot of good cheer . 
a comprehensive and provocative film -- one that pushes the boundaries of biography , and challenges its audience . 
the way coppola professes his love for movies -- both colorful pop junk and the classics that unequivocally qualify as art -- is giddily entertaining . 
a modest masterpiece . 
a worthwhile way to spend two hours . 
francophiles will snicker knowingly and you'll want to slap them . 
sensitive , insightful and beautifully rendered film . one of the best of the year . 
a love for films shines through each frame and the era is recreated with obvious affection , scored to perfection with some tasty boogaloo beats . 
throwing caution to the wind with an invitation to the hedonist in us all , nair has constructed this motion picture in such a way that even the most cynical curmudgeon with find himself or herself smiling at one time or another . 
makes an aborbing if arguable case for the man's greatness . 
an endlessly fascinating , landmark movie that is as bold as anything the cinema has seen in years . 
 . . . a haunting vision , with images that seem more like disturbing hallucinations . 
they crush each other under cars , throw each other out windows , electrocute and dismember their victims in full consciousness . and we don't avert our eyes for a moment . 
it is not a mass-market entertainment but an uncompromising attempt by one artist to think about another . 
frailty isn't as gory or explicit . but in its child-centered , claustrophobic context , it can be just as frightening and disturbing -- even punishing . 
mixes likeable personalities , inventive photography and cutting , and wall-to-wall toe-tapping music to paint a picture of a subculture that is at once exhilarating , silly , perverse , hopeful and always fun . 
the long-range appeal of " minority report " should transcend any awards it bags . this is one for the ages . 
[a] superbly controlled , passionate adaptation of graham greene's 1955 novel . 
much monkeyfun for all . 
an enchanting film that presents an audacious tour of the past and takes within its warm embrace the bounties of cultural artifacts inside st . petersburg's hermitage museum . 
[hawn's character]is so bluntly written , without a trace of sentimentality , and so blisteringly defined , that every other character seems overlooked and underwritten . 
the heightened symmetry of this new/old cinema paradiso makes the film a fuller experience , like an old friend haunted by the exigencies of time . 
the powers team has fashioned a comedy with more laughs than many , no question . but this time there's some mold on the gold . 
while surprisingly sincere , this average little story is adorned with some awesome action photography and surfing . 
it is far from the worst , thanks to the topical issues it raises , the performances of stewart and hardy , and that essential feature -- a decent full-on space battle . 
a film that is a portrait of grace in an imperfect world . 
a pleasurably jacked-up piece of action moviemaking . 
nicolas philibert observes life inside a one-room schoolhouse in northern france in his documentary to be and to have , easily one of the best films of the year . 
a perverse little truffle , dainty psychological terror on the outside with a creamy filling of familial jealousy and unrepentant domestic psychopathy . 
this ecologically minded , wildlife friendly film teaches good ethics while entertaining with its unconventionally wacky but loving family
an enjoyably half-wit remake of the venerable italian comedy big deal on madonna street . 
it takes this never-ending confusion and hatred , puts a human face on it , evokes shame among all who are party to it and even promotes understanding . 
reign of fire may be little more than another platter of reheated aliens , but it's still pretty tasty . 
there are times when a rumor of angels plays like an extended episode of touched by an angel -- a little too much dancing , a few too many weeping scenes -- but i liked its heart and its spirit . 
two hours of melodramatic musical married to two hours of underdog sports intrigue , if the picture also shares the weaknesses of both genres , more's the pity . 
this cheery , down-to-earth film is warm with the cozy feeling of relaxing around old friends . 
thrilling , provocative and darkly funny , this timely sci-fi mystery works on so many different levels that it not only invites , it demands repeated viewings . 
a tale of horror and revenge that is nearly perfect in its relentless descent to the depths of one man's tortured soul . 
an epic of grandeur and scale that's been decades gone from the popcorn pushing sound stages of hollywood . 
genuinely touching because it's realistic about all kinds of love . 
lauren ambrose comes alive under the attention from two strangers in town - with honest performances and realistic interaction between the characters , this is a coming-of-age story with a twist . 
there has been much puzzlement among critics about what the election symbolizes . i believe the message is in the messenger : the agent is a woman . 
an enjoyable film for the family , amusing and cute for both adults and kids . 
 " the mothman prophecies " is a difficult film to shake from your conscience when night falls . 
the second chapter of the harry potter series is even more magical than the first and simply the best family film of the year . 
more honest about alzheimer's disease , i think , than iris . 
the acting alone is worth the price of admission . 
an excellent romp that boasts both a heart and a mind . 
interacting eyeball-to-eyeball and toe-to-toe , hopkins and norton are a winning combination -- but fiennes steals 'red dragon' right from under their noses . 
this is a terrific character study , a probe into the life of a complex man . 
impresses you with its open-endedness and surprises . 
this isn't a narrative film -- i don't know if it's possible to make a narrative film about september 11th , though i'm sure some will try -- but it's as close as anyone has dared to come . 
my oh my , is this an invigorating , electric movie . 
the two leads chomp considerably more scenery with their acting than fire-breathing monsters barbecue with their breath . . . 
cedar takes a very open-minded approach to this sensitive material , showing impressive control , both visually and in the writing . 
never once predictable . 
biggie and tupac is so single-mindedly daring , it puts far more polished documentaries to shame . 
so many documentaries like this presuppose religious bigotry or zealous nuttiness of its antagonists , but family fundamentals displays a rare gift for unflinching impartiality . 
the cast is uniformly excellent and relaxed . 
after making several adaptations of other writers' work , armenian-canadian director atom egoyan broached an original treatment of a deeply personal subject . 
the film is painfully authentic , and the performances of the young players are utterly convincing . 
if it seems like a minor miracle that its septuagenarian star is young enough to be the nonagenarian filmmaker's son , more incredible still are the clear-eyed boldness and quiet irony with which actor and director take on life's urgent questions . 
a candid and often fascinating documentary about a pentecostal church in dallas that assembles an elaborate haunted house each year to scare teenagers into attending services . 
fans of the animated wildlife adventure show will be in warthog heaven ; others need not necessarily apply . 
without resorting to hyperbole , i can state that kissing jessica stein may be the best same-sex romance i have seen . 
nolan bravely treads where few american films dare to delve -- into the world of ambivalence and ambiguity . . . 
unlike the nauseating fictions peddled by such 'have-yourself-a-happy-little-holocaust' movies as life is beautiful and jakob the liar , the grey zone is honest enough to deny the possibility of hope in auschwitz . 
a potent allegorical love story . 
even those who would like to dismiss the film outright should find much to mull and debate . 
this is cool , slick stuff , ready to quench the thirst of an audience that misses the summer blockbusters . 
the movie is full of fine performances , led by josef bierbichler as brecht and monica bleibtreu as helene weigel , his wife . 
a captivating cross-cultural comedy of manners . 
andy garcia enjoys one of his richest roles in years and mick jagger gives his best movie performance since , well , performance . 
the movie isn't always easy to look at . but if it is indeed a duty of art to reflect life , than leigh has created a masterful piece of artistry right here . 
it's [ricci's] best work yet , this girl-woman who sincerely believes she can thwart the world's misery with blind good will . 
highlights are the terrific performances by christopher plummer , as the prime villain , and nathan lane as vincent crummles , the eccentric theater company manager . 
[howard] so good as leon barlow . . . that he hardly seems to be acting . 
an uplifting , near-masterpiece . 
superior genre storytelling , which gets under our skin simply by crossing the nuclear line . 
by taking entertainment tonight subject matter and giving it humor and poignancy , auto focus becomes both gut-bustingly funny and crushingly depressing . 
it's a bittersweet and lyrical mix of elements . 
subversive , meditative , clinical and poetic , the piano teacher is a daring work of genius . 
the weakest of the four harry potter books has been transformed into the stronger of the two films by the thinnest of margins . 
its gross-out gags and colorful set pieces . . . are of course stultifyingly contrived and too stylized by half . still , it gets the job done -- a sleepy afternoon rental . 
it further declares its director , zhang yang of shower , as a boldly experimental , contemporary stylist with a bright future . 
smith's approach is never to tease , except gently and in that way that makes us consider our own eccentricities and how they are expressed through our homes . 
full of profound , real-life moments that anyone can relate to , it deserves a wide audience . 
a movie that will touch the hearts of both children and adults , as well as bring audiences to the edge of their seats . 
leave it to rohmer , now 82 , to find a way to bend current technique to the service of a vision of the past that is faithful to both architectural glories and commanding open spaces of the city as it was more than two centuries ago . 
fine acting but there is no sense of connecting the dots , just dots . 
an extraordinary swedish film about the soul adventure of marriage -- the kind of intimate and character-driven film that bille august does best . 
a blessed gift to film geeks and historians . if the '70's were your idea of a good time at the movies , this will make you very happy . 
it took 19 predecessors to get this ? 
thoughtful , even stinging at times , and lots of fun . 
one of the most haunting , viciously honest coming-of-age films in recent memory . 
the wwii drama is well plotted , visually striking and filled with enjoyably complex characters who are never what they first appear . 
it's a pleasure to see seinfeld griping about the biz with buddies chris rock , garry shandling and colin quinn . 
if you love motown music , you'll love this documentary . 
this time out , [sade] is an unsettlingly familiar figure -- in turns loyal and deceitful , responsible and reckless , idealistically selfless and coldly self-interested . 
human resources was a good , straightforward tale , but time out is better . it's haunting . it's like a poem . 
to the film's credit , the acting is fresh and unselfconscious , and munch is a marvel of reality versus sappy sentiment . 
chicago is , in many ways , an admirable achievement . 
shainberg weaves a carefully balanced scenario that is controlled by neither character , is weirdly sympathetic to both and manages to be tender and darkly comic . 
even when foreign directors . . . borrow stuff from hollywood , they invariably shake up the formula and make it more interesting . 
a cockamamie tone poem pitched precipitously between swoony lyricism and violent catastrophe . . . the most aggressively nerve-wracking and screamingly neurotic romantic comedy in cinema history . 
sturdy , entertaining period drama . . . both caine and fraser have their moments . 
whether [binoche and magimel] are being charming or angst-ridden , they easily fill their scenes and , fine judges both , never overcook the hysteria . 
a spunky , original take on a theme that will resonate with singles of many ages . 
it's a glorious groove that leaves you wanting more . 
majidi gets uniformly engaging performances from his largely amateur cast . 
 . . . a well-observed and disturbing little movie
fans of nijinsky will savor every minute of cox's work . 
everything you loved about it in 1982 is still there , for everybody who wants to be a kid again , or show it to their own kids . 
jagger the actor is someone you want to see again . 
warm and exotic . 
escapism in its purest form . 
there is a kind of attentive concern that hoffman brings to his characters , as if he has been giving them private lessons , and now it is time for their first public recital . 
a comic gem with some serious sparkles . 
u . s . audiences may find [attal and gainsbourg's] unfamiliar personas give the film an intimate and quaint reality that is a little closer to human nature than what hollywood typically concocts . 
 " cremaster 3 " should come with the warning " for serious film buffs only ! " 
once again , director jackson strikes a rewarding balance between emotion on the human scale and action/effects on the spectacular scale . 
a loving little film of considerable appeal . 
although it's a bit smug and repetitive , this documentary engages your brain in a way few current films do . 
flawed but worthy look at life in u . s . relocation camps . 
it's a lovely film with lovely performances by buy and accorsi . 
no one goes unindicted here , which is probably for the best . and if you're not nearly moved to tears by a couple of scenes , you've got ice water in your veins . 
a warm , funny , engaging film . 
uses sharp humor and insight into human nature to examine class conflict , adolescent yearning , the roots of friendship and sexual identity . 
half submarine flick , half ghost story , all in one criminally neglected film
entertains by providing good , lively company . 
dazzles with its fully-written characters , its determined stylishness ( which always relates to characters and story ) and johnny dankworth's best soundtrack in years . 
visually imaginative , thematically instructive and thoroughly delightful , it takes us on a roller-coaster ride from innocence to experience without even a hint of that typical kiddie-flick sentimentality . 
nothing's at stake , just a twisty double-cross you can smell a mile away--still , the derivative nine queens is lots of fun . 
unlike the speedy wham-bam effect of most hollywood offerings , character development -- and more importantly , character empathy -- is at the heart of italian for beginners . 
you'll gasp appalled and laugh outraged and possibly , watching the spectacle of a promising young lad treading desperately in a nasty sea , shed an errant tear . 
the band's courage in the face of official repression is inspiring , especially for aging hippies ( this one included ) . 
although german cooking does not come readily to mind when considering the world's best cuisine , mostly martha could make deutchland a popular destination for hungry tourists . 
a beguiling splash of pastel colors and prankish comedy from disney . 
as surreal as a dream and as detailed as a photograph , as visually dexterous as it is at times imaginatively overwhelming . 
[lawrence bounces] all over the stage , dancing , running , sweating , mopping his face and generally displaying the wacky talent that brought him fame in the first place . 
the film serves as a valuable time capsule to remind us of the devastating horror suffered by an entire people . 
what's surprising about full frontal is that despite its overt self-awareness , parts of the movie still manage to break past the artifice and thoroughly engage you . 
whether you like rap music or loathe it , you can't deny either the tragic loss of two young men in the prime of their talent or the power of this movie . 
 . . . an otherwise intense , twist-and-turn thriller that certainly shouldn't hurt talented young gaghan's resume . 
it provides the grand , intelligent entertainment of a superior cast playing smart people amid a compelling plot . 
charming and funny ( but ultimately silly ) movie . 
there's . . . tremendous energy from the cast , a sense of playfulness and excitement that seems appropriate . 
it moves quickly , adroitly , and without fuss ; it doesn't give you time to reflect on the inanity -- and the cold war datedness -- of its premise . 
a deep and meaningful film . 
the film's welcome breeziness and some unbelievably hilarious moments -- most portraying the idiocy of the film industry -- make it mostly worth the trip . 
it's a remarkably solid and subtly satirical tour de force . 
enormously entertaining for moviegoers of any age . 
a poignant , artfully crafted meditation on mortality . 
a rarity among recent iranian films : it's a comedy full of gentle humor that chides the absurdity of its protagonist's plight . 
not only is undercover brother as funny , if not more so , than both austin powers films , but it's also one of the smarter , savvier spoofs to come along in some time . 
in a way , the film feels like a breath of fresh air , but only to those that allow it in . 
woody allen's latest is an ambling , broad comedy about all there is to love -- and hate -- about the movie biz . 
it's a stunning lyrical work of considerable force and truth . 
the inhospitability of the land emphasizes the spare precision of the narratives and helps to give them an atavistic power , as if they were tales that had been handed down since the beginning of time . 
[næs] directed the stage version of elling , and gets fine performances from his two leads who originated the characters on stage . 
made me unintentionally famous — as the queasy-stomached critic who staggered from the theater and blacked out in the lobby . but believe it or not , it's one of the most beautiful , evocative works i've seen . 
a coda in every sense , the pinochet case splits time between a minute-by-minute account of the british court's extradition chess game and the regime's talking-head survivors . 
like mike is a winner for kids , and no doubt a winner for lil bow wow , who can now add movies to the list of things he does well . 
[t]his beguiling belgian fable , very much its own droll and delicate little film , has some touching things to say about what is important in life and why . 
here's yet another studio horror franchise mucking up its storyline with glitches casual fans could correct in their sleep . but taken as a stylish and energetic one-shot , the queen of the damned cannot be said to suck . 
you won't like roger , but you will quickly recognize him . and that's a big part of why we go to the movies . 
while the stoically delivered hokum of hart's war is never fun , it's still a worthy addition to the growing canon of post-saving private ryan tributes to the greatest generation . 
we know the plot's a little crazy , but it held my interest from start to finish . 
a sober and affecting chronicle of the leveling effect of loss . 
a fast , funny , highly enjoyable movie . 
a celebration of quirkiness , eccentricity , and certain individuals' tendency to let it all hang out , and damn the consequences . 
writer/director joe carnahan's grimy crime drama is a manual of precinct cliches , but it moves fast enough to cover its clunky dialogue and lapses in logic . 
a smart , witty follow-up . 
while the ideas about techno-saturation are far from novel , they're presented with a wry dark humor . 
an infectious cultural fable with a tasty balance of family drama and frenetic comedy . 
although occasionally static to the point of resembling a stage play , the film delivers a solid mixture of sweetness and laughs . 
it provides an honest look at a community striving to anchor itself in new grounds . 
add yet another hat to a talented head , clooney's a good director . 
building slowly and subtly , the film , sporting a breezy spontaneity and realistically drawn characterizations , develops into a significant character study that is both moving and wise . 
ultimately feels empty and unsatisfying , like swallowing a communion wafer without the wine . 
chilling , well-acted , and finely directed : david jacobson's dahmer . 
a swashbuckling tale of love , betrayal , revenge and above all , faith . 
 . . . a true delight . 
without ever becoming didactic , director carlos carrera expertly weaves this novelistic story of entangled interrelationships and complex morality . 
it's a coming-of-age story we've all seen bits of in other films -- but it's rarely been told with such affecting grace and cultural specificity . 
a literate presentation that wonderfully weaves a murderous event in 1873 with murderous rage in 2002 . 
makes even the claustrophobic on-board quarters seem fun . 
this is as respectful a film as byatt fans could hope for , though lovers of the book may wonder why it's necessary . 
one of the best films of the year with its exploration of the obstacles to happiness faced by five contemporary individuals . . . a psychological masterpiece . 
not far beneath the surface , this reconfigured tale asks disturbing questions about those things we expect from military epics . 
for the most part stevens glides through on some solid performances and witty dialogue . 
broomfield turns his distinctive 'blundering' style into something that could really help clear up the case . 
against all odds in heaven and hell , it creeped me out just fine . 
it's refreshing to see a girl-power movie that doesn't feel it has to prove anything . 
it's worth seeing just on the basis of the wisdom , and at times , the startling optimism , of the children . 
a rigorously structured and exquisitely filmed drama about a father and son connection that is a brief shooting star of love . 
this surreal gilliam-esque film is also a troubling interpretation of ecclesiastes . a rewarding work of art for only the most patient and challenge-hungry moviegoers . 
a quiet treasure -- a film to be savored . 
may be far from the best of the series , but it's assured , wonderfully respectful of its past and thrilling enough to make it abundantly clear that this movie phenomenon has once again reinvented itself for a new generation . 
a compelling spanish film about the withering effects of jealousy in the life of a young monarch whose sexual passion for her husband becomes an obsession . 
huston nails both the glad-handing and the choking sense of hollow despair . 
may not have generated many sparks , but with his affection for astoria and its people he has given his tale a warm glow . 
a delirious celebration of the female orgasm . 
exquisitely nuanced in mood tics and dialogue , this chamber drama is superbly acted by the deeply appealing veteran bouquet and the chilling but quite human berling . 
it's fascinating to see how bettany and mcdowell play off each other . 
the film is beautifully mounted , but , more to the point , the issues are subtly presented , managing to walk a fine line with regard to the question of joan's madness . 
leigh's film is full of memorable performances from top to bottom . 
one of the most significant moviegoing pleasures of the year . 
jose campanella delivers a loosely autobiographical story brushed with sentimentality but brimming with gentle humor , bittersweet pathos , and lyric moments that linger like snapshots of memory . 
generally , clockstoppers will fulfill your wildest fantasies about being a different kind of time traveler , while happily killing 94 minutes . 
the movie is beautiful to behold and engages one in a sense of epic struggle -- inner and outer -- that's all too rare in hollywood's hastier productions . 
ao sair do cinema , eu estava feliz e com saudades de um tempo em que , para mim , a existência de papai noel era um fato inquestionável . 
neither parker nor donovan is a typical romantic lead , but they bring a fresh , quirky charm to the formula . 
it's a much more emotional journey than what shyamalan has given us in his past two movies , and gibson , stepping in for bruce willis , is the perfect actor to take us on the trip . 
not only are the special effects and narrative flow much improved , and daniel radcliffe more emotionally assertive this time around as harry , but the film conjures the magic of author j . k . rowling's books . 
jaglom . . . put[s] the audience in the privileged position of eavesdropping on his characters
beautifully observed , miraculously unsentimental comedy-drama . 
a must-see for the david mamet enthusiast and for anyone who appreciates intelligent , stylish moviemaking . 
crackerjack entertainment -- nonstop romance , music , suspense and action . 
the acting , costumes , music , cinematography and sound are all astounding given the production's austere locales . 
garcía bernal and talancón are an immensely appealing couple , and even though their story is predictable , you'll want things to work out . 
far more imaginative and ambitious than the trivial , cash-in features nickelodeon has made from its other animated tv series . 
the very definition of the 'small' movie , but it is a good stepping stone for director sprecher . 
a gripping , searing portrait of a lost soul trying to find her way through life . 
suffers from the lack of a compelling or comprehensible narrative . still , as a visual treat , the film is almost unsurpassed . 
so unassuming and pure of heart , you can't help but warmly extend your arms and yell 'safe ! '
an intriguing cinematic omnibus and round-robin that occasionally is more interesting in concept than in execution . 
so refreshingly incisive is grant that for the first time he'll probably appeal more to guys than to their girlfriends who drag them to this movie for the hugh factor . 
at a time when half the so-called real movies are little more than live-action cartoons , it's refreshing to see a cartoon that knows what it is , and knows the form's history . 
the magic of the film lies not in the mysterious spring but in the richness of its performances . 
hoffman notches in the nuances of pain , but his smart , edgy voice and waddling profile ( emphasized here ) accent the humor of wilson's plight , and that saves his pathos from drippiness . 
what better message than 'love thyself' could young women of any size receive ? 
the second coming of harry potter is a film far superior to its predecessor . a movie that successfully crushes a best selling novel into a timeframe that mandates that you avoid the godzilla sized soda . 
84 minutes of rolling musical back beat and supercharged cartoon warfare . it's also , clearly , great fun . 
 . . . takes the beauty of baseball and melds it with a story that could touch anyone regardless of their familiarity with the sport
seldahl's barbara is a precise and moving portrait of someone whose world is turned upside down , first by passion and then by illness . 
a warm but realistic meditation on friendship , family and affection . 
byler reveals his characters in a way that intrigues and even fascinates us , and he never reduces the situation to simple melodrama . 
turns potentially forgettable formula into something strangely diverting . 
bogdanovich tantalizes by offering a peep show into the lives of the era's creme de la celluloid . 
people cinema at its finest . 
the performances take the movie to a higher level . 
what really makes it special is that it pulls us into its world , gives us a hero whose suffering and triumphs we can share , surrounds him with interesting characters and sends us out of the theater feeling we've shared a great adventure . 
 . . . a spoof comedy that carries its share of laughs – sometimes a chuckle , sometimes a guffaw and , to my great pleasure , the occasional belly laugh . 
manages to transcend the sex , drugs and show-tunes plot into something far richer . 
dense with characters and contains some thrilling moments . 
a true pleasure . 
lapaglia's ability to convey grief and hope works with weaver's sensitive reactions to make this a two-actor master class . 
reign of fire looks as if it was made without much thought -- and is best watched that way . 
altogether , this is successful as a film , while at the same time being a most touching reconsideration of the familiar masterpiece . 
we root for [clara and paul] , even like them , though perhaps it's an emotion closer to pity . 
the best film about baseball to hit theaters since field of dreams . 
instead of a hyperbolic beat-charged urban western , it's an unpretentious , sociologically pointed slice of life . 
the film tunes into a grief that could lead a man across centuries . 
if the count of monte cristo doesn't transform caviezel into a movie star , then the game is even more rigged than it was two centuries ago . 
[d]oesn't bother being as cloying or preachy as equivalent evangelical christian movies -- maybe the filmmakers know that the likely audience will already be among the faithful . 
as a tolerable diversion , the film suffices ; a triumph , however , it is not . 
if director michael dowse only superficially understands his characters , he doesn't hold them in contempt . 
if your taste runs to 'difficult' films you absolutely can't miss it . 
[city] reminds us how realistically nuanced a robert de niro performance can be when he is not more lucratively engaged in the shameless self-caricature of 'analyze this' ( 1999 ) and 'analyze that , ' promised ( or threatened ) for later this year . 
 . . . a story we haven't seen on the big screen before , and it's a story that we as americans , and human beings , should know . 
like leon , it's frustrating and still oddly likable . 
all in all , the count of monte cristo is okay , but it is surely no classic , like the novel upon which it is based . 
if you can stomach the rough content , it's worth checking out for the performances alone . 
looking aristocratic , luminous yet careworn in jane hamilton's exemplary costumes , rampling gives a performance that could not be improved upon . 
' . . . mafia , rap stars and hood rats butt their ugly heads in a regurgitation of cinematic violence that gives brutal birth to an unlikely , but likable , hero . '
on this tricky topic , tadpole is very much a step in the right direction , with its blend of frankness , civility and compassion . 
fun , flip and terribly hip bit of cinematic entertainment . 
montias . . . pumps a lot of energy into his nicely nuanced narrative and surrounds himself with a cast of quirky -- but not stereotyped -- street characters . 
falls neatly into the category of good stupid fun . 
the film's performances are thrilling . 
even in its most tedious scenes , russian ark is mesmerizing . 
the continued good chemistry between carmen and juni is what keeps this slightly disappointing sequel going , with enough amusing banter -- blessedly curse-free -- to keep both kids and parents entertained . 
reggio's continual visual barrage is absorbing as well as thought-provoking . 
unfortunately , it appears that [jackie] chan's us influence is starting to show in his hong kong films . 
it all adds up to good fun . 
a big , gorgeous , sprawling swashbuckler that delivers its diversions in grand , uncomplicated fashion . 
the wanton slipperiness of * corpus and its amiable jerking and reshaping of physical time and space would make it a great piece to watch with kids and use to introduce video as art . 
a stunning and overwhelmingly cogent case for kissinger as a calculating war criminal . 
sade is an engaging look at the controversial eponymous and fiercely atheistic hero . 
a quiet , pure , elliptical film
kinnear doesn't aim for our sympathy , but rather delivers a performance of striking skill and depth . 
the subtle strength of " elling " is that it never loses touch with the reality of the grim situation . 
a study in shades of gray , offering itself up in subtle plot maneuvers . . . 
the format gets used best . . . to capture the dizzying heights achieved by motocross and bmx riders , whose balletic hotdogging occasionally ends in bone-crushing screwups . 
has a lot of the virtues of eastwood at his best . 
chilling but uncommercial look into the mind of jeffrey dahmer , serial killer . 
though it's become almost redundant to say so , major kudos go to leigh for actually casting people who look working-class . 
it deserves to be seen by anyone with even a passing interest in the events shaping the world beyond their own horizons . 
a movie that reminds us of just how exciting and satisfying the fantasy cinema can be when it's approached with imagination and flair . 
thanks to scott's charismatic roger and eisenberg's sweet nephew , roger dodger is one of the most compelling variations on in the company of men . 
nine queens is not only than a frighteningly capable debut and genre piece , but also a snapshot of a dangerous political situation on the verge of coming to a head . 
it's the chemistry between the women and the droll scene-stealing wit and wolfish pessimism of anna chancellor that makes this " two weddings and a funeral " fun . 
will amuse and provoke adventurous adults in specialty venues . 
you don't have to know about music to appreciate the film's easygoing blend of comedy and romance . 
third time's the charm . . . yeah , baby ! 
a film about a young man finding god that is accessible and touching to the marrow . 
for the first time in years , de niro digs deep emotionally , perhaps because he's been stirred by the powerful work of his co-stars . 
the film's snags and stumblings are more than compensated for by its wryly subversive tone . 
inside the film's conflict-powered plot there is a decent moral trying to get out , but it's not that , it's the tension that keeps you in your seat . affleck and jackson are good sparring partners . 
the old-world- meets-new mesh is incarnated in the movie's soundtrack , a joyful effusion of disco bollywood that , by the end of monsoon wedding , sent my spirit soaring out of the theater . 
an effectively creepy , fear-inducing ( not fear-reducing ) film from japanese director hideo nakata , who takes the superstitious curse on chain letters and actually applies it . 
having had the good sense to cast actors who are , generally speaking , adored by the movie-going public , khouri then gets terrific performances from them all . 
a subtle and well-crafted ( for the most part ) chiller . 
warm water under a red bridge is a quirky and poignant japanese film that explores the fascinating connections between women , water , nature , and sexuality . 
although laced with humor and a few fanciful touches , the film is a refreshingly serious look at young women . 
the best revenge may just be living well because this film , unlike other dumas adaptations , is far more likened to a treasure than a lengthy jail sentence . 
a delectable and intriguing thriller filled with surprises , read my lips is an original . this is a story of two misfits who don't stand a chance alone , but together they are magnificent . 
highbrow self-appointed guardians of culture need not apply , but those who loved cool as ice have at last found a worthy follow-up . 
one of creepiest , scariest movies to come along in a long , long time , easily rivaling blair witch or the others . 
maud and roland's search for an unknowable past makes for a haunting literary detective story , but labute pulls off a neater trick in possession : he makes language sexy . 
pacino is brilliant as the sleep-deprived dormer , his increasing weariness as much existential as it is physical . 
rare birds has more than enough charm to make it memorable . 
manages to be sweet and wickedly satisfying at the same time . 
this nickleby thing might have more homosexual undertones than an eddie murphy film . and just when you think it can't get any more gay , in pops nathan lane . 
no sophomore slump for director sam mendes , who segues from oscar winner to oscar-winning potential with a smooth sleight of hand . 
the movie isn't just hilarious : it's witty and inventive , too , and in hindsight , it isn't even all that dumb . 
old-form moviemaking at its best . 
ahhhh . . . revenge is sweet ! 
yakusho and shimizu . . . create engaging characterizations in imamura's lively and enjoyable cultural mix . 
you will emerge with a clearer view of how the gears of justice grind on and the death report comes to share airtime alongside the farm report . 
ruzowitzky has taken this mothball-y stuff and made a rather sturdy , old-fashioned entertainment out of it . 
in spite of good housekeeping's unsavory characters and wwf mentality , this white trash war of the roses is a surprisingly engaging film . 
collateral damage finally delivers the goods for schwarzenegger fans . 
there has always been something likable about the marquis de sade . 
as a first-time director , paxton has tapped something in himself as an actor that provides frailty with its dark soul . 
for the most part , director anne-sophie birot's first feature is a sensitive , extraordinarily well-acted drama . 
by the time we learn that andrew's turnabout is fair play is every bit as awful as borchardt's coven , we can enjoy it anyway . 
this riveting world war ii moral suspense story deals with the shadow side of american culture : racial prejudice in its ugly and diverse forms . 
a tender , heartfelt family drama . 
a difficult , absorbing film that manages to convey more substance despite its repetitions and inconsistencies than do most films than are far more pointed and clear . 
for the most part , it's a work of incendiary genius , steering clear of knee-jerk reactions and quick solutions . 
it has the charm of the original american road movies , feasting on the gorgeous , ramshackle landscape of the filmmaker's motherland . 
[chaiken's] talent lies in an evocative , accurate observation of a distinctive milieu and in the lively , convincing dialogue she creates for her characters . 
in all , this is a watchable movie that's not quite the memorable experience it might have been . 
huppert's superbly controlled display of murderous vulnerability ensures that malice has a very human face . 
my thoughts were focused on the characters . that is a compliment to kuras and miller . if i had been thinking about the visual medium , they would have been doing something wrong . 
one of the more intelligent children's movies to hit theaters this year . 
remember the kind of movie we were hoping " ecks vs . sever " or " xxx " was going to be ? this is it . 
not for the prurient or squeamish , it's a daring if overlong examination of an idolized culture , self-loathing and sexual politics . 
a cartoon that's truly cinematic in scope , and a story that's compelling and heartfelt -- even if the heart belongs to a big , four-legged herbivore . 
the film's almost unbearable portrait of sadness and grief transcends its specific story to speak to the ways in which need , history and presumption tangle , and sometimes destroy , blood ties . 
travels a fascinating arc from hope and euphoria to reality and disillusionment . 
polished , well-structured film . 
there's something auspicious , and daring , too , about the artistic instinct that pushes a majority-oriented director like steven spielberg to follow a . i . with this challenging report so liable to unnerve the majority . 
for anyone unfamiliar with pentacostal practices in general and theatrical phenomenon of hell houses in particular , it's an eye-opener . 
it seems like i have been waiting my whole life for this movie and now i can't wait for the sequel . 
it's a bit disappointing that it only manages to be decent instead of dead brilliant . 
apesar de seus graves problemas , o filme consegue entreter . 
an operatic , sprawling picture that's entertainingly acted , magnificently shot and gripping enough to sustain most of its 170-minute length . 
the far future may be awesome to consider , but from period detail to matters of the heart , this film is most transporting when it stays put in the past . 
it inspires a continuing and deeply satisfying awareness of the best movies as monumental 'picture shows . '
awesome creatures , breathtaking scenery , and epic battle scenes add up to another 'spectacular spectacle . '
by candidly detailing the politics involved in the creation of an extraordinary piece of music , [jones] calls our attention to the inherent conflict between commerce and creativity . 
it's unnerving to see recoing's bizzarre reaction to his unemployment . good film , but very glum . 
much as we might be interested in gratuitous sexualization , haneke has a different objective in mind--namely the implications of our craving for fake stimulation . 
dazzling in its complexity , disturbing for its extraordinary themes , the piano teacher is a film that defies categorisation . it haunts , horrifies , startles and fascinates ; it is impossible to look away . ah yes , and then there's the music . . . 
it has charm to spare , and unlike many romantic comedies , it does not alienate either gender in the audience . 
although jackson is doubtless reserving the darkest hours for the return of the king , we long for a greater sense of urgency in the here and now of the two towers . 
it is great summer fun to watch arnold and his buddy gerald bounce off a quirky cast of characters . 
bleakly funny , its characters all the more touching for refusing to pity or memorialize themselves . 
it will not appeal to the impatient , but those who like long books and movies will admire the way it accumulates power and depth . 
this flick is about as cool and crowd-pleasing as a documentary can get . 
 " the ring " is pretty much an english-language copy of the film that inspired it , and it carries the same strengths and flaws . 
the wild thornberrys movie is a jolly surprise . 
griffiths proves she's that rare luminary who continually raises the standard of her profession . 
prancing his way through the tailor-made part of a male hooker approaching the end of his vitality , jagger obviously relishes every self-mocking moment . 
sexy and romantic . 
offers much to enjoy . . . and a lot to mull over in terms of love , loyalty and the nature of staying friends . 
an important movie , a reminder of the power of film to move us and to make us examine our values . 
is this love or is it masochism ? binoche makes it interesting trying to find out . 
a pleasant , if forgettable , romp of a film . 
the mesmerizing performances of the leads keep the film grounded and keep the audience riveted . 
worth watching for dong jie's performance -- and for the way it documents a culture in the throes of rapid change . 
two hours fly by -- opera's a pleasure when you don't have to endure intermissions -- and even a novice to the form comes away exhilarated . 
it's one heck of a character study -- not of hearst or davies but of the unique relationship between them . 
candid camera on methamphetamines . 
a subject like this should inspire reaction in its audience ; the pianist does not . 
equilibrium is what george orwell might have imagined had today's mood-altering drug therapy been envisioned by chemists in 1949 . 
creepy , authentic and dark . this disturbing bio-pic is hard to forget . 
martin and barbara are complex characters -- sometimes tender , sometimes angry -- and the delicate performances by sven wollter and viveka seldahl make their hopes and frustrations vivid . 
a twisty , moody slice of southern gothic . . . 
it's so good that you can practically see the hollywood 'suits' trying to put together the cast and filmmaking team for the all-too -inevitable american remake . 
the weight of the piece , the unerring professionalism of the chilly production , and the fascination embedded in the lurid topic prove recommendation enough . 
an absurdist comedy about alienation , separation and loss . 
'they' begins and ends with scenes so terrifying i'm still stunned . and i've decided to leave a light on every night from now on . 
this tenth feature is a big deal , indeed -- at least the third-best , and maybe even a notch above the previous runner-up , nicholas meyer's star trek vi : the undiscovered country . 
 . . . with " the bourne identity " we return to the more traditional action genre . 
beneath clouds is a succinct low-budget film whose compelling characters and intelligent script are exactly what was missing from rabbit-proof fence . 
the film is a contrivance , as artificial as the video games japanese teens play in a nightclub sequence , but it's an enjoyable one . 
holm . . . embodies the character with an effortlessly regal charisma . 
it is amusing , and that's all it needs to be . 
among the year's most intriguing explorations of alientation . 
a full world has been presented onscreen , not some series of carefully structured plot points building to a pat resolution . 
seldom has a movie so closely matched the spirit of a man and his work . 
audrey tatou has a knack for picking roles that magnify her outrageous charm , and in this literate french comedy , she's as morning-glory exuberant as she was in amélie . 
the movie has an infectious exuberance that will engage anyone with a passing interest in the skate/surf culture , the l . a . beach scene and the imaginative ( and sometimes illegal ) ways kids can make a playground out of the refuse of adults . 
even if you don't think [kissinger's] any more guilty of criminal activity than most contemporary statesmen , he'd sure make a courtroom trial great fun to watch . 
the story and structure are well-honed . fresnadillo's dark and jolting images have a way of plying into your subconscious like the nightmare you had a week ago that won't go away . 
it's made with deftly unsettling genre flair . 
it just may inspire a few younger moviegoers to read stevenson's book , which is a treasure in and of itself . 
funny but perilously slight . 
overall very good for what it's trying to do . 
forgettable horror -- more gory than psychological -- with a highly satisfying quotient of friday-night excitement and milla power . 
ramsay , as in ratcatcher , remains a filmmaker with an acid viewpoint and a real gift for teasing chilly poetry out of lives and settings that might otherwise seem drab and sordid . 
it may seem long at 110 minutes if you're not a fan , because it includes segments of 12 songs at a reunion concert . 
a lean , deftly shot , well-acted , weirdly retro thriller that recalls a raft of '60s and '70s european-set spy pictures . 
it proves quite compelling as an intense , brooding character study . 
the son's room is a triumph of gentility that earns its moments of pathos . 
morton uses her face and her body language to bring us morvern's soul , even though the character is almost completely deadpan . 
the film may appear naked in its narrative form . . . but it goes deeper than that , to fundamental choices that include the complexity of the catholic doctrine
a superbly acted and funny/gritty fable of the humanizing of one woman at the hands of the unseen forces of fate . 
one of the smartest takes on singles culture i've seen in a long time . 
there is a fabric of complex ideas here , and feelings that profoundly deepen them . 
cq's reflection of artists and the love of cinema-and-self suggests nothing less than a new voice that deserves to be considered as a possible successor to the best european directors . 
the emotions are raw and will strike a nerve with anyone who's ever had family trauma . 
holy mad maniac in a mask , splat-man ! good old-fashioned slash-and-hack is back ! 
as unseemly as its title suggests . 
by the end of the movie , you're definitely convinced that these women are spectacular . 
the french are rather good at this kind of thing , unlike the americans , who have a passion for musketeers , only to spoof them . 
the fly-on-the-wall method used to document rural french school life is a refreshing departure from the now more prevalent technique of the docu-makers being a visible part of their work . 
it's an offbeat treat that pokes fun at the democratic exercise while also examining its significance for those who take part . 
allows us to hope that nolan is poised to embark a major career as a commercial yet inventive filmmaker . 
maneuvers skillfully through the plot's hot brine -- until it's undone by the sogginess of its contemporary characters , and actors . 
it has the ability to offend and put off everyone , but it holds you with its outrageousness . 
anchored by friel and williams's exceptional performances , the film's power lies in its complexity . nothing is black and white . 
it's a charming and often affecting journey . 
psychologically savvy . 
no screen fantasy-adventure in recent memory has the showmanship of clones' last 45 minutes . 
a poignant and compelling story about relationships , food of love takes us on a bumpy but satisfying journey of the heart . 
birot creates a drama with such a well-defined sense of place and age -- as in , 15 years old -- that the torments and angst become almost as operatic to us as they are to her characters . 
the chateau cleverly probes the cross-cultural differences between gauls and yanks . 
not since tom cruise in risky business has an actor made such a strong impression in his underwear . 
aside from minor tinkering , this is the same movie you probably loved in 1994 , except that it looks even better . 
uses high comedy to evoke surprising poignance . 
it confirms fincher's status as a film maker who artfully bends technical know-how to the service of psychological insight . 
vera's three actors -- mollà , gil and bardem -- excel in insightful , empathetic performances . 
a marvel like none you've seen . 
with tightly organized efficiency , numerous flashbacks and a constant edge of tension , miller's film is one of 2002's involvingly adult surprises . 
mr . tsai is a very original artist in his medium , and what time is it there ? should be seen at the very least for its spasms of absurdist humor . 
writer/director mark romanek spotlights the underlying caste system in america . it's a scathing portrayal . 
this is a good script , good dialogue , funny even for adults . the characters are interesting and often very creatively constructed from figure to backstory . the film will play equally well on both the standard and giant screens . 
moody , heartbreaking , and filmed in a natural , unforced style that makes its characters seem entirely convincing even when its script is not . 
not a film to rival to live , but a fine little amuse-bouche to keep your appetite whetted . 
true tale of courage -- and complicity -- at auschwitz is a harrowing drama that tries to tell of the unspeakable . 
gives you the steady pulse of life in a beautiful city viewed through the eyes of a character who , in spite of tragic loss and increasing decrepitude , knows in his bones that he is one of the luckiest men alive . 
macdowell , whose wifty southern charm has anchored lighter affairs . . . brings an absolutely riveting conviction to her role . 
what time is it there ? is not easy . it haunts you , you can't forget it , you admire its conception and are able to resolve some of the confusions you had while watching it . 
if you are an actor who can relate to the search for inner peace by dramatically depicting the lives of others onstage , then esther's story is a compelling quest for truth . 
although the level of the comedy declines as the movie proceeds , there's no denying the fun of watching de niro and crystal having fun . 
claude chabrol has here a thriller without thrills , but that's okay . 
for movie lovers as well as opera lovers , tosca is a real treat . 
unflinchingly bleak and desperate
moretti's compelling anatomy of grief and the difficult process of adapting to loss . 
challenging , intermittently engrossing and unflaggingly creative . but it's too long and too convoluted and it ends in a muddle . 
the vivid lead performances sustain interest and empathy , but the journey is far more interesting than the final destination . 
a painfully funny ode to bad behavior . 
'easily my choice for one of the year's best films . '
charles' entertaining film chronicles seinfeld's return to stand-up comedy after the wrap of his legendary sitcom , alongside wannabe comic adams' attempts to get his shot at the big time . 
that dogged good will of the parents and 'vain' jia's defoliation of ego , make the film touching despite some doldrums . 
the movie is for fans who can't stop loving anime , and the fanatical excess built into it . 
the volatile dynamics of female friendship is the subject of this unhurried , low-key film that is so off-hollywood that it seems positively french in its rhythms and resonance . 
a densely constructed , highly referential film , and an audacious return to form that can comfortably sit among jean-luc godard's finest work . 
michael gerbosi's script is economically packed with telling scenes . 
a strangely compelling and brilliantly acted psychological drama . 
candid and comfortable ; a film that deftly balances action and reflection as it lets you grasp and feel the passion others have for their work . 
open-minded kids -- kids who read , kids who dream -- will be comforted by the way it deals with big issues like death and destiny . 
bennett's naturalistic performance speaks volumes more truth than any 'reality' show , and anybody contemplating their own drastic life changes should watch some body first . 
 . . . a good , if not entirely fresh , look at war . 
 the film is powerful , accessible and funny . you won't miss its messages , but you'll be entertained as well . 
'frailty " starts out like a typical bible killer story , but it turns out to be significantly different ( and better ) than most films with this theme . 
if you dig on david mamet's mind tricks . . . rent this movie and enjoy ! 
the primitive force of this film seems to bubble up from the vast collective memory of the combatants . it's like watching a nightmare made flesh . 
it is the sheer , selfish , wound-licking , bar-scrapping doggedness of leon's struggle to face and transmute his demons that makes the movie a spirited and touching occasion , despite its patchy construction . 
a gorgeous , high-spirited musical from india that exquisitely blends music , dance , song , and high drama . 
it's hard to imagine alan arkin being better than he is in this performance . 
for those who pride themselves on sophisticated , discerning taste , this might not seem like the proper cup of tea , however it is almost guaranteed that even the stuffiest cinema goers will laugh their * * * off for an hour-and-a-half . 
despite the 2-d animation , the wild thornberrys movie makes for a surprisingly cinematic experience . 
 . . . a fun little timewaster , helped especially by the cool presence of jean reno . 
[majidi] makes us think twice about immigrants we see around us every day . 
though only 60 minutes long , the film is packed with information and impressions . 
i have no way of knowing exactly how much is exaggeration , but i've got a creepy feeling that the film is closer to the mark than i want to believe . 
immersing us in the endlessly inventive , fiercely competitive world of hip-hop djs , the project is sensational and revelatory , even if scratching makes you itch . 
further proof that the epicenter of cool , beautiful , thought-provoking foreign cinema is smack-dab in the middle of dubya's axis of evil . 
there's really only one good idea in this movie , but the director runs with it and presents it with an unforgettable visual panache . 
a simple , but gritty and well-acted ensemble drama that encompasses a potent metaphor for a country still dealing with its fascist past . 
lovely and poignant . puts a human face on a land most westerners are unfamiliar with . 
i can't say that i liked homeboy ; it'd be more accurate to say that i found it intriguing , bizarre , dogma-like in spots - and quite truthful , in its way . 
displaying about equal amounts of naiveté , passion and talent , beneath clouds establishes sen as a filmmaker of considerable potential . 
the vitality of the actors keeps the intensity of the film high , even as the strafings blend together . 
not since japanese filmmaker akira kurosawa's ran have the savagery of combat and the specter of death been visualized with such operatic grandeur . 
we learn a lot about dying coral and see a lot of life on the reef . 
if the first men in black was money , the second is small change . but it still jingles in the pocket . it's fun lite . 
passable entertainment , but it's the kind of motion picture that won't make much of a splash when it's released , and will not be remembered long afterwards . 
i just loved every minute of this film . 
this is a winning ensemble comedy that shows canadians can put gentle laughs and equally gentle sentiments on the button , just as easily as their counterparts anywhere else in the world . 
just as moving , uplifting and funny as ever . 
my wife is an actress is an utterly charming french comedy that feels so american in sensibility and style it's virtually its own hollywood remake . 
it will grip even viewers who aren't interested in rap , as it cuts to the heart of american society in an unnerving way . 
a muckraking job , the cinematic equivalent of a legal indictment , and a fairly effective one at that . 
a tender , witty , captivating film about friendship , love , memory , trust and loyalty . 
belongs to daniel day-lewis as much as it belongs to martin scorsese ; it's a memorable performance in a big , brassy , disturbing , unusual and highly successful film . 
an exhilarating futuristic thriller-noir , minority report twists the best of technology around a gripping story , delivering a riveting , pulse intensifying escapist adventure of the first order
a psychological thriller with a genuinely spooky premise and an above-average cast , actor bill paxton's directing debut is a creepy slice of gothic rural americana . 
while locals will get a kick out of spotting cleveland sites , the rest of the world will enjoy a fast-paced comedy with quirks that might make the award-winning coen brothers envious . 
pumpkin takes an admirable look at the hypocrisy of political correctness , but it does so with such an uneven tone that you never know when humor ends and tragedy begins . 
if you're hard up for raunchy college humor , this is your ticket right here . 
few films capture so perfectly the hopes and dreams of little boys on baseball fields as well as the grown men who sit in the stands . 
corny , schmaltzy and predictable , but still manages to be kind of heartwarming , nonetheless . it's the perfect kind of film to see when you don't want to use your brain . at all . 
while it regards 1967 as the key turning point of the 20th century , and returns again and again to images of dissidents in the streets , it's alarmingly current . 
feature debuter d . j . caruso directs a crack ensemble cast , bringing screenwriter tony gayton's narcotics noir to life . 
every dance becomes about seduction , where backstabbing and betrayals are celebrated , and sex is currency . 
harris commands the screen , using his frailty to suggest the ravages of a life of corruption and ruthlessness . 
stephen rea , aidan quinn , and alan bates play desmond's legal eagles , and when joined by brosnan , the sight of this grandiloquent quartet lolling in pretty irish settings is a pleasant enough thing , 'tis . 
director of photography benoit delhomme shot the movie in delicious colors , and the costumes and sets are grand . 
the movie's relatively simple plot and uncomplicated morality play well with the affable cast . 
the film is quiet , threatening and unforgettable . 
this illuminating documentary transcends our preconceived vision of the holy land and its inhabitants , revealing the human complexities beneath . 
deliriously funny , fast and loose , accessible to the uninitiated , and full of surprises
trademark american triteness and simplicity are tossed out the window with the intelligent french drama that deftly explores the difficult relationship between a father and son . 
one from the heart . 
more concerned with sade's ideas than with his actions . the movie achieves as great an impact by keeping these thoughts hidden as . . . [quills] did by showing them . 
an entertaining , colorful , action-filled crime story with an intimate heart . 
while undisputed isn't exactly a high , it is a gripping , tidy little movie that takes mr . hill higher than he's been in a while . 
the most compelling wiseman epic of recent years . 
the socio-histo-political treatise is told in earnest strides . . . [and] personal illusion is deconstructed with poignancy . 
it's great escapist fun that recreates a place and time that will never happen again . 
good car chases , great fight scenes , and a distinctive blend of european , american and asian influences . 
liotta put on 30 pounds for the role , and has completely transformed himself from his smooth , goodfellas image . 
a woman's pic directed with resonance by ilya chaiken . 
contando com uma premissa curiosa , o filme mergulha o espectador em um clima de forte suspense , culminando em um desfecho que certamente fica na memória . 
[grant's] bumbling magic takes over the film , and it turns out to be another winning star vehicle . 
 . . . brian de palma is utterly mad : cinema mad , set-piece mad , style mad . it's a beautiful madness . 
generally provides its target audience of youngsters enough stimulating eye and ear candy to make its moral medicine go down . 
there are some wonderfully fresh moments that smooth the moral stiffness with human kindness and hopefulness . 
a grimly competent and stolid and earnest military courtroom drama . 
escaping the studio , piccoli is warmly affecting and so is this adroitly minimalist movie . 
very psychoanalytical -- provocatively so -- and also refreshingly literary . 
a gorgeous , witty , seductive movie . 
the special effects and many scenes of weightlessness look as good or better than in the original , while the oscar-winning sound and james horner's rousing score make good use of the hefty audio system . 
on the heels of the ring comes a similarly morose and humorless horror movie that , although flawed , is to be commended for its straight-ahead approach to creepiness . 
with rabbit-proof fence , noyce has tailored an epic tale into a lean , economical movie . 
[a]n utterly charming and hilarious film that reminded me of the best of the disney comedies from the 60s . 
preaches to two completely different choirs at the same time , which is a pretty amazing accomplishment . 
thanks to haynes' absolute control of the film's mood , and buoyed by three terrific performances , far from heaven actually pulls off this stylistic juggling act . 
birthday girl is an amusing joy ride , with some surprisingly violent moments . 
more romantic , more emotional and ultimately more satisfying than the teary-eyed original . 
an appealingly juvenile trifle that delivers its share of laughs and smiles . 
writer-director's mehta's effort has tons of charm and the whimsy is in the mixture , the intoxicating masala , of cultures and film genres . 
the draw [for " big bad love " ] is a solid performance by arliss howard . 
it gets onto the screen just about as much of the novella as one could reasonably expect , and is engrossing and moving in its own right . 
the terrific and bewilderingly underrated campbell scott gives a star performance that is nothing short of mesmerizing . 
cool ? this movie is a snow emergency . 
like mike isn't interested in recycling old cliches . it wants to tweak them with a taste of tangy new humor . 
smith is careful not to make fun of these curious owners of architectural oddities . instead , he shows them the respect they are due . 
a mess when it comes to the characters and writing . . . but works its way underneath the skin like few movies have in recent memory . 
drops you into a dizzying , volatile , pressure-cooker of a situation that quickly snowballs out of control , while focusing on the what much more than the why . 
zhang . . . has done an amazing job of getting realistic performances from his mainly nonprofessional cast . 
a solid examination of the male midlife crisis . 
if you're in the mood for a bollywood film , here's one for you . 
as the two leads , lathan and diggs are charming and have chemistry both as friends and lovers . 
a beguiling , slow-moving parable about the collision of past and present on a remote seacoast in iran . 
my big fat greek wedding uses stereotypes in a delightful blend of sweet romance and lovingly dished out humor . 
kept aloft largely by a comically adept ensemble . 
the sort of film that makes me miss hitchcock , but also feel optimistic that there's hope for popular cinema yet . 
first-time writer-director serry shows a remarkable gift for storytelling with this moving , effective little film . 
it cuts to the core of what it actually means to face your fears , to be a girl in a world of boys , to be a boy truly in love with a girl , and to ride the big metaphorical wave that is life -- wherever it takes you . 
atom egoyan has conjured up a multilayered work that tackles any number of fascinating issues
essentially an exceptionally well-written , well-edited , well-directed , well-acted , bald rip-off of aliens . 
'de niro . . . is a veritable source of sincere passion that this hollywood contrivance orbits around . '
the whole is quite entertaining , but despite its virtues , there is an unsettled feeling to the film . 
while its careful pace and seemingly opaque story may not satisfy every moviegoer's appetite , the film's final scene is soaringly , transparently moving . 
hardly a masterpiece , but it introduces viewers to a good charitable enterprise and some interesting real people . 
based on a devilishly witty script by heather mcgowan and niels mueller , the film gets great laughs , but never at the expense of its characters
it's somewhat clumsy and too lethargically paced -- but its story about a mysterious creature with psychic abilities offers a solid build-up , a terrific climax , and some nice chills along the way . 
if you've ever wondered what an ending without the input of studio executives or test audiences would look like , here it is . 
exciting and direct , with ghost imagery that shows just enough to keep us on our toes . 
whether writer-director anne fontaine's film is a ghost story , an account of a nervous breakdown , a trip down memory lane , all three or none of the above , it is as seductive as it is haunting . 
what the film lacks in general focus it makes up for in compassion , as corcuera manages to find the seeds of hope in the form of collective action . 
if you enjoy more thoughtful comedies with interesting conflicted characters ; this one is for you . 
the quality of the art combined with the humor and intelligence of the script allow the filmmakers to present the biblical message of forgiveness without it ever becoming preachy or syrupy . 
this film seems thirsty for reflection , itself taking on adolescent qualities . 
another one of those estrogen overdose movies like " divine secrets of the ya ya sisterhood , " except that the writing , acting and character development are a lot better . 
a breezy romantic comedy that has the punch of a good sitcom , while offering exceptionally well-detailed characters . 
a romantic comedy enriched by a sharp eye for manners and mores . 
viewers of " the ring " are more likely to remember the haunting images than the plot holes . 
a delightful coming-of-age story . 
one of those energetic surprises , an original that pleases almost everyone who sees it . 
an exquisitely crafted and acted tale . 
a taut psychological thriller that doesn't waste a moment of its two-hour running time . 
jones . . . does offer a brutal form of charisma . 
despite its title , punch-drunk love is never heavy-handed . the jabs it employs are short , carefully placed and dead-center . 
there's a wickedly subversive bent to the best parts of birthday girl . 
likely to expertly drum up repressed teenage memories in any viewer . 
blanchett's performance confirms her power once again . 
 . . . a magnificent drama well worth tracking down . 
a good piece of work more often than not . 
the movie understands like few others how the depth and breadth of emotional intimacy give the physical act all of its meaning and most of its pleasure . 
what distinguishes time of favor from countless other thrillers is its underlying concern with the consequences of words and with the complicated emotions fueling terrorist acts . 
smart , provocative and blisteringly funny . 
nothing is sacred in this gut-buster . 
the movie occasionally threatens to become didactic , but it's too grounded in the reality of its characters to go over the edge . a touch of humor or an unexpected plot twist always pulls it back . 
filmmakers who can deftly change moods are treasures and even marvels . so , too , is this comedy about mild culture clashing in today's new delhi . 
if steven soderbergh's 'solaris' is a failure it is a glorious failure . 
 " mostly martha " is a bright , light modern day family parable that wears its heart on its sleeve for all to see . 
it's a scattershot affair , but when it hits its mark it's brilliant . 
a pleasant enough romance with intellectual underpinnings , the kind of movie that entertains even as it turns maddeningly predictable . 
featuring a dangerously seductive performance from the great daniel auteuil , " sade " covers the same period as kaufmann's " quills " with more unsettlingly realistic results . 
a spellbinding african film about the modern condition of rootlessness , a state experienced by millions around the globe . 
it's a work by an artist so in control of both his medium and his message that he can improvise like a jazzman . 
a moody , multi-dimensional love story and sci-fi mystery , solaris is a thought-provoking , haunting film that allows the seeds of the imagination to germinate . 
a very well-made , funny and entertaining picture . 
a giggle-inducing comedy with snappy dialogue and winning performances by an unlikely team of oscar-winners : susan sarandon and goldie hawn . 
its maker , steven spielberg , hasn't had so much fun in two decades , since he was schlepping indiana jones around the globe in search of a giant misplaced ashtray . 
oscar wilde's masterpiece , the importance of being earnest , may be the best play of the 19th century . it's so good that its relentless , polished wit can withstand not only inept school productions , but even oliver parker's movie adaptation . 
the movie does a good job of laying out some of the major issues that we encounter as we journey through life . 
brilliantly explores the conflict between following one's heart and following the demands of tradition . 
this remake gets all there is to get out of a peculiar premise with promise : al pacino loathing robin williams . 
the next generation of mob movie . part low rent godfather . part three stooges . 
lan yu is at times too restrained , yet there are moments it captures the erotics of intimacy in a way that makes most american love stories look downright unfree . 
a thinly veiled look at different aspects of chinese life clashing with each other . 
light years/ several warp speeds/ levels and levels of dilithium crystals better than the pitiful insurrection . which isn't to say that it's the equal of some of its predecessors . 
delightfully rendered
if this story must be told and retold -- and indeed it must -- then the grey zone is to be lauded for finding a new and ingenious angle . 
the lion king was a roaring success when it was released eight years ago , but on imax it seems better , not just bigger . 
a gripping movie , played with performances that are all understated and touching . 
the piece plays as well as it does thanks in large measure to anspaugh's three lead actresses . 
the inspirational screenplay by mike rich covers a lot of ground , perhaps too much , but ties things together , neatly , by the end . 
not the kind of film that will appeal to a mainstream american audience , but there is a certain charm about the film that makes it a suitable entry into the fest circuit . 
director andrew niccol . . . demonstrates a wry understanding of the quirks of fame . his healthy sense of satire is light and fun . . . . 
about a manga-like heroine who fights back at her abusers , it's energetic and satisfying if not deep and psychological . 
this is human comedy at its most amusing , interesting and confirming . 
an artful , intelligent film that stays within the confines of a well-established genre . 
majidi is an unconventional storyteller , capable of finding beauty in the most depressing places . 
richard gere and diane lane put in fine performances as does french actor oliver martinez . 
the minor figures surrounding [bobby] . . . form a gritty urban mosaic . 
this is wild surreal stuff , but brilliant and the camera just kind of sits there and lets you look at this and its like you're going from one room to the next and none of them have any relation to the other . 
it's a demented kitsch mess ( although the smeary digital video does match the muddled narrative ) , but it's savvy about celebrity and has more guts and energy than much of what will open this year . 
there is nothing outstanding about this film , but it is good enough and will likely be appreciated most by sailors and folks who know their way around a submarine . 
all-in-all , the film is an enjoyable and frankly told tale of a people who live among us , but not necessarily with us . 
an interesting story with a pertinent ( cinematically unique ) message , told fairly well and scored to perfection , i found myself struggling to put my finger on that elusive " missing thing . " 
a movie with a real anarchic flair . 
a welcome relief from baseball movies that try too hard to be mythic , this one is a sweet and modest and ultimately winning story . 
a crisp psychological drama [and] a fascinating little thriller that would have been perfect for an old " twilight zone " episode . 
it has more than a few moments that are insightful enough to be fondly remembered in the endlessly challenging maze of moviegoing . 
opening with some contrived banter , cliches and some loose ends , the screenplay only comes into its own in the second half . 
an uncluttered , resonant gem that relays its universal points without lectures or confrontations . 
'[the cockettes] provides a window into a subculture hell-bent on expressing itself in every way imaginable . '
a smart , steamy mix of road movie , coming-of-age story and political satire . 
the modern-day royals have nothing on these guys when it comes to scandals . it's only in fairy tales that princesses that are married for political reason live happily ever after . 
a terrific b movie -- in fact , the best in recent memory . 
 " birthday girl " is an actor's movie first and foremost . 
i walked away from this new version of e . t . just as i hoped i would -- with moist eyes . 
for devotees of french cinema , safe conduct is so rich with period minutiae it's like dying and going to celluloid heaven . 
what's really so appealing about the characters is their resemblance to everyday children . 
shamelessly resorting to pee-related sight gags that might even cause tom green a grimace ; still , myer's energy and the silliness of it all eventually prevail
an absurdist spider web . 
if you're as happy listening to movies as you are watching them , and the slow parade of human frailty fascinates you , then you're at the right film . 
this version moves beyond the original's nostalgia for the communal film experiences of yesteryear to a deeper realization of cinema's inability to stand in for true , lived experience . 
some movies blend together as they become distant memories . mention " solaris " five years from now and i'm sure those who saw it will have an opinion to share . 
allen's funniest and most likeable movie in years . 
it's a glorious spectacle like those d . w . griffith made in the early days of silent film . 
this comic gem is as delightful as it is derivative . 
more timely than its director could ever have dreamed , this quietly lyrical tale probes the ambiguous welcome extended by iran to the afghani refugees who streamed across its borders , desperate for work and food . 
the leaping story line , shaped by director peter kosminsky into sharp slivers and cutting impressions , shows all the signs of rich detail condensed into a few evocative images and striking character traits . 
with three excellent principal singers , a youthful and good-looking diva and tenor and richly handsome locations , it's enough to make you wish jacquot had left well enough alone and just filmed the opera without all these distortions of perspective . 
the production has been made with an enormous amount of affection , so we believe these characters love each other . 
certainly the performances are worthwhile . 
'no es la mejor cinta de la serie , ni la mejor con brosnan a la cabeza , pero de que entretiene ni duda cabe . '
winds up being both revelatory and narcissistic , achieving some honest insight into relationships that most high-concept films candy-coat with pat storylines , precious circumstances and beautiful stars . 
watching these eccentrics is both inspiring and pure joy . 
steven spielberg brings us another masterpiece
finally , the french-produced " read my lips " is a movie that understands characters must come first . 
ms . seigner and mr . serrault bring fresh , unforced naturalism to their characters . 
allen shows he can outgag any of those young whippersnappers making moving pictures today . 
a good film with a solid pedigree both in front of and , more specifically , behind the camera . 
by no means a slam-dunk and sure to ultimately disappoint the action fans who will be moved to the edge of their seats by the dynamic first act , it still comes off as a touching , transcendent love story . 
i encourage young and old alike to go see this unique and entertaining twist on the classic whale's tale -- you won't be sorry ! 
a literary detective story is still a detective story and aficionados of the whodunit won't be disappointed . 
high crimes steals so freely from other movies and combines enough disparate types of films that it can't help but engage an audience . 
if you're a fan of the series you'll love it and probably want to see it twice . i will be . 
it celebrates the group's playful spark of nonconformity , glancing vividly back at what hibiscus grandly called his 'angels of light . '
the story . . . is inspiring , ironic , and revelatory of just how ridiculous and money-oriented the record industry really is . it is also a testament to the integrity and vision of the band . 
laced with liberal doses of dark humor , gorgeous exterior photography , and a stable-full of solid performances , no such thing is a fascinating little tale . 
huppert's show to steal and she makes a meal of it , channeling kathy baker's creepy turn as the repressed mother on boston public just as much as 8 women's augustine . 
nair doesn't treat the issues lightly . she allows each character to confront their problems openly and honestly . 
one of the best silly horror movies of recent memory , with some real shocks in store for unwary viewers . 
the work of a filmmaker who has secrets buried at the heart of his story and knows how to take time revealing them . strange occurrences build in the mind of the viewer and take on extreme urgency . 
has a certain ghoulish fascination , and generates a fair amount of b-movie excitement . 
familiar but utterly delightful . 
a fascinating , dark thriller that keeps you hooked on the delicious pulpiness of its lurid fiction . 
the film aims to be funny , uplifting and moving , sometimes all at once . the extent to which it succeeds is impressive . 
the film brilliantly shines on all the characters , as the direction is intelligently accomplished . 
while not for every taste , this often very funny collegiate gross-out comedy goes a long way toward restoring the luster of the national lampoon film franchise , too long reduced to direct-to-video irrelevancy . 
as broad and cartoonish as the screenplay is , there is an accuracy of observation in the work of the director , frank novak , that keeps the film grounded in an undeniable social realism . 
in addition to hoffman's powerful acting clinic , this is that rare drama that offers a thoughtful and rewarding glimpse into the sort of heartache everyone has felt , or will feel someday . 
jeffrey tambor's performance as the intelligent jazz-playing exterminator is oscar-worthy . 
from the opening strains of the average white band's " pick up the pieces " , you can feel the love . 
stevens' vibrant creative instincts are the difference between this and countless other flicks about guys and dolls . 
that it'll probably be the best and most mature comedy of the 2002 summer season speaks more of the season than the picture
old people will love this movie , and i mean that in the nicest possible way : last orders will touch the heart of anyone old enough to have earned a 50-year friendship . 
meyjes' provocative film might be called an example of the haphazardness of evil . 
tian emphasizes the isolation of these characters by confining color to liyan's backyard . 
the movie is pretty funny now and then without in any way demeaning its subjects . 
imagine a scenario where bergman approaches swedish fatalism using gary larson's far side humor
too damn weird to pass up , and for the blacklight crowd , way cheaper ( and better ) than pink floyd tickets . 
it is most remarkable not because of its epic scope , but because of the startling intimacy it achieves despite that breadth . 
it's not a great monster movie . but if you've paid a matinee price and bought a big tub of popcorn , there's guilty fun to be had here . chomp chomp ! 
the grey zone gives voice to a story that needs to be heard in the sea of holocaust movies . . . but the film suffers from its own difficulties . 
fun and nimble . 
others , more attuned to the anarchist maxim that 'the urge to destroy is also a creative urge' , or more willing to see with their own eyes , will find morrison's iconoclastic uses of technology to be liberating . 
miller tells this very compelling tale with little fuss or noise , expertly plucking tension from quiet . 
time out is existential drama without any of the pretension associated with the term . 
it's a sweet , laugh-a-minute crowd pleaser that lifts your spirits as well as the corners of your mouth . 
writer/director alexander payne ( election ) and his co-writer jim taylor brilliantly employ their quirky and fearless ability to look american angst in the eye and end up laughing . 
a movie that at its best doesn't just make the most out of its characters' flaws but insists on the virtue of imperfection . 
it's tough to watch , but it's a fantastic movie . 
the best animated feature to hit theaters since beauty and the beast 11 years ago . 
what saves this deeply affecting film from being merely a collection of wrenching cases is corcuera's attention to detail . 
funny and touching . 
pacino is the best he's been in years and keener is marvelous . 
a solid , spooky entertainment worthy of the price of a ticket . 
by turns fanciful , grisly and engagingly quixotic . 
 . . . very funny , very enjoyable . . . 
adaptation is intricately constructed and in a strange way nails all of orlean's themes without being a true adaptation of her book . 
so purely enjoyable that you might not even notice it's a fairly straightforward remake of hollywood comedies such as father of the bride . 
moonlight mile gives itself the freedom to feel contradictory things . it is sentimental but feels free to offend , is analytical and then surrenders to the illogic of its characters , is about grief and yet permits laughter . 
the real triumphs in igby come from philippe , who makes oliver far more interesting than the character's lines would suggest , and sarandon , who couldn't be better as a cruel but weirdly likable wasp matron . 
robin williams has thankfully ditched the saccharine sentimentality of bicentennial man in favour of an altogether darker side . 
if you're willing to have fun with it , you won't feel cheated by the high infidelity of unfaithful . 
australia : land beyond time is an enjoyable big movie primarily because australia is a weirdly beautiful place . 
hoffman's performance is authentic to the core of his being . 
told just proficiently enough to trounce its overly comfortable trappings . 
an enthralling aesthetic experience , one that's steeped in mystery and a ravishing , baroque beauty . 
the quirky drama touches the heart and the funnybone thanks to the energetic and always surprising performance by rachel griffiths . 
a captivating coming-of-age story that may also be the first narrative film to be truly informed by the wireless age . 
what could have been a daytime soap opera is actually a compelling look at a young woman's tragic odyssey . 
duvall is strong as always . 
a no-holds-barred cinematic treat . 
you'd have to be a most hard-hearted person not to be moved by this drama . 
allen's underestimated charm delivers more goodies than lumps of coal . 
measured against practically any like-themed film other than its oscar-sweeping franchise predecessor the silence of the lambs , red dragon rates as an exceptional thriller . 
an exhilarating serving of movie fluff . 
maelstrom is strange and compelling , engrossing and different , a moral tale with a twisted sense of humor . 
it makes you believe the cast and crew thoroughly enjoyed themselves and believed in their small-budget film . 
dark and disturbing , yet compelling to watch . 
too often , son of the bride becomes an exercise in trying to predict when a preordained " big moment " will occur and not " if . " 
the picture uses humor and a heartfelt conviction to tell a story about discovering your destination in life , but also acknowledging the places , and the people , from whence you came . 
a solid piece of journalistic work that draws a picture of a man for whom political expedience became a deadly foreign policy . 
a terrific insider look at the star-making machinery of tinseltown . 
it's a diverting enough hour-and-a-half for the family audience . 
a party-hearty teen flick that scalds like acid . 
as giddy and whimsical and relevant today as it was 270 years ago . 
the film offers an intriguing what-if premise . 
the pianist is the film roman polanski may have been born to make . 
this version does justice both to stevenson and to the sci-fi genre . 
poignant and delicately complex . 
enough may pander to our basest desires for payback , but unlike many revenge fantasies , it ultimately delivers . 
cho's latest comic set isn't as sharp or as fresh as i'm the one that i want . . . but it's still damn funny stuff . 
in the pianist , polanski is saying what he has long wanted to say , confronting the roots of his own preoccupations and obsessions , and he allows nothing to get in the way . 
despite the film's shortcomings , the stories are quietly moving . 
those who love cinema paradiso will find the new scenes interesting , but few will find the movie improved . 
if you come from a family that eats , meddles , argues , laughs , kibbitzes and fights together , then go see this delightful comedy . 
this bracingly truthful antidote to hollywood teenage movies that slather clearasil over the blemishes of youth captures the combustible mixture of a chafing inner loneliness and desperate grandiosity that tend to characterize puberty . 
the reason to see " sade " lay with the chemistry and complex relationship between the marquis ( auteil ) and emilie ( le besco ) . 
it's the filmmakers' post-camp comprehension of what made old-time b movies good-bad that makes eight legged freaks a perfectly entertaining summer diversion . 
serious and thoughtful . 
it strikes hardest… when it reminds you how pertinent its dynamics remain . fifty years after the fact , the world's political situation seems little different , and [director phillip] noyce brings out the allegory with remarkable skill . 
the film's strength isn't in its details , but in the larger picture it paints - of a culture in conflict with itself , with the thin veneer of nationalism that covers our deepest , media-soaked fears . 
 . . . best seen as speculative history , as much an exploration of the paranoid impulse as a creative sequel to the warren report . 
it has its faults , but it is a kind , unapologetic , sweetheart of a movie , and mandy moore leaves a positive impression . 
the saigon of 1952 is an uneasy mix of sensual delights and simmering violence , and the quiet american brings us right into the center of that world . 
despite its shortcomings , girls can't swim represents an engaging and intimate first feature by a talented director to watch , and it's a worthy entry in the french coming-of-age genre . 
flawed , but worth seeing for ambrose's performance . 
with dirty deeds , david caesar has stepped into the mainstream of filmmaking with an assurance worthy of international acclaim and with every cinematic tool well under his control -- driven by a natural sense for what works on screen . 
the humor and humanity of monsoon wedding are in perfect balance . 
lookin' for sin , american-style ? try hell house , which documents the cautionary christian spook-a-rama of the same name . 
a compelling motion picture that illustrates an american tragedy . 
as comedic spotlights go , notorious c . h . o . hits all the verbal marks it should . 
it's a day at the beach -- with air conditioning and popcorn . 
frida isn't that much different from many a hollywood romance . what sets it apart is the vision that taymor , the avant garde director of broadway's the lion king and the film titus , brings . 
stevens has a flair for dialogue comedy , the film operates nicely off the element of surprise , and the large cast is solid . 
extremely well acted by the four primary actors , this is a seriously intended movie that is not easily forgotten . 
the film exudes the urbane sweetness that woody allen seems to have bitterly forsaken . 
k-19 : the widowmaker is derivative , overlong , and bombastic -- yet surprisingly entertaining . 
it's good , hard-edged stuff , violent and a bit exploitative but also nicely done , morally alert and street-smart . 
cineasts will revel in those visual in-jokes , as in the film's verbal pokes at everything from the likes of miramax chief harvey weinstein's bluff personal style to the stylistic rigors of denmark's dogma movement . 
it's a rare window on an artistic collaboration . 
 . . . begins with promise , but runs aground after being snared in its own tangled plot . 
perhaps the best sports movie i've ever seen . 
cho's timing is priceless . 
 . . . creates a visceral sense of its characters' lives and conflicted emotions that carries it far above . . . what could have been a melodramatic , lifetime channel-style anthology . 
a sensitive , moving , brilliantly constructed work . 
an edgy thriller that delivers a surprising punch . 
a reasonably entertaining sequel to 1994's surprise family hit that may strain adult credibility . 
[reno] delivers a monologue that manages to incorporate both the horror and the absurdity of the situation in a well-balanced fashion . 
there is truth here
a confident , richly acted , emotionally devastating piece of work and 2002's first great film
a touching , small-scale story of family responsibility and care in the community . 
arteta directs one of the best ensemble casts of the year
the casting of von sydow . . . is itself intacto's luckiest stroke . 
no , it's not as single-minded as john carpenter's original , but it's sure a lot smarter and more unnerving than the sequels . 
a gem of a romantic crime comedy that turns out to be clever , amusing and unpredictable . 
stands as one of the year's most intriguing movie experiences , letting its imagery speak for it while it forces you to ponder anew what a movie can be . 
 . . . the first 2/3 of the film are incredibly captivating and insanely funny , thanks in part to interesting cinematic devices ( cool visual backmasking ) , a solid cast , and some wickedly sick and twisted humor . . . 
this movie got me grinning . there's a part of us that cannot help be entertained by the sight of someone getting away with something . 
an old-fashioned drama of substance about a teacher's slide down the slippery slope of dishonesty after an encounter with the rich and the powerful who have nothing but disdain for virtue . 
what's not to like about a movie with a 'children's' song that includes the line 'my stepdad's not mean , he's just adjusting' ? 
this english-language version . . . does full honor to miyazaki's teeming and often unsettling landscape , and to the conflicted complexity of his characters . 
the pleasures that it does afford may be enough to keep many moviegoers occupied amidst some of the more serious-minded concerns of other year-end movies . 
not everyone will welcome or accept the trials of henry kissinger as faithful portraiture , but few can argue that the debate it joins is a necessary and timely one . 
there are no special effects , and no hollywood endings . 
like the original , this version is raised a few notches above kiddie fantasy pablum by allen's astringent wit . 
despite its hawaiian setting , the science-fiction trimmings and some moments of rowdy slapstick , the basic plot of " lilo " could have been pulled from a tear-stained vintage shirley temple script . 
a brutally honest documentary about a much anticipated family reunion that goes wrong thanks to culture shock and a refusal to empathize with others . 
filled with honest performances and exceptional detail , baran is a gentle film with dramatic punch , a haunting ode to humanity . 
sparkles in its deft portrait of tinseltown's seasoned veterans of gossip , wealth , paranoia , and celebrityhood . 
in its dry and forceful way , it delivers the same message as jiri menzel's closely watched trains and danis tanovic's no man's land . 
one-of-a-kind near-masterpiece . 
 . . . a triumph of emotionally and narratively complex filmmaking . 
[haynes'] homage to such films as " all that heaven allows " and " imitation of life " transcends them . simply put , " far from heaven " is a masterpiece . 
an intense and effective film about loneliness and the chilly anonymity of the environments where so many of us spend so much of our time . 
although fairly involving as far as it goes , the film doesn't end up having much that is fresh to say about growing up catholic or , really , anything . 
proves mainly that south korean filmmakers can make undemanding action movies with all the alacrity of their hollywood counterparts . 
a very funny romantic comedy about two skittish new york middle-agers who stumble into a relationship and then struggle furiously with their fears and foibles . 
top-notch action powers this romantic drama . 
beresford nicely mixes in as much humor as pathos to take us on his sentimental journey of the heart . it really is a shame that more won't get an opportunity to embrace small , sweet 'evelyn . '
i stopped thinking about how good it all was , and started doing nothing but reacting to it - feeling a part of its grand locations , thinking urgently as the protagonists struggled , feeling at the mercy of its inventiveness , gasping at its visual delights . 
probably the best case for christianity since chesterton and lewis . 
a gently funny , sweetly adventurous film that makes you feel genuinely good , that is to say , entirely unconned by false sentiment or sharp , overmanipulative hollywood practices . 
would be an unendurable viewing experience for this ultra-provincial new yorker if 26-year-old reese witherspoon were not on hand to inject her pure fantasy character , melanie carmichael , with a massive infusion of old-fashioned hollywood magic . 
visually fascinating . . . an often intense character study about fathers and sons , loyalty and duty . 
a lyrical metaphor for cultural and personal self-discovery and a picaresque view of a little-remembered world . 
schütte's dramatic snapshot of the artist three days before his death offers an interesting bit of speculation as to the issues brecht faced as his life drew to a close . 
a slick , engrossing melodrama . 
s1m0ne's satire is not subtle , but it is effective . it's a quirky , off-beat project . . . . 
while some will object to the idea of a vietnam picture with such a rah-rah , patriotic tone , soldiers ultimately achieves its main strategic objective : dramatizing the human cost of the conflict that came to define a generation . 
even if you don't know the band or the album's songs by heart , you will enjoy seeing how both evolve , and you will also learn a good deal about the state of the music business in the 21st century . 
the solid filmmaking and convincing characters makes this a high water mark for this genre . 
films about loss , grief and recovery are pretty valuable these days . seen in that light , moonlight mile should strike a nerve in many . 
it's endlessly inventive , consistently intelligent and sickeningly savage . 
it is definitely worth seeing . 
an impeccable study in perversity . 
far from heaven is a dazzling conceptual feat , but more than that , it's a work of enthralling drama . 
a movie that both thrills the eye and , in its over-the-top way , touches the heart . 
stuffed to the brim with ideas , american instigator michael moore's film is a rambling examination of american gun culture that uses his usual modus operandi of crucifixion through juxtaposition . 
affectionately reminds us that , in any language , the huge stuff in life can usually be traced back to the little things . 
a drama of great power , yet some members of the audience will leave the theater believing they have seen a comedy . 
the large-frame imax camera lends itself beautifully to filming the teeming life on the reefs , making this gorgeous film a must for everyone from junior scientists to grown-up fish lovers . 
the result is more depressing than liberating , but it's never boring . 
a story about intelligent high school students that deals with first love sweetly but also seriously . it is also beautifully acted . 
it isn't that the picture is unfamiliar , but that it manages to find new avenues of discourse on old problems . 
same song , second verse , coulda been better , but it coulda been worse . 
it's a technically superb film , shining with all the usual spielberg flair , expertly utilizing the talents of his top-notch creative team . 
wilco fans will have a great time , and the movie should win the band a few new converts , too . 
tsai has a well-deserved reputation as one of the cinema world's great visual stylists , and in this film , every shot enhances the excellent performances . 
the date movie that franz kafka would have made . 
the fact is that the screen is most alive when it seems most likely that broomfield's interviewees , or even himself , will not be for much longer . 
leguizamo and jones are both excellent and the rest of the cast is uniformly superb . 
i liked this film a lot . . . 
 . . . there is enough originality in 'life' to distance it from the pack of paint-by-number romantic comedies that so often end up on cinema screens . 
a solid and refined piece of moviemaking imbued with passion and attitude . 
nettelbeck has crafted an engaging fantasy of flavours and emotions , one part romance novel , one part recipe book . 
with or without the sex , a wonderful tale of love and destiny , told well by a master storyteller
on the surface a silly comedy , scotland , pa would be forgettable if it weren't such a clever adaptation of the bard's tragic play . 
a weird , arresting little ride . 
a fine film , but it would be a lot better if it stuck to betty fisher and left out the other stories . 
a first-class road movie that proves you can run away from home , but your ego and all your problems go with you . 
you might want to take a reality check before you pay the full ticket price to see " simone , " and consider a dvd rental instead . 
well cast and well directed - a powerful drama with enough sardonic wit to keep it from being maudlin . 
a backstage must-see for true fans of comedy . 
there's back-stabbing , inter-racial desire and , most importantly , singing and dancing . 
the film sounds like the stuff of lurid melodrama , but what makes it interesting as a character study is the fact that the story is told from paul's perspective . 
jones . . . makes a great impression as the writer-director of this little $1 . 8 million charmer , which may not be cutting-edge indie filmmaking but has a huge heart . 
in the disturbingly involving family dysfunctional drama how i killed my father , french director anne fontaine delivers an inspired portrait of male-ridden angst and the emotional blockage that accompanies this human condition
below may not mark mr . twohy's emergence into the mainstream , but his promise remains undiminished . 
there's no reason to miss interview with the assassin
happily stays close to the ground in a spare and simple manner and doesn't pummel us with phony imagery or music . 
its sheer dynamism is infectious . 
for his first attempt at film noir , spielberg presents a fascinating but flawed look at the near future . 
lightweight but appealing . 
it somehow managed to make its way past my crappola radar and find a small place in my heart
perhaps it's cliche to call the film 'refreshing , ' but it is . 'drumline' shows a level of young , black manhood that is funny , touching , smart and complicated . 
it does give a taste of the burning man ethos , an appealing blend of counter-cultural idealism and hedonistic creativity . 
the limited sets and small confined and dark spaces also are homages to a classic low-budget film noir movie . 
the movie is well done , but slow . 
[a] wonderfully loopy tale of love , longing , and voting . 
the fascination comes in the power of the huston performance , which seems so larger than life and yet so fragile , and in the way the ivan character accepts the news of his illness so quickly but still finds himself unable to react . 
the last scenes of the film are anguished , bitter and truthful . mr . koshashvili is a director to watch . 
predictable storyline and by-the-book scripting is all but washed away by sumptuous ocean visuals and the cinematic stylings of director john stockwell . 
antwone fisher certainly does the trick of making us care about its protagonist and celebrate his victories but , with few exceptions , it rarely stoops to cheap manipulation or corny conventions to do it . 
one feels the dimming of a certain ambition , but in its place a sweetness , clarity and emotional openness that recalls the classics of early italian neorealism . 
it challenges , this nervy oddity , like modern art should . 
whenever you think you've figured out late marriage , it throws you for a loop . 
the pianist is polanski's best film . 
it is a testament of quiet endurance , of common concern , of reconciled survival . 
this orange has some juice , but it's far from fresh-squeezed . 
a sensitive , modest comic tragedy that works as both character study and symbolic examination of the huge economic changes sweeping modern china . 
highly engaging . 
high crimes knows the mistakes that bad movies make and is determined not to make them , and maybe that is nobility of a sort . 
cusack's just brilliant in this . 
knows how to make our imagination wonder . 
jae-eun jeong's take care of my cat brings a beguiling freshness to a coming-of-age story with such a buoyant , expressive flow of images that it emerges as another key contribution to the flowering of the south korean cinema . 
the overall fabric is hypnotic , and mr . mattei fosters moments of spontaneous intimacy . 
evokes a palpable sense of disconnection , made all the more poignant by the incessant use of cell phones . 
malcolm mcdowell is cool . paul bettany is cool . paul bettany playing malcolm mcdowell ? cool . 
a touching , sophisticated film that almost seems like a documentary in the way it captures an italian immigrant family on the brink of major changes . 
 . . . a trashy little bit of fluff stuffed with enjoyable performances and a bewildering sense of self-importance
an inventive , absorbing movie that's as hard to classify as it is hard to resist . 
it made me want to get made-up and go see this movie with my sisters . i thought the relationships were wonderful , the comedy was funny , and the love 'real' . 
 ( caine ) proves once again he hasn't lost his touch , bringing off a superb performance in an admittedly middling film . 
bogdanovich puts history in perspective and , via kirsten dunst's remarkable performance , he showcases davies as a young woman of great charm , generosity and diplomacy . 
this breezy caper movie becomes a soulful , incisive meditation on the way we were , and the way we are . 
a captivating new film . 
those who aren't put off by the film's austerity will find it more than capable of rewarding them . 
it's a clear-eyed portrait of an intensely lived time , filled with nervous energy , moral ambiguity and great uncertainties . 
reveals how important our special talents can be when put in service of of others . it also shows how deeply felt emotions can draw people together across the walls that might otherwise separate them . 
with the same sort of good-natured fun found in films like tremors , eight legged freaks is prime escapist fare . 
a sharp , amusing study of the cult of celebrity . 
the sentimental cliches mar an otherwise excellent film . a powerful performance from mel gibson and a brutal 90-minute battle sequence that does everything but issue you a dog-tag and an m-16 . 
a graceful , moving tribute to the courage of new york's finest and a nicely understated expression of the grief shared by the nation at their sacrifice . 
a coming-of-age tale from new zealand whose boozy , languid air is balanced by a rich visual clarity and deeply felt performances across the board . 
made to be jaglomized is the cannes film festival , the annual riviera spree of flesh , buzz , blab and money . the charming result is festival in cannes . 
if you're looking for something new and hoping for something entertaining , you're in luck . 
a hugely rewarding experience that's every bit as enlightening , insightful and entertaining as grant's two best films -- four weddings and a funeral and bridget jones's diary . 
a rip-roaring comedy action fest that'll put hairs on your chest . 
if there's no art here , it's still a good yarn -- which is nothing to sneeze at these days . 
simultaneously heart-breaking and very funny , the last kiss is really all about performances . 
there is a subversive element to this disney cartoon , providing unexpected fizzability . 
an unforgettable look at morality , family , and social expectation through the prism of that omnibus tradition called marriage . 
an enjoyable , if occasionally flawed , experiment . 
miyazaki is one of world cinema's most wondrously gifted artists and storytellers . 
if ayurveda can help us return to a sane regimen of eating , sleeping and stress-reducing contemplation , it is clearly a good thing . 
meeting , even exceeding expectations , it's the best sequel since the empire strikes back . . . a majestic achievement , an epic of astonishing grandeur and surprising emotional depth . 
leigh is one of the rare directors who feels acting is the heart and soul of cinema . he allows his cast members to make creative contributions to the story and dialogue . this method almost never fails him , and it works superbly here . 
poetry in motion captured on film . while it can be a bit repetitive , overall it's an entertaining and informative documentary . 
directing with a sure and measured hand , [haneke] steers clear of the sensational and offers instead an unflinching and objective look at a decidedly perverse pathology . 
the entire movie establishes a wonderfully creepy mood . 
i found the ring moderately absorbing , largely for its elegantly colorful look and sound . 
the filmmakers want nothing else than to show us a good time , and in their cheap , b movie way , they succeed . 
amari has dressed up this little parable in a fairly irresistible package full of privileged moments and memorable performances . 
rabbit-proof fence will probably make you angry . but it will just as likely make you weep , and it will do so in a way that doesn't make you feel like a sucker . 
both heartbreaking and heartwarming . . . just a simple fable done in an artless sytle , but it's tremendously moving . 
this masterfully calibrated psychological thriller thrives on its taut performances and creepy atmosphere even if the screenplay falls somewhat short . 
the film's sense of imagery gives it a terrible strength , but it's propelled by the acting . 
the pianist [is] a supremely hopeful cautionary tale of war's madness remembered that we , today , can prevent its tragic waste of life . here is a divine monument to a single man's struggle to regain his life , his dignity and his music . 
strange it is , but delightfully so . 
elegant , mannered and teasing . 
an average coming-of-age tale elevated by the wholesome twist of a pesky mother interfering during her son's discovery of his homosexuality . 
the ingenuity that parker displays in freshening the play is almost in a class with that of wilde himself . 
decasia is what has happened already to so many silent movies , newsreels and the like . the unexpected thing is that its dying , in this shower of black-and-white psychedelia , is quite beautiful . 
a droll , bitchy frolic which pokes fun at the price of popularity and small-town pretension in the lone star state . 
with each of her three protagonists , miller eloquently captures the moment when a woman's life , out of a deep-seated , emotional need , is about to turn onto a different path . 
ryan gosling . . . is at 22 a powerful young actor . 
a minor work yet there's no denying the potency of miller's strange , fleeting brew of hopeful perseverance and hopeless closure . 
as an introduction to the man's theories and influence , derrida is all but useless ; as a portrait of the artist as an endlessly inquisitive old man , however , it's invaluable . 
the film is a verbal duel between two gifted performers . 
imperfect ? yes , but also intriguing and honorable , a worthwhile addition to a distinguished film legacy . 
you'll get the enjoyable basic minimum . but not a whit more . 
what a great way to spend 4 units of your day . 
the movie is hardly a masterpiece , but it does mark ms . bullock's best work in some time . 
as simple and innocent a movie as you can imagine . this is a movie you can trust . 
passionate , irrational , long-suffering but cruel as a tarantula , helga figures prominently in this movie , and helps keep the proceedings as funny for grown-ups as for rugrats . 
 " it's all about the image . " 
feral and uncomfortable . 
vividly conveys the passion , creativity , and fearlessness of one of mexico's most colorful and controversial artists -- a captivating drama that will speak to the nonconformist in us all . 
hollywood ending is not show-stoppingly hilarious , but scathingly witty nonetheless . 
maybe thomas wolfe was right : you can't go home again . 
a compelling yarn , but not quite a ripping one . 
on the granger movie gauge of 1 to 10 , the powerpuff girls is a fast , frenetic , funny , even punny 6 -- aimed specifically at a grade-school audience . 
the film has several strong performances . 
i've never bought from telemarketers , but i bought this movie . 
perfectly pitched between comedy and tragedy , hope and despair , about schmidt instead comes far closer than many movies to expressing the way many of us live -- someplace between consuming self-absorption and insistently demanding otherness . 
the funny thing is , i didn't mind all this contrived nonsense a bit . 
[shyamalan] turns the goose-pimple genre on its empty head and fills it with spirit , purpose and emotionally bruised characters who add up to more than body count . 
a sexy , peculiar and always entertaining costume drama set in renaissance spain , and the fact that it's based on true events somehow makes it all the more compelling . 
an entertaining documentary that freshly considers arguments the bard's immortal plays were written by somebody else . 
a highly spirited , imaginative kid's movie that broaches neo-augustinian theology : is god stuck in heaven because he's afraid of his best-known creation ? 
call it magic realism or surrealism , but miss wonton floats beyond reality with a certain degree of wit and dignity . 
raimi and his team couldn't have done any better in bringing the story of spider-man to the big screen . 
the director explores all three sides of his story with a sensitivity and an inquisitiveness reminiscent of truffaut . 
well-acted , well-directed and , for all its moodiness , not too pretentious . 
it's a satisfying summer blockbuster and worth a look . 
boomers and their kids will have a barrie good time . 
real women have curves wears its empowerment on its sleeve but even its worst harangues are easy to swallow thanks to remarkable performances by ferrera and ontiveros . 
ultimately , " mib ii " succeeds due to its rapid-fire delivery and enough inspired levity that it can't be dismissed as mindless . 
stage director sam mendes showcases tom hanks as a depression era hit-man in this dark tale of revenge . 
sitting in the third row of the imax cinema at sydney's darling harbour , but i sometimes felt as though i was in the tiny two seater plane that carried the giant camera around australia , sweeping and gliding , banking and hovering over some of the most not
the real charm of this trifle is the deadpan comic face of its star , jean reno , who resembles sly stallone in a hot sake half-sleep . 
what's so fun about this silly , outrageous , ingenious thriller is the director's talent . watching a brian depalma movie is like watching an alfred hitchcock movie after drinking twelve beers . 
strip it of all its excess debris , and you'd have a 90-minute , four-star movie . as it is , it's too long and unfocused . 
an immensely entertaining look at some of the unsung heroes of 20th century pop music . 
this familiar rise-and-fall tale is long on glamour and short on larger moralistic consequences , though it's told with sharp ears and eyes for the tenor of the times . 
this beautifully animated epic is never dull . 
brian tufano's handsome widescreen photography and paul grabowsky's excellent music turn this fairly parochial melodrama into something really rather special . 
it makes compelling , provocative and prescient viewing . 
a thoroughly entertaining comedy that uses grant's own twist of acidity to prevent itself from succumbing to its own bathos . 
using a stock plot , about a boy injects just enough freshness into the proceedings to provide an enjoyable 100 minutes in a movie theater . 
what eric schaeffer has accomplished with never again may not , strictly speaking , qualify as revolutionary . but it's defiantly and delightfully against the grain . 
the hard-to-predict and absolutely essential chemistry between the down-to-earth bullock and the nonchalant grant proves to be sensational , and everything meshes in this elegant entertainment . 
a positively thrilling combination of ethnography and all the intrigue , betrayal , deceit and murder of a shakespearean tragedy or a juicy soap opera . 
mr . clooney , mr . kaufman and all their collaborators are entitled to take a deep bow for fashioning an engrossing entertainment out of an almost sure-fire prescription for a critical and commercial disaster . 
definitely funny stuff , but it's more of the 'laughing at' variety than the 'laughing with . '
easily the most thoughtful fictional examination of the root causes of anti-semitism ever seen on screen . 
a gripping drama . 
a real winner -- smart , funny , subtle , and resonant . 
family portrait of need , neurosis and nervy negativity is a rare treat that shows the promise of digital filmmaking . 
the pitch must have read like a discarded house beautiful spread . 
uplifting as only a document of the worst possibilities of mankind can be , and among the best films of the year . 
director david jacobson gives dahmer a consideration that the murderer never game his victims . 
the film has a terrific look and salma hayek has a feel for the character at all stages of her life . 
a decided lack of spontaneity in its execution and a dearth of real poignancy in its epiphanies . 
the performances are remarkable . 
it's burns' visuals , characters and his punchy dialogue , not his plot , that carry waydowntown . 
as literary desecrations go , this makes for perfectly acceptable , occasionally very enjoyable children's entertainment . you'll forget about it by monday , though , and if they're old enough to have developed some taste , so will your kids . 
while i can't say it's on par with the first one , stuart little 2 is a light , fun cheese puff of a movie . 
strange , funny , twisted , brilliant and macabre . 
a genuinely moving and wisely unsentimental drama . 
heaven is a haunting dramatization of a couple's moral ascension . 
the mothman prophecies is best when illustrating the demons bedevilling the modern masculine journey . 
'stock up on silver bullets for director neil marshall's intense freight train of a film . '
plays out with a dogged and eventually winning squareness that would make it the darling of many a kids-and-family-oriented cable channel . 
an entertaining british hybrid of comedy , caper thrills and quirky romance . 
alain choquart's camera barely stops moving , portraying both the turmoil of the time and giving conduct a perpetual sense of urgency , which , for a film that takes nearly three hours to unspool , is both funny and irritating . 
mostly martha could have used a little trimming -- 10 or 15 minutes could be cut and no one would notice -- but it's a pleasurable trifle . the only pain you'll feel as the credits roll is your stomach grumbling for some tasty grub . 
hardly an objective documentary , but it's great cinematic polemic . . . love moore or loathe him , you've got to admire . . . the intensity with which he's willing to express his convictions . 
the mark of a respectable summer blockbuster is one of two things : unadulterated thrills or genuine laughs . 
the film is visually dazzling , the depicted events dramatic , funny and poignant . 
a directorial tour de force by bernard rose , ivans xtc . is one of this year's very best pictures . 
what makes the movie work — to an admittedly limited extent — is the commitment of two genuinely engaging performers . weaver and lapaglia are both excellent , in the kind of low-key way that allows us to forget that they are actually movie folk . 
even the digressions are funny . 
mr . spielberg and his company just want you to enjoy yourselves without feeling conned . and they succeed merrily at their noble endeavor . 
melodrama with a message . 
en sí mismo el rey león es un espectáculo digno de contemplarse en cine , dvd o en su soberbio montaje teatral ; pero el hacerlo en la pantalla imax es una experiencia colosal . 
a perfectly pleasant if slightly pokey comedy . 
coppola's directorial debut is an incredibly layered and stylistic film that , despite a fairly slow paced , almost humdrum approach to character development , still manages at least a decent attempt at meaningful cinema . 
at the end , when the now computerized yoda finally reveals his martial artistry , the film ascends to a kinetic life so teeming that even cranky adults may rediscover the quivering kid inside . 
wang xiaoshuai directs this intricately structured and well-realized drama that presents a fascinating glimpse of urban life and the class warfare that embroils two young men . 
it's hard to imagine anybody ever being " in the mood " to view a movie as harrowing and painful as the grey zone , but it's equally hard to imagine anybody being able to tear their eyes away from the screen once it's started . 
bogdanovich taps deep into the hearst mystique , entertainingly reenacting a historic scandal . 
a moving tale of love and destruction in unexpected places , unexamined lives . 
clooney directs this film always keeping the balance between the fantastic and the believable . . . 
beautifully produced . 
smart and taut . 
even if you don't understand what on earth is going on , this is a movie that will stimulate hours of post viewing discussion , if only to be reminded of who did what to whom and why . 
 . . . a lesson in prehistoric hilarity . 
a fantastically vital movie that manages to invest real humor , sensuality , and sympathy into a story about two adolescent boys . 
lawrence plumbs personal tragedy and also the human comedy . 
though a capable thriller , somewhere along the way k-19 jettisoned some crucial drama . 
just about the surest bet for an all-around good time at the movies this summer . 
it would be disingenuous to call reno a great film , but you can say that about most of the flicks moving in and out of the multiplex . this is a movie that is what it is : a pleasant distraction , a friday night diversion , an excuse to eat popcorn . 
os universos de chuck barris e charlie kaufman são complementares . e igualmente fascinantes . 
there is a certain sense of experimentation and improvisation to this film that may not always work , but it is nevertheless compelling . 
the four feathers has rewards , from the exoticism of its seas of sand to the fierce grandeur of its sweeping battle scenes . 
a delicious , quirky movie with a terrific screenplay and fanciful direction by michael gondry . 
this story still seems timely and important . and there's an element of heartbreak to watching it now , with older and wiser eyes , because we know what will happen after greene's story ends . 
the bodily function jokes are about what you'd expect , but there are rich veins of funny stuff in this movie . 
the performances are amiable and committed , and the comedy more often than not hits the bullseye . 
this time , the hype is quieter , and while the movie is slightly less successful than the first , it's still a rollicking good time for the most part . 
there's plenty to enjoy -- in no small part thanks to lau . 
with a romantic comedy plotline straight from the ages , this cinderella story doesn't have a single surprise up its sleeve . but it does somehow manage to get you under its spell . 
though few will argue that it ranks with the best of herzog's works , invincible shows he's back in form , with an astoundingly rich film . 
 " catch me " feels capable of charming the masses with star power , a pop-induced score and sentimental moments that have become a spielberg trademark . 
by no means a great movie , but it is a refreshingly forthright one . 
the casting of raymond j . barry as the 'assassin' greatly enhances the quality of neil burger's impressive fake documentary . 
despite besson's high-profile name being wasabi's big selling point , there is no doubt that krawczyk deserves a huge amount of the credit for the film's thoroughly winning tone . 
this documentary is a dazzling , remarkably unpretentious reminder of what [evans] had , lost , and got back . 
a thoughtful movie , a movie that is concerned with souls and risk and schemes and the consequences of one's actions . 
as satisfyingly odd and intriguing a tale as it was a century and a half ago . . . has a delightfully dour , deadpan tone and stylistic consistency . 
methodical , measured , and gently tedious in its comedy , secret ballot is a purposefully reductive movie -- which may be why it's so successful at lodging itself in the brain . 
a witty , trenchant , wildly unsentimental but flawed look at the ins and outs of modern moviemaking . 
for most of the distance the picture provides a satisfyingly unsettling ride into the dark places of our national psyche . 
by the standards of knucklehead swill , the hot chick is pretty damned funny . 
one of the most gloriously unsubtle and adrenalized extreme shockers since the evil dead . 
[reaches] wholly believable and heart-wrenching depths of despair . 
an absorbing and unsettling psychological drama . 
this movie may not have the highest production values you've ever seen , but it's the work of an artist , one whose view of america , history and the awkwardness of human life is generous and deep . 
though it's not very well shot or composed or edited , the score is too insistent and the dialogue is frequently overwrought and crudely literal , the film shatters you in waves . 
the entire cast is extraordinarily good . 
yakusho , as always , is wonderful as the long-faced sad sack . . . and his chemistry with shimizu is very believable . 
the film delivers what it promises : a look at the " wild ride " that ensues when brash young men set out to conquer the online world with laptops , cell phones and sketchy business plans . 
young hanks and fisk , who vaguely resemble their celebrity parents , bring fresh good looks and an ease in front of the camera to the work . 
a captivatingly quirky hybrid of character portrait , romantic comedy and beat-the-clock thriller . 
the film sparkles with the the wisdom and humor of its subjects . 
if [jaglom's] latest effort is not the director at his most sparkling , some of its repartee is still worth hearing . 
like the english patient and the unbearable lightness of being , the hours is one of those reputedly " unfilmable " novels that has bucked the odds to emerge as an exquisite motion picture in its own right . 
just about the best straight-up , old-school horror film of the last 15 years . 
a chilling tale of one of the great crimes of 20th century france : the murder of two rich women by their servants in 1933 . 
an oddity , to be sure , but one that you might wind up remembering with a degree of affection rather than revulsion . 
while the film is not entirely successful , it still manages to string together enough charming moments to work . 
a winning piece of work filled with love for the movies of the 1960s . 
e . t . works because its flabbergasting principals , 14-year-old robert macnaughton , 6-year-old drew barrymore and 10-year-old henry thomas , convince us of the existence of the wise , wizened visitor from a faraway planet . 
helps to remind the first world that hiv/aids is far from being yesterday's news . 
a heartening tale of small victories and enduring hope . 
the vistas are sweeping and the acting is far from painful . 
jackson and co have brought back the value and respect for the term epic cinema . 
it may be a somewhat backhanded compliment to say that the film makes the viewer feel like the movie's various victimized audience members after a while , but it also happens to be the movie's most admirable quality
charlotte sometimes is a brilliant movie . it is about irrational , unexplainable life and it seems so real because it does not attempt to filter out the complexity . 
a delightful stimulus for the optic nerves , so much that it's forgivable that the plot feels like every other tale of a totalitarian tomorrow . 
defies logic , the laws of physics and almost anyone's willingness to believe in it . but darned if it doesn't also keep us riveted to our seats . 
a complex psychological drama about a father who returns to his son's home after decades away . 
writer and director otar iosseliani's pleasant tale about a factory worker who escapes for a holiday in venice reveals how we all need a playful respite from the grind to refresh our souls . 
this is not a retread of " dead poets' society . " 
sweet and memorable film . 
a smart , arch and rather cold-blooded comedy . 
keenly observed and refreshingly natural , swimming gets the details right , from its promenade of barely clad bodies in myrtle beach , s . c . , to the adrenaline jolt of a sudden lunch rush at the diner . 
highly watchable stuff . 
 . . . begins on a high note and sustains it beautifully . 
davis . . . gets vivid performances from her cast and pulls off some deft ally mcbeal-style fantasy sequences . 
'it's better to go in knowing full well what's going to happen , but willing to let the earnestness of its execution and skill of its cast take you down a familiar road with a few twists . cynics need not apply . '
funny , somber , absurd , and , finally , achingly sad , bartleby is a fine , understated piece of filmmaking . 
 " red dragon " is entertaining . an obvious copy of one of the best films ever made , how could it not be ? but it is entertaining on an inferior level . it is a popcorn film , not a must-own , or even a must-see . 
succeeds only because bullock and grant were made to share the silver screen . 
both flawed and delayed , martin scorcese's gangs of new york still emerges as his most vital work since goodfellas . 
as any creature-feature fan knows , when you cross toxic chemicals with a bunch of exotic creatures , you get a lot of running around , screaming and death . on that score , the film certainly doesn't disappoint . 
as the movie traces mr . brown's athletic exploits , it is impossible not to be awed by the power and grace of one of the greatest natural sportsmen of modern times . 
a moving and solidly entertaining comedy/drama that should bolster director and co-writer juan josé campanella's reputation in the united states . 
thanks to confident filmmaking and a pair of fascinating performances , the way to that destination is a really special walk in the woods . 
beautifully shot , delicately scored and powered by a set of heartfelt performances , it's a lyrical endeavour . 
a macabre and very stylized swedish fillm about a modern city where all the religious and civic virtues that hold society in place are in tatters . 
a stylistic romp that's always fun to watch . 
informative , intriguing , observant , often touching . . . gives a human face to what's often discussed in purely abstract terms . 
 . . . once the true impact of the day unfolds , the power of this movie is undeniable . 
an honest , sensitive story from a vietnamese point of view . 
 a buoyant romantic comedy about friendship , love , and the truth that we're all in this together . 
the film's intimate camera work and searing performances pull us deep into the girls' confusion and pain as they struggle tragically to comprehend the chasm of knowledge that's opened between them . 
it's the perfect star vehicle for grant , allowing him to finally move away from his usual bumbling , tongue-tied screen persona . 
gaunt , silver-haired and leonine , [harris] brings a tragic dimension and savage full-bodied wit and cunning to the aging sandeman . 
a disturbing examination of what appears to be the definition of a 'bad' police shooting . 
it's been made with an innocent yet fervid conviction that our hollywood has all but lost . 
not only a reminder of how they used to make movies , but also how they sometimes still can be made . 
a three-hour cinema master class . 
eyre is on his way to becoming the american indian spike lee . 
psychologically revealing . 
a witty , whimsical feature debut . 
warm in its loving yet unforgivingly inconsistent depiction of everyday people , relaxed in its perfect quiet pace and proud in its message . i loved this film . 
it provides a grim , upsetting glimpse at the lives of some of the 1 . 2 million palestinians who live in the crowded cities and refugee camps of gaza . 
clint eastwood's blood work is a lot like a well-made pb& j sandwich : familiar , fairly uneventful and boasting no real surprises – but still quite tasty and inviting all the same . 
a movie that will surely be profane , politically charged music to the ears of cho's fans . 
much of this slick and sprightly cgi feature is sufficiently funny to amuse even the most resolutely unreligious parents who escort their little ones to megaplex screenings . 
rarely , a movie is more than a movie . go . 
jacquot's strategy allows his cast the benefit of being able to give full performances . . . while demonstrating vividly that the beauty and power of the opera reside primarily in the music itself . 
quitting delivers a sucker-punch , and its impact is all the greater beause director zhang's last film , the cuddly shower , was a non-threatening multi-character piece centered around a public bath house . 
by not averting his eyes , solondz forces us to consider the unthinkable , the unacceptable , the unmentionable . 
one hour photo may seem disappointing in its generalities , but it's the little nuances that perhaps had to escape from director mark romanek's self-conscious scrutiny to happen , that finally get under your skin . 
while general audiences might not come away with a greater knowledge of the facts of cuban music , they'll be treated to an impressive and highly entertaining celebration of its sounds . 
a fascinating documentary that provides a rounded and revealing overview of this ancient holistic healing system
birthday girl lucks out with chaplin and kidman , who are capable of anteing up some movie star charisma when they need it to sell us on this twisted love story , but who can also negotiate the movie's darker turns . 
an interesting look behind the scenes of chicago-based rock group wilco . . . 
sharp edges and a deep vein of sadness run through its otherwise comic narrative . 
there's lots of cool stuff packed into espn's ultimate x . 
rock solid family fun out of the gates , extremely imaginative through out , but wanes in the middle
as a film director , labute continues to improve . 
the ya-ya's have many secrets and one is - the books are better . translating complex characters from novels to the big screen is an impossible task but they are true to the essence of what it is to be ya-ya . 
the touch is generally light enough and the performances , for the most part , credible . 
i liked about schmidt a lot , but i have a feeling that i would have liked it much more if harry & tonto never existed . 
steers has an unexpectedly adamant streak of warm-blooded empathy for all his disparate manhattan denizens--especially the a * * holes . 
that storytelling has value cannot be denied . not even solondz's thirst for controversy , sketchy characters and immature provocations can fully succeed at cheapening it . 
once the downward spiral comes to pass , auto focus bears out as your typical junkie opera . . . 
a knowing sense of humor and a lot of warmth ignite son of the bride . 
a rich tale of our times , very well told with an appropriate minimum of means . 
the characters are complex and quirky , but entirely believable as the remarkable ensemble cast brings them to life . 
in all fairness , i must report that the children of varying ages in my audience never coughed , fidgeted or romped up and down the aisles for bathroom breaks . 
as gory as the scenes of torture and self-mutilation may be , they are pitted against shimmering cinematography that lends the setting the ethereal beauty of an asian landscape painting . 
efficient , suitably anonymous chiller . 
gorgeous scenes , masterful performances , but the sickly sweet gender normative narrative left an acrid test in this gourmet's mouth . 
the hot topics of the plot are relegated to the background -- a welcome step forward from the sally jesse raphael atmosphere of films like philadelphia and american beauty . 
it's usually a bad sign when directors abandon their scripts and go where the moment takes them , but olympia , wash . , based filmmakers anne de marcken and marilyn freeman did just that and it's what makes their project so interesting . 
a memorable experience that , like many of his works , presents weighty issues colorfully wrapped up in his own idiosyncratic strain of kitschy goodwill . 
executed with such gentle but insistent sincerity , with such good humor and appreciation of the daily grind that only the most hardhearted scrooge could fail to respond . 
the gentle comic treatment of adolescent sturm und drang should please fans of chris fuhrman's posthumously published cult novel . 
director claude chabrol has become the master of innuendo . it is not what you see , it is what you think you see . 
a deftly entertaining film , smartly played and smartly directed . 
a documentary to make the stones weep -- as shameful as it is scary . 
i hope the movie is widely seen and debated with appropriate ferocity and thoughtfulness . 
 a thought-provoking look at how western foreign policy - however well intentioned - can wreak havoc in other cultures . 
asks what truth can be discerned from non-firsthand experience , and specifically questions cinema's capability for recording truth . 
the journey to the secret's eventual discovery is a separate adventure , and thrill enough . 
a quiet , disquieting triumph . 
darkly funny and frequently insightful . 
 . . . the tale of her passionate , tumultuous affair with musset unfolds as sand's masculine persona , with its love of life and beauty , takes form . 
if you want to see a train wreck that you can't look away from , then look no further , because here it is . 
there's so much to look at in metropolis you hate to tear your eyes away from the images long enough to read the subtitles . 
the search for redemption makes for a touching love story , mainly because blanchett and ribisi compellingly tap into a spiritual aspect of their characters' suffering . 
a fast paced and suspenseful argentinian thriller about the shadow side of play . 
a film of ideas and wry comic mayhem . 
at its worst the screenplay is callow , but at its best it is a young artist's thoughtful consideration of fatherhood . 
a worthwhile documentary , whether you're into rap or not , even if it may still leave you wanting more answers as the credits roll . 
fessenden's narrative is just as much about the ownership and redefinition of myth as it is about a domestic unit finding their way to joy . 
that the film opens with maggots crawling on a dead dog is not an out of place metaphor . 
stanley kwan has directed not only one of the best gay love stories ever made , but one of the best love stories of any stripe . 
the concert footage is stirring , the recording sessions are intriguing , and -- on the way to striking a blow for artistic integrity -- this quality band may pick up new admirers . 
norton holds the film together . 
[there's] quite a bit of heart , as you would expect from the directors of the little mermaid and aladdin . 
you won't have any trouble getting kids to eat up these veggies . 
a creaky staircase gothic . 
enjoyably dumb , sweet , and intermittently hilarious -- if you've a taste for the quirky , steal a glimpse . 
a movie that sends you out of the theater feeling like you've actually spent time living in another community . 
light-years ahead of paint-by-number american blockbusters like pearl harbor , at least artistically . 
a fascinating documentary about the long and eventful spiritual journey of the guru who helped launch the new age . 
isabelle huppert excels as the enigmatic mika and anna mouglalis is a stunning new young talent in one of chabrol's most intense psychological mysteries . 
perhaps not since nelson eddy crooned his indian love call to jeanette macdonald has there been a movie so unabashedly canadian , not afraid to risk american scorn or disinterest . 
wedding feels a bit anachronistic . still , not every low-budget movie must be quirky or bleak , and a happy ending is no cinematic sin . 
it's still a comic book , but maguire makes it a comic book with soul . 
brings to a spectacular completion one of the most complex , generous and subversive artworks of the last decade . 
an amusing and unexpectedly insightful examination of sexual jealousy , resentment and the fine line between passion and pretence . 
a fascinating , bombshell documentary that should shame americans , regardless of whether or not ultimate blame finally lies with kissinger . should be required viewing for civics classes and would-be public servants alike . 
adaptation's success in engaging the audience in the travails of creating a screenplay is extraordinary . 
a polished and vastly entertaining caper film that puts the sting back into the con . 
it's no surprise that as a director washington demands and receives excellent performances , from himself and from newcomer derek luke . 
 . . . while each moment of this broken character study is rich in emotional texture , the journey doesn't really go anywhere . 
the film gets close to the chimps the same way goodall did , with a serious minded patience , respect and affection . 
it's an often-cute film but either needs more substance to fill the time or some judicious editing . 
this may be burns's strongest film since the brothers mcmullen . 
what makes this film special is serry's ability to take what is essentially a contained family conflict and put it into a much larger historical context . 
it's quaid who anchors the film with his effortless performance and that trademark grin of his -- so perfect for a ballplayer . 
it is ok for a movie to be something of a sitcom apparatus , if the lines work , the humor has point and the actors are humanly engaged . 
though not for everyone , the guys is a somber trip worth taking . 
will warm your heart without making you feel guilty about it . 
a sly female empowerment movie , although not in a way anyone would expect . 
you really have to salute writer-director haneke ( he adapted elfriede jelinek's novel ) for making a film that isn't nearly as graphic but much more powerful , brutally shocking and difficult to watch . 
it's a wonderful , sobering , heart-felt drama . 
runs on the pure adrenalin of pacino's performance . 
the paradiso's rusted-out ruin and ultimate collapse during the film's final ( restored ) third…emotionally belittle a cinema classic . sometimes shorter is better . 
phillip noyce and all of his actors -- as well as his cinematographer , christopher doyle -- understand the delicate forcefulness of greene's prose , and it's there on the screen in their version of the quiet american . 
the film just might turn on many people to opera , in general , an art form at once visceral and spiritual , wonderfully vulgar and sublimely lofty -- and as emotionally grand as life . 
as a vehicle to savour binoche's skill , the film is well worthwhile . 
 . . . wise and elegiac . . . 
the huskies are beautiful , the border collie is funny and the overall feeling is genial and decent . 
whatever complaints i might have , i'd take [its] earnest errors and hard-won rewards over the bombastic self-glorification of other feel-good fiascos like antwone fisher or the emperor's club any time . 
mastering its formidable arithmetic of cameras and souls , group articulates a flood of emotion . 
a pretty decent kid-pleasing , tolerable-to-adults lark of a movie . 
even during the climactic hourlong cricket match , boredom never takes hold . 
combine the paranoid claustrophobia of a submarine movie with the unsettling spookiness of the supernatural -- why didn't hollywood think of this sooner ? 
like kubrick , soderbergh isn't afraid to try any genre and to do it his own way . 
nothing can detract from the affection of that moral favorite : friends will be friends through thick and thin . 
if the film has a problem , its shortness disappoints : you want the story to go on and on . 
unlike most anime , whose most ardent fans outside japan seem to be introverted young men with fantasy fetishes , metropolis never seems hopelessly juvenile . 
the plot twists give i am trying to break your heart an attraction it desperately needed . 
the most brilliant and brutal uk crime film since jack carter went back to newcastle , the first half of gangster no . 1 drips with style and , at times , blood . 
like its new england characters , most of whom wander about in thick clouds of denial , the movie eventually gets around to its real emotional business , striking deep chords of sadness . 
the bai brothers have taken an small slice of history and opened it up for all of us to understand , and they've told a nice little story in the process . 
flamboyant in some movies and artfully restrained in others , 65-year-old jack nicholson could be looking at his 12th oscar nomination by proving that he's now , more than ever , choosing his roles with the precision of the insurance actuary . 
 . . . is there a deeper , more direct connection between these women , one that spans time and reveals meaning ? you bet there is and it's what makes this rather convoluted journey worth taking . 
the most amazing super-sized dosage of goofball stunts any " jackass " fan could want . 
real women may have many agendas , but it also will win you over , in a big way . 
young everlyn sampi , as the courageous molly craig , simply radiates star-power potential in this remarkable and memorable film . 
surprisingly powerful and universal . 
apart from its own considerable achievement , metropolis confirms tezuka's status as both the primary visual influence on the animé tradition and its defining philosophical conscience . 
i'll put it this way : if you're in the mood for a melodrama narrated by talking fish , this is the movie for you . 
morvern callar confirms lynne ramsay as an important , original talent in international cinema . 
well-done supernatural thriller with keen insights into parapsychological phenomena and the soulful nuances of the grieving process . 
a plethora of engaging diatribes on the meaning of 'home , ' delivered in grand passion by the members of the various households . 
it's technically sumptuous but also almost wildly alive . 
this film puts wang at the forefront of china's sixth generation of film makers . 
it's refreshing to see a movie that embraces its old-fashioned themes and in the process comes out looking like something wholly original . 
wiseman is patient and uncompromising , letting his camera observe and record the lives of women torn apart by a legacy of abuse . 
there's none of the happily-ever -after spangle of monsoon wedding in late marriage -- and that's part of what makes dover kosashvili's outstanding feature debut so potent . 
an ingenious and often harrowing look at damaged people and how families can offer either despair or consolation . 
arguably the best script that besson has written in years . 
it's no lie -- big fat liar is a real charmer . 
invigorating , surreal , and resonant with a rainbow of emotion . 
director alfonso cuaron gets vivid , convincing performances from a fine cast , and generally keeps things going at a rapid pace , occasionally using an omniscient voice-over narrator in the manner of french new wave films . 
pray has really done his subject justice . 
an unexpectedly sweet story of sisterhood . 
maintains your sympathy for this otherwise challenging soul by letting you share her one-room world for a while . 
a subtle , humorous , illuminating study of politics , power and social mobility . 
even if you have no interest in the gang-infested , east-vs . -west coast rap wars , this modern mob music drama never fails to fascinate . 
nair's attention to detail creates an impeccable sense of place , while thurman and lewis give what can easily be considered career-best performances . 
berry's saucy , full-bodied performance gives this aging series a much needed kick , making " die another day " one of the most entertaining bonds in years
red dragon is less baroque and showy than hannibal , and less emotionally affecting than silence . but , like silence , it's a movie that gets under your skin . 
caviezel embodies the transformation of his character completely . 
a creepy , intermittently powerful study of a self-destructive man . . . about as unsettling to watch as an exploratory medical procedure or an autopsy . 
pacino and williams seem to keep upping the ante on each other , just as their characters do in the film . what results is the best performance from either in years . 
the cast is top-notch and i predict there will be plenty of female audience members drooling over michael idemoto as michael . 
béart and berling are both superb , while huppert . . . is magnificent . 
all the actors are good in pauline & paulette but van der groen , described as 'belgium's national treasure , ' is especially terrific as pauline . 
miyazaki has created such a vibrant , colorful world , it's almost impossible not to be swept away by the sheer beauty of his images . 
muccino seems to be exploring the idea of why human beings long for what they don't have , and how this gets us in trouble . but even while his characters are acting horribly , he is always sympathetic . 
whether or not you buy mr . broomfield's findings , the film acquires an undeniable entertainment value as the slight , pale mr . broomfield continues to force himself on people and into situations that would make lesser men run for cover . 
ozpetek joins the ranks of those gay filmmakers who have used the emigre experience to explore same-sex culture in ways that elude the more nationally settled . 
…an eerily suspenseful , deeply absorbing piece that works as a treatise on spirituality as well as a solid sci-fi thriller . 
i've never seen or heard anything quite like this film , and i recommend it for its originality alone . 
nicole kidman makes it a party worth attending . 
catch it . . . if you can ! 
the direction has a fluid , no-nonsense authority , and the performances by harris , phifer and cam'ron seal the deal . 
the komediant is a tale worth catching . 
the writing is clever and the cast is appealing . 
the simplicity of the way home has few equals this side of aesop
life on the rez is no picnic : this picture shows you why . 
spielberg has managed to marry science fiction with film noir and action flicks with philosophical inquiry . 
it's the type of film about growing up that we don't see often enough these days : realistic , urgent , and not sugarcoated in the least . 
a taut , sobering film . 
exudes the fizz of a busby berkeley musical and the visceral excitement of a sports extravaganza . 
it's full of cheesy dialogue , but great trashy fun that finally returns de palma to his pulpy thrillers of the early '80s . 
the results , if not memorable , are at least interesting . 
a quietly moving look back at what it was to be iranian-american in 1979 . 
like a veteran head cutter , barbershop is tuned in to its community . 
i'm sure mainstream audiences will be baffled , but , for those with at least a minimal appreciation of woolf and clarissa dalloway , the hours represents two of those well spent . 
you live the mood rather than savour the story . 
angela gheorghiu as famous prima donna floria tosca , roberto alagna as her lover mario cavaradossi , and ruggero as the villainous , lecherous police chief scarpia , all sing beautifully and act adequately . 
while there are times when the film's reach exceeds its grasp , the production works more often than it doesn't . 
while scorsese's bold images and generally smart casting ensure that " gangs " is never lethargic , the movie is hindered by a central plot that's peppered with false starts and populated by characters who are nearly impossible to care about . 
watching this gentle , mesmerizing portrait of a man coming to terms with time , you barely realize your mind is being blown . 
the beautifully choreographed kitchen ballet is simple but absorbing . 
there's . . . an underlying old world sexism to monday morning that undercuts its charm . 
 " the best disney movie since the lion king " 
transcends its agenda to deliver awe-inspiring , at times sublime , visuals and offer a fascinating glimpse into the subculture of extreme athletes whose derring-do puts the x into the games . 
spare yet audacious . . . 
think of it as gidget , only with muscles and a lot more smarts , but just as endearing and easy to watch . 
there is no solace here , no entertainment value , merely a fierce lesson in where filmmaking can take us . 
giggling at the absurdities and inconsistencies is part of the fun . but the talented cast alone will keep you watching , as will the fight scenes . 
arteta paints a picture of lives lived in a state of quiet desperation . 
drug abuse , infidelity and death aren't usually comedy fare , but turpin's film allows us to chuckle through the angst . 
while insomnia is in many ways a conventional , even predictable remake , nolan's penetrating undercurrent of cerebral and cinemantic flair lends ( it ) stimulating depth . 
efteriades gives the neighborhood -- scenery , vibe and all -- the cinematic equivalent of a big , tender hug . 
this is a nicely handled affair , a film about human darkness but etched with a light ( yet unsentimental ) touch . 
amazing ! a college story that works even without vulgarity , sex scenes , and cussing ! 
the amazing film work is so convincing that by movies' end you'll swear you are wet in some places and feel sand creeping in others . 
a raunchy and frequently hilarious follow-up to the gifted korean american stand-up's i'm the one that i want . 
if you ever wanted to be an astronaut , this is the ultimate movie experience - it's informative and breathtakingly spectacular . 
while parker and co-writer catherine di napoli are faithful to melville's plotline , they and a fully engaged supporting cast . . . have made the old boy's characters more quick-witted than any english lit major would have thought possible . 
a smart , sassy and exceptionally charming romantic comedy . 
surprisingly insightful
there are flaws , but also stretches of impact and moments of awe ; we're wrapped up in the characters , how they make their choices , and why . 
a gift to anyone who loves both dance and cinema
it seems grant doesn't need the floppy hair and the self-deprecating stammers after all . 
a reminder that beyond all the hype and recent digital glitz , spielberg knows how to tell us about people . 
one of the finest , most humane and important holocaust movies ever made . 
an engrossing and infectiously enthusiastic documentary . 
a beautiful , timeless and universal tale of heated passions -- jealousy , betrayal , forgiveness and murder . 
a culture-clash comedy that , in addition to being very funny , captures some of the discomfort and embarrassment of being a bumbling american in europe . 
shattering , devastating documentary on two maladjusted teens in a downward narcotized spiral . extraordinary debut from josh koury . 
the most compelling performance of the year adds substantial depth to this shocking testament to anti-semitism and neo-fascism . 
for those who are intrigued by politics of the '70s , the film is every bit as fascinating as it is flawed . 
all right , so it's not a brilliant piece of filmmaking , but it is a funny ( sometimes hilarious ) comedy with a deft sense of humor about itself , a playful spirit and a game cast . 
douglas mcgrath's nicholas nickleby does dickens as it should be done cinematically . 
it's a lovely , eerie film that casts an odd , rapt spell . 
the quirky and recessive charms of co-stars martin donovan and mary-louise parker help overcome the problematic script . 
it's good to see michael caine whipping out the dirty words and punching people in the stomach again . 
you just know something terrible is going to happen . but when it does , you're entirely unprepared . 
it's fun , wispy , wise and surprisingly inoffensive for a film about a teen in love with his stepmom . 
able to provide insight into a fascinating part of theater history . 
an unflinching , complex portrait of a modern israel that is rarely seen on-screen . 
a jewish ww ii doc that isn't trying simply to out-shock , out-outrage or out-depress its potential audience ! who knew . . . 
it's a familiar story , but one that is presented with great sympathy and intelligence . 
gently humorous and touching . 
it won't hold up over the long haul , but in the moment , finch's tale provides the forgettable pleasures of a saturday matinee . 
kinnear's performance is a career-defining revelation . 
the film is predictable in the reassuring manner of a beautifully sung holiday carol . 
 . . . hits every cliche we've come to expect , including the assumption that " crazy " people are innocent , childlike and inherently funny . 
the strong subject matter continues to shock throughout the film . not everyone will play the dark , challenging tune taught by the piano teacher . 
a certain sexiness underlines even the dullest tangents . 
you may be captivated , as i was , by its moods , and by its subtly transformed star , and still wonder why paul thomas anderson ever had the inclination to make the most sincere and artful movie in which adam sandler will probably ever appear . 
there is no substitute for on-screen chemistry , and when friel pulls the strings that make williams sink into melancholia , the reaction in williams is as visceral as a gut punch . 
that old adage about women being unknowable gets an exhilarating new interpretation in morvern callar . 
a mix of gritty realism , crisp storytelling and radiant compassion that effortlessly draws you in . 
after watching it , you can only love the players it brings to the fore for the gifted but no-nonsense human beings they are and for the still-inestimable contribution they have made to our shared history . 
in his u . s . debut , mr . schnitzler proves himself a deft pace master and stylist . 
ultimate x is a ride , basically the kind of greatest-hits reel that might come with a subscription to espn the magazine . 
rich in shadowy metaphor and as sharp as a samurai sword , jiang wen's devils on the doorstep is a wartime farce in the alternately comic and gut-wrenching style of joseph heller or kurt vonnegut . 
offers a clear-eyed chronicle of a female friendship that is more complex and honest than anything represented in a hollywood film . 
a winning comedy with its wry observations about long-lived friendships and the ways in which we all lose track of ourselves by trying to please others . 
its cast full of caffeinated comedy performances more than make up for its logical loopholes , which fly by so fast there's no time to think about them anyway . 
lohman adapts to the changes required of her , but the actress and director peter kosminsky never get the audience to break through the wall her character erects
although it includes a fair share of dumb drug jokes and predictable slapstick , " orange county " is far funnier than it would seem to have any right to be . 
for a movie audience , the hours doesn't connect in a neat way , but introduces characters who illuminate mysteries of sex , duty and love . 
a bright , inventive , thoroughly winning flight of revisionist fancy . 
ozpetek's effort has the scope and shape of an especially well-executed television movie . 
graças às interações entre seus personagens , o filme torna-se não apenas uma história divertida sobre uma curiosa perseguição , mas também um belo estudo de personagens . 
affirms the gifts of all involved , starting with spielberg and going right through the ranks of the players -- on-camera and off -- that he brings together . 
a delightful little film that revels in its own simplicity , mostly martha will leave you with a smile on your face and a grumble in your stomach . 
makes one thing abundantly clear . american musical comedy as we know it wouldn't exist without the precedent of yiddish theater , whose jolly , fun-for-fun's-sake communal spirit goes to the essence of broadway . 
deepa mehta provides an accessible introduction as well as some intelligent observations on the success of bollywood in the western world . 
if anything , the film is doing something of a public service -- shedding light on a group of extremely talented musicians who might otherwise go unnoticed and underappreciated by music fans . 
in addition to gluing you to the edge of your seat , changing lanes is also a film of freshness , imagination and insight . 
pan nalin's exposition is beautiful and mysterious , and the interviews that follow , with the practitioners of this ancient indian practice , are as subtle and as enigmatic . 
the mood , look and tone of the film fit the incredible storyline to a t . 
it's crafty , energetic and smart -- the kid is sort of like a fourteen-year old ferris bueller . 
a work of extraordinary journalism , but it is also a work of deft and subtle poetry . 
it's funny and human and really pretty damned wonderful , all at once . 
at 78 minutes it just zings along with vibrance and warmth . 
a strangely stirring experience that finds warmth in the coldest environment and makes each crumb of emotional comfort feel like a 10-course banquet . 
sometimes this 'blood' seems as tired as its protagonist . . . still , the pulse never disappears entirely , and the picture crosses the finish line winded but still game . 
the stripped-down dramatic constructs , austere imagery and abstract characters are equal parts poetry and politics , obvious at times but evocative and heartfelt . 
dogtown and z-boys more than exposes the roots of the skateboarding boom that would become " the punk kids' revolution . " 
 . . . plenty of warmth to go around , with music and laughter and the love of family . 
it'll keep you wide awake and . . . very tense . 
could use a little more humanity , but it never lacks in eye-popping visuals . 
 ( danny huston gives ) an astounding performance that deftly , gradually reveals a real human soul buried beneath a spellbinding serpent's smirk . 
these three films form a remarkably cohesive whole , both visually and thematically , through their consistently sensitive and often exciting treatment of an ignored people . 
a funny and well-contructed black comedy where the old adage " be careful what you wish for " is given a full workout . 
it reaffirms life as it looks in the face of death . 
the film is reasonably entertaining , though it begins to drag two-thirds through , when the melodramatic aspects start to overtake the comedy . 
this is more fascinating -- being real -- than anything seen on jerry springer . 
a different movie -- sometimes tedious -- by a director many viewers would like to skip but film buffs should get to know . 
williams plays sy , another of his open-faced , smiling madmen , like the killer in insomnia . he does this so well you don't have the slightest difficulty accepting him in the role . 
twist open the ouzo ! it's time to let your hair down – greek style . a vibrant whirlwind of love , family and all that goes with it , my big fat greek wedding is a non-stop funny feast of warmth , colour and cringe . 
thought-provoking and stylish , if also somewhat hermetic . 
broomfield is energized by volletta wallace's maternal fury , her fearlessness , and because of that , his film crackles . 
while it has definite weaknesses -- like a rather unbelievable love interest and a meandering ending -- this '60s caper film is a riveting , brisk delight . 
funny in a sick , twisted sort of way . 
if cinema had been around to capture the chaos of france in the 1790's , one imagines the result would look like something like this . 
it's a talking head documentary , but a great one . 
the fast runner' transports the viewer into an unusual space
ultimately engages less for its story of actorly existential despair than for its boundary-hopping formal innovations and glimpse into another kind of chinese 'cultural revolution . '
 . . . a solid , well-formed satire . 
as part of mr . dong's continuing exploration of homosexuality in america , family fundamentals is an earnest study in despair . 
most consumers of lo mein and general tso's chicken barely give a thought to the folks who prepare and deliver it , so , hopefully , this film will attach a human face to all those little steaming cartons . 
hatosy . . . portrays young brendan with his usual intelligence and subtlety , not to mention a convincing brogue . 
the filmmakers' eye for detail and the high standards of performance convey a strong sense of the girls' environment . 
uneven , self-conscious but often hilarious spoof . 
even bigger and more ambitious than the first installment , spy kids 2 looks as if it were made by a highly gifted 12-year-old instead of a grown man . 
thanks to the château's balance of whimsicality , narrative discipline and serious improvisation , almost every relationship and personality in the film yields surprises . 
alan and his fellow survivors are idiosyncratic enough to lift the movie above its playwriting 101 premise . 
fresh and raw like a blown-out vein , narc takes a walking-dead , cop-flick subgenre and beats new life into it . 
the premise of jason x is silly but strangely believable . 
it's a wise and powerful tale of race and culture forcefully told , with superb performances throughout . 
an awfully good , achingly human picture . 
the cast comes through even when the movie doesn't . 
you'll laugh at either the obviousness of it all or its stupidity or maybe even its inventiveness , but the point is , you'll laugh . 
definitely worth 95 minutes of your time . 
the film jolts the laughs from the audience--as if by cattle prod . 
a sexy , surprising romance . . . idemoto and kim make a gorgeous pair . . . their scenes brim with sexual possibility and emotional danger . 
toes the fine line between cheese and earnestness remarkably well ; everything is delivered with such conviction that it's hard not to be carried away . 
whereas oliver stone's conspiracy thriller jfk was long , intricate , star-studded and visually flashy , interview with the assassin draws its considerable power from simplicity . 
funny , sexy , devastating and incurably romantic . 
triple x is a double agent , and he's one bad dude . when you've got the wildly popular vin diesel in the equation , it adds up to big box office bucks all but guaranteed . 
very well-written and very well-acted . 
a powerful and telling story that examines forbidden love , racial tension , and other issues that are as valid today as they were in the 1950s . 
you emerge dazed , confused as to whether you've seen pornography or documentary . 
it ain't art , by a long shot , but unlike last year's lame musketeer , this dumas adaptation entertains . 
likeable thanks to its cast , its cuisine and its quirky tunes . 
chilling in its objective portrait of dreary , lost twenty-first century america . 
highly recommended as an engrossing story about a horrifying historical event and the elements which contributed to it . 
 . . . there's enough cool fun here to warm the hearts of animation enthusiasts of all ages . 
it manages to squeeze by on angelina jolie's surprising flair for self-deprecating comedy . 
secretary manages a neat trick , bundling the flowers of perversity , comedy and romance into a strangely tempting bouquet of a movie . 
judith and zaza's extended bedroom sequence . . . is so intimate and sensual and funny and psychologically self-revealing that it makes most of what passes for sex in the movies look like cheap hysterics . 
photographed with melancholy richness and eloquently performed yet also decidedly uncinematic . 
a knowing look at female friendship , spiked with raw urban humor . 
as i settled into my world war ii memories , i found myself strangely moved by even the corniest and most hackneyed contrivances . 
the overall effect is awe and affection -- and a strange urge to get on a board and , uh , shred , dude . 
it's that rare family movie -- genuine and sweet without relying on animation or dumb humor . 
the trinity assembly approaches the endeavor with a shocking lack of irony , and george ratliff's documentary , hell house , reflects their earnestness — which makes for a terrifying film . 
confessions may not be a straightforward bio , nor does it offer much in the way of barris' motivations , but the film is an oddly fascinating depiction of an architect of pop culture . 
an intoxicating experience . 
a special kind of movie , this melancholic film noir reminded me a lot of memento . . . 
simple , poignant and leavened with humor , it's a film that affirms the nourishing aspects of love and companionship . 
together , miller , kuras and the actresses make personal velocity into an intricate , intimate and intelligent journey . 
the wonder of mostly martha is the performance of gedeck , who makes martha enormously endearing . 
with notorious c . h . o . cho proves she has the stuff to stand tall with pryor , carlin and murphy . 
less front-loaded and more shapely than the two-hour version released here in 1990 . 
watching war photographer , you come to believe that nachtwey hates the wars he shows and empathizes with the victims he reveals . 
[a] real pleasure in its laid-back way . 
some may choose to interpret the film's end as hopeful or optimistic but i think payne is after something darker . 
though it runs 163 minutes , safe conduct is anything but languorous . it's packed to bursting with incident , and with scores of characters , some fictional , some from history . 
a much better documentary -- more revealing , more emotional and more surprising -- than its pedestrian english title would have you believe . 
notwithstanding my problem with the movie's final half hour , i'm going to recommend secretary , based on the wonderful acting clinic put on by spader and gyllenhaal , and also the unique way shainberg goes about telling what at heart is a sweet little girl-
a well-crafted film that is all the more remarkable because it achieves its emotional power and moments of revelation with restraint and a delicate ambiguity . 
the film has the uncanny ability to right itself precisely when you think it's in danger of going wrong . 
my big fat greek wedding is that rare animal known as 'a perfect family film , ' because it's about family . 
would make an excellent companion piece to the similarly themed 'the french lieutenant's woman . '
 . . . with the gifted pearce on hand to keep things on semi-stable ground dramatically , this retooled machine is ultimately effective enough at achieving the modest , crowd-pleasing goals it sets for itself . 
a movie that's just plain awful but still manages to entertain on a guilty-pleasure , so-bad-it's-funny level . 
a disoriented but occasionally disarming saga packed with moments out of an alice in wonderland adventure , a stalker thriller , and a condensed season of tv's big brother . 
functions as both a revealing look at the collaborative process and a timely , tongue-in-cheek profile of the corporate circus that is the recording industry in the current climate of mergers and downsizing . 
with a confrontational stance , todd solondz takes aim on political correctness and suburban families . 
a mess , but it's a sincere mess . 
this odd , distant portuguese import more or less borrows from bad lieutenant and les vampires , and comes up with a kind of art-house gay porn film . 
for a debut film , skin of man , heart of beast feels unusually assured . 
a photographic marvel of sorts , and it's certainly an invaluable record of that special fishy community . 
it's soulful and unslick , and that's apparently just what [aniston] has always needed to grow into a movie career . 
although olivier assayas' elegantly appointed period drama seems , at times , padded with incident in the way of a too-conscientious adaptation . . . its three-hour running time plays closer to two . 
a jaw-droppingly beautiful work that upends nearly every cliché of japanese animation while delivering a more than satisfactory amount of carnage . 
terry is a sort of geriatric dirty harry , which will please eastwood's loyal fans -- and suits the story , wherein our hero must ride roughshod over incompetent cops to get his man . 
parts seem like they were lifted from terry gilliam's subconscious , pressed through kafka's meat grinder and into buñuel's casings
'like a child with an important message to tell . . . [skins'] faults are easy to forgive because the intentions are lofty . '
a delightful entree in the tradition of food movies . 
an escapist confection that's pure entertainment . 
the ring is worth a look , if you don't demand much more than a few cheap thrills from your halloween entertainment . 
the movie ultimately relies a bit too heavily on grandstanding , emotional , rocky-like moments . . . but it's such a warm and charming package that you'll feel too happy to argue much . 
reassuring , retro uplifter . 
throwing it all away for the fleeting joys of love's brief moment . 
armed with a game supporting cast , from the pitch-perfect forster to the always hilarious meara and levy , like mike shoots and scores , doing its namesake proud . 
a decent-enough nail-biter that stands a good chance of being the big hit franklin needs to stay afloat in hollywood . 
begins like a docu-drama but builds its multi-character story with a flourish . 
one of the most genuinely sweet films to come along in quite some time . 
after an uncertain start , murder hits and generally sustains a higher plateau with bullock's memorable first interrogation of gosling . 
the story ultimately takes hold and grips hard . 
a bit of a downer and a little over-dramatic at times , but this is a beautiful film for people who like their romances to have that french realism . 
an emotionally strong and politically potent piece of cinema . 
enticing and often funny documentary . 
going to this movie is a little like chewing whale blubber - it's an acquired taste that takes time to enjoy , but it's worth it , even if it does take 3 hours to get through . 
a portrait of hell so shattering it's impossible to shake . 
almodovar is an imaginative teacher of emotional intelligence in this engaging film about two men who discover what william james once called 'the gift of tears . '
better than the tepid star trek : insurrection ; falls short of first contact because the villain couldn't pick the lint off borg queen alice krige's cape ; and finishes half a parsec ( a nose ) ahead of generations . 
at times a bit melodramatic and even a little dated ( depending upon where you live ) , ignorant fairies is still quite good-natured and not a bad way to spend an hour or two . 
tense , terrific , sweaty-palmed fun . 
majidi's direction has never been smoother or more confident . 
visually captivating . 
what a bewilderingly brilliant and entertaining movie this is . 
hard , endearing , caring , warm . bring tissues . 
a thriller with an edge -- which is to say that it doesn't follow the stale , standard , connect-the-dots storyline which has become commonplace in movies that explore the seamy underbelly of the criminal world . 
 " me without you " is a probing examination of a female friendship set against a few dynamic decades . 
inherently caustic and oddly whimsical , the film chimes in on the grieving process and strangely draws the audience into the unexplainable pain and eccentricities that are attached to the concept of loss . 
though frodo's quest remains unfulfilled , a hardy group of determined new zealanders has proved its creative mettle . 
it's a square , sentimental drama that satisfies , as comfort food often can . 
pure cinematic intoxication , a wildly inventive mixture of comedy and melodrama , tastelessness and swooning elegance . 
ramsay is clearly extraordinarily talented , and based on three short films and two features , here's betting her third feature will be something to behold . 
i was impressed by how many tit-for-tat retaliatory responses the filmmakers allow before pulling the plug on the conspirators and averting an american-russian armageddon . 
a classy , sprightly spin on film . 
fast , frantic and fun , but also soon forgotten
a spiffy animated feature about an unruly adolescent boy who is yearning for adventure and a chance to prove his worth . 
devos and cassel have tremendous chemistry -- their sexual and romantic tension , while never really vocalized , is palpable . 
fulfills the minimum requirement of disney animation . 
a moving , if uneven , success . 
 with one exception , every blighter in this particular south london housing project digs into dysfunction like it's a big , comforting jar of marmite , to be slathered on crackers and served as a feast of bleakness . 
wickedly funny , visually engrossing , never boring , this movie challenges us to think about the ways we consume pop culture . 
there's plenty to impress about e . t . 
a chronicle not only of one man's quest to be president , but of how that man single-handedly turned a plane full of hard-bitten , cynical journalists into what was essentially , by campaign's end , an extended publicity department . 
until it goes off the rails in its final 10 or 15 minutes , wendigo , larry fessenden's spooky new thriller , is a refreshingly smart and newfangled variation on several themes derived from far less sophisticated and knowing horror films . 
[woo's] most resonant film since the killer . 
collateral damage is trash , but it earns extra points by acting as if it weren't . 
a whole lot of fun and funny in the middle , though somewhat less hard-hitting at the start and finish . 
maybe it is formula filmmaking , but there's nothing wrong with that if the film is well-crafted and this one is . 
[fincher's] camera sense and assured pacing make it an above-average thriller . 
the film is insightful about kissinger's background and history . 
an engrossing portrait of a man whose engaging manner and flamboyant style made him a truly larger-than-life character . 
a lot of the credit for the film's winning tone must go to grant , who hasn't lost a bit of the dry humor that first made audiences on both sides of the atlantic love him . 
exploits [headbanger] stereotypes in good fun , while adding a bit of heart and unsettling subject matter . 
a journey that is as difficult for the audience to take as it is for the protagonist -- yet it's potentially just as rewarding . 
ratliff's two previous titles , plutonium circus and purgatory county show his penchant for wry , contentious configurations , and this film is part of that delicate canon . 
from its invitingly upbeat overture to its pathos-filled but ultimately life-affirming finale , martin is a masterfully conducted work . 
passions , obsessions , and loneliest dark spots are pushed to their most virtuous limits , lending the narrative an unusually surreal tone . 
a comedy that swings and jostles to the rhythms of life . 
at times auto focus feels so distant you might as well be watching it through a telescope . yet in its own aloof , unreachable way it's so fascinating you won't be able to look away for a second . 
if you're part of her targeted audience , you'll cheer . otherwise , maybe . 
as animation increasingly emphasizes the computer and the cool , this is a film that takes a stand in favor of tradition and warmth . 
blade ii merges bits and pieces from fighting games , wire fu , horror movies , mystery , james bond , wrestling , sci-fi and anime into one big bloody stew . 
instead of hitting the audience over the head with a moral , schrader relies on subtle ironies and visual devices to convey point of view . 
k-19 will not go down in the annals of cinema as one of the great submarine stories , but it is an engaging and exciting narrative of man confronting the demons of his own fear and paranoia . 
contrived as this may sound , mr . rose's updating works surprisingly well . 
a glib but bouncy bit of sixties-style slickness in which the hero might wind up caught but the audience gets pure escapism . 
lavishly , exhilaratingly tasteless . 
you don't need to be a hip-hop fan to appreciate scratch , and that's the mark of a documentary that works . 
between bursts of automatic gunfire , the story offers a trenchant critique of capitalism . 
combines improbable melodrama ( gored bullfighters , comatose ballerinas ) with subtly kinky bedside vigils and sensational denouements , and yet at the end , we are undeniably touched . 
while the story's undeniably hard to follow , iwai's gorgeous visuals seduce . 
if you can get past the taboo subject matter , it will be well worth your time . 
a lovely film . . . elegant , witty and beneath a prim exterior unabashedly romantic . . . hugely enjoyable in its own right though not really faithful to its source's complexity . 
scooby doo is surely everything its fans are hoping it will be , and in that sense is a movie that deserves recommendation . 
[a] devastatingly powerful and astonishingly vivid holocaust drama . 
a solid cast , assured direction and complete lack of modern day irony . 
these characters are so well established that the gang feels comfortable with taking insane liberties and doing the goofiest stuff out of left field , and i'm all for that . 
a sun-drenched masterpiece , part parlor game , part psychological case study , part droll social satire . 
worth a look as a curiosity . 
you watch for that sense of openness , the little surprises . 
director peter kosminsky gives these women a forum to demonstrate their acting 'chops' and they take full advantage . 
auto focus is not your standard hollywood bio-pic . schrader aims to present an unflinching look at one man's downfall , brought about by his lack of self-awareness . 
the bourne identity shouldn't be half as entertaining as it is , but director doug liman and his colleagues have managed to pack it with enough action to satisfy the boom-bam crowd without a huge sacrifice of character and mood . 
for veggietales fans , this is more appetizing than a side dish of asparagus . if you're not a fan , it might be like trying to eat brussels sprouts . 
remove spider-man the movie from its red herring surroundings and it's apparent that this is one summer film that satisfies . 
the whole mildly pleasant outing -- the r rating is for brief nudity and a grisly corpse -- remains aloft not on its own self-referential hot air , but on the inspired performance of tim allen . 
a gorgeously strange movie , heaven is deeply concerned with morality , but it refuses to spell things out for viewers . 
the emperor's club , ruthless in its own placid way , finds one of our most conservative and hidebound movie-making traditions and gives it new texture , new relevance , new reality . 
it's truly awful and heartbreaking subject matter , but one whose lessons are well worth revisiting as many times as possible . 
though intrepid in exploring an attraction that crosses sexual identity , ozpetek falls short in showing us antonia's true emotions . . . but at the very least , his secret life will leave you thinking . 
there is little question that this is a serious work by an important director who has something new to say about how , in the flip-flop of courtship , we often reel in when we should be playing out . 
the message of such reflections--intentional or not--is that while no art grows from a vacuum , many artists exist in one . 
gooding is the energetic frontman , and it's hard to resist his enthusiasm , even if the filmmakers come up with nothing original in the way of slapstick sequences . 
the otherwise good-naturedness of mr . deeds , with its embrace of sheer goofiness and cameos of less- than-likely new york celebrities . . . certainly raises the film above anything sandler's been attached to before . 
the movie is brilliant , really . it is philosophy , illustrated through everyday events . 
it's stylishly directed with verve . . . 
gives an intriguing twist to the french coming-of-age genre . 
offers an interesting look at the rapidly changing face of beijing . 
a solid , psychological action film from hong kong . 
see it now , before the inevitable hollywood remake flattens out all its odd , intriguing wrinkles . 
holm does his sly , intricate magic , and iben hjelje is entirely appealing as pumpkin . 
an enjoyable feel-good family comedy regardless of race . 
features what is surely the funniest and most accurate depiction of writer's block ever . 
it would take a complete moron to foul up a screen adaptation of oscar wilde's classic satire . 
it's bright , pristine style and bold colors make it as much fun as reading an oversized picture book before bedtime . 
in the long , dishonorable history of quickie teen-pop exploitation , like mike stands out for its only partly synthetic decency . 
bravo for history rewritten , and for the uncompromising knowledge that the highest power of all is the power of love . 
lead actress gaï , she of the impossibly long limbs and sweetly conspiratorial smile , is a towering siren . 
even if you've seen " stomp " ( the stage show ) , you still have to see this ! 
 . . . a light , yet engrossing piece . lux , now in her eighties , does a great combination act as narrator , jewish grandmother and subject – taking us through a film that is part biography , part entertainment and part history . 
it's a setup so easy it borders on facile , but keeping the film from cheap-shot mediocrity is its crack cast . 
rife with the rueful , wry humor springing out of yiddish culture and language . 
a time machine , a journey back to your childhood , when cares melted away in the dark theater , and films had the ability to mesmerize , astonish and entertain . 
rubbo's humorously tendentious intervention into the who-wrote-shakespeare controversy . 
cantet beautifully illuminates what it means sometimes to be inside looking out , and at other times outside looking in . 
k-19 : the widowmaker is a great yarn . 
it's as raw and action-packed an experience as a ringside seat at a tough-man contest . 
evokes the frustration , the awkwardness and the euphoria of growing up , without relying on the usual tropes . 
a brilliant gag at the expense of those who paid for it and those who pay to see it . 
visually striking and viscerally repellent . 
overcomes its visual hideousness with a sharp script and strong performances . 
touché ! 
astonishingly skillful and moving . . . it could become a historically significant work as well as a masterfully made one . 
beautifully crafted and cooly unsettling . . . recreates the atmosphere of the crime expertly . 
the year 2002 has conjured up more coming-of-age stories than seem possible , but take care of my cat emerges as the very best of them . 
although it doesn't always hang together -- violence and whimsy don't combine easily -- " cherish " certainly isn't dull . 
the sight of the spaceship on the launching pad is duly impressive in imax dimensions , as are shots of the astronauts floating in their cabins . 
time is a beautiful film to watch , an interesting and at times captivating take on loss and loneliness . 
an intriguing look at the french film industry during the german occupation ; its most delightful moments come when various characters express their quirky inner selves . 
a fine documentary can be distinguished from a mediocre one by the better film's ability to make its subject interesting to those who aren't part of its supposed target audience . judging by those standards , 'scratch' is a pretty decent little documentary . 
fubar is very funny , but not always in a laugh-out-loud way . 
a diverse and astonishingly articulate cast of palestinian and israeli children . 
slight but enjoyable documentary . 
'the film is stark , straightforward and deadly . . . an unnatural calm that's occasionally shaken by . . . blasts of rage , and later , violent jealousy . '
an impressive hybrid . 
call this the full monty on ice , the underdog sports team formula redux . 
unfolds in a low-key , organic way that encourages you to accept it as life and go with its flow . 
a beguiling evocation of the quality that keeps dickens evergreen : the exuberant openness with which he expresses our most basic emotions . 
the heat of the moment prevails . it cooks conduct in a low , smoky and inviting sizzle . 
a riveting story well told . 
denis forges out of the theories of class- based rage and sisterly obsession a razor-sided tuning fork that rings with cultural , sexual and social discord . 
a compelling pre-wwii drama with vivid characters and a warm , moving message . 
the stars may be college kids , but the subject matter is as adult as you can get : the temptations of the flesh are unleashed by a slightly crazed , overtly determined young woman and a one-night swim turns into an ocean of trouble . 
pretty good little movie . 
by turns touching , raucously amusing , uncomfortable , and , yes , even sexy , never again is a welcome and heartwarming addition to the romantic comedy genre . 
worse than 'silence of the lambs' better than 'hannibal'
if you haven't seen the film lately , you may be surprised at the variety of tones in spielberg's work . much of it is funny , but there are also some startling , surrealistic moments . . . 
[the digital effects] reminded me of terry gilliam's rudimentary old monty python cartoons , in which he would cut out figures from drawings and photographs and paste them together . 
an entertaining mix of period drama and flat-out farce that should please history fans . 
canada's arctic light shines bright on this frozen tundra soap opera that breathes extraordinary life into the private existence of the inuit people . 
the fluid motion is astounding on any number of levels -- including the physical demands made on büttner -- and it implies in its wake the intractable , irreversible flow of history . 
alternately hilarious and sad , aggravating and soulful , scathing and joyous . it's a masterpeice . 
the film's messages of tolerance and diversity aren't particularly original , but one can't help but be drawn in by the sympathetic characters . 
though it lacks the utter authority of a genre gem , there's a certain robustness to this engaging mix of love and bloodletting . 
a conventional , but well-crafted film about a historic legal battle in ireland over a man's right to raise his own children . 
yes , it's as good as you remember . in fact , even better . 
hartley adds enough quirky and satirical touches in the screenplay to keep the film entertaining . 
an uncomfortable movie , suffocating and sometimes almost senseless , the grey zone does have a center , though a morbid one . 
this is a harrowing movie about how parents know where all the buttons are , and how to push them . 
a stirring road movie . 
one of the best films i have ever seen , constantly pulling the rug from underneath us , seeing things from new sides , plunging deeper , getting more intense . 
insanely hilarious ! i haven't laughed that hard in years ! 
anyone who's ever suffered under a martinet music instructor has no doubt fantasized about what an unhappy , repressed and twisted personal life their tormentor deserved . these people are really going to love the piano teacher . 
it's a tour de force , written and directed so quietly that it's implosion rather than explosion you fear . 
it may not be history – but then again , what if it is ? – but it makes for one of the most purely enjoyable and satisfying evenings at the movies i've had in a while . 
if " lilo & stitch " isn't the most edgy piece of disney animation to hit the silver screen , then this first film to use a watercolor background since " dumbo " certainly ranks as the most original in years . 
this may be dover kosashvili's feature directing debut , but it looks an awful lot like life -- gritty , awkward and ironic . 
this ready-made midnight movie probably won't stand the cold light of day , but under the right conditions , it's goofy ( if not entirely wholesome ) fun . 
see scratch for the history , see scratch for the music , see scratch for a lesson in scratching , but , most of all , see it for the passion . 
 . . . " bowling for columbine " remains a disquieting and thought-provoking film . . . 
even though it is infused with the sensibility of a video director , it doesn't make for completely empty entertainment
but even with the two-wrongs-make-a-right chemistry between jolie and burns . . . this otherwise appealing picture loses its soul to screenwriting for dummies conformity . 
talk to her is so darned assured , we have absolutely no idea who the main characters are until the film is well under way -- and yet it's hard to stop watching . 
star/producer salma hayek and director julie taymor have infused frida with a visual style unique and inherent to the titular character's paintings and in the process created a masterful work of art of their own . 
a tasty masala . 
a truly wonderful tale combined with stunning animation . 
a low-key labor of love that strikes a very resonant chord . 
an average kid-empowerment fantasy with slightly above-average brains . 
confessions isn't always coherent , but it's sharply comic and surprisingly touching , so hold the gong . 
while guzmán frustratingly refuses to give pinochet's crimes a political context , his distance from the material is mostly admirable . 
 . . . a story , an old and scary one , about the monsters we make , and the vengeance they take . 
a sentimental but entirely irresistible portrait of three aging sisters . 
white oleander may leave you rolling your eyes in the dark , but that doesn't mean you won't like looking at it . 
in painting an unabashedly romantic picture of a nation whose songs spring directly from the lives of the people , the movie exalts the marxian dream of honest working folk , with little to show for their labor , living harmoniously , joined in song . 
the most brilliant work in this genre since the 1984 uncut version of sergio leone's flawed but staggering once upon a time in america . 
it looks closely , insightfully at fragile , complex relationships . 
not a bad choice here , assuming that . . . the air-conditioning in the theater is working properly . 
a fine effort , an interesting topic , some intriguing characters and a sad ending . certainly the big finish wasn't something galinsky and hawley could have planned for . . . but part of being a good documentarian is being there when the rope snaps . 
it must be the end of the world : the best film so far this year is a franchise sequel starring wesley snipes . 
there are moments of hilarity to be had . 
refreshing . 
a hypnotic portrait of this sad , compulsive life . 
[while the last metro] was more melodramatic , confined to a single theater company and its strategies and deceptions , while tavernier is more concerned with the entire period of history . 
one of the best films of the year with its exquisite acting , inventive screenplay , mesmerizing music , and many inimitable scenes of tenderness , loss , discontent , and yearning . 
return to never land is reliable , standard disney animated fare , with enough creative energy and wit to entertain all ages . 
michael moore's latest documentary about america's thirst for violence is his best film yet . . . 
suffice to say that after seeing this movie in imax form , you'll be more acquainted with the tiniest details of tom hanks' face than his wife is . 
like a tarantino movie with heart , alias betty is richly detailed , deftly executed and utterly absorbing . 
marvelously entertaining and deliriously joyous documentary . 
a brisk , reverent , and subtly different sequel . 
a movie i loved on first sight and , even more important , love in remembrance . 
'divertida , enternecedora , universal y profundamente sincera , es una de las mejores comedias románticas en mucho tiempo . una verdadera delicia . '
deserves a place of honor next to nanook as a landmark in film history . 
murderous maids pulls no punches in its depiction of the lives of the papin sister and the events that led to their notorious rise to infamy . . . 
this is an undeniably intriguing film from an adventurous young talent who finds his inspiration on the fringes of the american underground . 
the sweetest thing , a romantic comedy with outrageous tendencies , may be a mess in a lot of ways . but it does have one saving grace . a lot of its gags and observations reflect a woman's point-of-view . 
this is lightweight filmmaking , to be sure , but it's pleasant enough -- and oozing with attractive men . 
at its most basic , this cartoon adventure is that wind-in-the-hair exhilarating . 
fans of critics' darling band wilco will marvel at the sometimes murky , always brooding look of i am trying to break your heart . 
the film presents visceral and dangerously honest revelations about the men and machines behind the curtains of our planet . 
[gosling's] combination of explosive physical energy and convincing intelligence helps create a complex , unpredictable character . 
confounding because it solemnly advances a daringly preposterous thesis . acting cannot be acted . 
fulford-wierzbicki . . . deftly captures the wise-beyond-her-years teen . 
a wild ride juiced with enough energy and excitement for at least three films . 
it's a cool event for the whole family . maybe not a classic , but a movie the kids will want to see over and over again . 
featherweight romantic comedy has a few nice twists in a standard plot and the charisma of hugh grant and sandra bullock . 
the movie is not as terrible as the synergistic impulse that created it . 
a typically observant , carefully nuanced and intimate french coming-of-age film that is an encouraging debut feature but has a needlessly downbeat ending that is too heavy for all that has preceded it . 
less an examination of neo-nazism than a probe into the nature of faith itself . 
a moving and weighty depiction of one family's attempts to heal after the death of a child . 
i don't think most of the people who loved the 1989 paradiso will prefer this new version . but i do . 
a zinger-filled crowd-pleaser that open-minded elvis fans ( but by no means all ) will have fun with . 
diggs and lathan are among the chief reasons brown sugar is such a sweet and sexy film . 
entirely suspenseful , extremely well-paced and ultimately . . . dare i say , entertaining ! 
the riveting performances by the incredibly flexible cast make love a joy to behold . 
terrific as nadia , a russian mail-order bride who comes to america speaking not a word of english , it's kidman who holds the film together with a supremely kittenish performance that gradually accumulates more layers . 
with an unflappable air of decadent urbanity , everett remains a perfect wildean actor , and a relaxed firth displays impeccable comic skill . 
the re-release of ron howard's apollo 13 in the imax format proves absolutely that really , really , really good things can come in enormous packages . 
very well written and directed with brutal honesty and respect for its audience . 
wonderful fencing scenes and an exciting plot make this an eminently engrossing film . 
it's pretty linear and only makeup-deep , but bogdanovich ties it together with efficiency and an affection for the period . 
a surprisingly charming and even witty match for the best of hollywood's comic-book adaptations . 
this is a superior horror flick . 
adaptation is simply brilliant . 
smart and alert , thirteen conversations about one thing is a small gem . 
the pleasure of read my lips is like seeing a series of perfect black pearls clicking together to form a string . we're drawn in by the dark luster . 
a haunting tale of murder and mayhem . 
i love the opening scenes of a wintry new york city in 1899 . cinematic poetry showcases the city's old-world charm before machines change nearly everything . 
it's hard to imagine anyone managing to steal a movie not only from charismatic rising star jake gyllenhaal but also from accomplished oscar winners susan sarandon , dustin hoffman and holly hunter , yet newcomer ellen pompeo pulls off the feat with aplomb . 
one of the best rock documentaries ever . wilco is a phenomenal band with such an engrossing story that will capture the minds and hearts of many . 
ian holm conquers france as an earthy napoleon
offers big , fat , dumb laughs that may make you hate yourself for giving in . ah , what the hell . 
[sports] admirable energy , full-bodied characterizations and narrative urgency . 
a portrait of an artist . 
directors brett morgen and nanette burstein have put together a bold biographical fantasia . 
the subtitled costume drama is set in a remote african empire before cell phones , guns , and the internal combustion engine , but the politics that thump through it are as timely as tomorrow . 
a tremendous piece of work . 
a delightful , if minor , pastry of a movie . 
while obviously aimed at kids , the country bears . . . should keep parents amused with its low groan-to-guffaw ratio . 
labute masterfully balances both traditional or modern stories together in a manner that one never overwhelms the other . something for everyone . 
irwin is so earnest that it's hard to resist his pleas to spare wildlife and respect their environs . there are far worse messages to teach a young audience , which will probably be perfectly happy with the sloppy slapstick comedy . 
leigh succeeds in delivering a dramatic slap in the face that's simultaneously painful and refreshing . 
not about scares but a mood in which an ominous , pervasive , and unknown threat lurks just below the proceedings and adds an almost constant mindset of suspense . 
'film aficionados cannot help but love cinema paradiso , whether the original version or new director's cut . '
a fascinating glimpse into an insular world that gives the lie to many clichés and showcases a group of dedicated artists . 
it's one thing to read about or rail against the ongoing - and unprecedented - construction project going on over our heads . it's quite another to feel physically caught up in the process . 
contradicts everything we've come to expect from movies nowadays . instead of simply handling conventional material in a conventional way , secretary takes the most unexpected material and handles it in the most unexpected way . 
could i have been more geeked when i heard that apollo 13 was going to be released in imax format ? in a word : no . 
murderous maids has a lot going for it , not least the brilliant performances by testud . . . and parmentier . 
filmmaker stacy peralta has a flashy editing style that doesn't always jell with sean penn's monotone narration , but he respects the material without sentimentalizing it . 
there are a couple of things that elevate " glory " above most of its ilk , most notably the mere presence of duvall . 
it's light on the chills and heavy on the atmospheric weirdness , and there are moments of jaw-droppingly odd behavior -- yet i found it weirdly appealing . 
 ( rises ) above its oh-so-hollywood rejiggering and its conventional direction to give the film a soul and an unabashed sense of good old-fashioned escapism . 
a breezy blend of art , history , esoteric musings and philosophy . 
kids will love its fantasy and adventure , and grownups should appreciate its whimsical humor . 
tsai ming-liang's ghosts are painfully aware of their not-being . 
leaping from one arresting image to another , songs from the second floor has all the enjoyable randomness of a very lively dream and so manages to be compelling , amusing and unsettling at the same time . 
sean penn , you owe nicolas cage an apology . 
the performances are uniformly good . 
she's all-powerful , a voice for a pop-cyber culture that feeds on her bjorkness . 
it's a perfect show of respect to just one of those underrated professionals who deserve but rarely receive it . 
for all its plot twists , and some of them verge on the bizarre as the film winds down , blood work is a strong , character-oriented piece . 
the story line may be 127 years old , but el crimen del padre amaro . . . couldn't be more timely in its despairing vision of corruption within the catholic establishment . 
this in-depth study of important developments of the computer industry should make it required viewing in university computer science departments for years to come . 
it shows us a slice of life that's very different from our own and yet instantly recognizable . 
a wonderfully speculative character study that made up for its rather slow beginning by drawing me into the picture . 
has its share of arresting images . 
leave it to john sayles to take on developers , the chamber of commerce , tourism , historical pageants , and commercialism all in the same movie . . . without neglecting character development for even one minute . 
reign of fire just might go down as one of the all-time great apocalypse movies . 
poignant and funny . 
a smart little indie . 
payne has created a beautiful canvas , and nicholson proves once again that he's the best brush in the business . 
see it . debate it . remember it . 
try as you might to resist , if you've got a place in your heart for smokey robinson , this movie will worm its way there . 
a riveting profile of law enforcement , and a visceral , nasty journey into an urban hades . 
director douglas mcgrath takes on nickleby with all the halfhearted zeal of an 8th grade boy delving into required reading . 
stands as a document of what it felt like to be a new yorker -- or , really , to be a human being -- in the weeks after 9/11 . 
i am not generally a huge fan of cartoons derived from tv shows , but hey arnold ! the movie is clever , offbeat and even gritty enough to overcome my resistance . 
with not a lot of help from the screenplay ( proficient , but singularly cursory ) , [testud] acts with the feral intensity of the young bette davis . 
it's a film that's destined to win a wide summer audience through word-of-mouth reviews and , not far down the line , to find a place among the studio's animated classics . 
slow and ponderous , but rohmer's drama builds to an intense indoor drama about compassion , sacrifice , and christian love in the face of political corruption . 
if you're not totally weirded- out by the notion of cinema as community-therapy spectacle , quitting hits home with disorienting force . 
austin powers for the most part is extremely funny , the first part making up for any flaws that come later . 
while tattoo borrows heavily from both seven and the silence of the lambs , it manages to maintain both a level of sophisticated intrigue and human-scale characters that suck the audience in . 
cho continues her exploration of the outer limits of raunch with considerable brio . 
elvira fans could hardly ask for more . 
a canny , derivative , wildly gruesome portrait of a london sociopath who's the scariest of sadists . 
the movie should be credited with remembering his victims . 
fast-paced and wonderfully edited , the film is extremely thorough . 
a bracing , unblinking work that serves as a painful elegy and sobering cautionary tale . 
hashiguchi uses the situation to evoke a japan bustling atop an undercurrent of loneliness and isolation . 
as if trying to grab a lump of play-doh , the harder that liman tries to squeeze his story , the more details slip out between his fingers . 
my big fat greek wedding is not only the best date movie of the year , it's also a -- dare i say it twice -- delightfully charming -- and totally american , i might add -- slice of comedic bliss . 
few films have captured the chaos of an urban conflagration with such fury , and audience members will leave feeling as shaken as nesbitt's cooper looks when the bullets stop flying . 
another love story in 2002's remarkable procession of sweeping pictures that have reinvigorated the romance genre . 
it's another retelling of alexandre dumas' classic . why ? who knows , but it works under the direction of kevin reynolds . 
[f]rom the performances and the cinematography to the outstanding soundtrack and unconventional narrative , the film is blazingly alive and admirable on many levels . 
shiri is an action film that delivers on the promise of excitement , but it also has a strong dramatic and emotional pull that gradually sneaks up on the audience . 
provides the kind of 'laugh therapy' i need from movie comedies -- offbeat humor , amusing characters , and a happy ending . after seeing 'analyze that , ' i feel better already . 
a penetrating , potent exploration of sanctimony , self-awareness , self-hatred and self-determination . 
this isn't a retooled genre piece , the tale of a guy and his gun , but an amiably idiosyncratic work . 
overall , it's a very entertaining , thought-provoking film with a simple message : god is love . 
it may not be a great piece of filmmaking , but its power comes from its soul's-eye view of how well-meaning patronizing masked a social injustice , at least as represented by this case . 
although mainstream american movies tend to exploit the familiar , every once in a while a film arrives from the margin that gives viewers a chance to learn , to grow , to travel . 
jeong-hyang lee's film is deceptively simple , deeply satisfying . 
the film is a hoot , and is just as good , if not better than much of what's on saturday morning tv especially the pseudo-educational stuff we all can't stand . 
george clooney , in his first directorial effort , presents this utterly ridiculous shaggy dog story as one of the most creative , energetic and original comedies to hit the screen in years . 
even when it drags , we are forced to reflect that its visual imagination is breathtaking
although commentary on nachtwey is provided . . . it's the image that really tells the tale . 
a life-size reenactment of those jack chick cartoon tracts that always ended with some hippie getting tossed into the lake of fire . 
grainy photography mars an otherwise delightful comedy of errors . 
this film is not a love letter for the slain rappers , it's a taunt -a call for justice for two crimes from which many of us have not yet recovered . 
the film is impressive for the sights and sounds of the wondrous beats the world has to offer . 
daily struggles and simple pleasures usurp the preaching message so that , by the time the credits roll across the pat ending , a warm , fuzzy feeling prevails . 
 . . . in no way original , or even all that memorable , but as downtown saturday matinee brain candy , it doesn't disappoint . 
clever and unflinching in its comic barbs , slap her is a small but rewarding comedy that takes aim at contemporary southern adolescence and never lets up . 
cremaster 3 is at once a tough pill to swallow and a minor miracle of self-expression . 
sex is one of those films that aims to confuse . 
compared to his series of spectacular belly flops both on and off the screen , runteldat is something of a triumph . 
[moore's] better at fingering problems than finding solutions . but though he only scratches the surface , at least he provides a strong itch to explore more . 
the powerful success of read my lips with such provocative material shows why , after only three films , director/co-writer jacques audiard , though little known in this country , belongs in the very top rank of french filmmakers . 
in his debut as a director , washington has a sure hand . his work with actors is particularly impressive . 
a generous , inspiring film that unfolds with grace and humor and gradually becomes a testament to faith . 
delivers the sexy razzle-dazzle that everyone , especially movie musical fans , has been hoping for . 
morvern rocks . 
vincent gallo is right at home in this french shocker playing his usual bad boy weirdo role . 
fierce , glaring and unforgettable . 
cletis is playful but highly studied and dependent for its success on a patient viewer . 
like its predecessor , it's no classic , but it provides a reasonably attractive holiday contraption , one that families looking for a clean , kid-friendly outing should investigate . 
campanella gets the tone just right -- funny in the middle of sad in the middle of hopeful . 
either a fascinating study of the relationship between mothers and their children or a disturbing story about sociopaths and their marks . 
 . . . gripping and handsome execution , ( but ) there isn't much about k-19 that's unique or memorable . 
effective in all its aspects , margarita happy hour represents an auspicious feature debut for chaiken . 
the delicious trimmings…arrive early and stay late , filling nearly every minute…with a lighthearted glow , some impudent snickers , and a glorious dose of humankind's liberating ability to triumph over a scrooge or two . 
standing by yourself is haunting . . . [it's] what punk rock music used to be , and what the video medium could use more of : spirit , perception , conviction . 
not the best herzog perhaps , but unmistakably herzog . 
enjoyably fast-moving , hard-hitting documentary . 
rehearsals are frequently more fascinating than the results . last dance , whatever its flaws , fulfills one facet of its mission in making me want to find out whether , in this case , that's true . 
the film's constant mood of melancholy and its unhurried narrative are masterfully controlled . but … in trying to capture the novel's deeper intimate resonances , the film has – ironically - distanced us from the characters . 
this is a stunning film , a one-of-a-kind tour de force . 
[cho's face is] an amazing slapstick instrument , creating a scrapbook of living mug shots . 
it's about as convincing as any other arnie musclefest , but has a little too much resonance with real world events and ultimately comes off as insultingly simplistic . 
while not quite a comedy , the film tackles its relatively serious subject with an open mind and considerable good cheer , and is never less than engaging . 
an extremely funny , ultimately heartbreaking look at life in contemporary china . 
your response to its new sequel , analyze that , may hinge on what you thought of the first film . 
davis is funny , charming and quirky in her feature film acting debut as amy . 
bloody sunday has the grace to call for prevention rather than to place blame , making it one of the best war movies ever made . it's a movie that accomplishes so much that one viewing can't possibly be enough . 
a lively and engaging examination of how similar obsessions can dominate a family . 
in the new release of cinema paradiso , the tale has turned from sweet to bittersweet , and when the tears come during that final , beautiful scene , they finally feel absolutely earned . 
faithful without being forceful , sad without being shrill , " a walk to remember " succeeds through sincerity . 
the film is a masterpiece of nuance and characterization , marred only by an inexplicable , utterly distracting blunder at the very end . 
the film is full of charm . 
the movie is well crafted , and well executed . if you're paying attention , the " big twists " are pretty easy to guess - but that doesn't make the movie any less entertaining . 
one of those unassuming films that sneaks up on you and stays with you long after you have left the theatre . 
 . . . pray doesn't have a passion for the material . he nonetheless appreciates the art and reveals a music scene that transcends culture and race . 
the one-liners are snappy , the situations volatile and the comic opportunities richly rewarded . 
it's anchored by splendid performances from an honored screen veteran and a sparkling newcomer who instantly transform themselves into a believable mother/daughter pair . 
intelligent and moving . 
fathers and sons , and the uneasy bonds between them , rarely have received such a sophisticated and unsentimental treatment on the big screen as they do in this marvelous film . 
this sci-fi techno-sex thriller starts out bizarre and just keeps getting weirder . 
last orders nurtures the multi-layers of its characters , allowing us to remember that life's ultimately a gamble and last orders are to be embraced . it's affecting , amusing , sad and reflective . 
a slight but sweet film . 
el peso de un líquido incoloro , el peso del líquido vital , del amor como elemento de vida , y de muerte . . . 
writer/director walter hill is in his hypermasculine element here , once again able to inject some real vitality and even art into a pulpy concept that , in many other hands would be completely forgettable . 
it is a happy , heady jumble of thought and storytelling , an insane comic undertaking that ultimately coheres into a sane and breathtakingly creative film . 
this new time machine is hardly perfect… yet it proves surprisingly serviceable . even at its worst , it's not half-bad . 
almost everyone growing up believes their family must look like " the addams family " to everyone looking in . . . " my big fat greek wedding " comes from the heart . . . 
once folks started hanging out at the barbershop , they never wanted to leave . chances are you won't , either . 
george lucas returns as a visionary with a tale full of nuance and character dimension . 
can be viewed as pure composition and form -- film as music
an extraordinary dramatic experience . 
every individual will see the movie through the prism of his or her own beliefs and prejudices , but the one thing most will take away is the sense that peace is possible . that , in itself , is extraordinary . 
if you can tolerate the redneck-versus-blueblood cliches that the film trades in , sweet home alabama is diverting in the manner of jeff foxworthy's stand-up act . 
it's a treat watching shaw , a british stage icon , melting under the heat of phocion's attentions . 
all in all , an interesting look at the life of the campaign-trail press , especially ones that don't really care for the candidate they're forced to follow . 
narc is a no-bull throwback to 1970s action films . it zips along with b-movie verve while adding the rich details and go-for-broke acting that heralds something special . 
me without you has a bracing truth that's refreshing after the phoniness of female-bonding pictures like divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood . 
it's a strange film , one that was hard for me to warm up to . 
goes a long way on hedonistic gusto . 
the result puts a human face on derrida , and makes one of the great minds of our times interesting and accessible to people who normally couldn't care less . 
the scorpion king is more fun than conan the barbarian . 
if there's one big point to promises , it's that nothing can change while physical and psychological barriers keep the sides from speaking even one word to each other . 
unexpected moments of authentically impulsive humor are the hallmark of this bittersweet , uncommonly sincere movie that portrays the frank humanity of…emotional recovery . 
jacquot has filmed the opera exactly as the libretto directs , ideally capturing the opera's drama and lyricism . 
this is a sincerely crafted picture that deserves to emerge from the traffic jam of holiday movies . 
i liked it because it was so endlessly , grotesquely , inventive . 
audiard successfully maintains suspense on different levels throughout a film that is both gripping and compelling . 
credit director ramsay for taking the sometimes improbable story and making it feel realistic . 
this is dicaprio's best performance in anything ever , and easily the most watchable film of the year . 
witherspoon puts to rest her valley-girl image , but it's dench who really steals the show . 
even when there are lulls , the emotions seem authentic , and the picture is so lovely toward the end . . . you almost don't notice the 129-minute running time . 
while dutifully pulling on heartstrings , directors dean deblois and chris sanders valiantly keep punching up the mix . 
ambitious , unsettling psychodrama that takes full , chilling advantage of its rough-around-the-edges , low-budget constraints . 
eric byler's nuanced pic avoids easy sentiments and explanations . . . 
manages to be wholesome and subversive at the same time . 
when it's not wallowing in hormonal melodrama , " real women have curves " is a sweet , honest , and enjoyable comedy-drama about a young woman who wants many things in life , but fears she'll become her mother before she gets to fulfill her dreams . 
the film runs on a little longer than it needs to -- muccino either doesn't notice when his story ends or just can't tear himself away from the characters -- but it's smooth and professional . 
blithely anachronistic and slyly achronological . 
this starts off with a 1950's doris day feel and it gets very ugly , very fast . the first five minutes will have you talking 'til the end of the year ! 
triumph of love is a very silly movie , but the silliness has a pedigree . 
discursive but oddly riveting documentary . 
the movie has no respect for laws , political correctness or common decency , but it displays something more important : respect for its flawed , crazy people . 
on its own , big trouble could be considered a funny little film . 
an undeniably gorgeous , terminally smitten document of a troubadour , his acolytes , and the triumph of his band . 
this cinema verite speculation on the assassination of john f . kennedy may have been inspired by blair witch , but it takes its techniques into such fresh territory that the film never feels derivative . 
a beautifully observed character piece . 
a coming-of-age movie that hollywood wouldn't have the guts to make . 
it is quite a vision . 
there are laughs aplenty , and , as a bonus , viewers don't have to worry about being subjected to farts , urine , feces , semen , or any of the other foul substances that have overrun modern-day comedies . 
a bittersweet drama about the limbo of grief and how truth-telling can open the door to liberation . 
a strong and confident work which works so well for the first 89 minutes , but ends so horrendously confusing in the final two
salma goes native and she's never been better in this colorful bio-pic of a mexican icon . 
filled with alexandre desplat's haunting and sublime music , the movie completely transfixes the audience . 
as chilling and fascinating as philippe mora's modern hitler-study , snide and prejudice . 
an hour and a half of joyful solo performance . 
strange and beautiful film . 
no worse a film than breaking out , and breaking out was utterly charming . 
parker cannot sustain the buoyant energy level of the film's city beginnings into its country conclusion
' . . . despite lagging near the finish line , the movie runs a good race , one that will have you at the edge of your seat for long stretches . '
 . . . a guiltless film for nice evening out . 
deflated ending aside , there's much to recommend the film . 
it's a treat – a delightful , witty , improbable romantic comedy with a zippy jazzy score… grant and bullock make it look as though they are having so much fun . 
performances all around are tops , with the two leads delivering oscar-caliber performances . 
everything about the quiet american is good , except its timing . 
a savage john waters-like humor that dances on the edge of tastelessness without ever quite falling over . 
at once a testament to the divine calling of education and a demonstration of the painstaking process of imparting knowledge . 
may seriously impair your ability to ever again maintain a straight face while speaking to a highway patrolman . 
it's an interesting effort ( particularly for jfk conspiracy nuts ) , and barry's cold-fish act makes the experience worthwhile . 
they're just a couple of cops in copmovieland , these two , but in narc , they find new routes through a familiar neighborhood . 
brings awareness to an issue often overlooked -- women's depression . 
it's a shame the marvelous first 101 minutes have to be combined with the misconceived final 5 . 
it has a caffeinated , sloppy brilliance , sparkling with ideas you wish had been developed with more care , but animated by an energy that puts the dutiful efforts of more disciplined grade-grubbers to shame . 
you can almost see mendes and company getting together before a single frame had been shot and collectively vowing , 'this is going to be something really good . ' and it is . 
foster and whitaker are especially fine . she is a lioness , protecting her cub , and he a reluctant villain , incapable of controlling his crew . 
undoubtedly the scariest movie ever made about tattoos . 
a movie that will wear you out and make you misty even when you don't want to be . 
not only better than its predecessor , it may rate as the most magical and most fun family fare of this or any recent holiday season . 
though the story . . . is hackneyed , the characters have a freshness and modesty that transcends their predicament . 
although frailty fits into a classic genre , in its script and execution it is a remarkably original work . 
if this movie leaves you cool , it also leaves you intriguingly contemplative . 
the climactic events are so well realized that you may forget all about the original conflict , just like the movie does
a rude black comedy about the catalytic effect a holy fool has upon those around him in the cutthroat world of children's television . 
all comedy is subversive , but this unrelenting bleak insistence on opting out of any opportunity for finding meaning in relationships or work just becomes sad . 
if a horror movie's primary goal is to frighten and disturb , then they works spectacularly well . . . a shiver-inducing , nerve-rattling ride . 
a playful iranian parable about openness , particularly the need for people of diverse political perspectives to get along despite their ideological differences . 
brilliantly written and well-acted , yellow asphalt is an uncompromising film . 
that 'alabama' manages to be pleasant in spite of its predictability and occasional slowness is due primarily to the perkiness of witherspoon ( who is always a joy to watch , even when her material is not first-rate ) . . . 
personal velocity has a no-frills docu-dogma plainness , yet miller lingers on invisible , nearly psychic nuances , leaping into digressions of memory and desire . she boxes these women's souls right open for us . 
a fascinating literary mystery story with multiple strands about the controversy of who really wrote shakespeare's plays . 
throughout , mr . audiard's direction is fluid and quick . 
a dashing and absorbing outing with one of france's most inventive directors . 
it's a fine , old-fashioned-movie movie , which is to say it's unburdened by pretensions to great artistic significance . 
 . . . flat-out amusing , sometimes endearing and often fabulous , with a solid cast , noteworthy characters , delicious dialogue and a wide supply of effective sight gags . 
the trials of henry kissinger is a remarkable piece of filmmaking … because you get it . 
nachtwey clears the cynicism right out of you . he makes you realize that deep inside righteousness can be found a tough beauty . 
what it lacks in substance it makes up for in heart . 
robert harmon's less-is-more approach delivers real bump-in -the-night chills -- his greatest triumph is keeping the creepy crawlies hidden in the film's thick shadows . 
genuinely unnerving . 
american and european cinema has amassed a vast holocaust literature , but it is impossible to think of any film more challenging or depressing than the grey zone . 
a compelling film . 
with its hint of an awkward hitchcockian theme in tact , harmon's daunting narrative promotes a reasonable landscape of conflict and pathos to support the scattershot terrorizing tone
in auteil's less dramatic but equally incisive performance , he's a charismatic charmer likely to seduce and conquer . 
the heart of the film is a touching reflection on aging , suffering and the prospect of death . 
will you go ape over this movie ? well , it probably won't have you swinging from the trees hooting it's praises , but it's definitely worth taking a look . 
its director's most substantial feature for some time . 
fontaine's direction , especially her agreeably startling use of close-ups and her grace with a moving camera , creates sheerly cinematic appeal . 
the son of the bride's humour is born out of an engaging storyline , which also isn't embarrassed to make you reach for the tissues . this movie is to be cherished . 
 . . . a visually seductive , unrepentantly trashy take on rice's second installment of her vampire chronicles . 
the story's scope and pageantry are mesmerizing , and mr . day-lewis roars with leonine power . 
p . t . anderson understands the grandness of romance and how love is the great equalizer that can calm us of our daily ills and bring out joys in our lives that we never knew were possible . 
twenty years later , e . t . is still a cinematic touchstone . 
this fascinating experiment plays as more of a poetic than a strict reality , creating an intriguing species of artifice that gives the lady and the duke something of a theatrical air . 
it's virtually impossible to like any of these despicable characters . 
this is mostly well-constructed fluff , which is all it seems intended to be . 
even through its flaws , revolution #9 proves to be a compelling , interestingly told film . 
the best way to describe it is as a cross between paul thomas anderson's magnolia and david lynch's mulholland dr . 
schepisi , aided by a cast that seems to include every top-notch british actor who did not appear in gosford park ( as well as one , ms . mirren , who did ) , has succeeded beyond all expectation . 
lejos del paraíso es al mismo tiempo una fiesta para los ojos y oídos y un movilizador cuadro de personajes enfrentados a sus propios deseos , miedos y prejuicios . 
watching this film , one is left with the inescapable conclusion that hitchens' obsession with kissinger is , at bottom , a sophisticated flower child's desire to purge the world of the tooth and claw of human power . 
there is no denying the power of polanski's film . . . 
the movie is amateurish , but it's a minor treat . 
this charming but slight tale has warmth , wit and interesting characters compassionately portrayed . 
el título no engaña : la película narra una historia donde una mujer enfrentará cierta realidad , y donde el sexo es . . . 
offers a persuasive look at a defeated but defiant nation in flux . 
'interesante y disfrutable trabajo gracias a que prescinde del clásico elemento estadounidense patriotero y manipulador . '
a return to pure disney magic and is enjoyable family fare . 
takes a fresh and absorbing look at a figure whose legacy had begun to bronze . 
a triumph of pure craft and passionate heart . 
gosling creates a staggeringly compelling character , a young man whose sharp intellect is at the very root of his contradictory , self-hating , self-destructive ways . 
witty and often surprising , a dark little morality tale disguised as a romantic comedy . 
even as it pays earnest homage to turntablists and beat jugglers , old schoolers and current innovators , scratch is great fun , full of the kind of energy it's documenting . 
got a david lynch jones ? then you'd do well to check this one out because it's straight up twin peaks action . . . 
astonishing . . . [frames] profound ethical and philosophical questions in the form of dazzling pop entertainment . 
take care is nicely performed by a quintet of actresses , but nonetheless it drags during its 112-minute length . 
it's hard to fairly judge a film like ringu when you've seen the remake first . many of the effective horror elements are dampened through familiarity , [yet] are worthwhile . 
one of the very best movies ever made about the life of moviemaking . 
rarely does such high-profile talent serve such literate material . 
an elegant and sly deadpan comedy . 
the way the roundelay of partners functions , and the interplay within partnerships and among partnerships and the general air of gator-bashing are consistently delightful . 
land , people and narrative flow together in a stark portrait of motherhood deferred and desire explored . 
'blue crush' swims away with the sleeper movie of the summer award . 
you're not merely watching history , you're engulfed by it . 
a chick flick for guys . 
it's mildly entertaining , especially if you find comfort in familiarity . but it's hardly a necessary enterprise . 
the quiet american isn't a bad film , it's just one that could easily wait for your pay per view dollar . 
as home movie gone haywire , it's pretty enjoyable , but as sexual manifesto , i'd rather listen to old tori amos records . 
in its treatment of the dehumanizing and ego-destroying process of unemployment , time out offers an exploration that is more accurate than anything i have seen in an american film . 
like an episode of mtv's undressed , with 20 times the creativity but without any more substance . . . indulgently entertaining but could have and should have been deeper . 
deliciously slow . 
a sensitive , cultivated treatment of greene's work as well as a remarkably faithful one . 
it's not just a feel-good movie , it's a feel movie . you feel good , you feel sad , you feel pissed off , but in the end , you feel alive - which is what they did . 
it's a piece of handiwork that shows its indie tatters and self-conscious seams in places , but has some quietly moving moments and an intelligent subtlety . 
what makes barbershop so likable , with all its flaws , is that it has none of the pushiness and decibel volume of most contemporary comedies . 
watching these two actors play against each other so intensely , but with restraint , is a treat . 
an example of quiet , confident craftsmanship that tells a sweet , charming tale of intergalactic friendship . 
a meditation on faith and madness , frailty is blood-curdling stuff . 
the production design , score and choreography are simply intoxicating . 
a comedy that is warm , inviting , and surprising . 
so vivid a portrait of a woman consumed by lust and love and crushed by betrayal that it conjures up the intoxicating fumes and emotional ghosts of a freshly painted rembrandt . 
suspend your disbelief here and now , or you'll be shaking your head all the way to the credits . 
trades run-of-the-mill revulsion for extreme unease . 
 . . . one of the more influential works of the 'korean new wave' . 
implicitly acknowledges and celebrates the glorious chicanery and self-delusion of this most american of businesses , and for that reason it may be the most oddly honest hollywood document of all . 
a beautifully tooled action thriller about love and terrorism in korea . 
director-writer bille august . . . depicts this relationship with economical grace , letting his superb actors convey martin's deterioration and barbara's sadness -- and , occasionally , anger . 
victor rosa is leguizamo's best movie work so far , a subtle and richly internalized performance . 
birthday girl doesn't try to surprise us with plot twists , but rather seems to enjoy its own transparency . 
smart , funny and just honest enough to provide the pleasures of a slightly naughty , just-above-average off- broadway play . 
topics that could make a sailor blush - but lots of laughs . 
michael moore has perfected the art of highly entertaining , self-aggrandizing , politically motivated documentary-making , and he's got as potent a topic as ever here . 
a fine production with splendid singing by angela gheorghiu , ruggero raimondi , and roberto alagna . 
about a boy vividly recalls the cary grant of room for one more , houseboat and father goose in its affectionate depiction of the gentle war between a reluctant , irresponsible man and the kid who latches onto him . 
none of this is meaningful or memorable , but frosting isn't , either , and you wouldn't turn down a big bowl of that , would you ? 
the film is a fierce dance of destruction . its flame-like , roiling black-and-white inspires trembling and gratitude . 
a riveting documentary . 
may lack the pungent bite of its title , but it's an enjoyable trifle nonetheless . 
 . . . manages to fall closer in quality to silence than to the abysmal hannibal . 
you may think you have figured out the con and the players in this debut film by argentine director fabian bielinsky , but while you were thinking someone made off with your wallet . 
diane lane works nothing short of a minor miracle in unfaithful . 
takashi miike keeps pushing the envelope : ichi the killer
a fantastic premise anchors this movie , but what it needs is either a more rigid , blair witch-style commitment to its mockumentary format , or a more straightforward , dramatic treatment , with all the grandiosity that that implies . 
exhilarating but blatantly biased . 
much of what we see is horrible but it's also undeniably exceedingly clever . 
it understands , in a way that speaks forcefully enough about the mechanisms of poverty to transcend the rather simplistic filmmaking . 
ramsay succeeds primarily with her typical blend of unsettling atmospherics , delivering a series of abrasive , stylized sequences that burn themselves upon the viewer's memory . 
 . . . a thoughtful what-if for the heart as well as the mind . 
like its bizarre heroine , it irrigates our souls . 
hawn and sarandon form an acting bond that makes the banger sisters a fascinating character study with laughs to spare . 
it's a fun adventure movie for kids ( of all ages ) that like adventure . 
a very capable nailbiter . 
because the genre is well established , what makes the movie fresh is smart writing , skewed characters , and the title performance by kieran culkin . 
 " white oleander , " the movie , is akin to a reader's digest condensed version of the source material . 
it's like going to a house party and watching the host defend himself against a frothing ex-girlfriend . you don't want to call the cops . you want to call domino's . 
what's most refreshing about real women have curves is its unforced comedy-drama and its relaxed , natural-seeming actors . 
the low-key direction is pleasingly emphatic in this properly intense , claustrophobic tale of obsessive love . 
secretary is just too original to be ignored . 
that rare film whose real-life basis is , in fact , so interesting that no embellishment is needed . 
smart and fun , but far more witty than it is wise . 
this isn't a stand up and cheer flick ; it's a sit down and ponder affair . and thanks to kline's superbly nuanced performance , that pondering is highly pleasurable . 
originality ain't on the menu , but there's never a dull moment in the giant spider invasion comic chiller . 
walter hill's undisputed is like a 1940s warner bros . b picture , and i mean that as a compliment . 
this one is not nearly as dreadful as expected . in fact , it's quite fun in places . 
with elements cribbed from lang's metropolis , welles' kane , and eisenstein's potemkin , the true wonder of rintarô's metropolis is the number of lasting images all its own . 
a biopic about crane's life in the classic tradition but evolves into what has become of us all in the era of video . 
the best of the pierce brosnan james bond films to date . 
thanks to a small star with big heart , this family film sequel is plenty of fun for all . 
while the now 72-year-old robert evans been slowed down by a stroke , he has at least one more story to tell : his own . 
it's about individual moments of mood , and an aimlessness that's actually sort of amazing . 
the people in jessica are so recognizable and true that , as in real life , we're never sure how things will work out . 
a tone poem of transgression . 
creeps you out in high style , even if nakata did it better . 
rubbo runs through a remarkable amount of material in the film's short 90 minutes . 
visually engrossing , seldom hammy , honorably mexican and burns its kahlories with conviction . 
this is christmas future for a lot of baby boomers . 
despite a quieter middle section , involving aragorn's dreams of arwen , this is even better than the fellowship . there are scenes of cinematic perfection that steal your heart away . 
spider-man is in the same category as x-men - occasionally brilliant but mostly average , showing signs of potential for the sequels , but not giving us much this time around . 
the obnoxious title character provides the drama that gives added clout to this doc . 
an enjoyable experience . 
anyone who welcomes a dash of the avant-garde fused with their humor should take pleasure in this crazed , joyous romp of a film . 
the fun of the movie is the chance it affords to watch jackson , who also served as executive producer , take his smooth , shrewd , powerful act abroad . 
'si bien no logra desarrollarse como un gran drama , tampoco es tan superficial como muchas cintas que pecan de pretenciosas y que resultan totalmente banales . '
saddled with an unwieldy cast of characters and angles , but the payoff is powerful and revelatory . 
it's something of the ultimate scorsese film , with all the stomach-turning violence , colorful new york gang lore and other hallmarks of his personal cinema painted on their largest-ever historical canvas . 
mr . caine and mr . fraser are the whole show here , with their memorable and resourceful performances . 
a frustrating yet deeply watchable melodrama that makes you think it's a tougher picture than it is . 
a giddy and provocative sexual romp that has something to say . 
[russell] makes good b movies ( the mask , the blob ) , and the scorpion king more than ably meets those standards . 
otto-sallies has a real filmmaker's eye . 
this is a smart movie that knows its classical music , knows its freud and knows its sade . 
the film has an infectious enthusiasm and we're touched by the film's conviction that all life centered on that place , that time and that sport . 
beautifully reclaiming the story of carmen and recreating it an in an african idiom . 
the camera soars above the globe in dazzling panoramic shots that make the most of the large-screen format , before swooping down on a string of exotic locales , scooping the whole world up in a joyous communal festival of rhythm . 
a flawed but engrossing thriller . 
demonstrates the unusual power of thoughtful , subjective filmmaking . 
expect no major discoveries , nor any stylish sizzle , but the film sits with square conviction and touching good sense on the experience of its women . 
the success of undercover brother is found in its ability to spoof both black and white stereotypes equally . 
this is the kind of subject matter that could so easily have been fumbled by a lesser filmmaker , but ayres makes the right choices at every turn . 
cox creates a fluid and mesmerizing sequence of images to match the words of nijinsky's diaries . 
what bloody sunday lacks in clarity , it makes up for with a great , fiery passion . 
its adult themes of familial separation and societal betrayal are head and shoulders above much of the director's previous popcorn work . 
director nancy savoca's no-frills record of a show forged in still-raw emotions captures the unsettled tenor of that post 9-11 period far better than a more measured or polished production ever could . 
the film grows on you . and how . 
one thing you have to give them credit for : the message of the movie is consistent with the messages espoused in the company's previous video work . 
halloween : resurrection isn't exactly quality cinema , but it isn't nearly as terrible as it cold have been . 
as banal as the telling may be -- and at times , all my loved ones more than flirts with kitsch -- the tale commands attention . 
romantic comedy and dogme 95 filmmaking may seem odd bedfellows , but they turn out to be delightfully compatible here . 
the most wondrous love story in years , it is a great film . 
some movies suck you in despite their flaws , and heaven is one such beast . 
my wife is an actress works as well as it does because [the leads] are such a companionable couple . 
with spy kids 2 : the island of lost dreams , however , robert rodriguez adorns his family-film plot with an elegance and maturity that even most contemporary adult movies are lacking . 
based on dave barry's popular book of the same name , the movie benefits from having a real writer plot out all of the characters' moves and overlapping story . 
bouquet gives a performance that is masterly . 
a poignant comedy that offers food for thought . 
 . . . a series of tales told with the intricate preciseness of the best short story writing . 
if you're content with a clever pseudo-bio that manages to have a good time as it doles out pieces of the famous director's life , eisenstein delivers . 
this filmed tosca -- not the first , by the way -- is a pretty good job , if it's filmed tosca that you want . i'll stay with the stage versions , however , which bite cleaner , and deeper . 
while the path may be familiar , first-time director denzel washington and a top-notch cast manage to keep things interesting . 
an engaging criminal romp that will have viewers guessing just who's being conned right up to the finale . 
the picture runs a mere 84 minutes , but it's no glance . it's a head-turner -- thoughtfully written , beautifully read and , finally , deeply humanizing . 
it asks nothing of the audience other than to sit back and enjoy a couple of great actors hamming it up . 
it is as uncompromising as it is nonjudgmental , and makes clear that a prostitute can be as lonely and needy as any of the clients . 
'barbershop " is a good-hearted ensemble comedy with a variety of quirky characters and an engaging story . 
a good thriller . 
tully is in many ways the perfect festival film : a calm , self-assured portrait of small town regret , love , duty and friendship that appeals to the storytelling instincts of a slightly more literate filmgoing audience . 
i like this movie a lot . i like that smith , he's not making fun of these people , he's not laughing at them . 
a glorious mess . 
 . . . the implication is kissinger may have decided that — when it comes to truncheoning — it's better to give than to receive . 
'what's the russian word for wow ! ? '
kiarostami has crafted a deceptively casual ode to children and managed to convey a tiny sense of hope . 
i had more fun watching spy than i had with most of the big summer movies . 
what lee does so marvelously compelling is present brown as a catalyst for the struggle of black manhood in restrictive and chaotic america . . . sketchy but nevertheless gripping portrait of jim brown , a celebrated wonder in the spotlight
murder by numbers' isn't a great movie , but it's a perfectly acceptable widget . 
for those of an indulgent , slightly sunbaked and summery mind , sex and lucia may well prove diverting enough . 
what [denis] accomplishes in his chilling , unnerving film is a double portrait of two young women whose lives were as claustrophic , suffocating and chilly as the attics to which they were inevitably consigned . 
a well-done film of a self-reflexive , philosophical nature . 
texan director george ratliff had unlimited access to families and church meetings , and he delivers fascinating psychological fare . 
the rich performances by friel -- and especially williams , an american actress who becomes fully english -- round out the square edges . 
the new insomnia is a surprisingly faithful remake of its chilly predecessor , and when it does elect to head off in its own direction , it employs changes that fit it well rather than ones that were imposed for the sake of commercial sensibilities . 
a film in a class with spike lee's masterful do the right thing . 
jagger , stoppard and director michael apted . . . deliver a riveting and surprisingly romantic ride . 
greengrass ( working from don mullan's script ) forgoes the larger socio-political picture of the situation in northern ireland in favour of an approach that throws one in the pulsating thick of a truly frightening situation . 
a thought-provoking and often-funny drama about isolation . 
whatever one makes of its political edge , this is beautiful filmmaking from one of french cinema's master craftsmen . 
mama africa pretty much delivers on that promise . it does give you a peek . the main problem being that it's only a peek . 
roman polanski's autobiographical gesture at redemption is better than 'shindler's list' - it is more than merely a holocaust movie . 
a perfectly respectable , perfectly inoffensive , easily forgettable film . 
romanek's themes are every bit as distinctive as his visuals . beyond the cleverness , the weirdness and the pristine camerawork , one hour photo is a sobering meditation on why we take pictures . 
seeing seinfeld at home as he watches his own appearance on letterman with a clinical eye reminds you that the key to stand-up is to always make it look easy , even though the reality is anything but . 
speaks eloquently about the symbiotic relationship between art and life . 
the work of an artist tormented by his heritage , using his storytelling ability to honor the many faceless victims . 
the audacity to view one of shakespeare's better known tragedies as a dark comedy is , by itself , deserving of discussion . 
this is an exercise in chilling style , and twohy films the sub , inside and out , with an eye on preserving a sense of mystery . 
an uncomfortable experience , but one as brave and challenging as you could possibly expect these days from american cinema . 
hailed as a clever exercise in neo-hitchcockianism , this clever and very satisfying picture is more accurately chabrolian . 
funny and also heartwarming without stooping to gooeyness . 
at the film's centre is a precisely layered performance by an actor in his mid-seventies , michel piccoli . 
the viewer takes great pleasure in watching the resourceful molly stay a step ahead of her pursuers . 
with amazing finesse , the film shadows heidi's trip back to vietnam and the city where her mother , mai thi kim , still lives . 
director charles stone iii applies more detail to the film's music than to the story line ; what's best about drumline is its energy . 
a heroic tale of persistence that is sure to win viewers' hearts . 
it's all a rather shapeless good time . . . 
has far more energy , wit and warmth than should be expected from any movie with a " 2 " at the end of its title . 
a little better than sorcerer's stone . 
a chilling movie without oppressive gore . 
a uniquely sensual metaphorical dramatization of sexual obsession that spends a bit too much time on its fairly ludicrous plot . 
if you like peace , you'll like promises . 
be prepared to cling to the edge of your seat , tense with suspense . the ring never lets you off the hook . 
thumbs up to paxton for not falling into the hollywood trap and making a vanity project with nothing new to offer . 
at once disarmingly straightforward and strikingly devious . 
if you like quirky , odd movies and/or the ironic , here's a fun one . 
sensitive ensemble performances and good period reconstruction add up to a moving tragedy with some buoyant human moments . 
it's not the least of afghan tragedies that this noble warlord would be consigned to the dustbin of history . 
it's a lovely , sad dance highlighted by kwan's unique directing style . 
the script by david koepp is perfectly serviceable and because he gives the story some soul . . . he elevates the experience to a more mythic level . 
this is a visually stunning rumination on love , memory , history and the war between art and commerce . 
short-story quaint , touchingly mending a child's pain for his dead mother via communication with an old woman straight out of eudora welty . 
it's always fascinating to watch marker the essayist at work . 
a quiet family drama with a little bit of romance and a dose of darkness . 
the tasteful little revision works wonders , enhancing the cultural and economic subtext , bringing richer meaning to the story's morals . 
kosminsky . . . puts enough salt into the wounds of the tortured and self-conscious material to make it sting . 
one of the greatest films i've ever seen . 
its gentle , touching story creeps into your heart . 
about as big a crowdpleaser as they possibly come . 
bound to appeal to women looking for a howlingly trashy time . 
even these tales of just seven children seem at times too many , although in reality they are not enough . every child's story is what matters . this film can only point the way -- but thank goodness for this signpost . 
a poignant and gently humorous parable that loves its characters and communicates something rather beautiful about human nature . 
real women have curves doesn't offer any easy answers . 
vampire epic succeeds as spooky action-packed trash of the highest order . 
one of the funniest motion pictures of the year , but . . . also one of the most curiously depressing . 
while somewhat less than it might have been , the film is a good one , and you've got to hand it to director george clooney for biting off such a big job the first time out . 
like the chilled breath of oral storytelling frozen onto film . 
a charmer from belgium . 
a wild , endearing , masterful documentary . 
jackie chan movies are a guilty pleasure - he's easy to like and always leaves us laughing . 
brown sugar signals director rick famuyiwa's emergence as an articulate , grown-up voice in african-american cinema . 
with exquisite craftsmanship . . . olivier assayas has fashioned an absorbing look at provincial bourgeois french society . 
it's rare for any movie to be as subtle and touching as the son's room . 
it has a way of seeping into your consciousness , with lingering questions about what the film is really getting at . 
maelstrom is a deliberately unsteady mixture of stylistic elements . 
[leigh] has a true talent for drawing wrenching performances from his actors ( improvised over many months ) and for conveying the way tiny acts of kindness make ordinary life survivable . 
[d]espite its familiar subject matter , ice age is consistently amusing and engrossing . . . 
the ingenious construction ( adapted by david hare from michael cunningham's novel ) constantly flows forwards and back , weaving themes among three strands which allow us to view events as if through a prism
assured , glossy and shot through with brittle desperation . 
the bottom line is the piece works brilliantly . 
it was only a matter of time before some savvy producer saw the potential success inherent in the mixture of bullock bubble and hugh goo . 
it is scott's convincing portrayal of roger the sad cad that really gives the film its oomph . 
while this movie , by necessity , lacks fellowship's heart , two towers outdoes its spectacle . 
meyjes . . . has done his homework and soaked up some jazzy new revisionist theories about the origins of nazi politics and aesthetics . 
para hitler , o mundo era sua tela ; e o horror , seu pincel . e max retrata este fato com elegante abandono , numa triste constatação da realidade histórica . 
aside from rohmer's bold choices regarding point of view , the lady and the duke represents the filmmaker's lifelong concern with formalist experimentation in cinematic art . 
what 'dumb and dumber' would have been without the vulgarity and with an intelligent , life-affirming script . 
 . . . a vivid , thoughtful , unapologetically raw coming-of-age tale full of sex , drugs and rock 'n' roll . 
you wouldn't want to live waydowntown , but it is a hilarious place to visit . 
films are made of little moments . changing lanes tries for more . it doesn't reach them , but the effort is gratefully received . 
when the movie mixes the cornpone and the cosa nostra , it finds a nice rhythm . 
the story is a rather simplistic one : grief drives her , love drives him , and a second chance to find love in the most unlikely place - it struck a chord in me . 
terrific casting and solid execution give all three stories life . 
a hard look at one man's occupational angst and its subsequent reinvention , a terrifying study of bourgeois desperation worthy of claude chabrol . 
neatly constructed thriller . 
[ramsay] visually transforms the dreary expanse of dead-end distaste the characters inhabit into a poem of art , music and metaphor . 
frequent flurries of creative belly laughs and genuinely enthusiastic performances . . . keep the movie slaloming through its hackneyed elements with enjoyable ease . 
at its best , this is grand-scale moviemaking for a larger-than-life figure , an artist who has been awarded mythic status in contemporary culture . 
'possession , ' based on the book by a . s . byatt , demands that labute deal with the subject of love head-on ; trading in his cynicism for reverence and a little wit
the plot of the comeback curlers isn't very interesting actually , but what i like about men with brooms and what is kind of special is how the film knows what's unique and quirky about canadians . 
10 minutes into the film you'll be white-knuckled and unable to look away . 
it's a beautiful film , full of elaborate and twisted characters - and it's also pretty funny . 
could this be the first major studio production shot on video tape instead of film ? 
not since ghostbusters has a film used manhattan's architecture in such a gloriously goofy way . 
as tricky and satisfying as any of david mamet's airless cinematic shell games . 
the universal theme of becoming a better person through love has never been filmed more irresistibly than in 'baran . '
cube's charisma and chemistry compensate for corniness and cliche . 
with lesser talents , high crimes would be entertaining , but forgettable . with freeman and judd , i'll at least remember their characters . 
as a director , paxton is surprisingly brilliant , deftly sewing together what could have been a confusing and horrifying vision into an intense and engrossing head-trip . 
the film is filled with humorous observations about the general absurdity of modern life as seen through the eyes outsiders , but deftly manages to avoid many of the condescending stereotypes that so often plague films dealing with the mentally ill . 
daughter from danang sticks with its subjects a little longer and tells a deeper story
a coming-of-age film that avoids the cartoonish clichés and sneering humor of the genre as it provides a fresh view of an old type -- the uncertain girl on the brink of womanhood . 
the faithful will enjoy this sometimes wry adaptation of v . s . naipaul's novel , but newcomers may find themselves stifling a yawn or two during the first hour . 
a distinguished and thoughtful film , marked by acute writing and a host of splendid performances . 
barry convinces us he's a dangerous , secretly unhinged guy who could easily have killed a president because it made him feel powerful . 
takes you by the face , strokes your cheeks and coos beseechingly at you : slow down , shake off your tensions and take this picture at its own breezy , distracted rhythms . 
i don't feel the least bit ashamed in admitting that my enjoyment came at the expense of seeing justice served , even if it's a dish that's best served cold . 
it's a smart , solid , kinetically-charged spy flick worthy of a couple hours of summertime and a bucket of popcorn . nothing overly original , mind you , but solidly entertaining . 
changing lanes is an anomaly for a hollywood movie ; it's a well-written and occasionally challenging social drama that actually has something interesting to say . 
borrows a bit from the classics " wait until dark " and " extremities " . . . but in terms of its style , the movie is in a class by itself . 
because eight legged freaks is partly an homage to them , tarantula and other low- budget b-movie thrillers of the 1950s and '60s , the movie is a silly ( but not sophomoric ) romp through horror and hellish conditions . 
puts a refreshing and comical spin on the all-too-familiar saga of the contemporary single woman . 
if you grew up on scooby -- you'll love this movie . matthew lillard is born to play shaggy ! 
intimate and panoramic . 
though filmed partly in canada , paid in full has clever ways of capturing inner-city life during the reagan years . 
 " spider-man is better than any summer blockbuster we had to endure last summer , and hopefully , sets the tone for a summer of good stuff . if you're a comic fan , you can't miss it . if you're not , you'll still have a good time . " 
exciting documentary . 
this movie has a strong message about never giving up on a loved one , but it's not an easy movie to watch and will probably disturb many who see it . 
the movie is a trove of delights . 
excellent performances from jacqueline bisset and martha plimpton grace this deeply touching melodrama . 
in a summer of clones , harvard man is something rare and riveting : a wild ride that relies on more than special effects . 
while the humor is recognizably plympton , he has actually bothered to construct a real story this time . 
jolting into charleston rhythms , the story has the sizzle of old news that has finally found the right vent ( accurate ? who cares ? ) . 
an overly melodramatic but somewhat insightful french coming-of-age film . . . 
most thrillers send audiences out talking about specific scary scenes or startling moments ; " frailty " leaves us with the terrifying message that the real horror may be waiting for us at home . 
close enough in spirit to its freewheeling trash-cinema roots to be a breath of fresh air . 
skillfully weaves both the elements of the plot and a powerfully evocative mood combining heated sexuality with a haunting sense of malaise . 
damon brings the proper conviction to his role as [jason bourne] . 
for the most part , it works beautifully as a movie without sacrificing the integrity of the opera . 
as played by ryan gosling , danny is a frighteningly fascinating contradiction . 
this is not chabrol's best , but even his lesser works outshine the best some directors can offer . 
despite its flaws , crazy as hell marks an encouraging new direction for la salle . 
you'll end up moved . 
if you ever wondered what it would be like to be smack in the middle of a war zone armed with nothing but a camera , this oscar-nominated documentary takes you there . 
the woodman seems to have directly influenced this girl-meets-girl love story , but even more reassuring is how its makers actually seem to understand what made allen's romantic comedies so pertinent and enduring . 
i loved the look of this film . 
it's the kind of movie that , aside from robert altman , spike lee , the coen brothers and a few others , our moviemakers don't make often enough . 
those with a modicum of patience will find in these characters' foibles a timeless and unique perspective . 
beautiful to watch and holds a certain charm . 
13 conversations may be a bit too enigmatic and overly ambitious to be fully successful , but sprecher and her screenwriting partner and sister , karen sprecher , don't seem ever to run out of ideas . 
the movie is our story as much as it is schmidt's , no matter if it's viewed as a self-reflection or cautionary tale . 
foster breathes life into a roll that could have otherwise been bland and run of the mill . 
quitting offers piercing domestic drama with spikes of sly humor . 
some people want the ol' ball-and-chain and then there are those who just want the ball and chain . 
[barry] gives assassin a disquieting authority . 
it's refreshing to see a romance this smart . 
at its best ( and it does have some very funny sequences ) looking for leonard reminds you just how comically subversive silence can be . 
as improbable as this premise may seem , abbass's understated , shining performance offers us the sense that on some elemental level , lilia deeply wants to break free of her old life . 
anyone who ever fantasized about space travel but can't afford the $20 million ticket to ride a russian rocket should catch this imax offering . 
 " the turntable is now outselling the electric guitar . . . " 
transforms one of [shakespeare's] deepest tragedies into a smart new comedy . 
an intelligent and deeply felt work about impossible , irrevocable choices and the price of making them . 
it may sound like a mere disease-of- the-week tv movie , but a song for martin is made infinitely more wrenching by the performances of real-life spouses seldahl and wollter . 
sayles is making a statement about the inability of dreams and aspirations to carry forward into the next generation . 
as antonia is assimilated into this newfangled community , the film settles in and becomes compulsively watchable in a guilty-pleasure , daytime-drama sort of fashion . 
every once in a while , a movie will come along that turns me into that annoying specimen of humanity that i usually dread encountering the most - the fanboy
on its own staggeringly unoriginal terms , this gender-bending comedy is generally quite funny . 
it's never dull and always looks good . 
the tonal shifts are jolting , and though wen's messages are profound and thoughtfully delivered , more thorough transitions would have made the film more cohesive . 
chicago pode até ser um filme divertido e cativante ( como é ) , mas acaba representando um passo que vai na direção contrária à evolução dos musicais . 
as commander-in-chief of this film , bigelow demonstrates a breadth of vision and an attention to detail that propels her into the upper echelons of the directing world . 
with wit and empathy to spare , waydowntown acknowledges the silent screams of workaday inertia but stops short of indulging its characters' striving solipsism . 
all of it works smoothly under the direction of spielberg , who does a convincing impersonation here of a director enjoying himself immensely . 
the kind of sweet-and-sour insider movie that film buffs will eat up like so much gelati . 
with 'bowling for columbine , ' michael moore gives us the perfect starting point for a national conversation about guns , violence , and fear . 
one of the year's most weirdly engaging and unpredictable character pieces . 
one of the best inside-show-biz yarns ever . 
none of his actors stand out , but that's less of a problem here than it would be in another film : characterization matters less than atmosphere . 
a terrifically entertaining specimen of spielbergian sci-fi . 
a rare and lightly entertaining look behind the curtain that separates comics from the people laughing in the crowd . 
solondz is so intent on hammering home his message that he forgets to make it entertaining . 
whatever heartwarming scene the impressively discreet filmmakers may have expected to record with their mini dv , they show a remarkable ability to document both sides of this emotional car-wreck . 
it establishes its ominous mood and tension swiftly , and if the suspense never rises to a higher level , it is nevertheless maintained throughout . 
although what time offers tsai's usual style and themes , it has a more colorful , more playful tone than his other films . 
a moving and stark reminder that the casualties of war reach much further than we imagine . 
a thoroughly engaging , surprisingly touching british comedy . 
a sloppy , amusing comedy that proceeds from a stunningly unoriginal premise . 
 . . . a rich and intelligent film that uses its pulpy core conceit to probe questions of attraction and interdependence and how the heart accomodates practical needs . it is an unstinting look at a collaboration between damaged people that may or may not qual
captures that perverse element of the kafkaesque where identity , overnight , is robbed and replaced with a persecuted " other . " 
the actors are simply too good , and the story too intriguing , for technical flaws to get in the way . 
an estrogen opera so intensely feminine that it serves as the antidote ( and cannier doppelganger ) to diesel's xxx flex-a-thon . 
imamura has said that warm water under a red bridge is a poem to the enduring strengths of women . it may also be the best sex comedy about environmental pollution ever made . 
it's a ripper of a yarn and i for one enjoyed the thrill of the chill . naomi watts is terrific as rachel ; her petite frame and vulnerable persona emphasising her plight and isolation . 
a family film that contains some hefty thematic material on time , death , eternity , and what is needed to live a rich and full life . 
with dickens' words and writer-director douglas mcgrath's even-toned direction , a ripping good yarn is told . 
exactly what its title implies : lusty , boisterous and utterly charming . 
the film is darkly funny in its observation of just how much more grueling and time-consuming the illusion of work is than actual work . 
a smart , compelling drama . 
a must-see for fans of thoughtful war films and those interested in the sights and sounds of battle . 
i found myself liking the film , though in this case one man's treasure could prove to be another man's garbage . 
 . . . rogers's mouth never stops shut about the war between the sexes and how to win the battle . 
deliberately and skillfully uses ambiguity to suggest possibilities which imbue the theme with added depth and resonance . 
it's all entertaining enough , but don't look for any hefty anti-establishment message in what is essentially a whip-crack of a buddy movie that ends with a whimper . 
nicholson's understated performance is wonderful . as warren he stumbles in search of all the emotions and life experiences he's neglected over the years . 
despite its old-hat set-up and predictable plot , empire still has enough moments to keep it entertaining . 
another entertaining romp from robert rodriguez . 
it's not a classic spy-action or buddy movie , but it's entertaining enough and worth a look . 
i am more offended by his lack of faith in his audience than by anything on display here . 
a sharp satire of desperation and cinematic deception . 
tsai convincingly paints a specifically urban sense of disassociation here . 
if you can swallow its absurdities and crudities lagaan really is enormously good fun . 
an unorthodox little film noir organized crime story that includes one of the strangest love stories you will ever see . 
a pleasing , often-funny comedy . 
[a] rare movie that makes us re-assess the basis for our lives and evaluate what is truly ours in a world of meaningless activity . 
all three actresses are simply dazzling , particularly balk , who's finally been given a part worthy of her considerable talents . 
an asian neo-realist treasure . 
plummer steals the show without resorting to camp as nicholas' wounded and wounding uncle ralph . it's a great performance and a reminder of dickens' grandeur . 
 . . . less a story than an inexplicable nightmare , right down to the population's shrugging acceptance to each new horror . 
i am highly amused by the idea that we have come to a point in society where it has been deemed important enough to make a film in which someone has to be hired to portray richard dawson . 
a compassionate , moving portrait of an american ( and an america ) always reaching for something just outside his grasp . 
'estupendamente actuada , sumamente emotiva y profundamente humana , es una experiencia fílmica imposible de olvidar'
an original little film about one young woman's education . 
the film is about the relationships rather than about the outcome . and it sees those relationships , including that between the son and his wife , and the wife and the father , and between the two brothers , with incredible subtlety and acumen . 
one of those terrific documentaries that collect a bunch of people who are enthusiastic about something and then figures out how to make us share their enthusiasm . 
an instance of an old dog not only learning but inventing a remarkable new trick . 
rodriguez has the chops of a smart-aleck film school brat and the imagination of a big kid . . . 
amy and matthew have a bit of a phony relationship , but the film works in spite of it . 
garcia and the other actors help make the wobbly premise work . 
it's surprisingly decent , particularly for a tenth installment in a series . 
a fascinating , unnerving examination of the delusions of one unstable man . 
good , solid storytelling . 
it's no accident that the accidental spy is a solid action pic that returns the martial arts master to top form . 
leave it to the french to truly capture the terrifying angst of the modern working man without turning the film into a cheap thriller , a dumb comedy or a sappy melodrama . 
the director , mark pellington , does a terrific job conjuring up a sinister , menacing atmosphere though unfortunately all the story gives us is flashing red lights , a rattling noise , and a bump on the head . 
heartwarming here relies less on forced air than on petter næss' delicate , clever direction . . . and a wonderful , imaginative script by axel hellstenius . 
makes the case for a strong education and good teachers being more valuable in the way they help increase an average student's self-esteem , and not strictly in the knowledge imparted . 
steers refreshingly clear of the usual cliches . 
 " home movie " is a sweet treasure and something well worth your time . 
highly recommended viewing for its courage , ideas , technical proficiency and great acting . 
the movie's thesis -- elegant technology for the masses -- is surprisingly refreshing . 
scott delivers a terrific performance in this fascinating portrait of a modern lothario . 
 . . . wallace is smart to vary the pitch of his movie , balancing deafening battle scenes with quieter domestic scenes of women back home receiving war department telegrams . 
combines sharp comedy , old-fashioned monster movie atmospherics , and genuine heart to create a film that's not merely about kicking undead * * * , but also about dealing with regret and , ultimately , finding redemption . 
while most films these days are about nothing , this film seems to be about everything that's plaguing the human spirit in a relentlessly globalizing world . 
marshall puts a suspenseful spin on standard horror flick formula . 
as lively an account as seinfeld is deadpan . 
though lan yu lacks a sense of dramatic urgency , the film makes up for it with a pleasing verisimilitude . 
you may leave the theater with more questions than answers , but darned if your toes won't still be tapping . 
take any 12-year-old boy to see this picture , and he'll be your slave for a year . 
but this is not a movie about an inhuman monster ; it's about a very human one . 
at times the guys taps into some powerful emotions , but this kind of material is more effective on stage . it's not a motion picture ; it's an utterly static picture . 
what makes it worth watching is quaid's performance . 
soderbergh skims the fat from the 1972 film . what's left is a rich stew of longing . 
it's the brilliant surfing photography bringing you right inside the massive waves that lifts blue crush into one of the summer's most pleasurable movies . 
more of the same from taiwanese auteur tsai ming-liang , which is good news to anyone who's fallen under the sweet , melancholy spell of this unique director's previous films . 
hatfield and hicks make the oddest of couples , and in this sense the movie becomes a study of the gambles of the publishing world , offering a case study that exists apart from all the movie's political ramifications . 
infidelity drama is nicely shot , well-edited and features a standout performance by diane lane . 
best of all is garcia , who perfectly portrays the desperation of a very insecure man . 
the filmmakers try to balance pointed , often incisive satire and unabashed sweetness , with results that are sometimes bracing , sometimes baffling and quite often , and in unexpected ways , touching . 
a sobering and powerful documentary about the most severe kind of personal loss : rejection by one's mother . 
audacious-impossible yet compelling . . . 
often overwrought and at times positively irritating , the film turns into an engrossing thriller almost in spite of itself . 
humorous and heartfelt , douglas mcgrath's version of 'nicholas nickleby' left me feeling refreshed and hopeful . not many movies have that kind of impact on me these days . 
a poignant lyricism runs through balzac and the little chinese seamstress that transforms this story about love and culture into a cinematic poem . 
this is so de palma . if you love him , you'll like it . if you don't . . . well , skip to another review . 
rouge is less about a superficial midlife crisis than it is about the need to stay in touch with your own skin , at 18 or 80 . 
the moral shrapnel and mental shellshock will linger long after this film has ended . 
o Último suspeito ganha força ao também funcionar em uma esfera adicional : a do drama familiar . 
unfolds in a series of achronological vignettes whose cumulative effect is chilling . 
the movie enters a realm where few non-porn films venture , and comes across as darkly funny , energetic , and surprisingly gentle . 
although the subject matter may still be too close to recent national events , the film works - mostly due to its superior cast of characters . 
it's not going to be everyone's bag of popcorn , but it definitely gives you something to chew on . 
huppert and girardot give performances of exceptional honesty . 
it has that rare quality of being able to creep the living hell out of you . . . 
a cautionary tale about the grandiosity of a college student who sees himself as impervious to a fall . 
an infinitely wittier version of the home alone formula . 
feardotcom's thrills are all cheap , but they mostly work . 
[hayek] throws herself into this dream hispanic role with a teeth-clenching gusto , she strikes a potent chemistry with molina and she gradually makes us believe she is kahlo . 
mr . deeds is , as comedy goes , very silly -- and in the best way . 
you could love safe conduct ( laissez passer ) for being a subtitled french movie that is 170 minutes long . you could hate it for the same reason . 
with we were soldiers , hollywood makes a valiant attempt to tell a story about the vietnam war before the pathology set in . 
'moore is like a progressive bull in a china shop , a provocateur crashing into ideas and special-interest groups as he slaps together his own brand of liberalism . '
broomfield reveals an ironic manifestation of institutionalized slavery that ties a black-owned record label with a white-empowered police force . 
at just over an hour , home movie will leave you wanting more , not to mention leaving you with some laughs and a smile on your face . 
stuart's poor-me persona needs a whole bunch of snowball's cynicism to cut through the sugar coating . but once the falcon arrives in the skies above manhattan , the adventure is on red alert . 
there is greatness here . 
boasts enough funny dialogue and sharp characterizations to be mildly amusing . 
director juan jose campanella could have turned this into an argentine retread of " iris " or " american beauty , " but instead pulls a little from each film and creates something more beautiful than either of those films . 
if you love the music , and i do , its hard to imagine having more fun watching a documentary . . . 
nakata's technique is to imply terror by suggestion , rather than the overuse of special effects . 
 " 13 conversations about one thing " is an intelligent flick that examines many different ideas from happiness to guilt in an intriguing bit of storytelling . 
satin rouge is not a new , or inventive , journey , but it's encouraging to see a three-dimensional , average , middle-aged woman's experience of self-discovery handled with such sensitivity . 
though an important political documentary , this does not really make the case the kissinger should be tried as a war criminal . 
cannon's confidence and laid-back good spirits are , with the drumming routines , among the film's saving graces . 
in its understanding , often funny way , it tells a story whose restatement is validated by the changing composition of the nation . 
she may not be real , but the laughs are . 
a fiercely clever and subtle film , capturing the precarious balance between the extravagant confidence of the exiled aristocracy and the cruel earnestness of the victorious revolutionaries . 
ok arthouse . the power of this script , and the performances that come with it , is that the whole damned thing didn't get our moral hackles up . 
the movie itself is far from disappointing , offering an original take on courtroom movies , a few nifty twists that are so crucial to the genre and another first-rate performance by top-billed star bruce willis . 
about schmidt is undoubtedly one of the finest films of the year . if you're not deeply touched by this movie , check your pulse . 
the charm of revolution os is rather the way it introduces you to new , fervently held ideas and fanciful thinkers . 
until its final minutes this is a perceptive study of two families in crisis -- and of two girls whose friendship is severely tested by bad luck and their own immaturity . 
offers the flash of rock videos fused with solid performances and eerie atmosphere . 
filmmakers dana janklowicz-mann and amir mann area headed east , far east , in retelling a historically significant , and personal , episode detailing how one international city welcomed tens of thousands of german jewish refugees while the world's democracie
for all its problems . . . the lady and the duke surprisingly manages never to grow boring . . . which proves that rohmer still has a sense of his audience . 
an edifying glimpse into the wit and revolutionary spirit of these performers and their era . 
craig bartlett and director tuck tucker should be commended for illustrating the merits of fighting hard for something that really matters . 
the film is saved from aren't-kids-cute sentimentality by a warmth that isn't faked and a stately sense of composition . 
this is one of the year's best films . 
a fleet-footed and pleasingly upbeat family diversion . 
sorvino is delightful in the central role . she nearly glows with enthusiasm , sensuality and a conniving wit . 
it's immensely ambitious , different than anything that's been done before and amazingly successful in terms of what it's trying to do . 
the story , once it gets rolling , is nothing short of a great one . 
great performances , stylish cinematography and a gritty feel help make gangster no . 1 a worthwhile moviegoing experience . 
 " mr . deeds " is suitable summer entertainment that offers escapism without requiring a great deal of thought . 
it's an ambitious film , and as with all ambitious films , it has some problems . but on the whole , you're gonna like this movie . 
chaiken ably balances real-time rhythms with propulsive incident . 
this is an extraordinary film , not least because it is japanese and yet feels universal . 
in a summer overrun with movies dominated by cgi aliens and super heroes , it revigorates the mind to see a feature that concentrates on people , a project in which the script and characters hold sway . 
there's just something about watching a squad of psychopathic underdogs whale the tar out of unsuspecting lawmen that reaches across time and distance . 
a funny and touching film that is gorgeously acted by a british cast to rival gosford park's . 
there's nothing more satisfying during a summer of event movies than a spy thriller like the bourne identity that's packed with just as much intelligence as action . 
i'm not generally a fan of vegetables but this batch is pretty cute . 
qutting may be a flawed film , but it is nothing if not sincere . 
beautifully crafted , engaging filmmaking that should attract upscale audiences hungry for quality and a nostalgic , twisty yarn that will keep them guessing . 
a thoughtful and surprisingly affecting portrait of a screwed-up man who dared to mess with some powerful people , seen through the eyes of the idealistic kid who chooses to champion his ultimately losing cause . 
a cultural wildcard experience : wacky , different , unusual , even nutty . 
daughter from danang reveals that efforts toward closure only open new wounds . it doesn't flinch from its unsettling prognosis , namely , that the legacy of war is a kind of perpetual pain . 
for most of its footage , the new thriller proves that director m . night shyamalan can weave an eerie spell and that mel gibson can gasp , shudder and even tremble without losing his machismo . 
this is not an easy film . but it could be , by its art and heart , a necessary one . 
a very good film sits in the place where a masterpiece should be . 
 . . . spellbinding fun and deliciously exploitative . 
it's jagger's bone-dry , mournfully brittle delivery that gives the film its bittersweet bite . 
impossible as it may sound , this film's heart is even more embracing than monty , if only because it accepts nasty behavior and severe flaws as part of the human condition . 
despite the predictable parent vs . child coming-of-age theme , first-class , natural acting and a look at " the real americans " make this a charmer . 
one of the smarter offerings the horror genre has produced in recent memory , even if it's far tamer than advertised . 
one of recent memory's most thoughtful films about art , ethics , and the cost of moral compromise . 
the film doesn't sustain its initial promise with a jarring , new-agey tone creeping into the second half
blade ii is as estrogen-free as movies get , so you might want to leave your date behind for this one , or she's gonna make you feel like you owe her big-time . 
the message is that even the most unlikely can link together to conquer all kinds of obstacles , whether they be of nature , of man or of one another . 
many a parent and their teen ( or preteen ) kid could bond while watching a walk to remember . so could young romantics out on a date . 
all leather pants & augmented boobs , hawn is hilarious as she tries to resuscitate the fun-loving libertine lost somewhere inside the conservative , handbag-clutching sarandon . 
the members manage to pronounce kok exactly as you think they might , thus giving the cast ample opportunity to use that term as often as possible . it's very beavis and butthead , yet always seems to elicit a chuckle . 
while this gentle and affecting melodrama will have luvvies in raptures , it's far too slight and introspective to appeal to anything wider than a niche audience . 
chicago offers much colorful eye candy , including the spectacle of gere in his dancing shoes , hoofing and crooning with the best of them . 
a difficult but worthy film that bites off more than it can chew by linking the massacre of armenians in 1915 with some difficult relationships in the present . 
by and large this is mr . kilmer's movie , and it's his strongest performance since the doors . 
some of the most ravaging , gut-wrenching , frightening war scenes since " saving private ryan " have been recreated by john woo in this little-known story of native americans and their role in the second great war . 
a charming but slight comedy . 
henry bean's thoughtful screenplay provides no easy answers , but offers a compelling investigation of faith versus intellect
a great cast and a wonderful but sometimes confusing flashback movie about growing up in a dysfunctional family . 
playing a role of almost bergmanesque intensity . . . bisset is both convincing and radiant . 
a smart , provocative drama that does the nearly impossible : it gets under the skin of a man we only know as an evil , monstrous lunatic . 
an alternately fascinating and frustrating documentary . 
griffin & co . manage to be spectacularly outrageous . 
nair's cast is so large it's altman-esque , but she deftly spins the multiple stories in a vibrant and intoxicating fashion . 
the movie plays up the cartoon's more obvious strength of snazziness while neglecting its less conspicuous writing strength . 
poignant japanese epic about adolescent anomie and heartbreak . 
we've seen it all before in one form or another , but director hoffman , with great help from kevin kline , makes us care about this latest reincarnation of the world's greatest teacher . 
secretary is not a movie about fetishism . it is a movie about passion . 
even though it's common knowledge that park and his founding partner , yong kang , lost kozmo in the end , you can't help but get caught up in the thrill of the company's astonishing growth . 
although some viewers will not be able to stomach so much tongue-in-cheek weirdness , those who do will have found a cult favorite to enjoy for a lifetime . 
what could have easily become a cold , calculated exercise in postmodern pastiche winds up a powerful and deeply moving example of melodramatic moviemaking . 
a delightful surprise because despite all the backstage drama , this is a movie that tells stories that work -- is charming , is moving , is funny and looks professional . 
the imax screen enhances the personal touch of manual animation . 
does an impressive job of relating the complicated history of the war and of filling in the background . 
it's all about anakin . . . and the lustrous polished visuals rich in color and creativity and , of course , special effect . 
lacks the inspiration of the original and has a bloated plot that stretches the running time about 10 minutes past a child's interest and an adult's patience . but it also has many of the things that made the first one charming . 
it's funny , touching , dramatically forceful , and beautifully shot . 
its rawness and vitality give it considerable punch . 
a live-wire film that never loses its ability to shock and amaze . 
the year's greatest adventure , and jackson's limited but enthusiastic adaptation has made literature literal without killing its soul -- a feat any thinking person is bound to appreciate . 
it's fairly solid--not to mention well edited so that it certainly doesn't feel like a film that strays past the two and a half mark . 
brims with passion : for words , for its eccentric , accident-prone characters , and for the crazy things that keep people going in this crazy life . 
it's secondary to american psycho but still has claws enough to get inside you and stay there for a couple of hours . 
the hours , a delicately crafted film , is an impressive achievement in spite of a river of sadness that pours into every frame . 
fudges fact and fancy with such confidence that we feel as if we're seeing something purer than the real thing . 
this is unusual , food-for-thought cinema that's as entertaining as it is instructive . 
with an expressive face reminiscent of gong li and a vivid personality like zhang ziyi's , dong stakes out the emotional heart of happy . 
nohe's documentary about the event is sympathetic without being gullible : he isn't blind to the silliness , but also captures moments of spontaneous creativity and authentic co-operative interaction . 
it may not be as cutting , as witty or as true as back in the glory days of weekend and two or three things i know about her , but who else engaged in filmmaking today is so cognizant of the cultural and moral issues involved in the process ? 
secret ballot is a funny , puzzling movie ambiguous enough to be engaging and oddly moving . 
although devoid of objectivity and full of nostalgic comments from the now middle-aged participants , dogtown and z-boys has a compelling story to tell . 
it's got some pretentious eye-rolling moments and it didn't entirely grab me , but there's stuff here to like . 
birthday girl walks a tricky tightrope between being wickedly funny and just plain wicked . 
a muted freak-out
the enjoyable undercover brother , a zany mix of saturday night live-style parody , '70s blaxploitation films and goofball action comedy gone wild , dishes out a ton of laughs that everyone can enjoy . 
brings an irresistible blend of warmth and humor and a consistent embracing humanity in the face of life's harshness . 
jackson is always watchable . 
to the degree that ivans xtc . works , it's thanks to huston's revelatory performance . 
a wild ride of a movie that keeps throwing fastballs . 
confessions is without a doubt a memorable directorial debut from king hunk . 
weird , vulgar comedy that's definitely an acquired taste . 
a . . . cynical and serious look at teenage boys doing what they do best - being teenagers . 
the film is a very good viewing alternative for young women . 
australian filmmaker david flatman uses the huge-screen format to make an old-fashioned nature film that educates viewers with words and pictures while entertaining them . 
a dazzling dream of a documentary . 
a keep-'em-guessing plot and an affectionate take on its screwed-up characters . 
moving and vibrant . 
brave and sweetly rendered love story . 
the film proves unrelentingly grim -- and equally engrossing . 
a hallmark film in an increasingly important film industry and worth the look . 
the last kiss will probably never achieve the popularity of my big fat greek wedding , but its provocative central wedding sequence has far more impact . 
if you like blood , guts and crazy beasts stalking men with guns though . . . you will likely enjoy this monster . 
the difference between cho and most comics is that her confidence in her material is merited . 
sad to say -- it accurately reflects the rage and alienation that fuels the self-destructiveness of many young people . 
there is a strong directorial stamp on every frame of this stylish film that is able to visualize schizophrenia but is still confident enough to step back and look at the sick character with a sane eye . 
'anyone with a passion for cinema , and indeed sex , should see it as soon as possible . '
seeks to transcend its genre with a curiously stylized , quasi-shakespearean portrait of pure misogynist evil . 
mordantly funny and intimately knowing . . . 
what makes the movie special is its utter sincerity . 
fast and funny , an action cartoon that's suspenseful enough for older kids but not too scary for the school-age crowd . 
one of those rare films that come by once in a while with flawless amounts of acting , direction , story and pace . 
the aaa of action , xxx is a blast of adrenalin , rated eee for excitement . and vin diesel is the man . 
earnest , unsubtle and hollywood-predictable , green dragon is still a deeply moving effort to put a human face on the travail of thousands of vietnamese . 
an ambitious movie that , like shiner's organizing of the big fight , pulls off enough of its effects to make up for the ones that don't come off . 
nair and writer laura cahill dare to build a movie around some flawed but rather unexceptional women , emerging with a fine character study that's short on plot but rich in the tiny revelations of real life . 
the film's unhurried pace is actually one of its strengths . entirely appropriately , the tale unfolds like a lazy summer afternoon and concludes with the crisp clarity of a fall dawn . 
despite its floating narrative , this is a remarkably accessible and haunting film . 
vibrantly colored and beautifully designed , metropolis is a feast for the eyes . 
sweetly sexy , funny and touching . 
 . . . while dark water isn't a complete wash ( no pun intended ) , watched side-by-side with ringu , it ultimately comes off as a pale successor . 
is truth stranger than fiction ? in [screenwriter] charlie kaufman's world , truth and fiction are equally strange , and his for the taking . 
for decades we've marveled at disney's rendering of water , snow , flames and shadows in a hand-drawn animated world . prepare to marvel again . 
a witty , low-key romantic comedy . 
more good than great but freeman and judd make it work . 
if you're looking for a smart , nuanced look at de sade and what might have happened at picpus , sade is your film . 
could have been crisper and punchier , but it's likely to please audiences who like movies that demand four hankies . 
together writer-director danny verete's three tales comprise a powerful and reasonably fulfilling gestalt . 
bursting through the constraints of its source , this is one adapted- from-television movie that actually looks as if it belongs on the big screen . 
 . . . quite endearing . 
its almost too-spectacular coastal setting distracts slightly from an eccentric and good-naturedly aimless story . 
in other words , it's just another sports drama/character study . yet this one makes up for in heart what it lacks in outright newness . plus , like i already mentioned . . . it's robert duvall ! c'mon ! 
this story of a determined woman's courage to find her husband in a war zone offers winning performances and some effecting moments . 
like shrek , spirit's visual imagination reminds you of why animation is such a perfect medium for children , because of the way it allows the mind to enter and accept another world . 
a modestly made but profoundly moving documentary . 
it irritates and saddens me that martin lawrence's latest vehicle can explode obnoxiously into 2 , 500 screens while something of bubba ho-tep's clearly evident quality may end up languishing on a shelf somewhere . 
not everything in this ambitious comic escapade works , but coppola , along with his sister , sofia , is a real filmmaker . it must be in the genes . 
the performers are so spot on , it is hard to conceive anyone else in their roles . 
this slight premise . . . works because of the ideal casting of the masterful british actor ian holm as the aged napoleon . 
hashiguchi covers this territory with wit and originality , suggesting that with his fourth feature -- the first to be released in the u . s . -- a major director is emerging in world cinema . 
although the film boils down to a lightweight story about matchmaking , the characters make italian for beginners worth the journey
the dragons are the real stars of reign of fire and you won't be disappointed . 
kudos to the most enchanting film of the year . 
it works well enough , since the thrills pop up frequently , and the dispatching of the cast is as often imaginative as it is gory . 
colorful and deceptively buoyant until it suddenly pulls the rug out from under you , burkinabe filmmaker dani kouyate's reworking of a folk story whose roots go back to 7th-century oral traditions is also a pointed political allegory . 
it's a powerful though flawed movie , guaranteed to put a lump in your throat while reaffirming washington as possibly the best actor working in movies today . 
director paul cox's unorthodox , abstract approach to visualizing nijinsky's diaries is both stimulating and demanding . 
for 95 often hilarious minutes , [cho] riffs on the diciness of colonics , on straight versus gay personal ads , on how men would act if they had periods , and on the perils of a certain outré sexual practice . 
most of the things that made the original men in black such a pleasure are still there . 
mostly honest , this somber picture reveals itself slowly , intelligently , artfully . 
best enjoyed as a work of fiction inspired by real-life events . those seeking a definitive account of eisenstein's life would do better elsewhere . 
[westbrook] makes a wonderful subject for the camera . 
a film that's flawed and brilliant in equal measure . 
even if invincible is not quite the career peak that the pianist is for roman polanski , it demonstrates that werner herzog can still leave us with a sense of wonder at the diverse , marvelously twisted shapes history has taken . 
ultimately too repellent to fully endear itself to american art house audiences , but it is notable for its stylistic austerity and forcefulness . 
hardly a film that comes along every day . 
harmless fun . 
a wild ride with eight boarders from venice beach that was a deserved co-winner of the audience award for documentaries at the sundance film festival . 
the film's only missteps come from the script's insistence on providing deep emotional motivation for each and every one of abagnale's antics . 
a sweet , tender sermon about a 12-year-old welsh boy more curious about god than girls , who learns that believing in something does matter . 
the film belongs to the marvelous verdu , a sexy slip of an earth mother who mourns her tragedies in private and embraces life in public
more intimate than spectacular , e . t . is carried less by wow factors than by its funny , moving yarn that holds up well after two decades . 
for once , a movie does not proclaim the truth about two love-struck somebodies , but permits them time and space to convince us of that all on their own . 
if you're burnt out on it's a wonderful life marathons and bored with a christmas carol , it might just be the movie you're looking for . it depends on how well flatulence gags fit into your holiday concept . 
moonlight mile doesn't quite go the distance but the cast is impressive and they all give life to these broken characters who are trying to make their way through this tragedy . 
it is an indelible epic american story about two families , one black and one white , facing change in both their inner and outer lives . 
not as well-written as sexy beast , not as gloriously flippant as lock , stock and two smoking barrels , but stylish and moody and exceptionally well-acted . 
quite simply , a joy to watch and--especially--to listen to . 
a flawed film but an admirable one that tries to immerse us in a world of artistic abandon and political madness and very nearly succeeds . 
the filmmakers wisely decided to let crocodile hunter steve irwin do what he does best , and fashion a story around him . 
a winning and wildly fascinating work . 
we do get the distinct impression that this franchise is drawing to a close . 
worth catching for griffiths' warm and winning central performance . 
the tone errs on the shrill side , tempered by a soft southern gentility that speaks of beauty , grace and a closet full of skeletons . 
an interesting psychological game of cat-and-mouse , three-dimensional characters and believable performances all add up to a satisfying crime drama . 
a meatier deeper beginning and/or ending would have easily tipped this film into the " a " range , as is , it's a very very strong " b+ . " i love the robust middle of this picture . 
the power of shanghai ghetto , a documentary by dana janklowicz-mann and amir mann , rests in the voices of men and women , now in their 70s , who lived there in the 1940s . 
maintains your interest until the end and even leaves you with a few lingering animated thoughts . 
there is a beautiful , aching sadness to it all . paul cox needed to show it . it is up to you to decide if you need to see it . 
if divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood suffers from a ploddingly melodramatic structure , it comes to life in the performances . 
if you ignore the cliches and concentrate on city by the sea's interpersonal drama , it ain't half-bad . 
alternates between deadpan comedy and heartbreaking loneliness and isn't afraid to provoke introspection in both its characters and its audience . 
there aren't too many films that can be as simultaneously funny , offbeat and heartwarming ( without a thick shmear of the goo , at least ) , but " elling " manages to do all three quite well , making it one of the year's most enjoyable releases . 
reign of fire is hardly the most original fantasy film ever made -- beyond road warrior , it owes enormous debts to aliens and every previous dragon drama -- but that barely makes it any less entertaining . 
an earnest , roughshod document , it serves as a workable primer for the region's recent history , and would make a terrific 10th-grade learning tool . 
samuel beckett applied to the iranian voting process . 
the bard as black comedy -- willie would have loved it . 
another trumpet blast that there may be a new mexican cinema a-bornin' . 
' . . . the film's considered approach to its subject matter is too calm and thoughtful for agitprop , and the thinness of its characterizations makes it a failure as straight drama . '
tadpole may be one of the most appealing movies ever made about an otherwise appalling , and downright creepy , subject -- a teenage boy in love with his stepmother . 
this is a story that zings all the way through with originality , humour and pathos . 
as underwater ghost stories go , below casts its spooky net out into the atlantic ocean and spits it back , grizzled and charred , somewhere northwest of the bermuda triangle . 
it is a challenging film , if not always a narratively cohesive one . 
trapped won't score points for political correctness , but it may cause parents a few sleepless hours -- a sign of its effectiveness . 
a rock-solid gangster movie with a fair amount of suspense , intriguing characters and bizarre bank robberies , plus a heavy dose of father-and-son dynamics . 
it's incredible the number of stories the holocaust has generated . just when you think that every possible angle has been exhausted by documentarians , another new film emerges with yet another remarkable yet shockingly little-known perspective . 
as they used to say in the 1950s sci-fi movies , signs is a tribute to shyamalan's gifts , which are such that we'll keep watching the skies for his next project . 
there's no conversion effort , much of the writing is genuinely witty and both stars are appealing enough to probably have a good shot at a hollywood career , if they want one . 
like a skillful fisher , the director uses the last act to reel in the audience since its poignancy hooks us completely . 
a film with contemporary political resonance illustrated by a winning family story . 
kids five and up will be delighted with the fast , funny , and even touching story . parents may even find that it goes by quickly , because it has some of the funniest jokes of any movie this year , including those intended for adults . 
an unsettling , memorable cinematic experience that does its predecessors proud . 
maid in manhattan might not look so appealing on third or fourth viewing down the road . . . but as a high concept vehicle for two bright stars of the moment who can rise to fans' lofty expectations , the movie passes inspection . 
much of all about lily chou-chou is mesmerizing : some of its plaintiveness could make you weep . 
ferrara's strongest and most touching movie of recent years . 
spielberg's first real masterpiece , it deserved all the hearts it won -- and wins still , 20 years later . 
the screenwriters dig themselves in deeper every time they toss logic and science into what is essentially a " dungeons and dragons " fantasy with modern military weaponry . . . 
more than simply a portrait of early extreme sports , this peek into the 1970s skateboard revolution is a skateboard film as social anthropology . . . 
what i saw , i enjoyed . 
good-naturedly cornball sequel . 
the level of acting elevates the material above pat inspirational status and gives it a sturdiness and solidity that we've long associated with washington the actor . 
a deft , delightful mix of sulky teen drama and overcoming-obstacles sports-movie triumph . 
daringly perceptive , taut , piercing and feisty , biggie and tupac is undeniably subversive and involving in its bold presentation . 
delivers more than its fair share of saucy hilarity . 
a fairly enjoyable mixture of longest yard . . . and the 1999 guy ritchie caper lock stock and two smoking barrels . 
happily , some things are immune to the folly of changing taste and attitude . for proof of that on the cinematic front , look no further than this 20th anniversary edition of the film that spielberg calls , retrospectively , his most personal work yet . 
hugely entertaining from start to finish , featuring a fall from grace that still leaves shockwaves , it will gratify anyone who has ever suspected hollywood of being overrun by corrupt and hedonistic weasels . 
it's not like having a real film of nijinsky , but at least it's better than that eponymous 1980 biopic that used soap in the places where the mysteries lingered . 
it's probably worth catching solely on its visual merits . if only it had the story to match . 
like other great documentaries . . . this goes after one truth ( the ford administration's complicity in tearing 'orphans' from their mothers ) and stumbles upon others even more compelling . 
 . . . only bond can save us from the latest eccentric , super-wealthy megalomaniac bent on world domination and destruction . 
the first half bursts with a goofy energy previous disney films only used for a few minutes here and there . 
it's quite diverting nonsense . 
an old-fashioned scary movie , one that relies on lingering terror punctuated by sudden shocks and not constant bloodshed punctuated by flying guts . 
for all the wit and hoopla , festival in cannes offers rare insight into the structure of relationships . 
what makes how i killed my father compelling , besides its terrific performances , is fontaine's willingness to wander into the dark areas of parent-child relationships without flinching . 
renner ? s face is chillingly unemotive , yet he communicates a great deal in his performance . see it for his performance if nothing else . 
 . . . the kind of entertainment that parents love to have their kids see . 
it's a fine , focused piece of work that reopens an interesting controversy and never succumbs to sensationalism . 
its engaging simplicity is driven by appealing leads . 
swimming is above all about a young woman's face , and by casting an actress whose face projects that woman's doubts and yearnings , it succeeds . 
a respectable venture on its own terms , lacking the broader vision that has seen certain trek films . . . cross over to a more mainstream audience . 
it's weird , wonderful , and not necessarily for kids . 
an elegant film with often surprising twists and an intermingling of naiveté and sophistication . 
blessed with two fine , nuanced lead performances . 
while this has the making of melodrama , the filmmaker cuts against this natural grain , producing a work that's more interested in asking questions than in answering them . 
as a girl-meets-girl romantic comedy , kissing jessica steinis quirky , charming and often hilarious . yet it's not quite the genre-busting film it's been hyped to be because it plays everything too safe . 
you don't need to know your ice-t's from your cool-j's to realize that as far as these shootings are concerned , something is rotten in the state of california . 
turturro is fabulously funny and over the top as a 'very sneaky' butler who excels in the art of impossible disappearing/reappearing acts
meant for star wars fans . it is there to give them a good time . 
from a deceptively simple premise , this deeply moving french drama develops a startling story that works both as a detailed personal portrait and as a rather frightening examination of modern times . 
simply and eloquently articulates the tangled feelings of particular new yorkers deeply touched by an unprecedented tragedy . 
provides a very moving and revelatory footnote to the holocaust . 
terrific performances , great to look at , and funny . a little uneven to be the cat's meow , but it's good enough to be the purr . 
it's a compelling and horrifying story , and the laramie project is worthwhile for reminding us that this sort of thing does , in fact , still happen in america . 
i like it . there is a freedom to watching stunts that are this crude , this fast-paced and this insane . 
that rare documentary that incorporates so much of human experience -- drama , conflict , tears and surprise -- that it transcends the normal divisions between fiction and nonfiction film . 
that rare movie that works on any number of levels -- as a film of magic and whimsy for children , a heartfelt romance for teenagers and a compelling argument about death , both pro and con , for adults . 
it's both degrading and strangely liberating to see people working so hard at leading lives of sexy intrigue , only to be revealed by the dispassionate gantz brothers as ordinary , pasty lumpen . 
a sharp and quick documentary that is funny and pithy , while illuminating an era of theatrical comedy that , while past , really isn't . 
the script is smart , not cloying . 
the film does a solid job of slowly , steadily building up to the climactic burst of violence . 
fred schepisi's tale of four englishmen facing the prospect of their own mortality views youthful affluence not as a lost ideal but a starting point . 
the directive to protect the code at all costs also begins to blur as the importance of the man and the code merge
overall , cletis tout is a winning comedy that excites the imagination and tickles the funny bone . 
easily one of the best and most exciting movies of the year . 
the script manages the rare trick of seeming at once both refreshingly different and reassuringly familiar . 
an engaging , formulaic sports drama that carries a charge of genuine excitement . 
insomnia is one of the year's best films and pacino gives one of his most daring , and complicated , performances . 
like vardalos and corbett , who play their roles with vibrant charm , the film , directed by joel zwick , is heartfelt and hilarious in ways you can't fake . 
i don't know if frailty will turn bill paxton into an a-list director , but he can rest contentedly with the knowledge that he's made at least one damn fine horror movie . 
despite its flaws . . . belinsky is still able to create an engaging story that keeps you guessing at almost every turn . 
each punch seen through prison bars , the fights become not so much a struggle of man vs . man as brother-man vs . the man . 
the evocative imagery and gentle , lapping rhythms of this film are infectious -- it gets under our skin and draws us in long before the plot kicks into gear . 
like the best of godard's movies . . . it is visually ravishing , penetrating , impenetrable . 
horns and halos benefits from serendipity but also reminds us of our own responsibility to question what is told as the truth . 
oddly compelling . 
[has] an immediacy and an intimacy that sucks you in and dares you not to believe it's all true . 
it treats ana's journey with honesty that is tragically rare in the depiction of young women in film . 
captivates as it shows excess in business and pleasure , allowing us to find the small , human moments , and leaving off with a grand whimper . 
a refreshingly realistic , affectation-free coming-of-age tale . 
how good this film might be , depends if you believe that the shocking conclusion is too much of a plunge or not . 
great fun both for sports aficionados and for ordinary louts whose idea of exercise is climbing the steps of a stadium-seat megaplex . 
features one of the most affecting depictions of a love affair ever committed to film . 
to honestly address the flaws inherent in how medical aid is made available to american workers , a more balanced or fair portrayal of both sides will be needed . 
one of the best movies of the year . 
the usual movie rah-rah , pleasantly and predictably delivered in low-key style by director michael apted and writer tom stoppard . 
a superlative b movie -- funny , sexy , and rousing . 
those prone to indignation need not apply ; those susceptible to blue hilarity , step right up . 
witless but watchable . 
like mike isn't going to make box office money that makes michael jordan jealous , but it has some cute moments , funny scenes , and hits the target audience ( young bow wow fans ) - with nothing but net . 
[dong] makes a valiant effort to understand everyone's point of view , and he does such a good job of it that family fundamentals gets you riled up . 
the trick when watching godard is to catch the pitch of his poetics , savor the pleasure of his sounds and images , and ponder the historical , philosophical , and ethical issues that intersect with them . 
at its best , which occurs often , michael moore's bowling for columbine rekindles the muckraking , soul-searching spirit of the 'are we a sick society ? ' journalism of the 1960s . 
a modestly surprising movie . 
a headline-fresh thriller set among orthodox jews on the west bank , joseph cedar's time of favor manages not only to find a compelling dramatic means of addressing a complex situation , it does so without compromising that complexity . 
there's a spontaneity to the chateau , a sense of light-heartedness , that makes it attractive throughout . 
the first tunisian film i have ever seen , and it's also probably the most good-hearted yet sensual entertainment i'm likely to see all year . 
like any good romance , son of the bride , proves it's never too late to learn . 
[kline's] utterly convincing -- and deeply appealing -- as a noble teacher who embraces a strict moral code , and as a flawed human being who can't quite live up to it . 
the film , while not exactly assured in its execution , is notable for its sheer audacity and openness . 
a thoroughly enjoyable , heartfelt coming-of-age comedy . 
feeling like a dope has rarely been more fun than it is in nine queens . 
leigh makes these lives count . and he allows a gawky actor like spall -- who could too easily become comic relief in any other film -- to reveal his impressively delicate range . 
a lot of fun , with an undeniable energy sparked by two actresses in their 50s working at the peak of their powers . 
promises is one film that's truly deserving of its oscar nomination . 
what bubbles up out of john c . walsh's pipe dream is the distinct and very welcome sense of watching intelligent people making a movie they might actually want to watch . 
if reno is to the left of liberal on the political spectrum , her tough , funny , rather chaotic show isn't subversive so much as it is nit-picky about the hypocrisies of our time . 
beautiful , angry and sad , with a curious sick poetry , as if the marquis de sade had gone in for pastel landscapes . 
ms . hutchins is talented enough and charismatic enough to make us care about zelda's ultimate fate . 
monte cristo smartly emphasizes the well-wrought story and omits needless chase scenes and swordfights as the revenge unfolds . 
a mesmerizing cinematic poem from the first frame to the last . 
[it's] a clever thriller with enough unexpected twists to keep our interest . 
an undeniably moving film to experience , and ultimately that's what makes it worth a recommendation . 
nicole kidman evolved from star to superstar some time over the past year , which means that birthday girl is the kind of quirkily appealing minor movie she might not make for a while . 
vividly conveys the shadow side of the 30-year friendship between two english women . 
the story has some nice twists but the ending and some of the back-story is a little tired . the performances are all solid ; it merely lacks originality to make it a great movie . 
manages to please its intended audience -- children -- without placing their parents in a coma-like state . 
mr . deeds is sure to give you a lot of laughs in this simple , sweet and romantic comedy . 
when you think you've figured out bielinsky's great game , that's when you're in the most trouble : he's the con , and you're just the mark . 
a strong first act and absolutely , inescapably gorgeous , skyscraper-trapeze motion of the amazing spider-man . 
driven by a fantastic dual performance from ian holm . . . the film is funny , insightfully human and a delightful lark for history buffs . 
a well-put-together piece of urban satire . 
it's the sweet cinderella story that " pretty woman " wanted to be . 
it will make you think twice about what might be going on inside each trailer park you drive past -- even if it chiefly inspires you to drive a little faster . 
what doesn't this film have that an impressionable kid couldn't stand to hear ? 
what saves it . . . and makes it one of the better video-game-based flicks , is that the film acknowledges upfront that the plot makes no sense , such that the lack of linearity is the point of emotional and moral departure for protagonist alice . 
a deeply felt and vividly detailed story about newcomers in a strange new world . 
it's a visual delight and a decent popcorn adventure , as long as you don't try to look too deep into the story
it's a feel-good movie about which you can actually feel good . 
a full experience , a love story and a murder mystery that expands into a meditation on the deep deceptions of innocence . 
visually , 'santa clause 2' is wondrously creative . 
the powerpuff girls arrive on the big screen with their super-powers , their super-simple animation and their super-dooper-adorability intact . 
[raimi's] matured quite a bit with spider-man , even though it's one of the most plain white toast comic book films you'll ever see . 
a new film from bill plympton , the animation master , is always welcome . 
a devastating indictment of unbridled greed and materalism . 
what makes the film special is the refreshingly unhibited enthusiasm that the people , in spite of clearly evident poverty and hardship , bring to their music . 
the film has a kind of hard , cold effect . 
the gags are often a stitch . 
the asylum material is gripping , as are the scenes of jia with his family . 
a bonanza of wacky sight gags , outlandish color schemes , and corny visual puns that can be appreciated equally as an abstract frank tashlin comedy and as a playful recapitulation of the artist's career . 
one can't deny its seriousness and quality . 
good performances and a realistic , non-exploitive approach make paid in full worth seeing . 
this engrossing , characteristically complex tom clancy thriller is shifty in the manner in which it addresses current terrorism anxieties and sidesteps them at the same time . 
ryan gosling is , in a word , brilliant as the conflicted daniel . 
 . . . somehow manages to escape the shackles of its own clichés to be the best espionage picture to come out in weeks . 
much of the lady and the duke is about quiet , decisive moments between members of the cultural elite as they determine how to proceed as the world implodes . 
takes a simple premise and carries it to unexpected heights . 
with few respites , marshall keeps the energy humming , and his edits , unlike those in moulin rouge , are crisp and purposeful without overdoing it . 
its metaphors are opaque enough to avoid didacticism , and the film succeeds as an emotionally accessible , almost mystical work . 
provides a satisfactory overview of the bizarre world of extreme athletes as several daredevils express their own views . 
inventive , fun , intoxicatingly sexy , violent , self-indulgent and maddening . 
hard to resist . 
comedian , like its subjects , delivers the goods and audiences will have a fun , no-frills ride . 
a naturally funny film , home movie makes you crave chris smith's next movie . 
pipe dream does have its charms . the leads are natural and lovely , the pace is serene , the humor wry and sprightly . 
those who want to be jolted out of their gourd should drop everything and run to ichi . 
a bittersweet contemporary comedy about benevolent deception , which , while it may not rival the filmmaker's period pieces , is still very much worth seeing . 
 . . . enthusiastically invokes the percussion rhythm , the brass soul and the sense of fierce competition that helps make great marching bands half the fun of college football games . 
sheds light on a subject few are familiar with , and makes you care about music you may not have heard before . 
despite the film's bizarre developments , hoffman keeps us riveted with every painful nuance , unexpected flashes of dark comedy and the character's gripping humanity . 
to get at the root psychology of this film would require many sessions on the couch of dr . freud . 
great over-the-top moviemaking if you're in a slap-happy mood . 
viveka seldahl and sven wollter will touch you to the core in a film you will never forget -- that you should never forget . 
the magic ( and original running time ) of ace japanimator hayao miyazaki's spirited away survives intact in bv's re-voiced version . 
from the dull , surreal ache of mortal awareness emerges a radiant character portrait . 
captures the raw comic energy of one of our most flamboyant female comics . 
it's not particularly subtle . . . however , it still manages to build to a terrifying , if obvious , conclusion . 
the auteur's ear for the way fears and slights are telegraphed in the most blithe exchanges gives the film its lingering tug . 
bolstered by exceptional performances and a clear-eyed take on the economics of dealing and the pathology of ghetto fabulousness . 
this enthralling documentary . . . is at once playful and haunting , an in-depth portrait of an iconoclastic artist who was fundamentally unknowable even to his closest friends . 
some remarkable achival film about how shanghai ( of all places ) served jews who escaped the holocaust . 
in a movie full of surprises , the biggest is that secret ballot is a comedy , both gentle and biting . 
the urban landscapes are detailed down to the signs on the kiosks , and the color palette , with lots of somber blues and pinks , is dreamy and evocative . 
a manically generous christmas vaudeville . 
tony gayton's script doesn't give us anything we haven't seen before , but director d . j . caruso's grimy visual veneer and kilmer's absorbing performance increase the gravitational pull considerably . 
a psychic journey deep into the very fabric of iranian . . . life . 
it's a smartly directed , grown-up film of ideas . 
a true-blue delight . 
while puerile men dominate the story , the women shine . 
unlike lots of hollywood fluff , this has layered , well-developed characters and some surprises . 
for a film that's being advertised as a comedy , sweet home alabama isn't as funny as you'd hoped . for a film that's being advertised as a comedy , sweet home alabama isn't as funny as you'd hoped . 
vera has created a provocative , absorbing drama that reveals the curse of a self-hatred instilled by rigid social mores . 
a french film with a more down-home flavor . 
a fun ride . 
depending upon your reaction to this movie , you may never again be able to look at a red felt sharpie pen without disgust , a thrill , or the giggles . 
while bollywood/hollywood will undoubtedly provide its keenest pleasures to those familiar with bombay musicals , it also has plenty for those ( like me ) who aren't . 
there are times when you wish that the movie had worked a little harder to conceal its contrivances , but brown sugar turns out to be a sweet and enjoyable fantasy . 
fontaine masterfully creates a portrait of two strong men in conflict , inextricably entwined through family history , each seeing himself in the other , neither liking what he sees . 
one fantastic ( and educational ) documentary . 
as janice , eileen walsh , an engaging , wide-eyed actress whose teeth are a little too big for her mouth , infuses the movie with much of its slender , glinting charm . 
sure , it's contrived and predictable , but its performances are so well tuned that the film comes off winningly , even though it's never as solid as you want it to be . 
dong shows how intolerance has the power to deform families , then tear them apart . 
the chateau belongs to rudd , whose portrait of a therapy-dependent flakeball spouting french malapropisms . . . is a nonstop hoot . 
the cast , collectively a successful example of the lovable-loser protagonist , shows deft comic timing . 
it trusts the story it sets out to tell . 
i couldn't recommend this film more . 
as a good old-fashioned adventure for kids , spirit : stallion of the cimarron is a winner . 
an effective portrait of a life in stasis -- of the power of inertia to arrest development in a dead-end existence . 
succeeds as a well-made evocation of a subculture . 
 . . . an interesting slice of history . 
me no lika da accents so good , but i thoroughly enjoyed the love story . scott baio is turning in some delightful work on indie projects . 
it's an experience in understanding a unique culture that is presented with universal appeal . 
what's surprising is how well it holds up in an era in which computer-generated images are the norm . 
brings together some of the biggest names in japanese anime , with impressive results . 
wonder , hope and magic can never escape the heart of the boy when the right movie comes along , especially if it begins with the name of star wars
a flick about our infantilized culture that isn't entirely infantile . 
an exceptionally acted , quietly affecting cop drama . 
sensual , funny and , in the end , very touching . 
angel presents events partly from the perspective of aurelie and christelle , and infuses the film with the sensibility of a particularly nightmarish fairytale . 
who needs mind-bending drugs when they can see this , the final part of the 'qatsi' trilogy , directed by godfrey reggio , with music by philip glass ? 
[a] smarter and much funnier version of the old police academy flicks . 
proof once again that if the filmmakers just follow the books , they can't go wrong . better effects , better acting and a hilarious kenneth branagh . an excellent sequel . 
both a grand tour through 300 hundred years of russian cultural identity and a stunning technical achievement . 
just how these families interact may surprise you . 
allen se atreve a atacar , a atacarse y nos ofrece gags que van de la sonrisa a la risa de larga duración
proves that some movie formulas don't need messing with -- like the big-bug movie . 
a surprisingly funny movie . 
this new movie version of the alexandre dumas classic is the stuff of high romance , brought off with considerable wit . 
like all of egoyan's work , ararat is fiercely intelligent and uncommonly ambitious . 
if a big musical number like 'praise the lord , he's the god of second chances' doesn't put you off , this will be an enjoyable choice for younger kids . 
 . . . fuses the events of her life with the imagery in her paintings so vividly that the artist's work may take on a striking new significance for anyone who sees the film . 
[clooney's] debut can be accused of being a bit undisciplined , but it has a tremendous , offbeat sense of style and humor that suggests he was influenced by some of the filmmakers who have directed him , especially the coen brothers and steven soderbergh . 
although made on a shoestring and unevenly acted , conjures a lynch-like vision of the rotting underbelly of middle america . 
a piquant meditation on the things that prevent people from reaching happiness . 
a timely look back at civil disobedience , anti-war movements and the power of strong voices . 
rifkin's references are . . . impeccable throughout . 
i'd be lying if i said my ribcage didn't ache by the end of kung pow . 
more than their unique residences , home movie is about the people who live in them , who have carved their own comfortable niche in the world and have been kind enough to share it . 
the movie is ingenious fun . see it . 
the combination of lightness and strictness in this instance gives italian for beginners an amiable aimlessness that keeps it from seeming predictably formulaic . 
una película oscura , precisa , por momentos grandiosa y casi siempre conmovedora . 
the script is smart and dark - hallelujah for small favors . 
an intelligent , multi-layered and profoundly humanist ( not to mention gently political ) meditation on the values of knowledge , education , and the affects of cultural and geographical displacement . 
mr . polanski is in his element here : alone , abandoned , but still consoled by his art , which is more than he has ever revealed before about the source of his spiritual survival . 
spectacular in every sense of the word , even if you don' t know an orc from a uruk-hai . 
this isn't exactly profound cinema , but it's good-natured and sometimes quite funny . 
this is a finely written , superbly acted offbeat thriller . 
tres greek writer and star nia vardalos has crafted here a worldly-wise and very funny script . 
os problemas têm início a partir do momento em que saímos do cinema e começamos a pensar sobre o que acabamos de ver . É então que sinais realmente desaponta . 
a tasty appetizer that leaves you wanting more . 
it gives devastating testimony to both people's capacity for evil and their heroic capacity for good . 
the film reminds me of a vastly improved germanic version of my big fat greek wedding -- with better characters , some genuine quirkiness and at least a measure of style . the difference is that i truly enjoyed most of mostly martha while i ne
morton deserves an oscar nomination . 
a colorful , vibrant introduction to a universal human impulse , lushly photographed and beautifully recorded . 
the screenplay never lets us forget that bourne was once an amoral assassin just like the ones who are pursuing him . . . there is never really a true " us " versus " them " . 
the history is fascinating ; the action is dazzling . they just don't work in concert . 
for those in search of something different , wendigo is a genuinely bone-chilling tale . 
a lovely film for the holiday season . 
it remains to be seen whether statham can move beyond the crime-land action genre , but then again , who says he has to ? 
a hypnotic cyber hymn and a cruel story of youth culture . 
it's a fairy tale that comes from a renowned indian film culture that allows americans to finally revel in its splendor . 
at once subtle and visceral , the film never succumbs to the trap of the maudlin or tearful , offering instead with its unflinching gaze a measure of faith in the future . 
the performances of the children , untrained in acting , have an honesty and dignity that breaks your heart . 
despite its lavish formalism and intellectual austerity , the film manages to keep you at the edge of your seat with its shape-shifting perils , political intrigue and brushes with calamity . 
this rush to profits has created a predictably efficient piece of business notable largely for its overwhelming creepiness , for an eagerness to create images you wish you hadn't seen , which , in this day and age , is of course the point . 
adams , with four scriptwriters , takes care with the characters , who are so believable that you feel what they feel . 
a completely spooky piece of business that gets under your skin and , some plot blips aside , stays there for the duration . 
superbly photographed and staged by mendes with a series of riveting set pieces the likes of which mainstream audiences have rarely seen . 
the ensemble cast turns in a collectively stellar performance , and the writing is tight and truthful , full of funny situations and honest observations . 
not quite as miraculous as its dreamworks makers would have you believe , but it more than adequately fills the eyes and stirs the emotions . 
a properly spooky film about the power of spirits to influence us whether we believe in them or not . 
the lightest , most breezy movie steven spielberg has made in more than a decade . and the positive change in tone here seems to have recharged him . 
like edward norton in american history x , ryan gosling ( murder by numbers ) delivers a magnetic performance . 
this is a very funny , heartwarming film . it has fun with the quirks of family life , but it also treats the subject with fondness and respect . 
rarely , indeed almost never , is such high-wattage brainpower coupled with pitch-perfect acting and an exquisite , unfakable sense of cinema . 
the leanest and meanest of solondz's misanthropic comedies . 
a dark , quirky road movie that constantly defies expectation . 
there are some movies that hit you from the first scene and you know it's going to be a trip . igby goes down is one of those movies . 
often messy and frustrating , but very pleasing at its best moments , it's very much like life itself . 
a burst of color , music , and dance that only the most practiced curmudgeon could fail to crack a smile at . 
an energetic , violent movie with a momentum that never lets up . 
lasker's canny , meditative script distances sex and love , as byron and luther . . . realize they can't get no satisfaction without the latter . 
it turns out to be smarter and more diabolical than you could have guessed at the beginning . 
cage makes an unusual but pleasantly haunting debut behind the camera . 
noyce has worked wonders with the material . 
it's mostly a pleasure to watch . and the reason for that is a self-aware , often self-mocking , intelligence . 
the chateau is a risky venture that never quite goes where you expect and often surprises you with unexpected comedy . 
a very well-meaning movie , and it will stand in future years as an eloquent memorial to the world trade center tragedy . 
there aren't many conclusive answers in the film , but there is an interesting story of pointed personalities , courage , tragedy and the little guys vs . the big guys . 
vividly demonstrates that the director of such hollywood blockbusters as patriot games can still turn out a small , personal film with an emotional wallop . 
a four star performance from kevin kline who unfortunately works with a two star script . 
dogtown & z-boys evokes the blithe rebel fantasy with the kind of insouciance embedded in the sexy demise of james dean . 
if you don't flee , you might be seduced . if you don't laugh , flee . 
payne constructs a hilarious ode to middle america and middle age with this unlikely odyssey , featuring a pathetic , endearing hero who is all too human . 
koury frighteningly and honestly exposes one teenager's uncomfortable class resentment and , in turn , his self-inflicted retaliation . 
the santa clause 2 proves itself a more streamlined and thought out encounter than the original could ever have hoped to be . 
now as a former gong show addict , i'll admit it , my only complaint is that we didn't get more re-creations of all those famous moments from the show . 
succeeds where its recent predecessor miserably fails because it demands that you suffer the dreadfulness of war from both sides . 
the first bond movie in ages that isn't fake fun . 
this odd , poetic road movie , spiked by jolts of pop music , pretty much takes place in morton's ever-watchful gaze -- and it's a tribute to the actress , and to her inventive director , that the journey is such a mesmerizing one . 
a film centering on a traditional indian wedding in contemporary new delhi may not sound like specialized fare , but mira nair's film is an absolute delight for all audiences . 
a weird and wonderful comedy . 
the movie should jolt you out of your seat a couple of times , give you a few laughs , and leave you feeling like it was worth your seven bucks , even though it does turn out to be a bit of a cheat in the end . 
has the capability of effecting change and inspiring hope . 
a first-class , thoroughly involving b movie that effectively combines two surefire , beloved genres -- the prison flick and the fight film . 
labute's careful handling makes the material seem genuine rather than pandering . 
in between all the emotional seesawing , it's hard to figure the depth of these two literary figures , and even the times in which they lived . but they fascinate in their recklessness . 
death to smoochy is often very funny , but what's even more remarkable is the integrity of devito's misanthropic vision . 
a beautiful , entertaining two hours . you get the idea , though , that kapur intended the film to be more than that . 
a wonderful , ghastly film . 
amid the new populist comedies that underscore the importance of family tradition and familial community , one would be hard-pressed to find a movie with a bigger , fatter heart than barbershop . 
parris' performance is credible and remarkably mature . 
'enigma' is the kind of engaging historical drama that hollywood appears to have given up on in favor of sentimental war movies in the vein of 'we were soldiers . '
munch's screenplay is tenderly observant of his characters . he watches them as they float within the seas of their personalities . his scenes are short and often unexpected . 
it grabs you in the dark and shakes you vigorously for its duration . 
leigh's daring here is that without once denying the hardscrabble lives of people on the economic fringes of margaret thatcher's ruinous legacy , he insists on the importance of those moments when people can connect and express their love for each other . 
hashiguchi vividly captures the way young japanese live now , chafing against their culture's manic mix of millennial brusqueness and undying , traditional politesse . 
uneven but a lot of fun . 
i know that i'll never listen to marvin gaye or the supremes the same way again
the two leads , nearly perfect in their roles , bring a heart and reality that buoy the film , and at times , elevate it to a superior crime movie . 
not as good as the full monty , but a really strong second effort . 
whenever it threatens to get bogged down in earnest dramaturgy , a stirring visual sequence like a surge through swirling rapids or a leap from pinnacle to pinnacle rouses us . if horses could fly , this is surely what they'd look like . 
unfolds as one of the most politically audacious films of recent decades from any country , but especially from france . 
this real-life hollywood fairy-tale is more engaging than the usual fantasies hollywood produces . 
the graphic carnage and re-creation of war-torn croatia is uncomfortably timely , relevant , and sickeningly real . 
left me with the visceral sensation of longing , lasting traces of charlotte's web of desire and desperation . 
the characters are more deeply thought through than in most 'right-thinking' films . 
crammed with incident , and bristles with passion and energy . 
it's fun , splashy and entertainingly nasty . 
a simple tale of an unlikely friendship , but thanks to the gorgeous locales and exceptional lead performances , it has considerable charm . 
it might be 'easier' to watch on video at home , but that shouldn't stop die-hard french film connoisseurs from going out and enjoying the big-screen experience . 
there's very little sense to what's going on here , but the makers serve up the cliches with considerable dash . 
witty , contemplative , and sublimely beautiful . 
a surprisingly 'solid' achievement by director malcolm d . lee and writer john ridley . 
woven together handsomely , recalling sixties' rockumentary milestones from lonely boy to don't look back . 
this is pure , exciting moviemaking . you won't exactly know what's happening but you'll be blissfully exhausted . 
the 1960s rebellion was misdirected : you can't fight your culture . 
works because reno doesn't become smug or sanctimonious towards the audience . 
nettelbeck . . . has a pleasing way with a metaphor . 
a pure participatory event that malnourished intellectuals will gulp down in a frenzy . 
the cast delivers without sham the raw-nerved story . 
steven soderbergh's digital video experiment is a clever and cutting , quick and dirty look at modern living and movie life . 
the film's highlight is definitely its screenplay , both for the rhapsodic dialogue that jumps off the page , and for the memorable character creations . 
it lets you brush up against the humanity of a psycho , without making him any less psycho . 
sillier , cuter , and shorter than the first ( as best i remember ) , but still a very good time at the cinema . 
the film is bright and flashy in all the right ways . 
elegant and eloquent [meditation] on death and that most elusive of passions , love . 
cut through the layers of soap-opera emotion and you find a scathing portrayal of a powerful entity strangling the life out of the people who want to believe in it the most . 
filmmaker tian zhuangzhuang triumphantly returns to narrative filmmaking with a visually masterful work of quiet power . 
it excels because , unlike so many other hollywood movies of its ilk , it offers hope . 
shot in rich , shadowy black-and-white , devils chronicles , with increasingly amused irony , the relationship between reluctant captors and befuddled captives . 
there's no clear picture of who killed bob crane . but here's a glimpse at his life . 
spectacularly beautiful , not to mention mysterious , sensual , emotionally intense , and replete with virtuoso throat-singing . 
weird . rewarding . 
a summer entertainment adults can see without feeling embarrassed , but it could have been more . 
sparse but oddly compelling . 
a stirring , funny and finally transporting re-imagining of beauty and the beast and 1930s horror films
the pinochet case is a searing album of remembrance from those who , having survived , suffered most . 
a sweet-tempered comedy that forgoes the knee-jerk misogyny that passes for humor in so many teenage comedies . 
argento , at only 26 , brings a youthful , out-to-change-the-world aggressiveness to the project , as if she's cut open a vein and bled the raw film stock . 
sleek and arty . 
with so many bad romances out there , this is the kind of movie that deserves a chance to shine . 
brash , intelligent and erotically perplexing , haneke's portrait of an upper class austrian society and the suppression of its tucked away demons is uniquely felt with a sardonic jolt . 
though jackson doesn't always succeed in integrating the characters in the foreground into the extraordinarily rich landscape , it must be said that he is an imaginative filmmaker who can see the forest for the trees . 
 " the quiet american " begins in saigon in 1952 . that's its first sign of trouble . 
a dazzling thing to behold -- as long as you're wearing the somewhat cumbersome 3d goggles the theater provides . 
be patient with the lovely hush ! and your reward will be a thoughtful , emotional movie experience . 
the large-format film is well suited to capture these musicians in full regalia and the incredible imax sound system lets you feel the beat down to your toes . 
godard has never made a more sheerly beautiful film than this unexpectedly moving meditation on love , history , memory , resistance and artistic transcendence . 
the kind of movie that comes along only occasionally , one so unconventional , gutsy and perfectly executed it takes your breath away . 
unlike most surf movies , blue crush thrillingly uses modern technology to take the viewer inside the wave . by the end you can't help but feel 'stoked . '
the off-center humor is a constant , and the ensemble gives it a buoyant delivery . 
a tasty slice of droll whimsy . 
mike leigh populates his movie with a wonderful ensemble cast of characters that bring the routine day to day struggles of the working class to life
awesome work : ineffable , elusive , yet inexplicably powerful
sparkling , often hilarious romantic jealousy comedy . . . attal looks so much like a young robert deniro that it seems the film should instead be called 'my husband is travis bickle' . 
even if you're an agnostic carnivore , you can enjoy much of jonah simply , and gratefully , as laugh-out-loud lunacy with a pronounced monty pythonesque flavor . 
where bowling for columbine is at its most valuable is in its examination of america's culture of fear as a root cause of gun violence . 
the result is somewhat satisfying -- it still comes from spielberg , who has never made anything that wasn't at least watchable . but it's also disappointing to a certain degree . 
the all-french cast is marveilleux . 
there's a lot to recommend read my lips . 
a minor film with major pleasures from portuguese master manoel de oliviera . . . 
brosnan gives a portrayal as solid and as perfect as his outstanding performance as bond in die another day . 
audiences are advised to sit near the back and squint to avoid noticing some truly egregious lip-non-synching , but otherwise the production is suitably elegant . 
the movie is . . . very funny as you peek at it through the fingers in front of your eyes . 
nicks sustains the level of exaggerated , stylized humor throughout by taking your expectations and twisting them just a bit . 
a refreshing change from the usual whoopee-cushion effort aimed at the youth market . 
it finds its moviegoing pleasures in the tiny events that could make a person who has lived her life half-asleep suddenly wake up and take notice . 
 . . . an enjoyably frothy 'date movie' . . . 
the genius of the work speaks volumes , offering up a hallucinatory dreamscape that frustrates and captivates . 
two weeks notice has appeal beyond being a sandra bullock vehicle or a standard romantic comedy . 
the movie's seams may show . . . but pellington gives " mothman " an irresistibly uncanny ambience that goes a long way toward keeping the picture compelling . 
if mostly martha is mostly unsurprising , it's still a sweet , even delectable diversion . 
a wild comedy that could only spring from the demented mind of the writer of being john malkovich . 
schnitzler does a fine job contrasting the sleekness of the film's present with the playful paranoia of the film's past . 
'a fresh-faced , big-hearted and frequently funny thrill ride for the kiddies , with enough eye candy and cheeky wit to keep parents away from the concession stand . '
mana gives us compelling , damaged characters who we want to help -- or hurt . 
the sentimental script has problems , but the actors pick up the slack . 
a good documentary can make interesting a subject you thought would leave you cold . a case in point : doug pray's scratch . 
abderrahmane sissako's heremakono ( waiting for happiness ) is an elegiac portrait of a transit city on the west african coast struggling against foreign influences . 
in xxx , diesel is that rare creature -- an action hero with table manners , and one who proves that elegance is more than tattoo deep . 
an engrossing and grim portrait of hookers : what they think of themselves and their clients . 
it all plays out . . . like a high-end john hughes comedy , a kind of elder bueller's time out . 
the film is enriched by an imaginatively mixed cast of antic spirits , headed by christopher plummer as the subtlest and most complexly evil uncle ralph i've ever seen in the many film and stage adaptations of the work . 
this is one of the rarest kinds of films : a family-oriented non-disney film that is actually funny without hitting below the belt . 
it is refreshingly undogmatic about its characters . 
a moving and important film . 
deep intelligence and a warm , enveloping affection breathe out of every frame . 
famuyiwa's feature deals with its subject matter in a tasteful , intelligent manner , rather than forcing us to endure every plot contrivance that the cliché-riddled genre can offer . 
showtime is a fine-looking film with a bouncy score and a clutch of lively songs for deft punctuation . 
sweet home alabama isn't going to win any academy awards , but this date-night diversion will definitely win some hearts . 
a cruelly funny twist on teen comedy packed with inventive cinematic tricks and an ironically killer soundtrack
a gracious , eloquent film that by its end offers a ray of hope to the refugees able to look ahead and resist living in a past forever lost . 
even though many of these guys are less than adorable ( their lamentations are pretty much self-centered ) , there's something vital about the movie . 
a tour de force drama about the astonishingly pivotal role of imagination in the soulful development of two rowdy teenagers . 
it is a strength of a documentary to disregard available bias , especially as temptingly easy as it would have been with this premise . 
when twentysomething hotsies make movies about their lives , hard-driving narcissism is a given , but what a world we'd live in if argento's hollywood counterparts . . . had this much imagination and nerve . 
maryam is more timely now than ever . 
an eloquent , reflective and beautifully acted meditation on both the profoundly devastating events of one year ago and the slow , painful healing process that has followed in their wake . 
piccoli gives a superb performance full of deep feeling . 
what a concept , what an idea , what a thrill ride . this is a more fascinating look at the future than " bladerunner " and one of the most high-concept sci fi adventures attempted for the screen . 
the rare movie that's as crisp and to the point as the novel on which it's based . 
a film of epic scale with an intimate feeling , a saga of the ups and downs of friendships . 
sayles has an eye for the ways people of different ethnicities talk to and about others outside the group . 
 " nicholas nickleby " is a perfect family film to take everyone to since there's no new " a christmas carol " out in the theaters this year . charlie hunnam has the twinkling eyes , repressed smile and determined face needed to carry out a dickensian hero . 
niccol the filmmaker merges his collaborators' symbolic images with his words , insinuating , for example , that in hollywood , only god speaks to the press
khouri manages , with terrific flair , to keep the extremes of screwball farce and blood-curdling family intensity on one continuum . 
impresses as a skillfully assembled , highly polished and professional adaptation . . . just about as chilling and unsettling as 'manhunter' was . 
it's a solid movie about people whose lives are anything but . 
though a touch too arthouse 101 in its poetic symbolism , heaven proves to be a good match of the sensibilities of two directors . 
i simply can't recommend it enough . 
wiseman reveals the victims of domestic abuse in all of their pity and terror . 
muccino , who directed from his own screenplay , is a canny crowd pleaser , and the last kiss . . . provides more than enough sentimental catharsis for a satisfying evening at the multiplex . 
we want the funk - and this movie's got it . 
wow , so who knew charles dickens could be so light-hearted ? 
many went to see the attraction for the sole reason that it was hot outside and there was air conditioning inside , and i don't think that a . c . will help this movie one bit . 
sem se preocupar em criar momentos melodramáticos para arrancar lágrimas do espectador , o pianista é um filme triste sem que , para isso , precise ser emocionante . 
the storylines are woven together skilfully , the magnificent swooping aerial shots are breathtaking , and the overall experience is awesome . 
a miraculous movie , i'm going home is so slight , yet overflows with wisdom and emotion . 
baran is shockingly devoid of your typical majid majidi shoe-loving , crippled children . 
an ambitious 'what if ? ' that works . 
every moment crackles with tension , and by the end of the flick , you're on the edge of your seat . 
a fine , rousing , g-rated family film , aimed mainly at little kids but with plenty of entertainment value to keep grown-ups from squirming in their seats . 
the series' message about making the right choice in the face of tempting alternatives remains prominent , as do the girls' amusing personalities . 
richly entertaining and suggestive of any number of metaphorical readings . 
a compelling allegory about the last days of germany's democratic weimar republic . 
offers a guilt-free trip into feel-good territory . 
a b-movie you can sit through , enjoy on a certain level and then forget . 
devos delivers a perfect performance that captures the innocence and budding demons within a wallflower . 
disappointingly , the characters are too strange and dysfunctional , tom included , to ever get under the skin , but this is compensated in large part by the off-the-wall dialogue , visual playfulness and the outlandishness of the idea itself . 
director todd solondz has made a movie about critical reaction to his two previous movies , and about his responsibility to the characters that he creates . 
the word that comes to mind , while watching eric rohmer's tribute to a courageous scottish lady , is painterly . 
a fascinating case study of flower-power liberation -- and the price that was paid for it . 
bluer than the atlantic and more biologically detailed than an autopsy , the movie . . . is , also , frequently hilarious . 
really is a pan-american movie , with moments of genuine insight into the urban heart . 
obligada para impotentes , daneses , camareras italianas , profesores de idiomas , y todo aquel que desee una lengua para expresar su amor . 
an overly familiar scenario is made fresh by an intelligent screenplay and gripping performances in this low-budget , video-shot , debut indie effort . 
peppering this urban study with references to norwegian folktales , villeneuve creates in maelstrom a world where the bizarre is credible and the real turns magical . 
ong's promising debut is a warm and well-told tale of one recent chinese immigrant's experiences in new york city . 
fantastic ! 
that the real antwone fisher was able to overcome his personal obstacles and become a good man is a wonderful thing ; that he has been able to share his story so compellingly with us is a minor miracle . 
there's not much to fatale , outside of its stylish surprises . . . but that's ok . 
what redeems the film is the cast , particularly the ya-yas themselves . 
beautiful , cold , oddly colorful and just plain otherworldly , a freaky bit of art that's there to scare while we delight in the images . 
it's up to [watts] to lend credibility to this strange scenario , and her presence succeeds in making us believe . 
the film is darkly atmospheric , with herrmann quietly suggesting the sadness and obsession beneath hearst's forced avuncular chortles . 
shyamalan takes a potentially trite and overused concept ( aliens come to earth ) and infuses it into a rustic , realistic , and altogether creepy tale of hidden invasion . 
 . . . the story , like ravel's bolero , builds to a crescendo that encompasses many more paths than we started with . 
it's plotless , shapeless -- and yet , it must be admitted , not entirely humorless . indeed , the more outrageous bits achieve a shock-you-into-laughter intensity of almost dadaist proportions . 
gondry's direction is adequate . . . but what gives human nature its unique feel is kaufman's script . 
the film's plot may be shallow , but you've never seen the deep like you see it in these harrowing surf shots . 
with a large cast representing a broad cross-section , tavernier's film bounds along with the rat-a-tat energy of " his girl friday , " maintaining a light touch while tackling serious themes . 
the observations of this social/economic/urban environment are canny and spiced with irony . 
renner carries much of the film with a creepy and dead-on performance . 
jarecki and gibney do find enough material to bring kissinger's record into question and explain how the diplomat's tweaked version of statecraft may have cost thousands and possibly millions of lives . 
the spaniel-eyed jean reno infuses hubert with a mixture of deadpan cool , wry humor and just the measure of tenderness required to give this comic slugfest some heart . 
aniston has at last decisively broken with her friends image in an independent film of satiric fire and emotional turmoil . 
a mildly enjoyable if toothless adaptation of a much better book . 
 " the dangerous lives of altar boys " has flaws , but it also has humor and heart and very talented young actors
unexpected , and often contradictory , truths emerge . 
300 years of russian history and culture compressed into an evanescent , seamless and sumptuous stream of consciousness . 
intelligent , caustic take on a great writer and dubious human being . 
may take its sweet time to get wherever it's going , but if you have the patience for it , you won't feel like it's wasted yours . 
less the sensational true-crime hell-jaunt purists might like and more experimental in its storytelling ( though no less horrifying for it ) . 
the film is one of the year's best . 
eerily accurate depiction of depression . 
 . . . a delicious crime drama on par with the slickest of mamet . 
charming and witty , it's also somewhat clumsy . 
directed with purpose and finesse by england's roger mitchell , who handily makes the move from pleasing , relatively lightweight commercial fare such as notting hill to commercial fare with real thematic heft . 
escapes the precious trappings of most romantic comedies , infusing into the story very real , complicated emotions . 
this big screen caper has a good bark , far from being a bow-wow . 
[allen] manages to breathe life into this somewhat tired premise . 
i have two words to say about reign of fire . great dragons ! 
by surrounding us with hyper-artificiality , haynes makes us see familiar issues , like racism and homophobia , in a fresh way . 
a deliberative account of a lifestyle characterized by its surface-obsession – one that typifies the delirium of post , pre , and extant stardom . 
superb production values & christian bale's charisma make up for a derivative plot . 
the film has the courage of its convictions and excellent performances on its side . 
i know i shouldn't have laughed , but hey , those farts got to my inner nine-year-old . 
a movie that will thrill you , touch you and make you laugh as well . 
it's a smart , funny look at an arcane area of popular culture , and if it isn't entirely persuasive , it does give exposure to some talented performers . 
more vaudeville show than well-constructed narrative , but on those terms it's inoffensive and actually rather sweet . 
the case is a convincing one , and should give anyone with a conscience reason to pause . 
the actresses find their own rhythm and protect each other from the script's bad ideas and awkwardness . 
diverting french comedy in which a husband has to cope with the pesky moods of jealousy . 
captivates and shows how a skillful filmmaker can impart a message without bludgeoning the audience over the head . 
there is a welcome lack of pretension about the film , which very simply sets out to entertain and ends up delivering in good measure . 
coy but exhilarating , with really solid performances by ving rhames and wesley snipes . 
it is a likable story , told with competence . 
not only does spider-man deliver , but i suspect it might deliver again and again . 
tackles the difficult subject of grief and loss with such life-embracing spirit that the theme doesn't drag an audience down . 
a small movie with a big impact . 
the movie , despite its rough edges and a tendency to sag in certain places , is wry and engrossing . 
 i admire the closing scenes of the film , which seem to ask whether our civilization offers a cure for vincent's complaint . 
like rudy yellow lodge , eyre needs to take a good sweat to clarify his cinematic vision before his next creation and remember the lessons of the trickster spider . 
a delightful romantic comedy with plenty of bite . it's far from a frothy piece , and the characters are complex , laden with plenty of baggage and tinged with tragic undertones . 
using an endearing cast , writer/director dover kosashvili takes a slightly dark look at relationships , both sexual and kindred . 
when a movie has stuck around for this long , you know there's something there . it's that good . 
smart , sassy interpretation of the oscar wilde play . 
forget about one oscar nomination for julianne moore this year - she should get all five . 
japanese director shohei imamura's latest film is an odd but ultimately satisfying blend of the sophomoric and the sublime . 
kwan is a master of shadow , quietude , and room noise , and lan yu is a disarmingly lived-in movie . 
while the plot follows a predictable connect-the-dots course . . . director john schultz colors the picture in some evocative shades . 
nice piece of work . 
katz's documentary doesn't have much panache , but with material this rich it doesn't need it . 
we get an image of big papa spanning history , rather than suspending it . 
evelyn's strong cast and surehanded direction make for a winning , heartwarming yarn . 
'aunque recurre a ciertos clichés del género , la poderosa actuación de robin williams perdona las fallas del guión . '
a conventional but heartwarming tale . 
a thought-provoking picture . 
this is one of the outstanding thrillers of recent years . 
skins has a desolate air , but eyre , a native american raised by white parents , manages to infuse the rocky path to sibling reconciliation with flashes of warmth and gentle humor . 
a film of quiet power . 
more concerned with overall feelings , broader ideas , and open-ended questions than concrete story and definitive answers , soderbergh's solaris is a gorgeous and deceptively minimalist cinematic tone poem . 
an intelligent romantic thriller of a very old-school kind of quality . 
the sword fighting is well done and auteuil is a goofy pleasure . 
yes , mibii is rote work and predictable , but with a philosophical visual coming right at the end that extravagantly redeems it . 
film can't quite maintain its initial momentum , but remains sporadically funny throughout . 
o fantasma is boldly , confidently orchestrated , aesthetically and sexually , and its impact is deeply and rightly disturbing . 
it's still adam sandler , and it's not little nicky . and for many of us , that's good enough . 
here's yet another cool crime movie that actually manages to bring something new into the mix . 
lee's achievement extends to his supple understanding of the role that brown played in american culture as an athlete , a movie star , and an image of black indomitability . 
kaufman and jonze take huge risks to ponder the whole notion of passion -- our desire as human beings for passion in our lives and the emptiness one feels when it is missing . 
it tends to remind one of a really solid woody allen film , with its excellent use of new york locales and sharp writing
while centered on the life experiences of a particular theatrical family , this marvelous documentary touches -- ever so gracefully -- on the entire history of the yiddish theater , both in america and israel . 
the film , despite the gratuitous cinematic distractions impressed upon it , is still good fun . 
the immersive powers of the giant screen and its hyper-realistic images are put to perfect use in the breathtakingly beautiful outer-space documentary space station 3d . 
has an unmistakable , easy joie de vivre . 
more than anything else , kissing jessica stein injects freshness and spirit into the romantic comedy genre , which has been held hostage by generic scripts that seek to remake sleepless in seattle again and again . 
this movie has the usual impossible stunts . . . but it has just as many scenes that are lean and tough enough to fit in any modern action movie . 
mostly works because of the universal themes , earnest performances . . . and excellent use of music by india's popular gulzar and jagjit singh . 
 . . . the one thing this wild film has that other imax films don't : chimps , lots of chimps , all blown up to the size of a house . that's fun for kids of any age . 
writer/director david caesar ladles on the local flavour with a hugely enjoyable film about changing times , clashing cultures and the pleasures of a well-made pizza . 
rarely have i seen a film so willing to champion the fallibility of the human heart . 
holofcener rejects patent solutions to dramatize life's messiness from inside out , in all its strange quirks . 
like the full monty , this is sure to raise audience's spirits and leave them singing long after the credits roll . 
 . . . a gleefully grungy , hilariously wicked black comedy . . . 
kinnear and dafoe give what may be the performances of their careers . 
all in all , a great party . 
a moving story of determination and the human spirit . 
 " brown sugar " admirably aspires to be more than another " best man " clone by weaving a theme throughout this funny film . 
[gulpilil] is a commanding screen presence , and his character's abundant humanism makes him the film's moral compass . 
a stylish thriller . 
an effortlessly accomplished and richly resonant work . 
in some ways , lagaan is quintessential bollywood . except it's much , much better . 
though it never rises to its full potential as a film , still offers a great deal of insight into the female condition and the timeless danger of emotions repressed . 
scotland looks wonderful , the fans are often funny fanatics , the showdown sure beats a bad day of golf . 
what enlivens this film , beyond the astute direction of cardoso and beautifully detailed performances by all of the actors , is a note of defiance over social dictates . 
the emotion is impressively true for being so hot-blooded , and both leads are up to the task . 
although it lacks the detail of the book , the film does pack some serious suspense . 
i'd watch these two together again in a new york minute . 
there's nothing like love to give a movie a b-12 shot , and cq shimmers with it . 
a moving essay about the specter of death , especially suicide . 
this film is so different from the apple and so striking that it can only encourage us to see samira makhmalbaf as a very distinctive sensibility , working to develop her own film language with conspicuous success . 
like a less dizzily gorgeous companion to mr . wong's in the mood for love -- very much a hong kong movie despite its mainland setting . 
 . . . a somber film , almost completely unrelieved by any comedy beyond the wistful everyday ironies of the working poor . 
coral reef adventure is a heavyweight film that fights a good fight on behalf of the world's endangered reefs -- and it lets the pictures do the punching . 
the overall result is an intelligent , realistic portrayal of testing boundaries . 
poignant and moving , a walk to remember is an inspirational love story , capturing the innocence and idealism of that first encounter . 
worth a salute just for trying to be more complex than your average film . 
handsome and sophisticated approach to the workplace romantic comedy . 
a shimmeringly lovely coming-of-age portrait , shot in artful , watery tones of blue , green and brown . 
while cherish doesn't completely survive its tonal transformation from dark comedy to suspense thriller , it's got just enough charm and appealing character quirks to forgive that still serious problem . 
in many ways , reminiscent of 1992's unforgiven which also utilized the scintillating force of its actors to draw out the menace of its sparse dialogue . 
we admire this film for its harsh objectivity and refusal to seek our tears , our sympathies . 
an often watchable , though goofy and lurid , blast of a costume drama set in the late 15th century . 
the entire cast is first-rate , especially sorvino . 
the cat's meow marks a return to form for director peter bogdanovich . . . 
this one is strictly a lightweight escapist film . 
this sensitive , smart , savvy , compelling coming-of-age drama delves into the passive-aggressive psychology of co-dependence and the struggle for self-esteem . 
the culmination of everyone's efforts is given life when a selection appears in its final form [in " last dance " ] . 
in questioning the election process , payami graphically illustrates the problems of fledgling democracies , but also the strength and sense of freedom the iranian people already possess , with or without access to the ballot box . 
a very charming and funny movie . 
this is a film that manages to find greatness in the hue of its drastic iconography . 
streamlined to a tight , brisk 85-minute screwball thriller , " big trouble " is funny , harmless and as substantial as a tub of popcorn with extra butter . 
consummate actor barry has done excellent work here . 
the biggest problem with this movie is that it's not nearly long enough . 
while not all that bad of a movie , it's nowhere near as good as the original . 
ali's graduation from little screen to big is far less painful than his opening scene encounter with an over-amorous terrier . 
i have always appreciated a smartly written motion picture , and , whatever flaws igby goes down may possess , it is undeniably that . 
you can sip your vintage wines and watch your merchant ivory productions ; i'll settle for a nice cool glass of iced tea and a jerry bruckheimer flick any day of the week . 
may be the most undeserving victim of critical overkill since town and country . 
a chilly , brooding but quietly resonant psychological study of domestic tension and unhappiness . 
the movie does its best to work us over , with second helpings of love , romance , tragedy , false dawns , real dawns , comic relief , two separate crises during marriage ceremonies , and the lush scenery of the cotswolds . 
cold , nervy and memorable . 
becomes a fascinating study of isolation and frustration that successfully recreates both the physical setting and emotional tensions of the papin sisters . 
spend your benjamins on a matinee . 
all in all , it's a pretty good execution of a story that's a lot richer than the ones hollywood action screenwriters usually come up with on their own . 
worth seeing just for weaver and lapaglia . 
a pleasant piece of escapist entertainment . 
among the many pleasures are the lively intelligence of the artists and their perceptiveness about their own situations . 
it's consistently funny , in an irresistible junior-high way , and consistently free of any gag that would force you to give it a millisecond of thought . 
it's the cute frissons of discovery and humor between chaplin and kidman that keep this nicely wound clock not just ticking , but humming . 
the storytelling may be ordinary , but the cast is one of those all-star reunions that fans of gosford park have come to assume is just another day of brit cinema . 
there's something about a marching band that gets me where i live . 
cuaron repeatedly , perversely undercuts the joie de vivre even as he creates it , giving the movie a mournful undercurrent that places the good-time shenanigans in welcome perspective . 
it's definitely an improvement on the first blade , since it doesn't take itself so deadly seriously . 
a slam-bang extravaganza that is all about a wild-and-woolly , wall-to-wall good time . 
what's infuriating about full frontal is that it's too close to real life to make sense . what's invigorating about it is that it doesn't give a damn . 
is red dragon worthy of a place alongside the other hannibal movies ? as hannibal would say , yes , 'it's like having an old friend for dinner' . 
writer-director juan carlos fresnadillo makes a feature debut that is fully formed and remarkably assured . 
insightfully written , delicately performed
perhaps the grossest movie ever made . funny , though . 
this 90-minute postmodern voyage was more diverting and thought-provoking than i'd expected it to be . 
one of those exceedingly rare films in which the talk alone is enough to keep us involved . 
a heartbreakingly thoughtful minor classic , the work of a genuine and singular artist . 
an affectionately goofy satire that's unafraid to throw elbows when necessary . . . 
between them , de niro and murphy make showtime the most savory and hilarious guilty pleasure of many a recent movie season . 
jackson tries to keep the plates spinning as best he can , but all the bouncing back and forth can't help but become a bit tedious -- even with the breathtaking landscapes and villainous varmints there to distract you from the ricocheting . 
filmmakers david weissman and bill weber benefit enormously from the cockettes' camera craziness -- not only did they film performances , but they did the same at home . 
interesting both as a historical study and as a tragic love story . 
a stylish but steady , and ultimately very satisfying , piece of character-driven storytelling . 
it picked me up , swung me around , and dropped me back in my seat with more emotional force than any other recent film . 
graham greene's novel of colonialism and empire is elevated by michael caine's performance as a weary journalist in a changing world . 
though it's equally solipsistic in tone , the movie has enough vitality to justify the notion of creating a screen adaptation of evans' saga of hollywood excess . 
compulsively watchable , no matter how degraded things get . 
delivers roughly equal amounts of beautiful movement and inside information . 
bon appétit ! just like a splendid meal , red dragon satisfies – from its ripe recipe , inspiring ingredients , certified cuisine and palatable presentation . 
the structure is simple , but in its own way , rabbit-proof fence is a quest story as grand as the lord of the rings . 
this charming , thought-provoking new york fest of life and love has its rewards . 
some people march to the beat of a different drum , and if you ever wondered what kind of houses those people live in , this documentary takes a look at 5 alternative housing options . 
playfully profound . . . and crazier than michael jackson on the top floor of a skyscraper nursery surrounded by open windows . 
a film that will enthrall the whole family . 
the charm of the first movie is still there , and the story feels like the logical , unforced continuation of the careers of a pair of spy kids . 
k 19 stays afloat as decent drama/action flick
it sends you away a believer again and quite cheered at just that . 
like the best 60 minutes exposé , the film ( at 80 minutes ) is actually quite entertaining . 
an 83 minute document of a project which started in a muddle , seesawed back and forth between controlling interests multiple times , then found its sweet spot
an emotionally and spiritually compelling journey seen through the right eyes , with the right actors and with the kind of visual flair that shows what great cinema can really do . 
nair doesn't use [monsoon wedding] to lament the loss of culture . instead , she sees it as a chance to revitalize what is and always has been remarkable about clung-to traditions . 
both grant and hoult carry the movie because they are believable as people -- flawed , assured of the wrong things , and scared to admit how much they may really need the company of others . 
leading a double life in an american film only comes to no good , but not here . matters play out realistically if not always fairly . 
in the affable maid in manhattan , jennifer lopez's most aggressive and most sincere attempt to take movies by storm , the diva shrewdly surrounds herself with a company of strictly a-list players . 
like mike is a harmlessly naïve slice of b-ball fantasy , fit for filling in during the real nba's off-season . 
though writer/director bart freundlich's film ultimately becomes a simplistic story about a dysfunctional parent-child relationship , it has some special qualities and the soulful gravity of crudup's anchoring performance . 
y tu mamá también es un buen filme gracias a lo poco convencional de su narrativa , y es quizá el proyecto más arriesgado en la carrera de alfonso cuarón
what the movie lacks in action it more than makes up for in drama , suspense , revenge , and romance . 
just offbeat enough to keep you interested without coming close to bowling you over . 
probes in a light-hearted way the romantic problems of individuals for whom the yearning for passion spells discontent . 
what elevates the movie above the run-of-the-mill singles blender is its surreal sense of humor and technological finish . 
a film about female friendship that men can embrace and women will talk about for hours . 
the directing and story are disjointed , flaws that have to be laid squarely on taylor's doorstep . but the actors make this worth a peek . 
É uma pena que , mais tarde , o próprio filme abandone o tom de paródia e passe a utilizar os mesmos clichês que havia satirizado . 
light the candles , bring out the cake and don't fret about the calories because there's precious little substance in birthday girl -- it's simply , and surprisingly , a nice , light treat . 
it may be about drug dealers , kidnapping , and unsavory folks , but the tone and pacing are shockingly intimate . 
massoud's story is an epic , but also a tragedy , the record of a tenacious , humane fighter who was also the prisoner ( and ultimately the victim ) of history . 
if villainous vampires are your cup of blood , blade 2 is definitely a cut above the rest . 
drumline ably captures the complicated relationships in a marching band . 
because the film deliberately lacks irony , it has a genuine dramatic impact ; it plays like a powerful 1957 drama we've somehow never seen before . 
does point the way for adventurous indian filmmakers toward a crossover into nonethnic markets . 
seems based on ugly ideas instead of ugly behavior , as happiness was . . . hence , storytelling is far more appealing . 
sum " is jack ryan's " do-over . " give credit to everyone from robinson down to the key grip that this bold move works . especially give credit to affleck . 
an intelligently made ( and beautifully edited ) picture that at the very least has a spark of life to it -- more than you can say for plenty of movies that flow through the hollywood pipeline without a hitch . 
a terrific date movie , whatever your orientation . 
not all of the stories work and the ones that do are thin and scattered , but the film works well enough to make it worth watching . 
what it lacks in originality it makes up for in effective if cheap moments of fright and dread . 
the pain , loneliness and insecurity of the screenwriting process are vividly and painfully brought to slovenly life in this self-deprecating , biting and witty feature written by charlie kaufman and his twin brother , donald , and directed by spike jonze . 
a gem of a movie . 
witty , vibrant , and intelligent . 
it's all stitched together with energy , intelligence and verve , enhanced by a surplus of vintage archive footage . 
miller comes at film with bracing intelligence and a vision both painterly and literary . 
the film is moody , oozing , chilling and heart-warming all at once . . . a twisting , unpredictable , cat-and-mouse thriller . 
eight legged freaks is clever and funny , is amused by its special effects , and leaves you feeling like you've seen a movie instead of an endless trailer . 
this is historical filmmaking without the balm of right-thinking ideology , either liberal or conservative . mr . scorsese's bravery and integrity in advancing this vision can hardly be underestimated . 
a thriller whose style , structure and rhythms are so integrated with the story , you cannot separate them . 
it's a hoot watching the rock chomp on jumbo ants , pull an arrow out of his back , and leap unscathed through raging fire ! 
returning director rob minkoff . . . and screenwriter bruce joel rubin . . . have done a fine job of updating white's dry wit to a new age . 
unfolds with such a wallop of you-are-there immediacy that when the bullets start to fly , your first instinct is to duck . 
a strong script , powerful direction and splendid production design allows us to be transported into the life of wladyslaw szpilman , who is not only a pianist , but a good human being . 
an unflinching look at the world's dispossessed . 
if the film fails to fulfill its own ambitious goals , it nonetheless sustains interest during the long build-up of expository material . 
polanski has found the perfect material with which to address his own world war ii experience in his signature style . 
it is life affirming and heartbreaking , sweet without the decay factor , funny and sad . 
an off-beat and fanciful film about the human need for monsters to blame for all that is amiss in the world . 
a colorful , joyous celebration of life ; a tapestry woven of romance , dancing , singing , and unforgettable characters . 
frei assembles a fascinating profile of a deeply humanistic artist who , in spite of all that he's witnessed , remains surprisingly idealistic , and retains an extraordinary faith in the ability of images to communicate the truth of the world around him . 
nicely combines the enigmatic features of 'memento' with the hallucinatory drug culture of 'requiem for a dream . '
a well paced and satisfying little drama that deserved better than a ‘direct-to-video' release . 
the best part about " gangs " was daniel day-lewis . 
a treat for its depiction on not giving up on dreams when you're a struggling nobody . 
one of those rare films that seems as though it was written for no one , but somehow manages to convince almost everyone that it was put on the screen , just for them . 
a gripping documentary that reveals how deep the antagonism lies in war-torn jerusalem . 
director chris wedge and screenwriters michael berg , michael j . wilson and peter ackerman create some episodes that rival vintage looney tunes for the most creative mayhem in a brief amount of time . 
one of the film's most effective aspects is its tchaikovsky soundtrack of neurasthenic regret . 
solondz creates some effective moments of discomfort for character and viewer alike . 
the film's appeal has a lot to do with the casting of juliette binoche as sand , who brings to the role her pale , dark beauty and characteristic warmth . 
i was amused and entertained by the unfolding of bielinsky's cleverly constructed scenario , and greatly impressed by the skill of the actors involved in the enterprise . 
somehow ms . griffiths and mr . pryce bring off this wild welsh whimsy . 
more mature than fatal attraction , more complete than indecent proposal and more relevant than 9 ½ weeks , unfaithful is at once intimate and universal cinema . 
for all the dolorous trim , secretary is a genial romance that maintains a surprisingly buoyant tone throughout , notwithstanding some of the writers' sporadic dips into pop freudianism . 
a fanciful drama about napoleon's last years and his surprising discovery of love and humility . 
a highly personal look at the effects of living a dysfunctionally privileged lifestyle , and by the end , we only wish we could have spent more time in its world . 
eric schweig and graham greene both exude an air of dignity that's perfect for the proud warrior that still lingers in the souls of these characters . 
lovely and amazing is holofcener's deep , uncompromising curtsy to women she knows , and very likely is . when all is said and done , she loves them to pieces -- and so , i trust , will you . 
campbell scott finds the ideal outlet for his flick-knife diction in the role of roger swanson . 
[fiji diver rusi vulakoro and the married couple howard and michelle hall] show us the world they love and make us love it , too . 
russian ark is a new treasure of the hermitage . 
the animated sequences are well done and perfectly constructed to convey a sense of childhood imagination and creating adventure out of angst . 
it's definitely a step in the right direction . 
as the princess , sorvino glides gracefully from male persona to female without missing a beat . ben kingsley is truly funny , playing a kind of ghandi gone bad . 
ourside the theatre roger might be intolerable company , but inside it he's well worth spending some time with . 
a gem , captured in the unhurried , low-key style favored by many directors of the iranian new wave . 
in an era where big stars and high production values are standard procedure , narc strikes a defiantly retro chord , and outpaces its contemporaries with daring and verve . 
almost peerlessly unsettling . 
ranges from laugh-out-loud hilarious to wonder-what- time-it-is tedious . 
the film's gamble to occasionally break up the live-action scenes with animated sequences pays off , as does its sensitive handling of some delicate subject matter . 
talk to her is not the perfect movie many have made it out to be , but it's still quite worth seeing . 
beating the austin powers films at their own game , this blaxploitation spoof downplays the raunch in favor of gags that rely on the strength of their own cleverness as opposed to the extent of their outrageousness . 
this is a dark , gritty , sometimes funny little gem . 
for all its visual panache and compelling supporting characters , the heart of the film rests in the relationship between sullivan and his son . 
what makes salton sea surprisingly engrossing is that caruso takes an atypically hypnotic approach to a world that's often handled in fast-edit , hopped-up fashion . 
a hidden-agenda drama that shouts classic french nuance . 
with spy kids 2 : the island of lost dreams , the spy kids franchise establishes itself as a durable part of the movie landscape : a james bond series for kids . 
an invaluable historical document thanks to the filmmaker's extraordinary access to massoud , whose charm , cultivation and devotion to his people are readily apparent . 
the performances of the four main actresses bring their characters to life . a little melodramatic , but with enough hope to keep you engaged . 
lan yu seems altogether too slight to be called any kind of masterpiece . it is , however , a completely honest , open-hearted film that should appeal to anyone willing to succumb to it . 
everyone should be able to appreciate the wonderful cinematography and naturalistic acting . 
this often-hilarious farce manages to generate the belly laughs of lowbrow comedy without sacrificing its high-minded appeal . 
stock up on silver bullets for director neil marshall's intense freight train of a film . 
expands the limits of what a film can be , taking us into the lives of women to whom we might not give a second look if we passed them on the street . 
the farcical elements seemed too pat and familiar to hold my interest , yet its diverting grim message is a good one . 
shanghai ghetto may not be as dramatic as roman polanski's the pianist , but its compassionate spirit soars every bit as high . 
despite these annoyances , the capable clayburgh and tambor really do a great job of anchoring the characters in the emotional realities of middle age . 
the underworld urban angst is derivative of martin scorsese's taxi driver and goodfellas , but this film speaks for itself . 
the film's heady yet far from impenetrable theory suggests that russians take comfort in their closed-off nationalist reality . 
despite modest aspirations its occasional charms are not to be dismissed . 
constantly touching , surprisingly funny , semi-surrealist exploration of the creative act . 
the journey is worth your time , especially if you have ellen pompeo sitting next to you for the ride . 
merci pour le movie . 
for every cheesy scene , though , there is a really cool bit -- the movie's conception of a future-world holographic librarian ( orlando jones ) who knows everything and answers all questions , is visually smart , cleverly written , and nicely realized . 
what sets ms . birot's film apart from others in the genre is a greater attention to the parents -- and particularly the fateful fathers -- in the emotional evolution of the two bewitched adolescents . 
all three women deliver remarkable performances . 
claire is a terrific role for someone like judd , who really ought to be playing villains . 
it's clear that mehta simply wanted to update her beloved genre for the thousands of indians who fancy themselves too sophisticated for the cheese-laced spectacles that pack 'em in on the subcontinent . 
compassionately explores the seemingly irreconcilable situation between conservative christian parents and their estranged gay and lesbian children . 
the soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission . 
rodriguez does a splendid job of racial profiling hollywood style--casting excellent latin actors of all ages--a trend long overdue . 
beneath the film's obvious determination to shock at any cost lies considerable skill and determination , backed by sheer nerve . 
bielinsky is a filmmaker of impressive talent . 
so beautifully acted and directed , it's clear that washington most certainly has a new career ahead of him if he so chooses . 
a visual spectacle full of stunning images and effects . 
a gentle and engrossing character study . 
it's enough to watch huppert scheming , with her small , intelligent eyes as steady as any noir villain , and to enjoy the perfectly pitched web of tension that chabrol spins . 
an engrossing portrait of uncompromising artists trying to create something original against the backdrop of a corporate music industry that only seems to care about the bottom line . 
a mischievous visual style and oodles of charm make 'cherish' a very good ( but not great ) movie . 
just as the recent argentine film son of the bride reminded us that a feel-good movie can still show real heart , time of favor presents us with an action movie that actually has a brain . 
[a] strong piece of work . 
a stirring tribute to the bravery and dedication of the world's reporters who willingly walk into the nightmare of war not only to record the events for posterity , but to help us clearly see the world of our making . 
the importance of being earnest , so thick with wit it plays like a reading from bartlett's familiar quotations
daring and beautifully made . 
made for teens and reviewed as such , this is recommended only for those under 20 years of age . . . and then only as a very mild rental . 
imagine o . henry's <b>the gift of the magi</b> relocated to the scuzzy underbelly of nyc's drug scene . merry friggin' christmas ! 
the film does give a pretty good overall picture of the situation in laramie following the murder of matthew shepard . 
both lead performances are oscar-size . quaid is utterly fearless as the tortured husband living a painful lie , and moore wonderfully underplays the long-suffering heroine with an unflappable '50s dignity somewhere between jane wyman and june cleaver . 
ferrara's best film in years . 
a remarkably insightful look at the backstage angst of the stand-up comic . 
nothing short of wonderful with its ten-year-old female protagonist and its steadfast refusal to set up a dualistic battle between good and evil . 
davis' candid , archly funny and deeply authentic take on intimate relationships comes to fruition in her sophomore effort . 
it's more enjoyable than i expected , though , and that's because the laughs come from fairly basic comedic constructs . cinematic pratfalls given a working over . the cast is spot on and the mood is laid back . 
matches neorealism's impact by showing the humanity of a war-torn land filled with people who just want to live their lives . 
those moviegoers who would automatically bypass a hip-hop documentary should give " scratch " a second look . 
baby-faced renner is eerily convincing as this bland blank of a man with unimaginable demons within . 
romantic , riveting and handsomely animated . 
a competent , unpretentious entertainment destined to fill the after-school slot at shopping mall theaters across the country . 
shot largely in small rooms , the film has a gentle , unforced intimacy that never becomes claustrophobic . 
where janice beard falters in its recycled aspects , implausibility , and sags in pace , it rises in its courageousness , and comedic employment . 
byler is too savvy a filmmaker to let this morph into a typical romantic triangle . instead , he focuses on the anguish that can develop when one mulls leaving the familiar to traverse uncharted ground . 
mcgrath has deftly trimmed dickens' wonderfully sprawling soap opera , the better to focus on the hero's odyssey from cowering poverty to courage and happiness . 
a chance to see three splendid actors turn a larky chase movie into an emotionally satisfying exploration of the very human need to be somebody , and to belong to somebody . 
metaphors abound , but it is easy to take this film at face value and enjoy its slightly humorous and tender story . 
as directed by dani kouyate of burkina faso , sia lacks visual flair . but kouyate elicits strong performances from his cast , and he delivers a powerful commentary on how governments lie , no matter who runs them . 
the best comedy concert movie i've seen since cho's previous concert comedy film , i'm the one that i want , in 2000 . 
broomfield reminds us that beneath the hype , the celebrity , the high life , the conspiracies and the mystery there were once a couple of bright young men -- promising , talented , charismatic and tragically doomed . 
offers laughs and insight into one of the toughest ages a kid can go through . 
a perceptive , good-natured movie . 
an amused indictment of jaglom's own profession . 
a small movie with a big heart . 
hugely accomplished slice of hitchcockian suspense . 
the formula is familiar but enjoyable . 
tells a fascinating , compelling story . 
a triumph , a film that hews out a world and carries us effortlessly from darkness to light . 
what begins as a conventional thriller evolves into a gorgeously atmospheric meditation on life-changing chance encounters . 
the lady and the duke is a smart , romantic drama that dares to depict the french revolution from the aristocrats' perspective . 
most haunting about " fence " is its conclusion , when we hear the ultimate fate of these girls and realize , much to our dismay , that this really did happen . noyce's greatest mistake is thinking that we needed sweeping , dramatic , hollywood moments to keep us
world traveler might not go anywhere new , or arrive anyplace special , but it's certainly an honest attempt to get at something . 
there's much tongue in cheek in the film and there's no doubt the filmmaker is having fun with it all . 
there's absolutely no reason why blue crush , a late-summer surfer girl entry , should be as entertaining as it is
an action/thriller of the finest kind , evoking memories of day of the jackal , the french connection , and heat . 
the best movie in many a moon about the passions that sometimes fuel our best achievements and other times leave us stranded with nothing more than our lesser appetites . 
in capturing the understated comedic agony of an ever-ruminating , genteel yet decadent aristocracy that can no longer pay its bills , the film could just as well be addressing the turn of the 20th century into the 21st . 
insomnia does not become one of those rare remakes to eclipse the original , but it doesn't disgrace it , either . 
classic cinema served up with heart and humor
[stephen] earnhart's film is more about the optimism of a group of people who are struggling to give themselves a better lot in life than the ones they currently have . 
the events of the film are just so weird that i honestly never knew what the hell was coming next . 
nicole holofcener's lovely and amazing , from her own screenplay , jumps to the head of the class of women's films that manage to avoid the ghetto of sentimental chick-flicks by treating female follies with a satirical style . 
that jack nicholson makes this man so watchable is a tribute not only to his craft , but to his legend . 
has a solid emotional impact . 
successfully blended satire , high camp and yet another sexual taboo into a really funny movie . 
mark pellington's latest pop thriller is as kooky and overeager as it is spooky and subtly in love with myth . 
while maintaining the appearance of clinical objectivity , this sad , occasionally horrifying but often inspiring film is among wiseman's warmest . 
raimi crafted a complicated hero who is a welcome relief from the usual two-dimensional offerings . 
an enjoyable above average summer diversion . 
there is simply no doubt that this film asks the right questions at the right time in the history of our country . 
if you've the patience , there are great rewards here . 
as a science fiction movie , " minority report " astounds . 
watching e . t now , in an era dominated by cold , loud special-effects-laden extravaganzas , one is struck less by its lavish grandeur than by its intimacy and precision . 
visually breathtaking , viscerally exciting , and dramatically moving , it's the very definition of epic adventure . 
chris columbus' sequel is faster , livelier and a good deal funnier than his original . 
watching this film , what we feel isn't mainly suspense or excitement . the dominant feeling is something like nostalgia . 
' . . . a great , participatory spectator sport . '
a rather brilliant little cult item : a pastiche of children's entertainment , superhero comics , and japanese animation . 
believes so fervently in humanity that it feels almost anachronistic , and it is too cute by half . but arriving at a particularly dark moment in history , it offers flickering reminders of the ties that bind us . 
adam sandler ! in an art film ! 
as averse as i usually am to feel-good , follow-your-dream hollywood fantasies , this one got to me . 
stone seems to have a knack for wrapping the theater in a cold blanket of urban desperation . 
 . . . a funny yet dark and seedy clash of cultures and generations . 
the hook is the drama within the drama , as an unsolved murder and an unresolved moral conflict jockey for the spotlight . 
over the years , hollywood has crafted a solid formula for successful animated movies , and ice age only improves on it , with terrific computer graphics , inventive action sequences and a droll sense of humor . 
like smoke signals , the film is also imbued with strong themes of familial ties and spirituality that are powerful and moving without stooping to base melodrama
one of those movies that make us pause and think of what we have given up to acquire the fast-paced contemporary society . 
one of the most original american productions this year , you'll find yourself remembering this refreshing visit to a sunshine state . 
melds derivative elements into something that is often quite rich and exciting , and always a beauty to behold . 
gives everyone something to shout about . 
the entire movie has a truncated feeling , but what's available is lovely and lovable . 
[a] thoughtful , visually graceful work . 
admirers of director abel ferrara may be relieved that his latest feature , r xmas , marks a modest if encouraging return to form . 
the slam-bang superheroics are kinetic enough to engross even the most antsy youngsters . 
a worthy addition to the cinematic canon , which , at last count , numbered 52 different versions . 
deliciously mean-spirited and wryly observant . 
the kind of primal storytelling that george lucas can only dream of . 
even if the ring has a familiar ring , it's still unusually crafty and intelligent for hollywood horror . 
the sheer joy and pride they took in their work -- and in each other -- shines through every frame . 
a solidly constructed , entertaining thriller that stops short of true inspiration . 
the cast . . . keeps this pretty watchable , and casting mick jagger as director of the escort service was inspired . 
an entertaining , if somewhat standardized , action movie . 
it has a dashing and resourceful hero ; a lisping , reptilian villain ; big fights ; big hair ; lavish period scenery ; and a story just complicated enough to let you bask in your own cleverness as you figure it out . 
an enjoyable comedy of lingual and cultural differences… the château is a film -- full of life and small delights -- that has all the wiggling energy of young kitten . 
intriguing and downright intoxicating . 
an incredibly thoughtful , deeply meditative picture that neatly and effectively captures the debilitating grief felt in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks . 
with an obvious rapport with her actors and a striking style behind the camera , hélène angel is definitely a director to watch . 
 . . . could easily be called the best korean film of 2002 . 
full of detail about the man and his country , and is well worth seeing . 
the banter between calvin and his fellow barbers feels like a streetwise mclaughlin group . . . and never fails to entertain . 
thoroughly engrossing and ultimately tragic . 
peter jackson and company once again dazzle and delight us , fulfilling practically every expectation either a longtime tolkien fan or a movie-going neophyte could want . 
bill morrison's decasia is uncompromising , difficult and unbearably beautiful . 
full of bland hotels , highways , parking lots , with some glimpses of nature and family warmth , time out is a discreet moan of despair about entrapment in the maze of modern life . 
even with all its botches , enigma offers all the pleasure of a handsome and well-made entertainment . 
his work transcends the boy-meets-girl posturing of typical love stories . 
if the real-life story is genuinely inspirational , the movie stirs us as well . 
an ebullient tunisian film about the startling transformation of a tradition-bound widow who is drawn into the exotic world of belly dancing . 
the dramatic crisis doesn't always succeed in its quest to be taken seriously , but huppert's volatile performance makes for a riveting movie experience . 
highly irritating at first , mr . koury's passive technique eventually begins to yield some interesting results . 
about schmidt belongs to nicholson . gone are the flamboyant mannerisms that are the trademark of several of his performances . as schmidt , nicholson walks with a slow , deliberate gait , chooses his words carefully and subdues his natural exuberance . 
the powder blues and sun-splashed whites of tunis make an alluring backdrop for this sensuous and spirited tale of a prim widow who finds an unlikely release in belly-dancing clubs . 
it doesn't make for great cinema , but it is interesting to see where one's imagination will lead when given the opportunity . 
it's sobering , particularly if anyone still thinks this conflict can be resolved easily , or soon . 
if it's not entirely memorable , the movie is certainly easy to watch . 
 . . . by the time it's done with us , mira nair's new movie has its audience giddy with the delight of discovery , of having been immersed in a foreign culture only to find that human nature is pretty much the same all over . 
best indie of the year , so far . 
[ferrera] has the charisma of a young woman who knows how to hold the screen . 
 . . . the plot weaves us into a complex web . 
don't judge this one too soon - it's a dark , gritty story but it takes off in totally unexpected directions and keeps on going . 
it's funny , as the old saying goes , because it's true . 
in death to smoochy , we don't get williams' usual tear and a smile , just sneers and bile , and the spectacle is nothing short of refreshing . 
a serviceable euro-trash action extravaganza , with a decent sense of humor and plenty of things that go boom — handguns , bmws and seaside chateaus . 
fortunately , elling never gets too cloying thanks to the actors' perfect comic timing and sweet , genuine chemistry . 
if you've grown tired of going where no man has gone before , but several movies have - take heart . this is the best star trek movie in a long time . 
greg kinnear gives a mesmerizing performance as a full-fledged sex addict who is in complete denial about his obsessive behavior . 
not only a coming-of-age story and cautionary parable , but also a perfectly rendered period piece . 
ou've got to love a disney pic with as little cleavage as this one has , and a heroine as feisty and principled as jane . 
a funny , triumphant , and moving documentary . 
delirious fun . 
lathan and diggs carry the film with their charisma , and both exhibit sharp comic timing that makes the more hackneyed elements of the film easier to digest . 
about schmidt is nicholson's goofy , heartfelt , mesmerizing king lear . 
a confluence of kiddie entertainment , sophisticated wit and symbolic graphic design . 
gay or straight , kissing jessica stein is one of the greatest date movies in years . 
this is a movie full of grace and , ultimately , hope . 
exciting and well-paced . 
even better than the first one ! 
its compelling mix of trial movie , escape movie and unexpected fable ensures the film never feels draggy . 
a must see for all sides of the political spectrum
[reynolds] takes a classic story , casts attractive and talented actors and uses a magnificent landscape to create a feature film that is wickedly fun to watch . 
there are problems with this film that even 3 oscar winners can't overcome , but it's a nice girl-buddy movie once it gets rock-n-rolling . 
rich in atmosphere of the post-war art world , it manages to instruct without reeking of research library dust . 
has the rare capability to soothe and break your heart with a single stroke . 
it rapidly develops into a gut-wrenching examination of the way cultural differences and emotional expectations collide . 
though it flirts with bathos and pathos and the further oprahfication of the world as we know it , it still cuts all the way down to broken bone . 
this humbling little film , fueled by the light comedic work of zhao benshan and the delicate ways of dong jie , is just the sort for those moviegoers who complain that 'they don't make movies like they used to anymore . '
es una de esas películas de las que uno sale reconfortado , agradecido , genuinamente sorprendido . 
it will break your heart many times over . 
a straight-shooting family film which awards animals the respect they've rarely been given . 
overall , interesting as a documentary -- but not very imaxy . 
this is one of those war movies that focuses on human interaction rather than battle and action sequences . . . and it's all the stronger because of it . 
secretary " is owned by its costars , spader and gyllenhaal . maggie g . makes an amazing breakthrough in her first starring role and eats up the screen . 
the film fits into a genre that has been overexposed , redolent of a thousand cliches , and yet remains uniquely itself , vibrant with originality . 
not only is it a charming , funny and beautifully crafted import , it uses very little dialogue , making it relatively effortless to read and follow the action at the same time . 
'almodóvar logra un filme entrañable , lleno de compasión , comprensión , amor , amistad , esperanza y humanidad que es sencillamente inolvidable . '
the kind of sense of humor that derives from a workman's grasp of pun and entendre and its attendant need to constantly draw attention to itself . 
too much of storytelling moves away from solondz's social critique , casting its audience as that of intellectual lector in contemplation of the auteur's professional injuries . 
the story is virtually impossible to follow here , but there's a certain style and wit to the dialogue . 
the music makes a nice album , the food is enticing and italy beckons us all . 
the film is an earnest try at beachcombing verismo , but it would be even more indistinct than it is were it not for the striking , quietly vulnerable personality of ms . ambrose . 
the film is small in scope , yet perfectly formed . 
jones has delivered a solidly entertaining and moving family drama . 
happy times maintains an appealing veneer without becoming too cute about it . 
oliveira seems to pursue silent film representation with every mournful composition . 
one of the pleasures in walter's documentary . . . is the parade of veteran painters , confounded dealers , and miscellaneous bohos who expound upon the subject's mysterious personality without ever explaining him . 
captures all the longing , anguish and ache , the confusing sexual messages and the wish to be a part of that elusive adult world . 
he's the scariest guy you'll see all summer . 
 " frailty " offers chills much like those that you get when sitting around a campfire around midnight , telling creepy stories to give each other the willies . and , there's no way you won't be talking about the film once you exit the theater . 
really quite funny . 
if i have to choose between gorgeous animation and a lame story ( like , say , treasure planet ) or so-so animation and an exciting , clever story with a batch of appealing characters , i'll take the latter every time . 
quiet , adult and just about more stately than any contemporary movie this year . . . a true study , a film with a questioning heart and mind that isn't afraid to admit it doesn't have all the answers . 
in the end , the film is less the cheap thriller you'd expect than it is a fairly revealing study of its two main characters — damaged-goods people whose orbits will inevitably and dangerously collide . 
some of the visual flourishes are a little too obvious , but restrained and subtle storytelling , and fine performances make this delicate coming-of-age tale a treat . 
it is hard not to be especially grateful for freedom after a film like this . 
the dirty jokes provide the funniest moments in this oddly sweet comedy about jokester highway patrolmen . 
y tu mamá también is hilariously , gloriously alive , and quite often hotter than georgia asphalt . 
 . . . works on some levels and is certainly worth seeing at least once . 
you come away from his film overwhelmed , hopeful and , perhaps paradoxically , illuminated . 
if the material is slight and admittedly manipulative , jacquot preserves tosca's intoxicating ardor through his use of the camera . 
thirteen conversations about one thing lays out a narrative puzzle that interweaves individual stories , and , like a mobius strip , elliptically loops back to where it began . 
overall , it's a wacky and inspired little film that works effortlessly at delivering genuine , acerbic laughs . 
mais um momento inspirado de david fincher . 
a must for fans of british cinema , if only because so many titans of the industry are along for the ride . 
tsai has managed to create an underplayed melodrama about family dynamics and dysfunction that harks back to the spare , unchecked heartache of yasujiro ozu . 
until ( the ) superfluous . . . epilogue that leaks suspension of disbelief like a sieve , die another day is as stimulating & heart-rate-raising as any james bond thriller . 
it's a good film , but it falls short of its aspiration to be a true 'epic' . 
all the pieces fall together without much surprise , but little moments give it a boost . 
the beauty of alexander payne's ode to the everyman is in the details . 
a touching drama about old age and grief with a tour de force performance by michel piccoli . 
the ending feels at odds with the rest of the film . 
a tone of rueful compassion . . . reverberates throughout this film , whose meaning and impact is sadly heightened by current world events . 
a beautiful paean to a time long past . 
dense and thoughtful and brimming with ideas that are too complex to be rapidly absorbed . 
if you thought tom hanks was just an ordinary big-screen star , wait until you've seen him eight stories tall . 
with this masterful , flawless film , [wang] emerges in the front ranks of china's now numerous , world-renowned filmmakers . 
shyamalan offers copious hints along the way -- myriad signs , if you will -- that beneath the familiar , funny surface is a far bigger , far more meaningful story than one in which little green men come to earth for harvesting purposes . 
this film is an act of spiritual faith -- an eloquent , deeply felt meditation on the nature of compassion . 
a different kind of love story - one that is dark , disturbing , painful to watch , yet compelling . 
splendidly illustrates the ability of the human spirit to overcome adversity . 
a compelling , gut-clutching piece of advocacy cinema that carries you along in a torrent of emotion as it explores the awful complications of one terrifying day . 
she's as rude and profane as ever , always hilarious and , most of the time , absolutely right in her stinging social observations . 
to those who have not read the book , the film is a much better mother-daughter tale than last summer's 'divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood , ' but that's not saying much . 
even before it builds up to its insanely staged ballroom scene , in which 3000 actors appear in full regalia , it's waltzed itself into the art film pantheon . 
a thoughtful , reverent portrait of what is essentially a subculture , with its own rules regarding love and family , governance and hierarchy . 
it seems impossible that an epic four-hour indian musical about a cricket game could be this good , but it is . 
will certainly appeal to asian cult cinema fans and asiaphiles interested to see what all the fuss is about . 
touches smartly and wistfully on a number of themes , not least the notion that the marginal members of society . . . might benefit from a helping hand and a friendly kick in the pants . 
a wildly entertaining scan of evans' career . 
a mature , deeply felt fantasy of a director's travel through 300 years of russian history . 
boldly engineering a collision between tawdry b-movie flamboyance and grandiose spiritual anomie , rose's film , true to its source material , provides a tenacious demonstration of death as the great equalizer . 
a finely tuned mood piece , a model of menacing atmosphere . 
the salton sea has moments of inspired humour , though every scrap is of the darkest variety . 
both a beautifully made nature film and a tribute to a woman whose passion for this region and its inhabitants still shines in her quiet blue eyes . 
although shot with little style , skins is heartfelt and achingly real . 
harks back to a time when movies had more to do with imagination than market research . 
upsetting and thought-provoking , the film has an odd purity that doesn't bring you into the characters so much as it has you study them . 
a well-executed spy-thriller . 
a very pretty after-school special . it's an effort to watch this movie , but it eventually pays off and is effective if you stick with it . 
a harrowing account of a psychological breakdown . 
continually challenges perceptions of guilt and innocence , of good guys and bad , and asks us whether a noble end can justify evil means . 
it certainly won't win any awards in the plot department but it sets out with no pretensions and delivers big time . 
dog soldiers doesn't transcend genre -- it embraces it , energizes it and takes big bloody chomps out of it . 
at once emotional and richly analytical , the cosby-seinfeld encounter alone confirms the serious weight behind this superficially loose , larky documentary . 
it may scream low budget , but this charmer has a spirit that cannot be denied . 
'alice's adventure through the looking glass and into zombie-land' is filled with strange and wonderful creatures . 
without [de niro] , city by the sea would slip under the waves . he drags it back , single-handed . 
a good music documentary , probably one of the best since the last waltz . 
if the plot seems a bit on the skinny side , that's because panic room is interested in nothing more than sucking you in…and making you sweat . 
 . . . [the film] works , due mostly to the tongue-in-cheek attitude of the screenplay . 
the film becomes an overwhelming pleasure , and you find yourself rooting for gai's character to avoid the fate that has befallen every other carmen before her . 
broomfield has a rather unique approach to documentary . he thinks the film is just as much a document about him as it is about the subject . 
at its best when the guarded , resentful betty and the manipulative yet needy margot are front and center . 
gloriously straight from the vagina . 
it's excessively quirky and a little underconfident in its delivery , but otherwise this is the best 'old neighborhood' project since christopher walken kinda romanced cyndi lauper in the opportunists . 
the film oozes craft . 
robinson's web of suspense matches the page-turning frenzy that clancy creates . 
manages to be both hugely entertaining and uplifting . 
a classic fairy tale that perfectly captures the wonders and worries of childhood in a way that few movies have ever approached . 
it's the unsettling images of a war-ravaged land that prove more potent and riveting than the unlikely story of sarah and harrison . 
a wonderfully warm human drama that remains vividly in memory long after viewing
jaunty fun , with its celeb-strewn backdrop well used . 
recoing's fantastic performance doesn't exactly reveal what makes vincent tick , but perhaps any definitive explanation for it would have felt like a cheat . 
washington overcomes the script's flaws and envelops the audience in his character's anguish , anger and frustration . 
the film fearlessly gets under the skin of the people involved . . . this makes it not only a detailed historical document , but an engaging and moving portrait of a subculture . 
a searing , epic treatment of a nationwide blight that seems to be , horrifyingly , ever on the rise . 
not a film for the faint of heart or conservative of spirit , but for the rest of us -- especially san francisco lovers -- it's a spirited film and a must-see . 
read my lips is to be viewed and treasured for its extraordinary intelligence and originality as well as its lyrical variations on the game of love . 
the color sense of stuart little 2 is its most immediate and most obvious pleasure , but it would count for very little if the movie weren't as beautifully shaped and as delicately calibrated in tone as it is . 
while [roman coppola] scores points for style , he staggers in terms of story . 
idiotic and ugly . 
any movie that makes hard work seem heroic deserves a look . 
it may not be a huge cut of above the rest , but i enjoyed barbershop . it's a funny little movie with clever dialogue and likeable characters . 
a different and emotionally reserved type of survival story -- a film less about refracting all of world war ii through the specific conditions of one man , and more about that man lost in its midst . 
it's sweet , funny , charming , and completely delightful . 
a perfectly competent and often imaginative film that lacks what little lilo & stitch had in spades -- charisma . 
beautifully shot against the frozen winter landscapes of grenoble and geneva , the film unfolds with all the mounting tension of an expert thriller , until the tragedy beneath it all gradually reveals itself . 
medem may have disrobed most of the cast , leaving their bodies exposed , but the plot remains as guarded as a virgin with a chastity belt . that's why sex and lucia is so alluring . 
an elegant work , food of love is as consistently engaging as it is revealing . 
although largely a heavy-handed indictment of parental failings and the indifference of spanish social workers and legal system towards child abuse , the film retains ambiguities that make it well worth watching . 
a behind the scenes look at the training and dedication that goes into becoming a world-class fencer and the champion that's made a difference to nyc inner-city youth . 
a brain twister , less a movie-movie than a funny and weird meditation on hollywood , success , artistic integrity and intellectual bankruptcy . 
a powerful , inflammatory film about religion that dares to question an ancient faith , and about hatred that offers no easy , comfortable resolution . 
in its own floundering way , it gets to you . just like igby . 
return to never land may be another shameless attempt by disney to rake in dough from baby boomer families , but it's not half-bad . 
wise and deadpan humorous . 
god bless crudup and his aversion to taking the easy hollywood road and cashing in on his movie-star gorgeousness . 
if signs is a good film , and it is , the essence of a great one is in there somewhere . 
veterans of the dating wars will smirk uneasily at the film's nightmare versions of everyday sex-in-the-city misadventures . 
schrader examines crane's decline with unblinking candor . 
you can watch , giggle and get an adrenaline boost without feeling like you've completely lowered your entertainment standards . 
it thankfully goes easy on the reel/real world dichotomy that [jaglom] pursued with such enervating determination in venice/venice . 
this rich , bittersweet israeli documentary , about the life of song-and-dance-man pasach'ke burstein and his family , transcends ethnic lines . 
sensitively examines general issues of race and justice among the poor , and specifically raises serious questions about the death penalty and asks what good the execution of a mentally challenged woman could possibly do . 
cool gadgets and creatures keep this fresh . not as good as the original , but what is . . . 
presents a side of contemporary chinese life that many outsiders will be surprised to know exists , and does so with an artistry that also smacks of revelation . 
[jeff's] gorgeous , fluid compositions , underlined by neil finn and edmund mcwilliams's melancholy music , are charged with metaphor , but rarely easy , obvious or self-indulgent . 
engages us in constant fits of laughter , until we find ourselves surprised at how much we care about the story , and end up walking out not only satisfied but also somewhat touched . 
a bilingual charmer , just like the woman who inspired it
blisteringly rude , scarily funny , sorrowfully sympathetic to the damage it surveys , the film has in kieran culkin a pitch-perfect holden . 
apuestas fuertes para el futuro del director , y apuestas bien fundadas , pues la suerte ya la tiene , y la cinta lo comprueba . . . . 
the fourth " pokemon " is a diverting--if predictable--adventure suitable for a matinee , with a message that cautions children about disturbing the world's delicate ecological balance . 
what one is left with , even after the most awful acts are committed , is an overwhelming sadness that feels as if it has made its way into your very bloodstream . 
[it] has the feel of a summer popcorn movie . nothing too deep or substantial . explosions , jokes , and sexual innuendoes abound . 
miyazaki's nonstop images are so stunning , and his imagination so vivid , that the only possible complaint you could have about spirited away is that there is no rest period , no timeout . 
 . . . a delightfully unpredictable , hilarious comedy with wonderful performances that tug at your heart in ways that utterly transcend gender labels . 
assured , vital and well wrought , the film is , arguably , the most accomplished work to date from hong kong's versatile stanley kwan . 
delia , greta , and paula rank as three of the most multilayered and sympathetic female characters of the year . as each of them searches for their place in the world , miller digs into their very minds to find an unblinking , flawed humanity . 
a surprisingly sweet and gentle comedy . 
shanghai ghetto , much stranger than any fiction , brings this unknown slice of history affectingly to life . 
it's not particularly well made , but since i found myself howling more than cringing , i'd say the film works . 
but this is lohman's film . her performance moves between heartbreak and rebellion as she continually tries to accommodate to fit in and gain the unconditional love she seeks . 
though its story is only surface deep , the visuals and enveloping sounds of blue crush make this surprisingly decent flick worth a summertime look-see . 
ryosuke has created a wry , winning , if languidly paced , meditation on the meaning and value of family . 
sometimes charming , sometimes infuriating , this argentinean 'dramedy' succeeds mainly on the shoulders of its actors . 
you may feel compelled to watch the film twice or pick up a book on the subject . 
often shocking but ultimately worthwhile exploration of motherhood and desperate mothers . 
a venturesome , beautifully realized psychological mood piece that reveals its first-time feature director's understanding of the expressive power of the camera . 
like the rugrats movies , the wild thornberrys movie doesn't offer much more than the series , but its emphasis on caring for animals and respecting other cultures is particularly welcome . 
taken outside the context of the current political climate ( see : terrorists are more evil than ever ! ) , the sum of all fears is simply a well-made and satisfying thriller . 
the setting is so cool that it chills the characters , reducing our emotional stake in the outcome of " intacto's " dangerous and seductively stylish game . 
a lovely and beautifully photographed romance . 
one of the most splendid entertainments to emerge from the french film industry in years . 
its vision of that awkward age when sex threatens to overwhelm everything else is acute enough to make everyone who has been there squirm with recognition . 
for almost the first two-thirds of martin scorsese's 168-minute gangs of new york , i was entranced . 
open-ended and composed of layer upon layer , talk to her is a cinephile's feast , an invitation to countless interpretations . 
one of the most slyly exquisite anti-adult movies ever made . 
what makes esther kahn so demanding is that it progresses in such a low-key manner that it risks monotony . but it's worth the concentration . 
neither the funniest film that eddie murphy nor robert de niro has ever made , showtime is nevertheless efficiently amusing for a good while . before it collapses into exactly the kind of buddy cop comedy it set out to lampoon , anyway . 
a clever script and skilled actors bring new energy to the familiar topic of office politics . 
the determination of pinochet's victims to seek justice , and their often heartbreaking testimony , spoken directly into director patricio guzman's camera , pack a powerful emotional wallop . 
disney aficionados will notice distinct parallels between this story and the 1971 musical " bedknobs and broomsticks , " which also dealt with british children rediscovering the power of fantasy during wartime . 
it's . . . worth the extra effort to see an artist , still committed to growth in his ninth decade , change while remaining true to his principles with a film whose very subject is , quite pointedly , about the peril of such efforts . 
dark and unrepentant , this excursion into the epicenter of percolating mental instability is not easily dismissed or forgotten . 
it's a rollicking adventure for you and all your mateys , regardless of their ages . 
boasts a handful of virtuosic set pieces and offers a fair amount of trashy , kinky fun . 
 . . . myers has turned his franchise into the movie version of an adolescent dirty-joke book done up in post-tarantino pop-culture riffs . . . 
if you're down for a silly hack-and-slash flick , you can do no wrong with jason x . 
this is a very ambitious project for a fairly inexperienced filmmaker , but good actors , good poetry and good music help sustain it . 
the modern master of the chase sequence returns with a chase to end all chases
the messy emotions raging throughout this three-hour effort are instantly recognizable , allowing the film to paradoxically feel familiar and foreign at the same time . 
 . . . either you're willing to go with this claustrophobic concept or you're not . 
just watch bettany strut his stuff . you'll know a star when you see one . 
austin powers in goldmember is a cinematic car wreck , a catastrophic collision of tastelessness and gall that nevertheless will leave fans clamoring for another ride . 
you can fire a torpedo through some of clancy's holes , and the scripters don't deserve any oscars . but the nerve-raked acting , the crackle of lines , the impressive stagings of hardware , make for some robust and scary entertainment . 
contrasting the original ringu with the current americanized adaptation is akin to comparing the evil dead with evil dead ii
a small gem of a movie that defies classification and is as thought-provoking as it is funny , scary and sad . 
for a long time the film succeeds with its dark , delicate treatment of these characters and its unerring respect for them . 
it's the kind of effectively creepy-scary thriller that has you fixating on a far corner of the screen at times because your nerves just can't take it any more . 
late marriage is an in-your-face family drama and black comedy that is filled with raw emotions conveying despair and love . 
an ambitious and moving but bleak film . 
it's too harsh to work as a piece of storytelling , but as an intellectual exercise -- an unpleasant debate that's been given the drive of a narrative and that's been acted out -- the believer is nothing less than a provocative piece of work . 
it's sweet . it's funny . it wears its heart on the sleeve of its gaudy hawaiian shirt . and , thanks to the presence of 'the king , ' it also rocks . 
it's never laugh-out-loud funny , but it is frequently amusing . 
a bittersweet film , simple in form but rich with human events . 
the unexplored story opportunities of " punch-drunk love " may have worked against the maker's minimalist intent but it is an interesting exercise by talented writer/director anderson . 
 " punch-drunk love " is a little like a chocolate milk moustache . . . 
 . . . digs beyond the usual portrayals of good kids and bad seeds to reveal a more ambivalent set of characters and motivations . 
the beauty of the piece is that it counts heart as important as humor . 
piercingly affecting . . . while clearly a manipulative film , emerges as powerful rather than cloying . 
very amusing , not the usual route in a thriller , and the performances are odd and pixilated and sometimes both . 
while the frequent allusions to gurus and doshas will strike some westerners as verging on mumbo-jumbo . . . broad streaks of common sense emerge with unimpeachable clarity . 
the cast is phenomenal , especially the women . 
a marvel of production design . 
the byplay and bickering between the now spy-savvy siblings , carmen ( vega ) and juni ( sabara ) cortez , anchor the film in a very real and amusing give-and-take . 
good actors have a radar for juicy roles -- there's a plethora of characters in this picture , and not one of them is flat . 
though in some ways similar to catherine breillat's fat girl , rain is the far superior film . 
is not so much a work of entertainment as it is a unique , well-crafted psychological study of grief . 
remarkable for its excellent storytelling , its economical , compressed characterisations and for its profound humanity , it's an adventure story and history lesson all in one . 
colorful , energetic and sweetly whimsical . . . the rare sequel that's better than its predecessor . 
reno himself can take credit for most of the movie's success . he's one of the few 'cool' actors who never seems aware of his own coolness . 
significantly better than its 2002 children's-movie competition . 
ub equally spoofs and celebrates the more outre aspects of 'black culture' and the dorkier aspects of 'white culture , ' even as it points out how inseparable the two are . 
a lot smarter than your average bond . 
 . . . bright , intelligent , and humanly funny film . 
painful , horrifying and oppressively tragic , this film should not be missed . 
part of the film's cheeky charm comes from its vintage schmaltz . 
so unique and stubborn and charismatic that you want it to be better and more successful than it is . 
i won't argue with anyone who calls 'slackers' dumb , insulting , or childish . . . but i laughed so much that i didn't mind . 
it arrives with an impeccable pedigree , mongrel pep , and almost indecipherable plot complications . 
so fiendishly cunning that even the most jaded cinema audiences will leave the auditorium feeling dizzy , confused , and totally disorientated . not to mention absolutely refreshed . 
a vibrant , colorful , semimusical rendition . 
the film sometimes flags . . . but there is enough secondary action to keep things moving along at a brisk , amusing pace . 
it's a drawling , slobbering , lovable run-on sentence of a film , a southern gothic with the emotional arc of its raw blues soundtrack . 
nós gosta muito de as duas torres . 
nolan proves that he can cross swords with the best of them and helm a more traditionally plotted popcorn thriller while surrendering little of his intellectual rigor or creative composure . 
it is different from others in its genre in that it is does not rely on dumb gags , anatomical humor , or character cliches ; it primarily relies on character to tell its story . 
both a successful adaptation and an enjoyable film in its own right . 
all the filmmakers are asking of us , is to believe in something that is improbable . 
if the very concept makes you nervous . . . you'll have an idea of the film's creepy , scary effectiveness . 
worth a look by those on both sides of the issues , if only for the perspective it offers , one the public rarely sees . 
a mostly believable , refreshingly low-key and quietly inspirational little sports drama . 
may be more genial than ingenious , but it gets the job done . 
a stylish cast and some clever scripting solutions help chicago make the transition from stage to screen with considerable appeal intact . 
exhilarating , funny and fun . 
while not quite " shrek " or monsters , inc . " , it's not too bad . it's worth taking the kids to . 
in the end there is one word that best describes this film : honest . 
writer-director david jacobson and his star , jeremy renner , have made a remarkable film that explores the monster's psychology not in order to excuse him but rather to demonstrate that his pathology evolved from human impulses that grew hideously twisted . 
the action sequences are fun and reminiscent of combat scenes from the star wars series . 
norton is magnetic as graham . 
savvy director robert j . siegel and his co-writers keep the story subtle and us in suspense . 
it pulls the rug out from under you , just when you're ready to hate one character , or really sympathize with another character , something happens to send you off in different direction . 
twenty years after its first release , e . t . remains the most wondrous of all hollywood fantasies -- and the apex of steven spielberg's misunderstood career . 
it says a lot about a filmmaker when he can be wacky without clobbering the audience over the head and still maintain a sense of urgency and suspense . 
gives us a lot to chew on , but not all of it has been properly digested . 
it's an exhilarating place to visit , this laboratory of laughter . 
 " simone " is a fun and funky look into an artificial creation in a world that thrives on artificiality . 
a great companion piece to other napoleon films . 
to some eyes this will seem like a recycling of clichés , an assassin's greatest hits . to others , it will remind them that hong kong action cinema is still alive and kicking . 
gran historia sobre el amor , la familia , la lealtad y la traición que seguramente se convertirá en un nuevo clásico del género . 
at the end of the movie , my 6-year-old nephew said , " i guess i come from a broken family , and my uncles are all aliens , too . " congrats disney on a job well done , i enjoyed it just as much ! 
a remarkably alluring film set in the constrictive eisenhower era about one suburban woman's yearning in the face of a loss that shatters her cheery and tranquil suburban life . 
berling and béart . . . continue to impress , and isabelle huppert . . . again shows uncanny skill in getting under the skin of her characters . 
uplifting , funny and wise . 
remarkable for its intelligence and intensity . 
the hypnotic imagery and fragmentary tale explore the connections between place and personal identity . 
brosnan is more feral in this film than i've seen him before and halle berry does her best to keep up with him . 
a film that begins with the everyday lives of naval personnel in san diego and ends with scenes so true and heartbreaking that tears welled up in my eyes both times i saw the film . 
a funny film . 
 " on guard ! " won't be placed in the pantheon of the best of the swashbucklers but it is a whole lot of fun and you get to see the one of the world's best actors , daniel auteuil , have a whale of a good time . 
the movie starts with a legend and ends with a story that is so far-fetched it would be impossible to believe if it weren't true . this is the stuff that disney movies are made of . 
like all great films about a life you never knew existed , it offers much to absorb and even more to think about after the final frame . 
that the e-graveyard holds as many good ideas as bad is the cold comfort that chin's film serves up with style and empathy . 
while we no longer possess the lack-of-attention span that we did at seventeen , we had no trouble sitting for blade ii . 
like a poor man's you can count on me
 . . . a solid , unassuming drama . 
a seriocomic debut of extravagant promise by georgian-israeli director dover kosashvili . 
thanks to ice cube , benjamins feels an awful lot like friday in miami . 
though the film is static , its writer-director's heart is in the right place , his plea for democracy and civic action laudable . 
the real star of this movie is the score , as in the songs translate well to film , and it's really well directed . 
it's rare to find a film to which the adjective 'gentle' applies , but the word perfectly describes pauline & paulette . 
my wife is an actress has its moments in looking at the comic effects of jealousy . in the end , though , it is only mildly amusing when it could have been so much more . 
both garcia and jagger turn in perfectly executed and wonderfully sympathetic characters , who are alternately touching and funny . 
humorous , artsy , and even cute , in an off-kilter , dark , vaguely disturbing way . 
the more you think about the movie , the more you will probably like it . 
 . . . a powerful sequel and one of the best films of the year . 
for the most part , the film does hold up pretty well . 
together [time out and human resources] establish mr . cantet as france's foremost cinematic poet of the workplace . 
the filmmaker's heart is in the right place . . . 
you can take the grandkids or the grandparents and never worry about anyone being bored . . . audience is a sea of constant smiles and frequent laughter . 
like these russo guys lookin' for their mamet instead found their sturges . 
[a] satisfying niblet . 
there has been a string of ensemble cast romances recently . . . but peter mattei's love in the time of money sets itself apart by forming a chain of relationships that come full circle to end on a positive ( if tragic ) note . 
by applying definition to both sides of the man , the picture realizes a fullness that does not negate the subject . 
who is the audience for cletis tout ? anybody who enjoys quirky , fun , popcorn movies with a touch of silliness and a little bloodshed . 
[cuarón has] created a substantive movie out of several cliched movie structures : the road movie , the coming-of-age movie , and the teenage sex comedy . 
puts to rest any thought that the german film industry cannot make a delightful comedy centering on food . 
poetic , heartbreaking . 
witty dialog between realistic characters showing honest emotions . it's touching and tender and proves that even in sorrow you can find humor . like blended shades of lipstick , these components combine into one terrific story with lots of laughs . 
<em>ash wednesday</em> is not edward burns' best film , but it is a good and ambitious film . and it marks him as one of the most interesting writer/directors working today . 
after one gets the feeling that the typical hollywood disregard for historical truth and realism is at work here , it's a matter of finding entertainment in the experiences of zishe and the fiery presence of hanussen . 
the footage of the rappers at play and the prison interview with suge knight are just two of the elements that will grab you . 
 . . . it's as comprehensible as any dummies guide , something even non-techies can enjoy . 
don't wait to see this terrific film with your kids -- if you don't have kids borrow some . 
moretti . . . is the rare common-man artist who's wise enough to recognize that there are few things in this world more complex -- and , as it turns out , more fragile -- than happiness . 
the movie's captivating details are all in the performances , from foreman's barking-mad taylor to thewlis's smoothly sinister freddie and bettany/mcdowell's hard-eyed gangster . 
features fincher's characteristically startling visual style and an almost palpable sense of intensity . 
precocious smarter-than-thou wayward teen struggles to rebel against his oppressive , right-wing , propriety-obsessed family . anyone else seen this before ? 
moore provides an invaluable service by sparking debate and encouraging thought . better still , he does all of this , and more , while remaining one of the most savagely hilarious social critics this side of jonathan swift . 
alternating between facetious comic parody and pulp melodrama , this smart-aleck movie . . . tosses around some intriguing questions about the difference between human and android life . 
a cutesy romantic tale with a twist . 
this is a gorgeous film - vivid with color , music and life . delight your senses and crash this wedding ! 
a brutally dry satire of middle american numbness . 
more sophisticated and literate than such pictures usually are . . . an amusing little catch . 
smith examines the intimate , unguarded moments of folks who live in unusual homes -- which pop up in nearly every corner of the country . 
with an admirably dark first script by brent hanley , paxton , making his directorial feature debut , does strong , measured work . 
a compelling french psychological drama examining the encounter of an aloof father and his chilly son after 20 years apart . 
 . . . even if you've never heard of chaplin , you'll still be glued to the screen . 
you have enough finely tuned acting to compensate for the movie's failings . 
as the dominant christine , sylvie testud is icily brilliant . 
although tender and touching , the movie would have benefited from a little more dramatic tension and some more editing . 
the story that emerges has elements of romance , tragedy and even silent-movie comedy . 
[ " safe conduct " ] is a long movie at 163 minutes but it fills the time with drama , romance , tragedy , bravery , political intrigue , partisans and sabotage . viva le resistance ! 
it offers a glimpse of the solomonic decision facing jewish parents in those turbulent times : to save their children and yet to lose them . 
the film is delicately narrated by martin landau and directed with sensitivity and skill by dana janklowicz-mann . 
martyr gets royally screwed and comes back for more . 
a virtual roller-coaster ride of glamour and sleaze . 
an admirable , sometimes exceptional film
if you like an extreme action-packed film with a hint of humor , then triple x marks the spot . 
from blushing to gushing---imamura squirts the screen in ‘warm water under a red bridge'
if you're the kind of parent who enjoys intentionally introducing your kids to films which will cause loads of irreparable damage that years and years of costly analysis could never fix , i have just one word for you -– decasia
may not be a breakthrough in filmmaking , but it is unwavering and arresting . 
the film's images give a backbone to the company and provide an emotional edge to its ultimate demise . 
a bodice-ripper for intellectuals . 
the locations go from stark desert to gorgeous beaches . the story plays out slowly , but the characters are intriguing and realistic . 
count on his movie to work at the back of your neck long after you leave the theater . 
neil burger here succeeded in . . . making the mystery of four decades back the springboard for a more immediate mystery in the present . 
the complex , politically charged tapestry of contemporary chinese life this exciting new filmmaker has brought to the screen is like nothing we westerners have seen before . 
a thriller made from a completist's checklist rather than with a cultist's passion . 
try as you might to scrutinize the ethics of kaufman's approach , somehow it all comes together to create a very compelling , sensitive , intelligent and almost cohesive piece of film entertainment . 
as quiet , patient and tenacious as mr . lopez himself , who approaches his difficult , endless work with remarkable serenity and discipline . 
though the film never veers from its comic course , its unintentional parallels might inadvertently evoke memories and emotions which are anything but humorous . 
evokes the style and flash of the double-cross that made mamet's " house of games " and last fall's " heist " so much fun . 
so original in its base concept that you cannot help but get caught up . 
it may be a no-brainer , but at least it's a funny no-brainer . 
a lot more dimensional and complex than its sunny disposition would lead you to believe . 
jeffs has created a breathtakingly assured and stylish work of spare dialogue and acute expressiveness . 
underachieves only in not taking the shakespeare parallels quite far enough . 
the most audacious , outrageous , sexually explicit , psychologically probing , pure libido film of the year has arrived from portugal . 
the creative animation work may not look as fully 'rendered' as pixar's industry standard , but it uses lighting effects and innovative backgrounds to an equally impressive degree . 
art-house to the core , read my lips is a genre-curling crime story that revives the free-wheeling noir spirit of old french cinema . 
grant is certainly amusing , but the very hollowness of the character he plays keeps him at arms length
conceptually brilliant . . . plays like a living-room war of the worlds , gaining most of its unsettling force from the suggested and the unknown . 
 . . . manages to deliver a fair bit of vampire fun . 
drama of temptation , salvation and good intentions is a thoughtful examination of faith , love and power . 
the strength of the film comes not from any cinematic razzle-dazzle but from its recovery of an historical episode that , in the simple telling , proves simultaneously harrowing and uplifting . 
the performances are strong , though the subject matter demands acting that borders on hammy at times . 
a damn fine and a truly distinctive and a deeply pertinent film . 
still rapturous after all these years , cinema paradiso stands as one of the great films about movie love . 
reggio and glass put on an intoxicating show . 
macdowell . . . gives give a solid , anguished performance that eclipses nearly everything else she's ever done . 
the thing about guys like evans is this : you're never quite sure where self-promotion ends and the truth begins . but as you watch the movie , you're too interested to care . 
i liked a lot of the smaller scenes . 
the film will appeal to discovery channel fans and will surely widen the perspective of those of us who see the continent through rose-colored glasses . 
an eye-boggling blend of psychedelic devices , special effects and backgrounds , 'spy kids 2' is a visual treat for all audiences . 
formuliac , but fun . 
straightforward and old-fashioned in the best possible senses of both those words , possession is a movie that puts itself squarely in the service of the lovers who inhabit it . 
it may . . . work as a jaunt down memory lane for teens and young adults who grew up on televised scooby-doo shows or reruns . 
one of those movies that catches you up in something bigger than yourself , namely , an archetypal desire to enjoy good trash every now and then . 
this harrowing journey into combat hell vividly captures the chaotic insanity and personal tragedies that are all too abundant when human hatred spews forth unchecked . 
far more successful , if considerably less ambitious , than last year's kubrick-meets-spielberg exercise . 
apart from anything else , this is one of the best-sustained ideas i have ever seen on the screen . 
'pocas veces es posible ver un elenco tan compenetrado con la historia , donde todos y cada uno de los actores ofrecen actuaciones verdaderamente memorables . '
elling builds gradually until you feel fully embraced by this gentle comedy . 
a fascinating examination of the joyous , turbulent self-discovery made by a proper , middle-aged woman . 
here is a vh1 behind the music special that has something a little more special behind it : music that didn't sell many records but helped change a nation . 
buy popcorn . take nothing seriously and enjoy the ride . 
carrying off a spot-on scottish burr , duvall ( also a producer ) peels layers from this character that may well not have existed on paper . 
the acting , for the most part , is terrific , although the actors must struggle with the fact that they're playing characters who sometimes feel more like literary conceits than flesh-and-blood humans . 
some body will take you places you haven't been , and also places you have . 
vereté has a whip-smart sense of narrative bluffs . 
parts of the film feel a bit too much like an infomercial for ram dass's latest book aimed at the boomer demographic . but mostly it's a work that , with humor , warmth , and intelligence , captures a life interestingly lived . 
were it not for a sentimental resolution that explains way more about cal than does the movie or the character any good , freundlich's world traveler might have been one of the more daring and surprising american movies of the year . 
 " home movie " is the film equivalent of a lovingly rendered coffee table book . 
graphic sex may be what's attracting audiences to unfaithful , but gripping performances by lane and gere are what will keep them awake . 
when compared to the usual , more somber festival entries , davis' highly personal brand of romantic comedy is a tart , smart breath of fresh air that stands out from the pack even if the picture itself is somewhat problematic . 
feels untidily honest . 
both damning and damned compelling . 
much has been written about those years when the psychedelic '60s grooved over into the gay '70s , but words don't really do the era justice . you have to see it . 
even if it pushes its agenda too forcefully , this remains a film about something , one that attempts and often achieves a level of connection and concern . 
what lifts the film high above run-of-the-filth gangster flicks is its refusal to recognise any of the signposts , as if discovering a way through to the bitter end without a map . 
we've seen the hippie-turned-yuppie plot before , but there's an enthusiastic charm in <i ? fire that makes the formula fresh again . 
both an admirable reconstruction of terrible events , and a fitting memorial to the dead of that day , and of the thousands thereafter . 
a sly dissection of the inanities of the contemporary music business and a rather sad story of the difficulties of artistic collaboration . 
the unique niche of self-critical , behind-the-scenes navel-gazing kaufman has carved from orleans' story and his own infinite insecurity is a work of outstanding originality . 
lovingly photographed in the manner of a golden book sprung to life , stuart little 2 manages sweetness largely without stickiness . 
consistently clever and suspenseful . 
it's like a " big chill " reunion of the baader-meinhof gang , only these guys are more harmless pranksters than political activists . 
the story gives ample opportunity for large-scale action and suspense , which director shekhar kapur supplies with tremendous skill . 
red dragon " never cuts corners . 
fresnadillo has something serious to say about the ways in which extravagant chance can distort our perspective and throw us off the path of good sense . 
throws in enough clever and unexpected twists to make the formula feel fresh . 
weighty and ponderous but every bit as filling as the treat of the title . 
a real audience-pleaser that will strike a chord with anyone who's ever waited in a doctor's office , emergency room , hospital bed or insurance company office . 
generates an enormous feeling of empathy for its characters . 
exposing the ways we fool ourselves is one hour photo's real strength . 
it's up to you to decide whether to admire these people's dedication to their cause or be repelled by their dogmatism , manipulativeness and narrow , fearful view of american life . 
mostly , [goldbacher] just lets her complicated characters be unruly , confusing and , through it all , human . 
 . . . quite good at providing some good old fashioned spooks . 
at its worst , the movie is pretty diverting ; the pity is that it rarely achieves its best . 
scherfig's light-hearted profile of emotional desperation is achingly honest and delightfully cheeky . 
a journey spanning nearly three decades of bittersweet camaraderie and history , in which we feel that we truly know what makes holly and marina tick , and our hearts go out to them as both continue to negotiate their imperfect , love-hate relationship . 
the wonderfully lush morvern callar is pure punk existentialism , and ms . ramsay and her co-writer , liana dognini , have dramatized the alan warner novel , which itself felt like an answer to irvine welsh's book trainspotting . 
as it turns out , you can go home again . 
you've already seen city by the sea under a variety of titles , but it's worth yet another visit . 
this kind of hands-on storytelling is ultimately what makes shanghai ghetto move beyond a good , dry , reliable textbook and what allows it to rank with its worthy predecessors . 
making such a tragedy the backdrop to a love story risks trivializing it , though chouraqui no doubt intended the film to affirm love's power to help people endure almost unimaginable horror . 
grown-up quibbles are beside the point here . the little girls understand , and mccracken knows that's all that matters . 
a powerful , chilling , and affecting study of one man's dying fall . 
this is a fascinating film because there is no clear-cut hero and no all-out villain . 
a dreadful day in irish history is given passionate , if somewhat flawed , treatment . 
 . . . a good film that must have baffled the folks in the marketing department . 
 . . . is funny in the way that makes you ache with sadness ( the way chekhov is funny ) , profound without ever being self-important , warm without ever succumbing to sentimentality . 
devotees of star trek ii : the wrath of khan will feel a nagging sense of deja vu , and the grandeur of the best next generation episodes is lacking . 
a soul-stirring documentary about the israeli/palestinian conflict as revealed through the eyes of some children who remain curious about each other against all odds . 
what's so striking about jolie's performance is that she never lets her character become a caricature -- not even with that radioactive hair . 
the main story . . . is compelling enough , but it's difficult to shrug off the annoyance of that chatty fish . 
the performances are immaculate , with roussillon providing comic relief . 
kinnear . . . gives his best screen performance with an oddly winning portrayal of one of life's ultimate losers . 
hugh grant , who has a good line in charm , has never been more charming than in about a boy . 
there's a lot of tooth in roger dodger . but what's nice is that there's a casual intelligence that permeates the script . 
reminiscent of alfred hitchcock's thrillers , most of the scary parts in 'signs' occur while waiting for things to happen . 
one of the best looking and stylish animated movies in quite a while . . . 
its use of the thriller form to examine the labyrinthine ways in which people's lives cross and change , buffeted by events seemingly out of their control , is intriguing , provocative stuff . 
denver should not get the first and last look at one of the most triumphant performances of vanessa redgrave's career . it deserves to be seen everywhere . 
you needn't be steeped in '50s sociology , pop culture or movie lore to appreciate the emotional depth of haynes' work . though haynes' style apes films from the period . . . its message is not rooted in that decade . 
waiting for godard can be fruitful : 'in praise of love' is the director's epitaph for himself . 
a gangster movie with the capacity to surprise . 
the film has a laundry list of minor shortcomings , but the numerous scenes of gory mayhem are worth the price of admission . . . if " gory mayhem " is your idea of a good time . 
if not a home run , then at least a solid base hit . 
goldmember is funny enough to justify the embarrassment of bringing a barf bag to the moviehouse . 
 . . . a fairly disposable yet still entertaining b picture . 
it may not be particularly innovative , but the film's crisp , unaffected style and air of gentle longing make it unexpectedly rewarding . 
the film truly does rescue [the funk brothers] from motown's shadows . it's about time . 
drawing on an irresistible , languid romanticism , byler reveals the ways in which a sultry evening or a beer-fueled afternoon in the sun can inspire even the most retiring heart to venture forth . 
works because we're never sure if ohlinger's on the level or merely a dying , delusional man trying to get into the history books before he croaks . 
[scherfig] has made a movie that will leave you wondering about the characters' lives after the clever credits roll . 
a heady , biting , be-bop ride through nighttime manhattan , a loquacious videologue of the modern male and the lengths to which he'll go to weave a protective cocoon around his own ego . 
skin of man gets a few cheap shocks from its kids-in-peril theatrics , but it also taps into the primal fears of young people trying to cope with the mysterious and brutal nature of adults . 
the piano teacher is not an easy film . it forces you to watch people doing unpleasant things to each other and themselves , and it maintains a cool distance from its material that is deliberately unsettling . 
as refreshing as a drink from a woodland stream . 
williams absolutely nails sy's queasy infatuation and overall strangeness . 
can i admit xxx is as deep as a petri dish and as well-characterized as a telephone book but still say it was a guilty pleasure ? 
while it's nothing we haven't seen before from murphy , i spy is still fun and enjoyable and so aggressively silly that it's more than a worthwhile effort . 
by the time it ends in a rush of sequins , flashbulbs , blaring brass and back-stabbing babes , it has said plenty about how show business has infiltrated every corner of society -- and not always for the better . 
an intimate contemplation of two marvelously messy lives . 
rarely has skin looked as beautiful , desirable , even delectable , as it does in trouble every day . 
this is one of those rare docs that paints a grand picture of an era and makes the journey feel like a party . 
poignant if familiar story of a young person suspended between two cultures . 
a metaphor for a modern-day urban china searching for its identity . 
for all its brooding quality , ash wednesday is suspenseful and ultimately unpredictable , with a sterling ensemble cast . 
an odd drama set in the world of lingerie models and bar dancers in the midwest that held my interest precisely because it didn't try to . 
the film feels uncomfortably real , its language and locations bearing the unmistakable stamp of authority . 
despite its faults , gangs excels in spectacle and pacing . 
entertaining despite its one-joke premise with the thesis that women from venus and men from mars can indeed get together . 
a tightly directed , highly professional film that's old-fashioned in all the best possible ways . 
it's dark but has wonderfully funny moments ; you care about the characters ; and the action and special effects are first-rate . 
in visual fertility treasure planet rivals the top japanese animations of recent vintage . 
enormously enjoyable , high-adrenaline documentary . 
buy is an accomplished actress , and this is a big , juicy role . 
it works its magic with such exuberance and passion that the film's length becomes a part of its fun . 
beautifully crafted and brutally honest , promises offers an unexpected window into the complexities of the middle east struggle and into the humanity of its people . 
an old-fashioned but emotionally stirring adventure tale of the kind they rarely make anymore . 
charlotte sometimes is a gem . it's always enthralling . 
in my opinion , analyze that is not as funny or entertaining as analyze this , but it is a respectable sequel . 
a remarkable film by bernard rose . 
zhuangzhuang creates delicate balance of style , text , and subtext that's so simple and precise that anything discordant would topple the balance , but against all odds , nothing does . 
a much more successful translation than its most famous previous film adaptation , writer-director anthony friedman's similarly updated 1970 british production . 
an original and highly cerebral examination of the psychopathic mind
michel piccoli's moving performance is this films reason for being . 
a captivating and intimate study about dying and loving . . . 
this is an elegantly balanced movie -- every member of the ensemble has something fascinating to do -- that doesn't reveal even a hint of artifice . 
[grant] goes beyond his usual fluttering and stammering and captures the soul of a man in pain who gradually comes to recognize it and deal with it . 
a high-spirited buddy movie about the reunion of berlin anarchists who face arrest 15 years after their crime . 
about the best thing you could say about narc is that it's a rock-solid little genre picture . whether you like it or not is basically a matter of taste . 
an involving , inspirational drama that sometimes falls prey to its sob-story trappings . 
some of the most inventive silliness you are likely to witness in a movie theatre for some time . 
canadian filmmaker gary burns' inventive and mordantly humorous take on the soullessness of work in the city . 
a rollicking ride , with jaw-dropping action sequences , striking villains , a gorgeous color palette , astounding technology , stirring music and a boffo last hour that leads up to a strangely sinister happy ending . 
everyone's insecure in lovely and amazing , a poignant and wryly amusing film about mothers , daughters and their relationships . 
the closest thing to the experience of space travel
full of surprises . 
connoisseurs of chinese film will be pleased to discover that tian's meticulous talent has not withered during his enforced hiatus . 
if you can push on through the slow spots , you'll be rewarded with some fine acting . 
an unusually dry-eyed , even analytical approach to material that is generally played for maximum moisture . 
symbolically , warm water under a red bridge is a celebration of feminine energy , a tribute to the power of women to heal . 
spy kids 2 also happens to be that rarity among sequels : it actually improves upon the original hit movie . 
exceptionally well acted by diane lane and richard gere . 
like a precious and finely cut diamond , magnificent to behold in its sparkling beauty yet in reality it's one tough rock . 
in addition to scoring high for originality of plot -- putting together familiar themes of family , forgiveness and love in a new way -- lilo & stitch has a number of other assets to commend it to movie audiences both innocent and jaded . 
miller has crafted an intriguing story of maternal instincts and misguided acts of affection . 
one of the most exciting action films to come out of china in recent years . 
this is a nervy , risky film , and villeneuve has inspired croze to give herself over completely to the tormented persona of bibi . 
my little eye is the best little " horror " movie i've seen in years . 
tunney , brimming with coltish , neurotic energy , holds the screen like a true star . 
even if the naipaul original remains the real masterpiece , the movie possesses its own languorous charm . 
[the film] tackles the topic of relationships in such a straightforward , emotionally honest manner that by the end , it's impossible to ascertain whether the film is , at its core , deeply pessimistic or quietly hopeful . 
sometimes we feel as if the film careens from one colorful event to another without respite , but sometimes it must have seemed to frida kahlo as if her life did , too . 
the strength of the film lies in its two central performances by sven wollter as the stricken composer and viveka seldahl as his desperate violinist wife . 
like the series , the movie is funny , smart , visually inventive , and most of all , alive . 
it was filled with shootings , beatings , and more cussing than you could shake a stick at . 
you don't know whether to admire the film's stately nature and call it classicism or be exasperated by a noticeable lack of pace . or both . 
sure , i hated myself in the morning . but then again , i hate myself most mornings . i still like moonlight mile , better judgment be damned . 
time out is as serious as a pink slip . and more than that , it's an observant , unfussily poetic meditation about identity and alienation . 
will assuredly rank as one of the cleverest , most deceptively amusing comedies of the year . 
maryam is a small film , but it offers large rewards . 
a highly watchable , giggly little story with a sweet edge to it . 
the most consistently funny of the austin powers films . 
ana's journey is not a stereotypical one of self-discovery , as she's already comfortable enough in her own skin to be proud of her rubenesque physique . . . 
cockettes has the glorious , gaudy benefit of much stock footage of those days , featuring all manner of drag queen , bearded lady and lactating hippie . 
there's something poignant about an artist of 90-plus years taking the effort to share his impressions of life and loss and time and art with us . 
the comedy makes social commentary more palatable . 
an ideal love story for those intolerant of the more common saccharine genre . 
one funny popcorn flick . 
this new zealand coming-of-age movie isn't really about anything . when it's this rich and luscious , who cares ? 
tully is worth a look for its true-to-life characters , its sensitive acting , its unadorned view of rural life and the subtle direction of first-timer hilary birmingham . 
this gorgeous epic is guaranteed to lift the spirits of the whole family . 
the wild thornberrys movie is pleasant enough and the message of our close ties with animals can certainly not be emphasized enough . 
williams creates a stunning , taxi driver-esque portrayal of a man teetering on the edge of sanity . 
if you're in the right b-movie frame of mind , it may just scare the pants off you . 
a movie of riveting power and sadness . 
both a detective story and a romance spiced with the intrigue of academic skullduggery and politics . 
quietly engaging . 
ludicrous , but director carl franklin adds enough flourishes and freak-outs to make it entertaining . 
director roger kumble offers just enough sweet and traditional romantic comedy to counter the crudity . and there's the inimitable diaz , holding it all together . 
spielberg's picture is smarter and subtler than [total recall and blade runner] , although its plot may prove too convoluted for fun-seeking summer audiences . 
it's got all the familiar bruckheimer elements , and schumacher does probably as good a job as anyone at bringing off the hopkins/rock collision of acting styles and onscreen personas . 
a grittily beautiful film that looks , sounds , and feels more like an extended , open-ended poem than a traditionally structured story . 
dense , exhilarating documentary . 
the production values are of the highest and the performances attractive without being memorable . 
a well-rounded tribute to a man whose achievements -- and complexities -- reached far beyond the end zone . 
finely crafted , finely written , exquisitely performed
ramsay and morton fill this character study with poetic force and buoyant feeling . 
this submarine drama earns the right to be favorably compared to das boot . 
claude chabrol's camera has a way of gently swaying back and forth as it cradles its characters , veiling tension beneath otherwise tender movements . 
there's a great deal of corny dialogue and preposterous moments . and yet , it still works . 
the film was immensely enjoyable thanks to great performances by both steve buscemi and rosario dawson . . . 
like many western action films , this thriller is too loud and thoroughly overbearing , but its heartfelt concern about north korea's recent past and south korea's future adds a much needed moral weight . 
special p . o . v . camera mounts on bikes , skateboards , and motorcycles provide an intense experience when splashed across the immense imax screen . 
a joyous occasion
mike white's deft combination of serious subject matter and dark , funny humor make " " the good girl " a film worth watching . 
this is a shrewd and effective film from a director who understands how to create and sustain a mood . 
meant to reduce blake's philosophy into a tragic coming-of-age saga punctuated by bursts of animator todd mcfarlane's superhero dystopia . 
assayas' ambitious , sometimes beautiful adaptation of jacques chardonne's novel . 
as ex-marine walter , who may or may not have shot kennedy , actor raymond j . barry is perfectly creepy and believable . 
those who don't entirely 'get' godard's distinctive discourse will still come away with a sense of his reserved but existential poignancy . 
pete's screenplay manages to find that real natural , even-flowing tone that few movies are able to accomplish . 
like brosnan's performance , evelyn comes from the heart . 
it uses some of the figures from the real-life story to portray themselves in the film . the result is a powerful , naturally dramatic piece of low-budget filmmaking . 
its spirit of iconoclastic abandon -- however canned -- makes for unexpectedly giddy viewing . 
the early and middle passages are surprising in how much they engage and even touch us . this is not a classical dramatic animated feature , nor a hip , contemporary , in-jokey one . it's sort of in-between , and it works . 
this quiet , introspective and entertaining independent is worth seeking . 
whether our action-and-popcorn obsessed culture will embrace this engaging and literate psychodrama isn't much of a mystery , unfortunately . 
whether or not ram dass proves as clear and reliable an authority on that as he was about inner consciousness , fierce grace reassures us that he will once again be an honest and loving one . 
sly , sophisticated and surprising . 
spare but quietly effective retelling . 
demonstrates a vivid imagination and an impressive style that result in some terrific setpieces . 
by its modest , straight-ahead standards , undisputed scores a direct hit . 
its story about a young chinese woman , ah na , who has come to new york city to replace past tragedy with the american dream is one that any art-house moviegoer is likely to find compelling . 
for those who like quirky , slightly strange french films , this is a must ! 
there are so few films about the plight of american indians in modern america that skins comes as a welcome , if downbeat , missive from a forgotten front . 
[shyamalan] continues to cut a swathe through mainstream hollywood , while retaining an integrity and refusing to compromise his vision . 
a whale of a good time for both children and parents seeking christian-themed fun . 
what begins as a film in the tradition of the graduate quickly switches into something more recyclable than significant . 
much smarter and more attentive than it first sets out to be . 
the story is smart and entirely charming in intent and execution . 
a movie of technical skill and rare depth of intellect and feeling . 
represents a worthy departure from the culture clash comedies that have marked an emerging indian american cinema . 
doesn't do more than expand a tv show to movie length . however , it's pleasant enough and its ecological , pro-wildlife sentiments are certainly welcome . 
if you're looking for an intelligent movie in which you can release your pent up anger , enough is just the ticket you need . 
a pointed , often tender , examination of the pros and cons of unconditional love and familial duties . 
as well-acted and well-intentioned as all or nothing is , however , the film comes perilously close to being too bleak , too pessimistic and too unflinching for its own good . 
a comedy-drama of nearly epic proportions rooted in a sincere performance by the title character undergoing midlife crisis . 
it's about issues most adults have to face in marriage and i think that's what i liked about it -- the real issues tucked between the silly and crude storyline . 
elegantly produced and expressively performed , the six musical numbers crystallize key plot moments into minutely detailed wonders of dreamlike ecstasy . 
enriched by a strong and unforced supporting cast . 
writer/ director m . night shyamalan's ability to pull together easily accessible stories that resonate with profundity is undeniable . 
if you can keep your eyes open amid all the blood and gore , you'll see del toro has brought unexpected gravity to blade ii . 
not a strike against yang's similarly themed yi yi , but i found what time ? to be more engaging on an emotional level , funnier , and on the whole less detached . 
a breathtaking adventure for all ages , spirit tells its poignant and uplifting story in a stunning fusion of music and images . 
a charming and funny story of clashing cultures and a clashing mother/daughter relationship . 
never lets go your emotions , taking them to surprising highs , sorrowful lows and hidden impulsive niches . . . gorgeous , passionate , and at times uncommonly moving . 
 " . . . something appears to have been lost in the translation this time . the importance of being earnest movie seems to be missing a great deal of the acerbic repartee of the play . " 
[washington's] strong hand , keen eye , sweet spirit and good taste are reflected in almost every scene . 
shiner can certainly go the distance , but isn't world championship material
the film's desire to be liked sometimes undermines the possibility for an exploration of the thornier aspects of the nature/nurture argument in regards to homosexuality . 
 . . . a quietly introspective portrait of the self-esteem of employment and the shame of losing a job . . . 
affable if not timeless , like mike raises some worthwhile themes while delivering a wholesome fantasy for kids . 
a film of delicate interpersonal dances . caine makes us watch as his character awakens to the notion that to be human is eventually to have to choose . it's a sight to behold . 
it's an unusual , thoughtful bio-drama with a rich subject and some fantastic moments and scenes . 
saved from being merely way-cool by a basic , credible compassion . 
the increasingly diverse french director has created a film that one can honestly describe as looking , sounding and simply feeling like no other film in recent history . 
gangs , despite the gravity of its subject matter , is often as fun to watch as a good spaghetti western . 
peter jackson has done the nearly impossible . he has improved upon the first and taken it a step further , richer and deeper . what jackson has done is proven that no amount of imagination , no creature , no fantasy story and no incredibly outlandish scenery
there has to be a few advantages to never growing old . like being able to hit on a 15-year old when you're over 100 . 
ice age won't drop your jaw , but it will warm your heart , and i'm giving it a strong thumbs up . 
like kissing jessica stein , amy's orgasm has a key strength in its willingness to explore its principal characters with honesty , insight and humor . 
the lady and the duke is eric rohmer's economical antidote to the bloated costume drama
one of the year's best films , featuring an oscar-worthy performance by julianne moore . 
a small gem from belgium . 
combines a comically dismal social realism with a farcically bawdy fantasy of redemption and regeneration . 
a soap-opera quality twist in the last 20 minutes . . . almost puts the kibosh on what is otherwise a sumptuous work of b-movie imagination . 
the most ingenious film comedy since being john malkovich . 
there's something to be said for a studio-produced film that never bothers to hand viewers a suitcase full of easy answers . 
a movie where story is almost an afterthought amidst a swirl of colors and inexplicable events . 
manages to accomplish what few sequels can -- it equals the original and in some ways even betters it . 
to call this one an eventual cult classic would be an understatement , and woe is the horror fan who opts to overlook this goofily endearing and well-lensed gorefest . 
jolie gives it that extra little something that makes it worth checking out at theaters , especially if you're in the mood for something more comfortable than challenging . 
although melodramatic and predictable , this romantic comedy explores the friendship between five filipino-americans and their frantic efforts to find love . 
i have a new favorite musical -- and i'm not even a fan of the genre
it's unlikely we'll see a better thriller this year . 
there is a real subject here , and it is handled with intelligence and care . 
jason patric and ray liotta make for one splendidly cast pair . 
noyce creates a film of near-hypnotic physical beauty even as he tells a story as horrifying as any in the heart-breakingly extensive annals of white-on-black racism . 
starts slowly , but adrien brody – in the title role – helps make the film's conclusion powerful and satisfying . 
very predictable but still entertaining
nothing short of a masterpiece -- and a challenging one . 
pratfalls aside , barbershop gets its greatest play from the timeless spectacle of people really talking to each other . 
this amiable picture talks tough , but it's all bluster -- in the end it's as sweet as greenfingers . . . 
this is one of mr . chabrol's subtlest works , but also one of his most uncanny . 
an engrossing iranian film about two itinerant teachers and some lost and desolate people they encounter in a place where war has savaged the lives and liberties of the poor and the dispossessed . 
even though we know the outcome , the seesawing of the general's fate in the arguments of competing lawyers has the stomach-knotting suspense of a legal thriller , while the testimony of witnesses lends the film a resonant undertone of tragedy . 
watching spirited away is like watching an eastern imagination explode . 
as relationships shift , director robert j . siegel allows the characters to inhabit their world without cleaving to a narrative arc . 
twohy knows how to inflate the mundane into the scarifying , and gets full mileage out of the rolling of a stray barrel or the unexpected blast of a phonograph record . 
while the story does seem pretty unbelievable at times , it's awfully entertaining to watch . 
a smart and funny , albeit sometimes superficial , cautionary tale of a technology in search of an artist . 
examines its explosive subject matter as nonjudgmentally as wiseman's previous studies of inner-city high schools , hospitals , courts and welfare centers . 
i prefer soderbergh's concentration on his two lovers over tarkovsky's mostly male , mostly patriarchal debating societies . 
'if you are in the mood for an intelligent weepy , it can easily worm its way into your heart . '
in imax in short , it's just as wonderful on the big screen . 
does a good job of establishing a time and place , and of telling a fascinating character's story . 
i'm going to give it a marginal thumbs up . i liked it just enough . 
those of you who don't believe in santa claus probably also think that sequels can never capture the magic of the original . well , this movie proves you wrong on both counts . 
a deliciously nonsensical comedy about a city coming apart at its seams . 
the rare imax movie that you'll wish was longer than an hour . 
my wife's plotting is nothing special ; it's the delivery that matters here . 
i've yet to find an actual vietnam war combat movie actually produced by either the north or south vietnamese , but at least now we've got something pretty damn close . 
a moving and not infrequently breathtaking film . 
it's a sharp movie about otherwise dull subjects . 
[an] absorbing documentary . 
it's like rocky and bullwinkle on speed , but that's neither completely enlightening , nor does it catch the intensity of the movie's strangeness . 
as action-adventure , this space-based homage to robert louis stevenson's treasure island fires on all plasma conduits . 
a melancholy , emotional film . 
while the filmmaking may be a bit disjointed , the subject matter is so fascinating that you won't care . 
intensely romantic , thought-provoking and even an engaging mystery . 
goofy , nutty , consistently funny . and educational ! 
not a schlocky creature feature but something far more stylish and cerebral--and , hence , more chillingly effective . 
another in a long line of ultra-violent war movies , this one is not quite what it could have been as a film , but the story and theme make up for it . 
it leaves little doubt that kidman has become one of our best actors . 
the film boasts dry humor and jarring shocks , plus moments of breathtaking mystery . 
beautifully directed and convincingly acted . 
gambling and throwing a basketball game for money isn't a new plot -- in fact toback himself used it in black and white . but toback's deranged immediacy makes it seem fresh again . 
in the director's cut , the film is not only a love song to the movies but it also is more fully an example of the kind of lush , all-enveloping movie experience it rhapsodizes . 
bring on the sequel . 
graced with the kind of social texture and realism that would be foreign in american teen comedies . 
if we sometimes need comforting fantasies about mental illness , we also need movies like tim mccann's revolution no . 9 . 
the film occasionally tries the viewer's patience with slow pacing and a main character who sometimes defies sympathy , but it ultimately satisfies with its moving story . 
a big-budget/all-star movie as unblinkingly pure as the hours is a distinct rarity , and an event . 
 . . . certainly an entertaining ride , despite many talky , slow scenes . but something seems to be missing . a sense of real magic , perhaps . 
that haynes can both maintain and dismantle the facades that his genre and his character construct is a wonderous accomplishment of veracity and narrative grace . 
the movie worked for me right up to the final scene , and then it caved in . 
 . . . one of the most entertaining monster movies in ages . . . 
plunges you into a reality that is , more often then not , difficult and sad , and then , without sentimentalizing it or denying its brutality , transforms that reality into a lyrical and celebratory vision . 
would you laugh if a tuba-playing dwarf rolled down a hill in a trash can ? do you chuckle at the thought of an ancient librarian whacking a certain part of a man's body ? if you answered yes , by all means enjoy the new guy . 
the film is . . . determined to treat its characters , weak and strong , as fallible human beings , not caricatures , and to carefully delineate the cost of the inevitable conflicts between human urges and an institution concerned with self-preservation . 
missteps take what was otherwise a fascinating , riveting story and send it down the path of the mundane . 
an indispensable peek at the art and the agony of making people laugh . 
steadfastly uncinematic but powerfully dramatic . 
the engagingly primitive animated special effects contribute to a mood that's sustained through the surprisingly somber conclusion . 
made-up lampoons the moviemaking process itself , while shining a not particularly flattering spotlight on america's skin-deep notions of pulchritude . 
evokes the 19th century with a subtlety that is an object lesson in period filmmaking . 
ya-yas everywhere will forgive the flaws and love the film . 
the film's best trick is the way that it treats conspiracy as a kind of political blair witch , a monstrous murk that haunts us precisely because it can never be seen . 
the artwork is spectacular and unlike most animaton from japan , the characters move with grace and panache . 
the picture's fascinating byways are littered with trenchant satirical jabs at the peculiar egocentricities of the acting breed . 
the modern remake of dumas's story is long on narrative and ( too ) short on action . 
fred schepisi's film is paced at a speed that is slow to those of us in middle age and deathly slow to any teen . with a cast of a-list brit actors , it is worth searching out . 
suffers from its timid parsing of the barn-side target of sons trying to breach gaps in their relationships with their fathers . 
nonchalantly freaky and uncommonly pleasurable , warm water may well be the year's best and most unpredictable comedy . 
it's like an old warner bros . costumer jived with sex -- this could be the movie errol flynn always wanted to make , though bette davis , cast as joan , would have killed him . 
it's a great american adventure and a wonderful film to bring to imax . 
satisfyingly scarifying , fresh and old-fashioned at the same time . 
oh , james ! your 20th outing shows off a lot of stamina and vitality , and get this , madonna's cameo doesn't suck ! 
a genuine mind-bender . 
that death is merely a transition is a common tenet in the world's religions . this deeply spiritual film taps into the meaning and consolation in afterlife communications . 
there is something that is so meditative and lyrical about babak payami's boldly quirky iranian drama secret ballot . . . a charming and evoking little ditty that manages to show the gentle and humane side of middle eastern world politics
a huge box-office hit in korea , shiri is a must for genre fans . 
 . . . planos fijos , tomas largas , un ritmo pausado y una sutil observación de sus personajes , sin estridencias ni grandes revelaciones . 
i'm not a fan of the phrase 'life affirming' because it usually means 'schmaltzy , ' but real women have curves truly is life affirming . 
the symbols float like butterflies and the spinning styx sting like bees . i wanted more . 
if it's unnerving suspense you're after -- you'll find it with ring , an indisputably spooky film ; with a screenplay to die for . 
the art direction and costumes are gorgeous and finely detailed , and kurys' direction is clever and insightful . 
red dragon makes one appreciate silence of the lambs . 
proves a servicable world war ii drama that can't totally hide its contrivances , but it at least calls attention to a problem hollywood too long has ignored . 
leigh isn't breaking new ground , but he knows how a daily grind can kill love . 
while broomfield's film doesn't capture the effect of these tragic deaths on hip-hop culture , it succeeds as a powerful look at a failure of our justice system . 
 . . . strips bible stores of the potential for sanctimoniousness , making them meaningful for both kids and church-wary adults . 
laugh-out-loud lines , adorably ditsy but heartfelt performances , and sparkling , bittersweet dialogue that cuts to the chase of the modern girl's dilemma . 
tends to pile too many " serious issues " on its plate at times , yet remains fairly light , always entertaining , and smartly written . 
a solidly entertaining little film . 
it's an entertaining movie , and the effects , boosted to the size of a downtown hotel , will all but take you to outer space . 
sayles has a knack for casting , often resurrecting performers who rarely work in movies now . . . and drawing flavorful performances from bland actors . 
despite an overwrought ending , the film works as well as it does because of the performances . 
a passionately inquisitive film determined to uncover the truth and hopefully inspire action . 
though nijinsky's words grow increasingly disturbed , the film maintains a beguiling serenity and poise that make it accessible for a non-narrative feature . 
a muddle splashed with bloody beauty as vivid as any scorsese has ever given us . 
from both a great and a terrible story , mr . nelson has made a film that is an undeniably worthy and devastating experience . 
spider-man is about growing strange hairs , getting a more mature body , and finding it necessary to hide new secretions from the parental units . 
the first shocking thing about sorority boys is that it's actually watchable . even more baffling is that it's funny . 
highlighted by a gritty style and an excellent cast , it's better than one might expect when you look at the list of movies starring ice-t in a major role . 
neither quite a comedy nor a romance , more of an impish divertissement of themes that interest attal and gainsbourg -- they live together -- the film has a lot of charm . 
first and foremost . . . the reason to go see " blue crush " is the phenomenal , water-born cinematography by david hennings . 
a visionary marvel , but it's lacking a depth in storytelling usually found in anime like this . 
the problems and characters it reveals are universal and involving , and the film itself -- as well its delightful cast -- is so breezy , pretty and gifted , it really won my heart . 
in his latest effort , storytelling , solondz has finally made a movie that isn't just offensive -- it also happens to be good . 
how i killed my father would be a rarity in hollywood . it's an actor's showcase that accomplishes its primary goal without the use of special effects , but rather by emphasizing the characters -- including the supporting ones . 
i just saw this movie . . . well , it's probably not accurate to call it a movie . 
what's most memorable about circuit is that it's shot on digital video , whose tiny camera enables shafer to navigate spaces both large . . . and small . . . with considerable aplomb . 
scherfig , the writer-director , has made a film so unabashedly hopeful that it actually makes the heart soar . yes , soar . 
a delicious and delicately funny look at the residents of a copenhagen neighborhood coping with the befuddling complications life tosses at them . 
 " what really happened ? " is a question for philosophers , not filmmakers ; all the filmmakers need to do is engage an audience . 
soderbergh , like kubrick before him , may not touch the planet's skin , but understands the workings of its spirit . 
much credit must be given to the water-camera operating team of don king , sonny miller , and michael stewart . their work is fantastic . 
crush is so warm and fuzzy you might be able to forgive its mean-spirited second half . 
franco is an excellent choice for the walled-off but combustible hustler , but he does not give the transcendent performance sonny needs to overcome gaps in character development and story logic . 
tsai ming-liang's witty , wistful new film , what time is it there ? , is a temporal inquiry that shoulders its philosophical burden lightly . 
the pianist lacks the quick emotional connections of steven spielberg's schindler's list . but mr . polanski creates images even more haunting than those in mr . spielberg's 1993 classic . 
steers , in his feature film debut , has created a brilliant motion picture . 
a brilliant , absurd collection of vignettes that , in their own idiosyncratic way , sum up the strange horror of life in the new millennium . 
as warm as it is wise , deftly setting off uproarious humor with an underlying seriousness that sneaks up on the viewer , providing an experience that is richer than anticipated . 
the film may not hit as hard as some of the better drug-related pictures , but it still manages to get a few punches in . 
old-fashioned but thoroughly satisfying entertainment . 
an energizing , intoxicating documentary charting the rise of hip-hop culture in general and the art of scratching ( or turntablism ) in particular . 
a fun family movie that's suitable for all ages -- a movie that will make you laugh , cry and realize , 'it's never too late to believe in your dreams . '
if you open yourself up to mr . reggio's theory of this imagery as the movie's set . . . it can impart an almost visceral sense of dislocation and change . 
i had a dream that a smart comedy would come along to rescue me from a summer of teen-driven , toilet-humor codswallop , and its name was earnest . 
even though the film doesn't manage to hit all of its marks , it's still entertaining to watch the target practice . 
where this was lazy but enjoyable , a formula comedy redeemed by its stars , that is even lazier and far less enjoyable . 
the 3-d vistas from orbit , with the space station suspended like a huge set of wind chimes over the great blue globe , are stanzas of breathtaking , awe-inspiring visual poetry . 
the attraction between these two marginal characters is complex from the start -- and , refreshingly , stays that way . 
fans of the modern day hong kong action film finally have the worthy successor to a better tomorrow and the killer which they have been patiently waiting for . 
even when he's not at his most critically insightful , godard can still be smarter than any 50 other filmmakers still at work . 
what sets this romantic comedy apart from most hollywood romantic comedies is its low-key way of tackling what seems like done-to-death material . 
has enough wit , energy and geniality to please not only the fanatical adherents on either side , but also people who know nothing about the subject and think they're not interested . 
this seductive tease of a thriller gets the job done . it's a scorcher . 
bittersweet comedy/drama full of life , hand gestures , and some really adorable italian guys . 
works as pretty contagious fun . 
the best didacticism is one carried by a strong sense of humanism , and bertrand tavernier's oft-brilliant safe conduct ( " laissez-passer " ) wears its heart on its sleeve . 
a realistically terrifying movie that puts another notch in the belt of the long list of renegade-cop tales . 
a charming , banter-filled comedy . . . one of those airy cinematic bon bons whose aims -- and by extension , accomplishments -- seem deceptively slight on the surface . 
a film with almost as many delights for adults as there are for children and dog lovers . 
serious movie-goers embarking upon this journey will find that the road to perdition leads to a satisfying destination . 
heartwarming and gently comic even as the film breaks your heart . 
caruso sometimes descends into sub-tarantino cuteness . . . but for the most part he makes sure the salton sea works the way a good noir should , keeping it tight and nasty . 
a " black austin powers ? " i prefer to think of it as " pootie tang with a budget . " sa da tay ! 
oddly , the film isn't nearly as downbeat as it sounds , but strikes a tone that's alternately melancholic , hopeful and strangely funny . 
i would be shocked if there was actually one correct interpretation , but that shouldn't make the movie or the discussion any less enjoyable . 
chouraqui brings documentary-like credibility to the horrors of the killing field and the barbarism of 'ethnic cleansing . '
the best thing i can say about this film is that i can't wait to see what the director does next . 
smarter than its commercials make it seem . 
great character interaction . 
one of the funnier movies in town . 
campanella's competent direction and his excellent cast overcome the obstacles of a predictable outcome and a screenplay that glosses over rafael's evolution . 
by turns very dark and very funny . 
steven soderbergh doesn't remake andrei tarkovsky's solaris so much as distill it . 
for more than two decades mr . nachtwey has traveled to places in the world devastated by war , famine and poverty and documented the cruelty and suffering he has found with an devastating , eloquent clarity . 
simultaneously heartbreakingly beautiful and exquisitely sad . 
though overall an overwhelmingly positive portrayal , the film doesn't ignore the more problematic aspects of brown's life . 
the philosophical musings of the dialogue jar against the tawdry soap opera antics of the film's action in a way that is surprisingly enjoyable . 
not too fancy , not too filling , not too fluffy , but definitely tasty and sweet . 
quando tiros em columbine acerta o alvo ( com o perdão do trocadilho ) , não há como negar o brilhantismo da argumentação de seu diretor . 
director lee has a true cinematic knack , but it's also nice to see a movie with its heart so thoroughly , unabashedly on its sleeve . 
as allen's execution date closes in , the documentary gives an especially poignant portrait of her friendship with the never flagging legal investigator david presson . 
jones has tackled a meaty subject and drawn engaging characters while peppering the pages with memorable zingers . 
a vivid , spicy footnote to history , and a movie that grips and holds you in rapt attention from start to finish . 
if s&m seems like a strange route to true love , maybe it is , but it's to this film's ( and its makers' ) credit that we believe that that's exactly what these two people need to find each other -- and themselves . 
if the film's vision of sport as a secular religion is a bit cloying , its through-line of family and community is heartening in the same way that each season marks a new start . 
one of the best of a growing strain of daring films . . . that argue that any sexual relationship that doesn't hurt anyone and works for its participants is a relationship that is worthy of our respect . 
…an adorably whimsical comedy that deserves more than a passing twinkle . 
an engrossing story that combines psychological drama , sociological reflection , and high-octane thriller . 
it's easy to be cynical about documentaries in which underdogs beat the odds and the human spirit triumphs , but westbrook's foundation and dalrymple's film earn their uplift . 
mel gibson fights the good fight in vietnam in director randall wallace's flag-waving war flick with a core of decency . 
there's real visual charge to the filmmaking , and a strong erotic spark to the most crucial lip-reading sequence . 
a brutal and funny work . nicole holofcenter , the insightful writer/director responsible for this illuminating comedy doesn't wrap the proceedings up neatly but the ideas tie together beautifully . 
the film is a blunt indictment , part of a perhaps surreal campaign to bring kissinger to trial for crimes against humanity . 
one of the most important and exhilarating forms of animated filmmaking since old walt doodled steamboat willie . 
move over bond ; this girl deserves a sequel . 
the kind of trifle that date nights were invented for . 
 . it's a testament to the film's considerable charm that it succeeds in entertaining , despite playing out like a feature-length sitcom replete with stereotypical familial quandaries . there's a sheer unbridled delight in the way the story unfurls . . . 
tells ( the story ) with such atmospheric ballast that shrugging off the plot's persnickety problems is simply a matter of ( being ) in a shrugging mood . 
the film is hard to dismiss -- moody , thoughtful , and lit by flashes of mordant humor . 
if the man from elysian fields is doomed by its smallness , it is also elevated by it--the kind of movie that you enjoy more because you're one of the lucky few who sought it out . 
what emerges is an unsettling picture of childhood innocence combined with indoctrinated prejudice . promises is a compelling piece that demonstrates just how well children can be trained to live out and carry on their parents' anguish . 
meticulously uncovers a trail of outrageous force and craven concealment . 
hey , happy ! is many things -- stoner midnight flick , sci-fi deconstruction , gay fantasia -- but above all it's a love story as sanguine as its title . 
you won't look at religious fanatics -- or backyard sheds -- the same way again . 
at its best . . . festival in cannes bubbles with the excitement of the festival in cannes . 
there is a general air of exuberance in all about the benjamins that's hard to resist . 
a lovably old-school hollywood confection . 
i'm happy to have seen it -- not as an alternate version , but as the ultimate exercise in viewing deleted scenes . 
by turns gripping , amusing , tender and heart-wrenching , laissez-passer has all the earmarks of french cinema at its best . 
the warnings to resist temptation in this film . . . are blunt and challenging and offer no easy rewards for staying clean . 
wonder of wonders -- a teen movie with a humanistic message . 
a quirky comedy set in newfoundland that cleverly captures the dry wit that's so prevalent on the rock . 
peppered with witty dialogue and inventive moments . 
i'd rather watch a rerun of the powerpuff girls
with the prospect of films like kangaroo jack about to burst across america's winter movie screens it's a pleasure to have a film like the hours as an alternative . 
the wonderful combination of the sweetness and the extraordinary technical accomplishments of the first film are maintained , but its overall impact falls a little flat with a storyline that never quite delivers the original magic . 
like its title character , this nicholas nickleby finds itself in reduced circumstances -- and , also like its hero , it remains brightly optimistic , coming through in the end . 
as a thoughtful and unflinching examination of an alternative lifestyle , sex with strangers is a success . 
unpretentious , charming , quirky , original
spinning a web of dazzling entertainment may be overstating it , but " spider-man " certainly delivers the goods . 
other than the slightly flawed ( and fairly unbelievable ) finale , everything else is top shelf . 
this fascinating look at israel in ferment feels as immediate as the latest news footage from gaza and , because of its heightened , well-shaped dramas , twice as powerful . 
manages to delight without much of a story . 
there's no denying that burns is a filmmaker with a bright future ahead of him . 
i have a confession to make : i didn't particularly like e . t . the first time i saw it as a young boy . that is because - damn it ! - i also wanted a little alien as a friend ! 
fairy-tale formula , serves as a paper skeleton for some very good acting , dialogue , comedy , direction and especially charm . 
a genuinely funny ensemble comedy that also asks its audience -- in a heartwarming , nonjudgmental kind of way -- to consider what we value in our daily lives . 
though the aboriginal aspect lends the ending an extraordinary poignancy , and the story itself could be played out in any working class community in the nation . 
an energetic and engaging film that never pretends to be something it isn't . 
a violent initiation rite for the audience , as much as it is for angelique , the [opening] dance guarantees karmen's enthronement among the cinema's memorable women . 
an animation landmark as monumental as disney's 1937 breakthrough snow white and the seven dwarfs . 
an entertaining , if ultimately minor , thriller . 
sex with strangers is fascinating . . . 
a subtle , poignant picture of goodness that is flawed , compromised and sad . 
a wry , affectionate delight . 
the acting in pauline and paulette is good all round , but what really sets the film apart is debrauwer's refusal to push the easy emotional buttons . 
one of those joyous films that leaps over national boundaries and celebrates universal human nature . 
a penetrating glimpse into the tissue-thin ego of the stand-up comic . 
kids should have a stirring time at this beautifully drawn movie . and adults will at least have a dream image of the west to savor whenever the film's lamer instincts are in the saddle . 
paid in full is remarkably engaging despite being noticeably derivative of goodfellas and at least a half dozen other trouble-in-the-ghetto flicks . 
less cinematically powerful than quietly and deeply moving , which is powerful in itself . 
waydowntown manages to nail the spirit-crushing ennui of denuded urban living without giving in to it . 
each of these stories has the potential for touched by an angel simplicity and sappiness , but thirteen conversations about one thing , for all its generosity and optimism , never resorts to easy feel-good sentiments . 
if borstal boy isn't especially realistic , it is an engaging nostalgia piece . 
often demented in a good way , but it is an uneven film for the most part . 
the script's snazzy dialogue establishes a realistic atmosphere that involves us in the unfolding crisis , but the lazy plotting ensures that little of our emotional investment pays off . 
maggie smith as the ya-ya member with the o2-tank will absolutely crack you up with her crass , then gasp for gas , verbal deportment . 
this is a movie that refreshes the mind and spirit along with the body , so original is its content , look , and style . 
although i didn't hate this one , it's not very good either . it can be safely recommended as a video/dvd babysitter . 
another best of the year selection . 
the film has the high-buffed gloss and high-octane jolts you expect of de palma , but what makes it transporting is that it's also one of the smartest , most pleasurable expressions of pure movie love to come from an american director in years . 
it's a very valuable film . . . 
max pokes , provokes , takes expressionistic license and hits a nerve . . . as far as art is concerned , it's mission accomplished . 
literary purists may not be pleased , but as far as mainstream matinee-style entertainment goes , it does a bang-up job of pleasing the crowds . 
here polanski looks back on those places he saw at childhood , and captures them by freeing them from artefact , and by showing them heartbreakingly drably . 
intriguing and stylish . 
the story itself it mostly told through on-camera interviews with several survivors , whose riveting memories are rendered with such clarity that it's as if it all happened only yesterday . 
a compelling story of musical passion against governmental odds . 
with " ichi the killer " , takashi miike , japan's wildest filmmaker gives us a crime fighter carrying more emotional baggage than batman . . . 
you never know where changing lanes is going to take you but it's a heck of a ride . samuel l . jackson is one of the best actors there is . 
[breheny's] lensing of the new zealand and cook island locations captures both the beauty of the land and the people . 
an almost unbearably morbid love story . 
the wild thornberrys movie has all the sibling rivalry and general family chaos to which anyone can relate . 
a forceful drama of an alienated executive who re-invents himself . 
spielberg's realization of a near-future america is masterful . this makes minority report necessary viewing for sci-fi fans , as the film has some of the best special effects ever . 
the gags that fly at such a furiously funny pace that the only rip off that we were aware of was the one we felt when the movie ended so damned soon . 
the best film of the year 2002 . 
an enthralling , entertaining feature . 
stripped almost entirely of such tools as nudity , profanity and violence , labute does manage to make a few points about modern man and his problematic quest for human connection . 
a remarkable movie with an unsatisfying ending , which is just the point . 
all in all , brown sugar is a satisfying well-made romantic comedy that's both charming and well acted . it will guarantee to have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face . 
smith finds amusing juxtapositions that justify his exercise . 
working from a surprisingly sensitive script co-written by gianni romoli . . . ozpetek avoids most of the pitfalls you'd expect in such a potentially sudsy set-up . 
an older cad instructs a younger lad in zen and the art of getting laid in this prickly indie comedy of manners and misanthropy . 
 " austin powers in goldmember " has the right stuff for silly summer entertainment and has enough laughs to sustain interest to the end . 
one of [jaglom's] better efforts -- a wry and sometime bitter movie about love . 
schaeffer isn't in this film , which may be why it works as well as it does . 
a fresh , entertaining comedy that looks at relationships minus traditional gender roles . 
although estela bravo's documentary is cloyingly hagiographic in its portrait of cuban leader fidel castro , it's still a guilty pleasure to watch . 
surprisingly , the film is a hilarious adventure and i shamelessly enjoyed it . 
the way home is an ode to unconditional love and compassion garnered from years of seeing it all , a condition only the old are privy to , and . . . often misconstrued as weakness . 
brutally honest and told with humor and poignancy , which makes its message resonate . 
if you can read the subtitles ( the opera is sung in italian ) and you like 'masterpiece theatre' type costumes , you'll enjoy this movie . 
a pretty funny movie , with most of the humor coming , as before , from the incongruous but chemically perfect teaming of crystal and de niro . 
gangster no . 1 is solid , satisfying fare for adults . 
this chicago has hugely imaginative and successful casting to its great credit , as well as one terrific score and attitude to spare . 
has enough gun battles and throwaway humor to cover up the yawning chasm where the plot should be . 
with its jerky hand-held camera and documentary feel , bloody sunday is a sobering recount of a very bleak day in derry . 
you will likely prefer to keep on watching . 
insomnia loses points when it surrenders to a formulaic bang-bang , shoot-em-up scene at the conclusion . but the performances of pacino , williams , and swank keep the viewer wide-awake all the way through . 
what might have been readily dismissed as the tiresome rant of an aging filmmaker still thumbing his nose at convention takes a surprising , subtle turn at the midway point . 
at a time when commercialism has squeezed the life out of whatever idealism american moviemaking ever had , godfrey reggio's career shines like a lonely beacon . 
an inuit masterpiece that will give you goosebumps as its uncanny tale of love , communal discord , and justice unfolds . 
this is popcorn movie fun with equal doses of action , cheese , ham and cheek ( as well as a serious debt to the road warrior ) , but it feels like unrealized potential
it's a testament to de niro and director michael caton-jones that by movie's end , we accept the characters and the film , flaws and all . 
performances are potent , and the women's stories are ably intercut and involving . 
an enormously entertaining movie , like nothing we've ever seen before , and yet completely familiar . 
lan yu is a genuine love story , full of traditional layers of awakening and ripening and separation and recovery . 
your children will be occupied for 72 minutes . 
pull[s] off the rare trick of recreating not only the look of a certain era , but also the feel . 
twohy's a good yarn-spinner , and ultimately the story compels . 
'tobey maguire is a poster boy for the geek generation . '
 . . . a sweetly affecting story about four sisters who are coping , in one way or another , with life's endgame . 
passion , melodrama , sorrow , laugther , and tears cascade over the screen effortlessly . . . 
road to perdition does display greatness , and it's worth seeing . but it also comes with the laziness and arrogance of a thing that already knows it's won . 
a marvelous performance by allison lohman as an identity-seeking foster child . 
arliss howard's ambitious , moving , and adventurous directorial debut , big bad love , meets so many of the challenges it poses for itself that one can forgive the film its flaws . 
critics need a good laugh , too , and this too-extreme-for-tv rendition of the notorious mtv show delivers the outrageous , sickening , sidesplitting goods in steaming , visceral heaps . 
what a dumb , fun , curiously adolescent movie this is . 
many insightful moments . 
the charms of the lead performances allow us to forget most of the film's problems . 
a vivid , sometimes surreal , glimpse into the mysteries of human behavior . 
a tour de force of modern cinema . 
peralta captures , in luminous interviews and amazingly evocative film from three decades ago , the essence of the dogtown experience . 
the lively appeal of the last kiss lies in the ease with which it integrates thoughtfulness and pasta-fagioli comedy . 
without resorting to camp or parody , haynes ( like sirk , but differently ) has transformed the rhetoric of hollywood melodrama into something provocative , rich , and strange . 
the performances are an absolute joy . 
a quasi-documentary by french filmmaker karim dridi that celebrates the hardy spirit of cuban music . 
grant carries the day with impeccable comic timing , raffish charm and piercing intellect . 
a sensitive and astute first feature by anne-sophie birot . 
both exuberantly romantic and serenely melancholy , what time is it there ? may prove to be [tsai's] masterpiece . 
mazel tov to a film about a family's joyous life acting on the yiddish stage . 
standing in the shadows of motown is the best kind of documentary , one that makes a depleted yesterday feel very much like a brand-new tomorrow . 
it's nice to see piscopo again after all these years , and chaykin and headly are priceless . 
provides a porthole into that noble , trembling incoherence that defines us all . 
lancelot du lac ( lancelot du lac ) ( france , 1974 ) a film review by james kendrick director : robert bresson screenwriter : robert bresson ( based on the epic poem by chretien de troyes ) stars : luc simon ( lancelot ) , laura duke condominas ( queen guinevere ) , vladimir antolek-oresek ( king arthur ) , humbert balsan ( gawain ) , patrick bernhard ( modred ) , arthur de montalembert ( lionel ) mpaa rating : not rate review : ench director robert bresson's " lancelot of the lake " achieves the exact opposite effect of sir thomas malory's " morte darthur . " instead of enshrining the legend of king arthur and his knights of the round table , it dethrones them by revealing arthur as a weak , ineffectual leader and the knights as a group of jealous , bickering men who failed to live up to the legends prescribed to them . chivalry has no place in " lancelot of the lake , " except as that of a dying ideal . bresson begins his tale as the knights of the round table are returning , decimated , after failing merlin's command to retrieve the holy grail , the mystical cup that was filled with christ's blood . bresson immediately gives us his impression of the essential meaning of the grail quest : bloodshed and failure . the opening sequence is a series of clumsy , disjointed fights amongst anonymous knights -- a head is hacked off , a stomach is impaled , a skull is split open , skeletal remains hang from trees , and burning bodies smolder in the ruins of a flaming house . since the film starts with camelot in near-ruin , and takes only an hour and a half to arrive at its inevitable conclusion , it doesn't carry the grand , tragic resonance of other arthurian films . we never get to see camelot at the peak of its power , therefore there is no real downfall to witness . but , then again , it is not the name of camelot that is evoked in the title of the film . rather , it is lancelot , and bresson is more interested in the internal battle within his heart , than the external downfall of a kingdom . lancelot has always been a tragic figure in the arthurian tales , and bresson uses him as the central figure to explore the battle between the spirit and the flesh . the greatest of all knights , he was flawed only in his love for arthur's wife , queen guinevere , and it was that illicit affair that eventually caused the downfall of camelot . even when lancelot attempts to end the affair with guinevere ( laura duke condominas ) , he only finds himself falling back into her arms against his better judgment . he knows it means the destruction of the idealized kingdom , but he is powerless in his passion . when sir mordred ( patrick bernhard ) accuses lancelot of the affair , other knights , including sir gawain ( humbert balsan ) spring to lancelot's defense . it is this battle within the knights that is the eventual undoing of the round table ; the flesh wins out over the spirit , and the consequences are dire . bresson is an intensely personal filmmaker most interested in the interiors of men's hearts and minds . " lancelot of the lake " is filled with his particular trademarks : a stripped-down , minimalist style , flat , expressionless dialogue , and a grand use of natural sounds in place of music . he uses background music only twice in the film , during an opening narration segment and during the opening credits . the music here is a heavy drumbeat and accompanying bagpipes , but the rest of the film is scored with natural sounds that punctuate the film's thematic elements : the incessant clanking and creaking of heavy armor , the neighing of horses , the rhythm of hooves beating down dirt roads , and the natural chirping and whispering of the forest . like most of his other films , bresson employed nonprofessional actors who recite the dialogue in emotionless , flat voices . all the actors he used in " lancelot of the lake " had never acted before , and with the exception of patrick bernhard , they never acted again . never once do they raise their voices or put any emphasis on a given word . instead of using vocal inflection , bresson strove to create emotion through images . in some ways , this technique works ; in other ways , it doesn't . the final montage of arthur's men battling each other is quite marvelous , and the final image of the knights in shining armor reduced to a literal scrap-pile sums up the entire film in one moment . however , other times bresson's uncompromising methods are distracting and questionable . for instance , during an important jousting contest , bresson films the majority of the action so that the only things visible are the horses' legs . he does this repeatedly , opening each shot with the same few notes from a bagpipe and the raising of a different flag . while there might be symbolic value in this , the resulting experience of watching it can be bothersome . nevertheless , " lancelot of the lake " is a fascinating cinematic experience boldly made by a master filmmaker . bresson's style may not be for everyone , but one has to respect his strength as an artist . by re-evaluating the arthurian legends and making them his own , he turns " lancelot of the lake " into something rare in modern cinema : a truly personal film . 
director : brian de palma writer : david koepp ( based on the novels " carlito's way " and " after hours " by edwin torres ) starring : al pacino , sean penn , penelope ann miller , john leguiziamo , luis guzman , john rebhorn , viggio mortensen , jorge porcel what's shocking about " carlito's way " is how good it is . having gotten a bit of a bad rap for not being a big box office hit like pacino's previous film , " scent of a woman , " and not having as strong a performance as he did in that one ( he had just won an oscar ) , " carlito's way " was destined for underrated heaven . that's what it is : an underrated gem of a movie . and what a shame because pacino and de palma both do amazing jobs with it , and turn it into a great piece of a pulpy character study . " carlito's way " deals with , well , carlito brigante ( pacino ) , a puerto rican ex-drug kingpin , who gets out of a long jailterm when his coke-addicted , curly-haired lawyer ( sean penn ) points out a legal technicality . of course , carlito was actually awoken in prison , and has decided to go straight , even if he's really a crook at heart . carlito , like barry lyndon , is a man who is trapped by fate at every turn , and can't escape into something he is not . carlito's attempts at a clean , legal life are thwarted at nearly every turn . when he first gets out , a friend of his ends up leading him into a big shoot-out , where he has to kill a couple people to survive . he's constantly getting bugged by the government to see if he's doing anything illegal , and his lawyer finds himself neck-deep in a pile of shit , needing him to try and help him out , which includes him doing some prison breaking . carlito , like ratso rizzo , wants to go to miami ( since , according to film logic , that's where it's at ) , but needs some funding . being a legend , he is quickly able to get a nice job running a big dance club ( this is the 70s , by the way , and since some of this takes place in night clubs , we get to hear all sorts of 70s classics , including several k . c . and the sunshine band tunes - my personal favorite ) . he gets a bodyguard ( the great luis guzman , at his best ) , and is soon running a pretty good business , even if he's constantly attracting underworld young thugs , like benny blanco " from the bronx " ( john leguiziamo ) , who is more than once pointed out to be a young version of carlito . on the other side , the symbol of promise and hope , is gail ( penelope ann miller - what happened to her ? ) , his girlfriend from before prison . she's a goregeous ballerina , and a stripper , and soon carlito is trying to get back with her , and take her with him when he finally leaves for miami . while this relationship is never fully defined or anything , we get a sense of love between them , and they have some truly interesting scenes between them ( she never gives him addresses or locales - he always has to track her down ) . all of these elements clash together at the end , in a brilliantly executed , emotional climax , which is inevitable . when i say inevitable , i mean we see it at the beginning and then backtrack , putting a great spin on it . sure , it's going to eleveate some of the tension , but it gives the film a lot of depth , as carlito is seen trapped by fate . what's amazing is the big chase sequence ( amazingly done by de palma ) has a lot of tension and thrills . like " apollo 13 , " we know what's going to happen , but we're still thrilled by what happens in the middle . it's also very emotional , thanks to a great script by david koepp , and amazing performances by pacino and miller . de palma is famous ( or infamous ) for lots of violence in his films . his earlier flim , " scarface " ( which starred pacino in the lead ) , has a ton of it , especially at the end ( and a nasty chainsaw scene towards the beginning which i'm still not over ) . but de palma actually reigns in more quieter scenes . to me , the best scene in the film is when carlito is on top of a building , looking down into the room where gail is doing ballet . this is the most brilliantly done , and most emotionally stimulating scene in the entire film , and probably the best in de palma film history . with a gorgeous soprano duet in the background , and rain pouring down onto a trashcan lid covering carlito's head , and a saddened , remorseful look on pacino's face , it's a tear-jerker ( well , for me , i dunno about you . . . ) . the acting from all is great , especially from the three leads . pacino was panned for his performance , chiefly because his accent wasn't puerto rican enough and , well , it wasn't as " strong " as his oscar-winning role in " scent of a woman . " well , his " scent of a woman " performance was great and all , but it was nothing really but , as comic kevin pollack said , a " foghorn leghorn impression . " in " carlito's way , " he's emotional , and strong , despite the fact that he's remorseful over his entire lifestyle , which he cannot change . i felt more for carlito brigante than i did for the tango-dancing , insult-throwing blind guy in " scent of a woman . " as i said , penelope ann miller is great , and she and pacino actually have very good chemistry . and they're scenes are well-written , with some good clever dialogue which adds some interest to an otherwise bland relationship . and sean penn is amazing as the coke-addicted rat attorney . every scene he's in , he has great energy , and even measures up to the greatness that is pacino . in smaller roles , john leguiziamo and luis guzman are great . " carlito's way " is one of those films which you heard about briefly , but when you finally watch it , you're absolutely blown away . it's a wonderful film , a highly underrated little masterpiece which was shelved after it didn't do so hot . but trust me and check it out . it's a great little film , and proof that the residential critics and mass populus are not always right . 
six days , seven nights reviewed by jamie peckrating :  touchstone / 1 : 41 / 1998 / pg-13 ( language , innuendo , violence ) cast : harrison ford ; anne heche ; david schwimmer ; jacqueline obradors ; temuera morrison ; allison janney ; douglas weston ; cliff curtis ; danny trejo director : ivan reitman screenplay : michael browning  " six days , seven nights " is a summer movie that gets the summer movie experience deliciously right , a commendable achievement considering the season thus far has been littered with some pretty uneven fare . here's a genuinely fun fluff piece that knows it's fluff , recognizes it's fluff and is admittedly proud to be fluff . of course , the casting of harrison ford in the broadly comedic lead role plays a sizeable part in the movie's success ; ford is such a concentrated dramatic actor that it's easy to forget what a funny guy he can be . as his female counterpart , anne heche also deserves a big pat on the back for her sweet , goofily charismatic performance . the age difference ( ford's 56 , heche's 29 ) matters not -- these two click in a charged way that's hard to come by . the story is a no-brainer -- ford stars as gruff but loveable island aviator quinn harris , while heche is career-minded but loveable new york magazine editor robin monroe . robin , on a tropical vacation with fiancé frank ( david schwimmer ) , gets assigned to supervise an emergency photo shoot in nearby tahiti , so she reluctantly hires quinn to fly her there . the plane crashes during a terrible storm , and they immediately find themselves stuck in a deserted paradise with few ideas on getting back to civilization . a series of unpleasant , often hilarious catastrophes leaves little choice but for both members of this unlikely odd couple to fall for each other . meanwhile , back at the resort , frank is tempted himself by quinn's shapely female tagalong ( jacqueline obradors ) . that subplot obviously exists to get us rooting for the quinn-robin pairing , and while it makes for a few good laughs early on , it eventually becomes a contrived distraction from the far more engrossing misadventures of quinn and robin . and since the film spends most of its time with the castaways , this flaw is only a minor inconvenience . director ivan reitman keeps the pace brisk . at a slim 101 minutes , " six days , seven nights " never wears out its welcome , where a lesser film could have felt like it was as long as its title . michael browning's clever screenplay allows for plenty of notable one-liners ( my favorite , taken in context , is " you mean _arrrgh_ pirates ? " ) , and though it essentially boils down to one mishap after another , they're all quite engaging . even the movie's more " serious " moments are played with a wink . heche has been under undeserved fire over whether or not her private life with ellen degeneres would affect the " believability " of " six days , seven nights " ' heterosexual pairing . ( so she's a lesbian . so what . deal with it . ) of course it doesn't , and here , her naysayers are proved wrong in a big way . in fact , her chemistry with ford is what really makes the film click ; these opposites attract with the utmost , endearing electricity . at one point , when the two are discussing the likelihood of romantic interest , heche asks ford how old he is . after several wrong guesses ( " forty-five ? _fifty_ ? " ) , he whispers his age to her . " you still look good , " heche stammers . " i still _am_ good , " ford replies . she's good too , and together , they make " six days , seven nights " one memorable ride . © 1998 jamie peck e-mail : jpeck1@gl . umbc . edu visit the new and improved reel deal online : http : //www . gl . umbc . edu/~jpeck1/ " suggestions , please , for the fourth movie in the series . how about 'look who's talking back , ' in which the audience gets its turn ? " -- roger ebert on " look who's talking now " 
cast : mel gibson ( jerry fletcher ) , julia roberts ( alice sutton ) , patrick stewart ( dr . jonas ) , cylk cozart ( agent lowry ) director : richard donner certification : r ( usa ) presumably for violence , language , and intense situations year of production : 1997 i was fortunate enough to attend an advance screening for the upcoming thriller conspiracy theory . this was , of course , a big deal for me because reviewing movies is basically just a hobby for me and i never get a chance at something like this . not only did i get to see an advance screening , i was able to see an advance screening of a * very good * movie . the very fast-paced film stars mel gibson as jerry fletcher , a fast-talking , witty , comical taxi driver in new york city . gibson's performance is terrific , and his character is similar to that of martin riggs in the lethal weapon films . gibson again teams up with richard donner , as he did in the lethal weapon films and maverick , and this time around , the combination works even better . the character of jerry fletcher is indeed unique . try to imagine a toned-downed version of travis bickle who , this time around , is a jittery guy with knowledge of government conspiracy cover-ups . if you can imagine that , then you've basically got jerry fletcher . in many ways , i was surprised by this movie . to begin with , i was surprised at how good it was . don't get me wrong , it's not going to be accepting any gold trophies next spring , but it was a very enjoyable movie . secondly , i was surprised at mel gibson's performance . he provided a fantastic performance . the previews of this film led me to believe it was an all-out action flick , which after viewing , it was almost the opposite in a certain sense . gibson's character has an almost uncountable number of one-liners , hilarious situations , and his character is one that the audience tends to side with throughout the film . for instance , jerry's apartment ( and especially his security ) is memorable . and last , i was surprised at how good the plot is . writer brian helgeland has created a terrific story , and when watching this film , you are left to wonder if all of jerry fletcher's far-fetched ( or so they seem at first ) conspiracy theories are helgeland's own opinions . mel gibson isn't the only stand-out in the film . julia roberts is very good in her performance as alice sutton , the department of justice employee who can't seem to stay away from jerry fletcher , who continually visits alice in hopes that she will do something about his theories . he also seems obsessed and in love with her . but whenever he approaches her with another one of his theories , she shrugs him and his beliefs off , continually noting that one day she is going to slap a restraining order on him . jerry , obviously determined to continually seek out the truth , continues to research information for his next conspiracy theory , which will be printed in his newsletter ( same title as the movie ) . although he only has five subscribers , he puts a large amount of time and effort into his work , and publishes his next edition . very soon after he does so , he is abducted and tortured by a sinister man who refers to himself as dr . jonas ( patrick stewart ) . after barely escaping alive , jerry is forced to turn to the only person he can trust : alice sutton . the remainder of the film is almost always fast-paced and full of action and suspense , with jerry's life being constantly put into jeopardy . and more along the way , the audience ( and alice ) learn more and more about jerry's life . many things are explained throughout this film , both to the characters and to the audience . for instance , the meaning of the book " the catcher in the rye " and its ties to assassins , the reason lone gunmen have three names ( e . g . lee harvey oswald and james earl ray ) , and the real truth behind the grateful dead . make sure listen closely throughout the film , as jerry is constantly throwing out interesting tidbits such as the above . definitely , when conspiracy theory hits theaters august 8th , make sure you are standing in line to see it . i am nearly positive everyone should enjoy this film , especially if you are into an action-thriller with witty dialogue and numerous suspenseful situations . and even if you aren't , you should still like this film .  * david landers - dml@gwis . com - http : //www . gwis . com/~dml/ *  
all great things come to an end , and the dot-com era embodies that perfectly . beneath a mound of bankruptcy paperwork lies the remains of a former dot-com darling , the company kozmo . com , an online convenience store stocked with ice cream , porn videos , and other basic necessities of a urban dweller , all hand-delivered by couriers within an hour . designed in 1997 by two college roommates -- joseph parks , a 27 year old goldman sachs banker , and yong kang - kozmo flamed out in three short years , raising more than $280 million in venture capital funding and from partnerships with such bigwigs as starbucks and amazon . com . by december 1999 , the company boasted 4 , 000 employees in 11 cities , its barking ceo park attracting all kinds of media attention . the company was set for an ipo in may 2000 . . . until april 14 , 2000 , the day the stock market took its first big dive , ending the internet era . by april 13 , 2001 , kozmo was out of money and ceased operations . unlike the earlier , similar documentary startup . com , which chronicled the rise and fall of another dot-com , govworks , e-dreams focuses both on its original founders , especially park , and on the common folks that ran the day-to-day operations . the contrast is amazing , showing how a cult persona can convince anyone that any idea is the next big thing . the film's director , wonsuk chin ( too tired to die ) , expertly juxtaposes upper management company meetings with on-the-spot interviews with the bike messengers , general managers , and floor staff that kept kozmo humming . the film's images give a backbone to the company and provide an emotional edge to its ultimate demise . the most satisfying part of the film comes in understanding , to a degree , the expectations of numerous ceos commanding these titanic-type businesses . in the film's final interviews with park , we learn what happens when the money dries up and backers don't return phone calls . in the end , the name of the game was profit , and if you couldn't make money , even the dreamers got the axe . screened at the 24th annual mill valley film festival . 
filmcritic . com presents a review from staff member norm schrager . you can find the review with full credits at http : //filmcritic . com/misc/emporium . nsf/2a460f93626cd4678625624c007f2b46/06577663ed95e8618825695d00660958 ? opendocument i'm usually a sucker for a disney movie . blessed art thou , screened at the boston film festival , is a disney movie of sorts , but this ain't no little mermaid . the only disney involved here is tim disney , writer/director of this tale of theology , faith , and the sexes . the plot alone could make his great uncle walt thaw out , and this live-action film as a whole is appealing , gentle , and hopeful , despite its weaknesses . at a quiet monastery on a vineyard , brother anselm ( m . e . hackett ) claims to have witnessed a true miracle . he purports to have seen the angel gabriel himself descend to earth and initiate a sort of " connection " with anselm , one that disney smartly keeps vague . there's further confusion in that disney actually shows us the encounter , a strangely homoerotic visual that might have worked well in a dream sequence in the village people's can't stop the music . toss in the brother's androgynous look , and blessed art thou is an exciting little mystery right from act one . the older , superior brothers ( played by a crew of character actors led by bernard hill , captain smith in titanic ) question anselm's reports . but then anselm's meeting with gabriel seems to motivate another , well , miracle . some reviewers have chosen to give this one away , but i do believe the plot point to be a spoiler , so i won't . it's enough to say that it tests the faith of every member of the small order , in one way or another , and creates infighting within the previously peaceful monastery . disney , working from a story by rachel ingalls , does a fine job giving the narrative its due time to evolve and develop , but the script peters out where it counts the most -- at the end . the big finale that we hope we'll get doesn't have the passion and humility of the rest of the film , and it wraps too abruptly . but disney's first effort ( he is credited , by the way , as a contributing writer to 1988's oliver and company ) is filled with pleasing details -- that of a monk's life , of the workings of a vineyard , of the conversations that emerge between two men who have different interpretations of faith . that kind of attention makes a small project like this an entertaining endeavor . ( perhaps the biggest kick i got out of a film with such a sweet religious bent was that it was playing two doors down from the exorcist . ) the director also works in an editorial of his own , commenting on the politics of such a place , where a person of free will may join for the love of god , but is given commands by a higher ranking human . visually , there is a strong connection through disney's lens between the cell of a monastery and a prison cell . but for all the heavy commentary , it's surprising how light and easy blessed art thou feels . depending upon your point-of-view , that could be a strength or a weakness , but at a minimum , i expected a bit more punch at the finish . the film doesn't necessarily demand your 90 minutes in a theater , but , for a thoughtful , eyebrow-raising story , it works . you may now return to associating the disney name with plush toys . 
moulin rouge ( 2001 ) nicole kidman , ewan mcgregor , john leguizamo , jim broadbent , richard roxburgh . cinematography by donald mcalpine . music by craig armstrong , marius de vries and steve hitchcock . screenplay by baz luhrmann and craig pearce . directed by baz luhrmann . 126 minutes . rated pg-13 , 4 stars ( out of five stars ) review by ed johnson-ott , nuvo newsweekly www . nuvo . net archive reviews at http : //reviews . imdb . com/reviewsby ? edward + johnson-ott to receive reviews by e-mail at no charge , send subscription requests to ejohnsonott@prodigy . net or e-mail ejohnsonott-subscribe@onelist . com with the word " subscribe " in the subject line . after the press screening of " moulin rouge , " i stood in the lobby of the theater listening to the reactions of my friends and colleagues . everyone seemed a bit numb , understandable after sitting through a barrage of often-incongruous sounds and images . a pal of mine simply said that he loved the film and could hardly wait to take his wife to see it . another enthusiast immediately began to analyze the production , while a woman who flat-out hated the movie gave him the skunk eye . when one fellow quietly stated " i've never really been a fan of musicals , " the statement surprised me because , even though the story is told almost completely through song , i didn't think of it as a musical . there is so much going on in " moulin rouge " that " musical " seems too small a term to cover it . " moulin rouge " is the kind of creation that sends critics scurrying off to the big tub o' adjectives in search of proper words to describe the experience . australian director baz luhrmann , the man behind " strictly ballroom " and " romeo + juliet , " fills the heads of viewers with unique camerawork , opulent imagery and songs ranging from " the sound of music " to " smells like teen spirit . " sumptuous and beautiful , vulgar and overdone , " moulin rogue " travels through the looking glass while an ethereal stereo loaded with 50 years worth of catchy tunes operates on the " random " setting . 
i seem to be in a minority of one , but chris tucker's outrageous mannerisms are beginning to grow on me . when he appeared in the fifth element as an over-the-top radio dj , my senses misfired : my brain wasn't properly able to compute what i was seeing until i relaxed and had a good time . the same thing applies to rush hour , a sprightly cop-buddy movie that works by being cheerful and engaging instead of cruel and mean-spirited . don't expect it to be an immortal piece of cinema , and you'll be fine . it is also the best of the jackie chan vehicles to be produced in english so far -- it outstrips mr . nice guy by a fair margin , since that movie was little more than a weak clothesline for various action pieces . rush hour is funner and more sustained , and puts chan up against someone who is a terrific foil . the plot is standard-issue . a chinese diplomat's daughter is kidnapped by a gang of criminals . the diplomat wants to enlist the help of lee , an old cop friend of his from pre-1998 hong kong days . the fbi refuses to allow this , so they have the lapd send over one of their own to " distract " him . carter ( tucker ) catches on fast to the sleazy runaround he's been given , and tells lee off : he doesn't want to babysit a cop ; he wants to go out there and find these slimeballs . funny thing is , lee feels the same way , and before you know it , they're up to their elbows in suspects and explosives . all of this is , of course , sustained and interleaved with tucker's wild-man motormouthing ( which gets funnier and funnier the more you watch it ) and jackie's typically remarkable stuntwork . what makes all of this stand out is primarily the tone and attitude . most movies in this genre tend to be cold-blooded and unpleasant ; this one's very much a romp , with good timing and pacing , and a lot of good laughs . i'm betting jackie himself is the main reason for that , since he's professed repeatedly that he wants to make more family-oriented movies rather than john woo-style blast-fests . barely anyone gets shot , and most of the martial-arts stunts are about timing , object juggling , or three stooges-style slapstick . ( there is one stunt involving an antique vase that's vintage jackie -- although the way the stunt climaxes is a bit of a cheat . ) there is also the byplay between chan and tucker , much of which seems improvised ( or at least minimally scripted ) . at one point during a stakeout , edwin starr's " war " comes on the radio , and jackie attempts to sing along -- only to have tucker coach him on how to sing with soul . in turn , jackie teaches tucker how to do the snatch-the-other-guy's-gun trick ( and the payoff for that gag is a howl ) . my main criterion for a comedy is simple : did i laugh ? i walked into rush hour in a terrible mood , and laughed all the way through . i don't think you can reasonably expect much more than that . 
starring antonio banderas and sir anthony hopkins . directed by martin campbell . running time : 2 hours 15 minutes swashbuckling adventure that can be enjoyed by both children and adults . steven spielberg may not have directed ( he only executive produced ) but his touch certainly is evident in this movie . and he knows a money making winner when he sees one . the mask of zorro has the hallmarks of a blockbuster : big action , funny comedy , and the pacing of a rollercoaster . hopkins plays don diego de la vega , otherwise known as zorro . a fighter for the people , he is eventually captured by don rafael montero ( stuart wilson ) , who also , unintentionally , kills his wife . the film cuts to twenty years later , where vega still wants to montero dead . however , he's far too old now , and trains up thief alejandro murrieta ( banderas ) to become the new zorro . banderas motive ? to avenge the death of his brother , who was killed at the hands of captain love ( matthew letscher ) who rather tastefully keeps the head in a jar , in one of the more graphic scenes in this family movie . with the scene set , the movie goes on full blast , with sword fights a-plenty and witty one liners . banderas and hopkins have a marvellous chemistry as the two zorro's , playing each other off with ease . hopkins seems to come off a little better , but banderas does some excellent work . as the bad guys , wilson and letscher seem one dimensional , but they go through the bad guy shtick in an above average way . the audience does hate them , which can't be bad . catherine zeta-jones also pops up as hopkins daughter , and although she provides little more than the usual female lead , she delivers a charming , but one note , performance . the chemistry is excellent between banderas and jones . there's a delightful little scene where banderas and jones have a sword fight , and every swipe an item of clothing gets slashed , until jones clothes fall off all together . the director , fresh from the enjoyable goldeneye ( 1995 ) handles the film perfectly . the action is well done and fast paced , the comedy put across well . the cast help a lot , but the direction is still outstanding . although the film is very long , the plot keeps chugging along , and there's barely a dull moment . however , the film is a little over indulgent , and it could have been trimmed . it manages to hold the attention , thankfully , and the adventure and charm holds right up to the last reel . screenwriters john eskow , ted elliot and terry rosio have unfortunately written an cliched and one dimensional script . although they've bought zorro up to date with big explosions and wild action , the plot itself is barely existent . there's lots of little sub plots hanging around , but there's nothing substantial to bring them all together . the main story seems to be the fact that rafael wants to 'buy' california using gold stolen from the guy he's buying the land off . this sets up for a temple of doom type plot where we see peasants slave driven into getting the gold from little mines . however , this doesn't seem to appear until nearly over a hour into the film , so the film is never quite sure where it's going . in the end however , zorro provides action and comedy in spades . it suitable for everyone , so put the guilt behind , and put some more money into spielbergs bank account . you won't regret it . 
in _daylight_ , sylvester stallone breaks no new ground , cinematically speaking , but he covers familiar territory quite well . yesterday , as i was going about my business in the university bookstore , i noticed this stand with these _daylight_ movie posters on it . i had never heard of the movie , so i stopped by to check it out . it turned out that they were giving away free passes to the movie for people who had or applied for the credit card they were offering . so , i shrugged , thought , " hey , they probably won't give me the card anyway , and i could always use a free movie , " so i signed up . all in all , i don't think i got that bad of a deal , either . rob cohen , who has previously brought us such films as _dragon : the bruce lee story_ and , more recently , _dragonheart_ ( gee , i wonder if he likes dragons for some reason ? you think ? ) , now brings us a very nicely executed disaster picture , with fx by industrial light and magic , about the after-effects of an explosion that collapses a busy tunnel between new york and new jersey . sylvester stallone plays kit latura , who is essentially a carbon copy of the character he played in _cliffhanger_ : a paramedic on the outs because he made a mistake that got people killed . when the crisis hits , he is in the right place at the right time and takes it upon himself to go in and get everybody out . there are other similarities to _cliffhanger_ , too ; perhaps the only real difference is that _cliffhanger_ had a villain , where _daylight_'s bad guy is mother nature . in fact , had the two movies been made in hong kong , this might have been titled _cliffhanger ii_--it bears the same relationship to that film that most hk film " sequels " do to their predecessors . the first half-hour of _daylight_ is setup . subplots are woven , and the mechanism of the disaster is assembled . we meet all the important people . . . toxic waste disposal truck drivers ; a young , frustrated , jilted , rejected playwright ; a family struggling to stay together ; an older couple and their dog ; a truckload of prisoners ; an ad agency executive ; a tunnel police officer ; stallone ; and others . we watch the trucks trundle toward their destination ; we watch stallone and so many others driving toward the tunnel for their various reasons . and then , thirty minutes into the film , _boom_ . and it's a big one . from there on in , it's sly stallone to the rescue . and rescue he does , enduring batterings , beatings , falls , repeated immersion in 34-degree water , explosions , mud , rats , and constant setbacks , before going on to save the day , sly-style . again . . . there's nothing new here . and yet there doesn't need to be . the fun of _daylight_ is not in the story but in the execution . the special-effects are first-rate , thanks to industrial light and magic , and the ensemble cast works well together . once the film hits its stride , it carries the viewer right along to the finish , with very few jars along the way . this review is copyright 1996 by christopher e . meadows . permission granted for distribution through rec . arts . movies . reviews and all associated archival . permission granted for free redistribution via cyberspace as long as this message remains attached . all other rights reserved to the author . -- chris meadows aka | author , team m . e . c . h . a . , crapshoot & co . robotech@jurai . net | with a world wide web homepage located at robotech@eyrie . org | http : //www . jurai . net/~robotech/index . html 
capsule : this is a harrowing look at a rarely dramatized chapter of wwii , life in a japanese prison camp . to end all wars is a moving film about the struggle of prisoners to retain their humanity and their dignity . the somewhat religious interpretation may not be to everyone's taste . rating : 9 ( 0 to 10 ) , + 3 ( -4 to + 4 ) more than any other people the japanese seem capable of acting with one goal and not letting any other consideration get in their way . this may be a holdover from the code of bushido when loyalty to ones master was the only law . during world war ii , of course , the one goal was winning the war . this led them to do some very inhuman things in pursuit of that goal . when the japanese had captured prisoners , they were very much treated in whatever way would be optimum for achieving the one goal . minimum resources were to be spent in maintaining prisoners in keeping with maximal positive output . while the germans , not known for their kindness in those days , had a 6% mortality rate among captured prisoners of war , the mortality rate of japanese prisoners of war was 27% . the best thing for the war effort was working prisoners nearly to death on the thailand to burma railroad . that railroad was needed if japan was to attack india as it planned to do . the best thing for the effort was not to waste much food on the prisoners so short and amazingly wretched food was the order of the day . and just being in the jungle without proper medical aid took its toll . in the public mind japan has never been held as accountable for war atrocities as was germany . filmmakers have been reticent to tell the story , perhaps for fear of offending the japanese . there are comparatively few films about the japanese pow camps . certainly there was david lean's the bridge on the river kwai . there were some low-budget british exploitation films and that was about it . then there were tv series " a town like alice " and " tenko . " lest the experience be forgotten we have a new film to end all wars directed by david cunningham and written by brian godawa . it is based on the account of ernest gordan who survived the horror of that world war ii prison camp and went on to become for 26 years the dean of the chapel at princeton university . the film while realistic shows the conditions in the camp as being considerably more brutal and sadistic than bridge on the river kwai portrayed them . the story opens with six or so soldiers being marched into the prison camp only to be immediately placed in front of a firing squad . it turns out to be a grim joke , one of many that the sadistic japanese play to amuse themselves . beating and torture are commonplace events . men already imprisoned tell the new arrivals to enjoy the last of their health ; it will not last long with parasites and disease almost inevitable . however , unlike as in kwai , the prisoners want to avoid going to the hospital , called by the prisoners the death house . so goes a war within a war with the prisoners trying to maintain their humanity and with the japanese trying to make them interchangeable and highly expendable cogs in a rail-laying machine . this is more than just a battle of who will win the war but a battle of ideologies . the japanese believe that the individual is nothing , that conformity to group's norms is all that gives a life meaning . conformity is purpose . before the film is over there will be some surprising revelations about the character of the prisoners and the character of those running the camp . if this story showed nothing but sadism from the japanese it would be one kind of story . if the british ( with one american , by the way ) and the japanese learned to respect each other it would be another kind of story . it is neither . it is a stirring and believable account of camp life . the color has been distorted in the film to give a washed out yellow . this serves a double purpose for cunningham . it gives an effect of technicolor film that has been left in heat . it also creates a distancing effect . the only touch that seems a little out of place is the use of gaelic music . this is a powerful and philosophical view of the prison camp experience . i rate it a 9 on the 0 to 10 scale and a + 3 on the -4 to + 4 scale . 
starring : anthony hopkins , alec baldwin , harold perrineau , elle macphersoni swear i have seen the edge before . in fact , it reminded me of the bear , the river wild , and other various films mixed into an entirely different film . however , the edge has done something that most action films should do , and that is add heart and characters we like to the plot . in doing so , the edge draws many more suspenseful moments out of cliched scenes than , say , the peacemaker . unfortunately , because of those overused moments , we can pretty much guess the outcome of the film . but leave it to screenwriter david mamet to add humor and a few surprises to mess with your head . one surprise , in particular , left me smiling just because mamet actually had the guts to add it to his script . action films are a dime a dozen in hollywood , and while they are somewhat successful at entertaining us , they lack the one thing which would make them a more respected genre : intelligence . even horror films have learned this , a genre which is probably the least respected of them all . the river wild was one of the best action/suspense films i have seen from the 90s . the intelligence of the screenplay , and the suspense drawn from the realistic characters is nearly unmatched to this day . the edge has the intelligence and smart characters , but this time the lack of originality is the downfall . i must admit that it was very suspenseful , and had an original third half , but the first hour and a half is riddled with cliches and plot holes . this is an example of the final act saving the film , instead of the other way around ( as in the lost world ) . if only the screenplay had maintained the final thirty minutes' intensity , it could have become a great action film ( and i use the term loosely ) . the edge is pretty much a survival-of-the-fittest film . but taking scream's lead , the edge makes fun of the genre's cliches , and then uses them ( though not quite as effectively ) . charles morse ( anthony hopkins ) is the main character , a rich and very intelligent man who wonders what the accumulation of all this knowledge has brought to him . for once , we don't immediately care for the main character . instead , we like bob ( alec baldwin ) , a photographer who is going to take pictures of charles' wife , mickey ( elle macpherson ) , out in the wilderness . they board a plane and head to a cabin somewhere in the arctic . charles' birthday is the same day , and he receives a gold watch from his wife , and a pocket knife from bob . as action films go , these items do have importance to the rest of the story , but quite a bit more than we first expect . soon , however , bob wants to find a native to shoot pictures of because of his " personality . " charles , bob , bob's assistant steve ( harold perrineau ) , and the pilot head off to find him , and as shown in the previews , hit a flock of birds flying south for the winter . down the plane goes , the pilot is killed , and the three are left to survive in the wilderness . director lee tamahori is aware of the silly plot which is about to follow , and therefore has to create original ways to approach the situations . he succeeds often enough for us to enjoy the film . take , for instance , the entire man-hunting bear plot . this has been done many times in films with different animals , and even bears . but given the charles' intelligence , and bob's uncertainty , many of the cliches are given fresh twists . even charles himself seems to have seen these action films before . my favorite line of the film comes from charles : " most people die in the wilderness because they didn't do the one thing that could save their life . . . thinking . " despite the predictability of the main plot , a subplot develops late in the film which took me by surprise , and made me smile when i realized that everything isn't as it seems anymore . i have to write cautiously as to not reveal this surprise , so instead i will avoid it entirely . the first two-thirds of the edge have many humorous moments to push it along , and some of charles' survival techniques seem possible , even making fire from ice . tamahori is able to create a lot of suspense from the stalking bear , but whenever the bear is present , the characters lose all sensibility . i have always wondered why characters in films walk over a log to get across water . why not do what an intelligent person would and crawl across ? i guess getting chased by a bear makes your thought process turn off for a while . thankfully , we already have begun to care for the characters , and so we let this small detail slide . but some of the technical details are awkward , such as the nice stitching done on the fur coat that charles and bob make ( where did they get thread and needles ? ) . the acting of the film is highly above average for a film of this nature , and borders on phenomenal . anthony hopkins gives a terrific performance , creating his most likeable and layered character since remains of the day . hopkins usually brings greatness to his roles , but here he exceeds at gaining the audiences' sympathy , something he definitely did not do in silence of the lambs . alec baldwin gives one of his best performances i have ever seen ( it sure is better from his fair game ) . baldwin can be a good or a bad character , and here he succeeds at both in a way . you can never quite guess if he is a nice or a vllainous character until the end , and baldwin is able to handle the double-natured photographer . elle macpherson gives a good performance , albeit slight . she isn't in the film all that much , but for the scenes she does have , she handles as an actress , not as a model . harold perrineau is a good actor , and his scenes are nice and underplayed . he is eliminated early , and i reveal nothing by saying this because it is inevitable and predictable . the edge is rated r for graphic violence , some gore , and language . some of the violence is a little too disturbing , even for me . this film is a nice change from the mindless action most of us are used to , but too many cliches bog it down . director tamahori has created a very smooth and suspenseful action film out of recycled parts . david mamet's script , though , has a lot of humor to keep the first hour afloat , and the acting is solid . the best thing about the script is the ending which doesn't end with the normal high-strung action sequence , but with a small detail involving a certain gift . it's a nice touch considering what we have had to go through with the bear . and by the way , most people laughed when the film faded to black due to a large credit to bart the bear . way to go , bart . reviewed by respect ( respect@aros . net ) http : //www . aros . net/~respect/movies . html 
 truman ( " true-man " ) burbank is the perfect name for jim carrey's character in this film . president truman was an unassuming man who became known worldwide , in spite of ( or was it because of ) his stature . " truman " also recalls an era of plenty following a grim war , an era when planned communities built by government scientists promised an idyllic life for americans . and burbank , california , brings to mind the tonight show and the home of nbc . if hollywood is the center of the film world , burbank is , or was , the center of tv's world , the world where our protagonist lives . combine all these names and concepts into " truman burbank , " and you get something that well describes him and his artificial world . truman leads the perfect life . his town , his car , and his wife are picture perfect . his idea of reality comes under attack one day when a studio light falls from the sky . the radio explains that an overflying airplane started coming apart . . . but then why would an airplane be carrying a studio light ? the next day during the drive to work , the radio jams and he starts picking up a voice that exactly describes his movements . he is so distracted that he nearly hits a pedestrian . when the radio comes back to normal , the announcer warns listeners to drive carefully . his suspicion aroused , he wanders around the town square looking for other oddities . the world appears to be functioning properly until he enters an office building and tries to take the elevator . the elevator doors open up on a small lounge with people on coffee breaks . a grip sees truman him and quickly moves a paneled door , made to look like the back of an elevator , into place . two security guards grab him and throw him out . truman is really suspicious now . it gets even worse the next day when his wife , a nurse , describes an elevator accident in the building where he saw the lounge . " it's best not to think about it , " she says , trying vainly to change truman's memory . truman becomes determined to see who or what is behind this apparently elaborate hoax at his expense . at every turn he is stopped by an amazing coincidence that just happens to keep him in his own little town . his last hope is to quell his fear of the ocean and sail to the edge of the world . you know by now that truman's life is the subject of a television program . his actions are " real " but everything else is carefully scripted , from the death of his father to the choice of his wife . truman is determined to find out what the big hoax is . meanwhile , christof , the all-seeing creator of truman's world does his best to keep him unaware and happy . it's sort of like westworld told from the robots' point of view , or jurassic park from the dinosaurs' point of view . we root for the captive of the cage-world . our protagonist is counting on " chaos theory " to help him escape his elaborate trap . the story , written by andrew niccol ( writer/director of gattaca ) , introduces some interesting questions , such as the ethics of subjecting a person to this type of life , or the psychological impact of learning that your entire life has all been fake . although these questions came to mind , i don't think the film itself asked them . it certainly didn't address them or try to answer them . i was particularly disappointed that the film didn't deal more with the trauma of learning one's life is a tv show . carrey's performance at the end showed a smidgen of truman's pain , but i almost felt that he got over it too easily for the sake of the film's pacing . earlier in the movie i found myself wondering if it would be better for truman to find out the truth or whether i should root for him to be well . the two seemed exclusive of one another , but weir and niccol didn't see it that way . perhaps it's not fair to criticize a movie for what it isn't , but it seems like there were some missed opportunities here . but on its own terms , the movie is well made . sight , sound and pacing are all handled competently . much of the first part of the movie is the truman show . the scenes are all apparently shot from hidden cameras , with snoots and obstructions covering the corners of the screen . one hidden camera is apparently in his car radio , the green led numbers obscuring the lower part of the screen . the music is well-chosen and scored . the film opens with what sounds like family drama theme music , when truman's world is still beautiful and perfect . when the movie ends , the score sounds more like a frantic , driven , tangerine dream opus , while still keeping the same timbre . philip glass' epic music ( from powaqqatsi ) permeates truman's scenes of suspicion and awakening . ( glass has a small cameo as a keyboardist for the show . ) and the pacing of the story was brisk . there was no unnecessarily long setup explaining the concept behind the truman show , just a few quick title cards , a few interviews , and then right into the show , and the movie . one of the first scenes is of the studio light falling ; there was no token scene of truman's idyllic life before it falls apart , because it wasn't necessary , we pick up the story at the first sign of trouble , and no sooner . there's also no point in the movie where the plot slows down . it's a quick , straight shot to the movie's end . in terms of overall quality , i would compare the truman show to niccol's gattaca . both films are well made with interesting stories set in interesting worlds . but neither film really felt like it capitalized on all the great ideas ; neither film " clicked " and became an instant classic . nevertheless , i look forward to niccol's next film , whatever it may be . check out more current movie reviews at http : //www . indra . com/~mmapes/ 
the police negotiator is the person with the entirely unenviable job of going into ground zero and attempting to talk a dangerous criminal out of doing whatever he or she intends to do . lives are often at stake , and the criminal is usually armed and most likely mentally unstable , prone to turn on the negotiator at a moment's notice . the negotiator must therefore be something of an actor , psychologist , and sham artist , in addition to being a police officer ; he must be able to think on his feet and either work toward the goal of ending the confrontation without violence , or failing that , must be prepared to facilitate the conclusion of the crisis through firepower . most of all , the negotiator must be able to enter a situation with as little intelligence about the scenario as possible , and quickly gain control of the situation , dominate the conversation , and influence the perpetrator into thinking that the end of the conflict is what he really wants . it takes a pretty smart person to do that . but what if the hostage-holding criminal is just as smart ? what if he's also able to think on his feet ? in fact , what if he also knows all the tricks to turning the situation to his favor ? it is this circumstance which forms the basis for f . gary gray's the negotiator . in this film , police negotiator danny roman ( samuel l . jackson ) is tipped off by his partner to corruption within the chicago police force . when his partner turns up shot to death and internal affairs finds incriminating evidence in roman's home , roman becomes the prime suspect of both embezzling from the police disability fund and murder . faced with the scorn of most of the police department , and under close scrutiny by the media , roman is forced to turn in his badge in one of those typical scenes in the captain's office . i don't quite remember if the captain actually said , " i hate to do this , but . . . " , although it wouldn't surprise me if he did . luckily , the film soon shakes off the conventionalism and concentrates on the interesting premise mentioned above . after being offered a take-it-or-leave-it deal by the district attorney , roman resolves to prove his innocence by walking into the office of internal affairs inspector niebaum ( j . t . walsh ) , taking him and others hostage , and proclaiming he has been framed . although roman's actions seem forced due to the compressed nature of his motivational build-up , gray redeems himself by involving us with the negotiations between roman and fellow police negotiator chris sabian ( kevin spacey ) which soon ensue . jackson , while a superb actor , is miscast in the role of roman . the actor has become so popular , and so often identified as a protagonist ( notable exceptions can be found , such as in jackie brown ) , that we as an audience have a difficult time believing he will carry out his threats . the script also clearly sets him up as the good guy who is only trying to prove his innocence . how can we believe he's going to shoot a hostage , no matter if the hostage tried to kill him earlier ? unfortunately , this preconception saps the film of some of it's would-be suspenseful moments , and anything good left in those scenes is largely attributed to jackson's acting ability . almost every time he's in a scene , jackson steals it without looking back . when spacey appears , the film has already run about a third of its course . his is an interesting character . made out to be some kind of negotiating superman , our first look at him has him hopelessly trying to get his family moving to set out on vacation . " i can talk a man out of blowing up the sears tower , but i can't talk my wife out of the bedroom or my daughter off the phone , " he says . when he gets the call to action , however , he quickly changes gears and becomes the man we expect him to be . soon , his character has to negotiate not only with roman , but also with the swat commander ( david morse ) who is itching to send in a team to take roman out , all the while keeping wary of the fbi agents who are waiting to take over the operation , should negotiations fail . this complex set of pressures are reflected well in sabian the negotiator and spacey the actor . as the second protagonist , spacey measures up nicely . gray really lucked out with this cast . david morse as commander beck , ron rifkin as commander frost , and john spencer as police chief al travis are all more than competent , and can hold their own in scenes with jackson and spacey . the only problem is the bit of typecasting that results from these choices : morse played a similar role in the rock , rifkin played the d . a . in l . a . confidential , and spencer played a police detective in cop land . with the level of acting , however , this can be forgiven . also in the supporting cast , paul giamatti as rudy , one of the hostages , is notable for the comic relief he provides . his character is initially so slimy , and giamatti himself just looks so shifty , that you expect to laugh before he even says anything . fortunately , this doesn't distract from the seriousness of the rest of the film , but instead provides some nice breathers from the level of tension which gray manages to sustain throughout . j . t . walsh , as the suspicious internal affairs inspector , clocks in with one of his final performances . sadly , the talented but underrated actor passed away in late february of this year , and the soon to be released pleasantville will mark his last film . walsh appeared in dozens of movies such as good morning vietnam , backdraft , and nixon . for one of his best performances , check out sling blade , in which he plays a mental patient sharing a ward with billy bob thornton . when jack nicholson accepted his best actor oscar in march , walsh was one of the men to whom he credited his success ( the actors performed together in a few good men ) . the negotiator is actually dedicated to walsh , and while inspector niebaum may not have been his best role , it certainly characterizes the type of character for which walsh had become most famous for playing . in the end , the negotiator has a plotline that parallels it's reality . we're served with the premise that two equally deft negotiators are battling each other to resolve the conflict in the manner which will suit each of them best . as an audience , we're also given a situation where two wonderfully talented actors are thrown into a movie , and we'd like to see if one will dominate the film . both provide some pretty good entertainment . 
conflict is overrated . too many screenwriters who have based their work on the numerous books that teach you how to write a screenplay step by step feel the need to inject conflict at every possible moment . at first sight is a good example of this . there are so many things about this film that work so well , but at times the forced conflict is so embarrasingly mindless it made me cringe . at first sight is based on a story by oliver sacks about restored sight . in the film , val kilmer plays virgil adamson , a man who has been blind since he was 3 . he works as a masseuse at a vacation resort . this is where he bumps into architect amy benic ( sorvino ) . these early scenes between them are nothing short of fantastic . kilmer and sorvino have a dynamic chemistry , and the film could've simply focused on their romance the entire running time and be successful . but i know that's not the only story irwin winkler wants to tell . this film is also about how a blind man copes with restored sight . there is nothing wrong with this , considering the early scenes here are also quite effective . bruce davison is a doctor who performs a surgery to help virgil restore his sight . virgil's first moments of sight are very frightening , since has has no idea what exactly he is looking at . the moments of this story i enjoyed most dealt with virgil attempting to make sense of what he is seeing . for example , he knows what an apple looks like , but he can't tell the difference between a real apple and a picture of an apple . virgil is aided by visual therapist phil webster ( nathan lane ) . lane's performance is very good , but i wish there was more of his character here . i would've preferred more scenes of human interaction and therapy between virgil and phil than dull lectures from bruce davison's character . but that's only a minor problem . the film's two biggest flaws are the introduction of two minor characters that didn't need to be in this story . steven webber plays sorvino's ex-husband and boss . first of all , it's hard to beleive these two were ever married , and it's even harder to beleive that their breakup wouldve been amicable enough for her to still want to work for him . but conflict is necessary says these screenwriting books , and the screenplay makes the major mistake of presenting webber's character as a threat to virgil and amy's romance . this guy is the most pathetic and pointless character since john pankow in the object of my affection . any scene he is in shakes the credibility of the entire film . another misconceived character comes in the form of virgil's father . he left virgil many years ago when he couldn't find a cure for his blindness . when he learns of virgil's restored sight , he tries to arrange a meeting between them . i don't care about this . the father is a throwaway character who we only see in two scenes , but the film asks us to find the scene between them touching and sad . it's just a mindless way to inject more conflict for virgil than was necessary . instead , why couldn't the film give a better subplot for virgil's sister ( very well played by kelly mcgillis ) ? . she has seemingly devoted her entire life to taking care of virgil , so why not show scenes where she wonders about her future without virgil ? now that he's with amy , she no longer has anyone to come home to and take care of . scenes like this would've been more touching than a lame father- son reunion . the film does hint at this once , but it's quickly abandoned . yet once again this year , i enjoyed a film despite the appearance of several major flaws . if the allure of the friday night lights propelled varsity blues past it's flaws , then what works here is the powerful romance between virgil and amy . mira sorvino is a terrific actress , and this performance is among her best . she has a natural ability to show how much she cares for someone without even having to say a word . val kilmer abandons his usual brooding , egotistical style of performance and instead creates a character that he actually seems to care about . virgil is sweet , funny , smart , and even infuriating . kilmer is able to bring out all these traits perfectly , which is certainly more impressive than the simple technical task of looking like a blind person . together , they have immense chemistry and are able to carry the entire film past even it's most gaping of flaws . 
 1998 , r , 170 minutes [2 hours , 50 minutes]starring : tom hanks ( captain miller ) ; tom sizemore ( sergeant horvath ) , edward burns ( private reiben ) , jeremy davies ( corporal upham ) ; written by robert rodat ; produced by ian bryce , mark gordon , gary levinsohn ; steven spielberg ; directed by steven spielberg . seen august 8 , 1998 at 6 p . m . at rotterdam square cinemas ( rotterdam , ny ) , theater #6 , by myself for free using my sony/loews critic's pass . [theater rating : * * * : good seats , sound , and picture] war is a topic that can't help but be glorified any way it is portrayed by the media . movies , documentaries , and even history books have a way of making the darker side of humanity exciting since the most general aspects are focused on , such as strategy , politics , and victory . it's easy to forget war , in its most basic form , is a battle of armies out to slaughter each other . forgotten more easily is the fact that each soldier , no matter what his rank or importance , is a real flesh-and-blood person and not just a number . " saving private ryan " is one of the few films that dares play up this aspect , especially in its unapologetic , realistic delivery . it proves there's a huge difference between battling and killing . the film opens with one of the most graphic , disturbing scenes in recent memory . it's world war ii , d-day to be exact , and the u . s . military is invading omaha beach where the nazis are more than ready for them . spielberg uses many techniques to create for a total sense of reality . instead of positioned cameras , the footage here seems to have been shot by camera operators running alongside soldiers as if they were just as scared . there is no sense of stability , but of constant , anxious , and confusing motion , giving us the feeling of being in the middle of the battle , and just a vulnerable as the poor troops . " poor " is a proper word to describe how pathetic and yet innocent the men fighting are . there is little to no dialogue throughout the loud battle and no prologue to define any characters . we don't get the feeling these are handsome actors playing heroic roles , but that these are men about to kill and be killed for reasons beyond their understanding . the nazis are not portrayed as enemies to be hated , but as people that must be destroyed because they're there . in the movies , the good guys can run through a firestorm of bullets and bombs and not get a scratch , but in reality that wouldn't happen . the men have nothing to shield or protect them besides some metal flanks and dead bodies . they are sitting ducks and we realize this through the perspective of the well-secured germans who can actually see who , what , and where they're shooting , unlike the americans who must fire in a general direction to avoid getting their heads blown off . perhaps the film is flawed by not providing any backstory on the war itself and who the men really are , but that seems to be part of the theme . the film seems to rely on the audience's sense of patriotism , that the american military is " right " and good and that the nazis are " inherently evil . " the battle scene eventually focuses on a group of men who have miraculously survived and made their way close to the enemy stronghold ( a whole 50-foot progression ) , and begin to inflict some damage . i have to admit that once the first glimpse of victory over the nazis sprang up , i couldn't help but feel some sense of joy and relief . to triumph against all odds is a cliche to be sure , but there's nothing cliche about the graphic , detailed , atmosphere here because it really happened . one of the most surprising aspects of the film is how little story construction there is , and yet the events that take place make sense and are interesting . the plot is practically irrelevant since the film is more concerned with the reality of the war and the soldiers we meet . tom hanks stars as captain miller , a relatively average man who happens to be the leader of a platoon . he's never obsessive or any such generic , cartoonish characteristic that might dominate a character like this . he doesn't want to be there any more than his men , but when he is given a mission he intends to carry it out . the mission the film is concerned with is , as the title states , saving private ryan . through a series of command started by an ordinary clerical worker , it is brought to a general's attention that three brothers from iowa have been killed in action and their mother will receive notices of each's death simultaneously . when they learn a fourth brother is stationed somewhere in europe , they make it a top priority to have him returned safely to his mother . it's easy to sympathize with this situation , after all , no one should have to lose all their children at once . but finding one man in this war is , as miller puts it , " like trying to find a needle in a stack of needles . " the saving of private ryan isn't just a dramatic device , but a thematic one . his salvation represents the sense of innocence the country , the world even , was trying to convince itself it still had . when miller's company hears of the mission , they scoff at the idea assuming he is dead , but miller isn't so quick to shrug it off . he knows the only thing that can really save soldiers from death is hope , and now he has the opportunity to make someone's sense of hope a reality . the mission to find ryan gives miller's group a destination , but not direction . along the way many things happen to them , both good and bad . a few battles are fought , not to be major accomplishments for the war , but because they encounter german soldiers and have no other choice . the act of killing itself becomes one of the film's major philosophical metaphors . the soldiers don't mind killing other soldiers in blind battle , but when they come across a lone survivor who begs them to let him go , they can barely stop themselves from killing him in cold blood as some kind of vengeance for their losses . unfortunately , death is a fact of war , and most films try to avoid it when it comes to the main characters , but here spielberg doesn't want us to think these men are invincible . in fact , only a small amount of color and personality is sketched into each man , and the performances are good enough to make this method work . although the characters are somewhat typical , the actors maintain control over the material at all time . whether they're arguing with each other , telling stories of back home , or fighting the germans , they never go overboard and always seem believable . sure , there's a zinger here and there , but war doesn't change the fact boys will be boys . if and when one dies we too can feel the loss , even though we hardly knew them . the final act brings the story full circle with another tremendous , violent battle sequence . private ryan has been found , but facing four to one odds , can the americans defeat the germans and keep ryan alive ? that's not a premise for thrills , it's symbolic of everything the film has worked for . it would be wrong to say the film has either a happy or sad ending , it ends the way it must end . i remember reading a " calvin & hobbes " comic strip where calvin asked his dad something like , " dad , how do armies of men killing each other solve problems ? " " saving private ryan " is the adult version of that question . please visit chad'z movie page at : http : //members . aol . com/chadpolenz - over 200 new and old films reviewed in depth , not just blind ratings and quick capsules . 
disaster films have a tendency to be very formulated and very cliched . to see a disaster film with actual originality , or at least a decent plot twist , would definitely be a welcome surprise . unfortunately , folks , it's not likely . dante's peak is cliched , and at times corny , but also pretty decent . to be honest , i wasn't very interested in seeing this film , and word of mouth , as well as several reviews , didn't make it sound promising . so i was pleasantly surprised that to find that this movie wasn't bad at all . it's pretty run of the mill , but it's not something i would say is merely " ok " to watch . in case you don't know , dante's peak is about a volcano and the city which lives in it's shadow , dante's peak ( who would've guessed , eh ? ) . pierce brosnan plays the volcanologist sent to study the volcano and , perhaps more by hunch than actual scientific proof , is determined that the volcano will be arupting in the very near future . due to the lack of more substantial evidence , nobody warns the small town , and when they finally do , it's in the middle of the town meeting that the volcano finally blows . brosnan , all around good guy , will , of course , save the day . . . or at least the mayor of dante's peak ( linda hamilton ) . naturally the two will become infatuated with one another . ( if you think i just ruined a plot development , you haven't seen very many movies ! ) there's also the virtually neccessary kids and pet dog to tug at your heart strings . and of course , the kids or the dog ( at least one or the other ) will do something heroic . . . but hey , i don't want to ruin all the surprises ! if there was a part of you that was hesitating seeing dante's peak merely because it was rumored to be a waste of time , i urge you to watch it and decide for yourself . it's not brain food , but it succeeds at what it's meant to be . . . an enjoyable , suspenseful movie about the fury mother nature can unleash ! 
united kingdom/united states , 1997 u . s . release date : 12/25/97 ( limited ) running length : 1 : 50 mpaa classification : r ( profanity , mature themes , brief nudity ) theatrical aspect ratio : 1 . 85 : 1 cast : phylida law , emma thompson , gary hollywood , arlene cockburn , sheila reid , sandra voe , douglas murphy , sean biggerstaff director : alan rickman producers : ken lipper , edward r . pressman , steve clark-hall screenplay : sharman macdonald and alan rickman cinematography : seamus mcgarvey music : michael kamen u . s . distributor : fine line features anyone who saw alan rickman's finely-realized performances in truly madly deeply and sense and sensibility will be unsurprised that the actor-turned-director is a bit of a poet at heart . however , for those who recall him only as the maniacal villain of die hard and robin hood : prince of thieves , this recognition may be something of a shock . nevertheless , " poetic " is an excellent term to describe rickman's feature debut as a director , the winter guest . the film has a simple , unhurried rhythm that uses all of the available elements to fashion a successful whole . the result is an occasionally haunting , sometimes magical , and always insightful human drama . the winter guest isn't about resolving plot threads and advancing a story line ; it's about exploring relationships and examining life in all of its stages . the winter guest does not tell a traditional tale , nor does it ascribe to a conventional narrative structure – there is no real beginning or end . instead , we are given an opportunity to observe one day in the lives of eight humans . they represent both sexes , multiple generations , and a variety of relationships – male and female ; young , middle-aged , and elderly ; friends , would-be lovers , and kin . we see expectations fulfilled and disappointed , emotional boundaries eroded , and truths unveiled . there is comedy and tragedy . most importantly , much of what transpires during the course of the winter guest will find an echo in our own lives – in this fiction can be found much truth . the setting is small town in scotland on the coldest day of the year . it's so frigid that the sea has begun to freeze over . the onshore wind cuts like a knife and snow blankets the beach , giving the terrain an alien appearance . it is against this backdrop that the relationships of the film are captured . there are four pairings , and , although there is some interaction between the different twosomes , the winter guest's focus is on the dynamics internal to each relationship . the first , meatiest pairing is that of elspeth ( phylida law ) and her recently-widowed daughter , frances ( emma thompson ) . these two have a stormy relationship . they love each other deeply , but both are stubborn and willful , and neither is willing to admit that they need the other . much of their interaction is argumentative , but , during the course of a long walk to the frozen shoreline , they come to an unspoken understanding of how much each means to the other . frances' adult son , alex ( gary hollywood ) , is a lonely young man who has been caring for his mother since the death of his father . on this day , he meets a girl , nita ( arlene cockburn ) , who has secretly been spying on him for weeks . although their first encounter is antagonistic ( she throws a snowball at him ) , both quickly become aware of an undeniable attraction . once they retire to a place where they can be alone , however , things don't go exactly as planned . lily ( sheila reid ) and chloe ( sandra voe ) are a couple of old friends who are frequent funeral attendees . death is a topic of endless fascination for them , perhaps because they are so close to it , and they spend their spare time scanning the obituaries , looking for the next funeral or cremation in the area . it doesn't matter whether or not they knew the deceased . it's the ceremony that they're interested in . sam ( douglas murphy ) and tom ( sean biggerstaff ) , a pair of schoolboy chums , are spending this cold february day cutting classes and hanging out at the beach , horsing around , building a small fire for warmth , and walking on the frozen water . unlike lily and chloe , these two have their entire lives ahead of them . they are young enough to still believe in magic , but old enough to recognize that the process of crossing into adulthood robs life of the simple joy that only children can experience . the acting is strong and believable . the mixture of veteran performers and first-timers is effective , with the most successful choice being the casting of real-life mother and daughter phylida law and emma thompson in the most prominent roles . there is a chemistry in their interaction that would be hard to replicate with two different , non-related actors . and , of course , the physical resemblance makes it that much easier to accept elspeth and frances as parent and child . the winter guest began its life as a stage play in 1995 , with rickman as the director . four of the film's principals , phylida law , arlene cockburn , sheila reid , and sandra voe , appeared in the theatrical version before moving to the film . unlike several recent motion pictures adapted from plays , the winter guest has been successfully opened up . the rough , bleak scottish countryside becomes as much of a character as any of the eight humans . in fact , considering how important the climate is to every relationship under rickman's microscope , it could be argued that this is the single most important element of the movie . if you appreciate character studies , the winter guest is a solid effort with enough power to stay with you after you have left the theater . 
gramercy / 1 : 50 / 1998 / r ( violence , language , glimpses of nudity , drug use ) cast : jeff bridges ; john goodman ; julianne moore ; steve buscemi ; david huddleston ; peter stormare ; tara reid ; philip seymour hoffman ; flea ; john turturro ; sam elliott director : joel coen screenplay : ethan coen ; joel coen you know you're in for a truly different cinematic experience the moment you realize steve buscemi has been cast as the movie in question's most normal character . such is the case with " the big lebowski , " joel and ethan coen's first venture since their " fargo " nabbed nationwide acclaim and a mantlepiece of academy award nods . there's no need to fear that the coens suffered creative burnout with that accomplishment , because " lebowski " is an effort that makes words like " strange " and " unusual " seem like an understatement . thanks in part to delicious characterization and an all-encompassing sense of humor , the film is a smashing success . the central oddball here is the dude ( jeff bridges ) , an unemployed cad whose ambitions appear to be zilch beyond smoking pot , drinking beer and going bowling ( are you college students already rooting for him , or what ? ) . one night , a pair of thugs break into his house and pee on his carpet , a threatening act that's supposed to be carried out against a famous pasadena millionaire ( david huddleston ) who shares his birth name -- jeff lebowski -- with the dude . once the dude realizes this coincidence , he visits the big lebowski in hopes to claim reparations for his soiled rug , and is back to his normal life with alley pals walter ( john goodman ) , a hotheaded vietnam vet , and donny ( buscemi ) , a mild-mannered surfer , before too long . soon , though , lebowski's trampy trophy wife bunny ( tara reid ) is kidnaped and held for a hefty ransom , and he turns to the dude for help . it seems bunny's troubles are related to a line of work she's kept secret from her husband -- she's actually an adult film star and is very in debt with a shady producer named jackie treehorn . the dude , now on lebowski's payroll , accepts the offer and agrees to handle the money drop ; walter tags along and insists that the dude keep the cash for himself . chaos obviously ensues , and the dude eventually finds himself in hot water with cops , crooks and lebowski's ultra-eccentric artist daughter maude ( julianne moore ) . " the big lebowski " deserves to win the coens the same amount of acclaim that " fargo " did ; while that 1996 black comedy was certainly a better film , " lebowski " is at least as breathtakingly imaginative . the movie boasts a mile-high absurdity level that sometimes threatens to topple over , but thankfully never does . the coens ( joel directed , ethan produced and both wrote ) keep you in stitches as they unravel their exceedingly loopy tale , and must be commended for juggling a number of people and subplots one would expect to find in a robert altman flick . whether we're watching bridges fend off a marmet in his bathtub or moore don viking duds and dance in a busby berkeley-esque dream sequence , " the big lebowski " is immensely lively . there are those who will dislike this film , but not because it's boring . the cast has a great deal of fun with the bounteous material they're given . bridges exudes a likeable , surprisingly sweet presence ; his dude sure isn't the cleanest guy around , but you'd still follow him to another movie . goodman merits 1998's first oscar consideration , as walter's manic temper is one of " the big lebowski " 's many highlights ; the same goes for moore , whose throaty , delectable performance as maude is a hilarious hoot . john turturro may very well steal the movie with his two scenes as a colorful bowler from a rival faction . sam elliott's rambling narration gets the film off to a solid start . and some will recognize peter stormare -- " fargo " 's silent heavy -- as carl hungus , a porn star who's really a samurai sword-wielding german nihilist and has-been pop star . only in its final third does the movie falter , with a couple of loose plot threads and some cast members who quickly disappear and never emerge for a curtain call . these flaws are forgivable , though -- the coens have crafted a tale so rich with personality that it's hard to look at the final product with anything but a big grin on your face . without a doubt , " the big lebowski " is the best film so far this year . sure , we're only three months in and the competition ( " deep rising , " " desperate measures , " " the wedding singer , " etc . ) has been pretty bland , but it's still the gospel truth . maybe during next awards season , " lebowski " won't be a far cry from " fargo . " © 1998 jamie peck e-mail : jpeck1@gl . umbc . edu visit the reel deal online : http : //www . gl . umbc . edu/~jpeck1/ 
scream 2  directed by wes craven . written by kevin williamson . starring neve campbell , courtney cox , david arquette . only a year after the initial release of " scream , " the horror send-up from veteran horror director wes craven and screenwriter kevin williamson that seemed to breathe new life into the slasher genre , the inevitable sequel " scream 2 " has arrived in our theaters . while the tongue-in-cheek , parodic element is still noticeable in this film , it's really a sideshow to a broader commentary on violence and the media and a more conventional horror story . the first film , while often violent and gruesome , was mostly lacking in genuine scares because almost every scene was played for camp value and the discussion of the quirks and cliches of horror movies was nearly constant . the premise of " scream 2 " is that a series of copycat killings begin when a movie called " stab , " based on a book written by opportunistic reporter gail weathers ( courtney cox ) about the events in " scream , " is released and two audience members are killed during the opening screening . i had heard about this scene before i went to see the film and was surprised to find this sequence largely lacking in camp comedy . its conclusion , in which a bleeding , wounded woman stumbles in front of the screen and dies in front of an audience that cheers on because they think it's a publicity stunt , is more surreal and disturbing than anything else . the satire in " scream 2 " thus takes on a broad focus and gradually evolves into an exploration of media perceptions in general . although resident horror film geek randy ( jamie kennedy ) is back with fresh dialogue about sequels ( and , interestingly enough , how they are usually inferior to their predecessors ) , the characters in this movie are drawing from other entries in the pop culture encyclopedia as well . everything from " friends " and " saved by the bell " to " showgirls " and " terminator 2 " is referenced here ; horror is only one of many genres available for lampooning , and there aren't any " wes carpenter " jokes this time . more importantly , this film portrays characters willing to go to disturbing lengths for media attention as well as characters whose perceptions have clearly been warped by what they have seen on tv and film . the killings are clearly an imitation of the previous murders from " scream " ( in fact , the culprit even plans to use the influence of horror movies as a courtroom defense ) , weathers exploits the situation for her own notoriety , and one man seems willing to save the heroine's life only if it will earn him an interview on the today show . understandably , " scream 2 " does not go so far as to actually blame the movies , but rather shows that those who do imitate horror movies are already sick and twisted . couple that with the fact that several of the characters , most notably the lead character sidney prescott ( neve campbell ) , are fairly well-developed and that there are some genuine moments of spine-chilling suspense , and what we have is a pretty darned good horror movie in its own right . we don't just get the horror of scary masks and graphic gore - we also get the horror of sympathetic characters who seem helpless as their friends are slaughtered ( and , in one case , a significant character who was an audience favorite even bites the dust ) and whose lives have been reduced to constant fear of a crazed murderer lurking around the corner . while i have not seen any of his other work , it's easy to see why craven is generally touted as the most sophisticated " slasher film " director , as he clearly cares about something more than just the actual acts of slashing . unfortunately , " scream 2 " occasionally reverts to the time-honored horror tradition of throwing logic out the window . for example , several characters seem quite clearly dead and inexplicably turn up alive later - there has been a running gag in both movies about the villain being able to pull off this particular trick , but it also happens with other characters and in an even less believable fashion . there are also a few scenes in which the killer suddenly appears behind the next victim in a situation such that ( s ) he clearly would have been seen moving in that direction . as for the question of whether or not " scream 2 " is yet another sequel not as good as its predecessor . . . well , it's hard to say . i gave the first " scream " 3 1/2 stars as well because it worked pretty consistently as a light-hearted send-up . " scream 2 " bounces all over the place stylistically , but it does a better job delivering the genuine scares and asking the questions about media violence that were only hinted at in the first installment . i'm not sure which is the better movie , but i did leave the theater convinced of one thing : sequels , however much randy might argue , do not necessarily suck . 
 directed by mimi leder starring george clooney , nicole kidman , armin-mueller stahl , michael lures , randall batinkoff , michael boatman mimi leder is probably best known for her stunning work as a director of the hit tv-show er . her mast famous episode , " love's labour lost " , dealt with the ordeal of doctor mark greene as he tried his best to save the life of a pregnant mother and her child . the way she moved the camera and created tension throughout every scene was amazing . there was more excitement and adrenaline rushed suspense than just about any of hollywood's big blockbuster movies . so it's only natural that leder would get to direct her very own hollywood blockbuster . and i have to say , after a shaky beginning , she does not disappoint . peacemaker deals with the theft of nuclear weapons by terrorists , which is obviously nothing new . the first half hour goes into detail , way too much detail , about how the weapons are stolen . despite a few good images , including a train collision and a very impressive explosion , none of this was very coherent . it's long and drawn out , and i would have settled with a more implausible beginning that would have moved the story along better . once george clooney and nicole kidman enter the picture , it begins to take off . george clooney is an air force colonel with connections all over the world . he has a nice sarcastic wit and the rough edges that you expect from most clooney characters . nicole kidman is head of a white house team on weapons smuggling . there is the usual flirtatious banter between the two , but that is dispensed with quickly . the story takes clooney and kidman across the globe , trying to figure out who has the weapons and where they are going with them . clooney goes through bouts of sarcasm , frustration , determination , and revenge while kidman works against her own insecurity and self-doubt . this is when leder starts to show her true stuff . she starts us off with a nifty little car chase as an appetizer . then we get clooney doing heroics in and out of a helicopter . then that leads us to the brilliant final showdown on new york city's crowded streets , and a madman with a nuke walking among them . mimi leder is a natural at creating suspense . she reminds me of wolfgang petersen in her ability to make the most routine action sequences exciting and breathtaking . nicole kidman is an intelligent female action hero . you're not gonna find her falling down so clooney can come back to save her . george clooney is a real movie star . many of you may have hated him as batman , but this guy is for real . he has a natural screen presence , and an ingratiating personality . he'll be around for a while . dreamworks is off to a satisfying start with peacemaker . 
release date : january 22 , 1999 starring : emily watson , rachel griffiths , david morrissey , james frain , charles dance , celia imrie directed by : anand tucker distributed by : october films mpaa rating : r ( language , sexuality ) url : http : //www . execpc . com/~kinnopio/reviews/1999/hilary . htm not since 1996's shine , which starred geoffrey rush as pianist david helfgott , has a movie so defiantly laid bare the lives of world-class musicians . in fact , if one were to watch these films together , it would almost certainly stand as a convincing argument that a life of music naturally leads to all varieties of social ills . yet hilary and jackie , the sophomore effort from director anand tucker , has something more to say -- it softly but strongly explores the complex relationships of sibling rivalry and love in a very compelling tale . emily watson and rachel griffiths are the leads in this tale , playing the sisters du pré . both musicians from childhood , hilary ( griffiths ) is renowned flutist while jacqueline ( watson ) is easily as skilled on the cello . the two comepete for and win many honors as children and as young women , both together and seperate . their careers as musicians surpass and then bow to one another's , and although their lives take very different paths -- hilary settles down to marriage and a family while rachel skips across the globe on a world concert tour -- they are bound together by their deep family love . the performances of watson and griffiths are excellent in style and substance . they contrast each other wonderfully , and while watson's portrayal of jackie du pré is at times eccentric and perhaps unsympathetic , both characters are charged with emotion . the frank cottrell boyce script , which is based on the book by hilary and piers du pré , brings a great deal of depth to these characters as well . the script is also to be commended for its well-polished dual nature . cottrell boyce adopts a style which one might expect to see in a mystery thriller ( which was in fact the case with david koepp and robert towne's script for mission : impossible ) and skillfully molds it to the story of two rising musicians on different courses to fame . the latter parts of his script are controversial to say the least , and the rather depressing ending takes the wind out of an envigorating story . some will leave this movie feeling disenfranchised . nevertheless , hilary and jackie is a movie that reaches an upper echelon of contemporary cinema through solid fundamentals and is a decent watch all around . 
director : brad silberling || screenplay : dana stevens ( based on an original screenplay by wim wenders and peter handke ) || stars : nicolas cage ( seth ) , meg ryan ( maggie ) , andré braugher ( cassiel ) , dennis franz ( messinger ) , colm feore ( jordan ) , robin bartlett ( anne ) , joanna merlin ( teresa ) || mpaa rating : pg-13 there is a striking scene early in " city of angels , " where all the angels who live unseen in our midst , gather at the beach to watch the sun rise . the camera moves above them , showing the endless rows of ethereal men and women , all garbed in black . then the camera moves in on the face of seth , an angel played by nicolas cage , and as the sun rises , he smiles and his entire face lights up . you see , the angels can hear music in sunrises and sunsets , but they cannot feel a human touch . it is an important scene for several reasons . first of all , it is one of many instances in the film that make angels seem thoroughly plausible . the film presents these fantastic beings as normal-looking people who drift amongst the inhabitants of earth , watching what goes on with little interference . there are none of the standard , hokey angel references used in recent films like " angels in the outfield " ( 1994 ) or " michael " ( 1996 ) . the angels here are stark and believable . this early scene on the beach is also an important scene of juxtaposition , for its shows how god's angels can enjoy aspects of the earth that human cannot , and yet they are denied so many simple human pleasures , like feeling the sand on their feet or the waves lapping at their legs , or the smell of the salt in the air . there is an inherent tragedy in being an angel , although there is much beauty in it as well . they eternally walk the earth , listening to our thoughts , touching us in our pain , and leading the dying to heaven . like human existence , being an angel is often confused and unsure . " city of angels " is essentially a love story , between seth and a human , a beautiful but sad heart surgeon named maggie ( meg ryan ) . he first sees her when he is in her operating room , waiting to lead the soul of her dying patient to heaven . maggie is distraught , doing everything in her power to stop the man from dying on her table , and seth is moved by her efforts and , more importantly , her overwhelming sadness when the patient dies . angels have the limited power to soothe humans in time of misery and pain , and seth does what he can with his invisible touch , but it's not enough . he wants to be with her and share her pain , not just stand back at a distance . he learns that the only way to fulfill his desire for human love and touch is for him to " fall " and become human . he learns this from another fallen angel , played by dennis franz ( " n . y . p . d . blue " ) in a touching and humorous performance . sitting at a diner together , franz tells cage's character about how wonderful it is to be human - to be able to taste food , feel another person's skin , smell the air , and most importantly , have a loving wife and children . of course , there is pain to go along with all this , but for seth , it will be worth it . " city of angels " is something of a reinterpretation of wim wender's haunting 1988 film " wings of desire . " wenders' film was more like a poem - it was the feeling , the emotion that truly mattered over what actually happened . the americanized version moves the location from divided berlin to broken los angeles , and the emphasis shifts onto the relationship between the immortal angel and the mortal human . and , unlike most foreign films that are re-made into hollywood fare , it doesn't suffer extensive damage . this may be because director brad silberling ( " casper " ) and screenwriter dana stevens ( " blink " ) wanted to make " city of angels " its own movie - inspired by " wings of desire , " but not an attempt to copy it . and yet , " city of angels " is not a typical hollywood movie . it is beautifully filmed in lush colors by cinematographer john seale ( " the english patient " ) , whose sweeping aerial shots and golden lighting make los angeles into an almost unrecognizable new world . seale creates many striking visuals : in addition to the beach scene , there is a wonderful sequence in a circular library where all the angels appear at banisters all around , looking down at seth as he watches maggie walk by . while the film travels along a charted plot , it takes time to develop its characters and situations ; it sheds light on the boundaries between what is earthly and what is heavenly , and shows just how thin those boundaries are . both cage and ryan give soulful , soft-spoken performances . ryan , who is usually so bouncy and energetic , truly embodies a sadness that can only be alleviated by a heavenly touch . cage projects all his desire and longing to be human in simple , heartfelt gazes , and speaks with the comforting , knowing voice that only an angel could have . what is most striking about " city of angels " is that stevens has added a new ending to the screenplay , which is both unexpected and challenging . it's not a formulaic hollywood ending , because it is both sad and uplifting at the same time . it doesn't give the audience what it thinks it wants at the end of a romance . instead , it offers something much better , something that speaks to the depths of what it means to be human and alive . ____________________________________________ visit " charlie don't surf ! " an eclectic collection of film reviews by james kendrick http : //www . bigfoot . com/~jimkendrick || e-mail : jimkendrick@bigfoot . com 
prompted by the recent runaway bride , ( a diaster all it's own ) i decided to rent pretty woman to see what got this tepid film made . it all flashed before my eyes , it was the world's first glimpse into the world of cutesy julia movies . a fun , inventive romantic comedy that starts and ends just like it should . edward lewis ( gere ) buys companies , takes them apart , and sells them bit by bit . he meets vivian ( roberts ) on hollywood way when he asks her for directions to beverly hills . asking her what her name is , she says " what do you want it to be ? " needing to take a load off , he hires her for the night . taking a liking to her , he then hires her for a whole week . but he needs to clean vivian up . buying her dresses and having her learn table manners to attend various dinners so she can appear as his date soon becomes his prime concern . he begins to fall in love with her , but it takes awhile for her to return his affections . vivian also helps him see through buying another family owned company by bringing out the more emotional side of him . pretty woman is extremely cute . cute is the only world for it . i also liked the fact that prostitutes are portrayed as people that need help ( much in the same way that african-american gangsters were showcased in slam . ) the film turns in fine performances by it's two leads , but also from hector elizondo as the hotel manager , and laura san giacomo as julia's prostituting pal . despite minor cliches and problems , the fun romantic comedy pretty woman still gets * * * stars . the young-uns : the title character is a prostitute and there is some sexual discussion as well as bad attitudes towards her . there is also some mild language . good age : 12 & up a review by frankie paiva the 12 year-old movie reviewer e-mail me at swpstke@aol . com visit my website at : http : //expage . com/page/teenagemoviecritic 
by nathaniel r . atcheson ( nate@pyramid . net ) zero effect gets its title from the main character , daryl zero ( bill pullman ) , although we don't understand what it truly means until the very last line of dialogue in the film . zero is a private investigator , perhaps the best private investigator who ever lived ( at least he'd like to think so ) . however , he's a socially inept being , and eccentric in every possible way -- this fact certainly makes his talents as a private eye even more bewildering than they already are . zero's accomplice is steve arlo ( ben stiller ) , a " normal " guy who does the business side of the job -- he's the one who actually speaks to clients and explains zero's greatness as an investigator . the opening scene has steve explaining the many virtues of zero's talents to soon-to-be client gregory stark ( ryan o'neal ) . it turns out that stark has lost a key to a safe deposit box , and is now being blackmailed for something that he apparently knows nothing about . zero takes the case , and the plot thickens . his path leads to a young , pretty paramedic named gloria sullivan ( kim dickens ) . despite her luminous and seemingly-harmless presence , she turns out to be the one blackmailing stark . through his investigations , zero learns why , but not without developing feelings for gloria -- feelings that , because of his reclusive behavior , are new and confusing to him . i have no particular affinity towards the mystery genre of film . i can idly enjoy movies about private investigators , and , every once in a while , a film like chinatown comes a long that blows me away ( actually , no private eye film has ever reached chinatown's greatness ) . zero effect , which is jake kasdan's first effort as writer/director , is a film about a private investigator that succeeds in all attempts : it's an original , funny , and completely involving motion picture . with so many cliches available to this genre , i find it amazing that kasdan avoided all of them . but he didn't just successfully avoid flaws : he has created a great film here , one that had me interested and fascinated from the first shot to the final moment . take , for starters , the great cast of characters . pullman is terrific as zero , showing a comic flair that i really haven't seen from him since spaceballs . zero is the kind of guy who seems at ease switching personalities so frequently as he does here ; the fact that he's an almost exaggeratedly twisted , emotionally unstable man outside of his profession is not at all difficult to believe . pullman's performance is much more layered than it might seem at first glance , and the occasional voice-over as he's going through the motions of his job are insightful and often hilarious . ben stiller is also a very funny individual ; he's the kind of comedian who makes normal lines sound funny . " i'll shoot you , " he says to stark at one point . " i have a gun , and everything . " his character is also well-drawn , with an interesting subplot involving his girlfriend ( angela featherstone ) who is not happy with the extensive amounts of time he must spend away from her due to the unpredictability of his job . o'neal also gives his character a bit of depth ; and kim dickens , last seen ( and underused ) in mercury rising , gets a chance to show us her talent here , giving gloria the realism this kind of character really needs . i find zero effect to be an immensely funny and witty film . kasdan's humor is of the best kind -- soft spoken , and mostly dialogue-driven ( though there are some great visual jokes ) . it's the kind of humor that's funny even after you've seen it five or six times . there's one scene in which zero talks about how detached he is , an how that makes him such a great detective . what we see during this narration are various shots of him sitting on a bed , or standing motionlessly , with his hair destroyed and an utterly blank look painted on his unshaven face , his eyes pointing to something off camera , but obviously to nothing in particular . i can't convey to you how funny this is , but what makes it great film making is that it has a point -- scenes like this are frequent , and they provide solid characterization of zero . as a side note , i don't consider myself an average viewer when it comes to comedy ( not to sound elitist ) -- i find things funny that many do not , and vice versa . there was a clump of people near me in the theater laughing uproariously through this film , and the rest of the theater was relatively silent through most of it . i have a feeling the humor here won't appeal to everyone , but there's certainly enough story and character development to keep anyone's interest . jake kasdan , son of writer/director lawrence kasdan , is only 22 years old . i found this out after seeing the film , and i can't remember ever being so impressed with a film maker . his direction is stylish without being pretentious , and his writing is mature , full , and developed . zero effect is the kind of film that i'll buy for my collection -- smart , original films like this are rare as it is , but this one actually has a heart and a soul . at the end of the film , i was involved in the characters , and i was satisfied with the outcome . and , with kasdan's undeniable talent at such a young age , all i can do is hope to see a lot more from him in the future . 
in zoolander , the world's most successful , influential and intellectually-challenged male model derek zoolander wonders , " is there more to life than being really really really good looking ? " obviously , the film's creator and star ben stiller asked a similar question when crafting a feature-length movie out of his hilarious vh1/vogue fashion awards short-film subject : can there be more to this film than being really really really silly ? no , of course not , and it never aspires to be anything more . much like derek , zoolander is a sweet simpleton of a movie . it's not complex in either its social commentary or its comedy , and it never produces any gut-busting laughs ( except maybe a scene when derek's model roommates all die in a tragic " gasoline fight " accident -- a riotously funny take-off of tommy hilfiger ads ) . but it has a satisfying handful of strong chuckles , wild characters and performances , and mildly harsh potshots at the fashion industry to keep you amused . better yet , this exaggerated version of the original three-minute skit is only blown out to an efficient 95 minutes -- just enough time to string together its goofball plot without exhausting the gag . zoolander opens with several fashion bigwigs plotting to assassinate the prime minister of malaysia , since he wants to abolish child labor in his country and thus driving up their costs . fashion designer and criminal mastermind jacobim mugatu ( will ferrell ) drafts a plan to brainwash the dumbest fashion model to carry out the evil deed . enter derek , whose career is slumping as newcomer hansel ( owen wilson ) takes the spotlight . on the trail of mugatu's plot is time magazine reporter matilda jeffries ( stiller's real-life wife christine taylor ) , and she's hoping to use mugatu's pawn derek to ultimately foil the scheme . much like the austin powers films , zoolander relies heavily on the strength of the talent involved , and this zany comedy features some of the funniest people in entertainment today . wilson is hysterical as the young , vain hansel . ferrell nearly steals the show from everyone as the flamboyant , freakish mugatu in the same way dr . evil upstages everyone in austin powers . jerry stiller -- ben's dad who's best remembered as frank costanza of seinfeld -- makes a priceless turn as derek's slimy agent maury ballstein . even ben stiller show alum andy dick shows up as a deranged , large-assed masseuse . as for ben stiller , it seems his derek has one gag : he's stupid , which plays out in some uproarious one-liners . unfortunately , taylor seems out of place and out of her league here . maybe it's just because i can't stop seeing her as marcia brady ( who she played in both brady movies ) , making her unbelievable as a dowdy , brainy plain jane who hasn't had sex in two years . she leaves me pining for the cynicism of janeane garofolo , who would've added real comic substance to the flimsy role . while zoolander is hardly highbrow , its screwball humor is welcome during these trying times , especially considering the gross lack of decent pickings in the theaters these days . zoolander's no masterpiece , but a very worthy distraction . 
bob the happy bastard's quickie review : what's worse than y2k ? how about a fully digital future where nothing is real ? that's what computer programmer neo ( keanu reeves ) slowly learns as he enters the dangerous world that is the matrix , a movie directed by the wachowski brothers ( the guys behind the hip thriller bound ) . before you groan at the presence of reeves in the lead role , hold on . there's actually a story with depth here . it seems that a group of hackers is out to stop the system that is the matrix , led by the bald but brilliant laurence fishburne and assisted by carrie ann moss , who looks quite cool in leather , i must say . neo ( reeves ) is pretty much a key player in this fight , although he really doesn't look it at first . could this amateur be " the one " as fisburne thinks he is ? credit the wachowskis for putting together a great story that allows suspense to build , something that few special effects-laden films seem to do these days . there's plenty of effects to go around , of course , but at least there's a backbone to build them on as well . reeves is surprisingly good in his role as neo , particularly in a fight scene with fishburne that comes across as goofy , yet great . i wish the villains weren't quite so " generic " ( leftover g-men from looking for a sweet sci-fi actioner with plenty of stop-motion swooping camera angles and , of course , a motherlode of a helicopter explosion . now the wachowskis are headed into horror films with their next project . bring it on . 
the ability to suspend ones disbelief is a vital trait when attending a schwarzengger movie . however , due to the absence of a good film from the big austrian for quite some time , people seem to have forgotten this . the biggest complaint i hear about " end of days " is that it was unbelievable . i'm sorry , but i personally believe it is incredibly naive to expect arnold to appear in a realistic film . twenty years ago , a newborn girl was chosen by a satanic cult to be the one who would bear the child of satan . now , young christine ( robin tunney ) is grown up and is being stalked by three different groups : two church factions , one intent on killing her ; and the other , led by father kovak ( rod steiger ) , attempting to protect and hide her ; the third party is satan himself , possessing the body of a wall street banker ( gabriel byrne ) . drawn into the conflict are jericho cane ( arnold schwarzenegger ) and chicago ( kevin pollak ) , two bodyguards hired by the man they do not know to be satan . as cane is drawn deeper and deeper into the conflict , he learns that christine must not be impregnated or the world will come to an end . if you don't like arnold movies , chances are you already know to steer clear of this one . if this somehow hasn't occured to you , let me reassure you that this is a schwarzenegger film in the truest sense , so stay far away . being a typical film of the schwarzenegger genre , this movie is a whole lot of fun , but be sure to leave your brain and sense of logic at the door . there are more plot holes here than i can begin to count . this movie isn't about plot though . it's about fight scenes , explosions and special effects . these are certainly present in abundance . on the down side , the acting here is certainly less than phenomenal from the leads . as all know , arnold isn't going to get any oscar nominations in the near future . however , he is charismatic enough to get away with this . robin tunney , on the other hand , is likely to get nominated for at least one award , and that's the razzie . not only is she laughably bad in this role , but she looks utterly dumbfounded as to what she's supposed to be doing half the time . as for the rest of the cast , rod steiger is as good as ever ; kevin pollak is certainly in his element as a smart alec of a side-kick ; and cch pounder , a remarkable actress , is woefully underused as a police detective . the real standout performance here comes from gabriel byrne as the man ( this is how he's credited ) himself . byrne simply oozes charm and authority . watch for a scene in which he meets a skateboarder who disrespects him . " end of days " is mindless movie fun nearly at its best . it doesn't quite make it because the film does border on being too mindless at times . some of the scenes we are expected to swallow will have you gawking at the screen in disbelief ( such as how cane discovers the existence of christine ) . if you think you can get past this , just sit back , relax , and enjoy . " end of days " runs a touch too long at 120 minutes . i give it three and a half stars , and a recommendation to catch a matinee . feel free to e-mail with comments at : jabii@aol . com * * * * * - one of the greatest movies ever made , see it now . * * * * - great flick . try and catch this one . * * * - okay movie , hits and misses . * * - pretty bad . see it if you've got nothing better to do . * - one of the worst movies ever . see it only if you enjoy pain . 
rating : ength : 98 min ( 1 : 38 hours ) director : barry sonnenfeld producer ( s ) : laurie macdonald , steven r . molen , walter f . parkes , graham place , steven spielberg cast : tommy lee jones , will smith , linda fiorentino , vincent d'onofrio , rip torn , tony shalhoub aliens ! ! well , that is what this movie is about . computer generated aliens . ok , the movie is not just about computer generated aliens . it's about computer generated aliens and a secret organization known as mib . if one wasn't green and running around the other would not exist as it's known . the computer graphics in this movie are spectacular , they make you want to believe that aliens like the ones depicted exits . since seeing this movie i have to agree concede that denis rodman is an alien , he simply has to be . well , in all seriousness the aliens created here are not only of the monster variety but are also of the soft , squishy and cuddly kind . just adds something of a lighter note to the movie where it could have become very dark . along with aliens comes the humor and in a pretty decent way . j , well soon to be j , a smart ass cop ( played by will smith ) runs down what he thinks is a would-be villain and gets some attention from the mib and k in particular . k aims to recruit our poor j , but that is not the whole point of this movie . the main duty of the mib is to police the extra terrestrials on earth who have chosen it as a home or a refuge . that's also the main point of this movie : protect the earth from the scum of the galaxy . some of the scum from space is awfully bad and just down right nasty . color commentary abounds when forced to deal with alien scum and none other than will smith and tommy lee jones are there to deliver the punch . the dialogue is witty to say the least . this wittiness lets the movie flow well from scene to scene developing the characters to the extent needed for this movie . tommy lee jones ( as k ) and will smith ( as j ) provide both the action and the comedy beautifully . the characters they play don't seem to be wrong in any way nor does their performance as them . i would have to say that k is more amusing than j , but what's one without the other . both roles complemented each other very well and the script seemed to be written for these two actors . the story also goes deep enough to provide a proper background so the audience is not totally clueless . altogether good performances were put in by all the cast and the director blended everything marvelously with the necessary special effects to create a good movie . a movie well worth seeing if you are up for some lighthearted and witty humor . as most movies have their good things they also have their bad things . the character development in this movie was not all that grand because it didn't need to be . but if there was more character development and if there was some development of the alien characters that might have added quite considerable to the movie . especially the evil alien , he did need some work . though this could have been worked on , the movie was what it proposed to be a rather shallow and witty comedy . that was achieved rather well , with some interesting commentary and observations . a movie worth a view , but keep in mind what the movie is and if you are not fond of will smith's form of humor then i wouldn't go . originally written after original release . totally rewritten december 26 , 1997 email : bootsector@hotmail . com web : www . imactive . com/bootsector/ 
cast : kim novak , james garner , tony randall , howard morris , howard duff , oskar homolka i love this movie , and i've just seen for the umptenth time . unfortunately , it is also completly unknown and very few have seen it . it's my mission in life to spread the word : see this movie ! fred , george , doug and howie are reaching middleage . three of them have a wife , kids and a house in the suburb with a mortgage to pay . only fred is still a bachelor . together they take the local train every morning to work in town . on one of their organized thursday evenings at a bar , fred tells them of his boss and the arrangements he has made to keep a mistress . he has gotten an apartment in downtown where he can meet her but has told his wife that he needs the apartment to spend the night after staff meetings every thursday night . since they always split everything four ways , they decide that they should get an apartment with a young woman as well , kathy . however , kathy isn't completly honest to them . in fact , she is a sociology student writing a thesis about the sex life of the suburban male . with these four species she believes that she will make a very good paper . ok , have one thing clear though . the romantic rendezvous' between kathy and each of the men are completly innocent . the script stays above the waist - or to be precise , above the neck . noboyd claims that kathy is their mistress , the four guys call her their 'companion' . the censorship board here in sweden considered it to be suitable only for people above 15 years , but that only shows how long ago 1962 was . small children could watch this without being corrupted . kim novak is as lovely as always in this movie , even if she seems to be a bit too old for a student . james garner is the playboy just like in many other movies . i liked howard morris the best as howard the accountant who has to diet to support his wife . tony randall is funny as always . 1962 was more than 35 years ago . how many accountants , copywriters or investment bankers can today afford to live in a house in the suburb with a lot of kids and a wife who does not work ? this is the white middle class , i can't remember that i saw any blacks on the commuter train they use . these are the people who can count on their kids to live an even better life than themselves . perhaps this should also be a subject for a thesis in movie sociology ? 
jake kasdan , son of one of the best screenwriters around , breaks into filmmaking by writing and directing this hard-to-categorize detective story : part mystery , part comedy , part character study and part romance . for the most part , kasdan manages to combine the genres successfully and create a captivating film . daryl zero ( bill pullman ) is a modern day sherlock holmes . the parallel is present down to his love of music ( though zero plays the guitar rather than the violin ) , and his addiction to drugs ( amphetamines , rather than morphine ) . he even titles his cases with such sherlockian epigrams as the case of the mismatched shoelaces , the case about the man who lied about his age , or the case of the hired gun who made way way too many mistakes . however zero's observance of the fine art of detachment , though it makes him a brilliant private investigator , makes him somewhat of a self-imposed outcast in society . he could do nothing without the legwork of his trusty assistant dr . watson , i mean steve arlo ( ben stiller ) . arlo is not happy with his job . he is thrilled to be around zero's brilliance , but his bizarre behavior , and strange requests , are frustrating to the former lawyer . and they're even more so to his girlfriend , jess ( angela featherstone ) , who is fed up that her boyfriend's boss means more to arlo than her . this is the situation when a new case comes knocking . gregory stark ( ryan o'neill ) hires zero to find his lost keys . it seems that he kept a safety deposit box key on the ring , and the box apparently contains some incriminating evidence . now , stark is being blackmailed , and needs to reclaim his key before the nightmare can end . to solve this case , zero reluctantly crawls out of his shell . however , this is when he is vulnerable . . . and this time he falls for charms of a wily paramedic , gloria sullivan ( kim dickens ) , who may be involved in the blackmail scheme . for the first time , zero has to question his own objectivity , as he finds his client less and less sympathetic . zero effect is weakest in its obviously " wacky " scenes depicting daryl zero's odd behavior . such scenes might be appropriate in an out-and-out satire , making zero an ace ventura-ish character . however , there's a much meatier movie in here . . . it just takes a while to get out . that's not to say that there's not a place for humor in this film . in fact , some of the best scenes are ben stiller's wonderfully underplayed comic moments of absolute disgust and frustration with his employer . however , the over-the-top scenes never quite gel with the rest of the film , and they aren't funny enough to stand on their own . once the investigation is underway , however , zero's brilliance really begins to shine . his lightning quick inferences are as fascinating as many of sherlock's own . as the mystery begins to unfold , zero's deductions lead the plot in interesting directions , but never lose the viewer . zero effect works well during its romantic scenes as well . zero's relationship with gloria is low-key , but it hits all the right notes . however , we are always kept distant from gloria's character . she's given plenty of development , but we never understand what she is thinking . perhaps that may be intentional : to place the audience in zero's zone of detachment . but , on the whole , it is frustrating . bill pullman , when he's not spacing out , creates a vibrant character in daryl zero . there's one moment when zero briefly connects to the world which he has managed to detach from for many years , and it is shockingly moving . . . expressing a seriousness that heretofore was unassociated with the character , but one which fits in well . and , although it is sometimes hard to take a detective called " zero " seriously , it is at this moment that the viewer understands the meaning behind the name . although zero effect is a bit awkward in places , it is a strong debut for kasdan , and shows great promise . 
bob the happy bastard's quickie review : brendan fraser's stuck in the past again , but at least this time he has something better to do than to quote sitcom lines and try to woo alicia silverstone . . . fraser is the lead star of the mummy , the second directorial effort from action director stephen sommers ( who also brought us the decent thrill ride that was deep rising ) . it's a rough adaptation of the 1932 film , and i say rough because it focuses more on special effects than on some guy in bandages , like boris karloff was engulfed in . but who cares , the movie has a sort of swashbuckling quality to it you can't get from , oh , say , godzilla or armageddon . fraser plays a soldier who gets a premonition during a battle with soldiers in an egyptian ground . basically , it's a little sign from the mummy buried underneath- a priest named ihmoetep who was buried alive for taking part of murdering the king and making out with his mistress . his plan- wake back up and wake her up also , making him invincible . of course , fraser returns to the site years later with a librarian ( rachel weisz ) and her brother ( john hanna ) , along with a former buddy of his ( deep rising's kevin j . o'connor ) and some " americans " . . . and guess what ? yup , ihmoetep ( arnold vosloo ) awakens and wreaks havoc . fire flies from the sky , flesh-eating beetles crawl about , and , well , ihmoetep's plan begins to unfold . ok , so it's not really all that new a story , but the way sommers tells it is entertaining enough . the special effects from industrial light and magic are top notch , and the acting from fraser and weisz isn't half bad either . the action is pretty intense ( favorite scene : the sandstorm ) and there are a few shocking scenes just to jolt you horror-loving folks as well . no , it's no phantom menace beater , but if you're looking for a solid warm-up to the summer movie season , you won't find a better film under wraps than the mummy . if this doesn't give fraser forgiveness from blast from the past and encino man , then nothing will . 
member of the 'internet movie critics association' http : //www . geocities . com/hollywood/studio/5713/index . html 'lethal weapon 4' is the film mel gibson said he would never do . never say never . with a pay cheque of 20 million dollars and a guarantee of 20 per cent of the film's earnings , " never " is a word the isn't found in mel's vocabulary . this is a film made for one reason and one reason only : pure profit ! that is always the case with sequels but in the case of warner brothers , it is particularly a show of desperation since they have had a number of flops recently and need a hit badly . i don't have a problem with movie sequels because in many ways , they're equivalent to visiting an old friend as you come back for more and more fun each time . 'lethal weapon 4' isn't a terrible movie , it's just one too many and the franchise is starting to show one thing : age ! mel gibson , danny glover , joe pesci and rene russo are all starting to show signs of aging . not too badly but in comparison to the other films : a lot . as 'lethal weapon 4' opens , the streets of l . a . are once again endangered , this time by a psychotic , protected with body armor who fires automatic rounds and shots from a flame-thrower in any direction he pleases . riggs and murtaugh ( gibson and glover ) eventually put a stop to his antics with humourous results and the film move forward from there . the central plot of 'lethal weapon 4' is an immigrant smuggling ring run by an old asian warlord whose right hand man ( jet li ) is a cool and frightening martial arts expert who silences his enemies by putting his moves on them . some of the immigrants brought to america are to work as slaves and murtaugh takes a family under his wing and has them live at home with his wife and children as a way of understanding how slavery affected his ancestors . all the while illegal but definitely the humane thing to do . riggs and his girlfriend lorna ( rene russo ) are expecting a baby any day now , as is murtaugh's daughter who is married to a cop ( chris rock ) , a man who works with riggs and murtaugh and a man murtaugh doesn't know is married to his daughter because she was afraid to tell him since he was always against her marrying a cop . murtaugh later finds out about his new son-in-law while getting high on some dentist's laughing gas and the humour is what has always saved these movies from falling into the abyss . this movie certainly stays within the tradition of slick action movies with the key emphasis being on the word " slick " . the slickest and best installment of all the 'lethal weapon' movies is #2 which had the most bruising story and climax of all . it also introduced us to joe pesci as leo getz who became the comic relief of the series and although his character was badly used in #3 , he is better this time around . director richard donner keeps the movie alive with well photographed and edited scenes of action and ranks as one of the action genre's most talented contributors . i'll probably put 'lethal weapon 4' in my video collection for the sake of uniting it with other members of its family but i'll probably watch it the least as it is the least of all the 'lethal weapon' movies , without hesitation . 
rated r for horror violence and gore , language and some nudity . starring : geoffrey rush , famke jansen , ali larter , brigette wilson , taye diggs , chris kattan , lisa loeb , james marsters . running time : 115 minutes so here is the second of 1999's remakes of classic horror movies . the first was the dumb , pathetic but ok remake of the classic 'the haunting' . now comes the highly awaited remake of house on haunted hill . the classic which starred vincent price as a man who pays a group of people 100 , 000 to stay in his house . if they survive the night they get the money . if not well you get the jurisdiction . having not yet seen the film ( dvd on its way ) i wasn't sure if i would really like the remake . but sure enough it comes through and has a great storyline to fall back on . geoffrey rush ( in a fantastic role with an incredible performance ) is steven price , the owner of an amusement park destined to scare the wits out of people . his wife evelyn price is throwing a party with her friends . steven dismays at the idea and makes his own list . somehow someone , or something changes that list and five other people are invited to the party . eddie ( taye diggs ) an ex-baseball player , sarah ( ali carter ) an ex-assistant who can re-wire anything , melissa ( brigette wilson ) a talk-show host in sorts , dr . blackburn ( peter ghallager ) , and watson ( chris kattan ) a smart-mouthed humorist in ways . what he is gonna do is pay these five people 1 , 000 , 000 dollars if they can survive through the night . if they can they get the money , if not well they don't . the house on haunted hill used to be an insane asylum . years before mental patients broke out and killed the dr . there , forcing him to lock the place up because if he died , so did they . everyone who was in there burned to death . now it is steven price's home and he is throwing this party for these five people . what starts out as a seemingly normal night , turns into a horrifying , blood splattering night . the deep dark secrets of what really happened in that asylum and why those guests are actually there are revealed . one-by-one the people start to disappear . conspiracies start to turn up , and steven price finds out that his house may be alive after all . the people find rooms , which once held mental patients . rooms which once had people dying . rooms which may still contain these people . now these five people must try and survive the night and try and survive the house , and they must survive each other with terrorfying results . since i officially haven't seen the original i can't say which is better . i can say however i liked this movie . geoffrey rush gives a one in a million performance as the rich steven price , and does a great job doing a vincent price role . famke jansen as his wife was great and even kind of eerie at times . ali carter and taye diggs sort of become the main characters and ali carter who debuted in varsity blues gives a fantastic performance here as does taye diggs . chris kattan gives us great comic relief and the movie contains a lot of comical lines . peter ghallager and brigette wilson were great as well and gave commanding performances as potential victims . the plot was well conceived and was very absorbing . the movie has atmosphere the whole way through that is disturbing and creepy , and even sometimes downright scary . i found even the opening credits to me a little ominous . one thing i knew not to expect was a 'haunting' type movie with special effects galore . even though it had fantastic gore and special effects , the movie has only a 19 million dollar budget , which doesn's show all the way through but you can tell . the movie was written well , and it's only major flaw is the under-developed characters and plot holes that we are left with . the ending is quite clever and some may not even get it . i must say house on haunted hill was a surprise . i was expecting another haunting with special effects , no scares and a dumb ending . instead i found a good halloween movie with gore , scares and great acting . house on haunted hill is one of those movies you really can't take seriously . though it is a well-made movie with a good storyline it still has some flaws . but besides that the movie is fun , smart and scary and makes us wonder why remakes like this can't be made all the time ! reviewed by brandon herring october 28 , 1999 . brandon herring movie review heaven ( http : //www . geocities . com/hollywood/movie/3160/moviereviewheaven . html 
warning ! : may contain some mild spoilers and offensive material . rated : r ( ! ) for sexual content , crude and sexual humor , and some nudity . . ( a mild r rating ) starring : rob schneider , oded fehr , eddie griffin , arija bareikis , amy poehler , norm mcdonald . " deuce bigalow : male gigolo " is simply a hilarious good-natured comedy that may offend some , but underneath all it's crude humor and sexual content is a sweet little love story that is surprisingly involving . it isn't any kind of cinematic classic , but it's a very very funny comedy that keeps us entertained until the end credits which themselves are funny too . it has all it needs to be a breezy entertaining comedy : the acting is up to pace and some of the performances quite funny , the screenplay is witty and smart , and the whole story is sweet and cute . deuce bigalow ( rob schneider ) is your typically average guy : he cleans fish tanks for a living and gets an average of 10 bucks for it . though one might call him a loser , deuce gets a job he would never thought he would get . he gets to clean the tank for a male gigolo ( oded fehr ) and gets offered to watch over his place while he goes on a trip . trying to be like him he hangs upside down from a pole and accidentally pushes off the fishtank and burns his cabinets . the thing is now he has to try and find $6 , 000 dollars in three weeks to make sure everything looks right again . so he decides to go " man-whoring " and to his luck gets the oddest people on earth : an over-weight woman who decidedly wants to eat everything in site , a woman with narcolepsy who sleeps all the time , a woman who has sudden screaming outbursts , and a woman he can't stop thinking about . he charges $10 but he is willing to negotiate . from now on he is considered deuce bigalow : male gigolo . with non-stop laughs an a abundence of crude humor " deuce bigalow : male gigolo " is sometimes like last years hit " there's something about mary " that is offensive but very funny . the screenplay by harris goldberg and rob schneider himself is a smart , clever and witty screenplay that seems to have been written with care to make is so hilariously funny . the characters in the film are all actually likable especially " jabba lady " with her big body but soft heart . there are actually times in the movie where i fell out of my chair laughing so hard that my stomach was killing me . even though i thought " toy story 2 " and " being john malkovich " were the funniest of the year " deuce bigalow " follows right behind them . the directing by mike mitchell is fantastic and shows he took time on the film . rob schneider gives a surprisingly endearing performance and when his romance develops with one of his customers kate ( arija bareikis ) it is a sweet romance that we get involved in and actually like being involved in it . " deuce bigalow " is a good-natured film worth all the merit it can get . its not a classic or a masterpiece , it's just a comedy that we don't feel bad about watching . sure it may come off as offensive and may come off as dumb sometimes , but you cannot deny that it isn't funny . " deuce bigalow : male gigolo " is no disappointment . its a fast paced , entertaining sweet and hilarious comedy that may be destined to become a cult classic . fans of schneider will not be disappointed and fans of crude but nice comedies will not either . for some reason the film garnered an r rating but with no " f words " or extensive use of sexual content or explicit nudity i was really wondering why the film was r . a mild r to put it to the least , but even if your under 17 or above at least 13 this film is good enough for you to see . don't try to be one of those people who make so much of a film that they do not like it , just sit back , laugh and enjoy the movie . reviewed by brandon herring december 9 , 1999brandon herring http : //www . geocities . com/hollywood/movie/3160/moviereviewheaven . html 
oliver stone's latest feature is the last one standing in the long line of biographies of american presidents . it's a three-hour long saga about the life of one of the most hated and misunderstood leaders of the 20th century . stone doesn't hold back anything as he digs deep inside politics and legal maneuvers of the white house . the director holds nixon responsible for everything he has done . at the same time he creates a very human character , a brilliant and tortured man that is caught in the dirty game of politics , which is here pictured as a wild animal . he is simply trying to tame it . but the occasional switch to the raging sky and the clouds swiftly fleeing over the white house as events run ahead of the president's ability to control them . stone doesn't in any way apologize for nixon . he blames not only nixon's own character flaws but also the imperial presidency itself , the system that , once set in motion , behaves with a mindlessness of its own . " nixon " is a modern shakespeare story - a saga about a ruler destroyed by his fatal flaws . there's something almost majestic about the process : as nixon goes down in this film , there is no gloating , but a watery sigh , as of a great ship sinking . sir anthony hopkins is staggering and plays nixon with incredible honesty and understanding , creating a very emotional picture of the 37th american president . joan allen's magnificent and captivating performance is certainly worth an oscar statuette . she is strong and loyal as mrs . nixon . the rest of the cast is equally magnificent , including : james woods , j . t . walsh , paul sorvino , ed harris and bob hoskins . everyone does a serious and demanding job , no one are disappointing . stone never loses focus and his direction is steddy , honest and determined . he is displaying the historical facts and at the same time concentrating at the human element . at times he is showing to black and white showing flashbacks from nixon's youth and childhood . the flashy editing by brian berdan and frank corwin , robert richardson's rich cinematography and john williams' musical score create a hectic and bizarre atmosphere . the film's only fault is that it's a bit tiering and overloaded with too much political material and legal maneuvers . still it's an honest and captivating - a solid piece of movie making . 
capsule : russ meyer's most popular movie hasn't dated badly , and it serves as the best introduction to the mammary-mad director . i wasn't too sure what to think when john waters raved in his memoirs that faster , pussycat ! was " the best film ever made " . chalk that up to waters' love of high-trash cinema , i guess . exactly how much credit , and for what , to give to meyer is a seriously debatable question . one thing i don't doubt was that he made a campy , magnetic , high-energy movie that hasn't dated all that badly -- much better than many of the other movies he made at the time . ( and because all the eroticism is implied , that makes it only smuttier and therefore more fascinating . ) faster , pussycat ! gives us three go-go dancers who head out into the desert to race their cars . ( i couldn't help thinking that meyer would have had endless fun with a scene where one of them explains her ambitions to eventually enter law school , making love to a support pillar during the whole conversation . ) after meeting up with a whitebread-innocent couple , varla ( tura satana ) gets fed up with being one-upped , and kills the guy with a few well-placed karate blows . they kidnap the girl and keep her sedated while trying to figure out what to do next -- although it sort of hits them over the head : at a gas station , they learn than a weird old cripple and his sons live in the area , harboring a massive fortune . no prizes for guessing what happens next . the movie's loaded with things that have since become pop-cinema staples : bizarre camera angles and editing , improbable character pairings , bizarre fights . one of the most memorable scenes has satana vs . one of the old man's sons . she's trying to run him into a wall with her speedster , and he's holding her car at bay with his bare hands , the wheels digging a huge ditch . satana's idea of karate has nothing on jackie chan , but it's not hard to see how a woman using violence against a man in the late sixties , on-screen , could be construed as * really * shocking . she isn't flashy ; she's trying to do damage . she means business . as the model ( or at least the center of inspiration ) for the rest of the women in the film , tura satana eats up the screen without even trying . she reminds me of the extremely fetishistic , almost representational ways women are depicted in x-rated japanese manga : gigantic chest , mask-like face , drill-instructor's voice . she reportedly received a deluge of fan mail after the movie came out , mostly from men who either wanted to marry her or be flogged by her . most of the reason you can't look away from the screen is her , and it's not because she's attractive , or even sexy . she's terrifying , especially when meyer shoves the camera down on the desert floor , somewhere between her toes , and has her stare down at us . what we wind up with , incredibly , is probably the wellspring of almost every butch-femme empowerment image . i'm not sure madonna or pat califa would exist as we know them , without something like faster , pussycat ! as part of the ambient background noise in american culture . then again , maybe i'm crediting him with too much . but then i watched ralph fiennes get the cheese kicked out of him by a green-haired punk girl in strange days , and thought : maybe too much credit isn't nearly enough ! -----== posted via deja news , the leader in internet discussion ==----- http : //www . dejanews . com/ now offering spam-free web-based newsreading 
 at first glance , it appears that the home alone movies are brainless slapstick intended for those with minds of 8-year olds . that's true of home alone 2 and i'd bet money that it's true of home alone 3 ( opening soon ) . but home alone actually has a lot going for it , and the cartoon slapstick doesn't get in the way . the mcalisters , all 15 of them , are going to france for the holidays . four adults and eleven kids are spending the night together before heading to the airport en masse . the littlest kid , kevin , is the victim of the older kids' cruelty . kevin's patience runs out when he learns that his plain-cheese pizza has already been eaten , and he's going to have to starve . he attacks his big bully brother buzz , who had been teasing him . the fight disrupts the already-chaotic dinner , spilling milk and soft drinks all over the table , a few cousins , and an uncle . the knee-jerk reaction is for everyone to blame kevin . nobody came to his rescue when he was being teased , but they all point their fingers when he fights back . the ultimate punishment comes from mom ( catherine o'hara ) who sends him up to the spare bedroom in the attic for the night . on his way up the stairs , he tells her that " families suck " and that he hopes never to see any of his family again . that night the power goes out , knocking out the alarm clocks , so the mcalisters wake up in a big hurry to get to the airport . in a surprisingly plausible setup , kevin is mistakenly accounted for , and the family heads off without him . it's interesting that , in a subtle way , his parents never noticed him missing because of their deliberate desire to separate themselves from their children . first they delegate the headcount to an older sibling , and second , they put all the kids in coach while they fly first class . they're two-thirds of the way across the atlantic before they realize they are missing a child . meanwhile , kevin believes that somehow his wish has come true . he's finally rid of his family ! life is a dream come true . he can jump on the beds , watch r-rated movies , eat gobs of ice cream and potato chips , and dig through his big brother's secret box . slowly , the novelty wears off and he settles into the mundane . he grooms himself , he does the laundry , he goes shopping ( " i bought some milk , eggs , and fabric softener " ) . he also starts to miss his family , not just for their company , but for the security they bring . the furnace in the basement is a scary monster , the old man next door is a snow-shovel murderer , and two crooks are trying to break into his house . macaulay culkin is cute but he isn't much of an actor . still , we can see that kevin's character grows , thanks to some good direction and editing . for example , acting has little to do with the emotional impact of the scene where kevin searches out a seasonal santa at night , just as " santa " is getting in his car . kevin asks the man to pass on his request - he wants his family back - to the real santa . he learned how to deal with the furnace . you turn on the lights and it's not so scary anymore . he goes to a church one evening and there he sees the snow-shovel murderer , who actually turns out to be a nice man . they talk about their fears and kevin learns that age alone does not make you less afraid . finally , in the last 20 minutes , kevin confronts his last fear - the bandits , head on ( literally ) . this last act is full of violent comedic slapstick , and after the movie's genuine dramatic setup , it is dessert . it's a lot of fun , and it doesn't overwhelm the rest of the movie . on the whole , home alone is a great holiday movie . john williams' original score has the sound and feel of holiday music without the disadvantage of being overplayed at the malls , and the christmas setting can put you in the mood for those family gatherings . but it does have its flaws . the smallest problem is that culkin doesn't act very well . as i said before , he is cute , but repeated viewings reveal more about how columbus covered himself than about culkin's insight into his character . the biggest problem is that during the cartoony coda , the villains threaten kevin's life about five times . instead of " i'm gonna get that kid " they say " i'm gonna kill that kid . " some might argue that the tone is the same , but i strongly disagree . mixing comedy with specific and viable threats of murder is a sociopathic faux-pas . i'll probably never see home alone 3 , and i wish i had skipped home alone 2 , but i do enjoy home alone almost every year . don't let your impressions of the others detract from the original , which has much more to offer than cartoon slapstick . check out more current movie reviews at http : //www . indra . com/~mmapes/ 
mr . saturday night ( 1992 )  directed by billy crystal . written by billy crystal , lowell ganz , babaloo mandel . editing , ken beyda . music , marc shaiman . production design , albert brenner . produced by billy crystal and peter schindler . cast : billy crystal , david paymer , julie warner , helen hunt , mary mara , jerry orbach , ron silver , sage allen , michael weiner , jerry lewis , et al . a columbia release . 110 min . rated r ( language ) . language is constantly inventing or reviving expressions . two current ones are illustrated by comedian billy crystal playing comedian buddy young , jr . and dedicating his life to in-your-face jokes that keep pushing the envelope . created by crystal in 1984 for hbo and repeated on " saturday night live , " buddy now gets full , favorite-comic treatment in crystal's excellent directorial start . the character is fine honed , assuming you can say this about someone whose humor is not exactly wildeian or shavian . " mr . saturday night " is the biography of now-aged buddy and his brother stan , told in alternating flashbacks and flashforwards , with nearly equal time given to the present . the two yankelman boys are broad , in-house comics who keep their family in stitches . at their first public appearance on amateur nite ( sic ) , stan , 18 , gets cold feet , but remains in the wings , encouraging abie , 16 , who , at the last second , has taken on the name of buddy young , jr . nice , quiet , sensitive stan , stays on with the raucous buddy as the latter serves his apprenticeship and reaches specialized fame in the borscht belt's circuit , culminating at grossinger's in 1950 . while buddy convulses his audiences , stan , in the background , is a perfect definition of " factotum . " he is figaro to buddy's count almaviva , his manager , gofer , soundboard , as well as the butt of his brother's whims and ego . occasionally too becomes an unwilling , resentful pimp , as when he brings to buddy an admirer , elaine ( julie warner ) . stan is attracted to her but it is buddy who marries the charming young woman . buddy rises to becoming an increasingly important las vegas performer , though always billed below the headliners . in a clever bit , his appearance on the ed sullivan show is a catastrophe , since he follows the beatles before a frenzied , hysterical audience of youths . still , he does get tv celebrity as " mr . saturday night , " though never attaining superstardom . actors never stop acting in real life , but this isn't always evident . most comics are non-stop performers too , but the nature of their trade is such that their off-stage jokes are always obvious . buddy , if not the ultimate , is the archetypical new york jewish comedian , conceived , written and played with great inside-track knowledge and much affection , colossal warts and all . he is a monomaniacally compulsive jokester 24 hours a day , to the point that only one-liners and gags count for him . being so set in his tunnel-vision ways , he becomes self-destructive , flubs his chances , loses sponsors and exploits even those who love him ( brother , wife , daughter ) , through neglect and jokes at their expense . anything for a laugh , any time . buddy's compulsive , incessant joking does not spare events such as his wedding , the birth of his child , his being at his dying mother's side , even her funeral too . yet on those occasions the film manages sometimes to transcend the tacky and the crude , and can introduce bittersweet moments of true pathos . the movie is a two-hour homage to generations of ethnic jokemeisters and their shticks . it would take a computer to analyze all the ingredients , the name comics who enter this amalgam . yet , crystal's buddy is both a composite and a comic in his own right . but he is no human being by common norms . like many one-track-mind professionals , he is self-centered , has no personal dimensions , or , for that matter , a meaningful private life . in vague terms which place much of the onus on buddy , we learn that his daughter's life has been a failure . his wife , the lovely elaine , was introduced in 1950 as the perfect mate : witty , gutsy , lively with repartee . . . later though , when we meet her repeatedly , she has receded into the background . her personality has disappeared . whilst all those around buddy fade into stooges or supporting characters , the movie makes an exception by sketching with deft irony and much affection buddy's mother , thus salvaging some family values . mostly though , it shows with sharp realism the perpetual insecurity of showbiz people , even at the height of their reputation . above all , the movie works in , as its second major , as well as most original element , the buddy-stan relationship , ambiguous yet clear , built on narcissism and monstrous insensitivity on one side , antagonism , devotion and frustration on the other , and a weird kind of love under the surface . as stan , david paymer quietly steals every scene he appears in . when , " tired of shlepwork , " he retires , the film almost acquires a tragic tinge . it is an osca-caliber performance . billy crystal's supercharged acting is striking too , as a monochord , more obvious tour-de-force . the excellent playing extends to the supporting actors : young agent helen hunt who tries , against the comic's own self-defeating nature , to give the aged buddy a second chance ; jerry orbach as her boss ; or ron silver as a big-time film director who used to idolize buddy . the gallery of characters is also reinforced by the precise physical casting of two youngsters as the teen-age brothers , and by the make-up of stan as an old man . parchment-faced buddy however , in spite of the much-advertised , lengthy cosmetic sessions , made me uncomfortable . it felt as though the eyes were peering from behind a plastic mask the story's structure tends to be a bit systematically repetitious . it hammers its points , especially the swinging pendulum between rapport and alienation in the two brothers . in the last act you sense that the writers are desperately seeking a wrap-up . and since movies cannot let go of the odd notion that performers , whether young or old , deserve more pathos and sympathy than anyone else , " mr . saturday night " too oversentimentalizes the actors and the showbiz profession . as they should , the jokes run realistically from crude to indifferent , with occasional fresh gems . equally true-to-life is buddy's repertory , strong on insults but cautious on political issues . a hilarious , lightning-fast scene with bread rolls would have made charlie chaplin proud of crystal . but there is much more than rib-tickling to this suprisingly complex and ultimately affecting view of a lifetime in schlock . " le mauvais gout mene au crime " ( stendhal ) edwin jahiel's movie reviews are at http : //www . prairienet . org/ejahiel 
after sixteen years francis ford copolla has again returned to his favorite project , making the third installment in the godfather-trilogy . this new film has been underrated for no reason . it is as intellectual and majestically made as copolla's pervious films . it is also more psychological , pessimistic and more tragic than the first two . the only regret is the unconvincing performance by the newcomer sofia copolla and some " unfinished " developments of some characters . the film elegantly begins with nino rota's recognizable musical score , the beautiful skyscrapers of new york and michael's voice as he is writing a letter to his children : " the only wealth in this world is children . more than all money and power on earth , you are my treasure " . the year is 1979 and michael corleone has used the time since the ending of " part ii " to make his father's dream come true - making the corleone family legitimate . michael sold all his casinos and invests only in gambling . constantly haunted by the past , his only reason to live is his children . the family has amassed unimaginable wealth , and as the film opens michael corleone ( al pacino ) is being invested with a great honor by the church . later that day , at a reception , his daughter announces a corleone family gift to the church and the charities of sicily , " a check in the amount of $100 million . " but the corleones are about to find , as others have throughout history , that you cannot buy forgiveness . sure , you can do business with evil men inside the church , for all men are fallible and capable of sin . but god does not take payoffs . the plot of the movie , concocted by coppola and mario puzo in a screenplay inspired by headlines , brings the corleone family into the inner circles of corruption in the vatican . there is a moment in " godfather iii " where michael says : " all my life i have been trying to go up in society , where everything was legal . but the higher i go , the crookier it becomes . . " . visually this film is as spectacular as the first two . gordon willis' rich cinematography , carmine copolla's beautiful composition and alex tavoularis' wonderful art direction could not be better . but copolla's first two godfather-films were more famous for their deep , intellectual plots , tree dimensional characters and incredible acting , than for their visual perfection . the third installment has only the plot and visuals . some characters could be much more developed and the acting , although good , never accomplishes to reach the same height of the first two films . the biggest miscasting is sofia copolla , who is so unconvincing and unemotional that she manages to ruin several scenes throughout the movie , that could have been grander and more emotional . the best performance comes unsurprisingly from al pacino , who should have got a nomination for best actor at the oscars . andy garcia is powerful as sonny's son , strong , focused and loyal . violence is natural to him . he suffers no pangs of conscience when he takes revenge on his family's behalf , and in this he is supposed to be strong in the uncomplicated way don vito corleone was . however both kay ( diane keaton ) and connie ( talia shire ) are useless . and characters like vito corleone and tom hagen are really missed . the good part is that michael is again reunited with old friends , that you remember from the first and second films . in the third film michael has become almost like his father , vito in the first film and vincenzo resembles michael when he was much younger . this parallel could be more interesting if vincenzo's character was more developed . many have pointed out that making the third film , was unnecessary . i disagree . it is a beautiful film of great importance , completing the tragic saga of the corleone family . the first film showed some horrible results of corleone's life . it showed michael making a choice ; the second showed a man damning himself for his choices and feeling the impact of changing times . a man desperately trying to keep his balance , focus , family and sanity , while everything is crashing all around him . the third film is a terrifying conclusion - a result of michael's life . the life he chose for himself is like quicksand - one wrong step and you are doomed . there is no turning back . and no matter how hard you try to get out of it , to free yourself , no matter how powerful and wealthy you are , you are helpless - sinking deeper and deeper till it swallows you completely . the beautifully directed last sequence is also the powerful climax of the film , when michael is sitting alone in his chair , left by everyone , surrounded by emptiness and memories of his friends and family members long dead . here he dies - alone , miserable and unforgiven 
rated r fine line features in spanish with english subtitles starring najwa nimri , fele martinez , nacho novo , maru valdivieso , kristel diaz , victor hugo oliveira , sara valiente , peru medem , jaroslav bielski , rosa morales written and directed by julio medem julio medem's poignant , unconventional " lovers of the arctic circle " is a film that shows the viewer the earthshaking power of destiny . the film stars najwa nimri and fele martinez ( both of whom starred in this year's other spanish import " open your eyes " ) as ana and otto , two people with palindromic names who are destined to be lovers . we learn of their destinies through a series of coincidences ; coincidences that ana says , through voice-over , make up her entire life . when ana meets otto , her father has just died , and she believes that his soul has crossed over to this boy . fate then works in mysterious ways , making her mom and otto's dad fall in love . while she is still a child , she only looks up to otto in a paternal way . otto , however , is love-stricken from the first time he sees ana . his parents have just gotten a divorce and he is going through problems of his own . otto and ana bond together in their time of loss , creating a kinship based on empathy . as they become teenagers , their relationship becomes sexual , and they must try to hide their affairs from their very naive parents . as they get older , though , they begin to drift apart . the inevitable tragedy , foreshadowed in the film's first scene , draws nearer . writer/director julio medem crafts a highly poetic love story ; one that spans the circle of life . " lovers of the arctic circle " gives an entirely new spin on the age-old tale of tragic romance . the camera work is wondrous and the characters are vivid . " lovers of the arctic circle " gets my full recommendation . a review by akiva gottlieb , the teenage movie critic akiva@excite . com http : //www . angelfire . com/mo/film get your free , private email at http : //mail . excite . com/ 
directed by gregory hoblit . screenplay by tobias emmerich . starring dennis quaid , james caviezel , elizabeth mitchell . running time : 121 minutes . rated aa by the mfcb . reviewed on may 4th , 2000 . one of the big problems with many movies about changing history is that they tend to get bogged down in its mechanics . the difficulty is that our modern understanding of time is still incredibly limited , so any such discussion will by its very nature come across as a load of gobbledegook . good movies like " back to the future " ignore the subject altogether , or at most give it a passing acknowledgement . their makers are aware that the fun thing about time isn't how it works , but how it can be used in a dramatic context . " frequency " is such a film , and it proves to be one of the most entertaining movies of the year so far . john sullivan ( james caviezel ) is a cop in 1999 new york . he has just broken up with his girlfriend , drinks a little too much , and is all too aware that it's almost the thirtieth anniversary of the death of his father . frank sullivan ( dennis quaid ) was a firefighter who perished in 1969 rescuing a transient from a warehouse fire . one night , john happens upon his dad's old ham radio , mothballed since frank's demise . for old times' sake , he switches it on . a lot of things were happening in new york around the time of frank's death . the " amazing " mets were on their way to winning the world series against the baltimore orioles . a serial killer murdered four nurses before vanishing without a trace . and the aurora borealis -- the northern lights -- was making a rare week-long appearance in the skies above the city . in 1999 , the northern lights have returned to new york for the first time in three decades . by some freak accident of nature , this allows john to speak to frank in 1969 via the ham radio . john manages to convince his father that he really is communicating from the future by predicting events of the mets/orioles world series , and gives him enough information about the warehouse fire to save his life . but this changes the whole pattern of history , and not all for the good . somehow , frank's survival has meant that the so-called nightingale killer's death toll was ten instead of four -- and one of the " new " victims was john's mother julia ( elizabeth mitchell ) . frank and john must cooperate across the years to stop the murderer in time . " frequency " is not a particularly deep movie . in a way it's about the relationship between fathers and sons , and how profoundly the absence of the former can affect the latter . and of course it deals with the familiar science-fiction notion of how changing one seemingly innocuous event can have major ramifications on things long after . but , in the end , the real point of " frequency " is just to tell a good story , and in this it excels . there are a lot of great scenes in which frank and john's altering of history is explored , not on a pseudoscientific level but on a purely visceral one . the movie doesn't try to justify its temporal mechanics ( indeed , there are some inconsistencies in how frank's actions ripple down to his son ) , but just taps into our sense of the fantastic . for example , at one point frank communicates with john by burning a message into his desk . john sees the letters appear one by one and touches them , expecting to find them hot . but of course they're not , because they were made thirty years earlier . later , frank acquires a wallet with the murderer's fingerprints on it , but can't go to the police in 1969 because they'd never believe his story . so he hides the wallet beneath a loose floorboard , where john retrieves it in 1999 . " wow , " breathes frank , and he is speaking as much for the audience as for himself . while these sorts of things are nothing new to the genre , rarely have they been done so well and with such enthusiasm . and there are a couple of particularly imaginative sequences , especially a visually awesome one at the movie's climax . the only real downside to " frequency " is that the serial killer storyline which dominates its second half is rather pedestrian . this is not to say that it's badly done -- it's intriguing enough in its own way -- but it just doesn't live up to the wonder which permeates the rest of the movie . scenes like one where frank is arrested for being the nightingale killer seem commonplace , for instance , and the proceedings generally feel as though they've been lifted out of an uncommonly bizarre episode of " law and order " . but even this is energised by excellent performances from caviezel and particularly quaid . " frequency " lives or dies on the conviction of their father/son relationship , made more challenging by the fact that their communications aren't face-to-face . but both actors are up to the task , bringing genuine emotion to the story . as a result , it's easy to suspend our disbelief and buy into the movie , and it's hard to suppress a cheer when frank survives the fire , or when father and son team up to stop the killer . director gregory hoblit does a good job , especially in keeping the frequent and potentially dull scenes of frank and john talking on the radio alive and interesting . also , he wisely chooses not to overplay the changes father and son have wrought on the present . although some differences are highlighted , many others are left as subtle background detail . like " back to the future " , this gives the film a richness it would otherwise be lacking . " frequency " has a broad appeal that's rare in movies today . it's a science-fiction movie where the characters come first , where visual effects take a backseat to story and acting , but which is exciting and suspenseful nonetheless . " frequency " probably won't win any academy awards , but it was one of the most enjoyable cinematic experiences i've had in a long time . and , in the end , i can't ask for much more than that . copyright © 2000 shannon patrick sullivan . archived at the popcorn gallery , http : //www . physics . mun . ca/~sps/movies/frequency . html -- _______________________________________________________________________ / shannon patrick sullivan | " we are all in the gutter , but some of us \ | shannon@mun . ca | are looking at the stars . " - oscar wilde | \___________________________|__________________________________________/ | popcorn gallery movie reviews www . physics . mun . ca/~sps/movies . html | | doctor who : a brief history of time ( travel ) /drwho . html | 
© copyright 2001 planet sick-boy . all rights reserved . with his last two films - shine and snow falling on cedars - australian director scott hicks has proven his cinematic flashbacks to be some of the best out there , and his latest , hearts in atlantis , is no different . its structure - beginning and ending in present day with one long flashback in the middle - is similar to the green mile , which is a bit ironic considering both were based on stephen king books . the parallels don't end there , either . atlantis was adapted by william goldman , who had previously penned the big-screen version of misery and is in the process of working on the script for king's dreamcatcher . even the film's content is a bit reminiscent of mile . in fact , it's the perfect blend of the feel-good '60s nostalgia of stand by me ( also by king ) and mystical power hokum of mile . king's atlantis is a book comprised of five related short stories , but the main focus here is on the first ( and longest ) tale , called low men in yellow coats ( the film's title comes from the second chapter ) . it's set in 1960 harwich , connecticut , where 11-year-old bobby garfield ( anton yelchin ) lives in a boarding house run by his cold , self-centered mother elizabeth ( hope davis , joe gould's secret ) , who seems to care more about her wardrobe than her son . bobby spends his time with his two closest friends , john sullivan ( will rothhaar ) and tomboy carol gerber ( mika boorem ) , who become something like the kevin , paul and winnie of harwich . when a new tenant moves into the vacant room , the fatherless bobby finds a male role model in ted brautigan ( anthony hopkins , hannibal ) , a mysterious stranger who is vague enough about his past to make bobby's mom suspicious enough to at least momentarily turn her head away from the mirror . ted teaches his young neighbor about the wonders of literature ( after his cheapskate mother gives him a library card for his birthday ) , dispenses prophetic words of wisdom and even pays bobby one dollar a week to read him the local newspaper and keep his eyes peeled for the low men , a group of people chasing ted to exploit his special powers . i won't go into what these powers are , but they're considerably toned down from the book ( and don't involve black stuff flying out of ted's mouth , a la mile ) . atlantis' present-day setting which bookends the film is based on the novel's final chapter , titled heavenly shades of night are falling , and features david morse ( in yet another connection to the green mile ) as a married , middle-aged bobby who learns of the death of both of his childhood friends and returns to the dilapidated boarding house in which he spent his formative years . atlantis is nowhere near as flashy as hicks' cedars , which is disappointing but understandable considering the switch from the completely amazing robert richardson to the occasionally amazing piotr sobocinski , the oscar-nominated cinematographer behind krzysztof kieslowski's red . the acting is solid from everyone , including hopkins , who never once makes you think of dr . lecter . most impressive are youngsters yelchin and boorem , who both had tiny parts in along came a spider . while i didn't really have much of a problem with goldman's screenplay , i do need to point out at least one inconsistency . goldman , for those of you who don't read premiere , writes what seems like an annual criticism of everybody else's films , carefully explaining why they all suck , make no sense and insult their audiences , while somehow failing to mention the crap that he's penned ( like the general's daughter ) . it's mean-spirited but fun to read , mostly on account of nobody else in hollywood having the balls to say anything remotely negative about anybody else in the business ( including michael jackson , o . j . and robert blake ) . in atlantis , which is supposed to be told through the eyes of young bobby , one would assume he would have to be in each scene in order to have the memory to which to flash back . well , he's not , and it doesn't make sense . 1 : 41 - pg-13 for violence and thematic elements 
the others ( 2001 ) nicole kidman , christopher eccleston , fionnula flanagan , elaine cassidy , eric sykes , alakina mann , james bentley , rene ascherson . written and directed by alejandro amenábar . 104 minutes . rated pg-13 , 3 stars review by ed johnson-ott , nuvo newsweekly www . nuvo . net archive reviews at http : //reviews . imdb . com/reviewsby ? edward + johnson-ott to receive reviews by e-mail at no charge , send subscription requests to ejohnsonott@prodigy . net or e-mail ejohnsonott-subscribe@onelist . com with the word " subscribe " in the subject line . it's hard not to recommend " the others . " the supernatural thriller , written and directed by alejandro amenábar ( " open your eyes " ) , adroitly establishes and maintains a low-key atmosphere of menace . the cinematography , by javier aguirresarobe , is as good as i have ever seen and nicole kidman gives another in her growing body of fine performances . but the pacing of the story moves from deliberate to downright sluggish and the payoff of the tale left me less than satisfied . overall , the film plays like a very high quality version of any number of old " twilight zone " episodes where the characters spend a great deal of time wandering about looking afraid and disoriented , only to learn they are actually a child's toy , a military test subject or a department store dummy . watching those vintage shows and listening to the players chatter , i always wanted to shout , " get on with it ! " as much as i appreciated the atmosphere and acting in " the others , " my reaction was much the same . set at an island mansion off the coast of england during world war ii , the story focuses on grace ( kidman ) , who tends to her children anne ( alakina mann ) and nicholas ( james bentley ) and worries about her husband , charles ( christopher eccleston ) , a missing serviceman . anne and nicholas suffer from photosensitivity and grace patrols the estate with the keys to all 50 doors , protecting the little ones from excess light by making sure that only one door is open at a time . at the beginning of the film , three servants , mrs . mills ( fionnula flanagan ) , young , mute lydia ( elaine cassidy ) , and mr . tuttle ( eric sykes ) , an aging gardener , join the family . the two that speak seem agreeable enough at first , but it soon becomes apparent that they know something that grace does not . to make matters worse , the children are upset : nicholas is unusually jittery and anne claims to be seeing ghosts . grace attempts to blame the troubles on the new arrivals to her home , only to realize that whatever is happening is beyond them . that's essentially the whole story , with the tension growing until the pivotal moment when everything becomes clear . earlier , there is an outstanding scene where grace darts outside , only to be enveloped in fold after fold of shimmering fog . the visuals in the otherworldly sequence , courtesy of aguirresarobe , are simply astounding . i also enjoyed the presence of religion , a rarity in films dealing with the supernatural . grace is a christian and answers her children's questions about life and death with the assurance of a devout worshiper . when mother is away , though , the kids speculate whether her statements are fact or folklore , just as real children do . but those nice touches fail to enliven a film that is too slow or make up for a lackluster ending . " the others " sets out to be a classic ghost story , but fails to grasp that special something that makes such films more than layers of mist . 
my fellow americans is a movie that at first glance looks to have little substance ( or a movie that we've all seen a million times ) , two lifetime rivals thrown together and then the fun begins . this is exactly what happened in this movie , but fortunately , they managed to do it in an interesting and funny way . the movie starts with a quick ( and i do mean quick ) glance of two presidents russell kramer ( jack lemmon ) and matt douglas ( james garner ) . william haney ( dan aykroyd ) and ted matthews ( john heard ) are the new president and vice president . there is a scandal that arises involving a kickback from a contractor and haney is positive that he buried that years ago . he finds a scapegoat in kramer and now everyone wants kramer and douglas dead . this movie was exceptional for many reasons . one being that they found people ( lemmon and garner ) that have good chemisty together . they worked very well as a unit and they mirrored each other perfectly , one being a ladies man and one being the old man ( i'll let you fiqure which is which ) . also , they found people that know their parts as govenment officials well . it seemed to me that garner played almost exactly the same role that he played in the distinquished gentleman ( except then he was a congressman ) . experience counts for a lot ! ! 
mute witness ( 1994 ) a film review by justin felix . copyright 1999 justin felix . any comments about this review ? contact me at justinfelix@yahoo . com all of my film reviews are archived at http : //us . imdb . com/m/reviews_by ? justin + felix written and directed by anthony waller . starring marina zudina . special cameo by alec guinness . rated r ( contains brutal violence , nudity , and profanity ) 90 mins . synopsis : an attractive mute makeup artist , working on an ultra-cheesy slasher movie in moscow , witnesses the production of a brutal snuff film and is subsequently chased by really bad russians . meanwhile , the artist's sister and boyfriend clumsily try to save her . comments : mute witness came as a surprise to me the first time i watched it . drawn by the clever artwork on the video box , i rented the film expecting a complete turkey . mute witness , however , was original , offbeat , and well-made . it's one of those cool little finds that no one seems to know about . i've subsequently found it at most video rental places i visit , and it may be seen , on occasion , on the independent film channel . the first hour of mute witness is extremely tense , as billy , the quite believable mute heroine , sees members of the russian mob brutally kill a prostitute while filming an illegal snuff film . the rest of the film takes good advantage of billy's vulnerable position as a mute foreigner in moscow being pursued by powerful criminal figures . to throw a curveball into the fray , billy's sister karen and her filmmaking beau become bizarre figures of comic relief to offset several violent sequences in what are some genuinely funny scenes . a disappointingly trite ending and occasional comic blunders are the only two things which mar this otherwise suspenseful film . look for alec guinness ( obi-wan kenobi from the first star wars trilogy ) in a small role as the evil reaper . definately check this movie out ; although , as a word of warning , it does contain several scenes of rather grisly violence which certainly aren't for the squeamish . 
the director of the crow ( 1994 ) returns with this happy epic , set in a world where the sun is always shining and everyone is cheerful . only kidding . as you could guess by the title , dark city is a dark , depressive , but somewhat entertaining picture . set sometime in the future , the film begins when we see john murdoch ( sewell ) wake up with no memory . he can't remember his wife emma ( connely ) or the murders that he has been framed for . and when he encounters strange , tall people wearing silly hats trying to kill him ( called 'the strangers' ) , he tries to get answers . with the help of dr . scheriber ( sutherland ) he tries to work out what the hell is going on . hot on his tail on this time is world weary cop inspector frank bumstead ( hurt . ) despite the dark setting , and the depressive mood the picture has , dark city is entertaining . the first thing that makes the film fun is the cast . director alex proyas has managed to assemble a pretty good cast for what is essentially a very silly sci-fi movie . rufus sewell does a good job looking confused , and also does the action scenes all right aswell . sutherland appears to be having fun as the doctor , even if he is overacting just a little . his delivery of his lines really started to annoy me , though . ( he pauses every two words . ) more worringly , he's looking more like his father every day . connelly fine in her role , although it dosen't require much . her singing voice , by the way , is anita kelsey , so don't expect any connelly hits in the chart's any time soon . william hurt is not bad , even though he dosen't really appear to be trying . also popping up is ian richardson and richard o'brian as two of the strangers . both are good english actors , and watching them dress up in the most stupid costumes , blurting out lines which a b movie screenwriter would be proud of is actually quite amusing ( if you're british , that is . ) then again , o'brien dressed up stupid in the rocky horror picture show ( 1975 ) so looking silly is no stranger to him . like the crow , the film is directed like a music video with a large budget . proyas uses fast cuts , quick zooms and a dance soundtrack to great effect , as they manage ( along with the acting ) to drown out the poor dialogue ( written by lem dobbs , david s . goyer and proyas himself . ) the fast paced directing helps the movie bound along . the dialogue just slows it down . it's clumsy , stupid , and in the end , just boring . the best thing about dark city , however , is the look of the film . the city is impressive , it's look the place the crow ( and deckard from bladerunner , 1982 ) would live . the special effects are also impressive , especially the ones in the overblown finale . dark city is a definite case of style of content . if you get bored of the movie , just sit back and enjoy the great scenery , the great directing , and the soundtrack . this things alone probably make dark city worth watching . it may not be the best film of the year , but dark city is worth watching , and is ultimately just good fun . 
as i write the review for the new hanks/ryan romantic comedy you've got mail , i am acutely aware that i am typing it on a computer and sending it a billion miles away on the internet . i am also aware that i have just spent the last 2 hours watching the world's biggest paid commercial for america online . and i wonder : is that so bad ? well , the commercial part is . as for the movie , well , as long as i can watch tom hanks and meg ryan , i think i'll be okay . to paraphrase james berardinelli , whose reviews i admire very much , tom hanks and meg ryan can act . they are both wonderful , but for all of hanks' glorious work in serious films , such as his magnificent performance in saving private ryan , and his glorious triumph in philadelphia , i like him best when he's suitably obnoxious . tom hanks is wonderful when he is obnoxious in a romantic comedy when he's going to get the girl : the only question is how ? meg ryan , america's high school sweetheart , can act . she's had a handful of memorable performances , including the great scene in the diner in when harry met sally ( i must not mention what she does , due to the , well , um , you get the idea , and if you don't , get the movie-- fantastic ) . but , i like her best when she's , well , perky . she is so adorably perky/cute that together with hanks , they are the most amazing onscreen duo in my short lifetime . some people have them going back to really old classic romantic couples , but i don't really know . all i know is that i just like them both . they have such wonderfully kinetic chemistry that's really hard to resist , and i'm not going to even try . they're just really , really cute , sweet , and charming . hanks and ryan collaborate once again with nora ephron , who directed them in the megahit sleepless in seattle . here , the setup is a little different . kathleen kelly ( ryan ) owns a small children's bookstore which her mother founded 42 years ago and passed down to her . she is successful , beautiful , and dates a well-known columnist with very radical idea ( kinnear ) . she is also having an affair , of sorts . you see , kathleen , with the handle shopgirl , is secretly emailing ny152 . they have a strictly un-detailed relationship : there are no specifics , and they have no idea who each other is . ny152 happens to be joe fox ( hanks ) , a multimillionaire bookseller who is the heir to the fortune of the fox chain of mega-bookstores , run by his father ( coleman ) . fox books has decided to open a store on the west side , right across from a little children's bookseller named " shop around the corner " , run by a perky girl named kathleen kelly . every morning , these two email each other silly , and every day , they fight " to the death ! ! " . it's a charming premise , and one that works nicely , balancing the immense troubles kathleen is in with the romance she wants to have . it also has the great sense of being a classic romance : there is no " let's have sex tonight " mantra , if you'll excuse my bluntness . this is a solid romance built around that vague concept of love . hmm . well , the movie goes through twists and turns , having some sad moments and happy ones , until at one moment tom hanks and meg ryan " hook up " , to use modern terminology , and kiss their way into happiness . you know it's going to happen , the question is now ? thankfully , ephron has a wonderful supporting cast with posey , kinnear , chappelle , and a host of others , including a great scene involving brothers , aunts , and two sweet kids . it's all cute and wonderful , and for all of the idealism , it makes me feel good . hanks is as obnoxious as ever on the outside and as warm on the inside as he always is . he is , i believe , america's greatest actor . does he show it here ? nah . but he's still tom hanks , and she's still meg ryan . which is what this movie boils down to . it's pure confection . all the bits about the godfather , the jokes , the superb script , it's all really sweet . there are some immense flaws , like pacing . the last third of the movie really doesn't work as well as i would have liked , and for a romantic comedy , it's slow . once hanks knows the secret , it gets really slow . i even looked at my watch a couple times , to make sure ephron was going to deliver the big onscreen kiss i was waiting for , so that i could get home at a reasonable hour . the other problem is that this movie is shaping up to be really dated . e-mail ? when my kids are my age , i don't know what we'll be using . but hanks can do more with one eyeroll than anybody , and meg ryan just loves to dive into a pillow better than anyone in movie history . they just work together , and it's nice to see . it gives you , well , a smile . the script helps with some great lines that are absolutely hilarious , and that always come at the exact right time to keep the audience awake . i was arguing with my father on the drive back home on what the purpose of movies was . i've always believed that movies are very powerful , very powerful indeed . you see , mankind has three abilities he needs to survive : the ability to think , entertain , and procreate . movies can definitely do the first two , and as for the third , well , i'd rather not think about that . i always thought films that made you think enlightened you and made you see something from another viewpoint , and that films that entertained you were good , because you forgot about your troubles and thought about something nice for a night . and i was thinking about how incredible a year tom hanks has had . hanks was the driving force behind one of the year's best films in saving private ryan , which is one of those thinking films that truly made someone wonder about the world . he's also half of the glue behind the year's best example of pure entertainment . tom hanks and meg ryan are magical , as is this movie . it's a sweet , lovely affair with a technology twist . it may be a long commercial , but it gave me a pretty big smile on my face . 
apollo 13 is simply one of the most dramatic film this summer ( apart from swashbuckling braveheart ) . director ( and former actor ) ron howard ( splash , backdraft , far & away ) , most noted for his dramatic film making , displays again his brilliance in creating drama and suspense in apollo 13 . being the second largest box office hit in the us this summer ( with more than us$150 million in the states alone ) , this film is his most successful effort yet . perhaps one of the most appealing feature of this film is the pool of talented actors such as tom hanks ( gump himself ) , kevin bacon ( footloose , tremors , a few good men etc . ) , gary sinise ( forrest gump ) , bill paxton ( aliens , true lies , boxing helena ) and ed harris ( the abyss , just cause ) . . all of whom gave good performances in their respective roles . apollo 13 was the second worst accident ever to occur in the history of us spaceflight ( the worst being the challenger accident ) . jim lovell ( hanks ) , the mission commander , together with his crew , fred haise ( paxton ) and last minute replacement tom swigert ( bacon ) are put to the ultimate test when part of their command module explodes on the third day of the mission , more than three quarters way to the moon . suspense and drama ensue as the three men are left in space with their spaceship out of control and the problem of surviving the journey home . . . if they ever reach it . ed harris and gary sinise who play , respectively , the man in charge of the entire mission control and the astronaut who was supposed to fly but was diagnosed with measles , both delve into their roles superbly . audiences are shown the chaotic and worrisome state of the entire ground control crew , as they frantically attempt to come up with ideas on how to save the astronauts from hurtling into space . also , there are quite a number of real news footages which were broadcast during the accident which took the entire us nation into 5 days of drama in 1970 . the special effects by digital domain are up to standard and the music suits the suspense and drama very well , thanks to film-music maestro james horner . watch out for the launching sequence , it is simply one of the most breathtaking scenes of the film . a bad point though : apollo 13 features much technical jargon and many physics concepts in its script . those who consider themselves `scientifically illiterate' might have a slight problem understanding what caused this and what caused that during the course of the show . this is however , just a minor point , just forget all those technical bullshit and immerse yourselves into the drama and suspense throughout the film . you should enjoy it . 
rated r for intense violence , sexuality and some nudity . starring : jamie lee curtis , donald pleasance , nancy loomis , p . j . soles . once in a great while a brilliant horror film will come out , this year we've had the new classic 'the blair witch project' which has been hailed as the scariest film ever made . while one of the scariest , halloween still reigns supreme as the most horrifying movie ever put on film strip . it's whole approach to horror movies are the most amazing thing of the film is that it needs no gore , no explicit violence and no excess blood to scare the hell out of us , instead it relies on genuine scares and atmosphere to make us pee our pants with fright . the score of the film is also a big thing too . sometimes the score is what scares us the most , along with michael myers we have no mercy from this terrifying motion picture masterpiece . the film starts out with a creepy opening sequence to which has the now classic and creepy score by writer/director/producer john carpenter who in my mind is a brilliant director , he really is . he wrote this film , he directed this film , he produced this film and he made the excessively creepy score to this film . i think he is and always will be famous for this classic which after 21 years has not lost it's popularity or it's ability to scare the wits out of people . i think i have seen 'halloween' over 100 times and each time i find something new and brilliant , and each time i am scared even though i know what is going to happen . i own three different versions of the film : a vhs regular version that came with a limited edition 20th anniversary t-shirt , a boxed edition vhs in a hardcover case digitally re-mastered with the original theatrical widescreen presentation , in a nifty plastic picture decorated box with a numbered snow-globe . in other words i am completely and utterly obsessed with the film . it has changed horror movies forever and spawned six sequels with only 2 , 4 , and 7 being truly good . it also spawned several cheap imitations of the film that were offensive in some ways to a true halloween fan . since i heard about halloween being released on dvd in a limited edition of 30 , 000 copies , i knew i had to buy one no matter what ! i did and man to me it's the best dvd ever manufactured with the brilliance of the film . no words can describe the dvd . in 'halloween' michael myers is a evil person whom killed his sister in cold blood 16 years ago in 1963 . now in 1978 grown up and in a mental hospital michael myers escapes to go back to his hometown of haddonfield , illinois , followed by his past doctor sam loomis . the person michael is targeting is laurie strode who is played by jamie lee curtis in her film debut . why is he stalking her ? check out halloween ii it explains it all . on this unholy night on october 31 , 1978 laurie strode and her two friends are going to have the time of their lives , which is trying to stay alive . the whole film is filled with terrifying moments most coming from just seeing michael myers walk . nick castle who played the shape in the first movie did an incredible job , and no other person in any other halloween flick can do what he did . what john carpenter did in 1978 is made a ground-breaking new film , with scares , wit , and style . the movie is flawless if not perfect . no other movie or sequel has lived up to this one , and in my opinion never will . 'halloween' will be like 'psycho' and still be extremely popular even almost 40 years later . i just hope someday 'halloween' will be released in a new dolby soundtrack with the 4 extra scenes on the dvd edition . 'halloween' isn't just another slice-and-dice horror flick , it's an intelligent , horrifying and best film experience ever made . see 'halloween' and be scared . . . . then watch it again ! reviewed by brandon herring october 7 , 1999 . ratings for the other halloween movies : halloween ii- ½ halloween iii- zero stars halloween 4 : the return of michael myers- * * * halloween 5 : the revenge of michael myers- * * halloween : the curse of michael myers- * * halloween : h20- * * * * brandon herring movie review heaven ( http : //www . geocities . com/hollywood/movie/3160/moviereviewheaven . html 
steven phillips ( brooks ) is sitting in a posh restaurant with a young studio executive that says he's lost his edge . " what can i do to fix it ? " brooks asks , but he says it's beyond fixing . " but i just got the humanitarian award ! " he fires back , " oh come on , everyone gets that . " the muse is a perfect example of the way that young hollywood stars and executives are shaping what type of movies that we see in the next millennium . it also shows what this young movement does to the aging workers who've been there awhile . when steven sees a mysterious woman getting into a cab when he comes to ask his friend jack warrick ( jeff bridges ) for advice he at first begins to think that he is having an affair . but in his desperation , jack feels sorry for him and tells him that she is a muse . a muse is a child of zeus and is supposed to inspire all creativity . ( just a little update for those of us who didn't pay attention in history . ) steven decides to consult the muse , ( stone ) who turns to want more than anybody in hollywood are paying for their services . decked out in a four seasons suite , she makes him be at her beck and call , in exchange he's starting to form an idea about a jim carrey comedy in a water park . she also helps inspire steven's wife laura ( andie mcdowell ) to become the next mrs . fields . she two investigators of a local mentor hospital show up at the front door looking for her . . . they begin to wonder . the film turns in a great performance by stone . her wackiness reminded me of some of her craziness scenes in casino . albert brooks also turns in a fine screenplay that constantly moving and funny . but the film also raises the idea of what will happen when the sarah michelle gellar's of today turn 30 ? what will happen to the industry then ? if your looking for a fun film to see , go out and see the muse which gets * * * stars . the young-uns : the film contains a brief view of sharon stone's butt . good age 7 & up a review by frankie paiva the 12 year-old movie reviewer e-mail me at swpstke@aol . com visit my website at : http : //expage . com/page/teenagemoviecritic 
capsule : the funniest horror movie ever made ; a melange of dario argento and wile e . coyote . evil dead 2 : dead by dawn is the result of an unstable fusion of warner bros . cartoon slapstick and _giallo_ horror-movie conventions . it's a flick with the mind of a splatter film and the heart of a mack sennett two-reeler . in plain , non-fanboy language , it's a ton of disgusting fun . example : a monster of the undead rises from the cellar , only to have its head smashed in the trapdoor . its eyeball pops out and flies into the mouth of one of the three screaming girls in the movie . gulp . the plot , what there is of it , is simple to the point of irrelevancy . a young man and his girlfriend head out to an abandoned cabin for a romantic interlude , and unwittingly unleash the evil undead . the girl dies horribly and the man ( square-jawed bruce campbell ) lives -- but as what ? horrendous mutations strike him like epileptic fits . the dead rise out of their graves and inflict ghastly punishments and tortures on him . his own hand rebels against him ( and the punishment he exacts on it is howlingly painful ) . the majority of the movie is one long , roaring blast of slime , guts , special effects and ear-drilling sound effects , but it's put together in a way that gets more than a fair amount of good laughs . evil dead 2 is most likely * the * item that started the whole trend of sly , self-referential horror movies ( culminating , of course , in the brilliantly nasty scream ) , although it's a lot more freakish and far-out . 
starring : arthur hill ( dr . jeremy stone ) , david wayne ( dr . charles dutton ) , james olson ( dr . mark hall ) , kate reid ( dr . ruth leavitt ) . produced and directed by robert wise . the andromeda strain is the greatest science fiction film ever made . i know that is very sweeping statement , so i'll qualify it by adding that the andromeda strain is one of the few films made that genuinely deserve the label of " science fiction , " stories in which speculative science is at the core of the plot . 2001 : a space odyssey is probably a better film , but it really only qualifies as science fiction if you consider metaphysics to be a science . most all other films we normally classify as science fiction , or sf , are really just fantasy , action or horror stories set in a futuristic setting . the andromeda strain starts out with two soldiers in a high-tech ( for 1970 ) van looking for a crashed satellite in a tiny new mexico town . something bad happens to them . pictures from a reconnaissance plane show a shocking sight . apparently everyone in the town is dead . the authorities call a " wildfire alert , " summoning four scientists , all but one of them somewhat reluctant , to a super-secret underground germ warfare laboratory in nevada . two of scientists , stone and hall , fly directly to the town in space suits and find a town where almost every single resident literally dropped in their tracks , their blood turned to powder in their veins . some went insane before they died and two of them , a baby and an old wino , are miraculously still alive . they take the survivors and the satellite back to the lab , where stone pressures the white house to call up a " directive 712 , " an executive order to cauterize the area around the town with a nuclear bomb . what they find on the satellite when they get back to the lab is andromeda , an organism that defies all the normal rules of earth-like life and mutates as it grows . their only hope to cure it is to find out what a perfectly healthy baby boy has in common with an old derelict . what they find out is that organism feeds directly on energy and that detonating the a-bomb over the town would only spread it across the entire planet . they barely call off the bombing in time . but then the organism mutates into something that threatens to eat through the labs defenses and break out . this triggers the lab's last-ditch defense mechanism , an atomic bomb . to those raised on the brainless action fare that pollutes movie theaters these days , the andromeda strain will probably seem interminably slow . much of the film is a lot of people standing around looking at video screens and computer readouts . but what the characters see on those screens ratchets up the tension with every turn of the screw . the performances are universally fine , with the actors keeping things low-key and restrained , just like scientists . to me , the real appeal of this film is the fact that it shows scientists acting like scientists and makes it seem exciting . we follow the logic of their deduction step by methodical step , puzzling like they do every time andromeda behaves in a way we don't expect . this film is only available on wide screen on dvd and that is the way to see it . it was originally rated g when first released but it now carries the pg rating , mostly for very mild nudity and one scene in which a body's wrist is slashed , spilling its powdered blood . 
lili taylor nabbed one of her first lead roles in this true life drama about valerie jean solanas , the woman who shot andy warhol in 1968 . but the film is more of a showcase to the ways of the 60s and the influence that warhol and other artists had on the people at that time . valerie jean solanas ( taylor ) is a lesbian feminist who as written a book called scum manifesto , a book ( which is now a classic ) about the way that men ( like disease , or so she says ) have been ruling here for the millions of years before us . she tries to sell it on the street , and is thrilled when her drag queen friend is invited to andy warhol's pad . this is her chance to sell him not only on the book , but on some plays that she has been writing . but andy is just like all of the other men out there . when a publisher signs her to a fraud contract and a friend puts her on a television show discussing homosexuality where the host makes fun of her , she begins to think that andy is all behind it . he's been constantly ignoring and making fun of her and she doesn't like it . her increasing rage is about to bring on the deadliest of consequences . lili taylor gives the performance of her career ( at least so far ) she puts every ounce that she can into this character and it's a great treat to watch . flaws are abound however , most of the film is boring and needs something interesting to be put on the screen and the story was told harsher than it needs to be . still , the film does a good job of examining the inner rage that overcame the woman and her actions thereafter . if your looking for a cool 60s noir piece , rent i shot andy warhol , which gets * * * stars . the young-uns : the main character is lesbian and we see one lesbian encounter . she is also a prostitute and we see two ( not very explicit ) sex scenes of her servicing her customers . it also contains strong language and drug use . good age : 16 & up a review by frankie paiva the 12 year-old movie reviewer e-mail me at swpstke@aol . com visit my website at : http : //expage . com/page/teenagemoviecritic 
i love japanese anime on the big screen . the gorgeous colors , the daunting cel animation detailing the smallest blades of grass , the complex storylines and character designs , and the thundering soundtrack . and the impending release of vampire hunter d : bloodlust has made me wet with anticipation . the original vampire hunter d was produced for video only in 1985 . its twisted violence , a plot thick with deception and honor , perverted sex scenes , and beautiful acts of heads and limbs being lopped off are a d&d geek's wet dream . based upon volume three of hideyuki kikuchi's vampire hunter d novel series , bloodlust follows the continuing story of d and his travels as a vampire hunter for hire . in the distant future , vampires rule with an iron first over fiefdoms of human-occupied lands with their minions of mutants and werewolves . as the years have passed , though , the vampire rulers have gradually lost their power and are now being hunted by bounty hunters . one of the most famous hunters is a mysterious outcast named d , a " dunpeal " ( born of a vampire father and a human mother ) , who's equipped with a super-quick sword , a black cape blowing in the wind , and a penchant for ass kicking . d's latest job involves a simple rescue operation to reclaim an affluent family's lovely daughter charlotte from the clutches of meier link , an ultra-smooth vampire with a silly eurotrash accent . but competition waits in the form of the markus brothers -- a randy bunch of mercenaries who use knives , strength , crossbows , and even a guy's ghost to capture their vampire booty . along the way , the undead rise from their graves , werewolves howl at the moon , and creeping evil in the shadows crosses their paths at every turn . vampire hunter d : bloodlust is a qualified success in the animation department , combining fantasy with reality through the solid efforts of asian production house madhouse studios ( also responsible for co-creating the awesome hbo spawn animated series ) . but there's a strong western influence in both set design and landscapes throughout the picture . as well , director yoshiaki kawajiri ( wicked city ) handles the action well and delivers a number of memorable moments that even rival anime classics like battle angel . on the flip side , the main problems with the film are that its plot is weak and the characters fail to evolve . bloodlust never sells the conviction of evil within any of the main characters , instead relying on the age-old romanticism of the vampire . eventually it degenerates into a standard love story/rescue mission . worse still , d's character is so utterly invincible there's never a sense that the story could go any other way than that he will save the girl and beat the evil bad guys . the film's humor , mainly projected by d's talking left hand , feels forced and unsure . vampire hunter d : bloodlust earns enough points in the animation department to carry the innocuous plot . it's almost enough to make you forgive the lousy title . 
as fairy tales go , cinderella has to be one of the most famous . almost everyone knows it , well at least in north america . so it is natural that someone will try to make a movie out of it . it has been done before with varying results . this version of the story is both similar to the original and different at the same time . the basic story remains unchanged but , one thing that seems to vanish with this version , and that is all the fantastical elements of the story . there is no fairy god mother or anything even remotely of that nature . after the fantastical elements are stripped away what is left is a realistic believable rendition of the cinderella story and an interesting love story at the least . . unlike in the fairy tale , the prince plays a much larger part than just that of the masked ball at the end . the ‘prince' , who happens to be the crown prince to the throne of france , meets 'cinderella' , known as danielle , on a few occasions , most coincidentally and he becomes smitten with her . although this seems to be a far cry from the traditional story it allows for the main plot to proceed with enough room for some imaginative story telling . . the story takes place in a renaissance setting ; in france , with leonardo da vinci providing some comic relief on more than one occasion . this addition of leonardo da vinci , was quite successful in that it added some color to the movie , since some of the roles are a bit stereotypical . for example the role that was scripted for the prince leaves a few things to be desired . for instance the character seems to be a bit too unstable and fickle , a crown prince should not be anything remotely like that . especially since he is portrayed to be in his mid twenties at the least and almost ready to take the throne . the characters of danielle ( cinderella ) played by drew barrymore , and that of the evil step mother , played by anjelica huston , are well developed and well played by the two women . although the part of danielle is a bit stretched it is not too unlikely and not totally unbelievable . the nuances of the character are brought out well by drew barrymore and from watching the movie it seems like she had fun making the movie . as a contrast the part of the evil step mother is clearly seen from the very beginning and is almost clique . but , anjelica huston seems to add a certain flair to the role that makes it suit the movie nearly perfectly . the actual story is fairly predictable since it is after all the basic story of cinderella , but there are more than enough twists in how the story is told to make it interesting and enjoyable . the acting is of high caliber and seems deserved of praise . all in all this movie takes you back into history , into a seemingly magical fairy land . but , don't get me wrong there is nothing but reality , it is just refreshing to watch a movie that is not based in a familiar setting with everyday familiar things happening . so although the story is basically familiar the world it is set in is not , and that adds a dimension to the film which in this humble reviewers opinion makes it worth seeing 
congratulations to kate winslet for defying the odds , by choosing to play the lead role in the small , but beautiful hideous kinky as a follow-up to her oscar nominated turn in titanic , the highest grossing and most expensive film of all time . but was this really such a surprise ? not at all , once you look at the wide range of films that the british actress appeared in before titanic . she showed incredible talent at a young age in such films as jude , heavenly creatures and sense and sensibility ( for which she recieved her first oscar nomination ) . her latest , hideous kinky , is an exotic odyssey that is much more than a star vehicle . hideous kinky is not a plot driven movie , but it tells the tale of a hippie named julia ( kate winslet ) who has brought her two young girls ( bella riza and carrie mullan ) to morocco to find peace , love , and faith in the early 70's . while in london , the children's father thrives as a poet , julia has no money . it is then that she meets bilal ( said taghmaoui ) , a moroccan ex-con who is hiding from his past . he wins the affection of julia and her children and he becomes like a father to them . bilal seems to be a nice man , but he often vanishes at times when he is needed . for all the wonder of hideous kinky , the real pleasure comes from watching the two little girls onscreen . they both run around screaming wild phrases like " hideous kinky ! " and each character is a presence on her own . it is rare for children to dominate a film , especially when matched up against kate winslet , who gives one of her better performances . hideous kinky reminded me a little of this year's a walk on the moon , because both are similar tales of a woman trying to find herself during the same time period . hideous kinky's wondrous soundtrack combines moroccan music with 60's hits , and john de borman's luscious cinematography makes the film what it is . director gillies mackinnon ( regeneration , a simple twist of fate ) has crafted a spritual gem , scripted by brother billy . mackinnon lets kate winslet show depth unseen in titanic , and he shows a talent for working with young actors . as for the film's title ; it's a bit misleading , and i still haven't figured out what it means . but hideous kinky is an independent film that takes us to places we've never been . a review by akiva gottlieb , the teenage movie critic akiva@excite . com http : //www . angelfire . com/mo/film watch me on tbs' " dinner and a movie " may 21 , 8 : 05pm est get your free , private email at http : //mail . excite . com/ 
men have feelings too . men cry , despite the stigma attached to their gender , or at least they want to more than they let on . it's all societal conditioning . that's the pretentious premise of this never-ending , two-hour look at couple dysfunction . with a highly acclaimed cast that includes anthony lapaglia , barbara hershey , and geoffrey rush you would hope this idea would provide great material for such illustrious actors to sink their teeth into . unfortunately , having been adapted for the screen from a play , by the playwright himself , much of the emotional impact is lost in overwhelmingly dramatic dialogue . valerie ( hershey ) , married to john ( rush ) , is a therapist , and her patients' lives are starting to intrude on her own mental state . her daughter was horribly murdered two years before and her marriage has been stagnant ever since . she and john love each other but cannot connect . one of valerie's patients , patrick , is a homosexual who continually talks of an affair with a married man . slowly , valerie becomes convinced that the divide between she and john is larger than she thought , possibly as a result of patrick . then there's leon ( lapaglia ) a cop married to the beautiful and vibrant sonja ( kerry armstrong ) , who is secretly going to valerie for therapy . leon is having an affair with jane ( rachael blake ) , though he is still in love with his wife , as an attempt to feel something . jane herself is consistently lonely after separating from her husband and often spies on the family next door . these circles become claustrophobic because valerie suddenly disappears one evening . leon is put on the case as a detective and breaks off his affair with jane , but still can't get his life in order . these factors combine to create many a scene in which men are trying to express emotions and mistakes to one another , and fail miserably . to give the film some credit , it is able to portray masculine anxiety in reacting to a situation too much like a stereotypical woman would . the real problem is that during sympathetic moments , emotive speeches seem forced on all the characters that are uttering them . while the acting is basically impeccable , the conversations are unreal and difficult to accept , even at their most dramatic climaxes . it doesn't help that , when these men are trying to talk to one another , there is repetitive whining about how men aren't suppose to cry or show emotion . still , what keeps things interesting is that every person involved is heavily flawed . they lie and cheat and find it difficult to learn from their mistakes . there's always hope , in a new scene filled with tension , that some kind of new barrier will be breached , that some catharsis will come through . the plot is hazy enough , as are its characters , that any growth or change is unpredictable . to see the little details that spring from the characters' effects on each other rings true enough . what also works are the dysfunctional marriage scenes between husband and wife . communication comes through looks and stares instead of accusatory speeches . the annoying chatter present when it's two movie-character men talking is thankfully left out . lantana's strengths and weaknesses , like its characters , balance each other out . not a flaw can be found in how it articulates difficulty within a marriage . if only it would stop complaining about how men are raised . 
based on the laura zigman novel , animal husbandry , someone like you is a romantic comedy about a late night tv talent coordinator named jane ( ashley judd ) , whose luck in love is predictably bad . so predictable is her misfortune , in fact , that she has devised a pervasive theory on the subject , revolving around the notion that men are like cattle . when she meets her show's new executive , ray ( kinnear , you've got mail ) , however , her luck -- she thinks -- begins to change . but ray , she discovers , is just a typical bull , looking to spread his seed in wider pastures . and it's not until he dumps her for his ex-girlfriend that she realizes the true depth of her plight . jane , it seems , is an old cow . and ray is looking for a new cow . this joke more or less carries the film , and -- though interesting at first -- it gets old after its twentieth or fiftieth appearance in the script . fortunately , though , the film's fresh , funny dialogue packs enough power to keep things interesting . and the wry , cynical performance of hugh jackman ( x-men ) as the incorrigibly good-timing eddie drops in just in time to prevent the entire film from degenerating into a ridiculously softball piece of fluff . these combine with quick , quirky editing to provide enough stimuli to keep most audiences alert for this sub two-hour picture . those needing a little more stimulation than that ( men , mostly ) should take heart in the fact that ashley's underpants scene from the movie's trailer is served justly on the big screen . ( though anyone looking for world-class cheerleading sequences will be saddened to learn that judd's jumping splits performance was ruined by her inability to keep both legs straight in midair . for the record , this didn't bother me a bit . ) judd carries her role with a meg ryan-esque charm that should prove valuable in future productions , while jackman proves he has all the qualities of a rugged , enviable leading man . the supporting cast is funny , and well placed , as well -- particularly ellen barkin as the host of the late night show . much to my surprise , someone like you made for a funny , enjoyable picture right up until its final moments , when it completely brained itself by falling into the usual rut of romantic comedy conclusions . with its richness of dialogue and editing , i was certain it might have overcome its genre to set some new precedent in romantic comedy cheese . but no . in the end , this is still a warm , fuzzy picture with enough wit to satisfy most audiences in need of a laugh . ladies : go for the humor . gents : stay for the underpants . 
i didn't read mitch albom's book , tuesdays with morrie , which spent about two jillion years on the bestseller lists . but based on the movie , i can see why so many people bought the book and why it's ripe for criticism . as brandeis university professor morrie schwartz's body deteriorated from lou gehrig's disease , former student albom decided to record the man's thoughts on an array of topics . if the movie is anything like the book , then morrie sounds like the world's foremost pop psychologist . and that's part of the problem i had watching the adaptation . albom claims that morrie was " a force " in the classroom , but he gets stuck saying things like " once you learn how to die , you learn how to live . " albom is certainly a happier person for having talked to his teacher , but i get the feeling he could have rented old yeller or watched a few self-help infomercials and came out ok . sarcastic comments aside , i can't fault a made-for-tv movie that has sturdy , sensitive performances and good intentions . if i can be taught about the values of life and not want to smack any of the characters upside the head , then the movie can't be all that bad . hank azaria ( the birdcage ) plays albom , a work-obsessed detroit sportswriter who is constantly on the go . his world stops when he sees a news special profiling morrie's condition . some 15 years after promising to keep in touch and not doing so , albom decides to visit his professor . pretty soon , they regularly meet on tuesdays--morrie's old office hours . jack lemmon plays morrie , a man whose indomitable spirit is still whole regardless of the medical obstacles he faces . it's a role that could have been played like a geriatric patch adams , but lemmon ( one of the best actors of his generation ) handles the role with grace . azaria , always an undervalued actor , does a good job and even sounds a bit like albom , a regular on espn . azaria has always had a slightly cynical streak to him that makes him more human . that trait serves him especially well in this occasionally sudsy , but overall entertaining fare . 
the thin red line ( m ) . ( twentieth century fox ) director : terrence malick stars : sean penn , nick nolte , jim caviezel , john cusack , elias koteas , woody harrelson , ben chaplin , jared leton , adrien brody , george clooney , john c reilly , john travolta , john savage , arie verveen , dash mihok running time : 171 minutes . writer/director terrence malick can hardly be called prolific . he made only two films ( the critically acclaimed badlands and days of heaven ) in the mid-'70's , before taking a self imposed twenty year hiatus from hollywood . his first film in two decades is one of the most eagerly anticipated cinema events this side of the new star wars film . while it is certainly visually impressive , malick's the thin red line is something of a disappointment , especially when compared with spielberg's achievement in the recent devastating and unforgettable saving private ryan . based on the novel by james jones , the thin red line deals with us forces fighting the japanese army at guadalcanal , a bitter and costly campaign that became one of the turning points of w . w . ii . however , malick's epic war film is a different animal to spielberg's . unlike spielberg , malick doesn't immediately hurtle us into the inferno of battle . instead , he lulls us into the brutality of war through an extended prologue . witt ( jim caviezel ) , an awol soldier , lives in short-lived tranquillity in a peaceful native village somewhere in the pacific . he becomes part of the massive us landing force at guadalcanal . the film's centrepiece is the extended and savage campaign to destroy japanese machine gun fortifications and take a crucial hill . this often graphic and quite harrowing battle occupies over half of the film's three hour running time . however , the action lacks the intensity and ferocity of spielberg's recreation of the fury of warfare . it also seems to lack that gritty air of authenticity that seemed to effectively suck audiences into the maelstrom . the combat scenes give the audience the extremes of heroism . but malick is also concerned with showing the madness of battle fatigue , and the film depicts the senseless loss of life and futile carnage of the war . the thin red line is almost a profound and almost poetic meditation on the nature of war and how it poisons man's soul . there's nothing noble about this bloody conflict , and , ultimately , there are no winners . the film was shot on location , partly in tropical far north queensland as well as in the solomon islands . such is malick's reputation that he had a veritable who's who of hollywood queuing up for small roles , including john travolta , john cusack , woody harrelson , george clooney , and sean penn . unfortunately , though , few of the characters leave a lasting impact on the audience , and i found that i didn't really care about them or their fate . nick nolte is dynamic as the obsessed and driven colonel who relishes his first opportunity to fight a war after fifteen years in the army , and who doesn't care how many men have to lose their lives in securing a vital strategic position . caviezel brings a human face to the film as witt , the reluctant soldier who ultimately becomes a hero when tested in battle . the thin red line is certainly malick's most epic and ambitious film to date , and it is as meticulously crafted and evocative as his previous work . he gives this war film an almost elegiac quality and a rare humanity . his sweeping vision is complemented by the spectacularly gorgeous cinematography of dual oscar winner john toll and the haunting score from hans zimmer . 
spy kids ( 2001 ) antonio banderas , carla gugino , alexa vega , daryl sabara , alan cumming , tony shalhoub , teri hatcher , cheech marin , robert patrick , george clooney . music by danny elfman , gavin greenaway & heitor pereira , john debney , robert rodriguez and los lobos . written , edited and directed by robert rodriguez . 86 minutes . rated pg , 3 . 5 stars ( out of five stars ) review by ed johnson-ott , nuvo newsweekly www . nuvo . com archive reviews at http : //reviews . imdb . com/reviewsby ? edward + johnson-ott to receive reviews by e-mail at no charge , send subscription requests to ejohnsonott@prodigy . net or e-mail ejohnsonott-subscribe@onelist . com with the word " subscribe " in the subject line . one of the best things about my job is that , every so often , a film still catches me by surprise . " spy kids " certainly did . an adventure story aimed primarily at children , the movie is smart , zippy fun . the production neither panders nor talks down to its audience . the brother and sister at the center of the tale are believable , likable kids and their parents are – get ready for this – intelligent , capable and loving . bathroom humor is kept to a minimum and the numerous well-staged action scenes avoid excessive violence . what a relief it is to be able to review an all-ages film on its artistic merits and not its ethics . consider the other pg rated " family friendly " movie in theaters now . " see spot run " has a mother going out of town , leaving her son with an idiot neighbor . body function humor abounds , including a slapstick bit that has the adult male lead repeatedly falling in dog poop . what really disturbs me are the jokes that bookend the film . the story begins with a police dog capturing a mobster and biting off one of his testicles in the process . at the hospital , the doctors explain that they replaced the testicle with a metal ball and joke that the victim is lucky the dog didn't bit off the other one , because two metal replacement balls would clack together . of course , the movie ends with the dog biting off the remaining testicle and shows prisoners laughing at the criminal as he clacks past their cells . somebody clue me in – when did genital mutilation become funny ? " spy kids " is a welcome antidote to the repellent " see spot run , " using imagination instead of cruelty and crudeness . carmen ( alexa vega ) and her younger brother juni ( daryl sabara ) live in a beautiful seaside home with their parents , gregorio ( antonio banderas ) and ingrid cortez ( carla gugino ) . mom and dad are a sultry couple devoted to their children . what the kids don't know is that they are also former spies . once agents from different countries assigned to " erase " each other , they instead fell in love , married and retired to raise a family . needless to say , they get drawn back to the business . shortly into their first joint mission , they are captured and end up in the headquarters of fegan floop ( alan cumming ) , a foppish hybrid of willy wonka and pee wee herman who hosts juni's favorite tv show . but there is evil behind the scenes , as inventors prepare an army of robots disguised as children . papa gregorio has the device necessary to radically increase the efficiency of the creatures and the bad guys will stop at nothing to get it from him . back at home , " uncle " felix ( cheech marin ) shows up to reveal mom and dad's secret to the kids . after a brief respite at a safe house filled with enough cool gadgets for a dozen sharper image stores , carmen and juni set off to find their parents and save the world , zooming through the sea in a submarine pod that looks like a goldfish , while a slew of wicked people ( including teri hatcher ) chase them . during the course of their adventures , they get to use jet packs , electroshock bubblegum and super-computer sunglasses . they watch as secret agents are transformed into bizarre creatures with silly putty faces and used as background characters on floop's tv show . they deal with guards that have huge thumbs where their arms , legs and heads would normally be ( why are the guards so ineffective ? because they're all thumbs ! ) they move from one colorful locale to another , including a nifty virtual reality room reminiscent of the holodeck from " star trek . " the storyline is silly and convoluted , but even at its most dense , it is easier to follow than either " mission : impossible " movie . director robert rodriguez ( " from dusk to dawn " ) maintains a frenetic pace , with the whole film clocking in at a mere 86 minutes . a bit less action and a little more character development would have been nice , but he does provide enough quiet moments for viewers to become fully invested in the family . alexa vega and daryl sabara make an agreeable brother and sister team , squabbling the way kids do , but coming together when it counts . antonio banderas and carla gugino are even better as the parents ; they quickly establish and maintain a great lusty chemistry while keeping their tongues properly in cheek during the action scenes . even the usually irritating alan cumming has some nice moments – a virtual cloud-backed chat between his character and juni is one of the best segments in the film . had rodriguez added a few more scenes like that , i would have enjoyed the film more ( and i definitely could have lived without the glaring product placement for a certain mc-ubiquitous company ) . regardless , " spy kids " is a hoot , offering fun for adults and children alike . and just think , they managed to do it without sacrificing a single testicle . 
 i've never been a huge fan of jeff bridges , but i loved him in the big lebowski . the part of jeff " the dude " lebowski was reportedly written specifically with bridges in mind , and the fit is perfect . the dude is an unemployed denizen of los angeles , a hippie slob on a bowling team with a soft spot for white russians . he's enjoying a leisurely soak in the tub when two thugs break into his apartment demanding to be paid for the money his wife owes . after much pleading he convinces them they have the wrong guy , but not before they urinate on his rug . the dude assumes that these " collection agents " were after another jeff lebowski , a famous millionaire who also lives in l . a . so he goes to meet his namesake to ask for enough money to replace his rug . the millionaire refuses , but calls him back when he discovers his wife has been kidnaped . he wants the dude to act as go-between for the kidnapers . dude and his friend walter ( john goodman ) take on the task , and get caught in an intricate web of kidnapers , millionaires , high schoolers , nihilists , artists , pornographers , thugs , and league bowlers . comedy is perhaps the most subjective of genres , so take my recommendation as you will : for me , the big lebowski is very funny . it is an incredibly successful comedy , the ratio of laughs to intended jokes much higher than in most films . not only are the two leads ( bridges and goodman ) funny separately and together , but each supporting character is a refreshing comic figure . all the characters end up as the butt of jokes , but the jokes are always deserved and never contrived . each person may be a comic caricature , but there is always a respectful self-acceptance that lets us laugh at these people without condescension . the characters are firmly established , and they never change their behavior for a quick , cheap laugh . it's not what they do that's funny , it's who they are , which is why the acting is so important , and so successful , in this movie . worth mentioning are john turturro as jesus ( that's jee-zus , not hay-soos ) , the greaser bowler who's in a lusty marriage with the game ; julianne moore as the post-post-feminist artist whose work has been described as " vaginal ; " steve buscemi as the eager tagalong bowler who is constantly rebuked and ignored by teammates dude and walter ; and sam elliott as the rambling , long-winded narrator . aside from the performances , what makes all the characters funny and interesting is the astute dialogue . people lose trains of thought , they interrupt , they boast , they repeat themselves , they repeat their friends . . . they sound natural . taken with fargo , the coen brothers' last film , it is evidence that the brothers are observant listeners and gifted writers . ethan coen is not just good at directing actors , he's also good at technical directing . he and cinematographr roger deakins created a beautiful world on film . perhaps " beautiful " is the wrong word ; nihilists , carpet-pissers and thugs are not objects of beauty . but the bowling photography and a series of viking/bowling fantasy dream sequences are lovingly photographed , as though the dude himself were in charge of immortalizing them on film . all around , the big lebowski is great , solid comedy . outstanding acting , writing , direction and photography all combine to make this a great comic success . check out more current movie reviews at http : //www . indra . com/~mmapes/ 
year : 1999 . starring the voices of tom hanks , tim allen , joan cusack , kelsey grammer , don rickles , jim varney , wallace shawn , john ratzenberger , annie potts , wayne knight . story by john lasseter , peter docter , ash brannon , andrew stanton . screenplay by andrew stanton , rita hsiao , doug chamberlain , chris webb . directed by john lasseter . rated g . most sequels don't do what they're supposed to do like " toy story 2 " does . far too many of them end up re-hashing the original and adding very little . is it any wonder that most sequels fail to live up to their predecessors ? thankfully , " toy story 2 " is a wonderful exception . i can't remember the last time i saw a sequel as consistently fun and inventive as this one . it's yet another sign that pixar , the acclaimed animation studio behind " toy story " and " a bug's life , " is still at the top of its game . woody and buzz are back in the sequel to the 1995 hit " toy story , " and things have changed a bit since the last one ended . woody ( voiced by tom hanks ) is preparing to leave with his owner andy for cowboy camp . in his absence , he has assigned buzz lightyear ( tim allen ) , now comfortable in his role as a toy , to take charge . unfortunately , woody's trip is ruined when he is accidentally put into the family garage sale , and is stolen by an over-zealous toy collector ( wayne knight ) . off to save him are buzz and members of the old " toy gang , " including mr . potato head ( don rickles ) , rex the nervous dinosaur ( wallace shawn ) , hamm the piggy bank ( john ratzenberger ) , and slinky dog ( jim varney ) . while in captivity , woody makes a startling discovery : he is actually part of a collection of toys based on a 1950's children's show entitled " woody's roundup . " he meets the show's other characters , which include jesse ( joan cusack ) , his cowgirl sidekick , the wise old prospector ( kelsey grammer ) , and bullseye , his trusty horse . they have all been anxiously awaiting woody's arrival , as once their set is completed , they will be sold to a japanese toy museum , and finally escape storage forever . this means woody now faces a difficult choice . with his friends coming to rescue him , does he go with them and spend a few more years with andy , or does he go to japan and be immortalized forever ? as in the original film , " toy story 2 " contains first-rate animation , and pixar studios has done a remarkable job improving on the impressive work they did there . reportedly , the film was originally slated for a direct-to-video release , but after seeing the improvements that had been made , disney rightly decided to release it into theaters . the film is well worth seeing on the big screen . the colors are bright , the textures sharp , and even the human characters look more " human . " the animation is consistently seamless , with the action fast and furious and the facial expressions believable . there are so many impressive sequences that i'd find it impossible to list them here , but i was particularly wowed by a scene where buzz and his cohorts must get across a busy intersection to get to al' s toy barn , the store owned by woody's captor . pixar's rendition of the family dog is also nicely done , with fur so realistic you almost feel you could reach out and touch it . the voice work is also perfectly complementary , and as with the first movie , does much to help further character development . tom hanks and tim allen again disappear into their roles as woody and buzz , making you forget who is doing the voice . it was woody and buzz up there , not tom and tim . all the cast members from the original reprise their roles , and each is excellent . several new voices have been added , with joan cusack , kelsey grammer , and wayne knight doing fine work . " toy story 2 " is strong in characterization , and is able to expand on what we saw in the first movie . woody faces difficult choices , while buzz is confronted with a new buzz who hasn't yet realized his status as a toy , forcing him to see what he used to be like . the new characters are also developed quite well , especially jesse , who narrates a sarah mclachlan-aided flashback illustrating how she was loved , then forgotten by her owner . it may be computer-animated , and it may have sappy music , but it's downright touching . the script , despite having a story and screenplay each credited to four different writers , is endlessly clever and inventive , especially considering that it's a sequel . the reason " toy story 2 " works where other movie sequels fail is that it refuses to just capitalize on the original's success by re-doing the same story and using the same characters . not this one . we get character change , new characters , and new issues brought up . " toy story 2 " is also remarkable for the way in which it keeps reinventing itself . there is always another clever idea waiting just around the corner here . the humor is sharp and witty , with something to amuse both kids and adults . there are funny asides to films such as " star wars " and " jurassic park , " among others , new takes on classic toys like barbie and rock 'em sock 'em robots , and appearances from other pixar efforts " a bug's life " and the 1997 short " geri 's game . " ( geri himself makes an appearance as a toy repairman who fixes woody's broken arm . ) the action is fast and furious , and the chases ( in the street , in a toy store , in an elevator , on a baggage carousel , and in an airplane ) keep getting bigger and better . " toy story 2 " never grows stagnant , because there is always something new to hold your interest . the more you pay attention to it , the more rewarding it is . it's rare to see a film like " toy story 2 " come along , because it's the kind of film that's almost impossible to dislike . it's created purely to entertain , and though i enjoy a thought-provoking drama as much as the next person , it's nice to see that films are still trying to do exactly what movies first tried to do : send us out with a smile . it's a fair bet that the whole family will have smiles on their collective faces after seeing " toy story 2 . " it's the rare sequel that manages to expand on , and live up to , the original . 
rated r for strong language , crude sexual humor , violence and some nudity . voices . . . . . trey parker , matt stone , george clooney , minnie driver . " south park : bigger , longer and uncut " is undoubtedly crude , offensive , mean-spirited movie , that comes off as a politcally correct movie too . if your canadian , a strong christian , fat , gay or anything else , you will be offended . but when you watch this movie , there is no doubt that you will laugh . based on the wildly popular comedy central tv show , south park stars cartman , an overweight , foul-mouthed kid , with attitude , and a sweet side . kenny , a poor kid who gets killed in every episode , and talks with his coat hood covering his head . stan a regular , sometimes boring kid who has problems with women . and kyle a lonely jew who talks to his poop . the movie opens with a funny , but messageable song , that all of the people of south park sing . cartman , stan , kenny and kyle are very excited to see the new terrance and phillip ( beavis and butthead types ) movie " asses of fire " . but when the kids get up to the movie to get the tickets , they learn the movie is rated r , which of course means that anyone under the age of 17 cannot get in without a parent or legal guardian . the kids do not understand this , and they pay a homeless man to buy their tickets . while in the movie , laughing at the movie , terrance and phillip cuss repeatedly entertaining the kids . they kids then go out and cuss themselves , getting in trouble and causing kyle's mom to go against the mpaa . while doing this kenny learns a thing or to , by proving to cartman he can light his fart on fire . kenny does so , dies , and goes to hell , to find out that satan and saddam huiessan ( homosexual lovers ) , are about to take over the world , if terrance and phillip die . from here on , nothing more should be said to keep the rest a surprise . but believe me , this isn't your regular south park tv show , and should not be seen by anyone under 14 or more . this film contains extreme profanity ( over 130 " f " words and a collection of others ) . but beyond being bad in a tasteless type way , south park : bigger , longer and uncut has many messages that are embedded inside it . but i bet you will not leave the movie , for at least laughing one time or more . and enjoying yourself . take it from me , south park : b , l , and u , isn't as good as you'd hope , but it is good for some laughs . reviewed : july 14th , 1999 . brandon herring movie review heaven ( http : //www . geocities . com/hollywood/movie/3160/moviereviewheaven . html 
starring : david duchovny ( fox mulder ) , gillian anderson ( dana scully ) , william b . davis ( the cigarette-smoking man ) , martin landau ( dr . alvin kurtzweil ) , jeffrey demunn ( dr . ben bronschweig ) , john neville ( the well-manicured man ) , mitch pileggi ( walter skinner ) directed by : rob bowman , written by : chris carter from a story by chris carter and frank spotnitz rated pg-13 by the mpaa for violence , gore , and profanityso , um , what's the truth ? well , if you mean you want the truth about what the new x-files movie is titled , i can't really help you . the movie titles only said the x-files . the advertisements all seem to say the x-files : fight the future . well , take it either way . i think it's just the x-files , but , well , i don't really know . oh , did you want the truth about the movie ? as in , is it any good ? well , i'm not the biggest expert in this area . you see , i've only seen maybe 4 episodes of the television series , give or take one or two . so i'm not a big x-phile . so it's safe to say that it's quite reassuring that i can say - yes . it's good . it's very good . it's great , in fact . the first true ride of the summer is here , and you'll be kicking yourself if you don't strap in to this one while it's in theaters - some of the images just won't translate as well onto a tv screen . if you haven't seen the film yet , get up and go now . wait , not now . you might want to read this review first . of course , that's really up to you , but still , you might want to . don't worry , i won't spoil anything . i make a point to only talk about maybe five minutes of the film and then leave the lesser-known details to you . okay , citizens . the x-files opens up with us seeing a freaky beast attack ancient humans in the b . c . caveman ages . the beast remains in shadows so that we're not quite sure what it is . cut to the present day . we see a mysterious black ooze ( i think fans of the tv series will recognize this , or so i'm told ) inhabit a little boy who goes to the same spot where the cavemen were attacked so long ago . is there a connection ? does bea arthur look hideous naked ? and from there , we cut to our heroes , fbi agents mulder and scully . previously , they worked on the mysterious x-files , files found in the darker rooms of the fbi's hallways , files which detail cases too strange to be explained by rational thought and logical explanation . cases that seem to deal with the supernatural , or the extraterrestrial . . . or both . but that's ridiculous . well , scully thinks it's ridiculous . mulder believes all of it . anyway , the files have since been shut down after mulder pushed his beliefs a little too far and annoyed the wrong people . now he and scully are still a team , but they're a team of ordinary fbi agents , dealing with less interesting things , like terrorist threats . yeah , that's a big yawn , huh mulder ? of course , when something goes wrong in their new line of duty , the fbi looks for someone to blame for the foul-up , and even though it wasn't their fault , mulder and scully were there , and they're first in line to have the whole thing put on their heads . now they're going to try to clear their names , and along the way , they're going to learn a lot more about the mysterious conspiracy that's being run behind the scenes worldwide , to hide the real truth about just the kinds of things that mulder and scully used to investigate in the x-files division . of course , they can't learn everything - there's plenty more episodes of the series to be had , and future movies to be made . the performances are all acted by people who've handled these roles for years on the tv show ( with the exception of martin landau playing a new character - and he's never bad , so of course that's just another good point ) . and since they've had to time to develop the roles , they make us feel like we're watching developed , layered characters even if we don't watch the show much , or at all . we really care about mulder and scully - they actually have deep personalities , which is truly something to be appreciated , especially in today's film world . the action scenes are infrequent , but tense , and solid . really though , this story is driven by plot and dialogue . it's a winding plot that you have to pay attention to , especially if you're not a series afficianado , but trust me , it's worth it . some of the scenes are awe-inspiring , and the scope of some visuals , particularly towards the end , make you truly appreciate that this was made into a movie as opposed to just another episode of the show . the plot winds around and around but always holds your interest , thanks in part to great performances and in part to great writing that takes the time to give us characterizations of the people we're watching instead of just putting them through the paces . the effects , when they show up , are also great . seems like this movie works even for those who don't watch the show , and i also find it very hard to believe that those who do watch would be let down by this . if there's a flaw to this , it's that the villians aren't quite clearly explained enough . we understand their motives , but how did they come to reach these motives ? there had to be some kind of communication that we didn't learn about . i know , i know , i'm keeping this pretty vague . but i can assure you , i'm not digging too deep here , this is actually a question you need to ask yourself , and in the end , it's never quite answered . maybe series fans know more on this subject . though really , in such an otherwise great movie , why should i gripe about this ? i can't elaborate too much on things that were great because i wouldn't dare reveal the plot . you have to go and see it for yourself . and you'd better . the summer has had some letdowns , and some fun , but so far , this is the best ride out there , and it's a damn good ride that could hold its own in any summer . . . or any season of any year , for that matter . one wonders if chris carter , the show's creator , can continue to make x-files films that can stand alone as their own series and still make them interesting and relevant to the viewers at home . but there's no need to worry about this now . now , all you have to do is go see the 
director :   warren beatty cast :   warren beatty , sean astin , halle berry , don cheadle , laurie metcalf , oliver platt , paul sorvino , jack warden screenplay :   warren beatty , jeremy pikser producers :   warren beatty , pieter jan brugge , lauren shuler-donner runtime :   us distribution :   20th century fox rated r :   language , violence , drug use by nathaniel r . atcheson ( nate@pyramid . net ) when bulworth ended , i allowed myself a sigh of relief :   it is possible for me to enjoy political satire .   there have been several recent political films that didn't do a whole lot for me -- wag the dog , for instance , i found to be an intelligent but heartless film , while primary colors is unbearable and unwatchable in its awfulness .   bulworth is a far better film than these , both in its execution and lasting impression .   it's a tremendously funny and intelligent picture , but it also has an emotional center -- writer/director/star warren beatty allows the audience to identify with his character , and , in turn , we like him and actually care about the story .   beatty plays incumbent democratic senator jay billington bulworth ; the film opens and we see bulworth sobbing as he watches his television spots over and over again .   he hasn't slept in days , nor has he eaten , and , almost instantaneously , he goes insane .   he's not stark raving mad ( not outright , anyway ) , but he's definitely bonkers .   it's the final weekend of his campaign , and his assistant , murphy ( oliver platt ) has written him a speech to feed to a group of black people in a church in the ghetto .   bulworth begins the speech , but suddenly goes off track and just starts being honest .   " you mean , " one lady asks , " the democratic party doesn't care about the african american community ? "   " well , " he shouts , laughing , " isn't that obvious ? " the story is propelled by a device in which bulworth puts out a contract on his own life ( he muses later that it's a bad thing to make decisions when you're suicidal ) ; he keeps seeing a man in sunglasses ( graham beckel ) whom he believes to be the hitman .   bulworth also meets nina ( halle berry ) with whom he becomes infatuated .   suddenly , in the short span of this weekend , bulworth's no-nonsense " truth in politics " methods become a national sensation , and he shoots ahead in the polls despite the fact that he's appearing on television wearing gang clothes and spewing more profanity than coherent sentences . beatty's work on both sides of the camera is excellent .   his script and direction are both extremely sharp , as is the surprisingly strong characterization of bulworth himself .   here is a man who's reached his limit , and his way of lashing back is by screwing over the entire political structure .   i like that the film doesn't take a clear shot at any of the political parties or affiliations , but at politics in general and how everything is run by the rich ( although the anti-rich sentiments do get a bit tiresome by the end of the film ) .   some of the segments are simply hilarious , such as a lengthy rap that he delivers at a luncheon dedicated to him .   much of the film is completely absurd , but that's the fun part about it .   it's an angry , serious film at the core , but the package that beatty has created is so much more accessible than recent attempts in the genre .   what adds to this feeling is beatty's portrayal of bulworth ; this is a performance that deserves recognition on a higher scale .   beatty is so much fun to watch here -- he's always funny , but he's also subtle in ways that flesh out his character without dialogue or hugely noticeable actions .   beatty is so good that bulworth , despite his shortcomings as a human being , is an entirely sympathetic and likable character almost from the beginning . the supporting cast is vast and colorful .   berry is luminous , as always , and adds to her repertoire of solid supporting roles .   don cheadle has a good role as a drug dealer who uses gun-toting toddlers to do his dirty work .   oliver platt is an actor who should be careful , for someday i fear he may induce a heart attack with the intensity of his acting ( though he's very funny to watch ) .   paul sorvino adds the southern accent to his list of mastered inflections . is bulworth offensive ?   i suppose some may see it that way .   i wasn't offended by the film , but then again , i hardly care about politics .   i think that people who find this film offensive will just be blindsided by the honesty of the story .   the film isn't perfect , of course -- the ending didn't quite work for me , and the a few of the scenes between bulworth and nina feel forced ( although the eclectic dance sequence is fantastic ) .   but these are minor quibbles about an otherwise brilliant film .   bulworth is a smart , uproariously funny picture that proves to me that political satire can scratch far deeper than the surface .   
somewhere between big-budget action films and small-budget morality tales exists judgement night , a constantly exciting , always tense urban thriller about kids on the run . and no matter how you feel about foot-chase movies , or shoot-out movies ( or even movies that seldom show you the light of day ) , * this * movie is never less than engaging at any time . we first meet frank wyatt , a family man whose wife thinks he should stop hanging out with the guys who " have the hormones of teenagers " and start being around adults more . but frank hasn't been out of the house in a long while and he thinks he needs a breather . so , he tells his wife he loves her , kisses his baby's head ( just like any devoted father and husband should ) , and is off with his best friends for a night out . next , are mike , ray , and frank's brother ( whom he never , ever gets along with ) john . they all congregate in a van/bus , and are off to watch boxing in downtown chicago . wouldn't you know , traffic's too damn slow , and ray decides to get off the main highway for a short detour . and wouldn't you know , they find themselves in a part of town none of them has ever seen before . ray is determined to get them to the boxing match on time , but then a funny thing happens-- he hits some guy on the run from bad guys . the guys try to help out this stranger they've nearly killed , but before you know it the bad guys show up and retrieve the strange man . enter fallon ( played by denis leary ) , a drug kingpin/mobster/whatever who pulls a gun and murders the man in cold blood . " rule number one : do not steal from me , " fallon states to his band of henchmen . " rule number two , no witnesses . " and so it goes , as this action-adventure is set into nonstop motion . given the amount of time this film in on the screen , and the number of long encounters which take place , not much time is allowed for much character development . so , there isn't any ( except if you count a whiner/wimp who only shows his true colors when it's too late ) . then again , developing characters who provide the grounds for a story that just about leaves you breathless , and nothing more , would be a waste of time , especially when the action is as good as it is here . we get fights in the sewers , on and off trains , in low-rent apartment buildings , and even ( the finale ) in a small shopping mall downtown . and each sequence has a distinct feel to it , and each is inventive enough to make you feel as though you haven't seen any of this before . the script , by lewis colick , is extremely derivative in its ways of executing action and suspense , and the score , by alan silvestri , ( when it can be heard through all the fantastic rap music ) sets a nice tone for what you see . director stephen hopkins , of predator ii fame , does what he couldn't do in that film with this one : make it credible enough for us to want to continue watching . true , this isn't a classical piece of cinema , but it does just what it needs to : stay on the screen as long as it needs to be there ( no longer , and no less ) , and excite us while we watch . 
it must be tough to be a mob boss . just ask paul vitti ( robert deniro ) , a man who finds his job as mafia head to be rather stress inducing . i can believe it , too - one can't even begin to fathom the turmoil he must go through when he's forced to choose between an ice pick , baseball bat or sledgehammer to torture victims with . suffering from reoccurring panic attacks , paul decides he needs to consult some professional help . and who better than billy crystal . after appearing in bottom-of-the-barrel flops , father's day and my giant , crystal finally finds a reliable costar and some very promising material here . playing vitti's private shrink , the two very different stars strike an unorthodox , but interesting relationship that carries this enjoyable comedy on a steady wave of laughs from start to finish . casting robert deniro as paul vitti is something of an in-joke , i think . placed in this mobster's shoes , deniro gets to spoof characters he himself played in films like the godfather , part ii and casino . it's obvious he's having a lot of fun doing so . the man behind the camera is harold ramis , whose credits include ghostbusters ( as writer and star ) , and his best directing effort , the bill murray vehicle , groundhog day . ramis has a knack for drawing laughs because he simply knows what's funny , and here he manages to accentuate the strengths of nearly all the actors . the only character who weakens the payoff is crystal's bride-to-be ( lisa kudrow ) . playing the same dumbed-down role as she does in friends , kudrow is amusing , but doesn't fit into this comedy mold as well as the director may have hoped . the supporting cast sparkles . joe viterelli is hilarious as jelly , vitti's pea brained right-hand man , and chazz palminteri is a show stopper playing a fellow mobster who's in desperate need of the definition of `closure' . the movie manages to maintain consistent chuckles throughout , putting the emphasis on 3 or 4 really big laughs that will have audiences grasping their sides . the situation is just too cute to resist . it's unfortunate that the language gets somewhat out of hand . but hey , if you're in the mafia , using obscenities probably comes naturally . and near the end , seeing billy crystal attempt to walk and talk like a mob boss is truly a special treat . 
" you'll go ape over tarzan because it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys ! " okay , there's the quote in case disney wants to put something in their ads for the movie . disney's latest animated feature throws us right into the action from the very beginning , skipping the usual main title sequence and putting us on pitching waves as a small family attempts to escape from a sinking ship . father , mother , and infant somehow make it to shore amidst a rousing song by phil collins , and have soon built a treehouse which would impress the swiss family robinson . it's amazing , the kinds of things you can do when you work to a soundtrack . before you know it , an unfortunate set of circumstances put the baby in the hands of kala ( glenn close ) , a mother ape who recently lost her own baby to a predatory leopard . against the wishes of her mate and family leader , kerchak ( lance henricksen ) , she takes on the infant boy as her own . tarzan is not so much a story about a human boy surviving in the african jungles as it is about one who does not really fit in either humanity or the wild . much of tarzan's young life is spent trying to become one of the apes in the eyes of his peers and his " father , " which occasionally gets him into trouble no matter how well-meant his attempts . all he's looking for is acceptance , perhaps a goal easily identifiable by young viewers , but one which will ring true with a lot of adults . when you really think about it , this story fits right into the disney formula of the outcast that triumphs in the end . look back on past disney animated features and you'll see the trend . growing up , tarzan ( voiced by alex d . linz as a child , and by tony goldwyn as an adult ) has a couple of friends . one is an ape named terk ( rosie o'donnell ) , and the other is a paranoid hypochondriac of an elephant named tantor ( wayne knight ) . both provide the requisite comic relief ( timon and poombah from the lion king immediately come to mind ) and perform the usual hijinks as prescribed by the disney mold . i'm beginning to think anyone can write the screenplay for one of these films . just fill in the blanks ! can you see it ? " now we have to have a couple of zany friends for out hero who might get him into mischief , but cover for him or come to his rescue when he needs it . we've already had a fish and a crab , and we've had a candle and a teapot , a genie and a dog , a few stone statues . . . . have we had an ape and an elephant yet ? well , there we go ! " of course , there's gotta be romance somewhere along the line , so jane ( minnie driver ) gets introduced about halfway through . together with her father dr . porter ( nigel hawthorne ) and the big game hunter clayton ( brian blessed ) , jane is on an expedition to find and study the wild gorillas of africa . she discovers the man raised by apes and is enchanted almost immediately , and soon shares an amusing version of the compulsory " you tarzan , me jane " scene . thankfully , those aren't the exact words . however , i found it distracting that tarzan is going " ohh ohh ee ee " one second and then tells jane his name in this manly voice with perfect diction . how does he tell his name to another ape ? " ohh ohh ee - tarzan - ee ee ohh ? " well , regardless of my picky nature , the romance actually works as only disney romance can : purely contrived , but for some reason rather believable . but hey , tarzan's a young adult . do you think he dated a few of the female apes before meeting jane ? isn't that illegal in most countries ? oh , well . i don't think disney will be using my quote anymore . tarzan departs from the usual disney feature in that this one is not a musical . there's lots of music to be sure , but not a single character song in the whole hour and a half of running time . we instead get more of a phil collins concert , as no less than five of his original songs are used as interlude material . this isn't really a bad thing , as the songs are very high-energy and catchy ( i found myself singing one to myself for most of the following day ) ; it's just different . do yourself a favor and see this film in a theater with a good sound system , because the music will come through astonishingly well and really enhance the movie . with each new feature , disney animation gets even better . not necessarily by leaps and bounds , but since they put out a new film each year , a steady rate of improvement is apparent , and this definitely shows in tarzan . there are a couple of scenes where the animation achieves a near 3-d effect , and a number of scenes which feature tarzan moving through the trees are absolutely dizzying . the way he slides down tree limbs and trunks is very reminiscent of skateboarding and rollerblading maneuvers , and had me thinking this isn't just tarzan , it's " extreme tarzan . " however , tarzan does not seem to have what i call its " chandelier scene , " which is the one scene to which the animators have chosen to devote an inordinate amount of effort , utilizing a computer-assisted process that makes the animation absolutely breathtaking . lasting but a few seconds at most , it's been the signature of nearly every disney animated feature since beauty and the beast , in which the castle ballroom chandelier was rendered in stunning detail . as usual , the voice talent is up to snuff , convincingly make you believe in the convictions of animated characters . the one poor choice in casting , however , was rosie o'donnell . going into the film , i didn't know she was even a part of it , but when terk started talking , i recognized her voice immediately . her performance was fine , but through the rest of the film i kept thinking , " that's no boy ape , that rosie o'donnell . " distracting to say the least . i'll admit i've never read the edgar rice burroughs story " tarzan of the apes , " so i couldn't tell you how true this film stays to the book . but unless you're a purist , you should have few objections to this film . with solid performances , action , adventure , a bit of romance , and great music and animation , tarzan should appeal to the kids and to the kid in all of us . note : when i wrote my review of mulan a year ago , i went off on the promotional and merchandising tie-ins prevalent with the release of a disney animated feature . this time , i'll just say that i went to mcdonald's yesterday to treat myself to a mcflurry , and tarzan was on the cup . 'nuff said . 
in 1912 , a ship set sail on her maiden voyage across the atlantic for america . this ship was built to be the largest ship in the world , and she was . she was also build to be one of the most luxurious , and that she was . finally , she was built to be unsinkable and that unfortunately she was not . to get a ticket for this voyage you either : spent a life's savings to get to america to start life anew , were part of the upper class and had the money to spare , or finally were lucky enough to have a full house in a poker match by the docks like jack dawson . jack dawson makes the trip , and happens to be at the right place at the right time . rose dewitt bukater , a first class passenger , climbs the railings at the aft of the ship with thoughts of jumping . thus is started a tale of romance and intrigue , and a tale of death and tragedy . . . this movie is about a tragic event that took place a great many years ago , an even that should not be taken lightly as any other bit of historical trivia . the movie titanic shows what happened , maybe not with a 100% degree of accuracy , but it still shows it very realisticaly . now the titanic is both a story on its own and a backdrop for a story . it serves as both admirably , brining forth an interesting story that although simple in its most simple premise is very captivating . this movie is very emotional simply because of what it is , but that alone is not enough . the story is brought out with a certain style that makes is so much more emotional and so much more effective . movies such as this will not be forgotten all too quickly and unfortunately then are not something that is produced by hollywood with any great frequency . the attention to detail that was paid is remarkable . the whole premise for the telling of the story is interesting , with the showing of brand new footage from the wreck of the titanic adding much flavor to an already good movie . part of the magical chemistry behind this story is the acting , and for this movie its extremely good acting from the whole cast . the performances put in by the main stars is something to be admired . the characters were played out so memorably that both leonardo dicaprip and kate winslet should receive at the least nominations for their roles . looking at the acting done in the movie it seems as if they aren't acting but are actually the characters in the movie . the casting for the movie could really have been better , in my humble opinion that is . one character that will most likely not be mentioned by any other review or commentary about this film is that of the ship itself . yes , you read correctly , the ship is a character . how is the titanic a character ? you ask well simple , a ship had a certain character about it and as most sailors and boats men will tell you . this character is everything about the ship from its specifications to its luxuries and the titanic was no stranger to this . mr . cameron brings the ship to life in an almost literal sense . all this adds to the movie in a certain way that most hollywood productions cant seem to grasp . now , to produce the effect that i mentioned above and to sink the ship itself are feats that are accomplished by special effects wizards . the effects in this movie range from marvelous costumes to beautifully rendered scenes of the ships sinking . in some respects you cannot tell that the effects are there , you simply think that what you see is what happened or what is happening ( if your imagination is good ) . the technical wizardry done in this movie is just spectacular and actually getting new footage from the wreck of the titanic is unique . the movie will leave you amazed at the effects , and that is a feat since there is no monsters or aliens in this movie , just humans and an oversized ship . the movie will amaze you and it will pull on your emotions , the theater that i went to had a few people leaving with tears in their eyes . now that is not a feat accomplished by most movies , now the fact that the tragedy actually occurred is brought home with something of a punch , i wont spoil the ending and say what happens regardless it is an interesting movie from beginning to the very end . the historical value of this movie is quite high , and honestly is something that should be watched for the sake of seeing it and seeing the tragedy , for it is extremely well done . the method of telling the story is also good , maybe not totally unique but effective none the less . regardless of anything mentioned above this movie is a grandiose production and the sheer size of the project undertaken is something to be marveled at . the simple fact that the movie is smashingly successful at what it aims to achieve is just astonishing . if you get the chance to see this movie go ! ! ! it might not be the best movie in the world . . but it ranks fairly highly and is well worth the time spent watching it . during none of the 3 hours and 13 minutes of the movie are you bored nor does your attention wane from the movie . 
getting it right is a far far cry from the teenage sex comedy you might expect from a summer movie about male virginity . the film was directed by randal kleiser , who brought us such bubble-gum classics as grease and the blue lagoon . but thanks to kleiser's surprisingly good direction and an intelligent script , getting it right is a pleasantly quiet , moving , and memorable film--one geared strictly toward a sophisticated , adult audience . getting it right stars jesse birdsall ( emily lloyd's boyfriend in wish you were here ) as gavin , a painfully shy 31-year-old hairdresser who lives at home with his parents and who--gasp--is still a virgin . gavin has no problem whatsoever making small talk with the elderly women who clamor for his services at the hair salon , but expose him to a single 30-year-old beauty and he's a mess . much to gavin's surprise , the woman who finally brings him out of his shell and robs him of his virginity is joan ( lynn redgrave ) , a rich , married , and lonely 45-year-old . getting it right is the simple story of gavin's awkward and haphazard efforts to get it right ; that is , to find the right woman to fulfill his life . getting it right is one of those rare movies that devotes itself entirely to in-depth character development . gavin's self-conscious voice-over narration of his experiences firmly thrusts us into his psyche . we observe his fascinating metamorphosis from shy and passive introversion to assertive and self-confident maturity . birdsall's superb , understated performance as gavin is the real backbone of the film ; he seems convincing and authentic throughout . the charm of getting it right also lies in the wide array of people who inhabit or invade gavin's life . despite her limited screen time , redgrave makes quite a splash in the movie as gavin's middle-aged seducer . for a supporting character , joan is unusually and impressively complex , thanks in large part to redgrave's magnificent performance . gavin is also pursued , or perhaps plagued , by minnie , the totally neurotic daughter of a rich aristocrat . after minnie and gavin meet at a party , she takes great pleasure in disrupting his safe and simple life . helena bonham carter is delightfully pathetic and kooky in the role , and sir john gielgud , with his tongue in his cheek , embodies the height of arrogance as her father . gavin's eventual love-interest is jenny , the adorable twenty-year-old single mother who assists him at the beauty salon ; london stage actress jane horrocks' fine performance yields a touchingly sweet character . peter cook , the great british satirist , appears briefly in the film as gavin's uptight employer . the scenes of gavin's home life with his parents are also a treat . gavin's over-protective mother ( pat heywood ) , whom even woody allen would find overbearing , almost steals the movie . her life seems limited to just two activities : treating gavin like a 10-year-old and preparing exotic but inedible meals , such as scalding hot curry and baked chicken with chocolate sauce . gavin and his father's attempts to avoid eating her meals are extremely amusing . getting it right , for the most part , is very well-crafted , except for two minor shortcomings . first , the movie is about 15 minutes too long , and consequently it loses momentum at times . second , the film includes an altogether extraneous subplot about the domestic problems between gavin's best friend , harry , and his unfaithful lover , winthrop . overall , however , getting it right is quite memorable for its humor , depth , sophistication , and outstanding acting . director kleiser and screenwriter elizabeth jane howard ( adapting her own highly acclaimed novel ) deserve praise for finding just the right tone for this tale of growth , maturation , and self-discovery . 
written by stephen peters . directed by john mcnaughton . starring kevin bacon , matt dillon , neve campbell , denise richards , bill murray , robert wagner . rated r ( contains nudity , profanity , and violence ) 116 mins . synopsis : a wild teen-aged girl with an iq around 200 manipulates a beefy guidance counselor , a determined police detective , two trial lawyers , the u . s . judicial system , the news media , a millionaire playgirl , and her supersexy teen-aged daughter in an elaborate scheme to swindle millions of dollars . comments : for this week , i have decided to review a movie currently playing in theaters rather than an almost forgotten video collecting dust in the far corner of a rental outlet . this may become a trend as species 2 , a sequel to one of the best bad sci-fi films of the decade , is set to be released this friday ( april 10 , 1998 ) . anyway , this week's turkey is the sleazy , exploitative wild things , a film which shares quite a number of conventions with many of the b-level , direct-to-video-or-cable thrillers i have reviewed in the past . the movie , in fact , only possesses one noticeable difference : it has an all-star cast . let's be blunt for a moment . veteran film actors kevin bacon and matt dillon are technically the main stars here ; they are listed first in the credits and the majority of the film's running time favors them . wild things' producers , however , heavily advertised this movie as an erotic exercise between rising stars neve campbell and denise richards . the movie posters prominently feature the two rising out of a pool of water and staring at the viewer with sultry gazes . i suspect the target audience for this film was predominantly younger males ; though , surprisingly , the matinee showing i attended with my friend had an audience with far more women than men . if one's only reason to see wild things is to see ms . campbell and ms . richards get it on , then one will be remarkedly disappointed . a menage a trois does occur between the two ladies and matt dillon , but it is a poorly-lit , seemingly superfluous scene . the two also kiss a couple of times , but it feels mechanic and obligatory rather than racy as it was intended . neve campbell , by the way , does not strip naked at all . sorry , guys . wild things' advertised sexual fireworks fizzle here , but the movie itself , as bad movies go , is quite entertaining . the actors turn in hammy performances ( more on this in a bit ) , and the surprisingly complex script keeps the viewer guessing while the laughable dialogue is full of cheesy lines undercutting the seriousness of the subject matter . my friend and i chuckled throughout the movie , but the rest of the audience didn't seem to be in on it . don't go see wild things expecting a run-of-the-mill suspense film . ( it's an amusing exercise in sleaze populated with comically self-absorbed , greedy characters who all get what they deserve in the end . ) part of the film's qualified success comes from its cast . a number of fine , first-rate actors have fun with their characters . the attractive , young actress denise richards , of last year's megabudget starship troopers , nearly steals the show here as the pouty high-school student with a supermodel body who catches everyone's eyes . neve campbell , the scream queen of scream and scream 2 , drops her innocent , damsel-in-distress routine and turns 180 degrees in her role as the trailer trash girl who secretly instigates everything . the best supporting nods go to bill murray and robert wagner , both making surprise appearances in this , an atypical film for either of them . bill murray , in particular , is great as the fraud-obsessed lawyer who can sniff a lawsuit from a mile away . robert wagner is hilarious in his wooden portrayal of another lawyer . he seems to be doing a self-parody of himself which reminds me of his brief role in the john candy vehicle delirious . despite its humorous dialogue and delightfully smarmy actors , wild things cannot be excused for some of its shortcomings . while the first two-thirds of the movie moves at a breakneck pace , the last third becomes tired . without revealing too much , one character will kill another only to be killed by someone else . it becomes a cycle which tries the audience's patience . also , though this film is designed to be unexpectedly funny , a subplot deals with an affair that a guidance counselor has with two of his students . this seems inexcusably unethical and borders on pedophilia ( the students , to give wild things the benefit of the doubt , may be 18 ) . the audience should feel uneasy when they realize they are viewing what is supposed to be a sexual affair between a high school teacher and his students . wild things ends on a somewhat unique note . important background flashbacks are interspersed throughout the closing credits , and they are rather fun to watch . so , don't get up and walk out the theater as soon as you see the closing credits start to roll at the end . all in all , wild things is a pretty good and humorous turkey . it's certainly not for everyone , but for those who are into exploitative thrillers like basic instinct or sliver , you could find a lot worse than this . 
directed by milos forman . written by peter shaffer ( based on his play ) . running time : 158 minutes . rated pg ( for language and sexual references ) . amadeus is considered one of the best films of the 1980s . that decade mostly developed brat pack films so there's no doubt that the epic film would be one of the best . it made the american film institute's top 100 list in the summer of 1998 . although it is not as good as some of the films near the bottom or off the list it still deserves it's place in cinema . antonio salieri ( f . murray abraham ) is a struggling composer who has worked hard to become great . throughout his childhood he has seen a little boy named wolfgang amadeus mozart . the young boy performed for royalty . when mozart grows up he is a giddy , over excited brat ( played now by tom hulce ) who makes obscene comments to women and curses . salieri can't understand why god has chosen such a delinquent to pass his music through . salieri swears hatred on mozart and the god who raised him to his status . the highlight of this movie is , of course , the music . john strauss did much of it but also included music by mozart , salieri , and giovanni battista pergolesi . the music is used beautifully in the many operas that take place during the movie . hulce and abraham do a great job acting during their many scenes of conducting and piano playing . abraham and hulce each were awarded academy award recognition which they deserve . abraham won best actor over hulce , which isn't wrong because two people can't win . abraham plays salieri with all the hatred he can without becoming an evil character . he has no heart and just wants the life that he thinks was taken from him as a brilliant composer . hulce does an excellent job as well as the eccentric mozart . he is able to act extremely serious during his compositions but then chase a woman around a house . this was easily his best role to date . he is very well cast with his young looking face and acting talent . director milos forman along with cinematographer miroslav ondrícek and the art and production designers have created one beautiful movie . the opera theater scenes , along with wonderful wigs , costumes , and makeup , are a delight to watch . the use of scope is also very good . now to why i believe amadeus to be less a film then the afi makes it to be . while i do really like many things about this movie i still have some complaints . the movie is quite long at 158 minutes . the movie isn't boring and is much shorter than other epics but it is still quite a long time . a couple of scenes could have been shortened and not have hurt the movie much . with my complaint aside , i can still say that amadeus was definitely one of the better movies to come out in the 80s . i don't know if it's one of 100 best of all time but it is a very good movie . 
" everybody has a story about chet baker . he was bad , trouble , and beautiful . " let's get lost , bruce weber's visually thematic biography of '50s jazz musician chet baker , might well be the ultimate story , an evocatively photographed , seamlessly edited collage of sights and sounds . unfortunately , many people are going to pass up the film for two reasons : one , it's a documentary -- and two , it's in black and white . but those two elements alone combine to make let's get lost more compelling than most of this summer's run-of-the-mill movie fodder . the life and times of this jazz trumpeter and vocalist , whose troubled career culminated in a fall to his death from an amsterdam hotel window in may of 1988 , is chronicled through a variety of cinematic techniques . candid interviews with an ensemble of friends , relatives , and fellow musicians , stills , archive footage of baker himself , in concert and out , moody , mesmerizing , iconoclastic . baker's whisper-like vocals permeate the background like cigarette smoke , ever present , softly punctuating the blank spaces . it's a near perfect blend of styles , yet it is never showy or pushy . in his 20s , baker was the james dean of the jazz world , his boyish good looks as much a part of his image as his hypnotic trumpet playing and soulful , lyrical style . working initially with the likes of charlie parker and gerry mulligan , baker quickly branched out on his own . soon his angular face was gracing record jackets everywhere . he even appeared in a number of movie bit parts , such as 1955's hell's horizon ( billed as " chet baker and his trumpet " ) , as well as a number of disposable , italian teen-flicks . almost forty years later , the change is dramatic . baker's once adonis-like looks are wizened -- wrinkled creases of skin abound ; aged , hollowed out eyes ; bloodless cheeks ; a leather-faced , lipless junkie . baker knew more than anyone that you gotta pay the price if you wanna play the blues . baker's midas touch on stage became leprous in his private life . a compulsive womanizer , he left a legacy of cast-off wives and embittered offspring in his wake . there is a lot of hate in this movie ; few people have much respect for this burned out , unlikable shell of a man . even his mother , when asked if chet was a good son , cannot answer in the affirmative . what's so compelling about the film is that , as unappealing as baker is , his music is anything but . the only time that we feel he's being totally honest with us is when he's performing . then , and only then , do we feel the man's sincerity , his quietly hushed and sexy vocal style totally absorbing the viewer . the allure of his stage persona compared to the shambles of his personal life is staggering . in one scene , baker recalls the names of other jazz greats who have succumbed to the lure of drugs . the list seems endless . but this is not an anti-drug movie . it's a film about contrasts , about the profound affect one man had on the lives of others . director weber has gotten to the crux of the issue so adeptly that at times it's hard to believe that a lot of this film was shot before baker's death . at cannes , nearing the film's end , baker comments to weber that this is the first time he has ever faced such a rowdy audience . " at those other places you could hear a pin drop , " he observes . so when he calls for silence before performing his final , haunting number , " almost blue , " you probably could hear a pin drop . that silence , and the performance which follows , is a fitting elegy to a genius who lived hard yet made it all look so easy . | directed by : bruce weber david n . butterworth - university of pa | | rating ( l . maltin ) :  internet : butterworth@a1 . mscf . upenn . edu | 
starring : pierce brosnan , michelle yeoh , jonathan pryce , teri hatcher ingredients : james bond , scuba scene , car controlled by cellular telephone synopsis : warped media tycoon elliot carver ( jonathan pryce ) plots to start a war between britain and china in order to boost ratings by using a 'stealth ship' to fire a captured british missile at the city of beijing . super-agent james bond ( pierce brosnan ) uses trick gadgets , pluck , and charm in order to foil carver's scheme . this time bond teams up with top female agent wai lin from china ( michelle yeoh ) . the film contains fights , chases , gadgets , and comedic moments . opinion : it does not have a casino scene or a ski scene , but tomorrow never dies is nevertheless a solid , enjoyable bond movie . it neither stands out nor disappoints . in old bond movies bond sometimes teamed up with american cia agent felix leiter . tomorrow never dies introduces a new character in the form of chinese agent wai lin . like leiter's character , wai lin would be a sure bet for a cameo in a later bond movie . stars : michelle yeoh was born a leo in the western zodiac in the year of the tiger on the asian astrology calendar . i dont believe in horoscopes . but at an airport i once browsed an astrology book with a section on leo tigers ( lts ) . " leo tigers prefer enough solitude to grow at their own pace . lts are unbelievably courageous when facing adversity . the lt is also classy , and has an excellent sense of refinement , but she sees herself as an adventurer , and prefers freedom of movement rather than flashy status symbols . this person loves family and friends with a fierce loyalty . she delights in siblings , nephews , nieces and extended family - - but she must have her personal freedom to come and go as she pleases . sometimes annoyance at injustice drives her to take up one or two causes . in love life , the lt has an unfortunate mental block against committing to any partner who is less powerful than she . " in real life , michelle yeoh is asia's top female star . like jackie chan , she does her own stunts . she was born in malaysia - - a country of many languages - - and her primary language ( the language she speaks in her sleep ) is english . she was taught malay in school , and learned cantonese from bilingual parents . as an athlete michelle represented malaysia internationally . she enjoyed squash , diving , swimming , and rugby . she studied ballet at the royal academy of dance in london , but switched to drama after a spinal injury . in 1983 she won the miss malaysia pageant - - without really intending to , since a family member had entered her in the contest without her knowledge . notoriety from the contest led eventually to a movie career as an action heroine . michelle has survived a divorce with asian retail tycoon dickson poon ; a nearly fatal stunt accident falling from a freeway overpass which put her in the hospital for three months , and ; a retirement from the movies . her comeback from retirement , supercop ( 1992 ) became the top grossing film in asia that year . it is not clear what michelles martial arts style is , but it may be a theatrical version of wing chun . of her character wai lin in tomorrow never dies , michelle says , " wai lin is the first bond girl who is on a par with bond , someone who can match up with him mentally and physically . " my own opinion is that casting michelle yeoh as agent wai lin was an excellent choice . 
by nathaniel r . atcheson ( nate@pyramid . net ) city of angels is the kind of love story that i enjoy the most : thought-provoking , moving , and completely unsentimental . i find it interesting that this film has been released the same day as my giant , which is a film that is undone completely by its wretched sentimentality . city of angels is a wonderful film , enhanced by interesting and well-rounded characters and some of the most immersive imagery of the last couple of years . it's a love story that takes the familiar angel themes and makes them new and necessary to the story , and avoids most of the cliches we're so used to seeing in films like this . city of angels is an apparently loose remake of wim wenders' 1988 film wings of desire . i have yet to see wings of desire , so i am , unfortunately , unable to make a comparison of the two . i have heard , however , that city of angels is dissimilar from the original in numerous ways , which makes me glad that this film isn't a rip-off of its source material . nicolas cage stars as seth , an angel who , like all of his angel counterparts , is present to lead the dying to heaven ( or somewhere just like it ) . one day , he is forced to take the life of a patient of dr . maggie rice ( meg ryan ) , and his attention is called to her . the angels can make themselves seen to humans , but they can't experience any of the senses ( most importantly , touch ) . he shows himself to maggie , and she falls for him , unaware that he is slightly unavailable because of his apparition status . seth wants to become human so he can feel her . that's when he meets nathaniel messinger ( dennis franz ) , " former celestial messenger and recent addition to the human race . " ( as a side note , i found messinger to be the most fascinating character , for i can only imagine how incredibly liberating it must be to live knowing what lies beyond death . ) messinger explains to seth that it is possible for angels to become human . seth manages to convince maggie that he is an angel ( i know , it sounds ridiculous , but the scene in which she finds out is exceptionally well-done ) ; after much deliberation , she tells him that she could only be with a man who can feel . this , of course , is when seth decides to take the plunge ( literally ) from a building ; when he wakes up from the fall , he is human , and happy to feel what it's like to have a split lip and blood oozing from his forehead . since i love this film so much , i'll make a minor note that it certainly isn't perfect . although it is original and mesmerizing , it does fall prey to a few of the cliches of the genre . the plotting of the story by writer dawn steel is rather formulaic ( though the details are what make the story excellent , and steel has done a great job with them ) . the ending , too , could have been more powerful and less predictable . these elements are minor , though , and barely detracted from my overall enjoyment of city of angels . the acting is superb from everyone involved . this is perhaps my second-favorite performance from cage ( my favorite being the rock ) . he's quiet and pensive , and his eyes are engaging when he speaks his softly-toned words . he's perfect for a role like this , and at the same time he reassures us he's not bound by playing the psycho ( though he is good at it , as he shows in face/off ) . meg ryan is a powerful , enticing , and appealingly-chirpy actress , and her work here is some of her best . dennis franz , however , steals all of his scenes as the energetic former-angel . what i admire most about city of angels is its overall presentation . director brad silberling is a talented man , and he knows that a story like this is driven by the characters , rather than forced sentimentality . his direction is steady , and he shows this in just about every scene : near the beginning , maggie has to tell a mother and her two children that their father is dead . there is no music or elaborate camera work ; we simply see the reactions of the characters to the information . this is the way stories should be told , and the strength of scenes resonates more completely when the emotions are real . the film also appeals to the senses in a way that few love stories do . cinematographer john seale ( the english patient ) provides some of the most stunning images i've seen on the big screen : hundreds of black-clad angels stand on a dim beach in the early morning hours ( just as an example ) . the music , by gabriel yared ( also of the english patient ) , is perfect for this film : it's quiet and moody music ( but not sentimental ! ) , and adds to the atmosphere and tone nicely . the visual presentation of city of angels is easily the best of 1998 so far . all of this adds up to a film that is instantly set apart from other members of this genre . it's a film that relies on character development and imagery to get the story across--the excellent actors and the professional production values make city of angels one of those rare films that both entertains and instigates thought simultaneously . 
1997 , r , 95 minutes [1 hour , 35 minutes]starring : dustin hoffman ( stanley motss ) , robert de niro ( conrad brean ) , anne heche ( winifred ames ) , denis leary ( fad king ) , written by hilary henkin , david mamet ; produced by robert de niro , barry levinson , jane rosenthal ; directed by barry levinson ; based on the novel " american hero " by larry beinhart . satirical films usually fall into one of two categories : 1 ) long-term satire where everything , including the jokes , is somehow related on a large scale ( i . e . " dr . strangelove " ; 2 ) situation satire in which the comedy and themes are derived moment by moment and scene by scene ( i . e . " men in black " ) . what's unique about " wag the dog " is that it doesn't necessarily fit either of these descriptions , and yet is both at the same time . the result is a clever comedy based on an original , smart premise , even if the focus does tend to wander a bit . if there's anything that affects americans the most it's politics and showbusiness . in this age of information and technology , we've been so conditioned by the media and the entertainment industry in our ways of perceiving things , it's gotten to the point that we are practically controlled by it . we need the media to bring us the most up-to-date news , but we also need the escapism of hollywood to counter all that thinking . this film starts off well by quickly establishing these ideas , and then presents an interesting scenario : if politics , the media coverage of politics , and the entertainment industry are so closely related , couldn't someone with the power and authority to manipulate one of the aspects manipulate them all ? that's the idea conrad brean ( de niro ) , a professional washington spin doctor , comes up with in order to restore the president's good name who has been accused of child molestation just weeks before the election . brean , along with the president's top advisor , winifred ames ( heche ) , fly to california to meet up with hot-shot movie producer stanley motss ( hoffman ) . they pitch him an idea to " produce " the image of a war with albania ( it's a country no one's heard of so they people will buy it ) . soon the wheels are in motion and the film's riffing satire comes into play . we're inundated with the hollywood mind set as motss brings in a number of experts to help manage the situation , such as a folk singer , visual and sound effects technicians , and a modern style expert known as the fad king ( leary ) . the initial atmosphere is rich with numerous pop culture references where everything somehow relates to something on tv , in the movies , or in the news . the characters' dialogue is witty and funny , although some of the actual jokes and gags seem rather sitcom-esque . for example , one scene shows motss and brean's production crew filming an actress portraying a poor albanian refugee . motss ordered a kitten for the girl to carry , but instead wound up with a dozen different dogs . since it's all computer-enhanced anyway , she ends up cradling a bag of tostitos with the kitten to be inserted later . this demonstrates the film's ability to take a relatively ordinary situation and make it smart and funny just through the premise . but then there's the gags and one-liners that , although are humorous , seem a little gratuitious in the long run such as motss not being able to remember the actress's name , or , whenever a problem emerges , always responding with , " this is nothing ! " by the time the film makes it to the midpoint , everything that is going to happen in terms of plot happens . the first act is quickly paced , while the second act contains most of the jokes and is the core of the film . every ten minutes or so a new problem crops up that motss and brean must deal with , and it's always fascinating to see what they do and how they do it . the screenplay provides good characterization and actually deals with most of the problems head-on in realistic manners . however , it does have a tendency to avoid things and shift its focus from the election campaign and false war smokescreen to something a bit off the subject . as the third act rolls around the satirical nature becomes more concerned with the situations and less so with the big picture . what had started off as a brilliant , somewhat harmless conspiracy to fool the general public begins to seem more like something that would happen in a movie . still , the situation comedy is quite funny , especially a montage showing the entire country flinging old shoes into trees to honor sgt . willie schumann - a war hero motss and brean concocted . truly great satire manages to create for an entertaining story that makes you laugh at the time , but think about afterwards and " wag the dog " at least succeeds in this respect . however , in retrospect it seems like so much more could have been done , namely by extending the running time and filling in the plot holes . then again , it's a valiant effort . please visit chad'z movie page @ http : //members . aol . com/chadpolenz - over 180 new and old films reviewed in depth , not just blind ratings and quick capsules . also , check out the first shay astar web page @ http : //members . aol . com/chadpolenz/shayastar . html 
written by : richard friedenberg ( adapted from the novel by forrest carter ) starring : joseph ashton , james cromwell , tantoo cardinal , graham greeneingredients : little orphan boy , rural grandparents , mountains , native american lore synopsis : in this loving film portrayal of an idyllic and pivotal time that a young boy spends with grandpa and grandma , the self recollections of an unseen narrator focus on his world view as a tennessee orphan boy learning of his heritage through his grandparents . the setting is after the first world war , during the great depression years . a nine-year-old orphan named little tree ( joseph ashton ) is taken in and taught the wondrous ways of the woods by his caucasian moonshiner grandpa ( james cromwell ) and his native american grandma ( tantoo cardinal ) in the wilderness of the mountains of tennessee . here little tree learns an almost magical appreciation for nature and farm life - - and experiences beautiful and wondrous things such as the sunrise . everything is miraculous to a child . but it all comes crashing down for the boy when the u . s . government forcibly takes custody away from grandpa and grandma , and forces little tree to attend the notched gap boarding school , a kind of internment camp where multiracial cherokee kids are indoctrinated to dress , pray , speak , and think like white people or face solitary confinement and corporeal punishment . through his childhood experiences , little tree learns lessons about love , race , life , death , people , nature , and folk wisdom . opinion : this excellent , excellent family movie . it is one of those priceless screen gems that nobody knows about because it's not highly advertised . you won't find any formula schlock , cutesy characters , canned spirituality , sequel teasers or commercial tie ins , but you will find the education of little tree to be a refreshing , impeccably acted , original , wonderful , and touching film . take the whole family and bring a box of tissues for the tearjerkers . this one's as good as old yeller . 
what do you get when you combine clueless and dumb and dumber ? to answer the question , you get director david mirkin's new comedy romy and michele's high school reunion . romy white ( mira sorvino , mighty aprhodite ) and michele weinberger ( lisa kudrow , tv's friends ) have been inseparable buddies since they graduated from sagebrush high in 1987 . however , when former classmate heather mooney ( janeane garafolo , the truth about cats and dogs ) confronts romy about the 10 year reunion , she is astounded that she forgot . watching pretty woman for the um-teenth time , they are reminded of how they wouldn't let julia roberts' character shop in the expensive stores because of her appearance . then it hits them : they are not successful . what are she and michele going to do ? romy's instant solution is lose some weight off their already slender frames , " bag a couple of boyfriends , " and get jobs . romy says this will be easy , but michele retorts that if it is so easy , why hadn't they already done it . robin schiff's script keeps the show moving with some nice one-liners . one of the best has romy reminiscing about her life's battle against the bathroom scales . " i was so lucky getting mono , " she says looking at her thinnest high school picture . " that was like the best diet ever . " the casting for the film is so perfect that one begins to suspect that the leads were chosen and then the script was developed . romy and michele use their high school yearbook to discuss the caste system at their high school . the film's editor david finfer dissolves the stills from the yearbook to live action flashbacks which makes the past come to life . at sagebrush high , the hierarchy consisted of the a group ( cheerleaders ) , the b group ( drama club ) and the c group ( nerds ) . romy and michele were none of the above . ridiculed as " the weirdoes , " they were constant targets for abuse . even though they were quite attractive , they had so much fun being together that they did not care about the others . that they make their own outlandish clothes helped keep the wall around them . complementing romy and michele's lightness , is janeane garofalo as the dark , pudgy heather mooney . heather , who invented a new cigarette paper for cigarettes with " twice the taste in half the time for the gal on the go , " has the success and the money that they would like . heather was even more of an outsider than they were in high school . garofalo's one-dimensional role is only a side show . this is a two person film with the other characters there merely for the two leads to bounce their lines off of . the genuine chemistry between sorvino and kudrow makes for a sweet and sometimes touching comedy . they have so much fun acting out their parts , their enjoyment spreads to the audience . grade : b ,  
the age of innocence a film by martin scorsese starring : daniel day-lewis , winona ryder , and michelle pfeiffer written by jay cocks and martin scorsese based on the novel by edith wharton martin scorsese's triumphant adaptation of edith wharton's the age of innocence is a stunning film for the quintessential new york filmmaker , the man who brought the streets of taxi driver and mean streets to life . it seems like an odd choice for scorsese to do a period piece in the early 1900's , but the fact that he pulls it off so brilliantly is a wonder , and a testament to the greatness of scorsese as a filmmaker . this is a gorgeous visual experience that it surely one of scorsese's finest . newland archer ( day-lewis ) is a prestigious lawyer who is engaged to may welland ( ryder ) , a somewhat empty and shallow new yorker , who belongs to a prestigious family and is quite beautiful . the marriage is one which will unite two very prestigious families , in a society where nothing is more important than the opinions of others . on the day that archer is to announce his engagement to may , countess ellen olenska ( pfeiffer ) , cousin of may , walks into archer's life . archer is immediately captivated , and finds himself in love with ellen . archer is also bound by the limits of new york society , which is an intrusive as any other in the world . archer finds himself having a secret love affair in his mind with countess olenska , attempting to keep her in his mind while trying not to lose his social status . the film's subject matter may seem alien to scorsese , but the theme is definitely not . it is a theme of forbidden romance , guilty pleasures , and the consequences causes because of those actions . there is a painstakingly flawed hero , and his choice between the life he wants , and the life he is destined for . in truth , it is a film about a society the audience doesn't know about , but wants to find out more , much like the society of goodfellas or even kundun . the performances are absolutely breathtaking . day-lewis portrays more mental anguish in his face than one man should be forced to take . pfeiffer is marvelous as countess olenska , a mix of passion and beauty that the audience would die for as well . ryder is probably the gem of the group , for it is her quiet presence that overwhelms the plot , and slowly pushes day-lewis closer and closer to his eventual ending . the supporting cast is also wonderful , with several characters so singular that they are indelible in one's memory . scorsese definitely has a passion for filmmaking . his lavish and sumptuous set design and marvelous recreation of new york is a wondrous sight . he literally transports the viewer to another world with incredible imagery . his script is also excellent , slow in buildup , with a rapid conclusion and a fantastic ending that has to be seen to be believed . it is difficult to make a period piece gripping : scorsese , however , does it beautifully . the famous cameras of the legendary director are also everywhere . he is patient , but he films everything and anything remotely important . the cameras sweep , pan , track , and do more than they've ever done , but they are so subtle , one doesn't realize he's watching all the scorsese hallmarks until a 2nd viewing . the central tracking shot is probably longer and more complex than the famous goodfellas shot , but the viewer doesn't notice it , because we want to see more of this gorgeous world . there are a few deft touches of filmmaking that are simply outstanding , and joanne woodward' narration is exquisite . not a fast film like goodfellas , this shares more in common with kundun than anything else . and like kundun , this is a slow-starting film that truly shines , when given the chance to fully breathe and bloom in the end . a beautiful film by a director continuing to challenge himself year after year . 
saving private ryan ( dreamworks ) running time : 2 hours 48 minutes . starring tom hanks , edward burns , tom sizemore and matt damon directed by steven spielberg already being hailed as the 'greatest war movie ever made , ' saving private ryan is an harrowing , saddening and riveting movie . it may not be the greatest war movie in my opinion , but it's certainly one of the best war movies made , and one of the best of 1998 . tom hanks stars as a captain who's troop has to find private ryan ( damon ) who has a ticket home because his three brothers have been killed in action . action , drama and even some humour occur as the troop journeys through wartime france to find him . after the disappointing amistad ( 1997 ) spielberg has returned to form with this excellent movie . i'm not the war movie genre biggest fan , but i found this film to be gripping , and very scary , thanks to the excellent cast , direction and terrifying battle scenes . tom hanks is superb , straying away from his usually soppy dramatic roles , such as in forrest gump ( 1994 ) . this time , he plays the role with gritty realism , and is much better for it . occasionally he overacts the sentimentally , but he generally delivers a fine performance . edward burns , looking a lot like armageddon's ben affleck , also delivers a top notch performance , moving away from his roles in films such as she's the one ( 1996 ) tom sizemore makes less of an impact , but is still watchable , and matt damon reinforcing his position as one of the finest young actors working today . spielberg directs very well , putting the audience right in the heart of the action of the battle scenes . and what battle scenes they are ! they're truly terrifying , yet the audience cannot drag their eyes away from the screen . the battle scenes are filmed with a jerky hand-held camera , and the panic and confusion felt by the soldiers is emphasized by this technique . the gore and violence isn't spared either , which body parts flying , and blood spurting . this film is certainly not for kids and sensitive adults . other factors help saving private ryan be a masterpiece of 90's film making . the cinematography is excellent , and the music score by john william's is also superb . it is never intrusive , and adds to the drama on-screen . but while they are thousands of good things great about private ryan , there's one major flaw that detracts the genius of the film : the writing . it is unusually flat , with many of the speeches strangely weak . the film never really makes any profound statements . this is not a major gripe , as private ryan is a film of action , not words . still , the script could of been a lot better . thankfully , the actors help partly to rectify the situation with their great delivery of their lines . saving private ryan , in the end , is an excellent film , but not the 'greatest war movie' due to it's weak acting . this film should be viewed by everyone who has the stomach for it , as it's rewarding and extremely worthwhile . it really shouldn't be missed , and dreamworks skg has finally found it's first hit movie . 
first , i'd like to say it's nice to have spike lee vindicate himself after doing something like girl 6 . get on the bus is easily the best film he has made since do the right thing with the exception of maybe malcolm x . spike does in this film what he does best--he presents issues that face society in an unbiased manner and lets the audience sort their feelings on their own . i love a film that engages my mind . the story is about a busload of black men that board in south central los angeles and drive across the country to the million man march in washington d . c . the film was funded by fifteen african-american men and shot in just 18 days . this is another example of expert filmmaking ( writing , directing , acting ) that i hope the oscars do not overlook . the screenwriter , reggie rock bythewood is very talented . however , i would say that the screenplay is a little weak in a few spots . this may be due to the film's hurried production . but i tell you that nothing in the script is so bad as to detract from the better scenes . the greatest aspect of the screenplay is that the ideas behind the million man march and the reasons for going are expressed without directly involving the march itself . this makes those ideas much more powerful because it eliminates the inclusion of minister farrakhan , to which many would disregard the march's message in favor of claiming it racist and sexist . this idea is also expressed in another way . there is a member of the nation of islam on the bus who never says a word and never gets involved in any of the scenes . his presence is a symbol of the march , in that , even though the nation of islam was there and organized the march , the march was not about the nation of islam . spike lee is one of the best filmmakers working today . in get on the bus , he's trying something different--the sure sign of a filmmaker that understands that the learning process never stops . here , he meshes his ever-evolving style with that of a documentarian's eye . the bus ride feels " captured " by the filmmaker . although there is plenty of hand-held camerawork , it is as though spike lee was able to film a documentary and still maintain effective use of dollies , cranes and tripods . it is an astonishing feat from a filmmaker's perspective and an effective technique for anyone watching . as i watched the film , i noticed two things about the audience . the first was that anytime a character made a slant toward one of the homosexual characters , the audience laughed hysterically . the scenes were obviously written to be funny , but i think that the predictability of our own stereotypes was what the screenwriter was knowingly commenting on . i back this up with another scene where the bus stops at a roadside diner in tennessee . the instant we see all the white faces inside , the audience expects a confrontation . in fact , everyone gets along pretty well . even when ossie davis explains that steer wrestling was invented by a black cowboy , his listener responds with , " how about that . " it's fairly obvious that these two scenes say more about the audience than the characters . but then , that's what i expect from a spike lee joint . 
with storytelling this compelling , who needs books ? based on the book by author james ellroy , l . a . confidential is probably one of the best piece of work produced by hollywood in recent years . together with director curtis hanson ( the hand that rocks the cradle , the river wild ) whom ellroy corroborated closely throughout the shooting of the film , resulted in a movie with a plot and and script so tight , an atom would have to squeeze itself through . set in the 50s , the story revolves around 3 policemen of vivid personalities . jack vincennes ( spacey ) is the cop who is more concerned on busting with fame and stardom ala hollywood style , concentrating heavily on work which will attract him media attention . there is also the young hot-shot rookie , ed exley ( pearce ) , fresh out of the academy and all-out to carve a name for himself in the footsteps of his legendary cop father . the tough and unnerving bud white ( crowe ) , a cop who believes in justice , the swift and violent way . 3 policemen , distinct in their characters and paths but all of them working in a place where there is no real distinction between good and evil . when his partner is murdered on the day of his resignation , bud sets out to find the people responsible but unwittingly delved himself into something more than just a simple robbery murder . even after exley receives a promotion for his work on the murder case , happenings began to link itself to the murder . the 3 eventually reach a point of convergence when what actually began as a personal investigation turns out to be an uncovering of a complex web of organised-crime in hollywood . the last time i remember a film so clever and compelling was when i watched the usual suspects . in l . a . confidential , you do not get the shock and cleverness as the former but it has a lot more of `story' going for it . there is not a single moment in the film in which i felt was slow at all . surprisingly , though spacey did a very convincing job as the street-wise vincennes , the movie was carried mostly by the two rather `unknowns' , pearce and crowe . pearce's exley is cool and calculative in his actions and there is a slight hint of val kilmer in his appearance . crowe's bud white is the most impressive of all ; head-strong and temperamental , he should obtain some sort of recognition for his work here . superb acting . , wonderful storytelling and one of the best climaxing gunfights ever . easily the best hollywood piece for 1997 . 
 cast : tommy lee jones ( agent kay ) , will smith ( james edwards/agent jay ) , linda fiorentino ( dr . laurel weaver/agent elle ) , vincent d'onofrio ( edgar ) , rip torn ( zed ) director : barry sonnenfeld certification : pg-13 ( usa ) mild violence and language year of production : 1997 men in black is an explosive mix of science fiction , action , and comedy that hits the target in every possible way . although another alien movie , men in black succeeds in every way that independence day didn't , and towers above many other movies of its type . the brilliant acting , especially by tommy lee jones as agent kay , is also as good as it gets . director barry sonnenfeld , who was behind the camera for the addams family movies and get shorty , has crafted a masterpiece . the story behind men in black is just as interesting as you would want it to be . the men in black , or mib , are a top-secret governmental agency that is not known to exist . the mib are responsible for " saving the world from the scum of the universe " . a though job , indeed . the film opens with a truckload of illegal aliens ( the human kind ) being transported across the mexico border and into the united states . presumably , these " aliens " are all migrant workers . that is , until the mib show up and begin interrogating them . agent kay selects a particular suspicious worker and takes him away from the other local authorities to discover that he is not an illegal human alien , but a real extra-terrestrial alien . when the alien makes a run for it , agent kay is forced to eliminate the alien with one of the mib's very unique weapons , and after one of the local law enforcement officers witnesses this bizarre occurrence , agent kay is forced to use another very unique device on them . the device , described as " out of state " , eliminates the memory of anyone it is used on . from here , we are introduced to james edwards , played very well by will smith . edwards , a police officer , is chasing a fleeing criminal . the criminal gives a very good chase , and at one point when edwards confronts him , the criminal pulls out a very different looking weapon that disintegrated when it hit the ground . edwards continues to chase the very athletic criminal to the top of a building , where the criminal informs edwards that he must let him go , because someone is after him . edwards doesn't take this seriously , but when the criminal shows very non-human characteristics and leaps off the building , he begins to wonder . back at the police station , agent kay shows up to ask edwards a few questions . he informs edwards that is was , in fact , a non-human that he was chasing , and that the gun he pulled out was definitely not man-made . he has edwards identify the gun , and asks edwards to come to the mib headquarters the following day . edwards arrives and finds that he is involved in a recruiting process , along with various other men who seem a bit more qualified than he . after goofing up for half of the time , edwards puts on a show at the firing range , and agent kay notes the reason why he feels edwards should be the man to join the mib : he chased down the " criminal " on foot , which is something that no one is supposed to be able to do . in the meantime , an upstate new york farm has a very close encounter . edgar ( vincent d'onofrio ) , owner of the farm , investigates a strange crash landing and is attacked by the inhabitant of the flying object , which presumes to jump inside edgar and use his body as a human transport . the " bug " , as he is called , is an intergalactic terrorist who has come to earth to attempt to kill two ambassadors . and it up to the mib , with newly recruited agent jay ( formerly james edwards ) to exterminate the bug and save the planet from intergalactic war . men in black delightfully combines fast-paced action with often hilarious comedy , which is usually from will smith , although tommy lee jones opens up his comedic personality in this film . the special effects are also very well done and are not the entire source of the plot , as in another big alien film from the past summer . screenwriter ed solomon , writer of super mario bros . and the upcoming x-men film , has surely struck gold with this story . all ages will enjoy men in black . it is an extremely fun film that you will want to see again . although it runs a very quick and speedy 96 minutes , the entire film from beginning to end is a non-stop adventure . the ending of the film , which ties up a few loose ends for one of the main characters , is also very well done . a sequel is already being planned , so there is more to look forward to ! 
directed by eric rohmer . cast : amanda langlet , arielle dombsale , pascal greggory , fedoor atkine , simon de la brosse , rosette . 1983 - 94 minutes - french - subtitled . rated r ( for nudity and sexual situations ) . reviewed october 5 , 1998 . by dustin putman  "  dustin putman's film reviews  " http : //members . aol . com/filmfan16/index . html eric rohmer's " pauline at the beach , " is one of those small , deliberately paced , but charming foreign films in which not much happens plot wise , but a lot happens to the characters emotionally . the film takes place during a few weeks of august at the normandy coast , and centers on six different characters , primarily pauline ( amanda langlet ) , a wise beyond her years 15-year-old who has come to stay for the summer with her older cousin , marion ( arielle dombasle ) . on the first day at the beach , marion runs into an old high school flame ( fedoore atkine ) , and although he wants to rekindle their relationship , she is more interested in an older , more seductive womanizer ( pascal greggory ) , who is also secretly having an affair with a candy vendor ( rosette ) . while pauline watches as an outsider at what is happening between all of the adults , she forms a relationship of her own with a young teenage boy ( simon de la brosse ) . " pauline at the beach , " is not a film in which big dramatic things occur , and there is not a clear-cut , tidy conclusion to the story . instead , it is a picture that simply observes its characters in every day life , and the surprises come from little character details . the film is quite talky and slow moving , and so it is pretty safe to say it isn't for those who are only a fan of action movies , but is a treat for those viewers who often like to venture outside of the big-budget genre and see a good art film . this is the first film by acclaimed director eric rohmer ( 1969's " my night at mauds , " and 1971's " claire's knee " ) that i have seen , but his direction is assured and intelligent , as is the screenplay , which he also wrote . " pauline at the beach , " is a film worth seeing . 
cast : denzel washington , john goodman , donald sutherland , embeth davidtz , james gandolfini , elias koteas director : gregory hoblit producers : charles roven , dawn steel screenplay : nicholas kazan cinematography : newton thomas sigel music : tan dun u . s . distributor : warner brothers call it touched by a demon . gregory hoblit's fallen is a serial killer movie with an unusual , horrific twist . if marketed properly , this film could have crossover appeal for both those who appreciate supernatural tales like the prophesy and those who crave grim , dark thrillers like silence of the lambs and seven . in fact , there's even a little twin peaks to be found here , albeit with the lion's share of the weirdness distilled out . ( remember bob ? ) the biggest failing of fallen is that , although it's consistently interesting , it's not always as edgy and suspenseful as one might hope . a serial killer ( elias koteas ) has been on the loose in philadephia , but detective john hobbes ( denzel washington ) , the noblest man on the police force , has brought him to justice . now , during his last hours on death row awaiting his inevitable date with the gas chamber , the mass murderer cryptically tells hobbes , " what goes around really goes around . " shortly thereafter , he begins to sing " time is on my side " as he's taken on his last walk . minutes later , the state of pennsylvania has carried out the execution and edgar reese is dead . but for hobbes , the nightmare is just beginning , because reese wasn't a normal psychopath – he was the host body for a mythical dark angel named azazel . and , with reese's death , azazel is free to hop from body to body , murdering and wreaking havoc at will . only hobbes and a pretty , female theology teacher ( embeth davidtz ) have an inkling of what they're up against . the rest of the cops , including hobbes' partner , jonesy ( john goodman ) ; lou ( james gandolfini ) , a newcomer to the department ; and lieutenant stanton ( donald sutherland ) , don't have a clue , and , as a result , they are in mortal danger . as depicted by hoblit ( primal fear ) and cinematographer newton thomas sigel , philadelphia is a dark , dreary place – a gothic city rather than a modern one . no skyscrapers or other monoliths of current architecture or technology are shown . the most famous landmark to appear isn't the liberty bell or independence hall ; it's geno's steaks . shadows and night scenes abound . the days are cloudy and unpromising . this is the kind of setting where it's easy to believe that fallen angels walk among men . fallen's plot is brimming with potential , not all of which is realized . somehow , i would have expected a more frightening tale to emerge from something with this kind of premise . but the level of terror , like that of gore , is kept in check . nevertheless , there are several creepily effective scenes as the spirit of azazel moves from body to body when people bump against each other on crowded city sidewalks . the film also boasts a chase sequence of a kind that can best be described as unusual . of the several dozen actors to play azazel , the best is by far elias koteas ( exotica , crash ) , who , despite only being on screen for about ten minutes , gives a fantastically charged performance . john goodman also seems to be enjoying himself , although his role for most of the film is relegated to that of a burly sidekick . sadly , however , these two are the only ones who excel . everyone else , including denzel washington , is boring . washington's flat performance is the most disappointing surprise of the film . it's not that he's bad per se , but he's not very interesting . there's no real sense of vulnerability or desperation in the way he portrays his character , and that keeps us distanced , however slightly , from hobbes . as circumstances become progressively more dire for the cop , and as his life-or-death chess game with azazel approaches the point of checkmate , i expected to be more on the edge of my seat than i was . washington's subdued approach is part of the reason for this ; i never felt a sense of urgency . however , at least washington was believable , which is more than can be said for embeth davidtz ( schindler's list ) and donald sutherland . to be fair , the flaws in their characters aren't all acting-related ; neither stanton nor gretta milano are well-written . that said , however , there's nothing inspired about either davidtz's or sutherland's work . both appear to be sleepwalking their way through the parts , as if they know that their contribution to the film is one of advancing the plot rather than developing a multi-dimensional individual . narratively , fallen has a few glaring weaknesses . although the plot proceeds with a convoluted , game-like structure , it uses a denzel washington-supplied voiceover to overexplain matters . at times , this is actually helpful , and it has a use beyond the obvious , but there are occasions when ponderous lines like " i like the night… sometimes you come face to face with yourself " become a little hard to swallow . in addition , fallen is saddled with the same kind of disgustingly bland , generic theology embraced by numerous movies and tv shows like touched by an angel . however , despite the negatives , i'm still recommending fallen on the strength of its complex plot and especially its ending , which i loved . the final scenes are startling , audacious , and unexpected . it's not often that a plot development takes me by surprise the way this one did . at a time when most movies fall apart in the last ten minutes , fallen manages to buck the trend and redeem itself . this is not a great motion picture , but , considering how bad most january releases are , it's a reasonably entertaining way to spend two hours . and , whatever you do , don't walk out on the film before the end credits have begun to roll . 
did claus von bulow try to kill his wife sunny in their newport mansion ? that is the question reversal of fortune asks you to consider as it opens in a hospital ward , with a comatose sunny von bulow . she is the main narrator of the film , in a narrative trick that was extraordinarily risky for schroeder . the dramatic trick works , as sunny von bulow narrates a compelling story of murder , sex , unhappiness , and a lawyer's moral dilemma as he takes a case he thinks he cannot win . jeremy irons is claus von bulow , in what is his finest role , and one of the most devastingly evil performances in history . he is as hated as any man alive , as cold as a cucumber . his remorse for his wife's comatose condition is nonexistant , and it is no wonder that even his children have difficulty accepting his version of what happened during christmas , 1980 . the background to the case is such . during christmas of 1979 , sunny von bulow fell into a deep coma from which she recovered and awoke . the same situation occured in 1980 , only sunny never woke , and probably never will . when examined , it was found that she had 14 times the normal amount of insulin within her blood . claus von bulow is then accused of attempted murder by his stepson , convicted , and freed on bail . he immediately hires alan dershowitz , the renowed harvard law professor , to acquit him . ron silver is magnificent as a moral lawyer who cannot stand what has happened to him . we follow him through two very different cases ; the case of the johnson case , where two innocent kids are standing on death row for a crime they didn't commit , and von bulow , who he still hasn't figured out . dershowitz doesn't know what happened to sunny , and he is extremely hesitant to take the case . nevertheless , he does , based on certain things which happen during the investigative process that deeply upset him . together with a group of law students , dershowitz concocts a defense and ultimately get the verdict reversed . silver's performance is one of a handful of solid roles in this deep film . schroeder directs on many different levels , with multiple plot lines which blend in wonderfully in the mind of alan dershowitz . there are flaws ; at times , the film gets overly theatrical . yet , due to glenn close's troubled and brutally honest performance as sunny von bulow , the use of her comatose body as a narrator works here fairly well . the flashbacks are good , but at times schroeder doesn't fill in the blanks . the movie could have benefited with the increased attention of certain developments during the film , and it could have used a better ending . the film progressed wonderfully before ending suddenly , without any intelligent conclusion . the supporting characters are often neglected , and dershowitz's team should have been allowed to grow character wise , but schroeder over-simplifies the story and the characters . yet , for all these flaws , the film is deeply engrossing because of irons . as von bulow , he is brutally evil . anti-semitic , prejudiced , arrogant , protective , he is a rotten , lying monster , whose conviction may have been wrong legally , but morally he was to blame . irons plays him to a cold perfection , with pathetic attempts to gain moral support for his claims to innocence . he is an adulterous liar and a cheat who in all likelihood committed the murder . however , the genius of reversal of fortune comes in its distinction between moral culpability and legal responsibility . there is no doubt von bulow is responsible for his wife's death by years of neglect and coldness . however , legally , did he do the murder ? schroeder dares the viewer to make up his own mind . with all the character flaws , reversal of fortune is an engrossing puzzle because it is intelligent ; he wants the viewer to make up his own mind . schroeder taunts the viewer with contradictory revelations , and then mentions that the answer to this compelling puzzle shall be revealed when we join sunny von bulow , in death . for all the failed dramatic theatrics , this is one that works beautifully . we don't know what happened . that sense of legal ambiguousness , along with von bulow's obvious moral guilt , is why reversalf fortune works . in the end , von bulow is as sadistic as ever . irons is haunting , and that is why reversal of fortune is so good . 
year : 2000 . starring the voices of julia sawalha , mel gibson , miranda richardson , jane horrocks , imelda staunton , tony haygarth , benjamin whitrow . written by peter lord & nick park ( story ) and karey kirkpatrick ( screenplay ) . directed by peter lord and nick park . rated g . i know that " funnest " isn't a word . " fun " is a noun , and therefore cannot be conjugated like an adjective . but that's the word that came to me right after viewing " chicken run . " no wonder : this is the kind of movie that reduces you to childish expressions , like " that was the funnest movie i've ever seen ! " so to hell with webster's -- " chicken run " is one of the funnest movies i've seen in a while . i can't remember the last time i've seen anything funner . the chickens at tweedy's farm are up to something . living in a concentration camp-like atmosphere , they are led by one plucky hen called ginger ( voice of julia sawalha ) who continually comes up with plans for escape -- and always gets caught , subsequently spending day after day in the coal box . one night , a brash american rooster flies in over the fence , calling himself rocky ( mel gibson ) , famous flying rooster and circus performer . rocky promises to teach the chickens how to fly , and the situation grows more desperate as the nefarious mrs . tweedy ( miranda richardson ) decides to abandon the farm's egg-selling plan for a pie-selling plan . she orders a huge pie-making machine , cackling , " chickens go in ; pies come out . " what sort of pies ? chicken pies , of course . co-director nick park and his studio , aardman animation , produced three oscar-winning short films : " creature comforts , " " the wrong trousers , " and " a close shave . " the latter two were the second and third installments of a trilogy starring the delightful team wallace & gromit , a man and his dog famous for getting themselves into increasingly peculiar adventures . part of what made the " wallace " films brilliantly entertaining was park's uncanny ability to make an old story seem new . " the wrong trousers , " for example , pulled out a lot of old hitchcockian suspense tricks , and " a close shave " owed a great deal of inspiration to classic detective stories . but in the hands of park and his team , the stories felt fresh and inspired , and not the least bit contrived . now teaming with co-director peter lord , park has created a similar creature in " chicken run . " the plot is largely lifted from " the great escape " ( watch for a quick reference to the ball-bouncing scene ) , with some spielberg-inspired action sequences providing the excitement . thing is , the film doesn't feel like it's been lifted from somewhere else ; " chicken run " feels fresh , alive , like nothing else ever done . part of it is the original idea : who in the world came up with the idea to make a prisoners-of-war movie starring chickens ? park and lord milk the incongruity for all it's worth : the characters treat their situation as if it were dead serious , and to them , it is . but they're * chickens * , so it's funny to us . another thing that helps " chicken run " ( and most of park's films ) succeed is the animators' subtle way of giving nods to the very films they're cribbing . there are references to " the great escape , " obviously , and " stalag 17 . " the chase sequence inside the chicken grinder parodies both " raiders of the lost ark " and " indiana jones and the temple of doom . " there's even a nod to " the blues brothers , " if you can believe it , and the filmmakers even get in a little light-hearted ribbing at the expense of their star voice actor , taking a couple of very subtle jabs at mel gibson's nationality and film history . the " braveheart " reference is a hoot if you catch it . when you consider just how fine a line resides between a funny parody and a redundant one , " chicken run " is downright brilliant in its execution . consider this : since july of last year , i've seen dozens upon dozens of " blair witch project " parodies , on television , on the radio , and online . out of all those , maybe one or two were amusing , the rest tiresome . why ? because once you got past the thought that " they're parodying that 'blair witch' movie , " most of the parodies had nothing to offer -- no insight , no original idea , no greater purpose . they were only funny if you had seen the movie ; otherwise , you got nothing . conversely , " chicken run " doesn't lean on its parodies -- the film references are never the sole focus of any scene . if you've never seen " indiana jones , " the chase sequence is still fun . even if you have no idea who mel gibson is , rocky remains an interesting character . park , lord , and screenwriter karey kirkpatrick realize that an audience does not need a parody shoved in their faces before it's understood , and as a result , " chicken run " is filled with visual and verbal jabs that are never too obvious , but not quite vague either . enjoyment of this movie doesn't require knowledge of film history , but if you've got it , " chicken run " is that much richer . the voice cast turns in uniformly lively performances , and the characters they play are given so many subtle nuances that it's hard not to fall in love with every one of them . ginger is perfect , spunky and opinionated , but with a soft heart that forbids her to leave her companions behind , and julia sawalha ( known as the cute mousy girl on " absolutely fabulous " ) nails it . she has warm , human chemistry with gibson , whose rocky hides his personal doubt under a brash gung-ho veneer . the characters' inevitable romance doesn't feel contrived , but sweet . poor mr . tweedy ( tony haygarth ) suspects the chickens are organizing in some way , but his limited intellect prevents him from figuring things out , and his overbearing wife certainly isn't any help . jane horrocks delivers a lovely voice characterization as tragically optimistic babs ( a hen that runs away with most of the best one-liners , all while perpetually crocheting a sweater ) , and two supply-trading rats that seem to have walked straight out of a monty python sketch nearly steal the show during the lively central swing-dancing sequence . they even come up with an inspired riff on something that's baffled scholars and theologians alike for decades : the chicken vs . egg dilemma . one might have expected this inevitable joke to come off as wearisome , but as with most of " chicken run , " it comes as a delightful surprise . the film manages to cross all barriers ; it should be accessible to both children and adults , brits and yanks , rats and chickens . the animation is first-rate . remember that this was all done the old-fashioned way , with actual humans moving clay figurines around on a tiny set bit by painstaking bit , and you see just how truly remarkable " chicken run " really is . this movie possesses that same quality that makes pixar studios' animation great : precise and unwavering attention to detail . as in such top-notch family fare as " a bug's life " or " toy story 2 , " " chicken run " has something to offer in nearly every frame . certainly a passive viewer can enjoy it as a straightforward story with a worthwhile moral and some surprisingly touching scenes , but a active , attentive viewers will enjoy it even more because they'll catch all the details . anyway , the movie's just a boatload of fun . funnest damn movie i've seen all year . 
`blue streak' , martin lawrence's newest outing and first appearance without a big name star by his side ( life , bad boys ) , may be cliched and formulaic , but it entertains , none the less . however , be warned that if you're not a martin lawrence fan you should stay far away from this film , as it is carried almost entirely by his comic antics . the story opens with a gang of high-tech thieves led by miles logan breaking into what appears to be a jewelry store . the robbery has just been completed , when one of the gang pulls a double cross and accidentally alerts the police . miles manages to secure the stolen gem in an air duct of an uncompleted building before the police catch him . two years later , released from prison , miles goes back to recover his prize only to discover that the building is now a police station . what is the most obvious solution ? why , to disguise himself as a cop and join the ranks of course . as a by-the-numbers piece of film making , it is fairly easy to guess the outcome of this movie from the start , though i won't reveal it here . in fact , the only things that truly make this worth seeing are the performances by martin lawrence and luke wilson as his likable , yet incredibly naive partner . lawrence's talent stems mainly from his exaggerated speech and facial expressions , and he puts this talent to good use here . just watch his expressions in a scene in which a dozen or so cops have cornered him and are asking what his opinion is about some new piece of police equipment . unfortunately , there are some rather large problems with this movie in addition to the predictable script . first , there are several utterly pointless characters such as melissa green , a defense attorney who appears in only three or four scenes , and is apparently present only so the audience can dislike her . the film's largest annoyance comes from tulley , who is a friend of logan's from the jewel heist . chappelle has such a whiny , obnoxious voice that i saw several people in the audience cringing whenever he spoke . despite these problems , the movie is a lot of fun , and lawrence is clearly having the time of his life making it . i simply hope that next time he finds a more original script to house his rather considerable comic talent . for delivering a lot of chuckles and a few belly laughs , i give `blue streak' three and a half stars and a recommendation to try and catch a matinee . * * * * * - one of the greatest movies ever made , see it now . * * * * - great flick . try and catch this one . * * * - okay movie , hits and misses . * * - pretty bad . see it if you've got nothing better to do . * - one of the worst movies ever . see it only if you enjoy pain . e-mail with comments at : jabii@aol . com 
it's an interesting premise . our reality is only real to us because it is what we perceive to be real . in truth , our entire existences are lived out in our minds as we are fed information through electronic inputs directly to our brains . what we see , what we do , everything around us is nothing more than a computer-generated construct interlinked with the minds of others through a vastly powerful artificial intelligence . our bodies , severely atrophied , are kept alive for the sole purpose of generating heat and electrical energy for a dominating order of machines which control the planet . the sci-fi realm has been waiting a little while for something new to come along . the matrix isn't it - the idea of a war between man and a sentient computer network , a sham world , the ability to plug one's brain into a computer , has all been gleaned from such sources as the terminator , dark city , and a few star trek episodes ( both classic and next generation ) . what is new is the ability to weave all of these various elements together and succeed in producing a film that is both entertaining as well as thought-provoking . keanu reeves plays a computer whiz nicknamed neo , who is plucked out of the artificial world ( known as the matrix ) by a group of renegade humans who are clandestinely fighting to expose the fallacy of the computer-generated existence and free humankind from the oppression of the machines . the group's leader , morpheus ( laurence fishburne ) , has chosen neo because he believes neo is " the one " who is destined to lead the attack against the artificial intelligence . from the beginning of the film , we are kept on our toes trying to figure things out . this , in a lesser movie would be annoying , but the matrix presents itself in an intelligent manner which makes the puzzle rather interesting and even fun . what is reality ? what is a sham ? the film turns our very perception of life on its side . more than once , we are also presented with the question of whether we would rather know the harsh truth of reality , or live a life of relative bliss , oblivious to the true nature of our surroundings . as viewers , this is intriguing enough , so imagine what it would be like for neo . and who to better play a bewildered person than keanu reeves ? reeves , whom i've never really cared for as an actor , is competent in roles which require a lot of straightforwardness , and little subtlety . he was good in speed , for example , but laughably poor in a walk in the clouds . neo is actually one of those roles which reeves slips into rather nicely , so much of my expectation was happily for naught . in a couple of places , the script even capitalizes upon his wooden nature , and this is a heavy credit to writers/directors andy and larry wachowski . i mean , since bill and ted's excellent adventure , what movie could you say really " utilized " keanu reeves ? more interesting than reeves is fishburne , who's morpheus nearly runs the gamut of emotions , and convincingly so . very surprising for a sci-fi movie . fishburne also maintains a certain demeanor about himself throughout , as if he always knows what to expect . this helps to further the aura of his character's proficiency and extensive knowledge . hugo weaving as agent smith , one of the artificial intelligence's anti-intruder programs , is also good playing his deadpan , no-nonsense , kick ass role , which requires him to show emotion at the appropriate time . unfortunately , when weaving speaks for more than a few sentences in a row , the nature of his character's speech pattern becomes a little more laughable than impressive . carrie-anne moss plays trinity , morpheus's number one assistant who becomes somewhat of a love interest for neo . although her character is somewhat inconsistent , moss nevertheless delivers an above par performance when fishburne isn't in the picture . there were few expenses spared when it comes to the special effects . many methods of imagery are employed , from modeling to bluescreen to computer graphics . of special note is the use of the " freeze and turn " effect where the entire scene is frozen , turned , then continued from a new angle . this is accomplished by using a large number of still cameras employed in a semi-circle , with motion picture cameras placed at the two ends . the motion cameras film the action , and at the appropriate moment all the still cameras fire at once . place each still image in a film sequence and you get a nearly seamless transition from the first motion camera to the second . pretty slick . the matrix drips with style . from the clothing to the music to the action , we're watching an exaggerated version of what we're used to . much of it seems like the combination of two genres of the hong kong action film - there's a lot of kung fu , there's a lot of gunplay . when a character is letting go with an automatic weapon , much is made of the empty cartridges falling to the floor in slow motion . there's also the element of the japanese action cartoon ( called anime by aficionados ) , especially in the way the sequences are filmed in sweeping pans and emphasized actions through special effects . combined , it's really like no live-action film i have ever seen . the film is not without its faults . some of the scenes and ideas are " borrowed " a little too liberally from other films , and one component of the ending is decidedly disappointing . some of the lines are also pretty bad - in one instance , a supporting character incorrectly delivers a famous saying , and it wasn't meant to be a joke . however , these shortcomings detract little from what is an overall solid action sci-fi film that for once does more than merely entertain . 
the happy bastard's quick movie reviewfor a minute there , i thought i was going to be groaning over the release of disney's latest , another adaptation of a legend from the past . ( remember the pathetic pocahontas ? yikes ! ) but guess what- disney , a company that's been on a roll lately with animated films , strikes again with another wonderful tale that pleases the eyes as well as the inner kid in you . the story is pretty basic- tarzan is left orphaned and a female gorilla who's lost her young adopts him into her group . as he matures into a much older man , tarzan still wonders just why he's so much different from the clan , and then arrives a hunter , a professor , and the professor's lovely daughter , jane- who meets tarzan rather quickly after getting in trouble with a group of feisty babboons . from there , tarzan faces tough choices- should he stay with the ones that he grew up with or go join his own kind in england ? the voicework here is pretty top-level . tony goldwyn is very convincing as the ape man ; minnie driver adds a delectable touch to the already-beautiful jane ; nigel hawthorne makes for a pretty nasty hunter voice ; rosie o' donnell keeps the laughs rolling as tarzan's best ape friend terk ; and wayne " newman " knight has his moments as a panicky elephant . the movie is superb throughout , mixing a great script with incredible computer-assisted visuals . when tarzan tree-surfs ( a twist that was added on top of the same ol' vine swinging- and a great one , i might add ) , the camera twists and turns , allowing the trees all around to come to life vividly . i couldn't believe my eyes- disney has come a long way since starting in a ballroom for beauty and the beast . and the music's not half bad , either . fortunately , there's no ridiculous singing characters here , just a great set of songs by phil collins that perfectly fit the mood . there's some great action sequences here as well , including a wonderfully done chase between tarzan , jane , and the aforementioned babboons . but , of course , it's not all action- there's a message here as well that has to do with family . this is easily one of disney's best animated films of the decade and it's one i can't wait to put in my home library . . . that is , if my vcr still works in the year 2000 . 
big courtroom thrillers have always captivated america . o . j . simpson , tom capano , the menendez brothers . all these names are synonymous to americans and courtrooms . and , of course , courtroom dramas are not a new topic to hollywood . whether it be john grisham's thrilling novels or television's famous dramas , the courtroom has always provided big bucks . so when i rented a civil action , i was expecting the film to be like the rainmaker , a brilliant law film that kept viewers on the edge of their seat . however , what i saw in a civil action was far different from what i expected , a major surprise , but fortunately , a pleasant one . john travolta always seems to come up big when you least expect it . no one expected him to light up the screen in grease , nor in saturday night fever . but , whenever he gets knocked down , he always seems to come back fighting . a civil action is not john's best performance , but a strong one that could rival any performance in 1998 . travolta proves that a normal and believable performance can vault a film into oscar nominations . his performance is not flashy , nor memorable , just solid . if he delivered the only solid performance , this film would still be average . luckily , he has a strong supporting cast . william h . macy is probably one of the most underrated actors in hollywood . he continues to deliver great performances one after the other , but he is still regarded as a secondary actor . in a civil action , he delivers yet another great performance as travolta's paranoid and greedy accountant . he is not a lovable character , but a character who stands out in your mind whenever you think of the film . he is not one of the big time lawyers , just a measly accountant . but , he delivers one of the best supporting roles of 1998 , but there is actually someone better in a civil action . robert duvall is also an underrated actor . he gets many leading roles , but is never heard when you hear of big box office draws like tom hanks , brad pitt and jim carrey . duvall has a supporting role in this as a lawyer of the co-defendant . duvall is magical in this role . he is the wise teacher , who not only battles it out in the courtroom , but also manages to teach every major player a lesson , in his own twisted way . in many non-comedic films , directors are always trying to find a way to implement a touch of comedy , to keep the audience on their toes . unfortunately , they usually just key in on one character whose main objective is to be funny ( jar-jar binks , anyone ? ) . however , this usually backfires because the character is never fully developed . this is not the case in a civil action . they have comedy coming from all sides . whether it be duvall's inane questions or macy's sharp anger , the laughs come in a steady pace . granted , it's not roll in the aisle funny , but it provides a nice addition to the film . the plot is terrific- somewhat . the setup is nice with the film actually starting with a victory in the courtroom . then the case that will make or break jan ( travolta ) 's career rears its ugly head . they find out the goldmine involved with the case and wind up taking it . however , budgets soon flounder and jan finds himself in deep debt . i will not spoil the rest , although i must speak of the one downside to the film . the courtroom debates are great , but the actual problem they are fighting for is never fully explored . it left me somewhat confused , although the rest of the film is terrific . all in all , john travolta is back yet again in this great film . his supporting cast , consisting of macy and duvall , turn in tremendous performances , which ease the load on travolta . the film is smart , witty and thought provoking . not only does it gauge in-court battles , but also the various tolls it can take on the major players . a civil action provides everything a drama lover craves . 
release date : january 15 , 1999 starring : sean penn , adrien brody , james caviezel , ben chaplin , elias koteas , nick nolte , john cusack , woody harrelson , john travolta , george clooney directed by : terrence malick distributed by : 20th century fox film corp . mpaa rating : r ( prolonged sequences of war violence , strong language ) url : http : //www . execpc . com/~kinnopio/reviews/1999/thinredline . htm james jones , one of the major novelists from the middle of the twentieth century , has written a number of fictional works about the effects of war on the individual . a veteran of world war ii , and a witness to the pearl harbor bombings , his novels are not only grounded in realism but poetic in nature . they are reminiscent of stephen crane in their blunt eloquence , a trait which lends itself to razor-sharp focus . but perhaps none matches the scope of his autobiographical novel , the thin red line ; now a cinematic masterpiece from director terrence malick . the book's principal cast , some thirty characters , has been trimmed down for this rendition , but it still retains its most endearing value . each of the roles has an everyman quality , emphasizing jones' examination of world war ii on the american soldier . there's a definitive chain of command present , and this also plays on the motivations of the cast . but most importantly , and perhaps intrinsic to the novel but not to the movie , a dynamic and effective voice-over is used . malick has several characters relating their thoughts , giving the viewer a greater perspective of the issues at stake . the issues at stake are many and one . told from a limited third-person perspective ( as opposed to a top-down , omniscient view ) , the movie entails the struggle of an american infantry company ( " c-for-charlie " ) to take a hill during the conflict at guadalcanal . the south pacific island is seen by the top brass as the key position for american armed forces to hold if they want to win the war . and want to win the war they do . in an excellent performance , nick nolte plays c-for-charlie's commanding officer , lt . col . gordon tall . he's an aging soldier who embodies the win-at-all-costs mentality , if only to impress his superior ( john travolta , in a questionable cameo ) . this philosophy is opposite that of captain bugger staros ( elias koteas ) , who dearly values the life of each and every one of the men under his command . at the front are the privates and corporals ( adrien brody , james caviezel , ben chaplin , et al ) , lead by 1st sgt . welsh ( sean penn ) , who must actually execute the suicide orders handed down to them . the thin red line is filled with intense , visual poetry , but it's nearly three hours long . although the interest level is high throughout the first two hours , the climax comes forty-five minutes before the end of the movie ; it goes without saying that the movie drags on the back end . the thin red line will doubtless be compared to 1998's other masterpiece of war , saving private ryan a countless number of times . but to do so is to belittle both films , for although similarities abound , so do differences . director malick has a story to tell , and for those interested in listening , this can be a very outstanding movie . 
director : warren beatty || screenplay : warren beatty and jeremy pikser || stars : warren beatty ( jay billington bulworth ) , halle berry ( nina ) , oliver platt ( dennis murphy ) , don cheadle ( l . d . ) , paul sorvino ( graham crockett ) , jack warden ( eddie davers ) , christine baranski ( constance bulworth ) , joshua malina ( bill feldman ) || mpaa rating : r warren beatty's " bulworth " is a caustic political comedy that doesn't attack any particular political group , but rather the ingrained insincerity that has infected the american political system . some might think this film is vulgar , and in many ways it is . however , as loud and raucous as it is , " bulworth " speaks the truth , which is almost always ugly to hear . beatty , who directed the film and co-wrote the script with jeremy pikser ( " the lemon sisters " ) , stars as incumbent u . s . senator jay billington bulworth , who has one of the best politician names in cinema history . bulworth is a democrat , and in beatty's view , he is symbolic of everything that has gone wrong with the current democratic party . once an ideological liberal ( like beatty still is ) , bulworth has long since succumbed to the materialistic pressures of washington . instead of waging the battles for the impoverished and the downtrodden , which was once the calling card of democrats , bulworth has become another sell-out money hound - if he's not accepting illegal bribes from the insurance lobby or taking campaign contributions from the chinese , he's making wind-bag speeches that start with the amusingly clintonesqe statement , " america is standing on the doorstep of a new millennium . . . . blah , blah , blah . " when the film opens , it is a few days before the 1996 primary elections , and bulworth is sitting at his desk weeping because he realizes how corrupt he has become . in a fit of desperation , he takes out a $10 million life insurance policy from a dirty insurance rep played by paul sorvino ( part of a shady lobby deal to kill a threatening bill in committee ) , and then hires a hit man to kill him , although he doesn't know who the assassin will be , or when the hit will take place . knowing that he will soon be dead , bulworth unleashes his own brand of political rhetoric on the world , which is made up of politically incorrect truths about the state of american politics and the society in general . at a compton church , he tells the group of african-americans that they will have no power in the u . s . unless they " put down that malt liquor and chicken wings , and get behind somebody other than a running back who stabs his wife . " later , in a particularly hilarious sequence , bulworth mixes with the hollywood elite , then insults the quality of their movies and informs them that the only reason he's there is because " my guys always put the big jews on my schedule . " all throughout this physically and politically suicidal escapade , bulworth's chief of staff , dennis murphy ( oliver platt ) , follows behind in a state of constant shock and bewilderment . platt has some of the movie's funniest scenes , as he makes murphy into a politically savvy but nonetheless clueless assistant who is forced to watch his own career teeter at the brink of being flushed down the toilet . his constant half-truth-telling and spin-doctoring to cover bulworth's stampede is equaled in its perversion only by a self-righteous reporter ( nora dunn ) who acts like murphy's refusal to explain bulworth's actions ( something he really cannot do ) is somehow an act of treason . when bulworth decides he wants to live after all , and therefore must constantly evade a grim-looking assassin to be who's trailing him at every turn , he hides out in the ghetto , complete with a stereotypical gangsta wardrobe which he wears to one of his television interviews . at this point , beatty abandons much of the political aspect and dives into a cartoonish exploration of the black inner-city experience . bulworth becomes friendly with a young black woman named nina ( halle berry ) , who he meets at the harlem church rally . she has a tough-talking brother who is deep in debt to a local gangster named l . d . ( don cheadle of " boogie nights " ) , who also becomes involved in bulworth's campaign . some of the scenes in the ghetto ring true , but much of it feels like a lighter version of scenes depicted in more intense inner-city films like " boyz'n'hood " ( 1991 ) and " menace ii society " ( 1993 ) . " bulworth's " chief liability is beatty's insistence on having his character adopt a clumsy style of rap as his new communication device . instead of speaking at political rallies , he breaks into a kind of rhythmless rap style that is a reminder of why almost all hip-hop stars are black . it's hard to tell whether beatty is being humorous by being so bad , or whether he's actually that incompetent . at any rate , the rap sounds more run d . m . c . than snoop doggy dogg , which makes the film seem dated instead of contemporary . beatty would have been better off simply adopting some of the inner-city lingo and working that into his speeches , instead of trying to sound like l . l . cool j . other than that , " bulworth " hits all its targets with wry , hilarious accuracy . the film is like a letter bomb to the democratic party , and even if you don't agree with beatty's liberal message about the unrequited duties of the federal government , it is hard to deny the impact the film has in exploring the monetary and moral debauchery that infests modern politics . unlike " primary colors " which opened earlier this year , " bulworth " doesn't try to tip-toe around the truly painful issues that hit close to home - instead , it takes them dead-on . 
indie filmmaker marcus van bavel may not have a knack for catchy titles , but he certainly has a flair for spoofing the big-budget spy genre on what must have been a low six-figure budget . redboy 13 pays homage to dr . strangelove , full metal jacket , dirty harry , mission : impossible , rambo , and , most importantly , the james bond films . hell , if it wasn't for austin powers , redboy 13 would be the first real spy spoof to come along in a while . especially considering its humble origins in the backwoods of texas , it's a damn good one . er . . . a * gosh darn * good one , as colonel calcan ( logan ) would say . set in the waning days of the cold war , redboy 13 is the story of a 13-year old boy ( roy-brown ) who is trained to be a top agent for a splinter group of the u . s . government called the c . y . a . under the supervision of calcan , redboy is sent to central america to overthrow a military regime . . . when he returns , he'll be " the biggest hero since ollie north . " there's even a big bondian opening credits sequence with silhouettes , grandiose vocalizing , etc . redboy 13 plays it straight all the way , with the exception of van bavel's appearance ( s ) in the film as three supporting characters , a la peter sellers in strangelove ( one of the characters is even a wheelchair-bound mad scientist whose allegiance is with nazi germany ) . in fact , if van bavel didn't look so frighteningly like shock filmmaker john waters , one might be tempted to take redboy at face value . tempted , but impossible . a darling of the festival circuit , redboy 13 is shot in 35mm cinemascope , has dozens of computer-generated effects ( they look kinda cheesy , but hey , this is an indie pic ) , and only really suffers during some hammy acting that wanders into leslie nielsen territory a few times . but in the end , van bavel's assured technical direction and clever photography make redboy imminently watchable . 
what surprises me most about the long-awaited batman is that the movie centers not on the caped crusader but on the joker . the dark knight actually has less screen time than his homicidal arch nemesis ! i can hear batfans everywhere protesting : " first they had the nerve to cast michael keaton as batman , and now they think they can get away with making him second banana to the joker ! ! " and , indeed , this situation would have been altogether inappropriate and intolerable were it not for the fact that someone at warner brothers had the savvy to cast jack nicholson in the role he was born to play . nicholson deserves the top billing he is receiving in the posters and opening credits since his astounding , oscar-worthy performance as the joker is the highlight of batman . nicholson shows no inhibition or shame as he pulls out all the stops to create a joker that makes cesar romero look like bozo the clown ( romero played the joker in the '60s tv series ) . on one hand , nicholson's joker is extremely funny . his murderous escapades and manic outbursts ( which include defacing paintings in an art museum and invading the television airwaves with hilarious pirate broadcasts ) bring humor and laughter into an otherwise dark film . but on the other hand , his outwardly jovial disposition is only a mask for his intense contempt for all of mankind . the joker's cruelty and demented , diabolical nature are truly frightening and sinister . this guy is off his rocker , and he not only knows it , he flaunts it ! but enough about nicholson as the joker : i'm sure most people are wondering about michael keaton as batman . like many , i was outraged when warner brothers announced that keaton had been cast as the caped crusader . but batfans need not worry becauseholy unconventional casting ! keaton delivers . he is convincing as the tormented millionaire , bruce wayne , and beneath his hard , black body armor , he is mysterious and formidable as the batman . even though the screenplay only halfheartedly attempts to develop the character , keaton manages to give hints of the inner turmoil and emotional rage that drive wayne to don his bat gear and battle the low life scum of gotham city . visually , batman is a knockoutnothing short of a triumph for director tim burton and his production team . the movie successfully captures the film noir look and bleak , gloomy atmosphere of such batman comic books as " the dark knight returns " and " the killing joke . " burton's film is a feast for the eyes ; the $35 million budget is definitely on the screen . the sets , costumes , and make-up are stunning and worthy of oscar nominations . nicholson isn't joking when he boasts , " wait 'till they get a load of me ! " his grimacing smile , green hair , and purple suits over orange shirts are colorful and outrageous . keaton's wardrobe is equally appropriate . batman's cape , mask , and body armor make him look threatening , frightening , and invinciblebringing to mind not adam west's campy costume in the tv series but peter weir's outfit in robocop . production designer anton furst's sets are a wonder . gotham city is dark and foreboding , almost as if it were an expressionist vision of new york . the batcave is cold , bare , and desolate . the world that burton and furst have created in batman is a melancholy nightmare of violence and corruption . the movie's gritty bladerunner/robocop look is a joy to behold . the plot , on the other hand , is not as rousing . the screenplay is not up to snuff in comparison to the stylized sets and superb acting . it takes forever for what little story there is to finally kick into gear . batman tries to walk a thin line between action and character psychology , but it fails to give us enough of either one . as i mentioned earlier , the screenplay gives us plenty of the joker , but it never fully establishes batman's psychological motives and underpinnings . in terms of action , batman is not as thrilling as you might expect . burton seems more concerned with the visual and dramatic elements of the story . more than anything , batman is a mood film . while batman may not completely absorb and excite you , it will likely impress you with its success at bringing to life the style and spirit of the batman comic books . thanks to its distinctive look , the movielike a good comic booktransports us to another world . 
director :   jonathan frakes cast :   patrick stewart , jonathan frakes , brent spiner , levar burton , michael dorn , gates mcfadden , marina sirtis , f . murray abraham screenplay :   rick berman , michael piller producers :   rick berman runtime :    us distribution : paramount rated pg :   action violence , mild language copyright 1998 nathaniel r . atchesonone can not observe a star trek movie and expect to see serious science fiction . the purpose of star trek is to provide flashy , innocent fun . sometimes the stories are compelling . sometimes they're not . but , with the exception of the first film in the series ( which provides little more than endless shots of amazed faces ) , i've never been bored by any of the enterprise's numerous missions . star trek : insurrection is no exception . the film has gotten some negative reviews ( a friend of mine actually thinks it's the worst in the series ) , but i'm not really sure why . it's an exciting , often hilarious movie that engaged me and left me ready for the next star trek film . some say it's a bit too light , and more of a long episode than a film . others say the special effects are cheesy and that it's boring . i simply enjoyed the film . insurrection , which is the second film to feature strictly the next generation cast , introduces us to a race of people called the ba'ku ; the ba'ku are very old ( most of them are about three hundred years old ) , but they actually appear younger with age due to strange radiation in the rings of their planet . of course , these peaceful people can't horde this fountain of youth all for themselves – leave it up to their archenemies , the son'a , led by ru'afo ( f . murray abraham ) , to mess everything up . the son'a , who are horribly disfigured and rely on daily reconstructive surgery to be aesthetically acceptable , strike a deal with the federation to move the ba'ku elsewhere and exploit the secret to keep their race from dying . that's when captain picard ( patrick stewart ) steps in : he realizes that moving the ba'ku would kill them ( it also helps that he falls in love with a ba'ku woman ( donna murphy ) ) . so , with his trusty crew , picard defies the federation to keep the ba'ku in their natural habitat . when dealing with a series with as much history as this , it's not entirely necessary to re-introduce your characters with each episode . this is why i believe non-fans have a hard time getting into star trek ; in order to enjoy it , one has to understand how to approach it . insurrection , however , does a surprisingly good job of us new aspects of the characters . stewart is bold as always , a magnetic screen presence and perfectly capable of holding an entire film together . jonathan frakes , who also directed , is funny as commander riker ; a subplot with data ( brent spiner ) discovering his lost childhood is fairly interesting ; and abraham makes a perfect star trek villain , overacting like crazy . frakes showed similar aptitude for direction in first contact ; insurrection is an exciting film , with some really attractive special effects and a lot of good action . this is apparently the first star trek film to utilize computer animation , and the result is very pleasing to the eye : particularly in the climactic scenes , in which the son'a employ a giant space ship to suck up the rings of the ba'ku planet , the special effects have a clean , impressively sharp look . if i have any complaint about the film , it's that it tries to take a moral stance when it's not very appropriate to do so . i don't think it's that big of a deal that the federation wanted to move 600 ba'ku in order to save the lives of thousands . better yet , why couldn't they have co-existed ? insurrection feels a little to light to spring these kinds of big moral questions on the audience . with it's inherent camp factor , the star trek series doesn't seem well-equipped to deal with issues like this . i prefer to just enjoy the spectacle . 
starring the voices of : kevin conroy ( bruce wayne/batman ) , michael ansara ( mr . freeze ) , loren lester ( dick grayson/robin ) , mary kay bergman [well , i'm . . . fairly sure it was her] ( barbara gordon/batgirl ) , george dzunda ( dr . robert belson ) , efrem zimbalist jr . ( alfred pennyworth ) , bob hastings ( commissioner gordon ) not rated ( but it's probably a pg , just like the last animated batman film was ) that having been said , let it be known that possibly the greatest interpretation of batman to hit tv or movie screens is the animated bat that first appeared in the fall of 1992 on fox . it quickly became a prime time series before hitting the big time - an animated theatrical release film . that was batman : mask of the phantasm ( 1993 ) . clearly , it was and still is the best batman film to yet hit theaters . the plot was intelligent , the action loud and exciting , the voice-acting perfect , and the score beautiful . as of this year , on tv , batman has moved his animated adventures to the wb network . characters have grown , and , most noticably , design styles for many of the characters have changed - mostly for the worse . as a result , for both those who watch the series , and those casual bat-fans who have only seen the first animated film , this second animated feature ( which has gone straight to video ) , batman & mr . freeze : subzero , is like reuniting with an old friend . the film tells a story that takes place before the current season of the show and after the final season on fox , so the character designs the like are all in line with those of the earlier part of the series . only better animated than usually seen on the show . this is a level of animation slightly under that seen in batman : mask of the phantasm but still slightly higher than that seen on the tv series . one thing this movie does have other mask of the phantasm is more use of computer animation . there's a cg submarine , batwing , and highway scene for your viewing pleasure , and all of them look very nice . of course , animation comes secondary to plot . plot , action , dialogue , and of course , acting are what drive a film . well , on the old batman scale , subzero is not quite as good as phantasm was , and maybe not even as good as the first two tim burton live-action films , though that could be debated . it's certainly much better than the last two joel schumacher films - and it's truer to the characters than any of the live action films to date . the plot goes that mr . freeze's wife , nora fries , still in cryo-sleep , has her stasis tube broken open in an accident . now freeze knows that the only thing that can save her is an organ transplant . he enlists the help of dr . belson , and , when no deceased donors of nora's rare blood type are found , freeze decides that he will use a live donor - which of course , will kill said donor . there's 18 live donors of nora's blood type in gotham . and one of them is barbara gordon . luckily , barbara only appears in batgirl garb for about one minute near the beginning of the movie , and stays out of costume for the rest while batman and robin try to save her - and she tries to save herself . the whole thing is better animated than most of the non-disney stuff you see ( well , those big-time other-studio releases like anastasia [1997] not withstanding , i guess ) and has that same simple-yet-beautiful character design of the max fleischer superman cartoons from the days of yore . all the characters are well-done . of course batman is cool , but wow , so are robin and barbara . now that's a feat . belson is interesting , and mr . freeze is cold and emotionless , as he should be , thanks to ansara ( i promise he's not at all jokey , like schwarzenegger ) , and overall , i assure you , this is a much better experience than that schumacher piece of crap batman & robin ( 1997 ) that had many of the same characters . in all , though it runs a too-short 67 minutes , and yes , it has appearances by batgirl and robin ( come on , you * know * that robin isn't always a bad character ) , this is still definitely worth a rent . . . and if you're a big batfan . . . it's worth a purchase . watch it , then rewind , and enjoy it again . hey wb . . . you want a good batman film to add to your live-action franchise ? why not put paul dini and bruce timm in charge ? ! 
release date : september 18 , 1998 starring : jackie chan , chris tucker , tom wilkinson , elizabeth pena , tzi ma , julia hsu directed by : brett ratner distributed by : new line cinema mpaa rating : pg-13 ( sequences of action/violence and shootings , language ) url : http : //www . execpc . com/~kinnopio/reviews/1998/rushhour . htm it's no secret in the motion picture industry that the relationship between a script and the actors involved often makes or breaks a movie at the box office . a poorly-written script can be bested by a superb acting corps , and a well-written piece can be mangled by a group of amateurs . in directing his latest action-comedy , director brett ratner ( money talks ) takes a relatively mediocre piece of standup comedy and turns it into a funny as all get-out buddy cop movie . in addition , rush hour serves as a first-class example of directing a movie with conservative attitude - a feature that is sure to draw in crowds of all types . the two lead names share equal screen time here , mostly because they spend it together . jackie chan , in his first completely american production , makes an impressive debut by mixing dialogue with martial arts . the other martial arts flick from a few weeks ago , knock off , stands no chance against the content of this one . chan manages to make every fight scene exude grace and poise , and there's no doubt that a large percentage of video sales for this movie will come from viewers who couldn't believe their eyes the first time . chris tucker , on the opposite side , relates a hilarious comedic approach which smoothes out the rough edges to chan's performance . he works perfectly with the script , and it's quite likely he lent scribe jim kouf a hand with some of his lines . almost essential to the action genre , the plot is nonexistent . we're quickly introduced to detective james carter ( tucker ) is a maverick officer for the lapd . cut forward to another scene where the daughter ( julia hsu ) of the american chinese consul ( tzi ma ) is kidnapped by a gang of swarthy characters . the fbi is quick to the rescue , but the consul insists that one of his men , detective inspector lee ( chan ) , be brought on the case to help . the fbi resists , but then requests that lapd send a man over to babysit the chinese detective . it's here that carter and lee hook up , and the two unwittingly solve the case while the fbi rushes in to back them up . rattner does a fine job of going the extra mile to get his movie to move a step up , but it doesn't quite reach the top tier of action-comedies like last year's grosse pointe blank . there are moments where the plot strays too far off the straight line it sticks almost exclusively to , and if not for the comedic interactions between tucker and chan , this might be a major drawback . also , some supporting characters are almost entirely along for the ride , and others are there simply to look menacing . however , none gives a standoffish performance and they mostly mesh into the background . almost every member of the cast displays some reservation at one point or another - whether it's tucker's toned-down routine or chan's tight rein on his action sequences - and that contributes greatly to this being a watchable movie for all types . a recommendable visit to the theater , indeed . 
i rented this movie with very high hopes . this movie got praise as one of the best films of 1998 , and unfortunately , was not as good as i hoped , but was still very intriguing and thought provoking . first of all , the casting for this film is great . tobey maguire and reese witherspoon are the future of hollywood . they play their roles as the parker brother and sister perfectly . with a plot as unbelievable as this film , you need chemistry and honest acting from your cast . tobey and reese ( bud and mary sue parker ) play their roles perfectly and display their characters with honesty and believability . william h . macy , an actor i have grown to love over the past year , turns in another great performance as the tv dad who is torn over his wife , a " colored " person and his friends , the " non-colored " ones . he also displays believability and must display a certain lack of chemistry with his wife . he does this perfectly and yet again shows why he should be one of the top actors in hollywood . joan allen is equally great as betty parker , the ideal tv mom . her character is the most ambitious . she is very naïve , and must display this well to make her character believable and she does just that . her lack of chemistry with macy , which the role calls for , and her developed chemistry with jeff daniels is terrific , and if daniels would have been as stellar as the rest of the cast , then this film would even been even better . as said before , jeff daniels gives a bad performance . his character displays the change going on throughout the town , yet he does not display it with enough conviction . his character is very confusing and he is not very believable . this film could have been elevated to a whole new level had daniels been able to give a better performance . the movie is very provocative . it challenges the issues of racism that existed in the past and that still exist today . i really was not expecting all of the elements they brought up , but they pulled them off with such flair that it was mind blowing . they demonstrate the racism issue without a hitch , but do it in a slow pace . the only major flaw in the film besides the performance by daniels is length . some films are not meant to be that long . pleasantville is one of those films . this film could have been so much better had they not moved so slowly to it . first , they are amazed by the implementation of color . then they want to have it . then they do not want to . then the war ensues between the colored and non-colored . this is all strung out over two hours , which was way too long . some movies need a lot of time . saving private ryan was a little bit under three hours long and i thought it could have used more time . this film is only two hours long , and seems much longer . length is everything in films . if you can nail down the perfect timing and pace , you can win half the battle . pleasantville can move at a good pace at times , but it is not consistent enough . overall , pleasantville is a very pleasant and provocative departure from the predictability of most films these days . i went in expecting a light-hearted film about change . i left learning an important lesson about racism and the way things change . luckily , pleasantville teaches this lesson in such a way to make it appeal to all audiences . only if it could have done in a shorter amount of time . 
release date : december 18 , 1998 the voices of : val kilmer , ralph fiennes , sandra bullock , jeff goldblum , danny glover , michelle pfeiffer , patrick stewart , steve martin , martin short , helen mirren directed by : brenda chapman , steve hickner , simon wells distributed by : dreamworks pictures mpaa rating : pg ( intense depiction of thematic elements ) url : http : //www . execpc . com/~kinnopio/reviews/1998/prince . htm near the end of 1996 , analysts remarked that the year would be the last in which disney would stand alone as the animation king . the following year , 1997 , saw the first sleeper entry into the genre from a studio other than the magic kingdom : twentieth century fox gave baronial russia to the masses in the form of anastasia . at best , that's all it was -- a sleeper hit , designed to surprise but not shake the industry . in 1998 , however , things have been decidedly different . there have been a number of pushes on disney's death grip on the market , and fifty-one weeks into '98 , a new champion has emerged . dreamworks' the prince of egypt succeeds where all of the other conventionally animated products have failed . the other two contenders , warner brothers' quest for camelot and disney's own annual entry , mulan , lacked inspiration and drive respectively . although camelot was borderline-abysmal , and can't really be considered a shot at the title , mulan had the makings of winner . unfortunately , it was saturated with traditional , disney-cute animation , and lost points against the rapidly-changing face of the competition . in making the prince of egypt , dreamworks has strayed from all of these hallmarks and created a genuinely unique product . the animation is flawless , and , aside from a bug's life , is the best-looking movie to date . the animators have nimbly mixed both flat and spatial effects , and the 2d/3d combination is something that artists from disney and fox have heretofore struggled with . the key to success , however , was that the visuals were used not just because they looked cool but also as a method of advancing the plot . namely , some of the most important action sequences ( like the parting of the red sea ) were done almost entirely in 3d . dreamworks is the first studio to prove that they've got the stuff of success , and that they're capable of challenging disney . the story is also well-written , and the characters voiced with talent . for the most part , the plot follows its source material -- the book of exodus -- although only in the most general sense . the writers took a few creative liberties , and most do not damage the story in any way . in fact , the shakespearean relationship between moses ( val kilmer ) and the pharaoh rameses ( ralph fiennes ) makes the story more interesting if anything . moses , a hebrew , is saved from the slaughter of the firstborn sons by his mother when she sets him in a basket on the nile ; he floats into the pharaoh seti ( patrick stewart ) 's palace and is taken in by the royal family . moses grows up but learns of his heritage and flees into the desert , where he discovers the burning bush and is commissioned by god to return to egypt and free the slaves . by this time , rameses is now pharaoh , and the two brothers , now on opposite sides of the line , face off in a battle of wills and divine intervention . the cast of voices is most impressive , and also includes such noteables as sandra bullock , jeff goldblum , danny glover , and steve martin . the script does not have a lot of one-liners in it , and god is reduced to a voice that might well be mistaken for the same one that spoke to kevin costner in field of dreams , but overall the story is exciting and interesting . it's decidedly for an older crowd , and the tykes who haven't had a few years of religion class will be hopelessly lost . but for those who make the bid , the prince of egypt can be a great watch . 
in this lighthearted , unpretentious comedy , daniel auteuil sheds the intensity of his previous roles -- in les voleurs , ma saison préférée , manon of the spring , to name just a few -- and plays a shy , crooked-nosed accountant too boring to be tolerated by just about anyone . his françois pignon -- an appropriate name for somebody who is about to be fired , literally , for being a bore -- is a harmless placeholder who has no ambitions and no misconceptions about who he is . pignon's wife couldn't stand him and left two years ago , yet he still phones regularly to her and their indifferent teenage son . after learning that he is soon to be fired , pignon , distraught , returns home and meets that " perfect stranger " we all want to meet someday : the one who steps into our life and brings magic into it . from that moment on , the neighbor , belone ( michel aumont ) , navigates pignon's life like a chess game . belone easily persuades françois to concoct a story about his homosexuality so his boss will fear a discrimination lawsuit , superimposes photographic images and -- voila -- produces a shot of pignon in a leather-clad embrace with another man in bun-exposed pants . the photo gets sent to pignon's employer , and the events start spinning like a windmill in stormy weather , eventually changing pignon's life forever . oddly , for the rest of the story , the closet flirts with being politically correct and is as predictable as it only can be . what gives the film a tint of pleasure and saves it from being totally grotesque and improbable is that the movie never aspires to be anything more than what it is . director francis veber ( the dinner game ) finds a delightful irony in the fact that pignon has to lie that he doesn't like women in order to prove he is a man . we , of course , will learn that there is so much more to pignon than he and his colleagues could ever imagine . while watching the film , i caught myself feeling surprised that such a banal movie could actually be off-the-cuff and entertaining . the most distasteful thought in the closet is how little people really care about political correctness but how diligent they are in pretending the opposite . office politics always reveal people at their most vile : there is something unquestionably disturbing and familiar in watching petty little personalities trapped in their small trivial lives as they entertain themselves with self-made gossip and lies . besides auteuil , the acting , for the most part , is adequate . gérard depardieu , for example , starts off great as a gauche , self-righteous macho rugby couch , a racist , and a homophobe . however , as pignon gets his job back , depardieu's colleagues make him fearful for his own job for calling pignon a " fruit . " the situation becomes repetitiously improbable and depardieu is annoying and unconvincing as we learn that he might actually be the one " coming out of the closet . " michèle laroque is especially good as mademoiselle bertrand , pignon's boss , who not only discovers a real pignon and subsequently seduces him , but also demonstrates to us how smart women master the most impossible situations . though maybe not quite so impossible as this film . 
capsule : another great piece of nonsense from the masters of enjoyably bad moviemaking . troma are the best bad filmmakers in the world . they're totally aware of their purpose in life , and they embrace it with a vehemence and a glee that other schlock-makers can't even come near . actually , most troma films are not nearly as bad ( unwatchable , stupidly conceived , boring ) as many high-ticket hollywood movies , and that's the secret of their charm . they're always entertaining , if ridiculous . i saw sgt . kabukiman in a week where i'd suffered through