Movie Review Archive - A
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A Lot Like Love (PG13)
Romantic comedy starring Ashton Kutcher (Guess Who) and Amanda Peet (Melinda And Melinda). A lot like Serendipity but not as good. These cute and kooky kids meet, separate and meet again every few years. Kutcher and Peet are likeable but the film is not quite funny or ironic enough. 95 minutes.
About A Boy (PG13)
Hugh Grant, in perhaps his finest role, stars as Will, an independently wealthy bachelor in About A Boy. Will refuses to commit to anyone or anything so that he can avoid the inevitable messes, inconveniences and responsibilities that go along with relationships. While simultaneously pursuing a pretty divorcee and being stalked by a young boy who needs a father figure, Will has an epiphany. He suddenly realizes that his life means nothing to others and that no one really cares about him. This is a slowly paced film with some genuinely funny moments. What's disturbing about Boy is that we are supposed to like the newly transformed Will (he helps the boy's depressed mother only because he likes hanging out with her son) even though his compassion is purely self serving. Will changes his act only because it becomes apparent that being a nicer guy is the only way that he can get what he wants out of life. Has he really changed that much? I think not. Also starring Nicholas Hoult as the boy and Toni Collette as his mom. 100 minutes.
About Schmidt (R)
Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) retires from the insurance company for which he has worked for over forty years and soon after, his wife dies. Schmidt finds himself adrift and feels that his life has no real meaning. After seeing a "Save The Children" infomercial, he decides to sponsor an African child. Along with his 22 dollar monthly checks, he always includes a very personal letter about his own life. The child is near starvation, illiterate, only six years old, and obviously not able to comprehend these personal notes so they become an almost comical narrative throughout the film. About Schmidt is a dramatic tour de force for Nicholson (see Paul Newman in Nobody's Fool). Get away from the stabbings, shootings and bludgeoning and see this sometimes hilarious often poignant movie. Also starring Howard Hesseman, Kathy Bates (close your eyes during the hot tub scene), Hope Davis and Dermot Mulroney. 124 minutes.
Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage) is a troubled screen writer who is on deadline for a project. Beset with personal problems and writer's block, Kaufman is a far cry from his happy-go-lucky twin brother (Nicholas Cage) who has recently decided to become a writer and move in with him. This fabulously off-beat film was directed by Spike Jonez and also features the great Meryl Streep. Through a series of flashbacks, an exciting, funny and interesting story unfolds. Movies like this make sitting through all the crap worthwhile. Also starring Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton and Brian Cox. 106 minutes.
Will Smith (Men In Black) stars as boxing super-star Muhammed Ali (aka Cassius Clay) in the new biopic Ali. This film is a bit dark and too long but effective none the less. It covers the years 1964 (his first fight with Sonny Liston) through 1974 (the Zaire "Rumble In The Jungle" versus George Foreman). Also starring Jamie Foxx and Jon Voight. 157 minutes.
All About The Benjamins (R)
Hope and Crosby, Martin and Lewis, Gibson and Glover and now Cube and Epps? Well, they do have a modicum of chemistry but this crime-comedy is pretty bad. Don't spend your hard earned Washingtons on this turnip and it will go to video quickly. Once it arrives don't rent it either. Starring Ice Cube and Mike Epps. 100 minutes.
All The Real Girls (R)
An examination of love, family and friendship within a small southern town. These people are mostly uninspired, unsophisticated and unintelligent. But heck, they have to live too. All The Real Girls is a heartbreaking look at people who are virtually unable to conceptualize, verbalize or act on their true feelings. Directed by David Gordon Green (George Washington). 108 minutes.
Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is a shy waitress in a Paris cafe who's life is transformed when she finds a small box hidden in her apartment. The box contains a previous tenant's childhood treasures. Amelie takes great pleasure in anonymously returning the box to the now grown man and witnessing the profound effect it has on him. She then sets out to secretly better the lives of those around her. This quirky film is both adventurous and gentle yet humorous. Amelie is so much different than anything we are used to seeing on mainstream screens, it's almost like a vacation. In French with subtitles.
America's Sweethearts (PG13)
I'd read about this movie's impending release for months, only I thought it was titled America's Sweetarts. The combination of Crystal and candy....ah, never mind. This is a fairly broad comedy reminiscent of Soapdish. Once again, we, the great unwashed get an inside look at selfish movie stars, manipulative agents, greedy producers, enigmatic directors, abused personal assistants, press junkets and the like. Stars John Cusack, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Billy Crystal and Julia Roberts all deliver solid performances. A fast paced and funny date film recommended for ages 25 and up.
American Pie 2 (R)
The sex/gross-out bar gets raised just a bit higher in this sequel to the successful American Pie. All the principal characters are back, including Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Seann William Scott (pick TWO names dude), Thomas Ian Nicholas (you too!), Shannon Elizabeth, Alyson Hannigan and Eugene Levy. The guys are back from their first year away at college. They return home, rent a place on the beach and are ready to party down and get naked. As underachieving pro hoop player Derek Coleman once said, "Whoop-de-damn-doo!" Animal House this ain't. Don't get me wrong. There are several good gags, hard bodies galore and a few laughs here. It's just that the movie really sucks. Judging from the audience reaction, this film will be a minor hit for the under 30 crowd.
Antwone Fisher (PG13)
Based on a true story, Antwone Fisher is about a young U.S. Sailor (Derek Luke) who is sent to a Navy psychologist (Denzel Washington) because of his propensity for violence. Once in therapy, Fisher is forced to confront his lonely and abusive childhood. Compelling story and performances. An impressive directorial debut for Washington. Bring some Kleenex. 113 minutes.
Apocalypse Now Redux (R)
This re-release of the classic 1979 Francis Ford Coppola (pick TWO names dude) Vietnam War odyssey is even better than the original. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) is sent into Cambodia to "terminate with extreme prejudice" a rogue Colonel (Marlon Brando) who has surrounded himself with dozens of fanatical followers. We see the irony, futility and horror that was The Vietnam War. There are some interesting scenes that were rescued from the cutting room floor (they must not sweep it very often) including an interesting sleep-over at a French family compound. This is a must see. Bring a sandwich, a toothbrush and a change of clothes. The running time is three hours and twenty two minutes. Also starring Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Frederic Forrest, Larry (Laurence) Fishburne and Harrison Ford.
Are We There Yet? (PG)
In order to woo a pretty divorcee (Nia Long), a thirty something bachelor (Ice Cube) must spend time with her two young, obnoxious, rude and spoiled children. Once the vomit, urine and fecal matter settled, I realized how much I hated this film. Note to Mr. Cube: It's asked, not axed. Maybe if he had actually axed the children I might have enjoyed my 91 minutes.
The Aristocrats (Not Rated)
"The Aristocrats." is the punch-line to an extremely dirty joke that has been swirling around comedy's inner circles since the vaudeville days. "The Aristocrats" is a movie about comedy, contemporary comedians and the history of "blue" humor. The main body of the joke is structured in a way that enables the teller to customize it to fit their tastes and society's outer limits of acceptability. Veterans Penn Jillette and Paul Provenza use their insider status to procure many of comedy's biggest names for their film. Most tell their version of "The Aristocrats" while others describe situations involving it or similar routines. Young and old, Democrat and Republican, male and female; they all speak of "The Aristocrats" as if it were comedy's Holy Grail. DO NOT GO TO SEE THIS WITH YOUR MOTHER! Starring at least half of the most important names in the field including: George Carlin, Jason Alexander, Whoopie Goldberg, Bill Maher, John Stewart, Chris Rock, The Smothers Brothers, Phyllis Diller, Drew Carey, Bob Saget, etc. 87 minutes.
Art School Confidential (R)
Witty satire about a freshman art student (Max Minghella) whose campus is populated by weirdoes, wimps, phonies, a sexy blonde and maybe a murderer. Directed by Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World). Also starring Anjelica Huston, Steve Buscemi and John Malkovich. 102 minutes.
The Assassination Of Richard Nixon (R)
Sean Penn is chilling as Sam Bicke, a lonely man whose life is falling apart. Faced with no hope for the future, Bicke decides that his problems are a direct result of "the system" and that the system's top dog must be eliminated. Penn's Bicke is very much like DeNiro's Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver while images of the 37th president constantly flicker on television screens just like in the classic 70's film Shampoo. Derivative but effective. Based on a true story. Also starring Naomi Watts. 95 minutes.
Assault On Precinct 13 (R)
A Detroit police station, about to shut its doors forever, is forced to take in prisoners that were diverted there due to a blizzard. One of the prisoners turns out to be working with crooked cops. The crooked cops then storm Precinct 13 and the honest cops and prisoners must join forces. This new spin on a very old story has plot holes big enough to drive a paddy wagon through. Starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne. 109 minutes.
Fantastic old style Disney animation from the directors of Beauty And The Beast and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Milo (Michael J. Fox) pursues his grandfather's dream of finding the legendary lost undersea city of Atlantis. This non-musical movie is fine family fare.
Austin Powers In Goldmember (PG13)
Mike Myers is back starring in multiple roles in the latest Austin Powers release. A bland story with occasional funny bits and quite a few surprise star cameos. Unless Myers and company can come up with some really fresh ideas, Goldmember should be the final Austin Powers film. 94 minutes.
The Aviator (PG13)
A dramatization of the life of Howard Hughes, a wealthy young Texas entrepreneur. Hughes relocated to California where he made big budget films, designed aircraft, bought TWA Airlines, dated some fine ladies and eventually went mad. This is the celluloid equivalent of his Spruce Goose, the biggest aircraft every flown. The Aviator is colorful, exciting (Hughes' two airplane crashes are spectacular), has a great cast and is occasionally historically informative. Like its biographical contemporary Ray, it's a bit too long and a tad overly dramatic but really great. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchette, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly and Alan Alda. 166 minutes.