Movie Review Archive - D
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The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys (R)
Four bored Catholic school boys fantasize that they are comic book superheroes pitted against their archenemy Nunzilla. Animated sequences, featuring the boys' superhero alter-egos (no pun intended) are annoyingly tossed in throughout. Sister Assumpta, played by Jodie Foster, is suitably rigid, repressed and strict. Vincent D'Onofrio (you've got to see him as Pooh Bear in The Salton Sea) is effective as the boy's gym coach. Set in the mid 1970's, Altar Boys is a watchable failure. Sort of like Stand By Me without all that great writing, casting and editing. Also starring Kieran Culkin (how many freakin' Culkins are there?), Emile Hirsch and Jena Malone. 110 minutes.
A young boy is blinded as the result of an industrial accident. He soon finds that his other four senses are heightened. With his new razor sharp sense of irony, humor, shame and the absurd, he sets out fighting crime throughout the greater New York Metropolitan area. If you are a big fan of Marvel comic book screenplays you will enjoy this film. Ben Affleck is decent enough as the title character and Jennifer Garner is serviceable as Electric Nachos, Daredevil's love interest. But it's Colin Farrell (The Recruit) that steals the show as Bullseye, the cinema's first Irish arch criminal. If Affleck keeps this up, he could be the next Matt Damon. Also starring Nord Sahajian and Michael Clarke Duncan (pick TWO names dude). 97 minutes.
Dark Blue (R)
While Los Angeles erupts in riots, an honest cop (Ving Rhames) tries to bring down two corrupt detectives in Dark Blue. Director Ron Shelton (White Men Can't Jump, Bull Durham) has all the right action shots and has assembled a solid cast. The trouble is, most of his audience has already seen this film in one form or another too many times. Also starring Kurt Russell. 116 minutes.
Dark Water (PG13)
Another in a long line of "........from hell" films. A newly separated mother (Jennifer Connelly) moves into the "apartment from hell". There are some interesting characters and situations but ultimately, Dark Water is too derivative and hokey. The ending is very unsatisfying as well. Also starring John C. Reilly, Pete Postlethwaite and Tim Roth. 120 minutes.
The Da Vinci Code (PG13)
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), an expert in ancient symbols, is brought by The French Police to a bizarre murder scene at The Louvre. He and a pretty young detective (Audrey Tautou) become major players in an intricate plot that could unravel The Catholic Church. Based on the runaway best selling book, The Da Vinci Code has many truly exciting moments but is marred by an overabundance of lecturing and lucky discoveries. Also starring Jean Reno and Sir Ian McKellen. 148 minutes.
Dear Frankie (PG13)
A young boy longs to see his father, so his mom hires a stranger to pose as the boy's dad for a day. Shot in Scotland. This sweet indie stars Emily Mortimer and Jack McElhone and was directed by Shona Auerbach. 102 minutes.
Death To Smoochy (R)
Death To Smoochie focuses on two character entertainers who are competing for the same time slot and audience on a children's TV network. Smoochie boasts an A-list cast and a big budget. To call this cynical and mean-spirited film a failure would be an understatement. This movie is a disaster. Director Danny DeVito manages to squeeze precious few laughs and very little suspense out of an ill-conceived screenplay. Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams) gets beaten like a rented mule. As I left the theater, I uttered one word. "Ishtar". Also starring Edward Norton, Danny DeVito, Jon Stewart, Harvey Fierstein and Catherine Keener. 105 minutes.
The Deep End (R)
The Deep End is a masterful thriller that misses the mark, but only slightly. Margaret (Tilda Swinton) is a Lake Tahoe mother of three who's husband is away at sea most of the time. Margaret's son Beau (Jonathan Tucker) is a 17 year old high school senior who is mixed up with a bad crowd. The more his Mom tries to help him, the worse things get. This is a very watchable film that loses it's believability by the end. A frustratingly worthy effort.
Derivative (1981's Body Heat and 1987's Fatal Attraction come instantly to mind), suspenseful and often predictable worst case scenario of what can happen when you cheat on your wife. If you have never seen Heat or Attraction, rent them and then go see Derailed. Starring Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston. 107 minutes.
Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (R)
Man-whores are being murdered in Amsterdam, Holland. Deuce (Rob Schneider) and his best buddy (Eddie Griffin) hunt down the killer. When asked about his newest film's negative reviews on "The Jim Rome Show", Schneider referred to Roger Ebert as "a fat loser". Ebert is overweight and some critics are losers who get their jollies by ripping professionals that make a living doing something that they themselves are not good enough to do. Ebert is reputed to be a pompous ass. He once had one of his screenplays made into a lousy B-movie. Having said all of that, this movie is stink bad. Mr. Schneider should learn to live with bad reviews when they are deserved and stick close to his Xerox machine. Thanks for the vine Romie. I'm out! 83 minutes.
The Devil Wears Prada (PG13)
Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a recent college grad, moves to New York City and lands a "dream job" schlepping for Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the demanding editor of a top fashion magazine. Andy is at Miranda's beck and call 24/7. After a few months of this, Andy realizes that she is going to have to choose between her career and her personal life. Based on a top selling novel, this is a typical American mainstream film and as such should do well at the box office. The characters are myopic stereotypes who are constantly being driven around in limos and followed by tabloid paparazzi. Prada's message is delivered with all the subtlety of a mid-town jackhammer. Also starring Stanley Tucci and that good looking guy from HBO's "Entourage" who doesn't ever seem to shave often enough. I bet he'll remember to shave regularly when his whiskers begin turning gray. That's all. 110 minutes.
Diamond Men (R)
The odd couple take the show on the road in Diamond Men. A veteran traveling diamond salesman (Robert Forster) must train his new replacement (Donnie Wahlberg) while motoring throughout Pennsylvania. You just know that the old pro will show the new kid (no pun intended) how to be responsible and that the protégé will teach the master how to let his hair down. Despite the apparent predictability there is a surprising twist or two. This is a fun little film. Also starring Bess Armstrong. 100 minutes.
Diary Of A Mad Black Woman (PG13)
Black comedy/drama focusing on a woman (Kimberly Elise) trying to rebuild her life after being literally thrown out of her house after 18 years of marriage. Writer/director Tyler Perry also plays dual roles but with much less success than recent Eddie Murphy or Cedric the Entertainer efforts. While not as funny as Barbershop or as poignant as Soul Food, Diary, like my ex-wife, made me chuckle and touched me a little. 110 minutes.
Die Another Day (PG13)
Pierce Brosnan returns as 007. Q: Can you name the other four actors who have portrayed James Bond in film? All the high-tech gadgets, foreign meanies and sexy double-entendres can't hide the fact that this movie is instantly forgettable. It's watchable only because most of us grew up loving the James Bond franchise. Madonna's theme music and cameo appearance are a joke. Oscar* winner Halle Berry is about the worst Bond girl that I can remember. As I nervously paced around the dimly lit back of Hoyt's Crossgates Cinema 10, I came to a stark realization. These theaters are a disgrace and have been for quite sometime. Is Hoyt's not making enough money to attend to broken seats, perpetually sticky floors and filthy walls? A: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. (*who cares?) 123 minutes.
Divided We Fall (PG13)
A Czech couple hides a Jew in their apartment during World War Two's Nazi occupation in this very effective black comedy. Sure, the film deals with The Holocaust but it's also witty and ironic. Divided We Fall came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint me. A "feel good" Holocaust film? In Czech and German with English subtitles.
Dr. Doolittle 2 (PG)
Eddie Murphy (he was Gumby damn it!) is back for this inevitable sequel as the doctor who talks to the animals. The movie is decent enough with some scenes bordering on cloying. Recommended for audiences under 16 and their parents.
Domestic Disturbance (PG13)
First there was the popular but God-awful "Welcome Back Kotter". Only the theme song has stood the test of time from that little gem. Then there was Saturday Night Fever and Urban Cowboy, films that captured trendy American zeit-geist. And then there were the jokes and the trivia questions. When Pulp Fiction was released, it appeared that John Travolta's career had been revived. I now realize that a casting director took pity on Travolta, pulled him from the scrap heap and gave him a good part in a great movie. Since that time, he has seemingly chosen one bad film after another. In his latest disaster Domestic Disturbance, Travolta plays nice guy Frank Morrison, a divorced father who builds boats. His son (Matthew O'Leary) has witnessed a murder committed by his devious step-father (Vince Vaughn), but only Frank believes the boy. This is a pretty straightforward stabbing, smashing, sleuthing, punching and burning affair with implausibilities a-plenty. Don't go see this. It stinks! I hope that Mr. Travolta wisely invests his earnings from these horrible movies (Swordfish, Broken Arrow, etc) because he may find himself again without a career in a few years. Yeah, right.
Blood soaked, profanity laden, action packed story of three bounty hunters. Filmed in that crappy looking new digital format, this film is a lowest common denominator mainstream dog hiding behind a pretty face, a large high-profile cast, and a convoluted plot with a dash of mealy mouthed mysticism. Domino's demographic target is males aged 16-29. Starring Keira Knightly, Mickey Rourke, Edgar Ramirez, Christopher Walken, Dabney Coleman, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, Delroy Lindo and Lucy Liu. 127 minutes.
Don't Say A Word (R)
Michael Douglas plays a too familiar role as a New York psychiatrist whose patient has critical information needed by criminals who have kidnapped his daughter. The film's trailers looked promising but the movie fails to deliver any real thrills or even a believable plot. Instead, we get boring recycled leftovers. At least they left the World Trade Center in a few shots. Also starring Oliver Platt and Brittany Murphy (Girl Interrupted).
Hitler's final days in the bunker as witnessed by his personal secretary. It is April, 1945. The Russian Army is closing in and the war is lost. Beneath Berlin, a madman yells at his weary but loyal generals and moves troops that no longer exist on a war room map. This is an extraordinarily well made film in every aspect. Like Hitler himself, Downfall is at once sickening and mesmerizing. You really feel like you were there. An incredible experience. Starring Bruno Ganz. In German with subtitles. 155 minutes.
After many flops in a row, Kevin Costner is back with a decent new film entitled Dragonfly. Costner (Dances With Wolves) plays Dr. Joe Darrow, a man who's pregnant wife is involved in a bus crash and presumed dead while on a relief mission in Venezuela. It seems that her spirit is trying to "contact him". This film is a bit heavy handed but it's got a solid ending. If you like Kevin (I've met him. He's a nice guy.) you will enjoy this motion picture. Also starring Kathy Bates and Linda Hunt. 105 minutes.
A dysfunctional family adopts an injured horse and against all odds the horse recovers, races again and brings the family together. Starring Dakota Fanning. Despite the trite plot outline and the the presence of the talented but ubiquitous Ms. Fanning, Dreamer is a winner across the board. One of those rare films that will satisfy the entire family. Also starring Kurt Russell, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue, Luis Guzman and Freddie Rodriguez ("Six Feet Under"). 105 minutes.
As anyone who has ever attended a college football game at a big school will tell you, the marching band puts on quite a show at halftime. Drumline is the story of a young man from New York City who attends a southern school on a music scholarship. An interesting glimpse into the high pressure and competitive world of collegiate bands. The story is fairly engaging and the musical and dance performances are dizzying. Starring Orlando Jones (Up yours). 100 minutes.
The Dukes Of Hazard (PG13)
Cover film. Jessica Simpson plays Daisy Duke, rocket scientist. Simpson's Daisy appears in no less than seven outfits. Whether it's a bikini, halter or tied off dress shirt, the audience gets a constant peek at her ample bosoms. Her shorts are always cut so high that most of her round buttocks are exposed. Because Daisy is so beautiful and dresses so scantily, she is able to manipulate all of the dumb-ass male characters. In one scene, she sports a dark wig, sunglasses and a straw cowboy hat. That idiot racecar driver never even knew that it was Daisy! All of the policemen in Hazard County, Georgia are really stupid and some of them are quite corrupt. Daisy Duke plays them like a square dance fiddle. Daisy's cousins Bo and Luke (Seann William-Shakespeare-Scott and Johnny Nashville) are very handsome and drive really fast. Sometimes they punch people too. But never cousin Daisy. She's real purrty. Also starring Bert Reynolds, Willie Nelson, and Linda Carter. 106 minutes.