Movie Review Archive - T
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A precocious 15 year old boy (Aaron Stanford) who has a crush on his beautiful step-mom (Sigourney Weaver), sleeps with her 40 something best friend (Bebe Neuwirth). This coming of age (no pun intended) story was shot digitally in New York City. Unless you can view Tadpole from a digital projector (there are none that I know of in this area) you are in for a grainy, disappointing visual experience. I thought that this rather bland film was mildly amusing at times until I realized that if the genders were reversed (a forty two year old man bedding a fifteen year old girl) there would be an indignant outcry. Also starring John Ritter. 77 minutes.
Talk To Her (R)
Two men, two women and two comas. This is a complex and ironic examination of love and friendship. A must see for serious film enthusiasts. I always wondered what happened to the beautiful Geraldine Chaplin (Dr. Zhivago). She got very old. In Spanish with subtitles. 113 minutes.
Tears Of The Sun (R)
A small group of Navy Seals is sent into civil war torn Nigeria to rescue a doctor, a priest and a nun in Tears Of The Sun. So a doctor, a priest and a nun are walking through the jungle........ This dark and violent film is no joke and neither is the ethnic cleansing that the group witnesses. No new ground broken here but Tears is exciting. Starring Bruce Willis and Monica Bellucci. 121 minutes.
Thank You For Smoking (R)
Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckart) is the lobbyist and chief spokesperson for "big tobacco". The media never talks about "little tobacco". I guess "little tobacco" would be ordinary folks who just have a few plants on their property for personal use. Naylor, a cunning linguist and master debater, tells his young son that "if you argue correctly you are never wrong." This clever satire suffers from preview overexposure (we've seen the best scenes countless times) and really peters out at the end. Also starring Katie Holmes, Robert Duval, Maria Bello, Rob Lowe, William H. Macy and that creepy kid from Birth. 92 minutes.
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing (R)
A fabulous film about the interconnection of a handful of men and women living in New York. Thirteen Conversations examines hope and optimism versus despair and tragedy as it pertains to people's chaotic everyday lives. Director and co-writer Jill Sprecher has put together a script and cast that is a joy to experience from beginning to end. A refreshing movie that has something worthwhile to say. Take a break from the aliens, eyeballs, handguns and nuclear bombs. Starring Alan Arkin, Mathew McConaughey, Clea DuVall, John Turturro and Amy Irving. 94 minutes.
The Three Burials Of Melquaides Estrada (R)
A Texas cowboy (Tommy Lee Jones) kidnaps a US Border Patrolman (Barry Pepper) and forces him to exhume, transport to Mexico and rebury a close friend. This grimly inspiring tale was brilliantly directed by Jones but is slightly marred by a glaring continuity error. Really great ending though. Also starring Dwight Yoakam, January Jones and Levon Helm (The Band). 121 minutes.
A seventeen year old boy's socially crippling thumbsucking habit is cured by his orthodontist. As the sucker's life becomes more normal he is forced to confront typical teen issues and problems. An original, quirky coming of age film but an orthodontist that smokes cigarettes while treating patients and doling out new-age advice? Give me a break. I thought the ending really sucked too. Starring Lou Pucci as the sucker, Keanu Reeves (he really needs to stop sucking), Vince Vaughn, Benjamin Bratt ("Law And Order") , Vincent D'Onfrio ("Law And Order: Special Thumbsucking Unit") and Tilda Swinton, the current reigning queen of the indies. 97 minutes.
The Time Machine (PG13)
Spokes-model Guy Pearce stars as Alexander Hartdegen, an inventor who travels through time in the latest adaptation of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Imagine if you will, a combination of Planet Of The Apes, Soylent Green and Time After Time. After first going back to try to save the life of his sweetie, Hartdegen ventures 800,000 years into the future and finds Earth inhabited by two races. One is gentle and lives on the surface and the other is vicious, lives underground and is RULED BY EDGAR WINTER! This motion picture is preposterous, clumsily directed and poorly acted. And, there is one unbelievable coincidence. The Time Machine was partly directed by Simon Wells who, as it turns out, is a direct descendant of H.G. Wells. Also starring Orlando Jones (Up Yours) and Jeremy Irons. 96 minutes.
Tortilla Soup (PG13)
Tortilla Soup is a feel good family character study in which the mouth watering food is the star. We've seen this style of film before (Eat Drink Man Woman, Soul Food) and this one holds up with the best of them. Hector Elizondo (Pretty Woman) plays widower Martin Naranjo, the family patriarch who's three grown daughters still live with him. The number one house rule is that everyone be on time for the Sunday dinners that are meticulously prepared by Martin, who is a professional chef. This is a movie of beginnings, revelations and endings. If you are a lover of ensemble movies and southwestern cuisine, you will leave amused and very hungry. Also starring Raquel Welsh (who performs the dreaded "pass out"), Paul Rodriquez and Elizabeth Pena. 100 minutes.
Training Day (PG13)
Ethan Hawke (friend of Oprah, husband of Uma) portrays Jake Hoyt, a rookie Los Angeles narcotics officer who gets teamed with veteran Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) in this exciting but frustratingly flawed police-action film. Harris, his department associates and his superiors are hopelessly corrupt and Hoyt must decide whether the corruption is necessarily inherent in the system or the others are simply gangsters with badges. Washington is brilliant in this rare unsympathetic role. The first three quarters of this movie are fabulous but Training Day unfortunately disintegrates into a typical shoot and chase affair. The flaws are not enough to sink the film but I walked out slightly angry. I hate that because it forces me to go directly to the nearest gin-mill and guzzle a couple of ice-cold Heinekens. Also starring Scott Glenn (The Right Stuff, Urban Cowboy), Tom Berenger (The Big Chill, Platoon) and Snoop Dogg (see, he finally wised up and shortened his name to the acceptable two word form).
A California man living as a woman named Bree (Felicity Huffman) is about to undergo a sex change operation. Bree receives a call from The NYC Police informing him/her that they are holding his/her seventeen year old son Toby, a son that he/she didn't know existed. Bree's doctors insist that she (I'm going to henceforth refer to Bree as her/she) must come to terms with her troubled boy before they will go ahead with the operation. Bree flies to New York, bails Toby out of Rikers, buys a cheap car and the two set out for The Left Coast. The trip turns out to be another one of those cinematic "journeys of self-discovery" but with some poignant and hilarious results. The fact that the film takes a rather nonchalant stand on Bree's sex change is understandable I suppose, given that this is 2006 but the same nonchalance regarding Toby's homosexual prostitution and gay porn activity is definitely not. Transamerica is a bit laid back until Bree and Toby meet Bree's parents (Burt Young and Carrie Preston). From that point on it almost becomes another, more mainstream film. Given the recent success of Brokeback Mountain and this movie's initial critical acclaim, you can bet that Hollywood will churn out plenty of gender-benders in the next few years. As Ray Davies long ago sang, "Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, it's a mixed-up muddled-up shook up world...." Get used to it. 103 minutes.
The Transporter (PG13)
An ex-military man (Jason Stratham) who lives just "outside of the law" makes his living by moving people and things from one location to another. Navigating through difficult and dangerous circumstances is his specialty, for which he is well compensated. The first 30 minutes or so are quite exciting and fresh. Newcomer Shu Qi, who portrays The Transporter's love interest, is lovely too. It's a shame that the film degenerates into a standard martial-arts/chase and explode affair. Nice try. 92 minutes.
Transporter 2 (PG13)
The Transporter (Jason Statham) is back and still driving recklessly in a very dignified way. 2005's automobile of choice is a black Audi. This time around he's chauffeuring a young boy whose family becomes involved in a drug cartel germ warfare battle. Transporter 2 is full of undeveloped characters, plot holes, clich�s, martial arts and Hollywood style action. Unless you are a big fan of car crashes and kung fu butt kicking, my advice is to steer clear. 88 minutes.
Courtney Love seems to use her musical and marital notoriety to get parts in feature motion pictures such as this. After the tragic death of her superstar husband Kurt Cobain, Hole got huge. She seems to pick and choose film work while maintaining Hole. I think Hole stinks, but what do I know about current rock and roll trends? Trapped is a mildly exciting kidnap yarn with some decent performances, especially young Dakota Fanning's (I Am Sam). This movie is nothing special but it does hold your interest. Also starring Kevin Bacon, Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend. 104 minutes.
The Truth About Charlie (PG13)
A woman's husband is murdered and a whole lot of people think that she knows where he hid their money. The Truth About Charlie is a re-make of Charade which starred Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant. This film is fast paced, convoluted, ambitious and confusing at first. It is also grainy (that new digital technology), contrived and ultimately pointless. Jonathan Demme should be shot with balls of his own shite for giving birth to this pretentious turd. I didn't see Charade but it has to be better than this. The truth about this movie is that it sucks. Starring Tim Robbins (he's very tall), Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights), Thandie Newton (Thandie?) and a bunch of French people. 110 minutes.
I was told that this was a film about an unemployed actor (Dustin Hoffman) who is so desperate for work that he pretends to be a woman in order to get a role on a major soap opera, and all of the resulting hijinks. Instead, it turned out to be a deadly serious film about a young South African sociopathic criminal whose (caution: clich� ahead) life is forever changed when he hijacks a car containing a baby in the back seat. This award winning movie is somewhat predictable but moving. Starring Jason Bateman, Tara Reid and Gary Coleman as the baby. Just kidding. Subtitled. 94 minutes.
Tuck Everlasting (PG)
Great, I thought. A film about a medical procedure for overweight people that's guaranteed for life. Or is it an infomercial about a new super-strength pad for hemorrhoid sufferers. But no. It turns out that Tuck Everlasting is a Disney movie about a family named Tuck that discovers a fountain of youth. This harmless, sentimental feature would be perfect for a parent to bring their pre-teen kids to. It will make a good 2 hour TV family flick. Also starring Ben Kingsley, William Hurt, Sissy Spacechick and Amy Irving. 90 minutes.
25th Hour (R)
Director Spike Lee refers to his movies as joints. Dude has twisted up a fatty here. 25th Hour focuses on Monty Brogan (Edward Norton), a convicted drug dealer who is living his last day of freedom before beginning a seven year prison sentence. His father (Brian Cox), girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) and friends try to make his final hours fun, but Monty is haunted by his past mistakes and grim future. Lee has directed a passionate and intelligent film that is full of great New York City locations. His best work since Do The Right Thing and his first movie that does not concentrate on African-American issues. Also starring Barry Pepper (61*) and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (pick TWO names, dude). 134 minutes.
Two Can Play That Game (R)
A heavy-set white woman in the back row and I in the front watched the lovely Vivica A. Fox (Why the "A" Viv?) and hunky Morris Chestnut strut their stuff this afternoon at the cavernous Hoyts 18. Two Can Play That Game is a bland and leaden film about contemporary, affluent, West Coast blacks and the dating and mating games that they play. A real stinker.
Two For The Money (R)
Walter (Al Pacino), a long time high stakes sports gambling advisor recruits Brandon (Mathew McConaughey), a former college quarterback with a knack for picking football winners. The mentor/prot�g� arrangement works for a while until Brandon discovers that Walter has some serious issues. Hollywood must be running out of fresh subject matter. What's next; a film about homosexual cowboys? Not that there would be anything wrong with that. Also starring Rene Russo. 124 minutes.
Two Weeks Notice (PG13)
My favorite contemporary romantic comedies include When Harry Met Sally, French Kiss and Serendipity. They are well written, engaging and have great casts. I've seen them countless times. In Two Weeks Notice, a new alleged romantic comedy, an idealistic lawyer (Sandra Bullock) goes to work for a cutthroat industrialist (Hugh Grant). It's one of those preposterous stories where everyone watching knows that they are perfect for each other except for the couple themselves. There is no real chemistry between Bullock and Grant and the jokes fall flat. Although quite likable, Ms. Bullock has never been able to carry a picture as a lead and Mr. Grant reminds me of every spoiled rich kid that I hated growing up around. This film sucks. 100 minutes.