Latest Film Reviews
Batman Begins (2005)
The ne plus ultra of comic-book films...an appropriately tough movie, busy but efficient, rich and thoughtful, and ornamented with visual appeal and exciting action.
Ozon presents no easy answers, but his often incisive "show, don't tell" character study makes touching emotional observations of marital folly.
Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire (2005)
Many saw Hotel Rwanda, the docudramatic tale that celebrated local hero Paul Rusesabagina. Peter Raymont's documentary Shake Hands with the Devil covers similar ground, but traffics in ambiguity. It...
Hauru no ugoku shiro (Howl's Moving Castle) (2005)
Alice in Wonderland
puckishness in its characters and their absurd situations, and an underlying spiritual calm [unlike] the usual animated franticness.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005)
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
has a one-joke premise, and it's one we've seen before....But Liman fights valiantly to sustain the newfangled comic tango and largely succeeds.
King of the Corner (2005)
A modest film, and a messy one...about a modest, messy life...Reigert and Shapiro mine delicate humor from unpleasant situations.
Layer Cake (2005)
always pulls itself up by its bootsraps whenever its energy threatens to flag.
Lords of Dogtown (2005)
It's hard to shake the feeling that Hardwicke's film is a stunt itself, with talented young actors dolled up in skater drag to peddle Peralta's...self-mythology.
Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
Two flop sequels to William Friedkin's 1973 fright classic The Exorcist—one in 1977 and one in 1990--should have been enough to convince Warner Brothers to leave well enough alone. Now, the pre...
I see no compelling reason to begrudge the kiddies of this mostly amiable timewaster, but this one's hardly destined to join the crowded top shelf of animated winners.
Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith (2005)
So sound in its construction and...[its] space-operatic catharsis that even the nitpickiest fanboy will likely adopt a humbly mumbled "All is forgiven" as a daily mantra.
Ladies in Lavender (2005)
Dance allows Dench to overact her lovestruck nervousness...By the time he stages a hay-baling montage, you'll have had enough of this close-but-no-cigar misfire.
House of Wax (2005)
A roughhouse between the Hayes's dingbatty script...and director Sera's winking and surprisingly skillful treatment of it...ultimately disappointing.
Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling (2005)
Too shapeless...but the topic is worthy, and the onslaught of trivia and quirky anecdotes hold interest for the film's 75 minutes.
The Dickensian trials of a poor shackled martial artist, but save your great expectations for the next summer action movie.
"At the end of the day, building a better mousetrap is just mechanics." Within that comment is the philosophy of director Renny Harlin...you'd best lower your expectations.
Kicking and Screaming (2005)
Something happens halfway through the movie: star Will Ferrell cuts loose...Suddenly, we're in a cauldron of blood and coffee and Gatorade.
Kings & Queen (2005)
Arnaud Desplechin's domestic comedy-drama spins emotions like plates in a variety show.
If you've ever wondered what Jane Fonda would look like while scaring off a bear, the ghastly
is the movie for you.
Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones (2002)
It's impossible...to dismiss a film with this much
: exotic production design, imaginative characters, and a wide variety of digital jedi fu.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Begin by blaming leads that lack charisma outside of their model bodies, move on to the cheap technique of pounding soundtrack blasts...arrive at the comically clichéd script.
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (2004)
Radford takes a stylish but decidedly low-key tack, demanding naturalist acting to crawl under the viewer's skin.
Todd Solondz is a man of many contradictions. Perhaps the pushme-pullyou nature of Palindromes, then, makes it the ultimate Solondz expression of his need to take his comedy black and his refusal to...
While it's a dazzling feat of screenwriting, less would be more...Still, Haggis evinces remarkable skill [and] with actors like these, who needs subtleties?
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
A confused and confusing compromise at best and a dull obfuscation of history at worst.
It's All Gone Pete Tong (2005)
It's the risks that pay off most handsomely in
It's All Gone Pete Tong
, a curious mash-up of dance-culture mockumentary and searing biopic.
King's Ransom (2005)
Populated solely with hateful characters...strictly for connoisseurs of crass.
A Lot Like Love (2005)
Earns points for resisting the usual corny romantic comedy gimmicks (I'm looking at you,
The Wedding Date
!) for most of its running time.
Saving Face (2005)
The affectionate ribbing of the cultural milieu and Joan Chen's sly performance raise this a cut above the...[formulaic] lesbian romances and "my crazy family" comedies.
House of D (2005)
Duchovny shows signs of wit and wisdom [but this] feels much more written than lived...for every funny or gut-wrenching moment, three head-scratching ones are sure to follow.
Voices in Wartime (2005)
Making poetry cinematic requires greater imagination than King evinces...If the medium isn't always as sturdy as the message, that's a fault that can be readily overlooked.
Comme une image (Look at Me) (2005)
Look at Me
...states the film's theme: the difficulty of getting...attention and the horrible realization that, when it comes, it usually comes for the wrong reasons.
Guka Omarova's assured first feature
is a noir forced out into the sunlight.
I'd say that this mixed bag is better toted home from a video store, but Wong Kar-Wai's just not as swoony on a picture tube...cineastes, proceed with caution.
Fever Pitch (2005)
may be something short of miraculous, but perhaps it isn't how you play the game that matters after all, as long as you have a "winning" personality.
Masculine brooding [fuels]
, with its monolithic, steam-spewing tower, powered by balls, constantly rumbling out of control.
The director's Fincher-esque style may finally beat out intellectual substance, but it's a fair fight, grounded in the existential horror of essential emotional truths.
Beauty Shop (2005)
You may not "get krunked" with
, but you know what you're getting into. It's sitcom-ready material that delivers on its promise.
Here among the grapes is the flow of history, draining aging old-world tradition to its dregs as speed-oriented mass production tops it off.
Guess Who (2005)
A warm movie that's well cast and funny enough as it works through passive-aggressiveness to aggressive-aggressiveness and finally the acceptance of family.
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