Latest Film Reviews
Vera Drake (2004)
The austerity of the film's latter part might seem merely maudlin had Leigh not so carefully established that life goes on in and around the film's central polemic.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
Oscar winner Jim Broadbent turns up long enough to say, "I wish I was dead."
Lightning in a Bottle (2004)
Though many of the performers aren't, or arguably aren't, blues artists (but rather soul, R and B, or even folk artists)...a cheap seat for a fun-filled, big-ticket event.
After the Sunset (2004)
The plotting of this otherwise workmanlike comedy-adventure is as fundamentally ridiculous as it is predictable and lacking in tension.
smacks its dog with a rolled-up newspaper and then feels guilty about it. This one has star power and nothing else, y'know what I mean?
Saw opens with fair warning in the form of a production company logo for Twisted Pictures. Razor-sharp barbed wire twists into the center of the frame, where an iron spike impales the wire. No rain...
Being Julia (2004)
Not the stodgy costume drama it may appear to be...To Bening's triumph, the audience can only love Julia, warts and all, by picture's end.
No one in the film comes across as a flesh-and-blood character...
is overdressed with nowhere to go.
Worth seeing, mostly for its colorful period design and lively musical numbers, but this version of the "official story" takes some wrong turns.
Surviving Christmas (2004)
Some sort of Martian comedy hell I was doomed to misunderstand...like watching Ben Affleck burn Stanislavsky in effigy for ninety minutes.
Carruth's worthy entry in the
Blair Witch Project
sweepstakes is inordinately clever in making the most of modest resources.
Team America: World Police (2004)
Parker and Stone unleash the Jerry Bruckheimer id with the movie we all know Hollywood would seriously like to make...cannot be denied its humorous high points.
Stage Beauty (2004)
17th Century blogger Samuel Pepys called stage actor Edward Kynaston 'the loveliest lady that ever I saw'. Ned Kynaston's career playing women ended abruptly when King Charles II decreed that women,...
Shall We Dance? (2004)
Miramax's remake of their 1996 Japanese import Shall We Dance is ostensibly about romance and magic but actually about maximum exploitation of the property, done up in all the Hollywood trimmings. Ri...
Feux rouges (Red Lights) (2004)
bristles with subcutaneous fear at signals which Hollywood thrillers routinely run.
is some kind of triumph of personal expression [but] also maddening at times in Caouette's lack of restraint...defiantly [is] what it is: one of a kind.
Shark Tale (2004)
Is the fish fresh?...
believes it can foist off high-speed energy in the place of wit.
Ladder 49 (2004)
Conventional, lacking in depth, and reliant on the artifical tension of action scenes to goose along an otherwise watchable but dull movie.
Hearts and Minds (1974)
Elicits a palpable emotional and intellectual effect...strikes the same sad note of discord forty years later.
World War II and its attendant local metaphors serve as MacGuffins for a quiet tale of two people, if only Trojan would keep his focus on them.
First Daughter (2004)
Though you might think this Forest Whitaker film (yeah, you read that right) has more going for it than the other 274 cookie-cutter fairy-tale comedies...you'd be wrong.
A Dirty Shame (2004)
Takes apart conservative middle-class society by opening the floodgates of sexual desire...a non-stop cavalcade of fetishes, novelty songs, and bawdy slang.
The generic parallel plots of sports-movie suspense and falling-in-love sap squeeze stars Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst together like so much peanut butter and jelly.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Though the exercise is ultimately empty,
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
must be seen to be disbelieved, so off you go.
Mr. 3000 (2004)
Bernie Mac's...vehicle may be more like an Acura than a Porsche, but it gets decent mileage out of its mildly funny character comedy.
We here at New Line Cellular...have the plan for you!...92 inflexible real-time minutes that are sure to pump up your fast-paced, action-packed lifestyle.
Head in the Clouds (2004)
Flashes of wit [aside]...flimsy narration and flaccid acting (particularly from Townsend in a central role) do nothing to bolster this well-intentioned but forgettable film.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
With apologies to Joe Bob...Countless dead bodies. Six breasts...Beer-swilling cowboy zombie-sniper. Demon dogs...Gratuitous accents...Graveyard Fu...
Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô (Gozu) (2004)
The absurdist staging suggests a kind of magic surrealism; Miike literally turns homosexual panic inside out.
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (2004)
Roughly equivalent to the
sequels: drama-starved dazzle and irresolute interrogation.
Vanity Fair (2004)
Taking a cue from Thackeray's spry, witty, self-referential narration, Indian director Nair emphasizes the allusions to her native country...as a land of exotic escape...
Bright Young Things (2004)
Easy come, easy go...has the right satirical snap, energetic pace, and likeable performances to stay consistently amusing.
By the end, those who haven't seen
may applaud the entertaining sleight-of-hand...those who have may lament that
is the proverbial old dog.
A sleazy thriller which takes celebrity photo hounds to task for being sleazy...As in Gibson's...
, and others, the evil-doers must pay, Old Testament-style...
Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
Fearless extremity...Brotherhood finally coalesces into an inescapable metaphor illustrating the madness of civil war.
Wicker Park (2004)
An interesting formal exercise: exceedingly hard to swallow, but quietly engrossing...deserves style points for sticking to an unconventional narrative.
Yes Nurse! No Nurse! (2004)
Perhaps it's all in the translation, but
Yes Nurse! No Nurse!
makes only a so-so musical...[enhanced by] campy, candy-colored design...
Von Trotta's conceptual successes rarely translate into dramatic ones...Nevertheless, Von Trotta makes her points...while illuminating a subcultural story of the Holocaust.
Mean Creek (2004)
Estes's film casts prismatic light on the persistent issues of bullying, youth violence, and their mortal and emotional consequences.
Suspect Zero (2004)
Plays like a David Lynch movie thwarted by studio-mandated rewrites and...executives hoping for another
but willing to settle for another
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