Banlieue 13 (District B13)

To the editors of Time that picked District B13 as one of the 10 best films of the year, I can only ask, dude, Que la baise vous pensaient-elles? Yes, granted, it touches on some extremely sensitive and timely issues in a racially and culturally divided Paris, but those moments are bolted-on and heavy-handed, serving […]

Is George Miller’s Happy Feet about bootyshaking or overfishing?

Happy Feet is a tough one to try to reduce to a single stars-out-of-five rating. It possesses two extreme split personalities, its lack of integration calling into question its integrity. Was there a struggle behind the scenes between a studio wanting another cookie-cutter cartoon animal kid flick vs. a filmmaker envisioning something of substance? The […]

Michael Mann’s stylish but slight Miami Vice (2006)

Miami Vice is decidedly slight on character and depth, which is not surprising considering the source material. It is quite so, however, considering writer/director Michael Mann‘s track record once leaving the iconic 80s tv show behind. The deep characterization in all his crime dramas ranging from Thief through Collateral elevate them above the ultrastylized and […]

Brett Ratner’s X-Men III: The Last Stand is lost in a densely self-referential world

God help me, but I agree with Harry Knowles’ review. Sometimes you need a fanboy to point out what’s wrong with a movie crafted for fanboys. He picked up on the absurdly sensitive Wolverine, the important Phoenix backstory cursorily related in hammy exposition, and the sudden and arbitrary shifts from day to night. But the […]

Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal

Oops. I should have let The Dark Crystal live on in my childhood memories as a Good Movie. Seeing the brilliant Mirrormask reminded me how much this movie affected my childhood, but seeing it again as an adult I find it has not aged well. The special effects of course cannot rival contemporary digital epics, […]

The Ice Harvest

I think, but I’m not sure, this is supposed to be a comedy. Honestly, The Ice Harvest is one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. It apparently aspires to be a comedy of villainies along the lines of Bad Santa, extending even into the casting of Billy Bob Thornton, but it […]

Eight Below

More dogs! Fewer people! In fact, how about no people at all? Then this two-plus hour slog could be transformed into a nice hour of lovely nature photography and cute fluffy pups fighting adversity. I hope Disney makes it clear this is a PG film not for the really little ones, for there’s a scene […]

Red Eye

I had heard Red Eye was a refreshingly unpretentious thriller that played on Americans’ changed relationship with air travel in a post 9/11 world. While technically true, it’s actually a very disappointing runaround decidedly lacking in the most routine pleasures that come with thrillers. Where’s the expected third-act twist? Is the twist that there actually […]

The New World

Why didn’t I know better? Although I stand apart from nearly all (it seems) critics and fellow cineastes, I hated Terrence Malick’s Badlands, Days of Heaven, and Thin Red Line. And The New World is, of course, more of the same. The problem isn’t necessarily the pacing, although it is indeed punishingly slow. It’s partly […]

Fantastic Four

Did they learn nothing from Spider-Man 2, clearly the pinnacle of the superhero genre (and I will fight a Marvel Team-Up with anybody that dares disagree with me)? FF is an aggressively stupid series of one missed opportunity after another. It just narrowly escapes one star by making me laugh a handful of times. And […]

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