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December 28th, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
The Orphanage

December 26th, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
Chuck Close
Smiley Face

December 25th, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
The Bucket List
The Great Debaters
Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust

December 21st, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
Charlie Wilson's War
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
P.S. I Love You
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

December 19th, 2007

Directed by Michael Lehmann.
Neal (Aaron Stanford) lives with his artsy girlfriend, Miss Pussy (Zooey Deschanel), while managing a cereal shop, Flakes, in New Orleans (pre-Katrina). His plans to become famous rock star are thwarted when Stuart (Keir O?Donnell) opens up a rival cereal shop across from Flakes. Despite a refreshing and somewhat imaginative plot, it takes a while to get used to its lazy, offbeat atmosphere and bizarre turn of events. Once you realize that the loose plot doesn?t really take itself or its characters too seriously, you?ll be able to mildly enjoy it. Christopher Lloyd adds some brief comic relief as the senile owner of Flakes who goes a bit cuckoo. At times, writer/director Michael Lehmann includes very witty dialogue with a Clerks vibe, but without all the profanity. The scenes with Neal and Miss Pussy interacting at home are the only ones that really drag because their chemistry doesn?t feel palpable and there?s nothing interesting or insightful about all their bickering. Fortunately, the quirky scenes in the cereal shop add pizzazz and somewhat compensate for the sporadic dullness and lags throughout the film?s momentum. Entertainment Value: Highly Moderate. Spiritual Value: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief and check your brain at the door. Released by IFC First Take. Opens at the IFC Center.

December 14th, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Half Moon
I am Legend
The Singing Revolution
A Walk into the Sea
Youth Without Youth

December 12th, 2007

The Perfect Holiday
- Directed by Lance Rivera.
Nancy (Grabrielle Union), recently divorced from a rapper (Charlie Murphy), falls in love Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), a shopping mall Santa Claus. Nancy?s three children don?t accept Benjamin too easily into the family, so cue the many juvenile pranks that belong is movies like Daddy Day Camp. Queen Latifah plays the narrator who appears a variety of small roles to add some magic along with he assistant (Terrence Howard). Writer/director Lance Rivera has written a bland, contrived, unimaginative Christmas-themed movie that has no spirit, soul or warmth. The vast majority of the attempts at humor simply fall flat from poor comic timing and silliness. Both Nancy and Benjamin do seem appealing, but they?re not even remotely believable and too cardboard as characters. Ultimately, The Perfect Holiday makes This Christmas look like the Citizen Kane of Christmas movies. Number of times I checked my watch: 7. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Low. Released by Yari Film Group.

- Directed by Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman.
In English, Japanese and Mandarin with subtitles. Nanking documents the rape of Nanking, when Japanese forces raped 20,000 Chinese and killed a total of 200,000 between 1937 and 1938 during WWII. Those who don?t know about this important part of the history of Nanking, which was the capitol of China back then, will be shocked and saddened to learn that the Chinese had their own holocaust during World War II. Co-directors Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman do a great job of show the horrors of Nanking through photos as well as interviews with the survivors, who break down in tears. Some images are difficult to watch because of their emotional impact. Actors and actresses such as Muriel Hemmingway read the accounts of those who saved many lives and who are now remembered as heroes. This profoundly moving, unforgettable, important film deserves to be nominated for Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: Very high. Released by THINKfilm.

December 7th, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
The Band's Visit
Dirty Laundry
The Golden Compass
Grace is Gone
Man in the Chair
The Sasquatch Gang
Strength and Honor
'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris
The Walker

December 5th, 2007

Billy the Kid

Directed by Jennifer Venditti.
This thoroughly compelling documentary follows Billy, a 15-year-old living in a small town in Maine who alienated from the popular kids in his high school, especially given his behavioral problems. He?s far from shy, though, and casually flirts with a nice girl named Heather who works at a local diner. Soon enough, he asks her to be his first girlfriend while some townspeople cheer him on in the distance. He claims that Heather has ?murdered his many years of loneliness.? It?s also quite interesting to watch his relationship with his loving mother and how the abuse of his father affects him now. Director Jennifer Venditti does a terrific job of capturing the essence of who Billy is as a human being. The camera serves as a mere observer at times while other times as some sort of a therapist or a good friend who listens to him. In a moving scene that many people will be able to relate to, he admits to being insecure and fragile on the inside despite his tougher outer shell. Although there?s much more to him than meets the eye, he?s still quite wise and very funny, especially since he often express his philosophies in ?bumper sticker?. Have you ever felt the excitement, nervousness and confusion of growing up? Well, Billy goes through each and every one of those universal emotions throughout this funny, charming and profound documentary. Number of times I checked my watch: 0 Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value:Very High. Released by Elephant Eye Films. Opens at the IFC Center.

The Violin
-Directed by Francisco Vargas.
In Spanish with subtitles. Military forces occupy a small Mexican village where three generations of musicians live: violinist Don Plutarco (?ngel Tavira), his guitarist son Genaro (Gerardo Taracena), and his grandson Lucio (Mario Garibaldi). Don Plutarco befriends some of the soldiers through his beautiful music, which serves both as a means of entertaining them and escaping from their brutal torture, shown briefly during the opening scenes. Writer/director Francisco Vargas builds the plot very gradually and fills it with moments that feel almost documentary-like. The exquisite black-and-white cinematography gives it a certain timelessness and grittiness that wouldn?t have been accomplished with the use of color. Despite scenes that drag from very little happening and minimal dialogue, the beautiful imagery and a strong performance by the charismatic ?ngel Tavira help to keep you at least mildly entranced. Number of times I checked my watch: 2. Entertainment Value: Moderately High. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Film Movement. Opens at the Film Forum..

November 30th, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
Chronicle of an Escape
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Nina's Heavenly Delights
Oswald's Ghost
The Rocket
Tony n' Tina's Wedding

November 28th, 2007

The Savages
-Directed by Tamara Jenkins.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney star as John and Wendy Savage, siblings who go through a mid-life crises when they put their father, Lenny (Philip Bosco), away at a nursing home. Neither Jon nor Wendy has established a healthy romantic life?Jon?s girlfriend goes back to her native country when her visa expires before he can propose to her. Meanwhile, Wendy has sexual relations with a married man. Writer/director Tamara Jenkins wisely brings out the flaws in these characters which helps to make them seem more true-to-life, although not particularly likable?especially Wendy. She also includes some awkward moments of comic relief every now and then, but, for the most part, the tone of the film is somewhat serious and bitter. Occasionally, some of the attempts to add more drama feel forced and there aren?t any real surprises or profound insights. Both Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, fortunately, give two very strong performances which help to keep you at least mildly engrossed in the film. Number of times I checked my watch: 2. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Opens at the Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

November 23rd, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
Everything's Cool
Midnight Eagle
Starting Out in the Evening

November 21st, 2007

Please click here for the reviews of:
August Rush
This Christmas
Yiddish Theater: A Love Story

November 16th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
How to Cook Your Life
The Life of Reilly
Margot at the Wedding
Mr.Magorium's Wonder Emporium
What Would Jesus Buy?

November 14th, 2007

Southland Tales
- Directed by Richard Kelly.
How does one describe a movie that?s virtually indescribable? It has something to do with an actor (Dwayne ?The Rock? Johnson) suffering from amnesia who hooks up with a porn star (Sarah Michelle Gellar), befriends a cop (Seann William Scott) and, among other things, tries to save California from an imminent nuclear attack. Miranda Richardson gives a delightfully campy performance as the smarmy head of a powerful technology company. It?s fun to list the rest of the ensemble cast which includes Mandy Moore, Justin Timberlake, Cheri Oteri, Christopher Lambert, John Lovitz and Bai Ling. Writer/director Richard Kelly combines the genres of comedy, sci-fi, drama, romance, action, mystery and satire all into one confusing, twisted and unpredictable plot. Even fans of Richard Kelly?s cult classic Donnie Darko will be scratching their heads just trying to make sense of the plot. The best way to enjoy this bizarre mess as guilty pleasure is to experience it as a midnight movie where the audience laughs at the movie rather than with the movie or to imagine Plan 9 From Outer Space with decent acting and nifty special effects. With a running time of 144 minutes, Southland Tales does tend to overstay its welcome. If you?re interested in a shorter and much less nauseating, unpredictable and strange film, rent the underrated, black-and-white, sci-fi musical western called The American Astronaut. Number of times I checked my watch: 9. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Opens at Angelika Film Center, AMC/Loews 19th St., Clearview 1st & 62nd and AMC Empire 25..

November 10th, 2007

National Lampoon Presents Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo
Directed by Les Claypool.
This ?documentary? about the band Electric Apricot on their way to perform at the music festival, Festeroo, can be compared to Christopher Guest?s ?documentary?, This is Spinal Tap on its surface, but it lacks in most important area: the humor department. The scenes that do generate mild humor are the ones that really satirize musician in an over-the-top, outrageous way?like how hairy one of the musicians looks and how absurd their nickname is, such as ?Aiwass?. Director Les Claypool simply doesn?t push the envelope far enough, so the remaining scenes feel bland and unfunny. Please note that there?s an additional scene after the end credits. Number of times I checked my watch: 8. Entertainment Value: Low. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by National Lampoon. Opens at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater.

November 9th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
Fred Claus
The Insurgents
Lions for Lambs
No Country for Old Men
Steal a Pencil for Me
War Dance

November 7th, 2007

Note by Note: The Making of the Steinway L1037
-Directed by Ben Niles. If you?ve ever wondered about the construction of a piano, this somewhat dull documentary will keep you at least mildly engaged. Workers in Steinway?s Queens factory carefully assemble each piece of the L1037 concert piano by hand?a process that takes almost an entire year. Watching all the different stages of assembly feels more and more tedious and the interviews with the workers and some pianists don?t really add much in terms of insight. Director Ben Niles includes two interesting points, but fails to explore them enough: one, that Steinway pianos are handcrafted unlike pianos from other companies which are machine-crafted and, two, that the demand for pianos has gone significantly down throughout the years, which has lowered the number of piano companies. Like the documentary Helvetica about the type font Helvetica , Note by Note ultimately feels much ado about nothing even though it could have been compelling with much more depth so that you would come out of it gaining some true insight. Directed by Ben Niles. Number of times I checked my watch: 6. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Plow Productions. Opens at the Film Forum.

November 2nd, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
American Gangster
Bee Movie
A Broken Sole
Darfur Now
Fat Girls
Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten

October 26th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
Dan in Real Life
Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains
Music Within
Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
Rails & Ties
Saw IV
Total Denial

October 24th, 2007

Lagerfeld Confidential
-Directed by Rodolphe Marconi.
This documentary offers a small, mildly fascinating glimpse into the life of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. The title deceptively implies hints that you?ll be getting some kind of juicy secret about him that you wouldn?t be able to find out by searching on Google. Rather, director Rodolphe Marconi follows him around during fashion shoots around the world and briefly interviews him about his past and his overall philosophy of life?which is basically that he doesn?t want to psychoanalyze things too much. It?s not surprising that he likes being alone some of the time just to unwind?many people feel that way. Some of the remarks he makes shows off his offbeat, lively personality, which adds to the entertainment value. However, what?s missing is enriching information about his rise to fame (which would help those unfamiliar with him or his work) and deeper, more revealing insight as to what really makes him tick from day to day. Number of times I checked my watch: 3. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Koch Lorber Films. Opens at the Film Forum

October 19th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
30 Days of Night
Black + White + Gray
Gone Baby Gone
Meeting Resistance
Out of the Blue
The Ten Commandments
Things We Lost in the Fire
Wristcutters: A Love Story

October 17th, 2007

-Directed by Ra?l Ruiz.
John Malkovich plays Gustav Klimt, an Austrian artist who sought artistic freedom while falling in love with his muse, L?a de Castro (Saffron Burrows). There?s very little to savor in this insipid biopic other than the exquisite costume and set designs which look authentically like Paris in 1900. John Malkovich appears to be sleepwalking through his role here, but, to add insult-to-injury, writer/director Ra?l Ruiz gives very little insight into the mind of his character?many times, Klimt?s action seem random or simply unremarkable. The often incoherent plot goes around in circles without any memorable moments or believable ones, for that matter. There?s even some unintentional humor when some characters randomly start yelling and pounding at the dinner table before an awkward cut to another scene. Perhaps a documentary about Klimt would have been much more interesting or at least a more coherent biopic that does justice to the artist. Number of times I checked my watch: 9. Entertainment Value: Low. Spiritual Value: Unfortunately, none. Released by Outsider Pictures. Opens at the IFC Center.

O Jerusalem
-Directed by Eli Chouraqui.
Bobby (JJ Field), a Jew, and Sa?d (Sa?d Taghmaoui), his Arab friend, join opposite side of the war of independence to control Jerusalem in 1948. Despite decent performances by Ian Holm as Ben Gurion and, Tova Felshuh, in a supporting role as Golda Meir, too many contrived scenes bog down the by-the-numbers plot. Co-writer/director Eli Chouraqui fails to bring any of the characters to life and important war scenes toward the end seem maudlin. Weak character development makes you feel detached and unengaged. If only such an important moment in the history of Israel could have been handled with more sensitivity to the way people interact and behave rather than focusing on the mechanics of the plot, this could have been a much more powerful film. Based on the novel by Larry Collins. Number of times I checked my watch: 6. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Low. Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films. Opens at the Village East Theater.

October 12th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
King Corn
Lars and the Real Girl
Naked Boys Singing!
Terror's Advocate
Why Did I Get Married?

October 10th, 2007

-Directed by Anton Corbijn.
Ian Curtis (Sam Riley), the lead singer of the band Joy Division in the 1970s, suffers mental and physical health problems until his suicide at the age of 23 in 1980. His relationship with his wife, Deborah (Samantha Morton), gradually deteriorates as well. Sam Riley delivers a raw, electrifying performance as Ian Curtis. Equally impressive is Samantha Morton?s performance as his wife who loses her grip on him which further drives him into depression. He even tries to pop some pills prescribed by a psychiatrist, but they don?t help. Writer/director Anton Corbijn wisely includes organic dialogue along with a slow pace which helps to heighten the realism. The use of black-and-white cinematography gives the film a rougher texture and visual quality. Although not as exhilarating and unforgettable as the biopic La Vie en Rose about Edith Piaf, Control at least manages to be deeply absorbing. Number of times I checked my watch: 0. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: High. Released by The Weinstein Company. Opens at the Film Forum.

Golda's Balcony
-Directed by Jeremy Kagan.
In this ?documentary? based on the Broadway play of the same name, Valerie Harper plays Golda Meir, the first and only female Prime Minister of Israel. Her decisions saved Israel during the Yom Kippur War when Egyptian troops threatened to destroy Israel. Not only does Harper play Golda, but also ambitiously plays every other important person interacting with Golda during those times, such as Moshe Dayan, Henry Kissinger, her mother and even her husband. These other performances fail to be believable, especially since her face and hair doesn?t change enough to be distinguishable?other than the clothes and, ever so slightly, her voice. Director Jeremy Kagan awkwardly weaves unremarkable background visuals while Golda merely interacts. It all seems underwhelming and dull, unlike the hit Broadway play. Ultimately, Golda?s Balcony would have worked better either as a mere documentary or with other, more distinguishable actors in the other roles. Number of times I checked my watch: 8. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Unfortunately, none. Released by AV Productions. Opens at the Quad Cinema.

October 5th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
Desert Bayou
Finishing the Game
For the Bible Tells Me So
The Heartbreak Kid
Lake of Fire
Let it Ride: The Craig Kelly Story
The Man Who Souled the World
Michael Clayton

October 3rd, 2007

Kurt Cobain: About a Son
-Directed by AJ Schnack.
Whether or not you?re a fan of Kurt Cobain, this profoundly absorbing and revealing documentary will hold your attention from start to finish. Director AJ Schnack uses never-before-publicized audio interviews between journalist Michael Azerrad and Kurt Cobain while incorporating breathtaking visuals to accompany his voice. Despite that Cobain?s face isn?t shown during the interviews, it?s amazing how Schnack manages to humanize him as if Cobain were talking to the audience. Listening to Cobain discuss his troubled beginnings, as he gradually rose to fame in the band Nirvana, could have been tedious and dull, but instead comes across as lively, surprisingly insightful and, most importantly, honest. Such a rare glimpse into the mind of a music legend feels like a breath of fresh air. Number of times I checked my watch: 0. Entertainment Value: Very High. Spiritual Value: High. Released by Balcony Releasing. Opens at the IFC Center.

Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door
-Directed by Gregory Wilson.
Ruth (Blanche Baker) and her sons sadistically torture Meg (Blythe Auffarth), her 16-year-old niece. Based on a true story. Blanche Baker gives an appropriately bitchy performance as the main torturer, Ruth, but that doesn?t help to enliven the unimaginative plot which lacks suspense. Of course, Meg happens to be good friends with one of the young torturers, namely Daniel (David Manche), a friend of Ruth?s sons, while she?s trapped in the basement. After all the ?torture porn? films such as the Saw franchise or Captivity, this disturbing thriller treads chartered territory with no real surprises. It would have been much more interesting if co-writers Daniel Farrands and Philip Nutman would not reveal the perpetrators? identities or at least they could have given them more of a motive other than the clich?d glee of torturing others. Production values help to create some creepiness, especially through the set design and editing, but the weak script fails to keep you thoroughly immersed in the by-the-numbers story. Number of times I checked my watch: 3. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by Moderncin?. Opens at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater.

September 29th, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited
-Directed by Wes Anderson.
Three brothers, Francis (Owen Wilson), Peter (Adrien Brody) and Jack (Jason Schwartzman) bond while on a train in India. This opening night film of the New York film Festival often aims for offbeat comedy, but ends up more as a bland drama with unlikable characters. Much of the dialogue lacks wit and too many scenes drag from lack of any real momentum?either from the plot or characters. Co-writer/director Wes Anderson includes too many underdeveloped subplots and randomness which could work if handled right, but, in this case, it just feels awkward and, worst of all, boring. Jack?s brief romance with a stewardess (Amara Karan) feels contrived and an important scene with the brothers? mother (Anjelica Huston) lacks any much-needed poignancy. The Darjeeling Limited ultimately works better as a travelogue of India, but The Namesake already treaded those waters with much more finesse. At the NY Film Festival this is preceded by the similarly unfunny short film Hotel Chevalier, which shows the sexual relationship between Jack and his ex-girlfriend (Natalie Portman). Number of times I checked my watch: 8. Entertainment Value: Low. Spiritual Value: Low. Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

September 28th, 2007

Click here for the abridged reviews of:
Feast of Love
Freshman Orientation
The Game Plan
The Kingdom
Lust, Caution
The Price of Sugar

September 26th, 2007

- Directed by Marco Williams.
This intriguing and informative film documents the consequences of three communities that banished African Americans from their homes back in 1901. In both a moral and ethical sense, those whose property were taken from their family because of racism in the early 20th Century ought to get it back or at least to get some monetary compensation. Director Marco Williams comes across the legal term of ?adverse possession? which means that the property belongs to the owner who has lived there for a long period of time even if he/she has stolen it. It?s quite intriguing and moving when an African American tries to dig up an unmarked grave to find evidence of his great-grandfather?s remains. Within that town and others, Williams finds racism when he meets the townspeople who have no shame admitting that they chose to live there because it?s an all-white town. Opens at the Film Forum.

September 21st, 2007

Click here for the abridged reviews of:
Adrift in Manhattan
The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford
Beauty Remains
Good Luck Chuck
The Jane Austen Book Club
The Man of My Life
Resident Evil: Extinction
Sydney White

September 19th, 2007

The Last Winter
-Directed by Larry Fessenden.
A team working to extract oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge encounters a strange, supernatural entity. Ed (Ron Perlman) leads the team on their mission and doubts the severity of the situation, even when one of their team members mysteriously dies. James (James LeGros), an environmental expert, along with Abby (Connie Britton) both warn their team of the hazardous dangers of global warming in the Arctic and, so, they?re not so surprised when weather conditions worsen. Co-writer/director Larry Fessenden creates an eerie, foreboding atmosphere which generates a few chills, especially given the isolated setting in the Arctic. He gradually builds tension, but, unfortunately, the plot loses its momentum and imagination later in the second act as the team continues to struggle and figure out what?s going on. The third act feels tacked-on and over-the-top. The Thing, by John Carpenter, treads the same waters which much more success. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by IFC First Take. Opens at the IFC Center.

September 14th, 2007

Click here for the reviews of:
Across the Universe
Angels in Dust
The Brave One
December Boys
Eastern Promises
The Great World of Sound
In the Valley of Elah
Ira & Abby
King of California
My Brother's Wedding
The Rape of Europa

September 12th, 2007

-Directed by Heddy Honigmann.
As a documentary about the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France, where tourists from all over the world visit the graves of famous artists, this feels surprisingly enchanting, lively and insightful. The tourists discuss how a wide variety of artists, whose grave they visit, inspire them. These artists include Choping, Proust and Jim Morrison as well as others such as Yves Montand. Everyone seems to be affected by art in a certain way?even an embalmer whose passion for Modigliani?s paintings inspires his own work on dead people. Director Heddy Honigmann certainly loves the art world and, through fascinating interviews with art-lovers, shows that an artist?s life is eternal because of the precious work that they leave behind. It?s also worth mentioning that Honigmann films in 35mm with some breathtaking cinematography. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: High. Released by First Run/Icarus. Opens at the Film Forum.

-Directed by Gary Hustwit.
This documentary about the evolution of the typeface Helvetica should mainly appeal to those interested in design. Most people take fonts for granted, but typographers focus their attention to it as it were the most important part of life?in fact, one typographer hilariously admits that he has a fetish for reading Helvetica fonts like some men have fetish for women?s bottoms or other typical fetishes. Director Gary Hustwit does a decent job of tracing the history of Helvetica from its initiation in Switzerland until advertisers became tired of it and switched to fancier or quirkier type face; Helvetica, on the other hands, is simpler and easier to read, but very impersonal. Despite all the debate whether or not Helvetica has value any more, Helvetica ultimately feels like much ado about nothing. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Low. Released by Plexifilm. Opens at the IFC Center.

September 7th, 2007

3:10 to Yuma
-Directed by James Mangold.
During the late 1800s, Dan Evans (Christian Bale) a poor family man, captures Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), an infamous outlaw, and must bring him onto a train in Yuma to collect his bounty. Meanwhile, Ben?s gang of murderous thieves try to save him. This exciting remake of the 1957 film works very well on all levels including solid performances by Bale and Crowe and an impressively-written script. Fortunately, there aren?t any awkward moments or unnecessary subplots?once the plot picks up its momentum, it never loses it. The characters of Ben and Dan are both complex and interesting enough for you to care about them. In no way is Ben a predictable kind of villain; he actually has a heart. With so many thrills, breathtaking scenery, and relentless suspense, 3:10 to Yuma just may reinvigorate the genre of Westerns. Entertainment Value: High. Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Lionsgate.

The Brothers Solomon
-Directed by Bob Odenkirk.
Dean (Will Forte) and John (Will Arnett), two brothers, search for a woman to have a baby with so that their dying father (Lee Majors) could get his wish granted. If only hilarity could ensue, but, instead, what you get is a series of either creepy, juvenile or toilet humor that gets old very quickly. It makes no sense why Janine (Kristen Wiig) would even remotely consent to having their baby, especially because they act so immature, stupid and just plain annoying. Will Arnett does a poor job of trying to channel Jim Carrey while Will Forte simply has poor comic timing. As the plot gets more and more ludicrous, you?ll yearn for much funnier sex comedies such as There?s Something About Mary. Entertainment Value: Low. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by TriStar Pictures.

The Inner Life of Martin Frost
The Unknown Soldier
The Hunting Party
Romance & Cigarettes
In the Shadow of the Moon
Fierce People
The Bubble

September 5th, 2007

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With

August 31st, 2007

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama
Ladr?n Que Roba a Ladr?n

August 29th, 2007

The Monastery: Mr.Vig and the Nun
Balls of Fury
Quiet City

August 24th, 2007

Skid Row
Closing Escrow
The Bothersome Man
Deep Water
The Hottest State
September Dawn
Right at Your Door

Mr.Bean's Holiday
-Directed by Steve Bendelack.
Mr.Bean (Rowan Atkinson) wins a trip to Cannes, but, along the way, accidentally separates a young boy (Max Baldry) and his father, who happens to be one of the judges at the Cannes Film Festival. Throughout his adventures with the boy, he also crosses paths with Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe), a smarmy film director and an actress (Emma de Caunes) from his movie "Playback Time", which happens to be debuting at the film festival. The humor here is geared much more for kids, but, even so, the plot has too many long patches where nothing remotely funny happens and, on top of that, the gags happen too quickly. If you're seen the trailer, you've already seen the majority of the slightly laugh-inducing scenes. The brief appearances of Willem Dafoe and Jean Rochefort, as a waiter, barely help to add some liveliness. Director Steve Bendelack has simply turned Mr.Bean into a creepy, retarded character, which seems very different from the Mr.Bean character on the TV show. On a positive note, the film-within-the-film, Playback Time, actually looks more refreshing and funnier than this bland sequel. Entertainment Value: Low, Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by Universal Pictures

Resurrecting the Champ
-Directed by Rod Lurie.
Erik(Josh Hartnett), a sports reporter, meets a homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson), who may or may not be a boxing legend. Alan Alda plays his editor. This character-driven drama may not be as riveting or intense as the somewhat similar Shattered Glass and it takes it time to become truly engaging, but at least it boasts terrific performances all-around from Sam Jackson, Alan Alda and even Josh Hartnett. Fortunately, co-writers Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett include a rich character development and dialogue that feels organic. Some scenes, especially toward the end, are surprisingly tender and heartwarming. Entertainment Value: High, Spiritual Value: Moderate. Released by Yari Film Group.

August 22nd, 2007

Hannah Takes the Stairs

August 17th, 2007

The Invasion
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Primo Levi's Journey
Manda Bala

Death at a Funeral
-Directed by Frank Oz.
Chaos ensues when a family gathers together for a funeral. Attending the funeral are Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen) and his wife Jane (Keeley Hawes) along with his brother, Simon (Alan Tudyk), who accidentally gets high on LSD during the funeral. Scene-stealing Peter Dinklage plays a midget who has a very revealing secret to share. The imaginative screenplay by Dean Craig delicately balances the uproariously comedic moments with just the right amount of drama so that you're thoroughly entertained. The terrific ensemble cast brings plenty of comic energy and have a lot of fun in their roles as will you while watching Death at a Funeral, the most wickedly hilarious, crowd-pleasing British comedy since Four Weddings and a Funeral. Entertainment Value: Very ?High? (pun intended) Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by MGM.

August 15th, 2007

Love for Sale

August 10th, 2007

Rush Hour 3
Crossing the Line
Rocket Science
2 Days in Paris

August 8th, 2007

Dans Paris

Daddy Day Camp
-Directed by Fred Savage.
Charlie (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Phil (Paul Rae) struggle to run a day camp with campers who run amok. Meanwhile, they compete with a neighboring camp run by Lance (Lochlyn Munro) Watching actors, such as Cuba Gooding, Jr., humiliate themselves in dumb, silly roles with unfunny dialogue simply feels painful to watch and to listen to. Cuba hasn't learned to turn down bad scripts after the equally awful movie Boat Trip from 2002. Director Fred Savage, who had once starred in "The Wonder Years" TV series, fills the movie with lots of toilet humor, stupidity, and, of course, annoying kids. Also, the competing camp has a very unappealing, uncreative name: Camp Canola--not a particularly intimidating name, either. This unnecessary sequel to Daddy Day Care should have either went direct-to-DVD or been animated or, better yet, turned into a silent movie. Entertainment Value: None, Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by TriStar Pictures.

August 3rd, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum
Hot Rod
Becoming Jane
The Willow Tree
If I Didn't Care
El Cantante
Blame it on Fidel

July 27th, 2007

The Simpsons Movie
No Reservations
Laura Smiles
No End in Sight
This is England
The Camden 28

July 25th, 2007

The Devil Came on Horseback

July 20th, 2007

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
Goya's Ghosts
In Search of Mozart

July 18th, 2007

Scrap Heaven
Live-In Maid

July 13th, 2007

Hula Girls
My Best Friend (see Tribeca Film Festival 2007)

July 11th, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

July 6th, 2007

Dynamite Warrior
Colma: The Musical
The Method

July 4th, 2007

Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman
Rescue Dawn
Introducing the Dwights

July 3rd, 2007

License to Wed

July 2nd, 2007 (8 PM)


June 29th, 2007

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox
Vitus (see Tribeca Film Festival 2007)

June 27th, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard
Ghosts of Cit? Soleil
In Between Days (see Sundance at BAM 2006)

June 22nd, 2007

Evan Almighty
A Mighty Heart
The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Lady Chatterley
You Kill Me (see Tribeca Film Festival 2007)
Black Sheep (see Tribeca Film Festival 2007)

June 20th, 2007

Manufactured Landscapes

June 15th, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Nancy Drew
And Then Came Love
Gypsy Caravan
Blood and Tears
Unborn in the USA
Beyond Hatred
Czech Dream

June 13th, 2007

Lights in the Dusk

June 8th, 2007

Hostel: Part II
Ocean's Thirteen
Surf's Up
La Vie en Rose
Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman
Belle Toujours (see New York Film Festival 2006)
Chalk (see Gen Art Film Festival 2007)

June 6th, 2007

12:08 East of Bucharest

June 1st, 2007

Knocked Up
Day Watch
Mala Noche
Four Lane Highway
Ten Canoes
Crazy Love
I'm Reed Fish (see Tribeca Film Festival 2006)

May 25th, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Hollywood Dreams
Golden Door (see Tribeca Film Festival 2007)
Paprika (see New York Film Festival 2006)

May 23rd, 2007

I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal
The Boss of it All
9 Star Hotel (see Tribeca Film Festival 2007)

May 18th, 2007

The Boy Who Cried Bitch: The Adolescent Years
Shrek the Third
The Wendell Baker Story
Memories of Tomorrow
Private Property
Fay Grim
Six Days
Brooklyn Rules
Even Money
Flanders (see Rendez-Vous w/ French Cinema 2007)

May 16th, 2007


May 11th, 2007

28 Weeks Later
Delta Farce
The Salon
Georgia Rule
The Ex
ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway
Casting About
The Hip Hop Project (see Tribeca Film Festival 2006)

May 9th, 2007

Brand Upon the Brain!
Day Night Day Night (see New Directors/New Films 2007)
Looking for an Icon

May 4th, 2007

Spider-Man 3
Lucky You
The Flying Scotsman
Away From Her
Paris, je t'aime
Race You to the Bottom
Iceberg (see New Directors/New Films 2006)
The Treatment (see Tribeca Film Festival 2006)
Civic Duty (see Tribeca Film Festival 2006)

May 2nd, 2007


April 27th, 2007

Kickin' it Old Skool
The Condemned
Something to Cheer About
Snow Cake (see Tribeca Film Festival 2006)
Sing Now or Forever Hold Your Peace (see Gen Art Film Festival 2006)
Poison Friends (see New York Film Festival 2006)

April 25th, 2007

Triad Election (see New York Film Festival 2006)

April 20th, 2007

In the Land of Women
Alice Neel
Goodbye Momo
Stephanie Daley (see Sundance at BAM 2006)
The Valet (see Rendez-Vous w/ French Cinema 2007)

April 18th, 2007

Syndromes and a Century (see New York Film Festival 2006)

April 13th, 2007

Slow Burn
Aqua Teen Hunger Force MovieFilm for Theaters
Everything's Gone Green
The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai
Dreaming Lhasa
Lonely Hearts (see Canadian Front 2006)
Red Road (see New Directors/New Films 2007)
Private Fears in Public Places (see New York Film Festival 2006)

April 11th, 2007

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis

April 6th, 2007

The Hoax
The TV Set
G.I. Jes?s
Whole New Thing (see Canadian Front 2006)

April 5th, 2007

The Reaping

April 4th, 2007

Firehouse Dog
Black Book

March 30th, 2007

Blades of Glory
Meet the Robinsons (in Disney Digital 3-D)
The Lookout
Killer of Sheep
After the Wedding
The Hawk is Dying
Summer in Berlin
Sacco & Vanzetti

March 28th, 2007


March 23rd, 2007

Reign Over Me
Air Guitar Nation
The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair
The Page Turner (see Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2007)
Boy Culture (see 2006 Tribeca Film Festival)
First Snow (see 2006 Tribeca Film Festival)
Color Me Kubrick (see 2006 Tribeca Film Festival)
Offside (see 2006 New York Film Festival)

March 21st, 2007

Blessed by Fire

March 16th, 2007

My Brother
Adam's Apples
American Cannibal
The Wind That Shakes the Barley

March 14th, 2007


March 9th, 2007

The Ultimate Gift
Maxed Out
Beyond the Gates
The Host (see 2006 New York Film Festival)

March 7th, 2007

Exterminating Angels (see Film Comment Selects 2007)

March 2nd, 2007

Wild Hogs
Two Weeks
The Cats of Mirikitani
Rock Bottom

February 28th, 2007

Into Great Silence
Wild Tigers I Have Known

February 23rd, 2007

The Astronaut Farmer
The Number 23
Amazing Grace
Starter for 10
Gray Matters

February 16th, 2007

Ghost Rider
Bridge to Terabithia
Days of Glory
Avenue Montaigne
Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams
Close to Home

February 14th, 2007

Daddy's Little Girls
Music and Lyrics
Bamako (see 2006 New York Film Festival)

February 9th, 2007

The Last Sin Eater
The Lives of Others
Operation Homecoming

February 7th, 2007

The Decomposition of the Soul

February 2nd, 2007

Because I Said So
The Messengers
The Situation
Puccini for Beginners
In the Pit
East of Havana

January 31st, 2007

An Unreasonable Man

January 26th, 2007

Blood & Chocolate
Smokin' Aces
Seraphim Falls
From Other Worlds

January 24th, 2007

2 or 3 Things I Know About Him

January 19th, 2007

The Hitcher
Regular Lovers
The Italian

January 17th, 2007

Alone With Her

January 12th, 2007

Stomp the Yard- Directed by Sylvain White.
To avoid jail-time after his involvement in a gang fight that kills his brother, DJ (Columbus Short) enrolls in Truth University where he shows off his street dancing moves in feud between two fraternities. Meanwhile, he tries to win over April (Meagan Good), a beautiful girl who happens to be dating Grant (Darrin Dewitt Henson), a smarmy frat guy. The many dramatic scenes feel contrived and melodramatic while the budding romance between DJ and April lacks chemistry. The screenplay by Robert Adetuyi uses all the clich?s in the book without including any real surprises or refreshing scenes other than the dance sequences which add some much-needed energy to the dull, stale plot. Drumline, You Got Served and even the recent Step Up were more entertaining and slightly less convoluted and contrived. Entertainment Value: Moderate. Spiritual Value: Low. Released by Screen Gems.
Alpha Dog
Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story
Tears of the Black Tiger
God Grew Tired of Us
Verdict on Auschwitz

January 10th, 2007

Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World / Kiki Smith: Squatting the Palace

January 5th, 2007

Freedom Writers (full review)
Thr3e (full review)
Happily N'Ever After- Directed by Paul J. Bolger.
While the wizard (voice of George Carlin) goes on vacation from Fairy Tale Land, Ella (voice of Sarah Michelle Gellar) enters a love triangle with a prince (voice of Patrick Warburton) and Rick (voice of Freddy Prince, Jr.), a royal servant. Meanwhile, Ella's wicked stepmother, Frieda (voice of Sigourney Weaver) gets ahold of the wizard's magic staff and brings evil into Fairy Tale Land. In his CGI-animated film, the humor falls flat and the poor comic timing only makes things worse, much unlike in last year's hilarious Hoodwinked!. In this case, none of the characters are lively enough, although the duo Mambo (voice of Andy Dick) and Munk (voice of Wallace Shawn) come close. Even the animation itself is a bit below par with faces that lack emotion and very dull backgrounds. Ultimately, this could have been so much funnier and entertaining with a sharper screenplay by screenwriter Robert Moreland. Even at a running time of 85 minutes, it still manages to drag. Entertainment Value: Low. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by Lionsgate.

Codename: The Cleaner.- Directed by Les Mayfield
Cedric The Entertainer stars as Jake, a janitor who suffers from amnesia and believes he's undercover agent. Fans of Cedric The Entertainer will enjoy this movie and somewhat forgive it for its stupid, silly, implausible plot. Everyone else will be frustrated by the reptitive, forced humor and annoyed by Cedric's over-the-top performance. Lucy Liu co-stars as Jake's girlfriend, but doesn't have enough material to show her comedic skills like she did in Charlie's Angels. Sadly, even the outtakes don't redeem the shortage of laughs. Entertainment Value: Low. Spiritual Value: None is required or desired. Released by New Line Cinema.

January 3rd, 2007

Sacrifice/Leper/Sky Burial

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