Bruce Berman

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Yes Man Review


Bad
Everyone involved with Yes Man should have said no to the project. Don't make the same mistake.

Jim Carrey should have said no to the threadbare script. The tireless comedian has shown he could wring laughs out of one-note pitches like Bruce Almighty, Liar, Liar, or the Ace Ventura films. But the three credited Yes Man screenwriters cook up the flimsiest comedic premise of Carrey's career -- a non-committal loan officer enters a motivational program that permits him from turning anything down -- then forget to back it up with humor, emotional conflict or, you know, an actual plot.

Continue reading: Yes Man Review

Gran Torino Review


Bad
Do you miss Archie Bunker? Are you curious to find out how Carroll O'Connor's stone-cold bigot would have reacted to our current, culturally diverse society? And did you ever dream of seeing racist old Archie packing heat as he spewed bile all over the "spooks," "gooks," and other non-Caucasians who were unlucky enough to cross his path? Then Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino is the movie for you.

Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) served his time in the military, paid his dues at the auto plant -- American cars only, of course -- and wants to spend his days as a widower in peace. He is disgusted by his ignorant, oafish sons and their selfish children -- the ugliest characters you'll see on screen this year. But his disdain isn't limited to kin. Walt also hates the "eggroll," "fish-head" "Charlie Chans" who've moved into his blue-collar Detroit suburb.

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Get Smart Review


Very Good
Remaking the satirical '60s spy sitcom Get Smart without Steve Carell in the Maxwell Smart role would have been pretty dumb.

Lucky for them -- and, by extension, us -- the creative team behind this rejuvenated Smart wisely tapped the unassuming funnyman to fill the late Don Adams' telephone-disguised-as-a-shoe. Carell's nimble turn as a calculatedly incompetent agent of CONTROL ensures that this modern spin on an outdated television property -- while rarely intelligent -- is consistently witty.

Continue reading: Get Smart Review

Lucky You Review


Good
The characters in Curtis Hanson's Lucky You waste so much breath explaining their every move at the card table that the movie ultimately works better as a Texas Hold 'Em tutorial than a down-on-your-luck melodrama.

Completed in 2005, Lucky legendarily shuffled around Warner Bros.' release schedule (bad sign) before the studio dropped it on the summer's first massive weekend (good sign) where it could compete with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 for an audience (suicidal sign). Watching it, you easily forget the picture's age and subsequent shelf life until Drew Barrymore's character -- an aw shucks rube from Northern California trying to make it as a lounge singer in Las Vegas -- tosses off a Dr. Laura Schlesinger reference. Hanson even opens with Bruce Springsteen's "Lucky Town," an old-school track off The Boss' similarly titled album that brought me back a few years, but which actually fits the story well.

Continue reading: Lucky You Review

The Reaping Review


Terrible
Trouble sleeping? Try The Reaping. As Stephen Hopkins' sinfully boring devil dance continues creeping, at your watch you'll be peeping. By the time you reach the preposterous conclusion, where a sequel-establishing twist looms like a Biblical plague, for humanity you'll be weeping.

You'll need more than faith to accept the film's ridiculous premise, cooked up by sibling screenwriters Carey and Chad Hayes. These two can't distinguish between horrifying and horrible. They last collaborated on the dreadful House of Wax remake starring Paris Hilton. Enough said.

Continue reading: The Reaping Review

Hearts In Atlantis Review


OK
The entire time I spent watching the latest Stephen King big-screen adaptation Hearts in Atlantis, I had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that something was missing. All the key elements of a potentially great film were present -- authentic-looking 1960s Americana scenery, great acting by Anthony Hopkins and newcomer Anton Yelchin (Delivering Milo), an intriguing story line, and strong directing by Scott Hicks. And then, at the end of the film, it just hit me like a sap across the back of the neck.

One common recurring narrative in many of King's better-known novel-to-screen adaptations -- such as Stand by Me, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption -- incorporates an older gentleman recalling his youth or a life-changing incident of his life. Hearts in Atlantis follows this to a tee. After learning of a childhood friend's death, a middle-aged photographer Robert Garfield (David Morse) ventures back to his hometown for the funeral. Upon arrival, Robert recalls memories of youth and of one innocent, fateful summer when a mysterious man named Ted Brautigan (Hopkins) entered his life and changed it forever.

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Troy Review


Good
"War is young men dying and old men talking," bellows one Greek leader following a mighty clash in Troy. He might as well be talking about the movie itself. Director Wolfgang Petersen heaps handfuls of clashing titans together with dry speeches on historic nobility. He ends up with a handsome yet long-winded restaging of the war waged between Greece and the warriors of Troy over the hand of lovely Helen (Diane Kruger, a nondescript mixture of Leelee Sobieski and Natalie Portman).

Troy leaves the talking to its triumvirate of Hollywood royalty - Brian Cox, Brendan Gleeson, and Peter O'Toole. The dying is left up to the chiseled and marketable studs - Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Brad Pitt. Whenever a member of the veteran trio interacts with a member of the other on screen, it creates a mismatch of talent not even a Trojan Horse could overcome.

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Eight Legged Freaks Review


Weak
Spiders are annoying little creatures that always find ways to invade your space. Many people find the sight of them scary, but usually a good-soled shoe is the best defense. But the spiders of Eight Legged Freaks are so massive that a shoe won't even dent their exoskeleton; too bad the film itself leaves a similarly lackluster impression.

In the Arizona desert town of Prosperity, there is little to get excited about - not even the sparkling new shopping mall can bring energy to this lifeless place. But when a toxic spill oozes its way to a spider farm (local industry!), the spiders mutate into gigantic monsters and this sleepy town is in for a rude awakening. After eating up the dog, cat, and ostrich population, hundreds of hungry eight-legged beasts are ready to feast on the residents. It is now up to a love-struck miner (David Arquette), the best-looking sheriff since Suzanne Somers (Kari Wuhrer), her kids (Scarlett Johansson and Scott Terra), and an annoying ham-radio operator (Doug E. Doug) to save this who-really-cares little town.

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Red Planet Review


OK
One approaches the release of Red Planet with a singular, desperate thought: There is no way... it is not possible... it is inconceivable... that Red Planet could be worse than Mission to Mars.

Indeed, Red Planet makes for a far better film than Mission to Mars. While that's not saying a whole lot (since Mission currently ranks as the worst movie I've seen all year) Red Planet is at least competently constructed and mildly engaging, so long as you put aside the sappy melodramatics. Of course, this isn't that easy to do.

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Angel Eyes Review


Weak
He's an emotionless, lost soul wandering the streets and helping out strangers while looking for a clean razor and dry cleaner for his dirty overcoat. She's a pissed-off and lonely police chick who sleeps with her bulletproof vest on and enjoys beating up suspects, drinking Budweiser, and despising her abusive father. Together, these two misfits meet through some psychic mumbo-jumbo, learn to face down their inner demons, discover that true love does exist in this cruel world, and blah blah blah.

Jennifer Lopez and James Caviezel trudge with heavy hearts through the muck of suspense/drama/romantic comedy/love story Angel Eyes -- a film with an identity crisis that rivals Plato from Rebel with a Cause.

Continue reading: Angel Eyes Review

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Bruce Berman Movies

Yes Man Movie Review

Yes Man Movie Review

Everyone involved with Yes Man should have said no to the project. Don't make the...

Get Smart Movie Review

Get Smart Movie Review

Remaking the satirical '60s spy sitcom Get Smart without Steve Carell in the Maxwell Smart...

Lucky You Movie Review

Lucky You Movie Review

The characters in Curtis Hanson's Lucky You waste so much breath explaining their every move...

The Reaping Movie Review

The Reaping Movie Review

Trouble sleeping? Try The Reaping. As Stephen Hopkins' sinfully boring devil dance continues creeping, at...

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Hearts in Atlantis Movie Review

Hearts in Atlantis Movie Review

The entire time I spent watching the latest Stephen King big-screen adaptation Hearts in Atlantis,...

Troy Movie Review

Troy Movie Review

"War is young men dying and old men talking," bellows one Greek leader following a...

Eight Legged Freaks Movie Review

Eight Legged Freaks Movie Review

Spiders are annoying little creatures that always find ways to invade your space. Many people...

Red Planet Movie Review

Red Planet Movie Review

One approaches the release of Red Planet with a singular, desperate thought: There is...

Angel Eyes Movie Review

Angel Eyes Movie Review

He's an emotionless, lost soul wandering the streets and helping out strangers while looking for...

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