Cody Mcmains

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State's Evidence Review


Excellent
With a title like State's Evidence, and knowing nothing about the movie, I assumed it could be one of two things: Run-of-the-mill gangster flick, possibly with an informer being protected from mobsters looking to kill him, or urban drama/thriller, probably starring a collection of rappers and plenty of gunplay.

I'm pleased to report that neither was the case... I'm not sure I could bear to watch another one of either of those kinds of films. What State's Evidence is, rather, is an entry into the burgeoning teen violence genre, taking the form of, primarily, a home video confession of a high school student who's determined to commit suicide the next day. In chronicling his last day on earth, word gets out what Scott (Douglas Smith) is going to do, and he soon becomes a minor celebrity in school, as everyone wants to be a part of his last day on earth. But a few of his friends throw a wrench into things by deciding to join in, and a suicide pact is formed. As expected, this takes an even darker tone as the kids realize that, with no consequences facing them, morality may as well go out the window.

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Thomas and the Magic Railroad Review


Weak
Bullies suck. "Being useful" is good. Magic is cool. You just can't argue with these irrefutable facts in the world of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, a preschool adventure based on the successful television series about the little tank engine that could. The lessons may be admirable, but creator/director/writer Britt Allcroft has created a scattered children's tale that looks good, but feels messy.

She has done some things right: she's cast big stars, like Alec Baldwin as the Lilliputian Mr. Conductor, and Peter Fonda as the sad grandpa, Burnett Stone; her production designers have continued the show's happy train colors, with bright blues and reds, and have added bonus design touches to the live sets and wardrobe; her script applauds positive thinking, creativity, and foiling the bad guy. It's just that all of this is mired in a clunky set of hole-filled plots, confusing enough to make me want to interrogate the little guy sitting in front of me.

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Thomas & The Magic Railroad Review


Unbearable

Desperately trying to ride the coattails of pop phenomenon kiddie TV shows that have cashed in at the box office, "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" is an depressing failure.

Little more than a tediously protracted and befuddled episode of "Shining Time Station" -- the very, very low-rent Brit import program featuring a perky little steam engine with self-esteem issues and three facial expressions -- the whole movie rings with the resounding thud of a contrived effort that nobody put their hearts into.

The TV show is simplistic but earnest toddler fare featuring talking miniature trains with wildly rolling eyes on otherwise freeze-framed faces ("animated" by a few different inert expressions swapped on and off the engines' front ends from time to time). One might reasonably expect a feature film version to at least offer a little real animation to give the trains some big-screen personality and distinguish it from the shoestring show. But instead "Thomas" stuck to its paltry production values and minimal storylines, using what budget it had to lure lead actors with faded marquee power.

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Not Another Teen Movie Review


OK

If ever there were a genre long overdue for a vicious lampooning, it would have to be the cliché-plagued fantasy factory of the witless teen comedy/romance.

The popular jock, the cruel cheerleader, the arty-dreamy bespectacled girl, her shy geek best friend pining for her love -- these stock characters were glaringly unoriginal and badly acted back when John Hughes cauterized his "Pretty In Pink" formula into the heads of vacuous pubescents in the '80s.

Now the time for reckoning has arrived. A whole slew of central casting pop culture denizens -- and the literally dozens of throwaway flicks they inhabit -- get skewered something fierce in the ribald and relentlessly, no-jokes-barred satire "Not Another Teen Movie."

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