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The Hurt Locker Review


Excellent
It's intriguing to watch a battlefield movie that manages to be gritty and harrowing as well as sensitive and moving, but that's what Bigelow has done.

This is a film that often makes us flinch from the screen, mainly because of a superbly layered performance by Renner.

In war-torn Baghdad, the American bomb disposal team uses dry humour to cope with their job. But the new senior officer, James (Renner), is rather enigmatic and strange. His teammates Sanborn and Eldridge (Mackie and Geraghty) find his maverick attitude difficult, leading to tense exchanges in extreme situations.

Continue reading: The Hurt Locker Review

Inside Moves Review


Bad
Director Richard Donner became a name by making big, action-packed blockbusters like Superman and the Lethal Weapon quartet. So watching Inside Moves, his 1980 character study about outcasts who find salvation in a watering hole, is mesmerizing for all the wrong reasons. It's like watching Michael Jordan missing a curveball by a country mile, Garth Brooks rocking out as Chris Gaines, or George W. Bush handling foreign policy.

The lead outcast here is Roary (John Savage), who attempts to end his life by jumping from a 10-story window. Through dumb luck he survives, but emerges months later from the hospital with a crippled leg and a broken spirit. Desperate for something to do, he heads over to the local bar, Max's, which looks like the kind of place that serves nothing but procrastination and broken dreams.

Continue reading: Inside Moves Review

John Adams Review


Excellent
The mammoth success of David McCullough's John Adams (2001) was one of publishing's great shockers. How could a lengthy hardcover about America's least glamorous founding father sell so many copies?

It wasn't the Pulitzer that moved units. It was McCullough's storytelling which transformed Adams' life from a forgotten textbook paragraph to something deserving of a big-budget, seven-part HBO epic.

Continue reading: John Adams Review

The Green Mile Review


Excellent
The Green Mile? Let's talk about 26 miles. The length of a marathon. Start the race and the movie together: The race would long be over before the film. The winner would be at home, taking a nap. Yes, The Green Mile is three hours long.

Not that long movies have never been successful, and not that The Green Mile is bad. You might even think a long movie is required here. Pulled from Stephen King's acclaimed series of six books by the same name, King returns to the kind of work he was doing in The Shawshank Redemption (based on a short story of his), the kind that seems to perform the best, away from splatter and gore, and into the minds of the strangest of characters.

Continue reading: The Green Mile Review

Down In The Valley Review


Good

Harlan Carruthers is a blissful cowboy, all scuffed boots, aw-shucks mannerisms, and a negligent sort of sensuality. He's lightening-quick with his twin single-shot Colts and loves nothing more than riding his horse to the highest hill around and surveying the beauty of the landscape.

He's also a walking anachronism, because Down in the Valley is a modern-day tale, and the title refers to the overbuilt suburbia that is the San Fernando Valley, the land of crowded freeways and chain stores that marks the northern reaches of Los Angeles. But Harlan, played by Edward Norton, swaggers through, contentedly out of place, until he catches sight of Tobe (Evan Rachel Wood), a teenage nymph who pulls into the service station where Harlan works as she is on the way to the beach with her giggling friends. It's unclear why the group dismisses Harlan as out-of-place instead of in fashion, but Tobe is as instantly taken with him as he is with her, and he quits his job to catch his first sight of the ocean with her.

Continue reading: Down In The Valley Review

Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story Review


Good
Take Seabiscuit, remove the cussing, the drunkenness, the Depression, and all the death, and add in one prococious little blonde girl. You pretty much have Dreamer, a perfectly acceptable family film that, nonetheless, adds nothing to the genre.

Heck, if you throw in a zebra as well you have Racing Stripes, which came out a year earlier and told the same story: Girl adopts horse that no one believes in (in Dreamer it's a horse with a broken leg, not a zebra), who goes on to fame at the races. The film is based on a true story -- as the title probably clued you in -- about a horse named Mariah's Storm, a female who broke her leg and, after being completely written off, eventually returned to the track and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's pretty much the same story here, though the horse is named Sonador (Spanish for "dreamer," if you add in a tilde), and genre-appropriate villains are written in to the tale.

Continue reading: Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story Review

16 Blocks Review


OK
It's just about eight in the morning, and the worst cop in the world needs a drink. Instead of a drink, the lieutenant gives him a job: at some point over the next 118 minutes, get this witness 16 blocks downtown to 100 Centre Street so he can give testimony before a grand jury. The witness is a talker, with a whiney voice; way too early for this. Traffic is bad, though, so the cop nips into a liquor store while they're on the way. While he's in the store, two hitmen try to kill the witness. Cop drops his brown-bag bottle of Canadian Club, plugs one of the hitmen, hightails it with the witness to a friendly nearby bar, where his backup finds him and announces, sorry, but we've got to kill the witness anyway, he's going to testify against a bunch of us police. Cop decides for once to side with his conscience and takes off again with the witness, only now the streets between them and the courthouse are filled with NYPD who want to take them both out.

As a short story in some pulp magazine of a sadly bygone era, 16 Blocks would be a dirty little gem. Crooked cops, lots of twists and turns, some tough-guy badinage spit out on the knife's edge. In the hands of Richard "Lethal Weapon" Donner, however, it morphs into a strange and weak buddy flick that mixes 48 Hrs., Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and about a dozen other cop movies together in a desperate attempt to seem vital and gritty. The result is something more than a complete failure (unlike, say, Donner's last one, Timeline) but something quite a bit less than good.

Continue reading: 16 Blocks 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.

Continue reading: Hearts In Atlantis Review

The Green Mile Review


Excellent
The Green Mile? Let's talk about 26 miles. The length of a marathon. Start the race and the movie together: The race would long be over before the film. The winner would be at home, taking a nap. Yes, The Green Mile is three hours long.

Not that long movies have never been successful, and not that The Green Mile is bad. You might even think a long movie is required here. Pulled from Stephen King's acclaimed series of six books by the same name, King returns to the kind of work he was doing in The Shawshank Redemption (based on a short story of his), the kind that seems to perform the best, away from splatter and gore, and into the minds of the strangest of characters.

Continue reading: The Green Mile Review

Crazy In Alabama Review


Weak
This bizarrely incoherent tale set in the segregated South mixes two stories as well as oil and water. One follows Melanie Griffith's neo-psychotic widow on a cross-country trip with her husband's decapitated head along for the ride. The second follows her nephew's quest to integrate a small town in Alabama. The only thing scarier than Griffith's black fright wig is the "directed by Antonio Banderas" credit. Talk about crazy.

Bait Review


Good
The American fascination with personal surveillance and voyeurism has reached a new and strange level. TV shows such as Survivor, Big Brother - and movies such as Enemy of the State and The Blair Witch Project have raised the bar for compulsive interest in other peoples' lives. It is as if America has become a nation of stalkers and shut-ins locked away behind their television and computer screens. The new Jamie Foxx film Bait is a prime example of how this sadistic, cultural phenomenon has been constructed into mainstream Hollywood fodder for the masses.

I didn't know what to expect of Bait. From the media blitz in the past couple weeks, the movie looked like a weird hybrid of Blue Streak, Enemy of the State, and Hackers without Angeline Jolie (dammit!). The story follows Foxx as an inept thief named Alvin Sanders who involuntarily helps Federal agents track down an ultra-cool computer hacker -- Doug Hutchison (that asshole guard Percy Wetmore from The Green Mile) -- who has robbed the U.S. Gold Reserve with lackey Robert Pastorelli of 42 million dollars.

Continue reading: Bait Review

Contact Review


Very Good
Apparently, we are not alone. And we're beaming The Spice Girls into space.

But seriously, Carl Sagan's ode to the superior intelligence of aliens (and how us darned humans mess everything up) is consistently beautiful and interesting, but it never makes a point (except for that bit about the darned humans). The plot, which gives Jodie Foster schematics from space and focuses on the technical and bureaucratic minutiae that go into the construction of an extradimensional travelling device, is rather on the nose -- and the only real surprises in the film come from its obsession with God (in which the late Sagan did not believe) and the complete and utter disappointment received with the aliens are finally revealed.

Continue reading: Contact Review

The Slaughter Rule Review


Weak
Believer star Ryan Gosling plays Roy Chutney, a Montana kid recruited into gruff and troubled coach Gideon's (David Morse) six-man football team. Not much happens along the way aside from a creepy romance with shrewish Clea DuVall and lots and lots of practice. Everyone's got demons to deal with -- from Gideon's guilt over a kid that played for him and died under mysterious circumstances to the audience's unwillingness to sit through two hours of yet another inspirational football movie.

The Long Kiss Goodnight Review


Good
The much-publicized ballyhoo over The Long Kiss Goodnight relates largely to the $4 million paid for Shane Black's script. The question everyone is asking is, was it worth it?

Well, yes and no. Opening weekend is sure to bring in moviegoers in droves enthralled by the sight of Geena Davis with a blonde dye-job, but more discriminating viewers will probably be put-off by the plot holes, inconsistencies, and downright silliness of the film. I mean, how many times can you outrun an explosion in one film, anyway?

Continue reading: The Long Kiss Goodnight Review

Dancer In The Dark Review


Excellent
Early on in Dancer in the Dark, Peter Stormare confesses to Björk that he doesn't understand movie musicals, because all the characters suddenly start singing and dancing for no reason. He doesn't start singing and dancing for no reason, he says.

Selma, as played to perfection by the almost childlike Björk, does her share of singing and dancing, but she's got a reason: It's all in her head. And with that said, get ready for the creepiest, most depressing, and certainly the most unique movie musical ever put on film.

Continue reading: Dancer In The Dark Review

Crazy In Alabama Review


OK

After a 26-year career of coming off like fingernails on a chalkboard, Melanie Griffith has finally begun to mature as an actress.

In 1996 she stood out from the otherwise sorry "Mullholland Falls" in an emotional role as a cheating cop's heartbroken wife. Early this year she was a revelation as an aging heroine addict and ironically motherly, career petty thief in "Another Day in Paradise." And now there's "Crazy In Alabama," an daffy, obliging murder farce set precariously against more serious undertones of 1960s racial strife.

Griffith was the perfect choice to star as Lucille, a dizzy, Southern, '60s sex bomb housewife, on the lam and headed for Hollywood after offing her abusive husband. Of course, the part was hers anyway, since this picture is the directorial debut of her husband, smoldering Spanish sex symbol Antonio Banderas.

Continue reading: Crazy In Alabama Review

Hearts In Atlantis Review


Good

When Stephen King steps off the pulp horror assembly line, his work tends to turn toward the warm, nostalgic and philosophical -- and the best Stephen King movies have always come from these works.

Set in 1960 Connecticut, "Hearts in Atlantis" is just such a movie, lying somewhere between "Stand By Me" and "The Green Mile" in its heady atmosphere of wonder, mystery, and the rose-colored remembrances of childhood.

It's the story of a young boy named Bobby (freckled, wide-eyed, curly-haired and charismatic Anton Yelchin) who is befriended by an enigmatic boarder living in the upstairs apartment of the house he shares with his acrimonious mother (Hope Davis), a resentful widow left in debt by Bobby's gambling-addicted father.

Continue reading: Hearts In Atlantis Review

Proof Of Life Review


Good

Put out of your head the truly awful trailers and the even worse TV commercials that make "Proof of Life" look like some kind of action-amour hybrid. Forget all the rumors about an ill-advised romantic subplot in the movie (there isn't one) and on the set (no comment!). Thanks to the solid work of journeyman director Taylor Hackford, "Proof" is a bona fide Third World thriller that deserves to be seen without all the prejudicial baggage and BS that has swirled around the movie for the last few months.

Fresh from becoming a bankable star thanks to "Gladiator," Russell Crowe stars as a desensitized yet sympathetic kidnap-and-rescue specialist ("KNR" in the trade jargon) dispatched to an unnamed Central American country to negotiate for the return of an American hydroelectric engineer (David Morse). The man has been abducted by drug-running rebels looking to score a big ransom from his oil conglomerate employer.

Meg Ryan plays Morse's distraught wife who grows to trust this brusque KNR man just as the oil company tries to weasel out of its responsibility, dismissing Crowe's high-rent expert and bringing in a crooked, inexperienced local yokel instead.

Continue reading: Proof Of Life Review

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David Morse Movies

Concussion Trailer

Concussion Trailer

Dr. Bennet Omalu is a pathologist who loves his job and, in many ways, the...

Horns Movie Review

Horns Movie Review

With his most stylish film yet, horror specialist Alexandre Aja takes a wildly irreverent approach,...

Horns Trailer

Horns Trailer

Following the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Merrin Williams (Juno Temple), Ig Perrish (Daniel Redcliffe)...

Horns Trailer

Horns Trailer

Following the vicious rape and murder of his girlfriend Merrin Williams, Ig Perrish goes on...

Horns Trailer

Horns Trailer

Ig Perrish wakes up after a particularly drunken night with a very sore head -...

World War Z Movie Review

World War Z Movie Review

Starting as a clever Contagion-style investigative thriller, this fiercely paced apocalyptic adventure begins to fall...

World War Z Trailer

World War Z Trailer

Gerry Lane is a government employee whose job takes him on missions he never imagined...

World War Z Trailer

World War Z Trailer

Gerry Lane is a United Nations employee with a family life anyone would wish for....

Drive Angry Movie Review

Drive Angry Movie Review

Less a fully realised thriller than a series of rampaging set pieces, this rollicking movie...

Drive Angry Trailer

Drive Angry Trailer

Escaping the deepest and darkest realms of hell, Milton returns to Earth in a bid...

Mother & Child Trailer

Mother & Child Trailer

Adoption is a life changing situation for all involved.The woman who feels she must give...

The Hurt Locker Movie Review

The Hurt Locker Movie Review

It's intriguing to watch a battlefield movie that manages to be gritty and harrowing as...

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