The movie is merely an extension of Duff's popular Disney television show where she plays the superficial title character Lizzie McGuire a recent middle-school grad, here on a two-week class trip to Rome. But, after a day of touring the sites with her bossy tour guide Miss Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein), her best friend Gordo (Adam Lamberg) convinces Lizzie they should dump the group and find their own adventure. Lizzie is eventually pulled aside by an Italian pop star named Paolo (Yani Gellman) who thinks she is a dead ringer for his former singing partner, Isabella. We learn Isabella is refusing to appear with Paolo at an upcoming music awards show and that he needs Lizzie to double as Isabella to avoid a publicity nightmare. The shallow, starstruck Lizzie naturally obliges.
Continue reading: The Lizzie McGuire Movie Review
A.I. Artificial Intelligence is, too my deep dismay, neither breezy nor particularly fun. The level of anticipation of the film, of course, would be impossible to effectively sate, but A.I. just doesn't cut it. It doesn't even come close.
Continue reading: A.I. Artificial Intelligence Review
No Steven Spielberg movie without dinosaurs or lost arks is complete until some part of it is slathered in schmaltz, and no Spielberg finale has ever been as thick with it as "A.I. Artificial Intelligence."
Of course, I can't go into detail without spoiling said finale, but just imagine something so soft-focused, saccharine and teary-eyed that E.T. himself would go into sugar shock -- then multiply that by 10 and you'll get the general idea.
As with most Spielberg films, the irony is that up until the Gatorade cooler of sappy sentimentality is dumped over the audience's collective head, "A.I." is an admirable cinematic feat -- a mesmerizing mix of cautionary futuristic fairy tale, prudently measured intentional corniness, and neon-colored three ring circus.
Continue reading: A.I Artificial Intelligence Review
In Disney Channel's big-screen spin-off "The Lizzie McGuire Movie," 'tweenybopper star Hilary Duff does little more than giggle (at cute boys) and gasp (at Roman tourist attractions) her way through a wholly contrived trip to Italy, where she just happens to meet a harmlessly sexy bubble-gum pop star, who just happens to have had a falling out with his singing partner/girlfriend, who just happens to look exactly like Lizzie.
Persuaded by Paulo (Yani Gellman) to pose as Isabella (also played by Duff in a black wig and an embarrassingly phony accent) during an upcoming awards show, Lizzie spends her whole class trip to Rome feigning illness (to fool the chaperone), sneaking off to rehearse with Paulo and clinging to him adorably as he shows her the picturesque sights from the back of a Vespa.
Populated by stock characters from the TV show (clueless parents, bratty little brother, catty in-crowd nemesis, sexless best guy-friend who secretly pines for Lizzie) and driven largely by invented circumstance (the film opens with Lizzie's junior high school "graduation"), there's precious little creative effort made here, save a few animated asides from Lizzie's cartoon-character conscience and the enjoyably acidic performance of stocky, plucky Alex Borstein ("Mad TV") as Miss Ungermeyer, the class chaperone and tour guide.
Continue reading: The Lizzie McGuire Movie Review
"Wow, this looks expensive," was the only thought going through my head for the entirety of the supremely over-produced and equally under-achieving psychological sicko chiller "The Cell."
Taking place largely inside the inexplicably stylish mind of a serial killer, the movie's visual signature gives one the impression that the production designer went on a double-espresso design jag after waking up from a Goth-meets-Architectural Digest wet dream.
Festooned with graphic sadomasochistic imagery, dark, cavernous landscapes and ornately adorned fantasy torture chambers, the movie plays like a "director's cut" of the Nine Inch Nails video "Closer."
Continue reading: The Cell Review
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