Jonathan Glickman

Jonathan Glickman

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The Vow Review


Weak
Inspired by a true story, this film is watchable mainly because of the extraordinary events, which are genuinely involving and moving. Although typically, Hollywood has ramped up the emotions while avoiding subtlety at all costs.

Goofy recording engineer Leo (Tatum) and adorable artist Paige (McAdams) had a cute romance, quirky wedding and four happy years together before a car crash changed everything. Leo only has minor injuries, but Paige has lost some five years of memories. Crucially, she has no idea who Leo is. And she doesn't remember turning her back on her law course, smirking fiance (Speedman) and wealthy parents (Lange and Neill). They're all she remembers now, so Leo tries to remind her of who she became after she left them behind. If they'll let him.

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The Tourist Review


Weak
This is a thoroughly offbeat concoction from the gifted filmmaker behind the acclaimed The Lives of Others: a rather goofy action comedy that deflates the suspense by telling us pretty much everything from the start.

Elisa (Jolie) is a sleek, overdressed woman of mystery who is being stalked by a tenacious British detective (Bettany). When she boards a train from Paris to Venice, his men are in hot pursuit, so she sidles up to American touristFrank (Depp) to throw them off the scent. He looks similar to her boyfriend, who's wanted by the cops and a vicious Russian mobster (Berkoff). Once in Venice, Frank finds his world turned upside both by this ludicrously elegant woman and the army of goons pursuing him at every turn.

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Leap Year Review


Weak
Neither funny nor original enough to really register, this breezy little film will only really entertain those who haven't seen very many rom-coms, and therefore can't predict every single scene. Although the cast members just about emerge with their dignity intact.

Anna (Adams) is an energetic professional woman in Boston with the perfect heart-surgeon boyfriend in Jeremy (Scott). Except that he won't propose to her.

So when he heads for Dublin to attend a conference, she decides that, since it's a leap year, she'll surprise him there and ask him to marry her, a proposal that tradition says he can't refuse. But the journey goes all wrong, and she ends up on the road with scruffy, cantankerous, gorgeous Irishman Declan (Goode). Gosh, what could possibly happen?

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Flash of Genius Review


Good
Did you ever wonder who fine-tuned the technology behind the intermittent windshield wiper?

Neither did I until I caught Marc Abraham's Flash of Genius, a sober biopic with a surprisingly destructive core that recounts how casual inventor Bob Kearns deciphered how one could pause a perpetually sweeping wiper blade, then fought the Ford Motor Company for proper credit.

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The Hottie and the Nottie Review


Unbearable
The Hottie and the Nottie is a clichéd film that manages to be both predictable and offensive. That's OK, people who rent The Hottie and the Nottie won't be looking for high art or a subtle satire on the superficiality of the West Coast. In fact if you're thinking of renting The Hottie and the Nottie, there is likely only one reason: You're hoping to enjoy the movie because it is awful, the idea being that movies can be so bad they actually become enjoyable. It is a little like getting a kick out of watching Plan 9 from Outer Space.

The Hottie and the Nottie follows the travails of Nate Cooper (Joel Moore) as he tries to woo the "hottest girl in L.A.," Cristabelle Abbot (Paris Hilton). Nate's pursuit of Cristabelle is aided by his first-grade friend Arno Blount, played with enthusiasm by Greg Wilson, who happens to have a three-inch thick file on Cristabelle. Arno lives with his mother, so one surmises he has plenty of time to devote to cataloging first grade friends.

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Underdog Review


Terrible
Someone needs to send an exorcist over to the Disney Studios, PDQ. The House of Mouse needs a ghostbuster to purge its demonic tendencies toward remaking classic cartoons and other 2D animated properties into shoddy live action spectacles. First there was George of the Jungle and Inspector Gadget. Now the glorified product pitchman Underdog falls under the reinterpretation light. Originally conceived by General Mills' ad agency (and its head, W. Watts Biggers) as a way of selling cereal to wee ones, the once noble anthropomorphic pup with the Superman-like powers has been reduced to a post-modern joke where everything's ironic and nothing's endearing.

After he messes up an important training test, failed police dog Shoeshine (with the voice of actor Jason Lee) winds up in the lab of Dr. Simon Barsinister (a perfectly cast Peter Dinklage) and his dopey assistant Cad (a totally out of whack Patrick Warburton). A genetic engineering experiment goes haywire, turning our hound into a hero, and our scientist into a psychopath. On the run, Shoeshine winds up with young Jack Unger (the vacant Alex Neuberger). While he tries to hide his special talents -- especially his ability to talk -- Shoeshine relents, and quickly becomes pals with his new owner. As he settles in for a life of chasing his tail, scratches fleas, and fighting crime, Barsinister will not let such a supremely successful example of his research slip away. He plots to kidnap and capitalize on the newly named Underdog, destroying anyone who intends to stop him.

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Balls Of Fury Review


Grim
The humor of a game like ping-pong is the outright laziness and inaction that goes into it. It's a sport designed for drunken high-school parties, frat-house basements, and stoners who need to do something while Jerry and Marley jam out (the same could be said about billiards). Ben Garant's Balls of Fury is contingent on this knowledge; the absurdity of lending some sort of importance to something that is basically as relevant as the color of sock you are currently wearing.

At first, Fury nails this ridiculous tone. The rise of ping-pong star Randy Daytona, a 10-year-old prodigy of the game, is adorned by numbskull television personalities and revered by the entire nation, including Ronald and Nancy Reagan. His defeat at the Olympics by German player Karl Wolfschtagg (Thomas Lennon, who also serves as producer and co-writer) is viewed not only as a personal loss, but a loss for America. His father (Robert Patrick) has his head lopped off due to the German victory, and Randy vanishes into obscurity.

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The Invisible Review


OK
The trailers for The Invisible ask, "How do you solve a murder when the victim is you?" This indeed poses several mysteries, but not the ones the trailer-makers have in mind. First, there's the question of whether the question is grammatically correct (the answer: maybe, but it sure sounds awkward). Then there's the mystery not of how to solve said murder, but where exactly the difficulty lies when you is -- er, are that murder victim. High-school senior Nick Powell, this film's victim, pretty much "solves" his murder while he's being killed (or near-killed); he recognizes and even converses with his assailants. Case closed.

Except that he's dead, of course, but assuming, as The Invisible does, the existence of a rather flexible netherworld between living and death, filling in further details isn't a problem either. When Nick wakes up as a sort of half-ghost, traveling through the land of the living without the ability to be seen or heard while his body lies on the brink of death, his detective skills need only to consist of following the murderers around, overhearing their motivations.

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The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) Review


Good
The classic Monte Cristo sandwich is a rich confection -- almost inedibly so -- composed of layered ham, turkey, swiss cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, and crusty bread, all battered in egg and fried in hot grease. The diner is meant to dip this in jam before shoving it down his gullet.

The 2002 incarnation of The Count of Monte Cristo is a remarkably similar experience, full of pleasing flavors yet probably too rich for everyday consumption -- but, as with all things, I figure you'll eat it if you're hungry enough. Sure enough, in this snail-slow winter movie season, Monte Cristo is just about the best thing going. Like the sandwich, this isn't gourmet fare -- it's a crowd pleaser meant to entertain for a few brief moments, nothing more.

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Rush Hour Review


Good
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't used to like Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker. I have never seen either of them in a movie I liked -- until now. Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy directed by Brett Ratner, successfully blends two immensely different personalities. The film also works because it contains the perfect amount of action and comedy. By themselves, Chan and Tucker do not provide anything inspiring or refreshing, but when they are combined, they form a surprisingly entertaining comedic duo.

Chan and Tucker are truly opposites. Jackie is known for his modest demeanor and amazing physical abilities, but not for his amazing grasp of the English language. Chris is boastful and outspoken, a shameless motormouth that just will not shut up. The pairing of these two actors works well. Chan provides us with the action and Tucker provides us with the witty comic relief.

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Rush Hour 2 Review


OK
I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy that grossed more than $250 million worldwide. Through its central characters, played by Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, the film provided audiences with a fresh, exciting combination of action and outrageous comedy. Although not a great film, and certainly not worthy of a sequel, director Brett Ratner admirably stitched together two immensely different characters, finding a charismatic delight in the diversity of Tucker and Chan.

Unfortunately Ratner does not find the same joy in Rush Hour 2, an occasionally amusing comedic adventure that leaves us with a profoundly annoying Chris Tucker fighting for attention while Jackie Chan fights one-dimensional Chinese villains with his bare fists. The film contains some neat action sequences, a great third act, and the most hilarious outtakes I can remember - but the clash of genres feels intrusive and awkward. I wanted more excitement, more character dimension, and a whole hell of a lot less of Chris Tucker's irritating mouth.

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The Perfect Score Review


OK
Ocean's Eleven meets The Breakfast Club as six ambitious high school seniors hatch a plot to steal the answers to the SAT and advance with ease to the colleges of their choice.

For the record, I scored an 1110 on my SAT, which was fine with me. Then again, I wasn't nearly as motivated as these kids during my senior year. Though they run in different social circles, the scheming students of The Perfect Score are united by one common denominator - the SAT stands in the way of their career aspirations.

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Shanghai Knights Review


Terrible
I was in the minority of critics that actually gave Jackie Chan's last buddy picture The Tuxedo a passing grade. Sure, the plot is a throwaway and as Chan's super-spy partner, Jennifer Love Hewitt is a complete miscast. But thanks to Chan's great charisma, the movie transcends its doldrums. So with Shanghai Knights, the follow up to the entertaining Shanghai Noon, I feared this buddy story would suffer from similar inadequacies.

In Knights, Chan returns as Chon Wang, who along with sidekick Roy O'Bannon (Owen Wilson), take their latest adventure from the Wild Wild West to London, where Chon seeks to avenge the brutal slaying of his father and obtain the stolen Chinese Imperial Seal. While there, the pair teams up with Chon's much younger, hotter, and ass-kickinger sister, Lin (Fann Wong) to hunt down their father's killer, Rathbone (Aiden Gillen) and foil Rathbone's plot to assassinate the Royal family. The three certainly have their work cut out for them.

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The Pacifier Review


OK
Just the fact that The Pacifier elicits chuckles means it's a huge success. The formula of a tough guy in a kiddie environment has been done before, notably with Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Let's just say neither actor typically puts those films on his resume. For The Pacifier's star, Vin Diesel, whose career has dimmed since 2002's XXX, he might want to ignore that precedent.

Diesel stars as top Marine Shane Wolfe, who's assigned to guard the family of a slain professor who was working on a secret government work project. Wolfe's job is to protect the man's five kids, while his widow (Faith Ford) travels overseas to settle affairs. What starts as a two-day trip soon becomes two weeks. And it has to seem longer to Wolfe when the family's nanny (Carol Kane) bolts, leaving him to also play surrogate dad to the unruly group of kids.

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The Count of Monte Cristo Review


Good
The classic Monte Cristo sandwich is a rich confection -- almost inedibly so -- composed of layered ham, turkey, swiss cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, and crusty bread, all battered in egg and fried in hot grease. The diner is meant to dip this in jam before shoving it down his gullet.

The 2002 incarnation of The Count of Monte Cristo is a remarkably similar experience, full of pleasing flavors yet probably too rich for everyday consumption -- but, as with all things, I figure you'll eat it if you're hungry enough. Sure enough, in this snail-slow winter movie season, Monte Cristo is just about the best thing going. Like the sandwich, this isn't gourmet fare -- it's a crowd pleaser meant to entertain for a few brief moments, nothing more.

Continue reading: The Count of Monte Cristo Review

Jonathan Glickman

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