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Green Zone Review


Extraordinary
Based on Rajiv Chandrasekaran's true account Imperial Life in the Emerald City, this film never pauses for breath throughout a story set in the weeks following the 2003 invasion of Baghdad. It's provocative, involving and utterly gripping.

Miller (Damon) is a military officer charged with locating weapons of mass destruction, but every site he visits is a dead end. When he voices doubts about the intelligence, he gets in trouble with the Pentagon chief (Kinnear).

On the other hand, the CIA director (Gleeson) is sympathetic, and encourages him to dig around. So with the help of a local translator (Abdalla), Miller dives in. And he's quickly caught between two factions in his own government as he searches for an Iraqi general (Naor) in hiding.

Continue reading: Green Zone Review

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Review


Excellent
Get in a discussion about comic-book movies and someone will indubitably bring up this theory: Part one of a comic-book movie anthology is always just OK; the series peaks with part two; and in part three (usually the final chapter) everything falls apart. (Think X-Men, Spider-man, and Superman). Hellboy II only furthers this theory. Part one, though visually sensational, delivered a weak jab in terms of its story, characters, and writing. But its sequel connects with a mighty punch, delivering everything you could possibly want from a summer blockbuster and more.

Hellboy II takes the fantastic make-up artistry, creature creation, and set design that we grew fond of in Pan's Labyrinth and combines all of these elements with mindblowing CGI and stunning choreography. The script this time around is sharp and witty; you'll be laughing for most of this movie (which is good, because Hellboy II would look silly if it took itself too seriously). Most importantly, the movie contains some of the best (i.e., least-fake-looking) action sequences I've ever seen in a comic-book movie, and lots of them, too, which makes it even better than Iron Man, its biggest summer contender next to the upcoming Dark Knight.

Continue reading: Hellboy II: The Golden Army Review

United 93 Review


Essential

The horrors of September 11, 2001, have been well documented. Seconds after American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the World Trade Center's north tower, our collective attentions fixed on the unthinkable scene. Hours stretched into days as we huddled around television sets questioning reality and wondering how such a thing could have happened on our soil.

Reconstructed, minute-by-minute accounts of that morning's tragic events miraculously leave some facets hidden. In between the black box recordings, government-commissioned studies, and Internet conspiracy theories lie untold stories of courage and determination that are deeply rooted in the American spirit of retaliation and our inherent desire to fight back when pinned against a proverbial wall.

Continue reading: United 93 Review

Event Horizon Review


OK
After Paul W.S. Anderson unleashed the blockbuster Mortal Kombat, he could do no wrong in the eyes of millions of geeks. He was the fanboy's filmmaker, creating a video game movie that was as fun and trashy as the game itself. All the nerds had high, high hopes that Anderson would settle into a career as fandom's new hotshot. Boy were they disappointed. Somewhere along the line, poor Anderson went from the top of the heap to the bottom of the barrel. (Poor bastard's name is rubbed in the mud almost as often as Uwe Boll!) And most fanboys say that Event Horizon was Anderson's fall from grace. A shame really, because the film's better than most science fiction hokum. (And heads above his next pic, Soldier. Not to mention every... other... film.... after... that. Geez, guy just can't catch a break, huh?)

The plot concerns a scientific spaceship - the Event Horizon - that was sent into a black hole with a full crew. The ship, naturally, vanishes and reappears years later, empty and sulking in a space fog. A small rescue crew is sent out to rendezvous with the Event Horizon, comprised of all your traditional stock characters (stoic Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne), Dr. William Weir (Sam Neill), Med Tech Peters (Kathleen Quinlan), and the usual spacefaring grunts). Once onboard the desolate Event Horizon, all manner of bizarre things begin taking place, and it's quite clear from the outset that wherever the Event Horizon was, it didn't come back alone. We're not talking Alien territory here, nothing that tangible, but the residue of some otherworldly hell that has infested the hulk of the ship and imbued it was a hideous life of its own. Or perhaps, it really did go to the hell. It's a bit unclear.

Continue reading: Event Horizon Review

K-PAX Review


Good
It would be an exaggeration to say that there are no original ideas anymore, that every movie fits some formula we've seen before. But, ya know, the claim isn't that far off the mark, and if the shoe fits...

So the genre we're talking about in the case of K-PAX: A crazy man thinks he's an alien (a psychic, a king, etc.). The obvious question: Which is he: crazy, or an alien, or both? (A crazy alien, now that would be a fun twist on the whole genre wouldn't it?)

Continue reading: K-PAX Review

Mystery Men Review


Very Good
"Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play..." then sit back and watch America's newest superheroes screw up, in this summer's new comedy, Mystery Men. In this Tim Burtonesque film by Kinka Usher, a ragtag band of superheroes set out to rescue Captain Amazing (a Superman comparable played by Greg Kinear) from the evil clutches of the criminal mastermind, Cassanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush).

Mystery Men is one of the funniest films I've seen all year. It combines the hilarious randomness of films like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, with a satirical twist that today's audiences are sure to appreciate. Now don't get me wrong, Mystery Men is no masterpiece, but it made me laugh (a lot) and that's what the film is about. Mystery Men scores high in all areas. It has an entirely kooky and original plot fueled by crack up dialogue, mesmerizing scenery, (which is reminiscent of the Batman movies) and an awesome cast.

Continue reading: Mystery Men Review

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Review


Bad
The now-classic video game Tomb Raider is a geek boy's dream -- a hot heroine with Barbie-like measurements goes on adventures and kicks ass. The film adaptation, starring the buxom and bored Angelina Jolie, is nobody's dream. It's billed as an action fantasy, but possesses no physical excitement or wonder. OK, maybe some wonder, as in, "I wonder how Paramount actually feels about this film."

Even the teen hormones that live in all us guys are squashed by this one. Jolie, trying to play our heroine Lady Lara Croft as sexy and supercool, just looks mildly amused by the goings-on. I half expected her to check her watch while on camera, searching for lunch or a better project. [Never underestimate crafty film editing. -Ed.]

Continue reading: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Review

Hellboy Review


Good
You can't help but dig Hellboy the character - born a demon, summoned by Nazis, saved by Americans, raised to fight otherworldly evil creatures, and played by Ron Perlman.

What you feel about Hellboy the movie is an altogether different topic.

Continue reading: Hellboy Review

The Rocketeer Review


OK
The poor man's Indiana Jones, complete with Nazi subterfuge and heroine in distress. This paean to the cliffhangers of yore never really finds its footing, unfortunately. It's a rather tired story about a lost jet pack and the daredevil (Bill Campbell -- who hasn't had a starring role since) who finds it, and so on and so forth. Very straightforward, the mystery doesn't go very far and the love story (with Jennifer Connelly) is totally stillborn. The clever use of historical figures like Howard Hughes and W.C. Fields is really the film's only highlight.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review


Weak
What is it about archaeology that makes us want to go to the movies? Is it the magic of being able to breathe life into ancient legends, like the riddle of the Sphinx and the lost city of Atlantis? Is it the illusion of uncovering the secrets behind grand and mystical artifacts, like the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail? Or is it simply the white bodysuit that fits Angelina Jolie so tightly that you can't possibly avoid looking at her nipples?

If you chose the latter, you'll definitely want to arrive on time to see Tomb Raider sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, for the first twenty minutes are packed with plenty to gawk at. There's Jolie -- er, Croft -- riding in on a jet ski wearing a black sports bra and soaking wet shorts. There's Croft climbing aboard a ship as seductively as possible while two deckhands watch greedily. There's Croft appearing on deck in the all-too-critical bodysuit, ready to dive into the water and fight a shark one-on-one. And there's even Croft doing some unnecessary splits in mid-air as she rolls her way toward the mysterious "orb" -- an object that soon becomes the focus of the movie due to the fact that it holds the map to the legendary Pandora's box.

Continue reading: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life Review

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Lloyd Levin Movies

Green Zone Movie Review

Green Zone Movie Review

Based on Rajiv Chandrasekaran's true account Imperial Life in the Emerald City, this film never...

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Review

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Movie Review

Get in a discussion about comic-book movies and someone will indubitably bring up this theory:...

United 93 Movie Review

United 93 Movie Review

The horrors of September 11, 2001, have been well documented. Seconds after American Airlines Flight...

Event Horizon Movie Review

Event Horizon Movie Review

After Paul W.S. Anderson unleashed the blockbuster Mortal Kombat, he could do no wrong in...

K-PAX Movie Review

K-PAX Movie Review

It would be an exaggeration to say that there are no original ideas anymore, that...

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Mystery Men Movie Review

Mystery Men Movie Review

"Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play..." then sit back and...

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Movie Review

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Movie Review

The now-classic video game Tomb Raider is a geek boy's dream -- a hot heroine...

Hellboy Movie Review

Hellboy Movie Review

You can't help but dig Hellboy the character - born a demon, summoned by Nazis,...

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Movie Review

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Movie Review

What is it about archaeology that makes us want to go to the movies?...

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