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Shadow Conspiracy Review


Terrible
Enemy of the State, The Manchurian Candidate, The Fugitive... which of these movies is Shadow Conspiracy not trying to be? Despite an all-star cast, this rotten flick came and went in the blink of an eye, with Charlie Sheen trying to uncover a (gasp!) plot to kill the president. The story's driven completely by coincidence and baffling lunacy, and you'll be driven... to press eject on your VCR.

40 Days & 40 Nights Review


OK

One of the more gratifying feelings a movie critic can have is the feeling of going into a picture expecting tiresome clich├ęs of an overplayed genre, only to discover delightfully surprising freshness and soul where all the hackneyed conventions usually are.

"40 Days and 40 Nights" is such a movie. Misleadingly marketed as just another misogynistic romp through the young male libido, this often ribald comedy about a frustrated 20-something giving up sex for Lent is what the puerile, simplistic "American Pie," "Tomcats" and "Saving Silverman" might have been, had they been made by people with imagination and wit.

Directed by Michael Lehmann -- the man behind the twisted teen angst and irony of the subversive '80s cult hit "Heathers" -- "40 Days" finds many new and inventive ways to make sexual frustration funny.

Continue reading: 40 Days & 40 Nights Review

Arlington Road Review


OK

There's just one thing standing in the way of "ArlingtonRoad" taking a place among the best film noir politics-and-paranoiathrillers -- the script is so tight that the hero is forced to make a dumbmistake now and again to advance the plot.

That hero is Jeff Bridges, playing a West Virginia historyprofessor who obsesses over his class in domestic terrorism because itdoubles as a form of therapy while grieving for his dead wife -- an FBIagent killed in a botched, Ruby Ridge-like raid.

He's a guy doesn't trust the government one bit, and inhis class sermonizes that federal and extremist conspiracies abound andthat the lone psycho theory applied to most American terrorists is a ruseby the feds to lull the populace into feeling safe again in the wake oftranquillity-shattering attacks.

Continue reading: Arlington Road Review

Runaway Jury Review


Weak

There are enough holes in the legal minutia of "Runaway Jury" to keep anyone with a law degree laughing from beginning to end. But for the rest of us, this fast-paced thriller's twist-crescendo-ing plot and sharp performances should at least delay the feeling of being duped until after the credits roll.

Another popcorny courtroom concoction from a John Grisham novel, the movie is a sensationalized peek into jury tampering during a big-money wrongful-death suit filed against an assault-weapon manufacturer after a workplace shooting.

The film wears its politics on its sleeve: the rich, cigar-smoking, unrepentant gun industry honchos have hired an unscrupulous jury consultant (deliciously iniquitous Gene Hackman) with the high-tech means to dig up dirt and create graphic-intensive computer-screen portfolios on everybody who received a jury summons for the case.

Continue reading: Runaway Jury Review

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