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Movie Reviews


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May 02,2009
Steve Lopez is a gifted writer, a journalist with a rare eye for the human condition, its struggles and its bliss.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  As a high-profile columnist, he captured life as he saw it in California's Silicon Valley for the San Jose Mercury News, then at The Philadelphia Inquirer, and currently at the Los ... [full story]
50412 times read - No comment posted

Apr 28,2009
Bret Easton Ellis needs a new decade. The author of "Less Than Zero" made his literary fortune dissecting the nihilistic 1980s as if it were a good-looking corpse — the Great Gatsby with hair mousse. But the filmed adaptation of "The Informers" finds Ellis with his dullest blade, peering into the hollow souls of several upscale Los Angelenos and finding that, yes, rootless, spoiled and amoral people tend to be unhappy. Is that really all ... [full story]
27990 times read - No comment posted

Apr 28,2009
"State of Play" is part political conspiracy thriller, part ode to old-style newspaper journalism, but neither part is coherent. It's in a state of disarray.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  Scottish director Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland") bangs out a run-of-the-mill picture, based on an admired BBC miniseries, that opens with a thrilling splash of ... [full story]
27984 times read - No comment posted

Apr 17,2009
Here's the question: Will Zac Efron, 21, poster boy for teenage girls everywhere and Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood Star of the Year, grow up to look like a jowled, pudgy Matthew Perry?   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)   That's what "17 Again" would have you believe. Perry, 39, his 10-season "Friends" career over, isn't a bad actor. In ... [full story]
12646 times read - No comment posted

Apr 17,2009
The lights went down in the movie theater and the crowd screamed. The Disney logo flashed on the screen and they screamed more loudly. And when Miley Cyrus appeared in the opening scene, the audience of hundreds, average age about 9, went nuts.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  "Hannah Montana: The Movie" will be a hit with ... [full story]
27268 times read - No comment posted

Apr 10,2009
Cary Joji Fukunaga is a Banana Slug, an alumnus of UC Santa Cruz. That's the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. Go Banana Slugs!   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  Go Cary Joji Fukunaga! "Sin Nombre" ("Nameless"), his resplendent Sundance Film Festival hit (best director), is an assured, vividly photographed, finely written, harrowing tale of Central American immigrants grinding ... [full story]
2632 times read - No comment posted

Apr 10,2009
Jody Hill is the directing and writing impresario behind a certain kind of scatological humor. It's a combination of the gross and the profane, of nerd worship and props to those with deep inferiority issues.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  Last year, there was the crude "The Foot Fist Way," starring Danny McBride as the proprietor of ... [full story]
2536 times read - No comment posted

Apr 03,2009
James Brennan, graduating from college, is so ready for that getaway to Europe with his buddy Eric. Then, over lunch on the big day, James' parents tell him that his father's job has, um, changed and they won't be able to give him the trip as a gift. There will be no Paris. Instead, it will be back to Pittsburgh and a summer job.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 ... [full story]
2870 times read - No comment posted

Mar 28,2009
If "Monsters Vs. Aliens" in 3-D is the filmgoing experience of the future, as DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg likes to pronounce, this exhilarating, lofty motion picture takes you there in a furious, fantastic ride.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  It'll be a monster at the box office, enticing kids and adults with its mighty female hero, ... [full story]
3277 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
"Crossing Over" crashes to the screen like "Crash," the 2006 Oscar winner that intertwined stories set in post-9/11 Los Angeles touching on themes of racism, suspicion and alienation.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  With its rich, complex characters, "Crash" did a better job capturing the ethnicity and turbulent life of an unwieldy and dangerous city than the ... [full story]
3051 times read - No comment posted

Mar 27,2009
Writer and director Tony Gilroy painted a chilling picture of corporate espionage with "Michael Clayton." Now he's flipped the canvas to paint something lighter — a romantic comedy set in the same cutthroat world. The movie is sleek fun, full of verve and charm, but never lets the audience forget that big businesses fight just as dirty as governments do.   RATINGS GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 ... [full story]
2851 times read - No comment posted

Mar 23,2009
A quick tip for "Sunshine Cleaning"-goers: Skip the snack bar. This quirky dramedy, seemingly inspired by "Six Feet Under," "CSI" and some scrapped "SNL" Halloween skit, spares us the sight of dead bodies or outright gore. Instead, its ... , shall we say, uneasiness, ... looms in the aftermath of violent or squalid death. Not just blood on tiled walls or "fluids" puddled on floors, but odors that buckle the knees of the whimsically named ... [full story]
2619 times read - No comment posted

Mar 23,2009
"The Great Buck Howard" is pretty great, a prickly slice of show-business landscape featuring a crafty, collected John Malkovich.   RATINGS  GUIDE: 4 STARS - Excellent. 3 STARS - Worthy. 2 STARS - Mixed. 1 STAR - Poor. 0 - Forget It (a dog.)  He plays a mentalist (don't call him "magician") not unlike The Amazing Kreskin, who's seen better days ("61 appearances on 'The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,' but not once in the last 10 ... [full story]
2367 times read - No comment posted



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