Film Reviews

Reviews of movies

Review: "The Lovely Bones" a Career Low

Peter Jackson’s head must have been spinning as he read Alice Sebold’s disturbing if obvious novel, “The Lovely Bones.” After viewing the film version, we’d guess that the novel brought many a fantastical set piece to the filmmaker’s vision. The otherworld of the novel’s dead girl, Susie Salmon, suggests all sorts of whims: trees bursting […]

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DVD Review: “Sherlock Holmes Double Feature – The Spider Woman & Voice of Terror”

This DVD double feature, which is being released ahead of the Robert Downey Jr. film “Sherlock Holmes,” offers a pair of films from Universal’s popular 1940s series of Sherlock Holmes adventures.

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Review: "Crazy Heart"

If one subscribes to the manufactured buzz emanating from Hollywood, Jeff Bridges is due for an Oscar for his “Crazy Heart.” If that is the case, it says very little for Academy Award quality control.Bridges plays Bad Blake, a has-been country music star who finds himself, at age 57, playing bowling alleys and cheap bars […]

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Review: "Brothers"

At no family dinner on the planet would a tearful tyke yell at her father: “You’re just mad because Mom would rather sleep with Uncle Tommy than you!” It’s a moment that shouldn’t have made it to the final cut of “Brothers,” Jim Sheridan’s remake of a 2004 Danish film about the impact of battle-triggered […]

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DVD Review: "Turandot"

Chinese film director Chen Kaige, best known for his 1993 “Farewell My Concubine,” helmed his first opera production with this lavish interpretation of the Puccini warhorse, which opened the 2008 Festival del Mediterrani in Valencia, Spain. Tiziano Mancini’s video record of the production brilliantly captures the best of Kaige’s vision for “Turandot” – a wonderfully […]

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Review: "Up in the Air"

The economy is in the toilet and people are being laid off. Who ya gonna call?Ryan Bingham, dashing corporate downsizer.The month-long trifecta of films featuring the ever pleasing George Clooney began with The Men Who Stare at Goats, (which wanted us to consider the silly, amusing, and inspiringly stupid things our military does in pursuit […]

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Review: "Me & Orson Welles"

By: Jessica Baxter “Sometimes you remember a week for the rest of your life,” says blue-eyed puppy dog Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) to his jaded, older love interest. That’s certainly true if your week involves scoring a bit part alongside Orson Welles. The trouble lies in how to keep Orson from outshining everything and everyone […]

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Review: "Invictus"

“Invictus,” the new bad movie from Clint Eastwood, perpetuates the soggy myth that decades of virulent racial distrust can be overcome if everyone roots for the same sports team. In this case, the team is the 1995 South African rugby team that represented the post-apartheid nation during the early years of Nelson Mandela presidency.The film […]

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DVD Review: "Ginevra’s Story"

Christopher Swann’s 1999 documentary, which is now being re-released on DVD, is a compelling celebration of one of the most enigmatic masterpieces of 15th century Italian art: Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of the 16-year-old Ginevra de’ Benci.The portrait is significant at many levels: it was da Vinci’s first commissioned portrait (he was 22 when he […]

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DVD Review: “Herbert Von Karajan: Maestro for the Screen”

Georg Wübbolt’s documentary, originally produced for German television, focuses on the conductor Herbert Von Karajan’s near-obsession with capturing his work with the Berlin Philharmonic on video.Karajan initially opposed the small screen medium, claiming the visual and audio quality of the 1950s-era television productions could not properly recreate the impact of a concert hall setting. But […]

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DVD Review: "PetroApocalypse Now?"

British filmmaker Andrew Evans asks many questions in “PetroApocalypse Now?” regarding the state of the world’s oil supplies. The answers he receives, however, are contradictory.On one side, there are those who argue the world is facing a peak oil situation where demand will soon outstrip supply – and it is possible it could be happening […]

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DVD Review: The Who, The Mods and the Quadrophenia Connection (MVD)

Finally, an unauthorized peek at a crucial period of a classic band that doesn’t suck! You’ve surely seen the recent Dylan and Beatles videos that feature still photos, lame background music in keys that suggest the artists’ music but can’t use it because of copyright. The Who, The Mods and the Quadrophenia Connection is actually […]

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DVD Review: Know Your Mushrooms (2009 Sphynx Productions)

Those expecting this documentary to be about the mind-expanding, space-travel inducing, true sacred portal to the gods types of mushrooms, you have to wait until the latter half of the film. The first part is about plain old yummy wild mushrooms, and the people who love them, hunt for them, and hold festivals in honor […]

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DVD review: One Love: Words Sounds & Powah (1988/2009; MVD)

In the late 1980s, documentary filmmaker Howard Johnson was given unprecedented access to the Rastafarian community in Britain, resulting in a 10 part series, Rockers Roadshow. Some of his wealth of material, shot in London and Nottingham, also was also collected in the One Love series, three short films that even today are riveting in […]

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DVD Review: Black Hollywood: Blaxploitation and Advancing an Independent Black Cinema

This 1984 documentary manages to be both history lesson and an opportunity to revisit your assumptions of that history. While Black Hollywood covers much familiar ground, it also opens one’s eyes to some of the pivotal figures in the often exploited, but nevertheless defiant role of African-Americans in Hollywood.A thumbnail sketch of that role is […]

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