Death Note II: The Last Name (VIZ Pictures, NR)

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Written by Jim Ousley Tuesday, 14 October 2008 01:22

deathnote2-header.jpgKenichi Matsuyama's performance in particular is one for the books. He takes what could have been a very flat character and imbues him with so much substance and style, that you'll miss him when he's not onscreen.



Body of Lies (Warner Bros., R)

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Written by Kevin Renick Friday, 10 October 2008 14:04

film_body-of-lies_sm.jpgThe best performance is easily that of Mark Strong, who offers a career-making turn as the charismatic Hani, steely eyed and controlled at all times.



City of Ember (Walden Media, PG)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 10 October 2008 14:01

film_ember_sm.jpgLina and Doon quickly come to realize that most of the adults in Ember are useless, clueless or downright evil.



A Girl Cut in Two (IFC Films, NR)

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Written by Joe Bowman Friday, 10 October 2008 13:58

film_girl-in-two_sm.jpgLike almost all of Chabrol's films, the suspense is so layered beneath the surface that when the climax approaches, one almost forgets what he was building toward.



Blindness (Miramax, R)

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Saturday, 04 October 2008 09:12

blindness.jpgMetaphors on the page too often become literal on the screen. The result in this case is a mannered film that lacks the resonance of the original work, but is too fussy and improbable to work as a thriller.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Columbia Pictures, PG-13)

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Saturday, 04 October 2008 08:58


I wish I could tell you what happens in Nick & Norah, but I can’t. See, nothing really happens in the film, and yet, the characters manage to do a lot of stuff. It’s very Seinfeldian that way. And, once I thought about it, that’s just the way it should be.


Religulous (Lionsgate, R)

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Saturday, 04 October 2008 08:47

religulous.jpgWith Religulous, Maher attempts to give a voice to the 16 percent of Americans who don’t belong to an organized religion and, frankly, wouldn’t want to be.

Appaloosa (Warner Brothers, R)

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Thursday, 02 October 2008 17:00


It’s a promising beginning, whetting our appetite for a western with all the trimmings we’ve come to expect from the classics, including grand moral themes, stunning landscapes and lots of action. But...


Trouble the Water (Zeitgeist Films, NR)

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Saturday, 27 September 2008 05:17

trouble2.jpgWe see how the water rises with alarming rapidity after the levee fails; and most hauntingly, we get lots of footage of Roberts and other residents (nearly all African-American) wandering ruined streets for weeks, observing devastated homes, commenting on whether or not there are dead bodies inside (in some cases, yes), and waiting…waiting…waiting for the Federal aid that, for most, never comes. It’s the most damning portrait of government failure and outright neglect that has yet been shown, told and presented by the people who lived through it.

Miracle at St. Anna (Touchstone, R)

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Saturday, 27 September 2008 05:11

stanna2.jpgThere is a lot of stuff going on in Miracle at St. Anna. I think in their effort to prove that African-American stories of WWII are worth telling, Lee and McBride (who wrote the novel the film was based on) packed too many things into the story. Too much is either implausible, irrelevant or both.

Eagle Eye (DreamWorks SKG, PG-13)

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Saturday, 27 September 2008 05:05

eagleeye.jpgThe sound of things crashing (another breathtaking sequence involving a skittering tractor-trailer rivals the one in the latest Die Hard movie), blowing up, careening this way and that, etc., is constant, and it’s somewhat atypical how long some of these sequences go on, as opposed to the quick cuts practiced in other movies of this type. You may get a headache, but you won’t be bored.

Choke (Fox Searchlight, R)

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Saturday, 27 September 2008 04:58

choke.jpgThat said, I was surprised to find that the trailer for the film version of Choke actually looked halfway decent, and I was kind of looking forward to seeing it. I knew I was setting myself up to fail -- how good could it possibly be if I hated the source material? -- but that didn’t keep me from running out and seeing it the first opportunity I had.

Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild (TLA Releasing, NR)

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Written by Joe Bowman Friday, 19 September 2008 06:38

film_gays.jpgRacism and bitchiness aside, Another Gay Sequel seems to lose itself along its thin premise, offering instead a cornucopia of annoying film references.




Ghost Town (PG-13, Paramount)

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Written by Adrienne Jones Friday, 19 September 2008 06:35

film_ghost_sm.jpgThe best part of Ghost Town is Ricky Gervais as Bertram Pincus.



I Served the King of England (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 19 September 2008 06:33

film_king_sm.jpgFull appreciation requires both a grasp of European history and an appreciation for stories which have many layers of meaning.



Lakeview Terrace (Overbrook Ent,, PG-13)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 19 September 2008 06:30

film_lakeview_am.jpgSamuel Jackson dominates Lakeview Terrace, leaving the other characters in his shadow.



Burn After Reading (Focus Features, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Friday, 12 September 2008 03:35

film_burn_sm.jpgReally, only Malkovich and Juno's J.K. Simmons (who is only in a couple of scenes) come out of this mess with some sort of dignity.



Righteous Kill (Overture Films; R)

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Written by Kevin Renick Friday, 12 September 2008 03:33

film_righteous_sm.jpgThese guys are too watchable to be boring, so you end up enjoying the little moments—the nuances in their delivery, the way they look at each other and react.



What We Do Is Secret (Peace Arch, R)

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Written by Joe Bowman Friday, 12 September 2008 03:31

film_what-we-do_sm.jpgThere was always going to be a strike against What We Do Is Secret in that it begs the question as to whether a film about The Germs or Darby Crash was even worth anyone's time.



The Women (Picturehouse, PG-13)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Friday, 12 September 2008 03:28

film_women_sm.jpgThe empowerment aspect of the story is entirely unbelievable.



Trumbo (Goldwyn, PG-13)

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Written by Sarah Boslaugh Thursday, 04 September 2008 02:25

film_trumbo-sm.jpgUnfortunately, rather than trusting Dalton Trumbo to speak for himself, director Peter Askin adds many standard documentary elements to the film.



The Edge of Heaven (Strand Releasing, NR)

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Written by Joe Bowman Wednesday, 27 August 2008 09:06

film_edge-of-heaven_sm.jpgIt's a feat to draw an audience's involvement into one character, but Fatih Akin does it with six, all of whom are as elaborately sketched as they are beautifully acted.



Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics, R)

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Written by Pete Timmermann Wednesday, 27 August 2008 09:03

film_frozenriver_sm.jpgWhat makes Frozen River work as well as it does is there is always something to worry about.



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