Back to Dog in a Sweater

Review Archives:
D - G     H - K     L - N     O - R     S - T     U - Z

(just scroll down to read)
Abandon (3/10)
Absolute Power (4.5/10)
Accepted (5/10)
The Acid House (5/10)
Across the Universe (2/10)
Adam & Paul (7.5/10)
Aeon Flux (5/10)
Afropunk (6.5/10)
Aguirre: The Wrath of God (6/10)
Airplane II: The Sequel (8/10)
Akeelah and the Bee (7.5/10)
The Alamo (6.5/10)
Alexei and the Spring (6/10)
Alien vs. Predator (6/10)
Alien vs Predator - Requiem (4/10)
Aliens (8/10)
Alien 3 (6/10)
All The King's Men (5/10)
Alone in Four Walls (7/10)
Along Came a Spider (5/10)
Along Came Polly (3/10)
The Alphabet Killer (5/10)
Amelie (8.5/10)
An American Astronaut (5/10)
American Gangster (7.5/10)
American History X (8/10)
American Psycho (7.5/10)
American Splendor (8/10)
American Teen (6/10)
The Amityville Horror (7/10)
Amy & Isobelle (5/10)
Anaconda (4/10)
Anchorman (7/10)
The Andromeda Strain (7/10)
Angel Heart (7/10)
Anger Management (3/10)
Animal House (10/10)
Animal 2 (5/10)
Animals Are Beautiful People (8/10)
Annapolis (4/10)
Another Woman (4/10)
Anvil: The Story of Anvil (7.5/10)
Anything Else (7.5/10)
Apocalypto (6.5/10)
Appaloosa (7/10)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres (9/10)
Armageddon (3/10)
Army of Shadows (7.5/10)
Art School Confidential (6.5/10)
Ash Wednesday (5.5/10)
Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live (7.5/10)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (6.5/10)
Assault on Precinct 13 (6/10)
Away We Go (6/10)
Aztec Rex (2/10)

The Babe (7/10)
Babel (8/10)
Babies (6/10)
Baby Doll (6.5/10)
Baby Mama (7/10)
Bachelor Party (5.5/10)
Back in the Day (2/10)
Back to the Future 2 (8/10)

Bad Boys (7.5/10)
Bad Education (7/10)
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (7/10)
The Bad News Bears (9/10)
The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (4/10)
Bad Santa (9/10)
The Ballad of Jack and Rose (6/10)
Balls of Fury (6/10)
The Bank Job (7/10)
The Basketball Diaries (7.5/10)
Batman (9/10)
Batman Begins (8.5/10)
The Battle for Algiers (8/10)
Battle Royale (8.5/10)
The Baxter (7/10)
Bazaar Bizarre (3/10)
The Beach Girls (4/10)
Beautiful Girls (10/10)
Beautiful Losers (7.5/10)
Beerfest (7.5/10)
Before Sunset (5.5/10)
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (6.5/10)
Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (7/10)
Being There (7/10)
Be Kind Rewind (8.5/10)
Below (7/10)
The Benchwarmers (6/10)
Berlin Tunnel 21 (7/10)
Bewitched (4/10)
Beyond the Sea (5/10)
The Big Bird Cage (6.5/10)
Big Doll House (6/10)
The Big Easy (6.5/10)
Big Fan (6/10)
The Big House (6.5/10)
The Big Lebowski (10/10)
Big Momma's House 2 (5/10)
Bigger Stronger Faster (8/10)
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (8/10)
The Black Dahlia (6/10)
Black Gunn (5/10)
Black Like Me (6/10)
Black Snake Moan (7.5/10)
Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre (6.5/10)
Blade 2 (6/10)
Blades of Glory (8.5/10)
Blazing Saddles (10/10)
Blood Diamond (8.5/10) 
Bloody Reunion (6.5/10)
Blues Brothers (10/10)
Bobby (7/10)
Bob le Flambeur (9/10)
Body of Lies (7/10)
Bodysong (5/10)
Bomb the System (6/10)
Boogie Nights (9/10)
Boogeyman (2/10)
The Border (7/10)
Born into Brothels (8.5/10)
The Bounty (6/10)
The Bourne Supremacy (7/10)
The Bourne Ultimatum (7/10)
Boxcar Bertha (6/10)
The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas at Bamiyan (6.5/10)
The Boys of Baraka (6/10)
The Boys in Company C (7/10)
Boyz n the Hood (9/10)
The Brave One (6.5/10)
Breach (7/10)
The Break-Up (3/10)
Breakfast on Pluto (3/10)
Breaking Away (7.5/10)
Breakout (6.5/10)
Brick (8/10)
Bride Wars (0/10)
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1/10)
Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (8/10)
Brokeback Mountain (6/10)
Broken Arrow (5/10)
Broken Flowers (8.5/10)
Broken Trail (7/10)
Bronson (8/10)
The Brood (4/10)
The Brother from Another Planet (7/10)
Brotherhood of Death (6/10)
Brothers (7.5/10)
The Brothers Bloom (6/10)
The Brothers Grimm (7/10)
Brothers Solomon (6/10)
Bruce Almighty (5.5/10)
Bruce and Me (7/10)
Brüno (5/10)
Bubble (6.5/10)
Bukowski: Born Into This (6/10)
Bull Durham (8.5/10)
Bulletproof Monk (6/10)
Bullitt (7/10)
Burden of Dreams (7.5/10)
Burn After Reading (7.5/10)
The Burning (7/10)
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (6/10)

Cache (5/10)
Cadillac Records (7/10)
California Split (8/10)
Candy (1968) (5/10)
Candy (2006) (6.5/10)
Cannibal Holocaust (4/10)
Capote (9/10)
The Car (7/10)
Carandiru (7/10)
Carla’s Song (6/10)
Cars (7/10)
Catch A Fire (8/10)
Catching Out (5/10)
Cellular (2/10)
Chained Heat (5/10)
Chapter 27 (6/10)
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (7/10)
Charlie Wilson's War (7/10)
Chasing Liberty (5/10)
Chattahoochee (7/10)
The Cheerleaders (4/10)
Chernobyl Heart (9/10)
The Chiefs (5/10)
Children of Men (8.5/10)
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (3.5/10)
Children of Times Square (5/10)
Choke (6/10)
Chop Shop (7/10)
Chopper (8/10)
A Christmas Story (10/10)
Christmas Vacation (10/10)
The Chronicles of Riddick (7/10)
Chrystal (7.5/10)
Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (5/10)
The Chumscrubber (6.5/10)
Ciao! Manhattan (4/10)
The Cincinnati Kid (8/10)
Cinderella Man (8/10)
Citizen X (7/10)
City of Men (7.5/10)
The Clash: Westway to the World (9/10)
Class of 1984 (7.5/10)
The Clearing (6/10)
Click (5/10)
Closure (6/10)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (6/10)
Coach Carter (7.5/10)
Cobra Verde (6/10)
Cocaine Cowboys (6.5/10)
Code 46 (5/10)
Code of Silence (6/10)
Coffy (7.5/10)
Cold Creek Manor (6/10)
Collateral (8/10)
Come and See (7.5/10)
Come Feel Me Tremble (7.5/10)
The Comedians of Comedy (8/10)
Commune (5/10)
Con Air (5/10)
The Constant Gardner (8.5/10)
Control Room (8/10)
Convoy (7/10)
A Cool, Dry Place (6/10)
Cooley High (7/10)
The Core (5/10)
The Corporation (7/10)
The Counterfeiters (7/10)
Couples Retreat (5/10)
The Covenant (2.5/10)
Crank: High Voltage (7/10)
Crash (9/10)
Crawlspace (5.5/10)
Crazy Heart (7.5/10)
Criminal (7/10)
Crips and Bloods: Made in America (8/10)
Crossing the Line (6.5/10)
Cry_Wolf (4/10)
Cujo (5.5/10)
Curse of the Komodo (3/10)
Cursed (3/10)
Cutting Class (3/10)
Cyborg Cop (2/10)
Cyrus (6/10)

Abandon (2002)
 - 3 out of 10 -

My god, this movie was a steaming pile of crap.  I'm not even going to bother describing it, but if you saw
The Sixth Sense and Fatal Attraction and ever wondered what you might get if you combined both in a
very poor fashion, then look no further than this picture.  This movie was a whole heaping help of point-
less; an extremely poor effort by first-time director Stephen Gaghan - I guess if you look on the bright
side, he can only go uphill from here.  I will give the casting director credit though, for getting three very
attractive actresses in the same film - Katie Holmes, Zooey Deschanel, and Gabrielle Union.  But even
they don't make this film particularly watchable.  I can only recommend this flick if you're recovering from
a lobotomy.

Absolute Power (1997)
- 4.5 out of 10 -

I've seen just about every one of Clint Eastwood's movies, and nearly all of them run the gamut from “good”
to “spectacular”; this is one of those rare cases where the product is sub-par. It's just that everything about
the storyline is so insane and unbelievable right from the beginning that it throws you off for the rest of the film.
The sheer lack of security in every situation, be it guarding the presi-dent or trying to take down Eastwood,
is laughable at best. Normally I'm the sort that will suspend disbelief as long as the film is well executed, but
with political thriller pictures of this nature details are everything, and when they are all wrong so is the movie.

Accepted (2006)
- 5 out of 10 -

I expected this to be very, very bad, but it turned out to be...tolerable. Lowered expectations surely have a lot to
do with this, and a few strong moments from the now-famous and much fatter Jonah Hill helped things along as
well. Hot trashy women and a few funny scenes here and there, but the story is beyond ludicrous, and was
possibly written by a grip of stoned apes who watched “Revenge of the Nerds” and “Animal House” a few too
many times and thought they could...hell, I don't know, do it better?

The Acid House (1998)
 - 5 out of 10 -

Theatrically speaking, this collection of shorts based on a book by the same title by Irvine Welsh would have
to be considered a great disappointment, given that it was following his amazing Trainspotting only a couple
of years earlier.  It's hard not to compare the two and have high expections going in to this, which is probably
unfair but no less true.  

The first tale is about a man whose life is only going downhill, and things are made worse when he meets and
pisses off god, who then turns him into a bug.  This one was pretty bland all around with the exception of the
role of  god played by Maurice Roeves, one of those British character guys whose name you never remember,
but face you never forget.  

The middle story is the gem of the bunch, and quite good really - it's basically about relationships, the power
of love despite mitigating circumstances...or that is to say, it's a about a lowly dude who marries a knocked
up girl to try and make her honest, and then she cheats and shits all over him.  He then moves on, she comes
crawling back, and despite all common sense, he goes back to her.  Great acting and characters all around,
and sure the story ain't that special but it's carried out in a believable and engaging way.

The third short is just pure shit...a raver kid on acid gets struck by lightening and his soul goes into a newborn
baby.  Regardless of anything else involved, the fake baby used is so attrociously bad that I couldn't concentrate
on anything else.  

Worth checking out, but you're not missing anything if you only watch the center film of the trio.

Across the Universe (2007)
- 2 out of 10 -

Does anyone really think we need a musical based on Beatles songs, only not even the real songs but vastly
inferior covers? I got no beef with cover songs, but poor cover songs set to bad acting ain't winning any prizes
in my book. The film looked nice though I guess – visual wallpaper, if you will.

Adam & Paul (2004)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

This film is quite simple - a day in the life of a pair of Irish heroin adicts roaming around Dublin looking for
their next fix.  It somehow manages to come across as sweet and endearing and depressing all at the same
time.  Hijinks ensue as they try to get money, or food, or drugs, or steal things to help with the money and
food and drugs.  You really feel sorry for these guys (especially Paul), and hope that at some point things
will turn around for them, but you know in your heart things are permanently fucked for these guys and the
film holds true what you would expect to happen in real life with guys like this.  

Aeon Flux (2005)
 - 5
out of 10 -

I would imagine a lot of folks my age grew up with MTV's Liquid Television and was fascinated with
the cartoon of Aeon Flux on it.  When I saw they were making a movie based off of this I wasn't
entirely sure how they would pull it off...and quite honestly, they really didn't.  It's a tolerably fun scifi
flick to watch, but it seemed to miss out on what it is exactly that makes the cartoon so engrossing.  
An I'm not even sure what that is - the creepiness and lack of explanation maybe?  the mystery and
the animation were what drew my eyes to the cartoon in the first place, two things dreadfully missing
in a live-action feature marketed for the masses.  There were some neat special effects though, and
the outfits and haircut are a pretty fetching look for Charlize Theron, so it's not a total loss.

Afropunk (2003)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

A documentary about the black experience in the punk rock movement - made by a black man, featuring inter-
views with black punk fans and musicians...really, it's as simple as that.  Fairly interesting stuff even to this
pasty white dude, though maybe a bit repetative in a few scenes.  A fair number of prominent names lend a
few words to the discussion...members of TV on the Radio, Fishbone, Bad Brains and 90 Day Men just to
name a few.  Probably worth checking out if you are or ever have been a punk rock fan.  Also, they used a
McRad song at the end of the flick, which was...rad. 

Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972)
- 6 out of 10 -

I’m pretty sure I didn’t “get” this movie, at least not in the way that the folks who go on and on about it did.  But
visually, it had some pretty stunning scenery, especially the first 15 minutes or so.  It should also be noted, even
if it is already well known, that Klaus Kinski is a freaky dude – and as insane as his character in this film is, it
doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for him to play.  He gives off that feel that his behavior off-screen is equally
as maniacal (and documentaries have been made on the fact).

Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
- 8 out of 10 -

Not as funny as the first, but that’s not a knock because few films are as funny as the first Airplane! flick.  No
Kareem Abdul Jabar puts this one at an instant disadvantage, cause he was the best part of the first one;
but they nearly make up for it with the inclusion of air traffic controller Jacobs, who might nearly be the funniest
part of either film (except for the aforementioned Jabar role).  Eh, what else to say?  You want a good laugh,
look no further than either entry in this series.

Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

My overwhelming thought on this flick was “cute movie.” It's a feel-good story, well written and acted,
and it proceeds in the typical fashion. It's the sort of movie that you thoroughly enjoy even if it isn't any
great work of art. Keke Palmer, who plays the lead Akeelah, does a fantastic job and shows a lot of
promise acting-wise – hopefully she sticks with it because it comes quite natural to her. Plus any move
that gets Charles De Mar (Curtis Armstrong) and Crab Man (Eddie Steeples) in the same movie can't
be bad.

The Alamo (2004)

- 6.5 out of 10 -

Apparently, this is the most accurate retelling of this story that has yet put to film.  Well, that's what I was told
and I believe everything I'm told.  I'm going to be honest though - I totally knew how this one was going to end
from the start, so there was no surprise involved here.  Now, there are a lot of stupid people out there that prob-
ably actually thought we won the battle of the Alamo, so maybe it shocked them, but not me so it can
be tough to get terribly excited about story.  But Billy Bob Thornton was great as Daniel Boone, and the highlight
of the film (as usual).  The fight scenes were decent as well, and it was generally enjoyable viewing despite the
obvious defective issues with having an already-known plot.

Alexei and the Spring (2002)
 - 6 out of 10 -

First off, let me say that although it was a bit long, I definitely enjoyed this film - but it wasn’t what I
expected.  The basics of this documentary is it is about the life of a small village located not far
from Chernobyl.  Many of the residents left but some stayed, mostly older folks.  These people live
pretty much as folks in small farming villages have lived for centuries – subsistence farming, little
modern help, and community involvement.  I think I was hoping for more details on the effects
Chernobyl has had on things, but really all that happened was the population lessened, and pre-
sumably the town will die as its residents do, as there didn’t seem to be any young people left to
procreate and keep on the traditions.  The interesting thing is that the spring that keeps the town
alive, has absolutely no radiation levels at all, and the food grown in the field seems relatively
radiation free as well.  I suppose the irony is that even though it seems they have escaped the
harmful effects of the disaster, the very existence of it drove away the townsfolk and will be their
ultimate downfall.  Pretty sad really, but uplifting at the same time, seeing these regular folk carry
on their lives as if nothing has happened.

Alien vs. Predator (2004)
 - 6 out of 10 -

First, let me say this wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting, and I was expecting pretty bad.  The
story and acting were pretty goofy, sure, but it looked good and the fight scenes kept things pretty
fast-paced and interesting.  I had my money on the predator before I even watched a minute of the
movie - after all, Sigourney Weaver kicked multiple alien asses on 4 different occasions, but it took
he-beast Arnold Schwarzenegger a whole film to kill a predator (we’re going to ignore that Danny
Glover/Predator 2 debacle like it never happened). 

Also, the film deserves praise for the Antarctic setting, if for no other reason than it reminds me of
John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing, a very favorite horror film of mine.  Although the lack of
Wilford Brimley can seriously hamper any films score, and trying to have Spud from Trainspotting
in his place will get you nowhere. 

Alien vs Predator - Requiem (2007)
- 4 out of 10 -

It's Aliens and a Predator fighting! Again! I love how in this series they decided the Predator was the
"good guy", though it doesn't really make since. I guess they are slightly more likable than the aliens,
since they don't nest inside of your body. To use an overused cliche quote, this film "is what it is"
want aliens and predators fighting with each other, and a lot of human collatoral damage, well, you got
it. But a big thumbs down to the blu-ray disc being so damn dark you could barely see what was going
on...I cranked up the brightness on my TV and it was still tough to understand what was going on, or at
least it would have been if it wasn't such an obvious flick.

Aliens (1986)
- 8 out of 10 -

One of the few examples in cinema where the sequel is as good if not better than the original, and
one of the greatest science fiction films of all long as you ignore the whiny child that is
constantly throwing a wet blanket on what is otherwise an awesome ass-kicking flick. Oh, and Paul
Reiser, who is possibly whinier than that child. But the aliens creep and crawl and Sigourney
Weaver is hard as nails and even after having seen these tons of times, it still entertains.

Alien 3 (1992)
- 6 out of 10 -

Like any good sci-fi series, they just keep making sequels, and the quality drops off accordingly.
Sigourney Weaver reprises her role as Ridley, yet again fighting the slimy aliens that have haunted
her for ages...only this time, it's in a prison colony and she is the only woman. What sounds like the
beginning of a porno is in reality not a bad third entry in this vaunted series, but certainly an un-
necessary one. An interesting side note – this was David Fincher's feature-film directorial debut...
not a bad start, but certainly not to the level of his next film, “Seven”.

All The King's Men (2006)
- 5 out of 10 -

A well-acted, well-written period piece about politics...that bored me to tears. This flick is thick with
high-quality actors, doing what they are paid handsomely to do, but I just couldn't gather up the interest
to give a shit.

Alone in Four Walls (2007)
 - 7 out of 10 -

A documentary about juvenile delinquents in Russia living together in a "boot camp"-style reform school. 
It sounds boring but it turned out to be quite fascinating, hearing of the children's crimes and how they are
reacting to growing up away from their family under the strict guidance of the state.  It's fairly obvious and
sad that despite their best intentions most of these kids are either going to end up dead at an early age or
career criminals, but it did make for good cinema.

Along Came a Spider (2001)
 - 5 out of 10 -

A pretty by-the-books cop thriller about a crazy killer.  Really, the only thing of note here is that it stars
Morgan Freeman in a role he has played in at least a half-dozen films, but to his credit it is a role he
does well. 

Along Came Polly (2004)
- 3 out of 10 -

Really, everything about this is terrible and it only gets a 3 because Phillip Seymour Hoffman is in it even
if he isn’t well utilized.  If you want to see a comedy about Irritable Bowel Syndrome that’s actually funny,
watch the Coen brothers’ remake of The Ladykillers.

The Alphabet Killer (2008)
 - 5 out of 10 -

Eliza Dushku as a super smart cop on the trail of a serial killer...why not make her a nuclear physicist and a
brain surgeon too?  It wouldn't be any less believable.  But as I told the old lady, I'll watch any movie about a
serial killer, so I stuck with this until the end.  And in a plot twist that has never been used in a film like this
before...the killer is right under their nose!  OMG freak out!

Amelie (2001)
 - 8.5 out of 10 -

Audrey Tautou as the film’s focal point and title character, Amelie, is simply too adorable for words; even
if this film was a steaming pile of shit I would have been mesmerized.  Luckily, she is actually wrapped up
in a very quirky, heartwarming fairy tale-like plot.  The gist of it being – you have to make life happen, it’s
not going to happen for you.

After years of isolating and insulating herself from her fellow man, Amelie decides, through the discovery
of a tin of children’s toys, that the only way to achieve happiness is by seeking it out.  So she returns the
toys to the rightful owner, cheers up her dad, sets up couples, befriends a shut-in, and finds love in the
process.  Happily ever after indeed.

But aside from Tautou’s performance, the real key behind the success of this movie is the direction (with
an approving nod towards the set design as well).  Jean-Pierre Jeunet has a way of making any film un-
believably tantalizing to watch – see Delicatessen or City of Lost Children for further evidence.  And while
this film isn’t nearly as surreal as those two, it still has it’s moments that make it an undeniably Jeunet flick. 
As long as he keeps making movies French cinema will be in good shape for years to come.

An American Astronaut (2001)
- 5 out of 10 -

I felt like I was on drugs watching this. Which I'm pretty sure was the point. It wasn't really my bag, but given
the budget (I'm guessing somewhere between 10 and 20 dollars) it was pretty well kudos for that
I suppose. For a musical, the songs were fairly enjoyable, and it was obvious they were going for a Rocky
Horror Picture Show vibe...really, the more I think about it, the flick wasn't that bad, it just wasn't for me.

American Gangster (2007)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

A lot of hype surrounding this film as it came out, that it would be the next “Scarface” or some such shit.
Really, that does this film a disservice – “American Gangster” is a much better film than “Scarface”, and
outside of the drug connection not much like it at all. This is a dense, thorough story that really sucks you in,
and in typical Hollywood fashion almost has you feeling sorry for the bad guy even though you know he is in
the wrong. I would imagine it goes without saying at this point that Denzel Washington is great here, as he
is generally great in everything he appears (though the films themselves are not always top notch). Josh
Brolin also continues his improbably run of quality roles, and even Russell Crowe does a decent job.

American History X (1998)
 - 8 out of 10 -

When you finish watching this powerful film on the need for tolerance in our society, I’ve found
through discussions that the one thing folks remember most is the infamous “curbing” scene that
sends Edward Norton’s character to I’ve seen a lot of violent shit in my day, but this
still might be the most stomach churning scene ever put on film (it must be noted that there are any
number of scenes in “Black Sun” about the massacre of Nanking that would easily be worse, if they
didn’t look so damn fake). 

Great acting all around by Norton, Edward Furlong, and the underrated Avery Brooks; additionally,
any film with Stacy Keach in it is automatically at a minimum a 5 regardless of how good the film
might actually be – few men can pull off “badass” like that guy.  Tony Kaye’s decision to shoot much
of the film in black and white (the flashback scenes, of which there are plenty) was a nice touch, as it
looked fantastic and gave the whole procession a bit more of a “serious” feel.  

As a side note, I was kinda surprised when I looked on IMDB and saw that this flick was #48 on their
“top 250 films of all time” list, as voted by the visitors of the website – it’s a pretty great film and all,
but #48?  Sometimes internet nerds can be bewildering in their choices.  Still, it’s a fine film that I’ve
watched a few times now and it really never loses any of its power – definitely recommended.

American Psycho (2000)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

I like the acting in this film – Christian Bale does an amazing job as the lead Patrick Bateman, a per-
formance I'm not sure I ever knew he had in him. I like that you never know if the killings were real, or a
figment of his demented mind (I haven't read the book, and maybe it is clearer there). But more than
anything, I like the multiple extended monologues on popular music of the eighties – Huey Lewis, Phil
Collins and the like have never sounded as appealing to me as when Bale is waxing poetic about their

American Splendor (2003)
- 8 out of 10 -

Firstly, the comics that this film is based off of are really fantastic – if you liked the film at all you’re
doing yourself a disservice by not checking them out.

That said, this movie was especially awesome for two reasons – putting to live action a book which I
had enjoyed immensely, and doing it well; and the use of mixed media along with crossing the “border”
between movie and documentary to tell the story was a stroke of brilliance.  Paul Giamatti was terrific
as Harvey Pekar, exactly as you would imagine him to be if you were not familiar with his few forays
into mainstream television.  And then seeing that footage in the movie, it only drives home how perfectly
he nailed the part.  This film is a sure-fire way to get otherwise disinterested adults into comic books, or
to at least treat them as a legitimate form of literature, if anything is ever going to.

American Teen (2008)
 - 6 out of 10 -

On the surface this a documentary about an assorted group of high school seniors in some tiny town
in Indiana, but upon a bit of retrospection it doesn't fully sit well with me.  The teens involved in the
project all seem to fit a little too well into their designed roles - jock, popular girl, band geek, etc.  This
could just be the result of very precise editing, but something makes me think the kids were somewhat
"constructed" to fit these roles.  Perhaps it's just my skepticism after programs like "The Hills" turned
what was once a documentary-like medium into scripted drama, but "American Teen" doesn't fully
pass the sniff test. 

The Amityville Horror (1979)
 - 7 out of 10 -

I’m honestly surprised that this hasn’t received the remake treatment yet (spoke too soon – looks like
there is a remake slated for 2005 starring Ryan Reynolds, best known for his role in Van Wilder).  Like
Orson Welles' War of the Worlds and The Blair Witch Project, this film was presented as fact when it
came out, and had folks scared shitless.  It has since been proven a hoax (although the original DeFeo
murders were real), but that doesn’t make it any less interesting.

I’m not going to bother with a rehash of the story, as you’ve probably already seen it.  But while I was
watching it, I started thinking just how much creepier fare from this era is over modern horror films.  And
I’m not just referring to including James Brolin in your films.  Somewhere along the line, genuine tension
and suspense gave way to quick cuts and things that jump at you quickly - which is plenty scary when it
actually happens, but doesn’t stick to your bones and keep you up at night like this film Last House on
the Left or Poltergeist or The Shining or Psycho or a Jane Fonda workout tape.

Amy & Isobelle (2001)
 - 5 out of 10 -

The only reason I watched this is because I was up early in the morning in Singapore and there weren’t
a lot of English language options.  Apparently this was made for TV and that’s not sur-prising because it
has a very “Lifetime for Women” feel but with decent stars in it.  I dunno, does Elisabeth Shue count as a
star?  She was in a couple good things, and is still super hot, so I’m going to go with yes.  Anyways, set in
a small town in the 70’s, mother and teen daughter drama, ends up they’re going through the same
problems, yadda yadda yadda, dead body in a trunk, or something like that.  Martin Donovan is also in it
and it’s not even a Hal Hartley movie!  Recom-mended to folks who like to think naughty thoughts about
Elisabeth Shue and have already watched Leaving Las Vegas too many times.

Anaconda (1997)
 - 4 out of 10 -

For such a small cast, it's gotta go down as one of the weirdest and most eclectic in history - Ice Cube,
John Voight, Jenny from the Block, Eric "The Mask" Stoltz, Owen Wilson, and even a brief appearance
from Danny Trejo.  It's not "Necessary Roughness" good, but pretty damn close.  But there is way, way,
WAY too much floating around on the boat listening to Voight mangle a Paraguayan accent and not enough
bad special effects snake.  Cause c'mon, that's what you're watching this shitpile for anyways.  What's par-
ticularly funny is how this film was cutting edge a little over ten years ago and now it looks worse than a
SciFi original...and that's saying something.

Anchorman (2004)
 - 7 out of 10 -

This is a no-brainer – if you want to see a dumb comedy with lots of Will Ferrell screen time, see this
immediately.  If you don’t like the man, then you’re not going to like this…pretty simple.  Ferrell plays a
newscaster in San Diego in the 70’s, and is on top of the world.  The story is pretty asinine and point-
less, so I won’t even get into it, but it does move along at a nice pace.  There are tons of cameos, which
are good for a laugh, and the group of newscasters singing “Afternoon Delight” had me rolling; other
than Ferrell, Steve Carrell plays a mentally deficient weather man and nearly steals the show.  I laughed
a lot at this movie, although it probably won’t stand up as well to repeated viewings…so if you want a
laugh, here you go.

The Andromeda Strain (1971)
 - 7 out of 10 -

Although it seems a bit dated with my most recent rewatching, this movie was really creepy to me as
a kid, and I was not an easily freaked out type of lad.  A true psychological thriller with sci-fi undertones,
this movie gets in your brain in ways that most horror films would kill to do.  There are no sexy stars, no
explosions, no fist fights, and not a ton of action to speak of - rather, it's a group of intellectuals trying to
solve a problem with their brains instead of their braun (a little something this country could try more of,
but that's a tale for a different time).  

The film is a bit long-winded, but no more so than most things from this era.  With the right patience,
this can be an extremely rewarding viewing...and if nothing else, a great look at the level of computer
sophistication in the early seventies.

Angel Heart (1987)
 - 7 out of 10 -

I don’t know how many times I picked this movie up to watch it when I used to work at a video store. 
I think I might have even brought it home a few times, only to leave it sitting unwatched on top of the
VCR until it was time to take them back to the store.

And honestly, I don’t know what was holding me back - Alan Parker, Robert Deniro, Mickey Rourke,
and a naked Lisa Bonet would be able ot make even the worst film worth watching.  And this is an
enjoyable film aside from the star power...except maybe the ending, which I’m still not to sure about. 
But it was either an awful or a genius way to wrap up the flick, and certainly a little surprising (although
I knew there was something peculiar about Deniro from the get-go).

A good mystery, great set design, swell acting all around...don’t put this one off like I did...but I’m
guessing if you haven’t seen it now, almost 20 years past it’s release, you’ve probably done the
exact same thing.

Anger Management (2003)
- 3 out of 10 -

I started watching this a while back and only watched half because it was so crappy, but due to a
passing tropical storm combined with boredom I decided to give it another shot...bad idea.  This
is really terrible, easily the worst Adam Sandler movie made.  I know that may be hard for some
to believe, as he has many haters, but I usually like his crappy films so to be this utterly dis-
appointed is, well, disappointing.  There is really nothing redeeming here outside of Kevin Nealon's
appearance as Sandlers lawyer, which was pretty funny.  Even Woody Harrelson in drag couldn't
save this.

Animal House (1978)
- 10 out of 10 -

Shit, how do you write a review of Animal House?  I’m not even sure why I’m doing it, but I was
watching it the other night for the umpteenth time and realized I’d never reviewed it.  But it’s not
like it is necessary – everyone already knows it and loves it and I would imagine it would be a
pretty unanimous choice for one of the greatest comedies ever made.  They actually make being
in a frat seem cool for chrissakes, a feat that has never been equaled in any way, shape or form.

Animal 2 (2007)
- 5 out of 10 -

This is basically a replica of the bigger budget film Ving Rhames put out a few years before this one
called “Undisputed”, and I'm guessing quite similar to the first “Animal” though I haven't seen it to verify.
I guess Rhames really likes to be in movies where he fights people in prison. It's not a good movie, but it
is a prison movie and god knows I'm a sucker for any prison movie.

Animals Are Beautiful People (1974)
 - 8 out of 10 -

Brought to you from the same folks behind The Gods Must Be Crazy, this doc is a whimsical look
at the wildlife that lives in the various climates and landscapes of the African nation of Namibia. 
Like most animal documentaries, it’s chock full of beautiful shots and interesting facts on the wildlife
at hand; what makes this stand apart from the crowd, though, is the humorous nature of the narration
and the subjects at hand.  There’s no real beginning or end here, but rather just a slice of life look
at many different plants and species that thrive in the harsh desert and surrounding climes.  If nothing
else, it’s worth a view just for the scene where all of the animals get drunk off of fermented fruit,
complete with hangovers the next day.  This film never overstays its welcome, and is a near perfect
example of how an animal documentary should be made.

Annapolis (2006)
 - 4
out of 10 -

This pile was actually two bad movies in one, one half being the kid from the wrong side of the
tracks who makes good despite the long odds, and the other half being a poor man's version of
Rocky.  Neither of these story lines are worth wasting your time with.  It makes me sad to see the
James Franco that I loved so much in Freaks & Geeks make such terrible movies, but I suppose
his bank account doesn't mind.  And it should be noted that the boxing scenes are pretty enjoyable,
despite being completely predictable.  Avoid this one unless you are exceptionally bored.

Another Woman (1988)
- 4 out of 10 -

Count this one of the very, very few Woody Allen movies I don’t like.  It’s gotten a lot of criticism for
being too much like an Ingmar Bergman film, and maybe that’s why I didn’t dig it – never been a
Bergman fan either.  There have only been a few instances where I’ve really loved a serious Woody
flick (“Crimes & Misdemeanors” and “Manhattan” being two of his best funny or not), and this just
wasn’t one of those times.  Great acting, great cast, nothing wrong with the story or the direction, but
I just had a tough time staying interested in what was going on or caring what happened to these
characters.  It did make me want to rewatch “Bananas” or “Take the Money and Run” or “Zelig” again
for the umpteenth times and see Woody at the top of his game.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

This is the real-life version of "This Is Spinal Tap".  Equal parts depressing and hilarious, the docu-
mentary tells the story of a metal band, once contemporaries of Metallica, Megadeth and their ilk,
only to find themselves still playing small clubs for shitty pay while their former peers fill arenas.  You
manage to both feel sorry for the bands struggles and admire their perseverance at the same time. 
On a side note, a number of my friends that are in bands thought this film was really sad, as I guess
they saw something in the film that struck them on a personal level that a regular doofus like me
might have glazed over. 

Anything Else (2004)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

Now I’m not trying to say that this film can compare to some of Woody’s classic works such as Bananas
and Annie Hall and Take the Money and Run, but it is certainly an enjoyable film and probably the best
thing he has released since Everyone Says I love You (although Small Time Crooks did have it’s charms,
mostly because Michael Rapaport was in it).  Even having Jason Biggs in the title role with Woody as the
supporting character, this film was still entertaining and funny and neurotic in all the best ways one of his
films are.  Honestly, I don’t even remember this ever coming out and maybe because I had low expect-
ations did I enjoy this so, or maybe it was because Christina Ricci looked particularly fetching in it, but
either way, certainly recommended, especially over his more recent sub-par outings.

Apocalypto (2006)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

I'll ignore the (probably retarded) christianity-as-a-savior subplot featured in this film and instead concen-
trate on the flick as purely mindless popcorn entertainment. And as far as all that goes, Apocalypto is
pretty damn entertaining; a good 30 minutes too long, but enjoyable nonetheless. The story is really unim-
portant in the grand scheme of things – this movie's watchability stems from great action scenes and
beautiful cinematography. If you can overlook the “sugar tits” Gibson factor and let you brain go blank,
you might find a decent bit of filmmaking here.

Appaloosa (2008)
- 7 out of 10 -

A timeless western, a film and storyline that could have come out 50 years ago instead of 2008. In a lot of
ways, it isn't a terribly remarkable film – you know what is going to happen pretty much from the start, but
it is crafted at such a high level with top-notch direction, smart writing and amazing acting performances
(especially from actor/director Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen). Any fan of classic westerns is going to
find a friend in this flick.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres (2007)
- 9 out of 10 -

I am not a drug user, but this film is so damn wacky I felt high before it was through. Now if you were
actually on drugs while watching this insanity, god help you. This full length movie is just as nonsensical
and all-over-the-map as the television show, and just as funny dead spots, no filler, just constant
silliness from every angle. Outside of the main stable of characters, they have a few interesting guest
voice appearances by the likes of Fred Armisen, Tina Fey, Bruce Campbell, and Neil Peart (as himself
of course). Possibly the highlight of the film though is at the very beginning, when the band Mastodon
(animated as pissed off theatre snacks) play a song wherein they threaten to cut the audience with a
linoleum knife. Honestly, if you love the show like I do I cannot imagine any scenario where you wouldn't
love this feature.

Armageddon (1998)
- 3 out of 10 -
I put off watching this heap when it came out and now I remember why - because it is as stupid a moive
as has
ever been made.  Michael Bay can really make a movie shiny, but at the end of the day a turd is
still a turd.  The
whole damn thing looks like a music video, with a story and plot line about as intelligent as
most music videos
as well.  Terrible writing, mediocre acting, poor direction, it's too long...the only thing it
got right were some of
the special effects when they landed on the asteroid (and looking at Liv Tyler doesn't
bother me either).

Army of Shadows (1964)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

Hands down, this is one of the best films about WWII I've ever seen, and easily the most subtle. Instead
of dealing with the big battles and the concentration camps and all that, it focuses on the French Resis-
tance and their constant harassment of the Nazis, nearly all of their operatives meeting untimely demises
in an effort to free their country from occupation. Jean-Pierre Melville made many great films, but this is
probably his best...crisp writing, top-notch directing, and acting jobs all around that could not have been
better. This is a movie that takes patience to watch, but the payoff is tremendous.

Art School Confidential (2006)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

For a film with a preview that makes it out to be a comedy, this flick is pretty dark.  And not really even a
“dark comedy” – though there were a couple of funny moments; mostly, just “dark dark”…everyone is a
shit, you only get ahead by lying or stepping on others, the art world is full of idiots, etc.  And while all of
that might e technically true, it rarely produces laughs.  I guess it’s my own fault for expecting a funny
movie, so in the end I felt a bit let down; but it was still mostly a decent flick and having lived with a bunch
of art school kids for many of my college years, I guess it reminded me of those days in some ways (both
good and bad).  Not the best Clowes or Zwigoff work, but not terrible either.

Ash Wednesday (2002)
 - 5.5 out of 10 -

When I think about films on the Irish mafia I always think of State of Grace, a fantastic film.  Ash Wednesday
will not be replacing that memory anytime in the near future.  Sure, it had its good points, but the plot was
so asinine it was hard to give it a very good score.

Some of the good points include:
- Malachy McCourt.  Who is the brother to Frank McCourt, the fantastic author of “Angela’s Ashes” and “‘Tis”. 
  I think I was just happy finally seeing him in something after reading so much about him in those two books.
- The filming.  It was shot really well – very grainy, set in the 80’s in Hell’s Kitchen NYC.  I’m a sucker for a
  well shot film, it can often help my memory erase other bad attributes of the film.
- Rosario Dawson.  She is just straight-up smokin’ hot.  Too bad she wasn’t in the movie more.

Some of the bad points include:
- The story.  There were enough holes in the plot to drive 10 Mack trucks through.  I’m not even going to bother
  getting into all of the details here, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin.
- Elijah Wood.  I like this kid in films, but he was just wrongly case here.  He stood out like pimple on a porn
  star’s ass.
- Rosario Dawson.  Despite her hotness, she also stood out; the whole Puerto Rican/Irish connection didn’t
  make a lot of sense.

I’m not going to say not to watch the film, because it’s not terrible, just not particularly good either. 
It just doesn’t
strike me that the plot was thought out very well; with a few re-writes, the story could
have probably been a really
good one.

Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live (2009)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

It's a film of Wilco, performing live. I know you might have thought the title was some sort of trick, but nope,
totally on point. The song selection is decent but as Nels Cline is in the band during these performance you may
choose to fast-forward through his gratuitous, overly long solos. As a side note, Brendan Canty of Fugazi was
one of the two directors of this film, so good on him.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

Like everyone else, I'm going to have to bring up the number one reason this film gets a low score – it's too
goddamn slow and long. Great story, quality cast, and it looks terrific, but it is easily 30 minutes to an hour
too long. It's really the only big strike against a film that is otherwise a high class affair.

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)
 - 6 out of 10 -

An extremely silly, but not necessarily bad remake of the classic John Carpenter B-movie fave from
the seventies.  Not silly in tone, mind you – it’s serious just like the first one, one continuous battle be-
tween the cops and their prisoners and those that want them dead.  Rather, it’s just silly that it was ever
made, unnecessary through and through – this is my biggest complaint with both remakes.  I’ve always
figured - if you’re going to go to the trouble to remake a film, why just copy the first one?  Sure, this one
has crooked cops instead of a rival gang and is set in snowy Detroit instead of L.A., but it’s essentially
the same damn thing.  Which is fine I guess, it’s entertaining enough with lots of dumb action clichés,
explosions and bad dialogue…just pointless is all.

Away We Go (2009)
 - 6 out of 10 -

I think this was a romantic comedy, but outside of the scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal talking about her
communal bed and how strollers are the devil, there wasn't very many laughs.  Basically it was about a
young couple, on the verge of parenthood, driving around the country trying to sort out where they belong in
this world.  And against all common sense, apparently the answer is Florida.  Here is a tip movie makers: 
it's never Florida. 

Aztec Rex (2007)
 - 2 out of 10 -

What would you get if you decided to make a movie about the conquistador Cortez encountering a group
of Aztecs and a Tyrannosaurus Rex, all fighting to save their lives?  And to top it off, you chose Ian Ziering
to play Cortez?  Well, you get this pile of shit, which was extra disappointing because the plot definitely
sounded like one of those "so bad it's good" type of flicks. 

The Babe (1992)
- 7 out of 10 -

John Goodman playing Babe Ruth – can you think of a better man for the role? Any student of baseball will
probably already know the story of The Babe, or certainly as much as is offered here, but there is still some-
thing quite satisfying to see it played out on the big screen, and Goodman does a fine job. They don't dig too
deep here, glancing over much of his off-field activities, his pitching career and his life after baseball, but still
a fun flick.

Babel (2006)
- 8 out of 10 -

Guillermo Arriaga continues to churn out one high quality screenplay right after another, and Babel is no
exception. This film really illustrates how small the world is, intertwining four completely different stories into
one grand tale of morality and survival. Each section was superbly acted, with the Japanese portion my clear
favorite. I'm honestly at a loss as to what else to write here without it devolving into a novel, so let's just say it's
a great flick and well worth watching.

Babies (2010)
 - 6 out of 10 -

A documentary about four different babies around the world (Mongolia, Zambia, Japan and US) - how they live,
how they are raised, their interactions, etc.  There is almost no dialogue and zero narration, so you're just left
to enjoy things as is - cinema verite if you will.  It's mostly interesting and somewhat boring at the same time...
and while the filmmaker's intentions was to show four different cultures, it really boiled down to first world
versus third world.  The first world stories just weren't interesting, because it's what we know so well.  I quite
enjoyed the Zambian and Mongolian sections though, and would have probably preferred the whole film be
focused on them. 

Baby Doll (1956)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

Oh how the times change – this film was considered obscene and risque when it came out in the mid-fifties,
and was banned and/or protested across the country. Nowadays, this film would easily be a PG flick. A little
steamy and sexy, yes, but the film is mostly about, well, crazy people. It plays out a bit like David Lynch
directing a William Faulkner's almost as if you can feel the heat and humidity as you watch the film.

Baby Mama (2008)
- 7 out of 10 -

On paper, this probably isn't a film I would give two shits about – a comedy about a yuppie hiring a
surrogate to get pregnant for her? But then you realize the cast includes Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Dax
Shephard, Steve Martin and a bunch of other hilarious folk and all of the sudden things are looking up.
Add in an incredibly goofy hilariously stupid script and as far as I'm concerned you got a winner. There
was a fair amount of press leading into this film about the fact that the leads were two female comedians,
something you don't see very often...myself, I didn't even really notice it, cause funny is funny regardless
of the sex, and the Fey/Poehler combo is one of the best pairings going these days.

Bachelor Party (1984)
- 5.5 out of 10 -

I remembered loving this as a kid but a recent re-watching proved it to be a slow, tedious affair for the
first 3/4ths of the viewing. That final chunk though, when the party gets really out of hand, is a classic 80's
movie moment that should be viewed by all, even if it means holding down the fast-forward button on the
Tivo to get there. And let's not overlook that Tawny Kitaen gets all dolled up in lingerie for a chunk of the

Back in the Day (2005)
 - 2
out of 10 -

Combine every urban-black-gangster movie cliche from the past 15 years, mix in some of Ja Rule's
terrible acting, and this is what you end up with.  Just awful.  Sure, Boyz in tha Hood and Menace II Society
were great, but the legacy those two films have left are so bad it almost makes me wish they were never
made to begin with.

Back to the Future Part II (1989)
 - 8
out of 10 -

In my world, this is known as "the dark" Back to the Future (the other two being known as "the original"
and "the wild west disney experience"), and it might be the best of them all.  I'm always for a film that
combines people named Biff and a comical view of the future that is now the present, and this film does
both quite well.  As with the first outing, Christopher Lloyd should be in the flick more as he is the true star
of the show; but outside of the minor huff, it's a damn fine movie for adults and kids alike that you really
can't watch too much.

Bad Boys (1983)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

This is by far the best film named “Bad Boys” that doesn't star Will Smith. A bold statement, sure,
but one I dare you to prove wrong. This has all the makings of a classic – reform school brawls,
giant boom boxes, Ally Sheedy getting raped, Clancy Beown and Esai Morales playing real shit-
heads...all your basic building blocks of quality filmmaking.

In all seriousness, this film really let's Sean Penn show off those acting chops at a young age that
we take for granted anymore; that coupled with a look at life on the mean streets of Chicago in the
mid-eighties, and subsequent incarceration, really makes this a top-notch representative of that

Bad Education (2004)
 - 7 out of 10 -

I’m not entirely sure why this got an NC-17 rating, is it because there are gay people in it having sex? 
It shows no more than any straight sex scenes that would
warrant no worse than an R rating.  And
honestly, considering who the director is here,
this film was much, much tamer than it could have been.

It was actually a pretty strange film in many regards considering Almodovar was at the helm – the lack
of strong female leads (maybe the cross-dressing males count?)
and the fact that the film actually makes
some amount of sense automatically places
this in a different context than most of his films.  But more
than anything, it’s
one of his most enjoyable films in some time.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
 - 7 out of 10 -

Possibly the weirdest movie Werner Herzog has ever made, and that is saying something.  This doesn't
have anything to do with the original "Bad Lieutenant" starring Harvey Keitel, but it does have a similar
plot - a drug addled detective walking the line between junkie and effective cop.  Nick Cage does a
great job as a man slowly losing his mind, and I don't think anyone is surprised he could pull this off. 
Hell, his hair alone qualified him for the gig.  Val Kilmer's bloated corpse makes a nice supporting role
appearance, as does Eva Mendes' bloated-in-all-the-right-spots corpse.  Good lord that woman is crazy

The Bad News Bears (1976)
 -9 out of 10 -

Question: What three things need to be included in a film to make it one of the greatest of all time?
Answer:  Kids cursing and drinking beer, baseball, and Walter Matthau.

Seriously though, I can't express how much I love this movie.  Maybe it was because I spent so
many years of my childhood playing little league, but there's something about the story of a group
of misfit kids playing baseball that really hits home.  And this movie pretty much nailed what it's like:
the undue pressures and stress put upon the kids both by parents and peers, when all the kids would
really like to do is play a game.  Losing sucks, but giving up on the fun just to win isn't very enjoyable

The kids all do a great job of portraying typical adolescents; when you watch the film you feel like
many of them could have been transported straight from your childhood, or at least I did.  And truly the
most important part of the film is Matthau; that man can carry any film so effortlessly with just a smirk.  
Do yourself a favor  and watch every movie he's ever been in; I haven't seen them all, but it is a goal of
mine and I've yet to be disappointed.

Some folks might get upset by the amount of racial stereotypes and general un-"politically correct"
behavior in this film...but shit, that's what childhood and life is like, you can't whitewash it all.  There is
a remake of the film happening scheduled for 2006 with Richard Linklater directing and Billy Bob
Thornton in the Matthau role.  A big part of me thinks it's pretty stupid for anyone to try and remake
this film, but I guess if it is to be done at least it is with guys I like and think will do a credible job.  And
it will be curious to see if and how they change things, whether they remove the "controversial" parts
or not...time will tell I suppose.

The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
 - 4 out of 10 -

Look, if you’re not going to try any harder than this, why bother?  The first film in the series was just
amazing, the second tolerable, but this just sucked.  The kids aren’t cute, they’re annoying.  Tony
Curtis is ok but he’s no Walter Matthau.  There’s very little baseball in the movie at all.  They make
fun of the Japanese culture constantly, which is really only a problem because it is never funny.  I
guess the one upside is how much it really makes you look back and remember how great the first
one was, one of the best sports movies ever made.

Bad Santa (2003)
 - 9 out of 10 -

There’s so much good about this film I don’t even know where to start, but one thing is certain - every
single awesome thing that happens here is because of Billy Bob Thornton.  Now, I’ve loved most every-
thing I’ve seen him but this flick cements him as a comic genius on par with Jackie Gleason, only dirtier.

There’s no way this film would have been even close to as effective with anyone other than Thornton
in the lead...he has that sad southern asshole thing down so well that you assume it’s just his natural
state.  Constantly grizzled and perpetually hung over in the film, I have a good feeling that he wasn’t
really acting in these scenes, and that’s what makes it so entertaining.  Anything you’ve ever held holy
and sacred about the christmas holiday gets buggered into submission.  Literally.  And thankfully.

The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)
- 6 out of 10 -

Wow, and yet another masterful acting job by Daniel Day there anything this man cannot do? 
I don't think it's a stretch to state that he is the greatest actor of the last 20 years, I really don't.  Unfor-
tunately, his acting far outshines the rest of this film, which isn't terrible but even a day later I don't re-
member much about it other than the basics.  Which are: overprotective father (Lewis) who lives on a
commune with only his daughter is dying, and decides he needs to find a family for her before he's gone. 
The hijinks that ensue are most decidedly not hilarious as hijinks often turn out to be.  I was hoping for
more out of this film (and a larger role for Jason Lee), but while I might have been a little disappointed
in the movie, Lewis nearly made up for it, and it's worth checking out just for him.

Balls of Fury (2007)
- 6 out of 10 -

I'm trying to think of a better ping pong movie than this one, but nothing is coming to me...simply put,
this is the cream of the crop. Sure, it may be the only ping pong movie, but you can't hold that
against them. Anyone with any sense knew this would be stupid movie with a few funny scenes, and
it completely lived up to that billing. Amongst other characters, Christopher Walken plays a very
Christopher Walken-like bad guy, Diedrich Bader plays a gay concubine, and Patton Oswalt plays,
surprisingly, a nerd. If you are in a goofy or light-hearted mood, this might be worth a go.

The Bank Job (2008)
- 7 out of 10 -

A much-better-than-expected heist film, set in the early seventies and apparently based on true events
(though obviously liberties were taken with the story). As you might expect, there are twists and turns
and double-crosses like all these caper-type films have, and this flick mixes in some government black-
ops conspiracy goofiness as well. The action is good, the story is plenty interesting, and the directing...
let's just say the man behind the lens, Roger Donaldson, was also the man in charge for the bartending
classic “Cocktail”, so you know things were in good hands here. And an extra added bonus thumbs up
to Saffron Burrows, someone I've never really paid much attention to but good lord is she ever foxy in
this flick.

The Basketball Diaries (1995)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

I've never been a drug addict, but I gotta believe this film does a good job portraying the path most take from
casual carouser to full blown junkie. I've read multiple places that River Phoenix was supposed to play the lead
here (or had at least expressed a lot of interest in it), but before production started he died of a drug overdose
as most folks know. So Leonardo DiCaprio was brought in, which ain't a bad consolation prize. Leo does an
amazing job here as the lead, making for a really convincing junkie who is no longer a kid but not ready for life
on his own. Plenty of other great acting jobs as well, including a bevy of future Sopranos cast members and
the always likable Bruno Kirby as a kid-diddling basketball coach. It's one of those flicks that you can start
watching from any point really, and you'll always get sucked in.

Batman (1989)
- 9 out of 10 -

I recently rewatched this fine film, and while it does appear a bit dated (especially in the special effects area),
you cannot deny the power of Tim Burton’s touch on this film.  The set design of Gotham City is etched into my
brain from the very first viewing of this film, and in seeing it again it reminds me of exactly why something like
Sin City holds so much influence…this film made Sin City what it is.

Outside of the set, what really makes this movie so valuable is Jack Nicholson’s performance as the Joker, one
of the greatest villains of all time as far as I’m concerned.  He is absolutely demented, out of his gourd in this
picture, playing perfectly into the role he took on.  The way he portrays both silliness and pure evil at the same
time…just stunning.

Batman Begins (2005)
- 8.5 out of 10 -

“Wow” best sums up this movie…although I knew the stories weren’t going to be the same as
the first Tim Burton Batman, you still end up comparing them in your mind and I wasn’t sure this
one could top that, but it did, and how.  Their portrayal of Gotham even one-upped Burton’s
stylized vision, using Chicago as we know it and CGI-ing it into a much darker and scarier
place.  The whole thing could have used a little more Prince in the soundtrack like the first,
but I guess they can slide on that one.

The cast as a whole was fantastic – making Liam Neeson a bad guy and Gary Oldman a good
guy was a real treat – what’s next, cats sleeping with dogs?  A natural brooder as my girlfriend
would say, Christian Bale was a perfect choice as the reclusive Bruce Wayne.  Especially en-
tertaining was his put-on gruff “Batman voice”, which was a little over-the-top but I guess it had
its purpose.   And Cillian Murphy as “The Scarecrow” was a truly creepy foe, and the bugs
crawling out of the faces of folks really brought me back to my childhood of watching Halloween III
over and over and over.  There was some disappointment, though…I had originally read his name
as Charlie Murphy and quickly became excited at the prospect of Gusto making an appearance in
this film.  Alas it wasn’t meant to be…but a fuckin’ fantastic film anyways.

The Battle of Algiers (1965)
 - 8 out of 10 - 

I have to fully admit that I knew nothing about the Algerian battle of independence from the French,
but thankfully this film has turned me on to an incredibly interesting piece of history I hope to learn
even more about in the future.  By all accounts, this film is about as unbiased as you can possibly
get when it comes to telling this story, which I appreciate…let the viewer make up his own mind on
how he feels about the action, don’t try and force it.

The thing that makes this film so effective is that you believe it is real – you feel as if you are watching
a documentary on the subject rather than a production with actors.  Apparently some of the actual
revolutionaries appear in the film as well, but I had no idea which ones they were and honestly, would
it have mattered?  The acting was great from all sides, the filming was beautiful and black& white
suited it perfectly.  A number of folks have pointed out the parallels between this film/situation and the
current scene in Iraq, so I won’t go into it – but let’s just say it was *required* viewing at the Pentagon. 
Certainly one of the best war movies ever made.

Battle Royale (2000)
 - 8.5 out of 10 -

I put off watching this for a while, see I get lazy about foreign films sometimes, all that reading.  I went to
a public school after all, reading does not come naturally to me.  But for the love of whatever god you
worship, do not do what I did and watch this as soon as possible.  And if you've already seen it, watch
it again...because it is without a doubt the greatest film about kids being forced to murder each other
since the pilot episode of Silver Spoons.  

The premise is quite simple - the world is in trouble/overpopulated/something like that, so what to do?  
Take some students who aren't making the grade and show little promise at being useful adults, and
make them into entertainment.  At least that was my understanding of it all, it wasn't exactly thorough
in the small details...and it didn't honestly need to be, because the kids hunting each other is what really
matters and they get to this quick enough.

I love how it plays like a game show, keeping you posted on who died when on frequent basis.  I love
that ringers are introduced in an effort to speed along the action.  I love that it's not outside the realm
of possibility that this might be an actual game show some day.  And the bad part of me kinda hopes
so if it's even half as entertaining as this flick.

The Baxter (2005)
- 7 out of 10 -

Stop the presses - a “romcom” that was actually worth watching. It probably helps that the talented Michael
Showalter starred, wrote and directed this aloof nerdy treat. According to the film, a “baxter” is the guy or girl
in movies that gets left behind when the true love shows up and takes their significant other away from them.
Showalter of course plays one of these poor goofy saps, and as you might imagine hijinks ensue. And even-
tually, love as well with the exceptionally cute Michelle Williams. Seriously, at one point did this girl become
the really awesome attractive one from Dawson's Creek, and the other one a freak show?

Bazaar Bizarre (2004)
- 3 out of 10 -

A documentary featuring dramatic recreations about a serial killer brought to you by James Ellroy?  How
in the name of all that is holy did they get it so goddamn wrong???  I’m truly horrified Ellroy would allow his
name to be attached to this epicly boring flick.  And how do you make a boring serial killer film anyways? 
That actually seems like it would be harder work than producing an enjoyable flick of the same topic.  Anyways,
avoid this like a creepy old man in a dark alley.

The Beach Girls (1982)
- 4 out of 10 -

"Robust friends join innocent at her uncle's Malibu house". Ha, "robust" indeed. Classic 80's T&A goofiness.
As you might imagine, the plot and acting are superb.

Beautiful Girls (1996)
- 10 out of 10 -

I can’t really explain what is so damn engrossing about this movie… maybe it’s the representation of
small town life, and how little things change – I can identify with that.  Or maybe it’s how it shows that
despite the years, everyone is still pretty much what they were in high school…makes sense to me. 
When I get together with my friends back home it feels like this movie, only no one knows how to play
“Sweet Caroline” on the piano and the Afghan Whigs aren’t performing in the local bar.   Maybe it’s
the cast – Uma Thurman, Michael Rappaport, Natalie Portman, Matt Dillon, Timothy Hutton, Max
Perlich…I could keep going, but it is truly great ensemble work from everyone involved.  The story
isn’t anything special, and nothing much happens, but like “Dazed and Confused” and “Fast Times
at Ridgemon High”, the characters are so true and real that you feel as if you could live in this world
and be happy.  And that is a rare find as far as I’m concerned.

Beautiful Losers (2008)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

A documentary about a loose collective of artists working on the fringe of the mainstream, but becoming
more and more accepted as time passes.  Many of those involved are either part of the skateboard in-
dustry or connected to it tangentially through collaborations and guest art work.  It's a very engaging film
even if you're not already a fan of the artists, and even better if you are familiar with their output.  This will
make you want to go out and make art.

Beerfest (2006)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

I think the Broken Lizard crew actually figured out a way to make an even dumber movie than Super
Troopers, and we are all better for it.  They managed to make a full-length movie revolving around goofy
beer drinking games, German stereotypes and juvenile humor, and it never got old even for a minute.  
After Club Dread (which wasn't awful, but definitely subpar), I was a bit worried this crew of pranksters
was on the downward slide - but after watching Beerfest I have hope that they will produce a number of
hilariously dumb movies before it's all over. 

Before Sunset (2004)
- 5.5 out of 10 –

I really enjoyed Before Sunrise and watched it on a couple of occasions, which was probably the set-
up that made me all the more disappointed with the sequel Before Sunset.  In this flick our protagonists
meet back up, many years later, and reexamine their lives much in the same way as the first.  But this
time around it seemed so much more unemotional, almost cold in their meeting – the bitterness of
adulthood maybe?  I mean, if that is what Richard Linklater was going for then he did a great job, but
it still didn’t make it very enjoyable to watch.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

All descriptions of this film generally include the phrase “a smart, edgy thriller”. And I guess that is a
fair enough description, a caper flick full of twists and turns and Phillip Seymour Hoffman strung out
on drugs in the house of a gay man. Honestly, after the buzz this received I was expecting something
more, though I'm not sure exactly what that just wasn't quite as awesome as the director and
cast would have you hope it would be. It's still a decent flick though, if you're looking for a crime-
gone-bad sorta thing to entertain you one evening.

Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (2004)
- 7 out of 10 -

For a man I knew very little about outside of a song or two, this documentary did a fantastic job of
really depicting this troubled individual.  Big name stars like Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and even
Steve Shelley pipe up to pile praise on this folkie who never made much of an impact on his own
to the general public, but influenced countless writers and performers who went on to achieve fame. 
To be perfectly honest I’m only lukewarm on Van Zandt’s music, but this doc is so well made that
I never once thought of shutting it off early (something I find I’m more prone to do with music docs
just because they are generally quite boring), and actually found myself quite rapt for the duration
of the film.  This is a no-brainer for fans to check out, but anyone who wants to see a great character
study on an interesting individual would probably get a lot of value out of this movie.

Being There (1979)
 - 7 out of 10 -

I tried watching this a few years back and just couldn’t get into it.  So I made myself sit down and
watch the whole thing and I’m glad I did.  I dunno what was wrong the first time, sometimes you just
have to be in the right frame of mind for certain films; regardless, it was much more well received in
my brain this go-around.  I know tons have been written on this film, and I probably liked it a little less
than many folks, but one thing is undeniable – Peter Sellers is absolutely brilliant.  He’s been in many
great films, but this is by far his crowning achievement.  The fact that he didn’t win the Oscar in 1980
only further proves how retarded that academy is…if they were a school they would get discredited. 
He so overshadows everything else about this movie, it’s kinda silly to even talk about anything else. 
I will say that I always like it when part of a film is filmed in NC (in this case the Biltmore House in
Asheville), and the editing/splicing of TV footage in with the film was a nice touch…especially now,
so many years removed, it’s neat to get a glimpse into TV in those days.

Be Kind Rewind (2008)
- 8.5 out of 10 -

I know Michel Gondry got most of his praise and pull in Hollywood because of “Eternal Sunshine
of a Spotless Mind”, but near a I can tell that movie can't hold a candle to the brilliance and
creativity of his last two films, “The Science of Sleep” and this masterpiece “Be Kind Rewind”.
Mos Def and Jack Black blended beautifully with Gondry's unique set designs and ideas. The
story was great too, but for me honestly that was secondary to the visual feast this film offered.
I would almost call it inspirational, because surely some young aspiring filmmakers will take some
of the ideas used here and employ them into their own creative experience.

Below (2002)
 - 7 out of 10 -

Submarine movies!  Man, I love a good submarine movie, Das Boot is the obvious choice for
“Best Of” in this prestigious category.  But this film here, Below, is a pretty damn good one.  It has
Zack Galifianakis in it, reason enough to like it.  Zack is a damn funny man – well, not so much in
this movie but when he does stand up, and he’s barely in this at all, but…what was I talking about
again?  Oh yeah.

Sub movies…lots of good ones, this fits right in with the rest.  It’s as much mystery or “ghost story”
as it is sub movie, as something is fucking with the ship and no one can figure out why, and that’s
mostly what the movie is about – the crew trying to figure out what is happening, something goes
wrong, people die, scary things happen, secrets are revealed…enjoyable movie to be sure. 
Darren Aronofsky (of Pi and Requiem for a Dream fame) helped write this screenplay, and was
supposed to direct but he got distracted with other projects.

The Benchwarmers (2006)
 - 6 out of 10 -

To call this movie "completely retarded" would be an understatement, but despite how stupid it was I
still enjoyed it quite a bit.  Maybe even a little more than I should have...I was in a rather giddy state
when I watched it, so that probably helped a lot.  Or maybe it was because one of my comedic heroes,
Nick Swardson, was one of the writers (And also had a smll role in the film).  Whatever the cause, I
laughed out loud a number of times over some of the stupidest crap ever put on film.  But hey, every
film don't have to be high art.

Berlin Tunnel 21 (1981)
- 5 out of 10 -

As you may have gleaned from the title, this film is about the digging of a tunnel, in Berlin. Given this
was apparently a made-for-TV flick, it's really not that bad, even if you are pretty sure what exactly is
going to happen in the first few minutes of the film. I would have liked a little more shown on the East
German leadership and the reasons for folks wanting to cross to the West, and a lot less actual footage
of the tunnel getting dug – a few random shots here and there would have more than sufficed. The more
recently produced “The Tunnel” was a much better version of essentially the same story.

Bewitched (2005)
 - 4 out of 10 - 

We all know Nicole Kidman is totally intolerable – this is a well established fact.  But I was hoping the
awesomeness of Will Ferrell would counteract her shittiness, but sadly the end sum is a goofy flick that
is kinda watchable.  And by “kinda”, I mean you’re better off doing something else while it is on…cross-
word, look at the computer, jack off, whatever; cause it just ain’t that entertaining.  Ferrell has a couple of
funny scenes, Michael Caine has a nice supporting role, but that is about all the silver lining you’re going
to get here.

Beyond the Sea (2004)
 - 5 out of 10 -

On the positive side, Kevin Spacey does a fantastic job as Bobby Darin - very believable, and his
obvious talent lies not just in his acting abilities but in his talent for singing Darin's songs too.  I doubt
that if I wasn't aware of it before the film, I never would have guessed that it was actually him singing the
songs in the flick...sounded like the originals to me, but then again I'm not claimingto be a Bobby Darin

On the negative side - the film really just isn't that interesting, is much too long and disjointed, and the
musical scenes made me want to leave the room (as opposed to just the live performancesby Spacey
as Darin, which were fine).

Well, if nothing else, at least you get to see Bob Hoskins in it.  I always love a good Bob Hoskins sighting.

The Big Bird Cage (1972)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

I'm not sure how many women-in-prison films Pam Grier made, but this is one of them.  Probably the best
of them.  It covers all the bases - hot naked/scantily clad prisoners, corrupt guards, and a guerrilla uprising
led by Sid Haig.  The film is exactly what you would expect it be, enjoyable and terrible at the same time. 
But let me not finish up this poor excuse of a review without mentioning Anitra Ford, the real star of this film...
there may have been women as hot as her in this world, but none hotter. 

Big Doll House (1971)
- 6 out of 10 -

One of the classics of women-in-prison exploitation films...not a good movie, but “titillating” to be sure.
A goofy storyline about a banana republic that apparently arrests hot women for no real reason, and
then the girls spend most of their time behind bars fighting with one another and taking off their clothes.
There is really only one reason to be watching this movie, but given the talent here it's a pretty good

The Big Easy (1987)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

Ooh, ain't that sultry!  It's like you can feel the sweat coming off this film...what it lacks in story, it makes
up for in ambiance.  This movie presents the seedy underbelly of New Orleans in such a romantic way
that it makes being a small-time hood look like a nice career choice.  Even as a straight dude watching
this film, Dennis Quaid is so obviously a heart throb that I would be a little wary of letting my girlfriend watch
this in fear she would move to L.A. and try to hunt him down.  That is to say, he's no Randy Quaid but this is
when he was at his closest. The story is just so-so, a modern noir-ish jaunt with a lot of typical twists and
turns but entertaining enough all around.  

Big Fan (2009)
 - 6 out of 10 -

There are times, and this is one of those times, where I really have a difficult time discerning how much
I liked a movie from how much of a bummer it was.  This was a very well acted movie, with Patton Oswalt
really showing he has the chops to be a serious actor; it was certainly well written and put together as well. 
But the lead character was such an incredible loser, and everyone that surrounded him were so unlikeable,
that it was tough becoming invested in how his life turned out. 

The Big House (1930)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

Classic "men in prison" movie, probably one of the first ones made, or at least the first realistic one.  As
with most of these classic films, it's not the most action-packed by modern standards but it is well acted
and the grainy black-and0white film really suits the subject matter.  The legendary Wallace Beery is
particularly memorable, playing a great hardened criminal just looking to get through each day by whatever
means necessary.  One particularly interesting factoid - the screenplay was actually written by a woman,
quite a feat given the year this was made and the subject matter involved. 

The Big Lebowski (1998)

 - 10 out of 10 -

There’s no real reason to review this, as you’ve probably seen it hundreds of times like me (and if
you’ve never seen it I don’t want to be your friend anymore).  It is without a doubt one of the greatest
comedies ever filmed – probably the third funniest after Dr. Strangelove and Blazing Saddles.  The
Dude pretty much embodies everything I want to be when I become an adult (should be any day now)…
except for the hair - but it works for him though.  John Goodman is quite possibly one of the funniest men
ever.  This film still remains the only worthwhile reason not to exterminate Tara Reid.  The entire cast
should be celebrated in song and dance around the globe…if I were to ever get a tattoo, it would be of
a chicken.  I've always wanted a tattoo of a chicken.  But after that, I think the cover of this video would
look nice in the small of my back, to be displayed whenever I wear my half-shirts (quite often indeed).  I’ll
end this with quotes from two of my favorite parts of the movie:

The Dude: What's in the fuckin' carrier?
Walter Sobchak: Huh? Oh, that's Cynthia's dog. I think it's a Pomeranian. I can't leave him home alone
or he eats the furniture. I'm watching him while Cynthia and Marty Ackerman are in Hawaii.
The Dude: You brought the fuckin' Pomeranian bowling?
Walter Sobchak: What do you mean brought it bowling, Dude? I didn't rent it shoes. I'm not buying it a
fucking beer. He's not taking your fucking turn, Dude.
The Dude: Man, if my fuckin' ex-wife asked me to take care of her fuckin' dog while she and her boy-
friend went to Honolulu I'd tell her to go fuck herself.

Maude Lebowski: Does the female form make you uncomfortable, Mr. Lebowski?
The Dude: Uh, is that what this is a picture of?
Maude Lebowski: In a sense, yes. My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers
some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
The Dude: Oh yeah?
Maude Lebowski: Yes, they don't like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye
a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.
The Dude: Johnson?

Big Momma's House 2 (2006)
 - 5
out of 10 -

This should almost certainly get a lower grade, but I was feeling pretty mindless when I watched this non-
sense so it didn't sting as badly as it could have.  Plus, I've always thought Martin Lawrence was a funny man,
even with subpar material...he seems to have a gift of turning turds into...well, if not diamonds, at least less-
stinky turds.  Honestly, he is the only thing even remotely compelling here, and that's probably even a stretch,
but what can I say?  Sometimes a bad movie looks good for whatever reason (my theory is the amount of
fatigue you are feeling is directly proportional to the amount of crap you will put up with in a movie). 

Bigger Stronger Faster (2008)
- 8 out of 10 -

Who would have thought a documentary about steroids could be this damn entertaining? Chris Bell has
clearly taken a page from Michael Moore's handbook on how to make boring topics engaging, minus the
political baggage. The number of things I learned from this film were numerous, but the best part was the
overall playful tone in which he addresses a rather serious situation. He does a fine job of presenting both
sides of the steroid argument, though there is definitely a slight pro-steroid slant to the film (well, not as much
as "pro-steroid" as "they're not as bad as they are made out to be"). Highly recommended.

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
- 8 out of 10 -

I was totally obsessed with this movie as a kid (along with Ferris Beuller’s Day Off), and would watch it con-
stantly – therefore, my opinion of this film is most likely higher than it should probably be for nostalgic reasons. 
But I did recently re-watch it after not having seen it in a few years, and found that I enjoyed it nearly as much
as I did as a kid.  If nothing else, it’s the most perfect role ever for Keanu Reeves to play the doltish lout he
appears to be in real life – it’s the only time he is enjoyable in a film outside of My Own Private Idaho.  I have
a feeling that the sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey doesn’t hold up as well, but this flick will be a classic of
my generation as far as I’m concerned.

The Black Dahlia (2006)
 - 6 out of 10 -

Holy convoluted plot, batman.  I'd heard this film failed to live up to expectations, so I set my expectations
lower and I still came out confused.  Apparently the James Elloy novel it was based on is a fantastic yarn
about one of most infamous murders of the 20th century, but they managed to mangle it into one of the
muddiest screenplays I think I've ever witnessed.  Truly, they turned what should have been a home run into
a foul ball.  To their credit I will say the film looked great, so at least my eyes my eyes got a treat while my
brain did cartwheels trying to figure out what the hell was going on. 

Black Gunn (1972)
 - 5 out of 10 -

Classic blaxploitation film staring Jim Brown.  Here's the plot – Jim Brown is cool as shit, some people get
their asses kicked, and he sleeps with some hot women.  A unique storyline, to be sure.  Probably the most
interesting tidbit about the film though is it featured the one and only acting role of the great Oakland Athletics
pitcher Vida Blue.

Black Like Me (1964)
 - 6 out of 10 -

A well meaning film, and based on the actual accounts of John Griffin - a white man who took skin darkening
treatments and traveled throughout the south to document the way african-americans are treated.  This was
the 50's/early 60's, so obviously the results were not pretty either in real life or the movie.  They did a decent
job setting the tone in the film, the level of hatred and all that, but James Whitmore was so obviously not black
it did make it tough to swallow him as being anything other than white wearing face paint.  It's also worth
pointing out that by this point in most of our lives this information is well known, but I would have to imagine
that when this came out in 1964, in the middle of the push for equality, that it turned a few heads. 

Black Snake Moan (2006)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

Craig Brewer is now 2-for-2 in creating evocative and compelling tales about the new south (see also his film
“Hustle & Flow”). He paints a hell of a picture, a fractured fairy tale based in morality but set in the dirtiest parts
of southern living. Honestly, the story is pretty inconsequential here as far as I'm concerned – what matters
more is the look and the feel and the production team gets an A+
in that department. The atmosphere here
just feels thick, like a muggy summer night where no amount of cold drinks will subside the oppressive heat.
And on top that, you get to spend most of the film looking at a nearly anorexic Christina Ricci in her panties
begging for sex, so even if you think the film sucks you've got that going for you.

Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre (1995)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

Amazing, shocking and sad story, words cannot suffice really; but the telling of it in this film was pretty subpar.  
The "rape of Nanking" will go down as one of the greatest attrocities that man has ever commited on man,
and this film attempts to depict these horrors on what was obviously a budget too small to accomodate it.  

On the plus side, the way the film used actual footage and photographs in combination with the reenactments
was pretty original and lent an air of authenticity to the proceedings.  And having a scene where a Japanese
soldier skewers a pregnant lady and pulls her unborn child out stuck to the blade was something as well, or
when the soldier put a child in a boiling vat; from what I understand, these sorts of things happened often
and many things worse.  

Blade 2 (2002)
 - 6 out of 10 -

Like the first Blade film, this was highly entertaining and a much better movie than I ever expected it to be.  
Then again I wasn't expecting much, even with the knowledge that the first was adecent flick.  Wesley Snipes
reprises his role as a vampire hunter, who is half-vampire himself but immune to many of the things that kill
them, and he is again joined by Kris Kristofferson, who reprises his role of Mr. Grizzled or whatever his name
is.  They fight bad guys and the battle scenes are pretty great, the jokes are corny, and everyone is dressed
like they just got back from a Bauhaus concert.  

Which leads me to wonder - are ther any yuppie vampires, or any that don't look goth?  Seems odd that all
bloodsuckers would have the same fashion sense. 

Blades of Glory (2007)
- 8.5 out of 10 -

I'd imagine by this point most folks know whether or not they like Will Ferrell's brand of goofy humor. Me,
I'm a big fan but I can see how it might come off as a little irritating to some...he does tend to play the same
dumb character in every film (I just happen to think it's a really entertaining character). So, it's not surprising
that I really liked a film that spoofed the goofy spectacle that is ice skating. The supporting cast is brilliant –
Jon Heder, Craig T. Nelson, Jenna Fischer, Nick Swardson, Will Arnett...all do a good job of setting up
Ferrell and his gags. Just as you would expect, this is a dreadfully silly movie that made me laugh tons, and
that's really all I could ask for.

Blazing Saddles (1974)
 - 10 out of 10 -

How do you even go about reviewing a film as important and ground-breaking as Blazing Saddles? 
Every stitch of the film is genius, from Mongo punching a horse, to Mel Brooks as the governor,
going back for a whole shitload of dimes…I could go on for ages.

The influence this film had on slapstick comedy is thankfully still being felt today, only no one else has
ever gotten it this right.  In our modern PC world, there has been a bit of a backlash on this film being
racist, but it couldn’t be any further from the truth.  It is in fact a parody of racism, the “wild west”, the
big-studio Hollywood movie making machine, and about anything else worthy of making fun of.  In-
cluding Slim Pickens in any cast is a brilliant move; having Richard Pryor co-write the script is a move
straight from the gods.  I have a hard time believing there will ever be a funnier movie made than this
one – the only movie that is arguably funnier is Dr. Strangelove, and Stanley Kubrick ain’t around to
make another film.

Blood Diamond (2006)
- 8.5 out of 10 -

I suppose if you get really picky this film oversimplifies the complex struggles that have been facing Africa
since most countries gained their independence, but given how much the continent's troubles have been
ignored by the west, any light shown on it is a positive light. And besides, the story presented here is in-
credibly engrossing even if it were based on fiction. Given the award nominations, i probably don't need to
mention how great the acting is, but given my skepticism on Leo Dicaprio going into the film I left well im-
pressed with his believability as an Afrikaner mercenary; and since Djimon Hounsou has never had a bad
performance in his life, it goes without saying that he is pretty much perfect as a peasant father desperately
trying to save his son. This was easily one of my top 5 favorite movies to come out last year and comes
super-duper highly recommended.

Bloody Reunion (2006)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

A Korean slasher film, and a fairly well made one at that.  A group of former students reunite at a dying
teachers house, you can guess what happens from there.  The violence is very graphic as is apparently the
way in Asia these days.  The film loses points for it's "twist" ending that basically invalidates 95% of the
movie you just spent 90 minutes watching.

Blues Brothers (1980)
- 10 out of 10 -

There will never be another movie like this one. The two greatest car chases ever filmed, some of the
greatest musical acts known to man, and no shortage of laughs...the day they decide to “remake” this is
the day I storm a Hollywood studio with guns and grenades ready to clear house.

Bobby (2006)
- 7 out of 10 -

The cast for this movie is just plain ridiculous, and the first thing that comes to mind anytime I think of
this film. Laurence Fishburne, Freddy Rodriguez, Martin Sheen, Sharon Stone, Emilio Estevez, Christian
Slater, Shia LeBouf, Harry Belafonte, Joshua Jackson, William H. Macy, Lindsey Lohan, Nick Cannon,
Helen Hunt, Anthony Hopkins, Ashton Kucher, Demi Moore, Elijah Wood...seriously, it is fucking insane.
It makes you wonder if the director (Emilio Estevez, who is also the writer) has some serious dirt on
most of Hollywood.

Not that it was a bad movie, far from it – I quite enjoyed the story and the way the historical footage of
Bobby Kennedy was weaved into the modern tale. It is a good film, but it could have been a truly great
mini-series; given the giant cast, there was just no way to truly give each character the justice they de-
served, so at times things tended to be a bit rushed. Fairly impressive work out of Estevez though,
I never would have expected it out of him.

Bob le Flambeur (1955)
 - 9 out of 10 -

I had meant to watch this for ages and ages, but what finally pushed me over the edge was seeing
and loving the Nick Nolte remake "The Good Thief".  I know, it's sad when a remake gets you to
watch an original, and one that is a classic on top of that, but what can you do?  The only problem
with seeing things in this fashion is that you want to compare the original to the remake and not the
other way around as is normally done.  I'm not sure where I'm going with this other than to say, it's
kind of a weird scenario.

Nonetheless, what a fantastic film about the post-war exploits of a petty criminal and his gang of
ne'er-do-wells skirting the line between keeping their nose clean and getting involved in a big casino
heist.  But this is all buried within the main story line of gambling, and the idea of getting lucky as the
only thing that matters in life.  Jean-Pierre Melville is the man behind this classic, and he's gotten his
lofty reputation for good reason.  As far as I'm concerned, this is the best thing he ever created, even
topping Le Samourai in my book.

Body of Lies (2008)
 - 7 out of 10 -

This is the kind of movie that always gets described as a "taut thriller".  It was pretty damn taut...lots
of twists and lying and double-crossing, like a noir film set in the war-torn Middle East.  A nice job by
Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, and Russell Crowe played the same asshole character he has
perfected in nearly every film...he does it well, it seems to come naturally.  This very much has the feel
of a Ridley Scott film - the man knows how to mix poliyics and war in a very entertaining fashion. 

Bodysong (2003)
- 5 out of 10 -

I liked what they were trying to do here - sort of a “Koyaanisqatsi” of the human experience, from birth
to death - but it didn’t really work.  Or maybe it worked, but it was just boring.  It started off great, with
the creation of life from fertilizing the egg and the embryo growing and yadda yadda…loved all the
internal photography stuff.  But it was all downhill after there; although the method of collecting video
bits and pieces over the ages and compiling them sounds like a good idea on paper, I just wasn’t
particularly engaged by it.

Also of note - Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead provides an excellent soundtrack to this film, much
better than the movie actually - I’d highly recommend checking it out…I was actually quite familiar
with the soundtrack album before I ever saw the film.

Bomb the System (2002)
 - 6 out of 10 -

A cheesy but entertaining enough film about the graffiti subculture, but this is not the modern coming
of “Wild Style” that I was hoping for.  That classic flick still felt more real, more in tune with the actual
kids running in the scene than this outing did.  Maybe this was because “Wild Style” used actual
members of the scene in the film?  Maybe because flicks from that era just look a lot more rad and
are not drenched in sub-par MTV-style editing?  I dunno, I just didn’t like it as much.  But I guess a
middling graffiti movie is better than no graffiti movie at all, right?

Boogie Nights (1997)
 - 9 out of 10 -

Boogie Nights pulled off a number of amazing achievements…it brought Burt Reynolds back from the
grave, career-wise; it gave what will probably be the best telling of both good and bad sides of the
pornographic industry; it offered Julianne Moore’s fantastic breakthrough role (for which she was
robbed the Oscar); but most importantly, it gave us one of the best films ever about family.  A dysfunc-
tional, non-related family, but a family nonetheless.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this film,
but it still keeps me riveted every time I see it.

This film is obviously going to go down in history as both Paul Thomas Anderson and Mark Wahlberg’s
crowning achievement.  I’d like to hope that isn’t the case, but it’s hard to imagine either of them coming
up with something better than this.

Oh yeah, and include Heather Graham in that list – she can’t act her way out of a paper bag, and isn’t
that great here, but dear lord does she look good.  I would probably be tempted to give this film a high
rating based on that fact alone.

Boogeyman (2005)
- 2 out of 10 -

Outside of the opening scene that was somewhat creepy, this film is just terrible in ever regard.  Moronic
story, subpar acting, and a “monster” that’s not even worth mentioning.  If your choices are boredom or this,
choose boredom every time.

The Border (1982)
 - 7 out of 10 -

Not the most exciting Jack Nicholson flick out there, but despite its age it stands up pretty well, especially
giving the current immigration debate.  Jack plays a border cop, and a clean one at that, amongst a sea of
drug smugglers and folks dealing on the black market. Good story, great cast – Warren Oates and Harvey
Keitel are great in supporting roles; most importantly, it offers an interesting view on a very turbulent situation
that hasn’t changed much since this flick came out over 20 years ago.  I think the current talking heads in
office could stand to watch this themselves, and realize things aren’t as black-n-white as their stump

Born into Brothels (2004)
 - 8.5 out of 10 -

Wow, what an emotionally draining documentary...focusing on the children born and raised in the red light
district of Calcutta, it's hard not to be affected when you see children growing up this way.  This film follows a
small group of girls and boys, whose mothers are prostitutes and fathers are drug adicts or pimps or both,
and tells their story in a fairly unique fashion - not only is there a film crew showing the squalor and inhumane
situations these children deal with daily, but the kids themself do some of the documenting as well.  They are
part of an outreach photography class put on by an ex-pat, and the kids are given simple cameras and asked
to photograph what they know.  The sum of the parts is incredibly beautiful and sad at the same time, and you
can't help but pull for these kids who have little to no chance of making outside of this world they live in.  Highly
recommended, but don't be surprised if it makes you cry.

The Bounty (1984)
- 6 out of 10 -

I recently read an article about the rape trials on Pitcairn Island, which led me to watching this film about the
founders of the island for the first time since I was a kid. Most everyone knows the story of Mutiny on the
Bounty at this point, and this flick doesn't really do anything new with it, just dresses it up with a pack of fancy
actors (Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis, Mel Gibson). It's actually fairly
enjoyable, despite the frilly shirts, and due mostly to Hopkins acerbic portrayal of the hated Captain Bligh
and the quality film score by Vangelis. Most folks also seem to think this is the closest historic portrayal of
what actually happened on The Bounty, if that sort of thing matters to you.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
 - 7 out of 10 -

This is one of those rare sequels that might actually improve on the original.  It's not that dissimilar to the
original really, maybe a touch darker, but essentially the same idea - agent Bourne is trying to find out who
he is, what he is, why he is...and in the process, he manages to pull off some serious ass-kicking.  The film
gets especially impressive once they enter Russia, and with the finale chase in particular; sure, it's totally
unbelievable, but riveting to watch.  

The one area where this film fails miserably, is the "not enough Julia Stiles" area.  Unlike the first film, her
role is a very minor one.  Boo to that - more Julia Stiles!

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
- 7 out of 10 -

While I liked the other two “Bourne” flicks, this third outing is probably their best effort. The story is plenty
interesting, and speeds along proficiently, but that isn't why you watch these films – no, you watch them for
the chase scenes, the special effects, the fights, and the general cat-n-mouse adventures that happen in
this sorta movie. The chase and subsequent fight in Morocco was one of the best filmed action sequences
I've seen in some time, and worth the price of rental alone.

Boxcar Bertha (1972)
- 6 out of 10 -

If you watched this you'd probably never in your right mind think Martin Scorsese was the director behind this;
it feels more like low-brow Roger Corman-style film making than the high quality Scorsese is known for. This
movie might be best known as the one before the man became who he was...”Mean Streets” came out the
following year and he cemented Scorsese cemented his name as one of the all-time directing greats. But until
then, he made a fairly entertaining depression-era film about a group of thieves taking on the world cause they
got nothing else going for them. And if that ain't enough for you, Barbara Hershey gets naked in this flick...a lot.

The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas at Bamiyan (2004)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

This documentary follows a young child and his family, all homeless, who try to scratch out an existence
by living in the caves that surround the former home of the Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, before
the Taliban blew them to smithereens a few years back for being “idolatrous”. The film does an ex-
cellent job of portraying the daily struggle the boy faces between being a kid and surviving in a harsh
land, but sadly it is too light on facts…although I consider myself fairly well read in these matters a little
narration as to the goings on in the local area would have kept things moving along better.  I found
myself fast-forwarding at times when the film would dwell for numerous minutes on one monotonous
task or another for no real reason.  It’s an interesting documentary nonetheless on a world so very
different from our own.

The Boys of Baraka (2005)
 - 6 out of 10 -

Here I was thinking the 4th season of The Wire was painting the Baltimore public school system in a bad
light…but according to this documentary, they may have been too easy on them (which is just mind-boggling,
given how terrible things looked on the show).  Anyways, this flick is about a school that takes a group of at-
risk inner-city middle schoolers to Kenya in an attempt to turn their lives around and keep them from following
in the footsteps of most everyone they know – that is, to the streets and ultimately to prison.  

The film as a whole makes for a fairly entertaining viewing, but it almost feels wrong to enjoy this movie given
how shitty the real-life happenings that it documents are.  The happy endings are few and far between for
these kids, even with intervention.  There is a lot of promise in these kids that never gets reached, and it
doesn’t really seem like that will be changing any time soon.

The Boys in Company C (1978)
 - 7 out of 10 -

All the reviews I've ever seen of this movie have referred to it as the "original" or "precursor" of "Full Metal
Jacket".  This film follows a group of Marines from boot camp and into the war in Vietnam, and has a tough-
ass drill instructor played by R. Lee Ermey...sound familiar?  "Jacket" is the better film of the pair, but this
is still a fine outing that does a realistic portrayal of the war and doesn't sugarcoat anything. 

Boyz n the Hood (1991)
 - 9 out of 10 -

The power packed into this amazing film has not lessened at all over the years.  Probably because the
dates may change, but the inner-city problem as depicted here remains the same.  John Singleton does an
amazing job of displaying the cycle of violence that perpetrates these areas, and laces his story with char-
acters that you genuinely care for, even when they are doing things you don't approve of.  This is the career
highlight of a number of people involved - Singleton as a director, Ice Cube in his first important role (and the
dude can act, he needs to get away from all that awful popcorn crap), and even Cuba Gooding Jr. is great. 
Singleton's message of "increase the peace" may be a little simplistic and hard to attain, but something
clearly needs to be done.  He is not so much offering solutions as he is trying ot bring the problems up for
discussion.  Of
course, being nearly 15 years removed from the release of this film, nothing has changed. 
But at
least Singleton gave it a shot.

The Brave One (2007)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

It's the age old story, where girl meets boy, boy is beaten to death by thugs, and girl seeks revenge...your
classic breezy romantic comedy. Seriously, I had low expectations for this revenge flick, but it was surpris-
ingly decent. Jodie Foster and Terrance Howard are both fine actors putting out good work here, and the
writing is fairly nuanced considering the subject matter at hand. What could have been heavy handed and
moralistic was instead treated like a study in fear and paranoia and the lengths some will go to take back
the lives they once knew.

Breach (2007)
- 7 out of 10 -

Can you think of a better choice for playing an uptight man in middle management than Chris Cooper? As
my old lady would say, the man looks like the picture postcard of a comptroller. Throw Gary Cole and
Dennis Haysbert into the mix in the supporting roles and that is serious grip of fortune 500 board member-
looking assholes. This flick is the true story of famed spy Robert Hanssen, and could be best described by
the cliché phrase “taut thriller”. And even though you know what is going to happen in the film, at least if
you've paid attention to the news at all, it's still a quality movie that is well worth checking out. Not a lot of
action, and you might want to punch Ryan Phillippe in the mouth (though when is this not true, right?), but
certainly a keeper.

The Break-Up (2006)
- 3 out of 10 - 
I know women get a bad rap about loving shitty romantic comedies (or romcoms as the kids refer to them),
but my old lady gets major props for calling out this piece of shit very early on.  I think the only reason either of
us even finished the damn thing was out of sheer boredom and some small hope that Jennifer Anniston would
get killed by a meteorite (spoiler: it doesn't happen).  It's not funny at all, there's no chemistry, and the story is
about as stupid as they come.  Avoid at all costs.

Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
- 3 out of 10 -

Admittedly, I didn't give this much of a chance, but there is only so much of Cillian Murphy talking in a falsetto
voice that anyone can take. And since he was the only reason I was watching this flick about “a cross-dressing
prostitute who becomes a magician's assistant” in the first place, there was no need ot carry on.

Breaking Away (1979)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

I had pretty much put off watching this movie for years because I've never been one to watch movies about
bicycle enthusiasts, but it turns out that the picture on the cover is not an all-encompassing wrap-up of the
story that unfolds here. In fact, though bicycling is a major part of the story, I'd say it is secondary to the main
tale of four friends growing up and trying to figure out what they are going to do with their lives. Great acting
from the four main characters, even if the story did get a bit ham-fisted at times (especially when the dad
was involved).

Breakout (1975)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

In my continuing examination of all things Charles Bronson, I watched this mid-70’s B-movie romp where he is
hired to break Robert Duvall out of a Mexican prison.  Well, I can’t verify it was an actual
B-movie, but it certainly
is of that quality; and while some might debate my calling it a “romp”, the film
was close enough and plus I just like
calling movies “romps”.  It was mostly serious, but Bronson
played just a goofy enough character that it barely
qualifies – that combined with the fact that his
sidekick (played by America’s heartthrob Randy Quaid) at one
point dresses like a woman in an
attempt to smuggle Duvall out says a lot.  To put it in proper perspective, if this
got remade, and it
probably will at the going rate in Hollywood, they’ll probably have The Rock playing Bronson’s
and someone like Steve Zahn pulling the part of Quaid. 

Anyways, all that bullshit aside, it’s a decent enough film, a good cast and a not-terrible story, a little action and
the occasional joke…it helped a boring afternoon pass, so I can’t complain.

Brick (2005)
 - 8 out of 10 -

On paper, "modern teenage film noir" sounds like a terrible idea, but it works exceptionally well here.  Credit
a fine story, great direction, and a stupendous cast let by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  He might still be best known
as the goofy kid from the even goofier show "Third Rock from the Sun", but I've really been impressed with his
acting chops in his various roles of the last few years.  He reminds me somewhat of a young Johnny Depp,
not in looks per se but in his acting range...Gordon-Levitt can seemingly pull off any type of character and
make it real goddamn believable. 

This film would be an easy one to overlook, but do yourself a favor and check it out if you have any love for
the noir hasn't been serviced too well recently so it's nice to see that someone out there gets what
it is all about. 

Bride Wars (2008)
 - 0 out of 10 -

Sweet mother of god, show this to the suspected terrorists in Gitmo and you'll get much better results than with
waterboarding or any other torture techniques.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

I really enjoyed Bridget Jones's Diary (2001). It was cute, funny, sassy and snappy.  Unfortunately, Bridget
Jones: The Edge of Reason is none of the above. In this sequel, Renee Zellweger has again "plumped" up
to play the title character but manages to lose much of the charm she brought to the first film. The script and
dialogue are thin and unbelievable; Bridget is imprisoned briefly in Thailand on false drug smuggling charges.
While incarcerated, she teaches her fellow inmates a dance routine set to a Madonna song. Colin Firth's Mark
Darcy is cold and distant.  It is never clear precisely why Bridget loves Mark so; he has all the appeal of a
mustard and oreo sandwich.  Hugh Grant returns as Daniel Cleaver, Bridget's philandering former boss and
Mark's former best friend.  He does what he can but it's nowhere near enough to save the rapidly sinking ship.
I wish I could get my $9.75 back.  Avoid this film at all costs. (Chelsea Junget)

Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
- 8 out of 10 -

Probably the most perfect cinematic example of why the statement “I wish I were more like Warren Oates”
became the popular catch phrase that it did.  The man is just pure badassery personified here, what with
the shooting everything in sight, bedding down skanky women, and that nearly constant smart-ass smirk
he has on his face most of the flick.  Sam Peckinpah was known for his ability to make mortal actors into
heroes personified, and this may be the best of all his classics (though catch me on another day and I
might say the same thing for “The Wild Bunch”).

Brokeback Mountain (2005)
- 6 out of 10 -

As a straight dude secure in his heterosexuality, the kissing and homosexual overtones don’t bother me…
what does bother me is when Ang Lee drags out a movie that could be wrapped up in 90-100 minutes
out much longer than necessary.  Not that I was surprised in the least, Lee has a tendency for getting a
little long winded, but I did find myself telling the DVD to get to the point during the last 45 minutes or so. 
But still, even with a film this slow you still have to admire the cinematography – some of the most beautiful
landscape I’ve ever seen in a film, makes me wish Terrence Mallick would make a film in this location just
to view the magic he would work with the cameras.  The acting was great as well, all around; I think I found
myself most impressed with the performances of the ladies, most likely because they were the ones I’ve
expected the least of throughout the careers.  All told, certainly worth viewing but if I watch this again it will
be with one finger firmly planted on the fast-forward button.

Broken Arrow (1996)
 - 5 out of 10 -

I'm pretty sure this film wasn't supposed to be a comedy, but John Travolta's attempt at playing a bad ass
is one of the best unintentionally funny characters in film history.  I know John Woo is known for making over-
the-top films, but this might be the worst of the worst.  Or the best of the best, depending on your opinion of
bad movies. 

Broken Flowers (2005)
 - 8.5 out of 10 -

This is one of the best things I've seen in the theatre in a long time, and is everything I expected it would
 be.  Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has been my favorite for years, and this is just further proof why - his
ability to make a movie so lifelike, where every answer gives you five more questions and all problems
are not wrapped up nicely, is what makes his films so engrossing.  

Apparently Jarmusch wrote this role specifically for Murray, and in only two-and-a-half weeks.  But no
doubt there was a lot of thought that went into the project for ages before that.  The ending particularly -
Jarmusch knew exactly what he was doing by leaving it so open-ended, and knew it would piss some
people off (most likely those folks who think Holly wood has really been putting out great movies lately).  

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here, but just know this movie is fantastic - well acted, occasionally
funny, and more than most flicks, it makes you think.  And the soundtrack is killer, I really need to get a
copy of that.

Broken Trail (2006)
- 7 out of 10 -

I just can't imagine a scenario where you could combine the directing of Walter Hill with the acting of
Robert Duvall and not get classic viewing. Westerns lend themselves nicely to miniseries, and this is
most certainly a nice miniseries about a horse drive thrown off track when the cowboys in charge
(Duvall and Thomas Haden Church) save a group of Chinese girls en route to a life of prostitution. This
was made for TV, so as you might imagine everything turns out relatively “happily ever after.” But the
journey to that ending is well worth watching, with wonderful acting jobs out of everyone and cinema-
tography to die for. Don't let the long playing time fool you, this series is well worth seeing.

Bronson (2008)
 - 8 out of 10 -

The mostly true story of Britain's most notorious prisoner, Charles Bronson (an assumed name taken from
the film star), played fantastically by Tom Hardy.  This film is fantastic, using a "mixed media" approach to
telling the story of the notorious Bronson (born Michael Peterson) - first person stage performances with
regular film-style storytelling and a few snippets of a documentary-style approach.  The film looked gritty and
realistic like you were right in the scene, and managed to actually make a man this detestable seem like...
well, not a good person, but maybe someone you'd like to have a conversation with.  Probably through bars
or glass though, cause he'd probably kill you.

The Brood (1979)
- 4 out of 10 -

I honestly don’t have much to say on this, I found it quite boring, a psychological thriller with little actual
thrill.  Probably could be considered decent fare from some directors, but for David Cronenberg you
expect better.  But there was a great scene at the first of the movie where someone gets killed with a
mallet, and that was good times.  More mallet deaths in films please.

The Brother from Another Planet (1982)
- 7 out of 10 -

Easily my favorite mute-martian-living-on-earth-amongst-us-with-wacky-feet of all time. It's always
struck me as odd that this is John Sayles movie, as it's really not like anything else he directed before
or after; but it is an enjoyable, weird flick full of interesting characters and a lot of “Repo Man”-esque
special effects. A fun movie, nothing groundbreaking, but like nearly all of Sayles movies it is worth

Brotherhood of Death (1976)
- 6 out of 10 - Vietnam vets versus the KKK in the deep south...typical blacksploitation racial
overtones...the review should pretty much write itself. Not great by any stretch, but enjoyable enough,
and thankfully short.

An interesting side note that I didn't realize at the time – many of the stars were also pro football
players. Thinking back on this after the fact, it would help explain the wooden acting somewhat.

Brothers (2009)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

A really well acted film that was incredibly depressing and I hope I never see it again.  It's always inter-
esting to me, movies like this, that are such a joy to watch in terms of quality filmmaking, but leave with
you such an empty sense of dread and depression after you finish them that you're contemplating the
decision to watch it in the first place.  The three leads - Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman and Tobey
Maguire - all put in some of the best work of their careers.

The Brothers Bloom (2008)
 - 6 out of 10 -

This film was a little too precious and quirky just for the sake of being quirky...but I still enjoyed it.  A
good cast helped - Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody make a nice tandem, and Rachel Weisz is about
as cute as is humanly possible.  The twists and turns of this conman film were pretty obvious, but the
pacing was good and the European sets made for nice eye candy. 

The Brothers Grimm (2005)
 - 7 out of 10 -

There is a good chance this is the worst film Terry Gilliam has made...but even the worst of his films
are still a pretty entertaining show to watch.  Matt Damon and Heath Ledger both do fine work por-
traying the con-artist Grimm Brothers, who go from town to town creating fake ghouls-n-goblins that
they then battle for rewards from the townsfolk.  The story wasn't really anything special and the effects
were middling at best, but there was still something endearing about the whole mess that kept me
pretty well involved throughout the whole thing.  Gilliam's sense of whimsy and fantasy is probably the
best in the business (especially since Tim Burton seems to have made a dreadful slide downhill in this
department), and as I said, it's possibly the worst work he's put out but still a very entertaining yarn.

Brothers Solomon (2007)
- 6 out of 10 -

This is basically “Dumb and Dumber”, but instead of chasing Lauren Holly across the country they are
trying to have a baby to please their comatose father (played by The Fall Guy himself, Lee Majors).
Very stupid, fairly funny...a good time if you're feeling like something light, but don't go in expecting high
quality. It probably helps if you have a man-crush on Will Arnett, one of the funniest men in the business.
Nearly every current SNL actor makes an appearance at one point or another.

Bruce Almighty (2003)
 - 5.5 out 10 -

Can you think of a better choice for god than Morgan Freeman?  Cause I sure can’t.  And frankly, he
and Steve Carell are the highlights of this film.  As a general rule, I have trouble swallowing “faith” as a
major premise behind a movie, unless Charlton Heston is somewhere in it being his campy self. 
Somehow his hammy acting makes everything seem ok.

The story here is pretty simple – a very self-centered TV reporter, played by Jim Carrey, complains and
complains to any one who will listen, and especially to god, that his life sucks and why does god do this
to him?  Presumably, after he’s heard enough whinging, god bestows his powers on Carrey since he
thinks he can do a better job.  You can pretty much guess where it goes from here – being god is hard,
Carrey finds himself, everything works out nicely…not that I was expecting anything different.  The biggest
problem is that the Carrey we know and love just isn’t very funny, and I suspect the main culprit to be poor
writing.  This role could honestly be played by any Hollywood hack, there’s nothing particularly about the
character.  Jennifer Aniston is also in the film as Carrey’s girlfriend, and while she continues to be the only
Friends star to make any sort of career for herself, I’m not sure this is the direction she wants to take. 
Overall, an enjoyable enough but utterly forgettable film that is probably only worth watching if you are really

Bruce and Me (2004)
- 7 out of 10 -

This documentary was supposed to be seen as a study over an estranged father/daughter relationship,
but it becomes clear early on that the film better serves the purpose of introducing all of us to the character
that is Bruce Siedler.  A life long anti-government petty crook full of interesting ideas, the whole side story
of Bruce traveling to Cuba to visit his local girlfriend (who was coincidentally a third of his age) was the
best part of the story; not only did it supply me with further footage of modern Cuba, a place I yearn to visit,
but the whole interaction between Bruce and his strange gold-digging lady was hilarious.

Brüno (2009)
 - 5 out of 10 -

I would describe this film as 30% hilarious and 70% uncomfortable.  I didn't watch much of the extras, but
the fact that Sacha Baron Cohen didn't get his ass beaten multiple times during the filming of this flick is a
true miracle. 

Bubble (2005)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

Soderbergh has become one of those rare directors that has the ability to switch between big-budget
Hollywood romps and small, independent fare - and not get any flack for it.  I've always been more par-
tial to his smaller films (Scizopolis probably being his finest work), but he even manages to make a
blockbuster at least entertaining.  Bubble definitely fits into the small category - both in production,
which is fine, but in story as well, unfortunately.  There just isn't much there - life in a small town is shown,
a murder is committed, the crime is solved, the end.  I know that might sound like I'm oversimplifying
things, but that is truly all that happens.  Props to Soderbergh on his use of non-professional actors and
setting the small town tone - it was all the makings of a great movie.  I'd love for him to go back with this
cast and set and a better script, I have no doubt something fantastic could come out of it.  As it is, it's
still worth checking out, and since it lasts less than an hour and a half, you're not out much time if you
don't enjoy it.

Bukowski: Born Into This (2003)
- 6 out of 10 -

Let it be known that I love Bukowski's writing - he came up with a great style and concept and kept re-
peating it for years, and it never got old.  But I'm not sure this fawning piece of fluff is truly the best re-
membrance of the man. I guess I just can't imagine he would have liked it, all the ass-kissing going on. 
And while it's great to learn about his background, I would say checking out his autobiography paints a
more vivid picture and is a fantastic read to boot.  Mickey Rourke's portrayal of the Bukowski-ish char-
acter in Barfly I think presents the man in a more realistic light, and adamned enjoyable one at that.

Bull Durham (1988)
 - 8.5 out of 10 -

As a man from and with great pride in North Carolina, and a lover of baseball, it’s no wonder that I feel
such a draw to Bull Durham.  Set in Durham, NC, it’s about a group of minor league players in various
states of their career, trying to make it to the major leagues.  Specifically, it revolves around “Nuke”
LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), a great young pitching talent but dumb as a rock, and his interactions with both
Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) and Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and their attempts to prepare him for
the big show.  Crash is a “has been” winding up his career in the minor leagues, and Annie is a philos-
ophizing southern belle who takes on LaLoosh as both a lover and a student of life.

Baseball may be the overriding theme of the film, but it’s mostly a character study at heart, and a fantastic
one at that.  Plus funny – there are a number of times where I laughed out loud, particularly the scene
where they had the meeting at the pitcher’s mound during the game to discuss purchasing wedding
presents and getting a live chicken for one of the player’s rituals.  Ok, it’s not funny when I write about, just
go watch the damn movie you oaf.

Bulletproof Monk (2003)
 - 6 out of 10 -

He may not be the best actor in the world, and trying to pretend he is a martial arts bad ass is beyond
the realm of my imagination, but for some reason I find that Seann William Scott just has one of those
magnetic personalities that makes any film he is in, no matter how dumb, an interesting watch.  In a
lot of ways this film reminded me of another recent film of his, The Rundown, only with a far east bent
instead of South America. Both films have the same buddy combination of bad-ass/smart-ass, the
chase of a powerful item, the overcoming of a particularly ruthless foe.  Both are also equally enter-
taining, even if they are examples of throw-away movies at their finest.  Looking for some mindless
fun, you could do a lot worse than this film.

Bulitt (1968)
 - 7 out of 10  -

I’m of two minds here – despite its cult status and even the opinion of some of my friends, I don’t
think that Bullitt is that great of a movie.  Sure, I have a soft spot for anything filmed in San Francisco -
it’s always great to check out how the city looked then versus its current look; but the plot is mediocre
at best and the film drags numerous times.  On the flipside, it is humanly impossible not to love
anything Steve McQueen made, as he is one of the greatest manly-men action stars to have ever
lived.  And the car chase scene through the city is so very good, it probably makes up for a lot of the
dramatic uselessness in the film.  Honestly, if it was just a movie of McQueen hanging around, looking
cool with hot ladies and a bitchin’ car and some exciting chases, it would get the same review.

Burden of Dreams (1982)
- 7.5 out of 10  -

Newsflash: Werner Herzog is crazy.  Bollocks you say?  No really, he’s out of his goddamn mind,
and if you don’t believe me you need not look any further than this documentary on the making of the
film “Fitzcarraldo”.  But you already knew he was loony if you’ve seen any of his films…luckily, for
whatever reason genius and nuts seem to run a parallel path and the result has been a number of
classic films, including the one featured in this doc.  Lester Bangs does a fantastic job of framing
the layers of madness and fuck-ups that plagued this production, nearly all of which were the result
of a brilliantly mad German director.  Sure, he nearly killed off an entire tribe of indigenous people
hired as workers on the flick, but he got that damn boat hauled up the hill!

Burn After Reading (2008)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

While not as instantly engaging as many Coen films, I have a feeling this dark comedy will stand up
very well over time. To roughly paraphrase, the I couldn't sum this film up any better than the filmmakers
themselves...this is about when the world of personal fitness meets the governmental spy world. Given
both groups is made up by the dumbest people ever put on celluloid, the results are haphazard and
comical. Brad Pitt is especially excellent and hilarious as a bumbling personal trainer trying to extort
money out of an unbalanced former agent.

The Burning (1981)
- 7 out of 10 -

Pretty average slasher movie, mostly only notable as it was the first or one of the first films for a
number of notable stars...Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, Fisher Stevens, and even Brian Backer
(notably for his work on “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”). If you like mindless gore and seeing future
stars before they were big time, look no further.

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (2007)
- 6 out of 10 -

I was struggling to think of anything worthwhile to write about this film, which is what I would assume is
a fairly accurate portrayal about the plight of the American Indian in the 1800s being moved from their
land to make room for settlers. Ultimately, while the subject matter is fairly interesting, and the acting
decent, the film itself is not terribly interesting or exciting. I'm not sure why either exactly – I was thinking
it might possibly be due to the flick starting out action-packed, but never returning to that level of excite-
ment the rest of the movie.

Cache (2005)
- 5 out of 10 -

I realized going in that this was going to be a “psychological thriller”, but generally that doesn't mean
“a really
unnecessarily slow and creepy movie”. Bear in mind, I liked the story and the acting was fine,
but if you cut
out most of the dead air this film probably wouldn't have been over an hour long. This film
struck me as the
sort that would be co-opted and remade by Hollywood...I'm picturing Julianne Moore
as the mom.

Cadillac Records (2008)
- 7 out of 10 -

The "based on a true story" tale of Chess Records, from it's humble beginnings until Leonard Chess de-
cided to sell and get out of the business. I assume not all the facts are accurate, but it does a good job of
tracking early chicago blues music (Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf) and it's musicians, and
the beginnings of rock-n-roll. The pacing on the film is great, the set design is stellar, and the music is
obviously fantastic. But the greatest part of the film was Howlin' Wolf, played brilliantly by Eamonn Walker -
he didn't have a lot of scenes, but when he was on the screen he stole all the scenes. The producers
would be stupid not to do a Howlin' Wolf biographical film with him as the star, because he becomes
Wolf. And it is an amazing thing to see.

California Split (1974)
 - 8 out of 10 -

Robert Altman + George Segal + Elliott Gould = how in the bloody hell had I managed not to see this
before now?  Honestly, the fact that this isn’t considered amongst Altman’s better films is bewildering
to me...I’m not saying it’s better than Nashville or MASH or Short Cuts, but it certainly should be con-
sidered among them.

The whole film is like one big gambling party where Gould and Segal are your hosts.  There high
moments and low moments and hot chicks and hot gambling and lots of comical chatter and the whole
things piles together in a mess like this run-on sentence I’m writing, but a good, enjoyable mess that
makes you smile and wish you could hang out with these guys.

Candy (1968)
 - 5 out of 10 -

No one is going to confuse this for good cinema, but it certainly has all the makings of a classic "romp". 
It's biggest problem, however, is that it is way, way, way too long...the book this is based on is pretty damn
short, and you could probably read it faster than you could watch this movie. Also, it should be noted that
the film veers off from the book in so many directions, so many times, that it's pretty comical (if you've
never read the book, you should check it out - damn hilarious).

That said, with fast-forward button in hand, this is worth viewing for two reasons - incredibly hot women
(especially the lead of Ewa Aulin) and a million amazing cameos - Ringo Starr as the hispanic gardner,
Walter Matthau playing a sex-starved general, Sugar Ray Robinson playing a driver, James Coburn as a
quack doctor...and add to that list Marlon Brando, John Huston,  Richard Burton - many "romp"-worthy

Candy (2006)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

This kinda felt like someone was really jonesin' to make an Australian version of “Trainspotting”, only
with a Romeo & Juliet-ish love story included. And it worked well enough I suppose, though mostly due
to the chemistry and acting between the two leads, Abbie Cornish and Heath Ledger. Things are also
helped along nicely by the always superb Geoffrey Rush, who plays a sorta drug-hazed father figure to
Ledger's lost soul. Honestly, the story is nothing worth writing about, but if you're looking for some decent
acting jobs you could do much worse.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
- 4 out of 10 -

I decided to watch this for the shock value, though honestly it was more gross than shocking. Unless of
course you are referring to the acting, which was beyond shocking. They also *really* kill a number of
animals senselessly, and sure the film was made in a different time but I just cannot abide that.
Obviously, I was pulling for the cannibals.

Capote (2005)
 - 9 out of 10 -

What to say about this film that hasn't been said by much better reviewers than myself - this film is a
stunner.  From start to finish, it grabs you about as well as anything I've seen in years.  The performances,
the screenplay, the direction...there's not a weak spot in the entire thing.  Truly, if ever there should be a
shoe-in for the Oscars, this should be it.  

On the Oscar tip, I have been torn though after seeing this - Phillip Seymour Hoffman from this film or
Terrence Howard from Hustle & Flow for best actor?  Hoffman might get a slight nod because his overall
film is better, but to try and pick a favorite from these two leads, I don't think it's possible.  There may have
been two finer performances in one year at some point in the history of cinema, but I can't think of it.  

The Car (1977)
 - 7 out of 10 -

It's a campy B (probably actually a C or D) movie about a possessed car with apparently no driver hunting
folks down in and around Zion National Park in Utah.  James Brolin stars as the hero cop who works to
stop the car, and boy does he ever chew the scenery, like a cow in clover.  This is a damn enjoyable film
though, and the southwestern Utah setting only helps matters.  Seems like a film that is ripe for a remake,
though there is absolutely no way a modern rendition could capture the seventies camp of this version.

Carandiru (2003)
 - 7 out of 10 -

This film was based on the true story of a prison massacre set in Sao Paolo, Brazil in the early nineties
that was sparked by a riot over some trivial matters.  Despite the prisoners having few weapons, no hos-
tages, and no water, the police stormed in and killed 111 of them.  The prison, Carandiru, was supposed
to only house 4000 men; instead upwards of 8000 crammed its cramped quarters in extremely unhealthy

The first two-thirds of the film is told from the point-of-view of the doctor who was there trying to help pre-
vent the spread of AIDs…you get to know many of the characters in the prison, their back story and how
they ended up behind bars, and how they interact behind the prison walls.  This portion of the film while
mostly interesting, was a bit more long winded than was necessary. Personally, I would have liked to have
seen more time spent on what was the lastthird of the film – the bickering that led to the riot and then the
massacre. Furthermore, a bit of follow-up on some of the characters they took the time to introduce would
have been nice…if you’re going to go to the trouble to introduce them, you might as well offer some closure.

But for the most part this is a very interesting and good film, and it is telling an important story that I wish
there was more to read up on.  It would appear there have been a couple of books written on the matter, but
they are all in Portuguese and I have no reason to expect them to be translated into English anytime soon.

Carla’s Song (1996)
 - 6 out of 10 -

This film is really that tale of two movies - the part set in Scotland and the part set in Nicaragua - with
only a small amount of the story line in common.

It starts out fantastic, following Robert Carlyle’s character carry out a normal and unfulfilling life as a
rebellious city bus driver.  Then he meets Carla, a seemingly illegal Nicaraguan refugee struggling to
get by in a land she doesn’t understand.  He instantly falls for her and they struggle and insert trials
and tribulations here, but it was all very enjoyable in that depressing Ken Loach way.

Then they decide to go to Nicaragua to see Carla’s family, which is all fine and good; but then it veers
into this strange political thriller/drama that I was not expecting to pop up, and all of the sudden Scott
Glenn is in the movie as a CIA agent or something and the whole thing just makes my eyes glaze over
and wish it was still the first part of the film.  It would be nice if Loach just went back and expanded
each part into their own movies, because there is plenty of material to work with here.

Cars (2006)
- 7 out of 10 -

I didn't really have any interest in watching this...talking cartoon cars, really? But somehow, it worked.
It might have been a few minutes too long, and of course the story was hokey, but yet again Pixar
managed to pull off a kid's movie that is actually enjoyable to adults (or as close to as an adult as
I might be considered in most circles). I'd still rank “Monsters Inc.” or “Finding Nemo” as their best
offerings, but the company as a whole is batting a damned high average.

Catch A Fire (2006)
- 8 out of 10 -

I don't know a lot about South Africa or the fight to overturn apartheid, so I'll just have to take the fact that this
flick is based on a true story for it's word. What I do know is this is an interesting, well acted film with an
engaging story that kept me rapt to the screen the entire time. I don't know what the actual results will be, but
there is no good reason that Derek Luke isn't thrust into stardom from the work done as the lead of this flick.
God knows if I was running a studio I'd green-light him as the star for anything. Tim Robbins is fantastic as well,
but no big surprise there. Certainly a movie worth seeking out if you missed it the first time around.

Catching Out (2003)

 - 5 out of 10 -

I’ve always been a big fan of train hopping.  Not doing it myself, mind you – because I’m too much
of a pansy – but I’m just glad people still do it.  I’ve seen a few documentaries on the topic, and I
never get tired of it (same goes with docs on prisons).  This film started out with promise, lots of dirty
youths on trains expounding about the glory of hopping and all that.  But they eventually all stop, and
the film follows them as they head into real life or the woods or wherever.  On the one hand, I can ap-
preciate this – it’s probably the smart thing to do with the film, a nice linear story and all.  But about half
way through I found myself proclaiming “fuck this, where’s the train footage?”…cause it pretty much dis-
appeared.  Maybe this wouldn’t bother some folks, since they would probably be interested in what
happens to the riders, but it bummed me out.  I’m just sayin’.  So since half the film was good, it gets
a half score.  hrrmph.

Cellular (2004)
- 2 out of 10 -

This film is retarded in more ways than I can count.  I think the best word to sum up the plot and all the
action contained there-in is "outlandish".  William H. Macy is the only thing worthwhile in the entire flick,
but the story and script are so terrible I just hope he got paid well.  It's really not worth going into every-
thing that made this film bad, just don't watch it unless...well, I can't think of a good reason.  Just don't
watch it.

Chained Heat (1983)
- 5 out of 10 -

The ultimate “chicks behind bars” film, this has everything you could ask for – lots of tits, lots of ass, lots
of bad acting, and a complete ludicrous story. Really, what more could you ask for? I feel quite certain
that both the entire cast and crew were high as kites on mountains of coke for the duration of this picture.

Chapter 27 (2007)
 - 6 out of 10 -

This might only be an "ok" movie, but I'll give it a slightly above average nod because of the work Jared
Leto did to physically transform himself into John Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman.  There is a
strong chance that a number of folks didn't even know it was Leto, he looked so shockingly different.  As
for the actual film itself - well, it looked great.  the acting was ho hum, especially when Lindsey Lohan
was on the screen, no surprises there.  One odd/cool thing was the film score - it sounded like some-
thing from an Errol Morris documentary, which was strange for a film like this but wholly enjoyable. 

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (2005)
- 7 out of 10 -

Despite the warnings from others and my own intuition based on an unnatural love of Gene Wilder,
I watched this remake of the classic anyways…and surprisingly, I didn’t think it was half-bad!  I still
think it was totally unnecessary and Tim Burton’s amazing talent could be better spent on some
original projects, but his eye for the fantastical really made the factory scenes a treat.  Johnny Depp
could never replace Gene Wilder (though he did a decent but creepy job in his own right) and the new
Oompa-Loompas were abysmal, but the squirrel scene was so great that I wished it had been in the
original.  Go in with low expectations and you might just enjoy this movie, even if you don’t think there
is a chance.

Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
- 7 our of 10 -

I wrote this movie off when it initially came out, but I should have known better than not to figure a film
with Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing a key role would be a decent viewing. And a decent viewing it
is – this is by far the best flick I've ever seen about political backroom deals to help the Afghans oust
the Russians starring that dude from “Big”.

Chasing Liberty (2004)
 - 5 out of 10 -

There isn’t really much to say about this, it’s bubblegum film making at best.  I was sick and laying on
my couch and decided to watch it, so stop looking at me that way…plus Mandy Moore is pretty damn
cute.  Seriously, stop looking at me that way.

Moore plays the president’s daughter, in search of a little freedom while in Europe.  As you might
imagine, hijinx ensue.  Although not a great film, it’s not awful either – formulaic, yes, but Moore makes
for good eye candy as does the European backdrop where it was filmed.  And the movie never tries to
be anything more than a cute by-the-books romantic comedy of sorts.

Chattahoochee (1989)
 - 7 out of 10 -

This film features Gary Oldman acting crazy, which is basically 95% of his roles over the years.  But hell,
he's so damn good at playing a loon I've pretty much enjoyed everything I've seen by the man.  In this one
he's a soldier back in the States, not really able to handle the real world, and gets committed to a nut house. 
Turns out the nut house is in worse shape than a porn star's vagina, and while Oldman is getting treated
like a turd in a punch bowl his sister is working on not only getting him out of the place, but changing things
for the better.  Additional thumbs up to Dennis Hopper for somehow finding it in himself to play a crazy
person too...what a stretch!

The Cheerleaders (1973)
 - 4 out of 10 -

I know it's my own damn fault, but I think I might have actually been expecting more than a campy 70's
B-movie full of boobs, both in terms of the anatomical item and stupid folks.  There isn't much of a
story, in fact it's pretty much like a porn but without the penetration.  Lots of simulated sex and that
manner of carry-on.  At least a couple of the girls were kinda hot, so at least there's that.

Chernobyl Heart (2003)
 - 9 out of 10 -

Dear god what a heartbreaking documentary.  I just randomly stumbled across this early one morning on
HBO, and was instantly riveted.  The film is about the effects of radiation on the locals living in the areas
near Chernobyl.  It mostly focuses on a particular condition known as "Chernobyl Heart", hence the film's
title - due to the radiation, some staggering number of children (I want ot say 25% but I could be pulling that
out of my ass) are born with heart defects that prove fatal at a very young age.  The filmmaker focuses on
the impact on the families, the children, and the doctors, both locals and Americans who have donated
their time to come over and help out; but there are so many hurting children and so little money and re-
sources, it seems to end up being a lot like trying to plug a broken damn with chewing gum.

Words can't really do this documantary justice, it must be seen to fully comprehend.  Unfortunately, despite
the fact that it won the Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short Subject", it hasn't been released to
video or DVD anywhere that I can locate.  But keep your eyes peeled, because if it ever does get released
it is a must view.

The Chiefs (2004)
- 5 out of 10 -

This is a documentary about the real Chiefs, the team that the film “Slap Shot” was loosely based on, and
more specifically, about a number of the career minor leaguers that come through their clubhouse. It's an
interesting topic, but not really full-length-film interesting (fans of hockey may feel differently). There are fights
and injuries and a lot of funny Canadian accents, but I found it didn't really hold my attention much after the
first 30 minutes.

Children of Men (2006)
- 8.5 out of 10 -

I've surely mentioned a thousand times my love of any film post-apocalyptic or of a similar nature. It's always
especially gripping when the scenario comes across as believable as it is here, set only a few years in the
future in a world not terribly different from our own but just fucked up enough to get your imagination racing at
the possibilities. This film is about as fine of an example of this style of futuristic vision as I have ever seen.
I can't even think of the words to describe why this film is so effective – something in the way it was shot, such
immediacy, with hand-held cameras providing movement that gives the sense of urgency of living in a life-or-
death situation. The final battle scene is probably the only thing to ever come close to the realism in “Saving
Private Ryan”, a real feat in filmmaking. I can't recommend this movie highly enough.

Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1993)
- 3.5 out of 10 -

Look, the first one of these was terrible but it was still entertaining in that shitty-horror-film way (plus it had
some seriously creepy leads that creeped me out as a kid); but the fact that they decided to
make multiple
sequels just boggles the mind. Who would bother writing this? What coked up studio
head green lit it?  How
hard up for work were the actors that agreed to appear in it? And mostly, how
desperate for entertainment
was I that I actually watched the whole damn thing?

Children of Times Square (1986)
- 5 out of 10 -

The whole time I'm watching this, I'm thinking it feels like a bad 80's made-for-TV movie...well, it turns out it
actually was a bad 80's made-for-TV movie. I mean, as far as that genre goes, this isn't that bad – it's a
hokie story for sure but the acting could be a lot worse and the fact that I've always been fascinated with
the area around Times Square back in it's seedy days doesn't hurt. But I'd guess the biggest reason most
people end up seeing this flick is that it was directed by the man behind “L.A. Confidential” and “8 Mile”
Curtis Hanson. Maybe you like rote films about New York cities seedy underbelly, maybe you're a Curtis
Hanson completest, or maybe you are just bored like I often am and like to watch bad movies sometimes.

Choke (2008)
- 6 out of 10 -

My sample size is only two, but between this film and "Fight Club" it seems like Chuck Palahniuk really
likes to present stories that turn out not to be what they seem at the end. I dunno, maybe he is all about
presenting situations that challenge the viewer to decide who is really the crazy one in the story. Either
way, this flick is fairly enjoyable, mostly because Sam Rockwell makes for such an engaging lead. The
dude needs more high profile work, he deserves it.

Chop Shop (2007)
 - 7 out of 10 -

This is a gritty and depressing slice-of-life picture about a couple of latino kids, presumably illegal, trying
to eke out a life the best they know how.  Working and living in a chop shop, stealing, hustling, turning
tricks, and doing whatever it takes to live the American dream.  The actors are so good and the scenes
so realistic that you could easily mistake this for a documentary.  Director Ramin Bahrani is really show-
ing he has an eye for conveying the lives of the under-appreciated in his short-lived career, a career I
hope continues for a long time. 

Chopper (2001)
 - 8 out of 10 -

This movie would get a high rating from me for the first few minutes of prison scenes alone, some of my
favorites ever put on film and god knows I love a good prison flick.  Eric Bana does an amazing job in this
role of Mark “Chopper” Reed, a role that put him on the map here in the states and rightfully so.  Few char-
acters have ever walked that fine line between asshole and folk hero like Chopper, and Bana is completely
believable as him.  The film does get a bit slow in the last 30 minutes or so, but the rest of the movie is so
great it doesn’t really matter.

A Christmas Story (1971)
- 10 out of 10 -

I'm not really going to say much about this, because everyone has already seen it a thousand times. 
I've already watched it three times this xmas, and wouldn't be surprised to see it again before it's all
over.  This is the greatest christmas movie of all time, or at least the last few generations.  Sure, some
folks would probably point to "It's a Wonderful Life" or maybe "Silent Night, Deadly Night", but to those
folks I say get yer head out of your ass.  The only thing that comes close is Christmas Vacation, with
Bad Santa pulling in at third place (and Elf has many great moments).

Christmas Vacation (1989)
 - 10 out of 10 -

After A Christmas Story, probably the best full-length christmas film of all time (with Bad Santa firmly
holding down third).  And while the cast as a whole does a good job, the high rating is solely the work
of cousin Eddie, aka the greatest actor in the world Randy Quaid (see Caddyshack II for further proof,
he actually makes that watchable).  His great scenes are too numerable to mention, and would never
translate well to words anyways, so why bother.  Plus you've already seen this movie anyways, and you
already know how much it rules.

Also awesome in this movie: Beverly D'Angelo's breasts in the final scene.

The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
- 7 out of 10 –

There’s no need for any over-analysis here really – this is your classic “good guy saves the
day” story with a strong sci-fi/fantasy bent.  You know how this thing is going to turn out from
the start, but it’s still a fun movie to watch - the special effects are pretty damn good, there
are a couple of hot girls, and Vin Diesel, the best screen name in show business, does a fine
job as the heroic lead.  This movie was exactly what I expected, I wish all films could live up
to that standard.

Chrystal (2004)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

Chrystal is a very good, very quiet, and slightly disturbing southern film that has been criminally ne-
glected by critics and movie fans alike.  This is a slow burner of a film, one that won’t have much
impact if you’re only casually viewing it (as I often do, unfortunately).  Billy Bob Thornton proves yet
again, at least to me, that he is one of the greatest actors currently working today.  Maybe I have an
affinity for him because he’s southern, or maybe because I’ve watched Sling Blade dozens of times,
but something about that man is incredibly captivating when he is on film.  Sure, he’s been in a few
stinkers but just his presence alone elevates even total garbage to at least passable in watch-ability.  

If you wanted to get into specifics talking about this film you could write pages – but when you slice
down to the meat of the matter this is a film about a man trying to redeem himself from the wrongs he
has committed in the past.  His subsequent actions - both right and wrong - are driven by this desire
to make everything okay again.  The entire cast is great; the direction is very straightforward and
simple, which is very complimentary to the story; all told, it’s a great film that should be seen by many
more people.

Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981)
- 5 out of 10 -

A great cast wasted on a goofy, mediocre film. Alan & Adam Arkin, Carol Burnett, Sid Haig, Ruth
Buzzi, Danny Glover, Danny Aiello, Jack Warden, and even Vincent Schiavelli all portray some
manner of goon, goof or grabass in this comical caper set in San Francisco. If you want to see the
way SF looked a few years back and the late, great Jack Warden playing some manner of hobo
king, give it a shot. Otherwise, not much going on here.

The Chumscrubber (2005)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

Um, uh…you know how sometimes you see a movie, like it well enough, and then forget about it 10
minutes later?  I had to look up the imdb page just to jog my memory of what transpired in this film,
but I know it was interesting enough when I watched it.  Basically it’s another of those “people are
fucked up under the idyllic façade of the suburbs”…a kid, who happens to be one of the main drug
dealers at the high school, kills himself and sets off a series of fucked-up events.  Everything about
the movie is decent, all of the kids do decent jobs in their roles; the only person particularly note-
worthy of the cast was Camilla Belle, who is exceptionally beautiful and will hopefully get caught
sunbathing on a topless beach by the paparazzi sometime soon.  Did I say that out loud?

Ciao! Manhattan (1972)
 - 4 out of 10 -

Andy Warhol has had a huge influence over popular culture since he emerged back in the sixties. 
The art influence is obvious, and one that I generally really enjoy.  His influence in The Velvet Under-
ground will forever cement him to the notion of having a positive influence on music for generations.  
But this film and all others that have come from his Factory/Friends/Acquaintances have only proven
that drugs may be a great influence on art and music but it turns films into something you have to be
on drugs to actually enjoy.  And even that might not help. The film is essentially a fictionalized biography
of Edie Sedgwick, starring herself.  She was one of those “it” girls from the sixties that was good pal
of Warhol and ended up dying at a young age from drugs.  In that this film portrays her the way she really
probably was – a drugged-out has-been who is more or less totally helpless, it does a good job…but
that doesn’t mean it makes for interesting cinema.  To be honest, the fact that Edie is really attractive
and spends most of the film topless probably accounts for me watching most of it – it certainly wasn’t
the amateurish acting or awful story line that kept me riveted.

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
- 8 out of 10 -

Steve motherfuckin’ McQueen! + Norman Jewison directing + New Orleans setting + gambling +
Ann Margaret and Tuesday weld looking super hot + supporting turns by Edward G. Robinson,
Cab Calloway and Karl Malden = great movie.

Seriously, I enjoyed this quite a bit.  Sure, it might be a bit dated by it’s still one of the best movies
about gambling that’s been made (along with California Split).  This film doesn’t get nearly as
much attention as it should, but if you’re looking for quality classic cinema this will do you right.

Cinderella Man (2005)
- 8 out of 10 -

Ron Howard can be a manipulative bastard when it comes to films, and most of the time it is so
heavy-handed that it ends up having the opposite effect intended, at least for me.  but he was
Opey on The Andy Griffith Show and I love that show, so I always give him a second chance…and
it’s a good thing, as he finally got one right with Cinderella Man.

Say what you will about Russell Crowe being a blow hard and a prick, but the jackass can act and
does a great job here as boxer Jim Braddock.  His manager is played by Paul Giamatti, and
although the role is a touch thin and one dimensional he does as good a job as is possible with it. 
Renee Zelweger’s role could have been played by anyone and I wish it had been as I don’t par-
ticularly like her, but she wasn’t a major distraction either.  The fact that this was set during the
Great Depression and about boxing made it a must see for me; the fact that it was actually good
made it even better.

Citizen X (1995)
- 7 out of 10 -

As someone who has always been fascinated by serial killers, I only recently discovered the story
of Andrei Chikatilo, a Soviet-era murderer who is thought to have killed more than 50 people. And
to my delight, it wasn't long after that I found out HBO made a movie based on the hunt for Chikatilo,
which I added to my netflix cue and moved right to the top. As per usual, HBO did a fine job of pre-
senting the story with a group of quality actors (Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, Max Von Sydow),
top-notch writing, and taut direction that gave the whole affair a really creepy vibe. I guess you're
doing something wrong if a serial killer movie doesn't have a creepy vibe though...

City of Men (2008)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

If you've seen the television series “City of Men”, this film basically mines the same territory and follows
the same characters as they try to become responsible adults in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. There is
the typical coming-of-age stuff most teenagers face – gang wars, searching for long lost fathers that
have spent time in prison for murder, hooking up with chicks in guard shacks, leaving toddlers on the
beach with drug lords...the usual stuff. In all seriousness, it's a very interesting and well-acted movie that
will simultaneously draw and repel you from Rio and Brazil.

The Clash: Westway to the World (2000)
- 9 out of 10 -

The definitive Clash documentary, featuring loads of interview footage from the band, made just a few
years before Joe Strummer kicked the bucket.  Since I consider The Clash one of the all-time greats,
it’s a no-brainer that I would enjoy a well made documentary on them; but it is my belief that this film
would be interesting to anyone, as all of the former members of the band are such interesting characters. 
The only real complaint is how they sorta ignore the end of the band, and never even mention that atro-
cious post-Mick Jones record “Cut The Crap”, but other than those minor barbs it’s really a top-notch,
entertaining telling of one the greatest rock bands of all time.

Class of 1984 (1982)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

It's especially awesome looking back on bleak films like this one about the eighties, having lived through
it and knowing it wasn't like this, but still enjoying the shit out of it. It's like some sort of parallel universe,
and honestly it's a universe I'd like to be a part of sometimes...a universe where Michael J Fox is a goody-
goody kid at your school, the fill-in music teacher goes around killing the troublesome punks, and Alice
Cooper performs the theme songs. That's the sort of eighties I wish actually existed outside of the celluloid

The Clearing (2004)
 - 6 out of 10 -

The basic premise of this story is simple: a working class loser (Willem Defoe) kidnaps a rich executive
(Robert Redford) and leaves his wife (Helen Mirren) to try and straighten things out.  The bulk of the film
is spent with Defoe and Redford talking and walking through the woods en route to a hideout cabin,
giving you the back story of how things got to where they did, and the rest is Mirren dealing with the FBI,
her family, and her feelings on the whole matter.

Something about this film feels very much like a play, particularly like something David Mamet would
have come up with but without the interesting plot twists.  It is essentially just a three-person film, with
some small supporting roles, and it is extremely well acted.  But the story, the dialogue…is just boring. 
At no point did I find myself really caring what happened to the kidnap victim or his family, and rather
siding with Defoe if I had to take a side at all.  This movie could have been an hour shorter and it still
would have probably been too long for this story.  Just a classic example of a film that probably should
not have been made, and no amount of star power or great acting could save it.

Click (2006)
 - 5 out of 10 -

I was looking for stupid juvenile humor out of this, and got an attempt at moralizing ala "It's a Wonderful
Life" on not taking your life for granted.  It wasn't godawful, but it sure wasn't what I was expecting out of
a film whose ad spots involved Adam Sandler pausing a jogging big-titted woman so he could stare at
her rack. 
I've also got to question the logic of including that ham David Hasselhoff in such a large role in
the film when a cameo by that douche would have been more than enough screen time.  All told, watching
this just made we want to rewatch one of Sandler's classics like Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison. 

Closure (2007)
- 6 out of 10 -

Pretty straight forward revenge flick...kinda like “I Spit on Your Grave” minus the gratuitous nudity, and only
with occasional nudity. Hearing Gillian Anderson speak in a British accent is a bit startling, but I guess it is
kinda her natural state (She lives over there and spent a chunk of her childhood there as well). Well acted,
you could certainly do worse.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
 - 6 out of 10 -

This movie mostly just made me realize how much Pixar has screwed up animated films for everyone else. 
This was a decent enough lark, but the animation left you wanting so much more.  Some nice choices on
the voiceover work though - Bruce Campbell and Mr. T really added a nice touch. 

Coach Carter (2005)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

I have a well documented for cheeseball sports films, and the regs-to-riches stories like that of Coach Carter
are always my favorites.  As an added bonus, this one has local appeal as the film is based on the true story
of the real Coach Carter in Richmond, CA.  Samuel L. Jackson does a fine job playing the tough love Coach,
all the kids did a great job (including Rick Gonzalez, who has been playing a high schooler for what feels like
10 years at least, and he’s nearly my age), but it’s not the acting that makes movies like these so endearing –
it’s the tough-luck kids scraping and clawing to rise above their meager settings into something better.  True
to the story, the Richmond High basketball team goes from ashy to classy in one season and make the state
playoffs thanks to their new coach who never gives up on them.  And I really appreciated that they stuck to the
WHOLE story, by having Richmond lose in a close battle to the tourney favorites just as happened in real life,
and not falsifying the information just for the sake of a Hollywood ending.  Given my love of sports movies and
basketball, there was no way I was not going to like this – but somehow, it was even better than expected.

Cobra Verde (1987)
- 6 out of 10 -

Like most of Werner Herzog films, this one is overly long and features a totally insane Klaus Kinski in the
lead role. This was their last movie together, and despite it not being as highly touted as their other pairings
it's one of their best. Though to be completely honest, this is less because of the Herzog/Kinski dynamic and
more because of the West African setting and the slave trade story line. In my mind, the fort featured here is
the star of the film, whose real name is Elmina Castle and proof that I need to make a trip to Ghana in the
near future.

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)
- 6.5 out of 10 -

A little long and put together in a rather odd way that I can't really explain, but otherwise a pretty interesting
documentary. It covers the southern Florida drug smuggling industry, from its beginnings just
lugging a few
bales of weed to full-scale cocaine trafficking involving hundreds of people. Possibly the
most interesting
fact covered was how they went into detail how the drug trade affected the entire
economy of south Florida,
with many legitimate businesses thriving off of the dirty money flooding the
area (and subsequently going
bankrupt once the DEA really cracked down on the smuggling).
A minor plot point maybe, but an interesting
part of this story I'd never given any consideration to.

Code 46 (2003)
 - 5 out of 10 -
You know, when I think back on this film, the only thing I can remember is getting to see Samantha
Morton's vagina.  Oh, and Mick Jones of The Clash and Big Audio Dynomite making a strange cameo
singing one of his songs, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" at a kareoke bar in the film.

You could probably take from these statements a numbero f different things, but what I'm getting at
is this just isn't a very interesting film.  Most certainly beautiful, and maybe a bit thought provoking,
but mostly boring.  Bang up job on the locations and cinematography, they are just top notch.

Code of Silence (1985)
 - 6 out of 10 -

It's a Chuck Norris action movie!  Fighting bad guys!  Doing his weird almost-kung fu thing!  This doesn't
stand out from any of his other crime-fighting capers really, but it's no worse either.  It's enjoyable, decent
fight scenes and all that, but probably it's best feature is how dated it is.  There's a key scene where this
police artillery robot is introduced, which was no doubt cutting edge at the time but looks so dated and
cheesy now that you can't help but laugh.  It looks like some set design intern went to a hardware store,
spent 50 bucks, did some crystal meth and this was what came out the next day.  I wish there was a
sequel that was just this robot fighting crime, as it would be the greatest film ever.  Anyways, where was I? 
Oh yeah, Chuck Norris - you know what you're getting here. 

Coffy (1973)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

The movie might be a 5 at best, but Pam Grier's boobs are a 10 so we'll just call it in the middle and
leave it at that. Classic blacksploitation from start to naked ladies, insane outfits on both sexes,
and more dead bodies covered in bright red paint than you can shake a stick at.

Cold Creek Manor (2003)
 - 6 out of 10 -

This film has gotten panned by a lot of critics, and it would be tough for me to argue against it.  The plot,
when there is one at all, is wholly predictable; the acting is medicore at best, including Dennis Quaid
(I expect suck out of Sharon Stone so no surprise there).  In all, considering theman behind the camera,
Mike Figgis, everyone expected more but he did not deliver.

That said, I didn't regret watching the movie; and if nothing else, they got one thing right - creepy.  It is a
fairly unnerving film somehow - not scary mind you - but something about this movie is so off it's almost right. 
If nothing else, a decent rainy day option.  

Collateral (2004)
 - 8 out of 10 -

I’ve always had a thing for Michael Mann films – he has a way of making them give off a particular aura,
so that you know it’s him right away.  I can’t quite explain it, but everything seems so detached, so “cool” –
not in the sense of being hip or with it, but cool in that it has a very cold, distant appeal…he can make
even crowded scenes seem lonely.  His films Manhunter, Heat, and The Insider are prime examples of his
style and great films to boot – you can now add Collateral to that list of cinema excellence.

The gist of the film is Tom Cruise’s character is a hit man, and he hires/kidnaps Jamie Foxx as his per-
sonal driver.  Over the course of one evening you get to know both individuals, but not as well as I would
have liked – Mann could have spent a bit more time on why Cruise was the way he was, but perhaps it
was that mystery that he was going for.  You see a transformation in Foxx, from a detached worker who
cares about nothing to someone putting his life on the line to save lives.  I haven’t seen Ray yet, but it’s
hard to imagine he was better in that film than he was here.  Like Training Day, this is a perfect example
that you can make an action film and make it smart too – they don’t have to be mutually exclusive traits.

Come and See (1985)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

This film manages to convey the horrors of war and its effects on those involved about as realistically
as anything I have ever seen.  The story is that of the Nazi’s attempt to wipe all of the natives of
Belarus off of the map during WWII, and is based on a novella written by a man who actually lived
through these hellish times.  There is no real plot to follow, no beginning and end as you normally
view a film, but rather you follow a boy as he wanders through this horrific landscape, witnessing the
atrocities he witnesses, and hopefully feeling some of what he feels.  The brutality is hard convey on
paper, as the film relies much more heavily on the pictures shown on the screen than anything said by
it’s actors.  And the acting, it is especially fine, most notably that of the young man playing the lead,
Florya.  People die in wars, but it’s the way it is carried out by the Nazis and how much they seem to
genuinely enjoy it that makes this film stand out.  Even if it isn’t one of my favorite war movies, I have
no doubt in my mind that it is one of the finest ever made.

Come Feel Me Tremble (2003)
- 7.5 out of 10 -

This documentary of Paul Westerberg, made from fan-recorded videos and thrown-together interview
footage, works perfectly in giving us fans a DVD version of the helter-skelter nature of Westerberg’s
output.  The interviews are scatterbrained at best, the live footage is grainy and shaky, and the sound
quality oftentimes iffy.  But in a lot of ways it’s the perfect vehicle for the always-elusive Westerberg, as it
never really gives you any answers into the nature of the man, but rather paints a picture of him as an
artist in exactly the way we would expect to see him.  Is this the real Paul Westerberg?  Damned if I know,
but it’s certainly more proof that the man he has been portraying for 20+ years has held firm in his beliefs,
though more sober nowadays.

The Comedians of Comedy (2005)
 - 8 out of 10 -

This documentary follows a stand-up tour featuring some of my favorite comics in the business - Patton
Oswalt, Zach Galiafinakis, Maria Bamford, and Brian Posehn - on a short West Coast tour.It shows both the
ins and out of the tour, from the stand up on the stage, to the travel time on theroad, and everything in be-
tween like pranks and visits to comic book stores and drunken behavior.  This film will also always hold a
special place in my heart, cause I was actually at one of the shows and remember it quite well. But that
doesn't change the fact that all of these comedians are hilarious, especially Patton and Zach.  If you're a
fan of non-typical stand-up comedy, you'd be hard pressed to find better examples.  Even more so, just go
see them live - your sides will hurt for days from laughing so hard.

Commune (2005)
- 5 out of 10 -

Perhaps you guessed from the title, but this flock is about communes. Or more specifically, a documentary
about one specific commune way up in the very rural upper Northern California area. It goes pretty much as
expected – founded on mostly admirable ideals, things disintegrate over the years as the hippies age and
their ways of life change. There are always younger idealistic hippies coming along to help keep things alive,
but as always, things just ain't the same as they once were. This might have held my attention had it been
about thirty minutes long, but in this form you definitely get bored.

Con Air (1997)
 - 5 out of 10 -

Regardless of anything else you might think of this film, there is only one real reason to watch Con Air -
Nick Cage's pathetic attempt at a southern accent, which is probably the worst attempt at a southern
accent ever put down on celluloid.  

Other than that, it's a decent enough action movie, full of cliches and explosions and totally improbable
scenes that will make you laugh out loud, although I doubt it was intentional.  Steve Buscemi does a
pretty good job in this, which is no small feat given the movie's natural restrictions to actual acting; and
John Malkovich makes a great criminal mastermind-type, but then again we already knew that.  

The Constant Gardner (2005)
 - 8.5 out of 10 -

For a fictitious movie, this thing almost feels like a documentary.  Perhaps because they are skirting
around many of the issues that plague Africa today, only told within the realm of a fake (but easily could
be real ) story.  This is easily one of the best new features I’ve seen all year, and will no doubt be up for
a few Academy Awards.  Most notably, if Fernando Meirelles doesn’t get a nod in the directing category,
and the cinematography is overlooked, it wouldn’t surprise me but it would be doing a great injustice to
this film.  Between this and City of God, Meirelles is proving himself to be one of the best filmmakers to
appear in recent years.

To keep it short and simplify it to it’s basest elements, this film is about a drug company using the poor
people of Africa as their human guinea pigs to test drugs, and fighting to keep this fact from becoming
public knowledge through any means necessary.  Both Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz do a fantastic
job but cannot help but be overshadowed by the larger picture.  Pete Postlethwaite also makes a brief
appearance and is great as always, although it would have been great to see more of him.  No doubt this
will go ion my “Best Of” list at the end of the year.

Control Room (2004)
 - 8 out of 10 -

Given my sheer laziness, I never really thought of Al Jazeera as anything more than “that Arabic
network that always gets the Bin Laden tapes first”.  This documentary, filmed during the opening
US offensives of Iraq War II:Electric Boogaloo, does a great job of showing the people and the
motivations behind this controversial network.  In the most basic sense, the station operates under
the same principles that govern any other popular form of entertainment: give the public what it wants. 
Fox news gives you conservative jingoism, Howard Stern, gives you titties, and Al Jazeera gives you
Arabs suffering from US hands.  But more than that, Al Jazeera gives a complete picture of the war
from the perspective of those living through it, and that is a valuable point-of-view to have.  This film
does an excellent job of making you think and re-think how you view the news you are fed, or at least
it did me.  But I never trusted the news anyways, I have a magical raccoon who sneaks into my house
every night to fill me in on the days headlines and tap dance while doing it.  Man, this is some good
cold medicine.

Convoy (1978)
 - 7 out of 10 -

You know how movies can be terrible and awesome all at the same time? Your honor, I’d like to submit
Convoy as exhibit number one.  A film hoping to cash in on the CB and trucking “craze” that was sweep-
ing the nation, it is an asinine story that doesn’t even bear repeating …lots of trucker talk, a rebellious
leader of the common folk, a vengeful cop, car chases and explosions, all of the staples of award-winning

But those are kinda the exact same things that make it great.  Kris Kristofferson as the hero, Ernest
Borgnine as the villain, and Sam Peckinpah in the directors chair meant that this mess would be pretty
damn entertaining.  The chase sequences, while silly, are pretty damn entertaining.  There’s a great
brawl scene, one of those where no one really gets hurt despite chairs getting broke over their backs and
what not.  It’s movies like these that don’t get made anymore.

A Cool, Dry Place (1998)
- 6 out of 10 -

Vince Vaughn is a lawyer with big city aspirations, but his status a single dad gets in the way. As is typical
in these types of films, about the same time Vaughn finds a new love interest (after years of singledom) the
mother randomly shows back up. Then there is the requisite mixed emotions, what to do, which girl to go
with, and whether or not to chase his fancy important lawyer dream. Yeah, that's about it – nothing too
exciting but not a terrible movie either.

Cooley High (1975)
- 7 out of 10 -

It wasn’t until I saw this movie that I realized “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye” wasn’t a Boyz II Men song; I always
kinda felt guilty for liking that track cause they were a crappy group but there was power in that single; it some-
how made me feel better knowing it was a cover of a classic, and that I didn’t actually like any modern r-n-b.

As for the film itself, it still holds up pretty well.  It’s about kids who would rather be stirring up trouble and making
out with girls than going to school and studying for their future…in other words, it’s about kids being kids but with
the subtext of race relations in a very tumultuous time.  It’s a timeless story that to my surprise hasn’t been re-
made yet, though I’m sure they’d cast a bunch of terrible pop stars as the leads and it would never measure up
to the original.

The Core (2003)
 - 5 out of 10 -

I’ve been on a big disaster movie kick lately, and thought I’d give The Core a run on the old player. 
Apparently, the core of the earth spins, which creates the electromagnetic field that protects the
earth from the harmful microwaves the sun emits.  Typically, the government and the military have
done something stupid to make that spinning stop, which will make the EMF disappear, and
eventually the sun will cook the planet like an ant under a magnifying glass.  The only way to fix
this is to drill to the center of the earth and set off some nuclear explosions such that it kick-starts
the core to begin spinning again.

Hey, I never said a good disaster movie’s premise didn’t need to be believable to be enjoyable. 
But for whatever reason, I just never really cared what was going to happen.  I mean – you know
what is going to happen, the heroes are going to save the planet – but I never felt a strong desire
to really follow them on that journey.  I did anyways…there were some cool special effects, and
Delroy Lindo was great as he always is, but it wasn’t really enough to save the film.  It’s a popcorn
movie, but aren’t those supposed to be interesting, exciting, engaging?  Not so much here.

The Corporation (2004)
 - 7 out of 10 -

First things first, this movie is much too long, much too dry, and plays like a super long episode of
Nova.  I had to watch it in multiple parts just so that I didn’t glaze over.

That said, this film sure was chock-full of interesting facts.  We all know corporations are evil, and
that’s pretty much the basic idea behind this flick, but did you know that Coca Cola invented Orange
Fanta just so they could sell a product to Nazi Germany?  It was a million tidbits just like this one that
made this film so great to me.  Also particularly enlightening was the executives they got to speak to
the camera in a much more candid manner than I ever would have thought would happen, and the
results can be jaw-dropping.

The Counterfeiters (2007)
 - 7 out of 10 -

A great WWII movie that has and will continue to be overlooked because it isn't in English, despite win-
ning the best foreign picture Oscar in 2008.  Which is a shame really, because it tells a great tale about a
top counterfeiter being captured by the Nazis and forced to produce English pounds and American dollars
to help fund the German war machine.  And it was based on a true tale at that!  It seems pretty obvious this
will get remade in English at some point, and it might even be a good film, but you're doing yourself a dis-
service if you don't set aside some time, read a few subtitles, and get immersed in a good story. 

Couples Retreat (2009)
 - 5 out of 10 -

This panned out pretty much as expected - an occasional funny moment scattered throughout a middling to
poor romantic comedy.  Plus Kristen Bell in a bikini, which was worth at least a half a point by itself.  Mostly
though, it was a tired retread of marriage sex jokes and couples magically re-igniting their lifeless couplings
after spending a couple of days in tropical paradise. 

The Covenant (2006)
- 2.5 out of 10 -

A movie about male witches is probably going to be terrible to begin with, but combine it with pretty people
who can't act, a terrible story, a “courage rock” filled soundtrack, and Renny Harlin as the director, and well...
there's really no reason to even continue this review, is there?

Crank: High Voltage (2009)
 - 7 out of 10 -

I'm pretty sure I saw the first film in this series, but I don't remember it being this over the top and ridiculous
and downright entertaining.  For a lack of better terms, this is a comic book come to life on the big screen...
hell, there's even a scene where Jason Statham and one of the bad guys basically turn into godzilla and fight
in a power station.  And another scene where they have sex in the middle of a horse race track...while a
race is going on.  And Dwight Yoakam plays some manner of disgraced heart surgeon who loves big-
assed women and may also be a pimp.  It's easily one of the craziest movies I've ever seen, but damned

Crash (2004)
 - 9 out of 10 -

Believe the hype - definitely one of the best films I’ve seen all year, and even in recent years maybe. 
Right now this film is probably tied with “The Constant Gardner” for movie of the year as far as I’m

The direction, the pacing, the would be hard to single out any one element as great, as this is
the definition of how ensemble work should play out - everyone bringing their “A” game to produce some
fantastic cinema.

And the film is more than just a pretty picture - it makes you think.  The whole thing is about race relations,
but in a very intelligent way; they don’t beat you over the head with any one way of thinking as being good
or bad, but merely introduce a number of different viewpoints and hope that the viewer takes it from there.

Crawlspace (1986)
5.5 out of 10 -

Finding a film where you get to see Klaus Kinski act like a royal weirdo isn't that's practically every
one of his movies.  But in this case, you get to see him as a demented Nazi killer of the tenants he rents
apartments to in his buildings.  Without him it would just be another dumb slasher flick, but he does keep
things interesting enough that this is worth checking out if you are bored enough.  The scenes of him freaking
out and rubbing lipstick all over his face is worth the price of admission alone. 

Crazy Heart (2009)
 - 7.5 out of 10 -

Come for the music, stay for the drama.  Jeff Bridges was fantastic as the road-worn former country music
star, an Oscar win for best actor cementing my opinion on the matter.  But it's the music that really makes
this film tick...the combination of T Bone Burnett's songwriting and Bridge's raspy voice really make a
delightful pair.  Maggie Gyllenhaal seems kind of out of place in the movie, but whoever was in charge
made up for it by having Robert Duvall be his usual goofy self in yet another flick about has been country

Criminal (2004)
 - 7 out of 10 -

A remake of the Argentinian film Nine Queens, I'd complain about the necessity of this film if it wasn't for the
fact that the cast is fantastic and thus making a pretty enjoyable movie.  John C. Reilly has always been a
favorite of mine and does not disappoint here in this tale of a con man getting conned.  Also features the
dreadfully cute Maggie Gyllenhal and Diego Luna (known for his work in great films such as Before Night
Falls, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights) doing good work.  If you've seen the
original, you know what you're getting, as the only real difference is the language the film is made in; if you've
not, think David Mamet-type story without the use of the word "fucking" five or six times a minute - a twisty
crime caper type-of-thing. 

Crips and Bloods: Made in America (2008)
 - 8 out of 10 -

There is nothing ground-breaking about this documentary - all of the history and stories of how the Crips &
Bloods formed has been covered by multiply documentaries and news programs.  But none of that changes
the fact that it was still fascinating to watch.  Directed by Stacy Peralta, it was so well made it kept me rapt
from start to finish; the dude knows how to make an engaging doc, that's for sure.

Crossing the Line (2006)
 - 6.5 out of 10 -

Documentary about a small group of US soldiers that defected to North Korea while working the DMZ
between the two Koreas.  The film mostly focuses on the last living defector, James Dresnok, giving a
detailed account of his childhood, what led to the defection, and his life in the communist dictatorship.  The
pic can be slow at times, and Dresnok is a pretty unlikeable guy, but any view into the mysterious world of
North Korea is at least somewhat interesting.  Interestingly, Christian Slater narrated the film...I guess they
couldn't get Jack Nicholson. 

Cry_Wolf (2005)
- 4 out of 10 -

Please wake me up when this snorefest gets even slightly exciting. So some rich, bored private-school
kids make up a fake killer complete with fake corpses to fool the new kid, and surprise surprise – it leads
to real killings. Look, I go into horror movies expecting trite story lines and goofy plots, but it's like they
weren't even trying here.

Cujo (1983)
 - 5.5 out of 10 -

First and foremost, let's give a big "fuck you" to Danny Pintauro for managing to be the most annoying kid
to ever grace the silver screen.  In some ways that is almost something to be proud of, given how many kids
have been featured in films, but his constant over-the-top screaming made me wish that Cujo ate him, shit
him out and then ate that shit (as dogs are prone to do, filthy bastards). 

I could have also done without Cujo being a vicious St. Bernard...I love those dogs and I hated one of those
beautiful creatures being portrayed as the villain.  But then again, when they prey is the aforementioned
Pintauro and Dee Wallace Stone, I'm guessing most folks (like myself) were pulling for the dog.

Curse of the Komodo (2004)
 - 3 out of 10 -

Awful acting, terribly fake lizards, giant boobs that occasionally become unsheathed...what you've got here
is top-of-the-line cinema.  They should just market these movies as comedies, they'd probably draw a
larger audience. 

Cursed (2005)
- 3 out of 10 -

A werewolf loose in Los Angeles...with Joshua Jackson in a starring role...need I say more? The whole movie
plays like some sort of shitty spin-off from that awful Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show.

Cutting Class (1985)
- 3 out of 10 -

One of the first films by Brad Pitt, and probably the only noteworthy item about this pile. It's a pretty run-
of-the-mill slasher flick, only minus anything creepy, good death scenes, gratuitous teenager sex scenes,
or really anything that generally makes these sorts of flicks fun to watch.

Cyborg Cop (1993)
 - 2 out of 10 -

It's like a really shitty version of "Robocop", only substitute a post-apocalyptic drug battle in Detroit with a
banana republic drug lord that likes to cackle maniacally and later starred on the show "Sliders".  Even by
the films-about-cyborgs standard, this is a terrible film.

Cyrus (2010)
 - 6 out of 10 -

This movie is incredibly uncomfortable pretty much from start to finish...we're talking "Curb Your Enthus-
iasm" type uncomfortableness, minus most of the laughs.  All of the acting performances are great, especially
Jonah Hill as the techno-prog loving son who is way too attached to his mom; and the movie is well made, the
Duplass brothers are really showing themselves to be talented up-and-comers.  But really, the film is so diff-
icult to watch, so cringe-worthy, that it's tough to give it a very high grade.