Fighting

Fighting
What's a nice Alabama boy like Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) doing in a rough place like New York City anyway? We never really learn the answer to that while watching the gritty new boxing drama Fighting, but it has to do with a violent falling out he had with his dad. Why he didn't choose a city closer to home rather than a place as oppressive, alien and overwhelming as Manhattan is never really clear, but we assume he wanted a major change in his life. If Shawn wasn't there -- peddling cheap goods and knock-offs on street corners (he probably has some Wolverine bootlegs for sale) -- then he would never have gotten pulled into the underground world of streetfighting and there would be no movie.

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Gooby
Not being the target market usually doesn't affect my ability to review movies. But sometimes my poor little brain throws up its hands right from the get-go, and we end up with an experience like Gooby. How do you solve a movie like Gooby? From the jaded viewpoint of an adult, it's a leaden, mirthless fable of a child growing up, leaving his fantasy world behind, and growing to love his checked-out parents. Kids might be amused by Gooby's central conceit, a five-foot-tall stuffed animal come to life, but then kids occasionally lick the floor for fun.

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
There are moments in “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army,” Guillermo del Toro’s profligate sequel to “Hellboy,” capable of delighting even the most jaded, comic-book-weary summer-blockbuster conscript. (That would be me.) Lately we have seen plenty of big, asphalt-smashing street battles between hero and nemesis — Tim Roth and Edward Norton, hopped up on military growth hormones, hurling cars across Harlem in “The Incredible Hulk”; Charlize Theron and Will Smith enacting some kind of meteorological superhero S & M in “Hancock” — but nothing quite like the scene in which Ron Perlman’s Hellboy, a baby in one hand and an oversize gun in the other, mixes it up with a giant, angry plant.

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Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3
The three main recurring characters get stuck in a rut and the same can be said of the film itself in "Spider-Man 3." After the significant improvement of the second installment over the first, new entry reps a roughly equivalent dip in quality and enjoyment, with Spidey now giving off the faint odor of running on fumes. This devaluation shouldn't hurt at the box office, at least at first, as the vast majority of the fans who turned the first two into $822 million and $784 million worldwide grossers, respectively, will cram multiplexes around the globe to see the first blockbuster of the summer.

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Suburban Mayhem

Suburban Mayhem
The American cinema has a long, rich and beautifully sordid history of diamond-hard, viciously conniving and casually emasculating "bitch heroines" that stretches from the smoky days of forties film noir through the pop art porn of Russ Meyer's female aggressors and right up to devious modern minxes like Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. In Australian films, however, this feminine rogue's gallery (save for a few minor exceptions) is remarkably and disappointingly empty, until now.

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Caché

Caché
Guilt and paranoia - two powerful cornerstones of the human psyche. In his latest, award-winning drama (it has captured about a dozen significant international citations), writer/director Michael Haneke explores both, although the manner in which he weds them is more uneven than satisfying. With Caché, Haneke has a lot to say, but the weaknesses of the film threaten to overwhelm its strengths. This is one of those movies that will pit lovers of narrative filmmaking against those who view the medium as something potentially more esoteric. The way he toys with his audience indicates that Hanke falls into the latter category, and lapses of logic in his storyline don't overly concern him.

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Very Long Engagement

Very Long Engagement
A Very Long Engagment is Jean-Pierre Jeunet's follow-up to his international success, Amelie. However, despite the return of elfin star Audrey Tautou, this is nothing like a sequel. Based on the novel by Sébastien Japrisot, A Very Long Engagment tells a darker tale. Whereas Amelie was optimistic and life-affirming, this movie spends much of its time in the bloody, muddy trenches of World War I, where death is a more likely companion than life, and optimism is only for the unrealistic.

The year is 1920. The war has ended. The trenches have been filled in and are overgrown by weeds and farmers' crops. For Mathilde (Tautou), however, there is no closure. Her fiancé, Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), has been missing for more than three years. She has been told that he died in early 1917, but her intuition tells her that he may still be alive. So she begins an investigation of her own, tracking down official government documents, putting ads in newspapers to attract the attention of survivors who may have known Manech, and hiring a private investigator. The hunt is slow, but a picture gradually begins to emerge.

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Elizabethtown

Elizabethtown
Following scathing audience reaction to a "work copy" of Elizabethtown shown at several major late-summer film festivals, writer/director Cameron Crowe went back to the drawing board, paring down the 138-minute "director's cut" to a slightly more manageable 125 minutes. However, having seen both versions, I can state that the elimination of 13 minutes does not address the film's chief flaws. At best, it's a cosmetic fix. The theatrical edition of Elizabethtown, while shorter than its film festival sibling, does not represent a significant improvement.

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Cosi
A curious thing happened to Cosi on its way to a United States release -- it got lost. Or at least temporarily misplaced. Miramax Films began showing trailers for this movie more than a year ago, but the opening date was repeatedly delayed until just about everyone had forgotten about it. Now, eleven months after it premiered in Australia, Cosi is finally set to open. Unfortunately, it's not really worth the wait. The film is like a half-baked amalgamation of A Midwinter's Tale and Shine, and doesn't excel as either a comedy or a drama.

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The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear
The most accurate way to describe the Naked Gun series is comparing it to Marmite.
You either hate it or you love it.

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Spoiler

Spoiler
Spoiler is one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad movie - there are many good movies that happen to be given that label. One of my favorite movies is Seconds, a drama with science fiction overtones starring Rock Hudson, that has been called one of the most depressing movies ever made. Spoiler, however, is different from almost all depressing movies by it not really being a drama, but more of a science fiction tale with action/adventure overtones. Plus, the star of the movie is B movie martial arts star Gary Daniels - not exactly the kind of person you'd expect to be in a downbeat movie such as this. Especially since his martial art talents are pretty much ignored here.

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2012: Ice Age

2012: Ice Age
I just watched the epic apocalyptic thriller, 2012. No, not that schlocky, big-budget, Hollywood nonsense with John Cusack in it. Hell, no! I’m talking about 2012 Ice Age baby! I even jacked up the a.c. in my house to heighten the frigid experience. Give me a second to thaw out my frozen tootsies and I’ll tell you all about it.

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The AbsentMinded Professor

The AbsentMinded Professor
One of Disney's most entertaining forays into live-action, this hit family comedy stars Fred MacMurray as a college professor so forgetful that he missed his own wedding twice. He creates an extremely resilient flying rubber, dubbed "Flubber," and manages to make his old Model-T bounce all the way to Washington, DC, where it is mistaken for a UFO, as well as helping the college basketball team win the big game with Flubber-powered sneakers. MacMurray is a lot of fun in the title role, ably supported by a cast including Tommy Kirk,

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Alien 3

Alien 3
Despite the efforts of Ripley and the space marines in the film Aliens, an embryonic alien infiltrates the starship. It accidentally triggers the ships emergency systems, dropping the escape capsule to the surface of a nearby planet. Ripley finds herself in a prison colony peopled by a religious cult composed of former murderers and rapists. Meanwhile, the alien has managed to grow into a new and deadly form, and is picking off the weaponless prisoners. Ripley soon discovers, much to her horror, that the real danger is much more personal...

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Cut Off

Cut Off
Cut off by her wealthy father, a young woman talks her boyfriend into robbing a check cashing spot. Things dont quite work out for the couple, however, who are now being pursued by the cops.

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Night Skies

Night Skies
On March 13th, 1997 one of the largest UFO sightings ever recorded took place across the southwestern United States. The event became known as the Phoenix Lights and was witnessed by community leaders, members of law enforcement, as well as thousands of everyday citizens. This true story, based on transcripts from actual hypnosis-therapy sessions, finally reveals what happened after the infamous incident ended and how six people, stranded by chance on a forgotten road, encountered more than just lights in the sky.

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