The Warrior's Way

The Warrior's Way
I’m guessing many of you have never even heard of The Warrior’s Way. It’s OK – I hadn’t either. Shot back in 2007 and shelved until this past Friday, the samuari/western mash-up earned only three million dollars in its opening weekend, one of the worst wide-release showings of the year. But does that mean the movie is terrible? Actually, it kind of is – but it’s also more entertaining than it has any right to be.

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I Love You, Man

I Love You, Man
A man without a woman is like a pistol without a hammer, wrote Victor Hugo. But a romantic comedy without a female lead, well, that’s just a fine bromance and now Hollywood business as usual, as most recently demonstrated by “I Love You, Man,” a fitfully funny comedy that owes much to Judd Apatow, the king of such sublimated man-on-man affairs. Though Mr. Apatow isn’t officially credited, his DNA is all over this bromance, which stars Paul Rudd as a wuss who mans up by befriending a guy’s guy (Jason Segel) whose masculinity is so secure he wears Ugg boots and shorts to walk his wee dog.

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P.S. I Love You

P.S. I Love You
It would be easy to dismiss “P.S. I Love You,” about the agonies visited on a young married couple, as the big-screen equivalent of a paperback romance. Certainly the refined critical mind understands that this is the kind of artful emotion machine that the movies have been making since the very first tear slid down an actress’s face, the droplet seen — and experienced — around the world by audiences who answered that bead of dew with a grateful flood of their own. Cry us a river, Mary Pickford!

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Cry of the Owl

Cry of the Owl
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was an American mystery writer of novels and short stories who came to fame in the 1950's with "Strangers on a Train" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Her most-popular character, the amiable antihero-murderer Tom Ripley, became so famous, she wrote four more books about him (but he's not in the movie reviewed here, more's the pity). Filmmakers have also loved her work, and even one of her lesser efforts, "The Cry of the Owl," which she wrote in 1962, has now seen two screen appearances, first in 1987 from the French New Wave director Claude Chabrol and in 2009 in this direct-to-video production from British writer-director Jamie Thraves ("Negative," "The Low Down"). Unfortunately, neither filmmaker could make much of Ms. Highsmith's somewhat dour, slow-moving book.

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Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
I'll admit to being surprised that the Underworld series has reached a third installment. Apparently, these films aren't that expensive to make because they have never been big box office performers. With the second movie, Underworld: Evolution, having wrapped up things too neatly for this production to continue moving forward, the filmmakers have elected to do some backtracking. This is an "origin story" - one that returns to the beginning and chronicles how the vampire/werewolf war started. The limitations of the Underworld saga are on display: the storyline essentially replicates that of Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, meaning that if you've seen one or both of them, there's no compelling reason to spend your hard earned dollars on the third.

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Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man 2 has all the elements of a good, but not great, superhero motion picture. While lacking the tragic grandeur that made last year's Hulk such a unique experience, Spider-Man 2 fills the void with solid character development, self-referential humor, effects-enhanced action, and (unfortunately) talky pop psychology. A worthy sequel to the 2002 blockbuster, Spider-Man 2 will deposit fans somewhere on the satisfaction spectrum between quietly pleased and overjoyed. Although not as economical with its scenes as the first Spider-Man, this film nevertheless advances the leftover threads from its predecessor, tells its own self-contained tale, and dangles enough bait to hint at where Spider-Man 3 will be heading.

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H20
Has it really been twenty years since John Carpenter's low-budget chiller, Halloween, hit the nation's screens and paved the way for a decade's worth of bloody slasher movies? To date, the original Halloween has been one of the few entries into its gory genre to inspire praise from critics, rather than the scorn reserved for most of the so-called "splatter films." There's good reason for that: Halloween is a well-crafted excursion into terror, where the focus is on shivers, not fake blood and gross-out wounds. It's too bad the movie's numerous sequels didn't follow in their inspiration's footsteps. While one could argue that Halloween 2 was campy fun, it was down a steep slope from there. The final indignity was The Curse of Michael Myers (the sixth picture), one of the most atrocious films I have ever endured. It seemed a safe bet that H20, the seventh (and probably final) Halloween, would have to be better.

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Cliffhanger

Cliffhanger
Gabe Walker (Sylvester Stallone) is a member of a mountain climbing rescue team. When one of his operations goes wrong and the girlfriend of his best friend, Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker), is killed, Gabe blames himself and leaves. Eight months later, after setting up a life in Denver, he returns to the mountains to persuade his lover, Jessie (Janine Turner), to come with him. While he's there, a call for help comes in and Gabe decides to become involved in one last rescue attempt. However, unknown to him, the rescue call is a fake, put out by a group of hijackers stranded in the mountains after the crash of their plane. Led by the psychotic Qualen (John Lithgow), they're after three suitcases of money (100 million dollars) that are lost somewhere in the peaks and valleys of the Colorado Rockies.

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Cookie's Fortune

Cookie's Fortune
Cookie's Fortune deserves to be appreciated on its own terms. A less-ambitious outing from veteran director Robert Altman (at least when compared to movies like Nashville, The Player, and Short Cuts), this movie delivers agreeable performances and a charming, amusing story that offers little in the way of substance. Those who have identified some of Altman's previous fare as too idiosyncratic or even unfathomable (I know a few people who didn't "get" The Player) may find Cookie's Fortune to be more to their liking. It's not in any way a challenging or difficult film, and watching it affords the opportunity to enjoy numerous minor pleasures.

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The Chronicles of Riddick

The Chronicles of Riddick
So says a character named Aereon in the opening moments of "The Chronicles of Riddick," a futuristic battle between a fascist misfit and a fascist master race. The opening shot shows a gargantuan steel face that looks like Mussolini after a facelift, and when the evil Necromongers rally to hail their Lord Marshal, it looks like they've been studying "The Triumph of the Will."

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Last Ride

Last Ride
A desperate father takes his ten-year-old son, Chook, on the run after committing a violent crime. As the two journey into the desert and an unknown future, their troubled relationship and the need to survive sees them battling the elements and each other. Chook eventually takes control and the choice he is forced to make has a devastating effect on both their lives.

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The Heavy

The Heavy
Sibling rivalry turned into betrayal between two brothers. One a prime candidate for Prime Minister, the other a henchman for a successful, yet shady businessman. Presented with an opportunity to take revenge against his brother, our anti-hero must come to terms with the truth in a world where you can trust no one and loyalty is rare.

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Raging Bull

Raging Bull
When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, hes a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, hes a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his familys love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps its his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.

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Divorcing Jack

Divorcing Jack
A married drunk hooks up with the ex-girlfriend of a vicious local criminal. He gets booted out of home for his infidelity, has a murderer on his tail, and must try to write the story of his life in order to save his journalism job. He gets help from a stripper dressed as a nun and goes undercover dressed as Shaggy from Scooby Doo. He finds a drinking buddy in an American fellow journalist.

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Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump
The story follows the life of low I.Q. Forrest Gump and his meeting with the love of his life Jenny. The film chronicles his accidental experiences with some of the most important people and events in America from the late 1950s through the 1970s including a meeting with Elvis Presley, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, fighting in Vietnam, etc. The problem is, hes too stupid to realize the significance of his actions. Forrest becomes representative of the baby boomer generation having walked through life blindly.

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My Last Love

My Last Love
Susan Morton is an attorney and a single mother to her 12-year old daughter, Carson. When Susan is diagnosed with cancer, she moves from Chicago to California, where she grew up, and she brings Carson along with her. On the west coast, she meets Michael Blake, who is currently a low-paid waiter, and falls in love with him. Michael make friends with Susans daughter, Carson, but he leaves Susan, when she tells him that she has cancer. Carson convinces him to come back though. Meanwhile, Susan is considering to have Carson stay with Susans parents, Phil and Marnie, when she dies, after Susans ex-husband, Peter, turns down the offer of letting Carson stay with him. Michael then offers to take care of Carson, since they get along so well, making Susans parents upset. Susan dies two weeks later, and Carson decides to stay with Michael instead of her grandparents.

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