Knowing

Knowing
Back in the late í90s, Alex Proyas was a director that had earned himself a lot of admirers. He had two dark and visually stunning cult hits under his belt with The Crow and Dark City (the latter of which Roger Ebert continues to sing the praises of to this day), before he threw everyone a curve ball and he went in a completely different direction with the rock n roll coming of age movie Garage Days. He followed that with the disappointing Will Smith action sci-fi blockbuster I, Robot. Suddenly no one knew what to think of the guy anymore.

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Babylon A.D.

Babylon A.D.
Just going by the poster and the trailer, you could probably recognize Babylon A.D. as a bloated big-budget science fiction film. But after viewing the film, and with a few facts to put the film in context -- like the fact 20th Century Fox didn't screen Babylon A.D. for critics, like the fact director Mathieu Kassovitz has already disavowed the film, like the numb dumb clang of every line of dialogue in it -- you realize that Babylon A.D. is a bad, bloated big-budget science fiction film that doesn't even have the distinction of being memorably horrible or bravely idiotic or fascinatingly inept; it's simply an inert mass, a lump of product, a failure too expensive to simply discard.

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Clerks II

Clerks II
It's interesting to note that, as Kevin Smith has changed and matured as a filmmaker, he has elected to close the circle and look back from a perspective of a dozen years at the movie that put him on the indie map, Clerks. Clerks II is a direct sequel to that movie, albeit one that transpires a decade later - the first such movie Smith has done (although many of his films have featured cameos by characters from other pictures). It feels both the same as and different from its predecessor: the same, in that the script is constructed around a truckload of nearly X-rated gags, and different, in that Smith is peddling a message.

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Secret Life of Bees

Secret Life of Bees
When it comes to movies that touch the heart, few have a more delicate yet undeniable impact than Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Secret Life of Bees. Adapted from the novel by Sue Monk Kidd, the production achieves something few literary interpretations succeed at: bringing out the inner voice of a character without resorting to an incessant voiceover. This is due in no small part to the mature, nuanced performance of Dakota Fanning, whose talent continues to develop as she ages. By resisting the temptation to over-emote, Fanning makes Lily an individual worthy of sympathy and admiration.

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Zoom
Someone in a charitable mood might consider Zoom to be a kids' film. To the extent that such a label indicates there is nothing of value or interest for adults, it's apt. However, it's difficult to imagine what might appeal to a younger audience. When it comes to action, comedy, and drama, three words apply: lamer, lamer, lamest. Tim Allen, upon whose shoulders this sorry production rests, is still playing the same basic character he essayed when Tim the Tool Guy was on top of the TV ratings heap. He's Santa Claus in a leotard. This is a misfire of heroic proportions, and the only reason it's not the worst movie in theaters this weekend is because Pulse opened the same day. (Lucky film critic that I am, I got to see them back-to-back.)

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THE KID

THE KID
The Kid is a true story of one who rises from abject poverty to stability and success, although it is not the typical Hollywood rags to riches tale.


The opening sees Kevin (Rupert Friend in a cagey nuanced performance) thrown out of the back of a van, hobbling towards a filthy bedroom as the credits are projected on each surface as graffiti. He attempts suicide with a smattering of pills, washing them down with spirits, he reflects on his life; his earliest memory of abuse. As a child right through adulthood Kevin is dealt a terrible hand and as he tries to survive and make something out of himself, things always get in the way, including the after-effects of his traumatic past.

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In Her Shoes

In Her Shoes
Some movies are simply made for women, and heterosexual men have no hope of appreciating them, I suppose. Do you like shoes? False sentimentality? Something that mistakes generalizations for insight? Then In Her Shoes is the film for you. Curtis Hanson's slack follow-up to his rapper hero-worship outing, 8 Mile, is a disappointing look at sisterhood based on the chick novel by Jennifer Weiner. A frequently saccharine and false motion picture, In Her Shoes wants to elicit tears it never earns and tie everything together into a tidy bundle that leaves no cliché untouched. Artificial in both its dialogue and its construction, the film only works - on those occasions when it works - because of the sincere performance by the underrated Toni Collette.

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Nixon
It's always a tricky proposition to make a motion picture based on recent history -- and the more public the episode, the more difficult it is for the film maker to balance drama with accuracy. This is especially true when that film maker is Oliver Stone, a director known more for self-aggrandizement than for the thoughtful handling of difficult issues. Under Stone, JFK turned into a three-hour paranoid ordeal with a conspiracy theory ten times less plausible than the Warren Commission's "one bullet" hypothesis. Natural Born Killers became a sickening display of indulgent ego-stroking.

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Safe
In addition to a vast array of benefits, the industrialization of this planet has brought with it numerous problems. Chemicals, pesticides, and poisons are everywhere; pollutants clog the air. Most of us adjust, breathing in fumes with little more than a distasteful crinkling of the nose. There are those, however -- home-makers, mainly -- who suddenly and inexplicably become allergic to the 20th century. Afflicted with a malady called "environmental illness", a condition claimed to be psychosomatic by many doctors, these women and men suffer an immunity system breakdown that destroys their ability to enjoy contemporary urban life. To survive, they must seek the quiet solace of an out-of-the-way retreat where they can find a "safe room" and "clear" the poisons from their body.

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The Medallion

The Medallion
The Medallion is the stupidest movie of the year. Maybe thatís not the most professional description to use, but thatís the only one that fits. Yes, itís stupid. When it isnít stupid itís weird and when it isnít weird, well thatís how you know that the movie is over. The large Hawaiian shirt wearing fellow, two rows behind me, described it aptly by shouting over the closing credits, ďWhat the fuck was that?Ē Good question. What the fuck WAS that Jackie?

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Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama
The film opens on an Alabama beach with two children chasing each other: Melanie Smooter and Jake Perry. The two discuss their future together. They kiss, and Jake says they will be married one day. The scene then moves to the present day. Melanie has changed her last name to Carmichael and is now a successful fashion designer in New York City. After becoming engaged to Andrew, the mayor's son, Melanie announces that she has to go back home alone to Alabama to tell her parents. She has not told Andrew that she is married to Jake.

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Hunt for Justice

Hunt for Justice
The heroic struggle of Canadian Louise Arbour, Chief War Crimes Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, as she battles world politics and fierce opposition to indict Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity.

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The GoodTimesKid

The GoodTimesKid
A story about stolen love and stolen identities, shot on stolen film.

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Blackout

Blackout
Three people from different walks of life find themselves trapped inside a stalled elevator. What at first seems like an inconvenience rapidly escalates into a nightmare.

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Crimes of the Past

Crimes of the Past
After Tommy Sparrow is severely wounded in a covert CIA operation, he finally comes in from the cold to retirement. His estranged daughter Josephine is battling both her own destructive nature and the damage done by the disappearance of her father. Tommy carries his scars both inside and out and while his cold war operations never seem far behind, his journey home will surpass any mission he ran with the Agency because reuniting with Josephine and becoming her father may cost him his life.

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Mr. Right Now!

Mr. Right Now!
Shes a single mother looking for a husband. Hes a con man looking for his next victim. Together they board an emotional rollercoaster that can only be derailed by someone neither of them expected. Award-winning director David E. Talbert brings to life this passionate story of love, friendship and betrayal. Starring film and television favorite Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs (Welcome Back Kotter and The Jacksons mini-series) and a dynamic cast of unforgettable characters, MR. RIGHT NOW has the power to touch your soul and heal your heart.

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