Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs
Love and Other Drugs, an end-of-the-year release that came out of nowhere, divided the preview audience at the advance screening I attended. Complaints about the film seemed mostly to stem from its perceived manipulation of the audience, how it does everything possible to pull at your heartstrings, and how it doesn't succeed because it's trying too hard. And I get where those complaints are coming from. I understand why some people will be turned off by this emotional story that uses dark humor and lots of sex in exploring two damaged people. But I'm not one of the naysayers. For me, Love and Other Drugs was an easy pill to swallow, a smartly written love story featuring terrific performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. It's a real breath of fresh air and a welcome departure from the silly recycled rom-coms we're subjected to far, far too often.

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Roadkill

Roadkill
The first thing you need to know is that the film's title in the US - Joy Ride - is ironic. Once the ride gets underway, joy takes a back seat. Innocuous and predictable ride might have been a more accurate title, but would have been a tougher sell. In the hands of the competent if uninspired direction of John Dahl (Rounders, Red Rock West) things move along swiftly enough, but throughout it's difficult not to reflect that the film's path has been driven before and with greater skill.

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Whole Ten Yards

Whole Ten Yards
I might have felt sad about what director Howard Deutch and screenwriter George Gallo have done to the characters from The Whole Nine Yards if I cared about them in the first place. The problem with a movie like Jonathan Lynn's 2000 noir comedy is that it rarely inspires more than cursory interest (its final box office tally was under $60 million - solid numbers, but far from blockbuster level). The word "unnecessary" seems understated in describing The Whole Ten Yards, a movie whose existence probably excited only those who received a paycheck for participating.

What can I say about a movie in which the chickens are more lively than the human cast? Where a sense of thinly-veiled desperation permeates every scene? ("Please laugh! Pleeeeeaaaaseee!") Are we supposed to be amused by the image of Bruce Willis in fuzzy slippers and an apron? Are Matthew Perry's lame slapstick antics intended to send us into convulsions of laughter? And is the idea for us to figure out the gist of the plot even though huge chunks of footage have been edited out? It's bad enough that The Whole Ten Yards isn't funny, but it's not coherent, either. Not that the storyline would pass muster for anything more high-browed than a TV sitcom. Ditto for the acting, directing, and pretty much everything else that appears on screen.

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Cop Out

Cop Out
Cop Out is Kevin Smith's first foray into mainstream action/comedy entertainment and the first time he has directed a film he did not write. This is evident - although there are a few ribald moments to be found sprinkled throughout, the movie's humor is muted and rarely attempts to offend the sensibilities of the more strait-laced audience members. Smith's career is largely founded on his reputation as a ground-breaker (his debut, Clerks, initially earned an NC-17 for profanity, although that was reversed on appeal) but with Cop Out, the cement beneath his feet doesn't suffer even a hairline fracture. The black/white wisecracker/straight man mismatched buddy cop thing has been done so often that it would demand a monumental effort to make it fresh, and Smith isn't up to that kind of heavy lifting. As it turns out, Cop Out is a pale imitation (which Smith would no doubt call an "homage") of 48 Hours. 15 minutes into this movie, I wanted to leave the theater, go home, and watch the Nick Nolte/Eddie Murphy picture instead. It would have represented time better spent.

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Hostage

Hostage
Hostage represents Bruce Willis' latest attempt to produce a thriller with the kind of broad appeal exhibited by his most successful big-screen endeavor, Die Hard. The largest potential drawback to enjoying this movie is getting past some of the plot's implausibilities. For those who manage to achieve this, Hostage offers two entertaining hours. Or, to put it another way: accept Hostage for what it is, and a flawed-but-enjoyable ride awaits. I never once glanced at my watch.

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Apollo 13

Apollo 13
For those too young to recall the tragic events of November 22, 1963, one of the most stark and enduring images of a lifetime came on a frigid afternoon in January 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up while skyrocketing heavenward. By that time, shuttle flights had become routine, and few gave much thought to the possibility of something going wrong. After the accident, NASA was forced to re-evaluate its plans while everyone who had watched considered their own mortality. Not since April of 1970 and Apollo 13 had the United States' space program encountered this kind of disaster -- except in that case, no lives were lost.

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Quigley Down Under

Quigley Down Under
Tom Selleck stars as American cowboy archetype Matthew Quigley in Simon Wincer's outback western Quigley Down Under. Answering an advertisement placed by Australian cattle baron Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman) to come to the rugged and uncivilized Australian countryside and shoot dingoes, Quigley finds himself halfway around the world, only to find that Marston wants to exploit his talents as a sharpshooter in order to wipe out the Aborigine population.

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The Celestine Prophecy

The Celestine Prophecy
Disillusioned and temporarily rudderless, John Woodson is about to experience a dramatic and profound metamorphosis. Through a mysterious set of coincidences, he finds himself on an adventure to Peru in search of ancient scrolls, known as the Celestine Prophecy. The prophecy and its nine key insights, predict a new awakening that redefines human life and provides a glimpse into a completely spiritual culture on earth. Resistant at first, skeptical and unsure, John finds that each step he takes, each person he encounters leads him to a new awakening. It is only in this letting go that he finds his destiny and comes to understand the meaning that had escaped him when his adventure began.

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The Tailor of Panama

The Tailor of Panama
Andy Osnard (Pierce Brosnan) is an MI6 spy exiled to Panama after having an affair with an ambassadorís mistress. He wants to uncover something big that will get him back into Londonís good graces. Believing Panama to still be corrupt after General Noriegaís reign, and as the Americans have now given the Panama Canal back to Panama, Osnard concludes that if he can find out where the true balance of power surrounding the canal is, London will want him back.

His informant is a tailor, Harry Pendel (Geoffrey Rush), who has a few secrets of his own. Harry's wife, Louisa (Jamie Lee Curtis) is the assistant to the canal's director. Harry is in need of money and doesnít have the business sense to ask his customers for the money to pay for their suits. Osnard knows that Harry has been lying about his background. He persuades the tailor to spy on his own wife to find out what the President plans on doing with the canal. Pendel agrees and begins spinning stories to keep the money from Osnard flowing.

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Hero
In ancient China during the Warring States Period, a nameless prefect of a small jurisdiction arrives at the Qin state's capital city to meet the king of Qin. The king has just survived an attempt on his life by three feared assassins (Long Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword), and has taken precautions to protect himself, including forbidding visitors to approach closer than 100 paces to his throne. Nameless claims that he had slain the three assassins and he displays their weapons before the king, who is impressed and allows Nameless to sit progressively closer to him and tell him his story.

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The Sum of All Fears

The Sum of All Fears
The film begins with a sequence inspired by the novel's prologue set during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which a single Israeli A-4 jet carrying a nuclear weapon is shot down over the Syrian desert. The bomb, over time, is consumed by the sand and disappears.

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Belly of the Beast

Belly of the Beast
While hiking in Thailand, Jessica and her friend Sarah Winthorpe (MacQueen) are kidnapped. A group of Islamic fundamentalists known as the Abu Karaf claims responsibility. Sarah is the daughter of United States senator John Winthorpe. The Abu Karaf demand the release of 20 prisoners from American custody.

Tom Collins (McDougall), an ex-colleague of Jake's, recognizes Jessica on the ransom tape, and he tips Jake off. Jake knows that he must rescue the girls himself. An old CIA buddy puts Jake in contact with Leon Washington (Patrick Robinson), an active CIA agent who is working in Thailand. Jake goes to Bangkok, and escapes an assassination attempt by unknown forces.

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2 Dudes and a Dream

2 Dudes and a Dream
Two aspiring starts (Brian Drolet, The Hills, and Nic Nac, American Pie Beta House), one pursuing acting and the other an unlikely model, become best friends as they struggle together to break into Hollywood and make it to the bigtime. Their journey to the red carpet is less than simple and more than hilarious as they encounter a non-stop barrage of obstacles and whacked-out characters. Ultimately, success comes for those who persevere, even if the end result is not what they had planned. ... 2 Dudes and a Dream is as visually compelling as it is sardonically hilarious. Ripe with parody and satire, the film taps into the spirit of independent cinema coupled with the rebellious and sometimes raunchier elements of major studio hits such as The Hangover and Pineapple Express. Saturated with pop culture and sophisticated comedic timing, the film presents an eclectic specturm of farcical wit and situational comedy. This is a terrific comedy that will constantly suprise the audience and always satisfy its viewers!

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Black Moon

Black Moon
There is a war in the world between the men and the women. A young girl tries to escape this reality and comes to a hidden place where a strange unicorn lives with a family Sister, Brother, many children and an old woman that never leaves her bed but stays in contact with the world through her radio. Since the content of this picture is not as important as the pictures and allegories, the simple plot can not be described further.

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Irresistible

Irresistible
Sophie Hartley is convinced that she is being stalked. She becomes increasingly certain that her husbands beautiful co-worker, Mara, wants her children, her husband and her life. But no one believes Sophie. Forced to prove her sanity, Sophie grows increasingly paranoid - but is she imagining things? Sophie becomes completely caught up in her obsession, turning stalker herself - and makes a discovery more frightening than her worst fear.

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Midgets Vs. Mascots

Midgets Vs. Mascots
In this Borat meets Jackass shockumentary, five little people and five mascots battle for one million dollars through 30 ridiculous competitions, including how many insults it takes to get punched in a bar, who can drink a gallon of milk the fastest and who can wrestle a live alligator. Gary Coleman, leading the Littles as himself, is a comedic freight train (or train wreck) as he gets into actual fist fights with mascots, coaches and even NBA star Scottie Pippen. Look forward to tear-inducing laughter when drunken and belligerent mascots take on a competitive and determined group of little people.

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