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  • The Sessions

    The Sessions

    ★★★★

    This is a touching and drolly funny true story about an invalid wanting to have sex before he dies. Helen Hunt comes to the rescue as his sexual surrogate. The sex is abundant but tastefully done - rather matter-of-fact - and there's a nice unglamorous reality to all the settings and characters. John Hawkes, who you might remember from Winter's Bone, gives a terrific performance as a very likable head on a useless body. Very nicely done film. Script by director Ben Lewin.

  • Life of Pi

    Life of Pi

    Life of Pi attempts something tricky, and I'm still on the fence about what I think of it. It's a movie inside a movie, and the movie inside is absolutely wonderful - a survival tale that's unique, thrilling, dramatic, humorous, and gorgeously photographed - everything you could want from great cinema. But the outside movie is dramatically flat and completely uninteresting. What's tricky is where the two movies meet. It presents a fantasy in all its cinematic glory, but presents…

  • Flight

    Flight

    ★★

    Forrest Gump is one of the greatest conservative films ever made, and with Flight Zemeckis once again tackles a movie with a unabashed conservative agenda. Unfortunately, the movie bludgeons you to death with its moral message. There's nothing subtle or even entertaining in the way that makes Forrest Gump so great. Zemeckis excels at large-scale comedy, but his dramatic sensibilities have always been shaky and obvious - even in Forrest Gump. This weakness comes to the foreground in Flight. It…

  • The Dogs of War

    The Dogs of War

    ★★★★

    Christopher Walken leads a band of mercenaries into Africa in a solid tough guy film with a pretty exciting climax. Unfortunately, the movie feels like a bit of post-70s flotsam, and you can sense the transition into brain-dead 80s action movies. If only it were made five to ten years earlier. Thankfully, Walken keeps everything from getting too macho. Script by Gary DeVore (Raw Deal, Running Scared), George Malko, and an uncredited Michael Cimino.

  • Dodge City

    Dodge City

    ★★★★★

    Classic-styled Curtiz western with amazing, gorgeous, beautiful Technicolor photography, although in many of the longshots the colors aren't matched up and it looks like a 3D movie. Kind of irritating, but when they match it's stunning. Errol Flynn is NOT at home on the range (he tames Dodge City without killing anyone, and he's far too well-groomed and well-mannered to herd cattle), but the bad guys are really awesome (especially King Kong he-man Bruce Cabot and major character heavy Victor…

  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

    Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

    ★★★★

    A script worthy of the Ealing Studios, even if Frank Oz's handling of it isn't quite as sophisticated. Plus Steve Martin doesn't quite pull of the shyster (easy to say, but how do you spell it?), but Michael Caine can do it in his sleep (I'm sure he sleeps with his eyes open. I doubt he even has eyelids). Imagine Alec Guiness and Peter Sellers. Script by Dale Launer (Ruthless People, My Cousin Vinny), Stanley Shapiro (Pillow Talk), and Paul Henning (Beverly Hillbillies).

  • The Diary of Anne Frank

    The Diary of Anne Frank

    ★★★

    Extremely well made but also extremely long movie which surprising doesn't go very deep into it's characters, even though they spend several years sitting in the same room together. Sentimental without getting sappy. Script by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, who wrote the stageplay and also It's a Wonderful Life and Father of the Bride.

  • The Descent

    The Descent

    ★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    *** WARNING: SPOILERS This movie just made me angry. A fairly decent idea was ruined by an inept writer/director Neil Marshall who should have spent less time watching 28 Days Later and more time watching Deliverance. The "character building" prologue is horrible and doesn't tell us anything we need to know about the characters except who will live at the end. It's just one cliche after another - the car crash that kills the family, the cheap scares that turn…

  • A Day at the Races

    A Day at the Races

    ★★★

    The only Marx Brothers movie where the musical numbers are better than the gags. They're really cool numbers though. Humor is spotty throughout, with a couple of delightful scenes of complete chaos. Script by Robert Pirosh (a big TV writer), George Seaton (Miracle on 34th Street and many others), and George Oppenheimer (Adventures of Don Juan, Topper).

  • The Day After Tomorrow

    The Day After Tomorrow

    ★★

    Dumb story, dumb science, thin characters, poorly contrived action sequences, not to mention inadvertently destroying the credibility of global warming. Even the effects were middling. Unfortunately, Emmerich will try to turn anything into an action movie, and this story made for some pretty lame action. You'd think a post-9/11 film would be a little more sensitive than this, yet it was a big hit. This is the stuff that makes screenwriters turn in their badge. Script by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Godzilla) and Jeffrey Nachmanoff.

  • C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America

    C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America

    ★★★

    Remarkable job considering the low budget, but the point gets made pretty early and the Fauntroy spine doesn't hold the film together. Takes a long time to figure out it is the spine. Mainly I was waiting for the commercials to pop up. Don't miss the deleted scenes.

  • Come and See

    Come and See

    ★★★★★

    Best WWII movie I've seen from the Russian perspective. Horrific, haunting, brutal, stylish, and ethereal.