Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
Galaxy Quest (1999)
"The idea of actors being mistaken for their roles was used in "The Three Amigos," but "Galaxy Quest" mines the comic potential better."
Michael Jordan to the Max (2000)
"IMAX is a format where the sheer scale overpowers its flaws."
Better than Chocolate (1999)
"The makers of gay-themed films often ignore this rule: Romantic comedy clichés don't become innovative just because the lovers are the same sex."
Up at the Villa (2000)
"Here's a tip for casting directors: If you want your female lead to be sympathetic, do not hire Kristen Scott Thomas."
The Virgin Suicides (2000)
"When a film's most sensible character commits suicide within the first 15 minutes it cannot be a good sign."
"Far from being anti-Catholic, "Dogma" blends the Baltimore Catechism with the National Lampoon to produce jokes only Catholics will appreciate."
"It is 1964's "The Fall of the Roman Empire" on both ends, with "Spartacus" in the middle."
Where the Money Is (2000)
"For its first half this plays like a character-driven, antiestablishment caper of the 1960s and '70s. As the story progresses, the characters turn rotten. When the establishment is more appealing than the maverick heroes, something has gone wrong."
Joe Gould's Secret (2000)
"Tucci's slow-paced storytelling in "Big Night" was brave and worked beautifully, but the same technique in "Joe Gould's Secret" becomes annoying."
Drive Me Crazy (1999)
"Despite its terrible title "Drive Me Crazy" proves more substantial than bubble gum. The story is less comedy than drama, populated by teenage characters who are - you had better sit down for this - believable."
American Psycho (2000)
"When not bludgeoning a business rival with an ax, well-heeled killer Patrick Bateman bludgeons the audience with the film's messages."
28 Days (2000)
"An underrated actress, Bullock capably fulfills the demands of her role as a pill-popping drunk. But the story never allows Bullock to escape the comfort zone of a romantic comedy."
Keeping the Faith (2000)
"A worst-case scenario of what happens when an actor turns director. Norton loves his fellow actors so much he cannot bear to reduce their scenes. So stuff that shouldn't make the cut of even the special edition DVD stays in the film."
Josie and the Pussycats (2001)
"This sounds like a disaster along the lines of "Dudley Do-Right," but writer-directors Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont pull off a surprisingly spry spoof of the very way pop culture - especially music - is marketed to teenagers."
Saving Grace (2000)
"A Cheech and Chong movie for the art-house crowd."
Space Cowboys (2000)
"One advantage "Space Cowboys" has over "Armageddon" is that Eastwood is a more laconic director than Michael Bay. Then again, who isn't?"
Hollow Man (2000)
"There are two ways to not see this invisible man. The best option is skipping the movie."
"Harden deserves recognition more than her co-stars, if only because she creates the sole sympathetic character."
Sexy Beast (2000)
"A perfectly acted, sardonic thriller aimed at the intelligent adult audience Hollywood studies have abandoned."
The Fast and the Furious (2001)
"The Fast and the Furious" is the perfect movie to watch on DVD. You can hit a few buttons and check out the three action scenes worth seeing, surrendering only 10 minutes of your life."
"As directed by Chris Columbus and written by Steve Kloves, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is a film with no personality of its own, despite being filled with many unforgettable personalities."
Down to Earth (2001)
"Down to Earth" follows the plot of "Heaven Can Wait" the way a robot follows its programming."
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
"No film scholar would pick the populist Spielberg as the esoteric Kubrick's successor. It's as unlikely as Orson Welles collaborating with Walt Disney."
The Believer (2002)
"Despite its attacks on fascism, "The Believer" itself carries the taint of anti-Semitism, implying that self-hatred is a Jewish trait and that Danny's case is unusual only in its extremity."
"The sisterly writing team of Karen and Jill Sprecher create that deadly form of cinema, the play mistaken for a movie."
The Bourne Identity (2002)
"Damon does not look like a guy who could break your arm like a matchstick, and that's why "The Bourne Identity" works. Watching this second coming of Richie Cunningham suddenly unleash his fists and feet and elbows (and Bic pen) of fury is chilling."
"Woo has as much right to make a huge action sequence as any director, but how long will filmmakers copy the "Saving Private Ryan" battle scenes before realizing Steven Spielberg got it right the first time?"
"Several uninteresting, unlikeable people do bad things to and with each other in "Unfaithful." Why anyone who is not a character in this movie should care is beyond me."
Ultimate X: The Movie (2002)
"For every articulate player, such as skateboarder Tony Hawk or BMX rider Mat Hoffman, are about a half dozen young Turks angling to see how many times they can work the words "radical" or "suck" into a sentence."
Nine Queens (Nueve reinas) (2002)
"Nine Queens" is street smart without being grim, nimble without being lightweight. And it delivers a payoff worth the wait."
"Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" proves traditional animation still can feel its oats when filmmakers have a worthwhile story to draw on."
"The battling Yoda looks ludicrous, like Kermit the Frog in a Matrix fight scene."
"Takes the killer's mind games with the detective to a disturbing level. Not since Seven has the bad guy so successfully undermined his pursuer's moral center."
"Someday rational thought will return and I will realize "Spider-Man" does not rank among the milestones of cinema. But someday is not today. Today "Spider-Man" may as well be "Lawrence of Arabia," so delirious has it made this longtime fan."
"Though "Earnest" is Wilde's most famous work, this film is not as rich as Parker's version of "An Ideal Husband." However, it remains light and entertaining as the bright cast has a wonderful time saying marvelously funny things."
The Salton Sea (2002)
"Aside from a few striking similarities, "The Salton Sea" maintains its own identity. Its structure may not be as tricky as "Memento's," but "Salton Sea" reveals its own surprises with fewer attention-grabbing devices."
About a Boy (2002)
"The Weitz brothers succeed mostly because they are smart enough to let Grant be Grant and Hornby be Hornby. As in "High Fidelity," the script brims with pungent, quotable dialogue."
Undercover Brother (2002)
"Undercover Brother" is much, much funnier than even the first Austin Powers movie. Its trailer is funnier than the second Austin Powers movie."
Bad Company (2002)
"Bad Company" never knows what it wants to do. It tries to mix urban comedy with international espionage; it tries to mix the theme of individual redemption with the threat of mass destruction; it tries to mix Anthony Hopkins with Chris Rock. "
The Sum of All Fears (2002)
"Sum" is Jack Ryan's "do-over." Give credit to everyone from Robinson down to the key grip that this bold move works. Especially give credit to Affleck."
"The ensemble's performances are to be savored."