Charlotte Observer

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 80%

Che: Part Two (Guerrilla) (2008)

"At this length, that's an unforgivable sin."

Posted Feb 27, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

2 96%

Waltz with Bashir (2008)

"It's encouraging to see a nation so aware of its public image and defensive about its military decisions examine a dark day in its history."

Posted Feb 27, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

3 88%

I've Loved You So Long (2008)

"The movie's fascinating when it tracks Juliette's tentative, almost unwilling progress back into society."

Posted Feb 13, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

4 40%

He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

"This would be more than enough material for any self-respecting romantic comedy-drama, but director Ken Kwapis and writers Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein think they're making the kind of statement that needs to be dragged out to 125 minutes."

Posted Feb 6, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

5 90%

Coraline (2009)

"I suspect you could turn the sound off and still be terrified, amused and delighted."

Posted Feb 6, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

6 98%

The Wrestler (2008)

"Emotions ooze slowly out of [Rourke's] creased and battered face in Darren Aronofsky's latest heart-wrenching, hard-to-market drama."

Posted Jan 23, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

7 43%

Chandni Chowk To China (2009)

"Chandni Chowk is the kind of madness to which you surrender unconditionally or not at all. You'll find the trans-Asian journey from the market street in Delhi to the tyrannized village in China bewitching or bewildering, with little room in between."

Posted Jan 16, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

8 57%

Defiance (2009)

"Ed Zwick has cornered the market on movies about nearly forgotten wartime battles between members of a minority and the dominant culture that's oppressing them."

Posted Jan 16, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

9 71%

Last Chance Harvey (2009)

"Writer-director Joel Hopkins adheres to the timeworn Hollywood pattern with clumsy determination, never daring to freshen the romantic comedy formula."

Posted Jan 16, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

10 51%

Notorious (2009)

"If you give this fictionalized film biography a try, you may find yourself caught up in his troubled and complicated rise to prominence -- like me."

Posted Jan 16, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

11 68%

Revolutionary Road (2008)

"Director Sam Mendes, who covered similar ground in American Beauty, evokes the Eisenhower years in every detail and sets a reasonable pace for the script. Yet the path is so familiar that not a step along it takes us by surprise."

Posted Jan 9, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

12 79%

Gran Torino (2009)

"Alas, the preposterous ending fritters away much of the goodwill the film has slowly gained."

Posted Jan 9, 2009

Lawrence Toppman

13 92%

Frost/Nixon (2008)

"If Frost/Nixon were merely a beautifully shaped re-creation of a moment in history it would be worth a look. But as a reminder of the world we live in 31 years later, it's as sadly topical as any documentary about the Iraq War."

Posted Dec 30, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

14 61%

The Reader (2008)

"A movie easier to admire than to love."

Posted Dec 30, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

15 78%

Doubt (2008)

"Blessedly, the kernel of the writing remains undisturbed, and its arguments are still powerful."

Posted Dec 30, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

16 72%

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

"Button has a wide-eyed innocence that almost never palls. It strays far from the mind of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but often enough it came near to my heart."

Posted Dec 30, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

17 62%

Valkyrie (2008)

"It's slickly executed, handsomely acted for the most part and utterly easy to forget."

Posted Dec 30, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

18 27%

Seven Pounds (2008)

"[Smith] gets my thanks for embarking on projects, however flawed, that take emotional risks."

Posted Dec 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

19 94%

Milk (2008)

"Whatever you think of gay people (or politicians), you may find the movie compelling viewing."

Posted Dec 12, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

20 94%

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

"However improbable those circumstances get, Boyle and writer Simon Beaufoy (who adapted a novel by Vikas Swarup) keep us rooting for Jamal Malik to slay his dragons."

Posted Dec 12, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

21 21%

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)

"There was no way to re-make The Day The Earth Stood Still properly today."

Posted Dec 12, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

22 83%

JCVD (Van Dammage) (2008)

"The gentler Van Damme may disappear after just two pictures. If he does, I'm happy at least to have made his acquaintance."

Posted Dec 5, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

23 67%

Cadillac Records (2008)

"Writer-director Darnell Martin regularly twists or obscures the truth, without illuminating characters beyond superficialities."

Posted Dec 5, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

24 68%

Synecdoche, New York (2008)

"Watching the film is also wearying, like assembling a puzzle from a box into which a sadist continually pours new pieces."

Posted Nov 25, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

25 55%

Australia (2008)

"Australia is an unbroken string of clichés. Director Luhrmann does the obvious at every turn, making each character an archetype and every action a crowd-pleasing, grandiosely predictable moment."

Posted Nov 25, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

26 98%

Let the Right One In (2008)

"A tale that proves there's life in the undead yet, when they fall into the hands of imaginative storytellers."

Posted Nov 25, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

27 25%

Four Christmases (2008)

"Vaughn delivers every line with his usual deadpan glibness, which suits the part. But I smiled as I watched the big-bellied, multi-chinned actor connecting with the porcelain, model-thin Witherspoon."

Posted Nov 25, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

28 93%

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

"Scenes that would be throwaways in most films -- girls gabbing on their night out, a walk by the seaside -- have been set up to tell us a lot about the people in them, if we'll only pay close attention."

Posted Nov 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

29 63%

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) (2008)

"Those problems won't concern anyone caught up, perhaps for the first time, in a story that has the potential to rend any hearts that remain open to it."

Posted Nov 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

30 49%

Twilight (2008)

"Pattison grows on us as he grows on Bella: His weird mannerisms and nervous delivery stop seeming like quirks and acquire an intensity that's hard to resist by the end."

Posted Nov 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

31 88%

Bolt (2008)

"Bolt has the magical quality of great animation, the ability to touch us without the hint of preachiness or manipulation."

Posted Nov 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

32 79%

Flow: For Love of Water (2008)

"Not all documentaries are solution-oriented, but this is."

Posted Nov 14, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

33 64%

Quantum of Solace (2008)

"Though Casino Royale rejuvenated Bond's character in crisply entertaining style, the franchise has plunged downward again more steeply than the neckline of a Russian spy."

Posted Nov 14, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

34 85%

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

"The dramatic moments do make an impact, and the tears they draw from you will scald."

Posted Nov 13, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

35 77%

Role Models (2008)

"Though its grosses may not soar into the realm occupied by Superbad and American Pie, it has more sympathy for its characters."

Posted Nov 7, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

36 59%

W. (2008)

"You'll be disappointed if you expect famed leftist Oliver Stone to apply a coup de grace to this man. Stone is more interested in examining the conditions that put Bush where he is now and made him the political animal he is."

Posted Oct 17, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

37 61%

The Duchess (2008)

"Within the sphere they've chosen for their story -- really more of a romantic triangle -- it works."

Posted Oct 10, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

38 53%

City of Ember (2008)

"The film adapts Jeanne Duprau's novel with visual flair and vague, clumsy storytelling."

Posted Oct 10, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

39 41%

Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008)

"Disney is now content with the likes of the wholly inoffensive, uninventive Beverly Hills Chihuahua, whose canine antics will divert undemanding youngsters and adults who believe the simple absence of profanity, sex and violence counts as a virtue."

Posted Oct 3, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

40 81%

Under Our Skin (2008)

"I've just watched one of the most frightening horror movies I've seen in a long time. The evil in it springs from deer ticks and human ignorance, both of which seemed to be omnipresent."

Posted Sep 26, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

41 30%

Nights in Rodanthe (2008)

"This is one of the increasingly rare Hollywood films that treat people in middle age as though their feelings were just as intense and their needs just as valid as those of people half their age."

Posted Sep 26, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

42 85%

Ghost Town (2008)

"It's a smooth journey across familiar territory to a safe emotional harbor, always professional and occasionally delightful."

Posted Sep 19, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

43 78%

Burn After Reading (2008)

"[The Coens'] tragedies are stark and moody; their comedies sting and mock. Burn After Reading fits into the second category, but it's as pitiless and brutal as any of their pictures and funnier than any except Raising Arizona."

Posted Sep 12, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

44 87%

Frozen River (2008)

"Hunt has keenly observed the details of impoverished rural life."

Posted Sep 5, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

45 78%

Baghead (2008)

"Jay and Mark Duplass -- the brothers who wrote, directed and produced this bauble -- take literally two-thirds of the film to come to a very small point."

Posted Aug 29, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

46 100%

Man on Wire (2008)

"Director James Marsh approaches this subject with a childlike sense of wonder in his documentary, delighting in the skulduggery behind the event."

Posted Aug 28, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

47 63%

Traitor (2008)

"A thriller that's frequently implausible but almost always thoughtful."

Posted Aug 27, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

48 94%

Ne le Dis à Personne (Tell No One) (2006)

"Sews us tightly into a story that not only challenges the brain but engages the heart."

Posted Aug 22, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

49 40%

The Longshots (2008)

"We're left with an unforced, sweet-natured story about people who find small ways to touch others and rediscover the good in themselves."

Posted Aug 22, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

50 62%

Hamlet 2 (2008)

"[It] starts with a zany idea, carried out with energy and a mild sense of anarchy; then the film loses steam and settles for a conventional ending that doesn't give us a payoff."

Posted Aug 22, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

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