Charlotte Observer

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 64%

Baby Mama (2008)

"The material stays conventional and superficial, and writer-director Michael McCullers has a flair for cutting scenes before they plunge toward too-easy laughs. Yet it's the chemistry between the stars that makes the film stand out in a drab spring."

Posted Apr 24, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

2 56%

Flawless (2008)

"Banal or bogus."

Posted Apr 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

3 84%

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall, shorter than Knocked Up and more focused than Superbad, tops all other Apatow productions so far."

Posted Apr 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

4 67%

Snow Angels (2007)

"[Director] Green knows how to convey a mood visually and develop tension with his camera. He just doesn't give people enough interesting things to say or know when to shut them up."

Posted Apr 10, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

5 72%

Under the Same Moon (2008)

"[A] sentimental, sometimes manipulative but genuinely touching film."

Posted Apr 10, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

6 86%

Shine a Light (2008)

"Those of us who'd hoped Scorsese would make a film closer in spirit to No Direction Home, his Bob Dylan profile, will consider Light a wasted effort."

Posted Apr 3, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

7 51%

Nim's Island (2008)

"Can filmmakers no longer create true-to-life inspirational stories about people in extraordinary circumstances?"

Posted Apr 3, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

8 52%

Leatherheads (2008)

"Writers Duncan Brantley and Rick Reilly, who sold the first version of this debut script back in 1991, want to celebrate the innocence of those early days -- both pro football's and modern America's -- and the feeling that anything was possible back then."

Posted Apr 3, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

9 55%

Married Life (2008)

"The acting is well-done and well-balanced, and Peter Deming's cinematography -- part golden, part somber -- suggests the dark side of postwar prosperity, which Americans had begun to contemplate by 1949."

Posted Mar 28, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

10 65%

Stop-Loss (2008)

"Someone watching Stop-Loss with younger eyes might feel the heat of the main soldier's dilemma more than I did, but I couldn't help thinking director Kimberly Peirce was presenting us with abstract ideas in the forms of half-realized characters."

Posted Mar 27, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

11 100%

Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

"'America -- when she is right, to be kept right. When she is wrong, to be put right.' If that's your idea of patriotism, take time out to see Taxi to the Dark Side."

Posted Mar 20, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

12 25%

Drillbit Taylor (2008)

"The script by Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen and the direction by Steven Brill have a careless, never-gave-a-damn feel that's as insulting to viewers as the film is dull."

Posted Mar 20, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

13 79%

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

"For the first time, Hollywood has made a whimsical, witty, feature-length version of Dr. Seuss that's neither overblown nor smutty nor emotionally hollow."

Posted Mar 13, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

14 79%

The Bank Job (2008)

"Statham fans weaned on the adrenaline flowing through The Transporter and Crank may feel short-changed, but the rest of us can appreciate the unassuming, old-fashioned craftsmanship of The Bank Job."

Posted Mar 7, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

15 96%

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

"Just as Romanians got used to eating bones with little meat on them, they must also have gotten used to movies with very little dramatic meat."

Posted Feb 29, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

16 76%

Cidade dos Homens (City of Men) (2007)

"I wish I hadn't seen the masterpiece City of God before the current City of Men, which is a more conventional story in the same setting. Judged on its own merits, the latter film still makes a considerable emotional impact."

Posted Feb 29, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

17 53%

Penelope (2006)

"There are usually good reasons why a movie gets shelved for more than a year, however well-acted it may be and however well-meaning its message. Many are on view in Penelope."

Posted Feb 29, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

18 42%

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

"If you're indifferent to silly revisions of history and bad acting, you may enjoy The Other Boleyn Girl. I'm not, and I didn't."

Posted Feb 29, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

19 21%

Semi-Pro (2008)

"Semi-Pro is just Will Ferrell doing the same man-boy shtick he usually does."

Posted Feb 29, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

20 66%

Be Kind Rewind (2008)

"A genuinely original independent film, though one that requires patience and tolerance of the writer-director's style."

Posted Feb 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

21 35%

Vantage Point (2008)

"The setup is so riveting, the suspense so carefully prolonged, that I didn't mind when it unraveled into lunacy near the end."

Posted Feb 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

22 56%

Charlie Bartlett (2007)

"Mediocre writers ignore reality, opting for clumsy wish fulfillment and hoping we won't notice they make no sense. Sadly, Charlie Bartlett is an example of that school of non-thought."

Posted Feb 21, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

23 16%

Jumper (2008)

"You have to take everything for granted in Jumper, including the idea that Christensen and Rachel Bilson could show human emotions. These stone faces stand at the center of a story that's as flimsy as taffeta."

Posted Feb 14, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

24 70%

Definitely, Maybe (2008)

"The film definitely satisfies the need for an unthreatening, competently made romcom with a traditional template. But maybe that's not enough if you want to be surprised, refreshed or anything other than lazily charmed."

Posted Feb 14, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

25 58%

Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland (2008)

"This loosely enjoyable documentary doesn't offer deep insights into the minds of comedians."

Posted Feb 7, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

26 22%

Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008)

"It's a cynical attempt to plunder your wallet with broad buffoonery you can see for free on TV."

Posted Feb 7, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

27 11%

Fool's Gold (2008)

"Of course it's bad. It was always going to be. But it's worse than necessary."

Posted Feb 7, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

28 65%

How She Move (2008)

"The characters and situations haven't changed much, but the energy level is high and the moral-that you can aspire to escape the old neighborhood without abandoning all that's good in it-is one we hear too seldom."

Posted Jan 24, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

29 89%

The Savages (2007)

"Two wry, sad, occasionally funny but always unflinching hours."

Posted Jan 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

30 91%

There Will Be Blood (2007)

"Day-Lewis tends to overpower the cast, especially in a scenery-chewing finale you'll find fascinating or unwatchable. (I loved it.)"

Posted Jan 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

31 22%

Mad Money (2008)

"Everyone in the cast treads water, acting-wise -- there's nothing else to do -- except for Latifah, who brings passion to her work."

Posted Jan 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

32 77%

Cloverfield (2008)

"Cloverfield is a non-stop smashfest meant to be forgotten as soon as it's over, then repeated the following weekend for people eternally hungry for empty sensations. If you're too old for that, find yourself another film."

Posted Jan 18, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

33 86%

Starting Out in the Evening (2007)

"[Frank Langella] is a god of sorts to those who've followed his career for 30 years with an appreciation for subtle, forceful acting, and he's at the top of his game in Starting Out in the Evening."

Posted Jan 11, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

34 56%

What Would Jesus Buy? (2007)

"These bits of information could have been shocking in about 1940, 1980 and 1990. But by now, Americans who don't know couldn't care less."

Posted Jan 11, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

35 93%

Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) (2007)

"Bauby, Harwood and Schnabel are probably the only people who'll be our guides on a journey like this, and better ones could not be found."

Posted Jan 11, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

36 86%

El Orfanato (The Orphanage) (2007)

"By the end, you'll be chilled and disturbed by what you've seen -- and, rare as this is in a horror movie, touched to the heart."

Posted Jan 10, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

37 40%

The Bucket List (2007)

"The leads, who were born six weeks apart in 1937, have remarkable hare-and-tortoise chemistry."

Posted Jan 10, 2008

Lawrence Toppman

38 78%

The Great Debaters (2007)

"Washington and the young cast carry everything off with unwavering conviction."

Posted Dec 26, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

39 86%

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

"This isn't a movie for lovers of Sondheim's grimly funny musical, as most of the jokes fall flat in this joyless version. It's a movie for people who'd like to hear Depp do another British accent and wear a Bride of Frankenstein wig."

Posted Dec 21, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

40 65%

The Kite Runner (2007)

"Director Marc Forster and writer David Benioff might seem odd choices to adapt a book about such a place. But they have respectfully transformed Hosseini's novel."

Posted Dec 20, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

41 94%

Juno (2007)

"Comedy comes from an exaggeration of reality, not reality itself -- and on that score, Diablo Cody's first screenplay gets high marks."

Posted Dec 20, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

42 75%

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)

"There's a laziness to the entire affair, as if the writers never went further than a first draft and never found anything unfunny enough to trim or remove."

Posted Dec 20, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

43 82%

Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

"Director Mike Nichols and writer Aaron Sorkin tell the story nimbly and intelligently in Charlie Wilson's War, which has been billed as a comedy but contains sobering reminders about modern international affairs."

Posted Dec 20, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

44 52%

Margot at the Wedding (2007)

"Baumbach creates interesting, psychologically accurate characters, but he doesn't know when to stop."

Posted Dec 13, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

45 27%

Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007)

"The little beasties in the new film are computer-generated, reasonably realistic (way ahead of Garfield) and cute. It's not their fault the humans, especially Jason Lee's Dave Seville, are excruciatingly boring."

Posted Dec 13, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

46 83%

Atonement (2007)

"A rare, slightly astonishing success."

Posted Dec 13, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

47 70%

I Am Legend (2007)

"Director Francis Lawrence alternates cleverly among scenes of high tension, ferocious scares and moments that bring home Neville's feeling of abandonment and solitude."

Posted Dec 13, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

48 36%

Sleuth (2007)

"Seems to me that the Kenneth Branagh-Harold Pinter Sleuth is a pretty good movie. It just isn't a very good Sleuth, exactly."

Posted Dec 7, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

49 86%

Control (2007)

"Joy Division fans have already embraced Control, a film biography of short-lived lead singer Ian Curtis. Those of us who didn't follow the 1970s English band or the post-punk scene around it may feel less invested."

Posted Dec 7, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

50 42%

The Golden Compass (2007)

"Weitz took a wonderful story about the danger of severing a soul from its otherwise empty body and did that very thing to his source."

Posted Dec 7, 2007

Lawrence Toppman

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile