M.E. Russell Movie Reviews & Previews - Rotten Tomatoes

M.E. Russell

M.E. Russell
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Movie Reviews Only

Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
B+ 88% Rango (2011) The funny and powerfully weird Rango is probably the closest I've seen a big-budget, computer-animated feature get to the comic vibe of my favorite Chuck Jones cartoons.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Mar 4, 2011
55% Hood To Coast (2010) What makes Hood to Coast special is the way it sort of perversely captures the entire human comedy -- it's pain and pleasure tied up in sleep-deprived logistics, and the punchline is that the suffering is completely voluntary.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jan 6, 2011
C+ 28% The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) Yes, this is a very relative and qualified compliment, and yes, the snarksters will still find plenty to pick at, but this time around, even a complete demographic outsider like myself could at least vaguely comprehend the series' basic appeal.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Nov 19, 2009
A- 83% Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) Six films in, it almost feels like it's booting up a new-and-improved, darker, earthier, more grown-up and visually sophisticated trilogy.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jul 14, 2009
19% Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) Revenge of the Fallen almost feels like it's signaling an end-game for blockbuster movies: all sensation, no content, catastrophic expense.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2009
B+ 68% The Brothers Bloom (2009) Johnson doesn't just make it work: His confident direction takes what could have been self-consciously precious and makes it hugely entertaining and a little moving.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted May 22, 2009
C- 25% Friday the 13th (2009) Go rent the one where Jason takes Manhattan, or something.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Feb 13, 2009
B- 71% Last Chance Harvey (2009) Hoffman just kills whenever Harvey owns up to his mediocrity and tiny failures. He and Thompson give this underwhelming story a genuinely human core.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jan 16, 2009
B+ 62% Valkyrie (2008) The film is a minor Christmas miracle: It succeeds on its own terms, despite the gossip hounds' best blood-sniffing efforts, and dares to be an entertainment rather than a statement.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Dec 24, 2008
C 26% Seven Pounds (2008) The movie gets just enough right that the things it doesn't get right (beyond its overdependence on a not-so-surprising story puzzle) smack you cold in the face.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Dec 19, 2008
C- 19% Dark Streets (2008) The script is just all kinds of terrible.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Dec 12, 2008
B+ 84% JCVD (Van Dammage) (2008) Giving the performance of his life, largely in French, Van Damme delivers a soulful self-analysis.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Dec 5, 2008
B- 89% Bolt (2008) While Bolt isn't as funny, memorable or inspired as the animation classic from which it pilfers, it's still beautifully animated, cleanly told, professionally voiced and makes you smile without insulting your intelligence.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2008
C 33% Morning Light (2008) The camera can only film the on-deck action from so many angles before it gets repetitive. The musical score is pabulum. Race technology and tactics are barely explored, and you never get a sense of the larger field of competitors.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2008
C- 59% The Secret Life of Bees (2008) Ultimately, if you think about it too hard, Bees is a movie in which a bunch of powerful African American women get their lives upended and in some cases destroyed so a little white girl can feel better about herself.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Oct 17, 2008
C+ 61% The Express (2008) Maybe the real Ernie Davis really was this perfect, but the movie plays as if the filmmakers didn't want to offend his family.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Oct 10, 2008
B 85% Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008) What makes Wanted and Desired riveting is that Zenovich balances this immorality play by interviewing nearly everyone involved and mixes it with perfectly culled archival footage.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2008
D 13% The Women (2008) English seems to confuse empowerment with narcissism.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2008
C+ 65% Traitor (2008) Unfortunately, the movie stumbles a fair bit.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Aug 27, 2008
C 70% American Teen (2008) Its subjects blandly keep your attention in almost the exact same way that reality-show contestants keep your attention.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2008
B- 41% Hancock (2008) Part of Smith and Berg's subvert-your-expectations game plan involves a major midfilm shocker, one that takes the movie to larger mythological places unrelated to Hancock's self-improvement quest.‐ Oregonian
Posted Jul 1, 2008
B 74% Gunnin' for That #1 Spot (2008) Gunnin' for That #1 Spot is a basketball documentary where the climactic game looks like a Hong Kong wire-fu epic.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2008
B 86% Mongol (2008) Bodrov has simply created an overwhelmingly awesome Khan who could believably conquer the overwhelmingly awesome landscape over the course of two more films.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2008
C+ 14% The Love Guru (2008) The comedian really climbs out on this particular limb -- a limb so far from the tree, it might have given Peter Sellers pause.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2008
B- 53% The Promotion (2008) [Director] Conrad seems to have used whatever clout he got from The Pursuit of Happyness to fund something personal and sincere -- a story that's ultimately about victories of character and suppressing your worst impulses.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jun 13, 2008
C 72% Stuck (2008) Unfortunately, the film loses its merciless rage toward the end, devolving into a stock and broadly comic thriller about unpleasant people you never quite get to know.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2008
D 37% You Don't Mess With the Zohan (2008) You Don't Mess With the Zohan might actually be the stupidest movie with good intentions that I've ever seen.‐ Oregonian
Posted Jun 6, 2008
C- 59% Bra Boys (2008) Thanks to the documentarian also making his family the film's subject, Bra Boys feels more than a little like a violence-glorifying infomercial.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted May 30, 2008
C 45% The Strangers (2008) Imagine Funny Games stripped of all its social commentary, dark humor and information about its killers, and you're starting to get the idea. It's so spare, it's almost abstract.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted May 30, 2008
78% Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) The movie's pretty good, occasionally very good. But I also kind of hope they don't make another one.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted May 21, 2008
C 64% Baby Mama (2008) It's not horrible, but it's droopy, and it left me craving 30 Rock, with its vastly superior skewering of the privileged and self-involved. Fey should stick to writing her own material.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Apr 25, 2008
B 83% Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008) On a basic-premise level, Forgetting Sarah Marshall sounds like any number of rom-coms. But Segel and director Nicholas Stoller go to the trouble of making the little details funny and filthy, and they have fun messing with the formula.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Apr 18, 2008
C- 51% Nim's Island (2008) Nim's Island never finds its focus, and there's never a real sense of danger.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2008
C 26% Drillbit Taylor (2008) Do yourself a favor. Rent My Bodyguard instead.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Mar 21, 2008
B 79% Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (2008) The computer-animated Horton is largely funny and faithful to the spirit of the Dr. Seuss book.‐ Oregonian
Posted Mar 14, 2008
B- 79% The Bank Job (2008) In a marketplace that tends toward cranked-up action thrills, it's just nice to watch a level-headed crime movie aimed at actual grown-ups.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Mar 7, 2008
D+ 42% The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) A mild disaster.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Feb 29, 2008
B 58% The Signal (2008) The film suffers slightly from diminishing returns -- its first third is by far its scariest -- but it's still a bold, artful take on a popular horror idea.‐ Oregonian
Posted Feb 22, 2008
B 92% Caramel (2008) Caramel finds a big-hearted, Mira Nair-ish groove. The characters are gorgeous. And [director] Labaki gets terrific performances out of a largely nonprofessional cast.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2008
B- 71% Definitely, Maybe (2008) The movie offers very real pleasures. Reynolds has terrific chemistry with everyone, and watching him romance three of Hollywood's more intelligent, beguiling comediennes is a pleasure.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2008
C+ 60% Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights - Hollywood to the Heartland (2008) It's almost like you're watching a 100-minute trailer for a much better six-hour miniseries.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2008
C- 16% Untraceable (2008) Untraceable is also relentlessly grim and dull, and runs afoul of all the pitfalls you find in movies in which people rely on computers to do their detecting.‐ Oregonian
Posted Jan 25, 2008
21% Mad Money (2008) Actually, one cast member doesn't even bother to phone it in: The once-charming Katie Holmes is stunningly horrible as a granola-head diabetic who lives in a trailer.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Jan 18, 2008
C- 41% 27 Dresses (2008) 27 Dresses is stunningly dull. And Heigl, freed from the challenges of a Judd Apatow script, does little to distinguish herself from dozens of other actresses forgotten at the cineplex.‐ Oregonian
Posted Jan 18, 2008
C 36% August Rush (2007) The filmmakers are so deadly earnest about the power of music and love and all that stuff, you just twiddle your thumbs waiting for the inevitable.‐ Oregonian
Posted Nov 21, 2007
B+ 72% The Mist (2007) It's more than a thrilling horror exercise -- it's a master class in this sort of filmmaking, nailing the fundamentals at nearly every turn.‐ Oregonian
Read More | Posted Nov 21, 2007
C 33% Music Within (2007) It gives me no pleasure to report that the [Richard] Pimentel biopic Music Within plays like a well-intentioned TV movie.‐ Oregonian
Posted Nov 9, 2007
C 36% Sleuth (2007) While [writer] Pinter contributes some venom-spitting new dialogue, he also deviates wildly from the original story in the third act -- which would be fine, if the deviations weren't less compelling and more abrupt than Shaffer's original ideas.‐ Oregonian
Posted Nov 2, 2007
B 51% 30 Days of Night (2007) 30 Days of Night is a high-concept movie idea that's so good, I'm surprised we haven't seen it.‐ Oregonian
Posted Oct 19, 2007
D 14% The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising (2007) The shameless Potter/Tolkien recycling is the least of this movie's problems.‐ Oregonian
Posted Oct 5, 2007