Florida Times-Union

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Jerry Maguire (1996) Matt Soergel Cruise's relationship with Zellweger's character is fascinating, far deeper and more honest than the usual cookie-cutter romance. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2016
4/4 Shakespeare in Love (1998) Matt Soergel There's so much to like about this film, which is giddily romantic, funny and clever, chock-full of Shakespearean touches like doomed love, mistaken identity and men dressing as women and women dressing as men. EDIT
Posted Feb 22, 2016
Star Wars (1977) Rip Hotch It's a throwback to that more innocent kind of film, where you know who's good and who's bad, where you boo the villain and cheer the hero...The movie makes fun of those clichés, but director George Lucas must love them too, because he makes them work. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2015
3/4 Casino Royale (2006) Matt Soergel It's as close to Fleming's books as we've seen since the early days of Sean Connery. And it's darker, for sure, and more brutal than almost all of the movies. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2015
2/4 Die Another Day (2002) Matt Soergel Adding to the grimness: The title song is from Madonna, a dreary bit of lightweight electro-pop that goes on and on to little effect. EDIT
Posted Nov 2, 2015
2.5/4 Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Matt Soergel The good news in Tomorrow Never Dies is that Pierce Brosnan fills out James Bond's tux considerably better. In his second go at Bond, he seems tougher and less-lightweight. EDIT
Posted Nov 1, 2015
3/4 The Simpsons Movie (2007) Matt Soergel It's impossible to keep the Simpsons down. Even during those draggy parts, you need to stay alert: You never know when the film's 11 credited screenwriters will unleash another zinger. EDIT
Posted Aug 2, 2015
3/4 Finding Nemo (2003) Matt Soergel It looks great, of course: All the Pixar movies do. But the genius of those other movies lay in their actual stories -- stories as inspired as the animation. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2015
3/4 Daredevil (2003) Matt Soergel Much of the film is a setup for hoped-for sequels, so the plot isn't really the thing. But Daredevil benefits from some strong supporting roles. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2015
2/4 Blade II (2002) Matt Soergel The original Blade movie was a chilling, gory vampire story, energetic and stylish -- all in all, a bloodthirsty success. The second one's chaotic and dumb and almost completely without thrills. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2015
3/4 Spider-Man (2002) Matt Soergel Spider-Man is the most modest would-be summer blockbuster in a long while, an adaptation of the 40-year-old Marvel comic book that's surprisingly heartfelt, but also a bit pokey and underwhelming. EDIT
Posted Jul 7, 2015
4/4 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Matt Soergel There are many big moments in E.T., but also plenty of magical small ones that make it work after all these years. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2015
3.5/4 Shrek (2001) Matt Soergel The story's simple, the quest not that complicated. But the joy of Shrek is in the telling, in the details along the way. EDIT
Posted Jun 9, 2015
4/4 Children of Men (2006) Matt Soergel Children of Men is so boldly told, so thought out, so infused with the joy of filmmaking, that it's absolutely exhilarating. It's one of the best movies of the past year. EDIT
Posted Apr 1, 2015
The Departed (2006) Matt Soergel It's a convoluted, rich plot that goes back decades, but The Departed is so sure-footed it all makes sense. EDIT
Posted Jan 25, 2015
3/4 Joyeux Noël (2005) Matt Soergel A compelling war-what-is-it-good-for? film, a simple, empathetic story based on a real event. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
3.5/4 Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) Matt Soergel Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is as deep and as much fun as its title: That is, not very, and quite a lot. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
3/4 Elf (2003) Matt Soergel Will Ferrell has the ability to turn those wide eyes and that big body into a potent comic weapon, so Elf gets a good number of laughs from his complete, innocent abandonment to his role as a lummox-size elf. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
Bad Santa (2003) Matt Soergel It's a movie that ages well. I suspect that Bad Santa, after playing profitably at the box office through the holidays, is fated for a long life as an out-of-nowhere cult hit, perhaps along the lines of Office Space. EDIT
Posted Dec 14, 2014
3/4 Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Matt Soergel The whole of it isn't much, but the parts are sometimes splendid. Kubrick was messing with our minds, as always. EDIT
Posted Dec 13, 2014
2.5/4 Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) Matt Soergel The action's pretty pedestrian, and you wouldn't be blamed if you wished they'd just get it over with so that we could get back to the glories of Hellboy himself. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2014
3.5/4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) Matt Soergel The acting is stronger than ever in this fourth installment. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2014
4/4 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Matt Soergel Satisfyingly, Astin's Sam grows the most here, coming into his heroic own. His big eyes, gazing adoringly and beseechingly at the tormented Frodo, speak volumes about loyalty and bravery. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2014
3.5/4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Matt Soergel Have no fear, you legions of Potter fans: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a solid step forward in the movie adaptations of J.K. Rowling's much-read novels. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2014
3.5/4 Shrek 2 (2004) Matt Soergel It's a close call as to which one's better. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2014
3.5/4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) Matt Soergel Turning 13 suits our intrepid Hogwarts students just fine in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. EDIT
Posted Nov 16, 2014
3/4 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) Matt Soergel Much of the movie is exciting. But none of it is as satisfying as what Jackson was able to create in Fellowship, the first film. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2014
3.5/4 Pan's Labyrinth (2006) Matt Soergel Pan's Labyrinth seems as if it has a direct, unfiltered link to the horrors that can haunt a child's mind. It'll likely lurk in yours for weeks to come. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2014
Frost/Nixon (2008) Matt Soergel Frost/Nixon is smart and involving, a thoroughly grown-up and carefully made drama about the real-life, on-air showdown between a lightweight TV personality and a disgraced ex-president. EDIT
Posted Oct 28, 2014
2.5/4 Saw (2004) Matt Soergel It is all, of course, total nonsense. But for horror fans it's good nonsense, in the way that a creepy urban legend told by flashlight in a tent at 2 a.m. can be fine and dandy nonsense. EDIT
Posted Oct 27, 2014
A Beautiful Mind (2001) Matt Soergel The story also comes up with a clever way for Nash to fight his problem: He uses his mind. His illness is a puzzle, after all, and he's good at figuring out puzzles. You'll root for him. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2014
3.5/4 The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Matt Soergel Anderson likes his characters too much to see real cruelty befall them; you likely will too. EDIT
Posted Oct 1, 2014
3/4 28 Days Later (2002) Matt Soergel It's an efficient reminder that science-fiction filmmaking doesn't necessarily have to be swamped by special effects, that the best of it comes in tweaking the familiar just enough to turn it fantastical. EDIT
Posted Sep 30, 2014
The Blair Witch Project (1999) Matt Soergel Feel free to admire it: As a cheeky, clever stunt, it deserves it. Enjoying it fully might be a bit more difficult. EDIT
Posted Sep 29, 2014
Lost in Space (1998) Matt Soergel It's too long and a bit clunky, the special effects sometimes slip, and the plot seems at times to be made up as it went along. But Lost in Space remains appealing, with a great robot, a genuine sense of adventure and a good bit of ambition. EDIT
Posted Sep 17, 2014
3.5/4 Insomnia (2002) Matt Soergel Insomnia proves that Memento wasn't a fluke: Nolan is a major talent with many more good films ahead of him. EDIT
Posted Aug 25, 2014
3.5/4 Spider-Man 2 (2004) David Crumpler Through it all, Maguire remains the ideal actor to play the conflicted superhero. Earnest and vulnerable, you see why he delights in the transformation to superhero. And why he also feels its burden. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2014
Chicken Run (2000) Matt Soergel Like Wallace & Gromit, it's a paean to British eccentricity, equal parts cluelessness and hopefulness, full of English slang and dry Brit humor. EDIT
Posted Aug 24, 2014
4/4 Saving Private Ryan (1998) Matt Soergel This is Spielberg's way of showing that these warriors were ordinary men -- men who, if they survived, became the grandfathers and great-grandfathers who, these days, pass largely unnoticed through life. EDIT
Posted Aug 19, 2014
4/4 The Truman Show (1998) Matt Soergel Under a cheerfully sunny sky that only heightens the paranoia, it's brilliant in conception and execution, with dozens of bright touches -- verbal jokes, visual jokes, spooky looks. EDIT
Posted Aug 18, 2014
3.5/4 The Iron Giant (1999) Matt Soergel This is sharp, sophisticated stuff, appreciated on different levels by both parents and children, and even those who are neither. The film has impish humor, great adventure and more than a few thrills. EDIT
Posted Aug 12, 2014
1/4 Summer Catch (2001) Matt Soergel Big chunks of plot seem to be missing, as if left on the editing-room floor so that director Mike Tollin, in his feature debut, can get to yet another inspiring speech. EDIT
Posted Aug 8, 2014
Woo (1998) Matt Soergel Pinkett Smith does just fine. She's sexy, funny and ironic and carries Woo as it ambles all over a Brooklyn night that's one long party. EDIT
Posted Jul 26, 2014
3/4 The Ring (2002) Matt Soergel The Ring, an elegantly creepy film set in a perpetual Seattle rainstorm, is interested more in eerie, unnerving thrills than bloodletting. EDIT
Posted Jul 25, 2014
1/4 The Avengers (1998) Matt Soergel The Avengers is so bad it even elicits a horrible -- even embarrassing -- performance from Sean Connery. EDIT
Posted Jul 8, 2014
1/4 Gigli (2003) Matt Soergel The two stars may be in love in real life, but they've managed to keep that chemistry well-hidden on screen. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2014
Catwoman (2004) Matt Soergel Catwoman is worse than bad -- it's boring. So boring it's not even laughable. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2014
0.5/4 Battlefield Earth (2000) Matt Soergel There are many things to make fun of here. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2014
Wild Wild West (1999) Matt Soergel For pure summer escapism, you could do far worse. EDIT
Posted Jun 17, 2014
2.5/4 Armageddon (1998) Matt Soergel It's such a thrill ride, in fact, that after its 2 1/2 hours of thrills, you're likely to feel more pummeled than entertained, which is just the point. EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2014