wester37's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Barry Munday
Barry Munday(2010)

"Barry Munday" is the story of a hapless (but sweetly sincere) slacker-doofus who loses his testicles and gains a family. Neat.

While the story is blissfully upbeat, it offers few surprises (aside from the ball-chopping incident) to anyone familiar with any other dad-to-be, self-actualization rom-com ("Knocked Up," I'm looking at you).

The film's best feature is its cast. Patrick Wilson does a terrific job creating a sympathetic balance between stammering man-boyism and earnestness within the titular Barry, and the chronically underutilized Judy Greer brings life to the dour Ginger. Jean Smart does a fine job as Barry's weary mother. But the rest of the cast's heavy-hitters (Malcom McDowell, Billy Dee Williams, Chloe Sevigny) are largely relegated to the background as foils for the bumbling Barry. Cameos by Kyle Gass and Mae Whitman provide great nerd fodder, but are over too quickly.

My biggest gripe with "Barry" is its many unanswered questions (What WAS that girl's father doing at the theater? WHY did he have that trumpet? What WAS the Asian neighbor apologizing for? WAS Jennifer really at that club? WHY doesn't Ginger ever clean herself up?) But perhaps these loose ends prove the film's point that life's unexpected mysteries (and miracles) are just par for the course.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Keeping in mind Prince of Persia is another Disney/Bruckheimer production, it's essentially Pirates of the Caribbean with a lot more sand and a lot less charm.

The action and acting is alright, the cinematography and editing unextraordinary. The SFX could use some extra polish, and the story - a predictable avert-armageddon scenario with undertones of self-actualization and familial love - ends with a big middle finger, basically negating the preceding 80 or so minutes of film. And aside from the title and a few minor aesthetic touches, there's not much tying the film to its namesake videogame franchise. Then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing.

As a family-friendly actioner, it's not bad. As mainstream-sensitive videogame adaptations go, it's decent. But as an overall package, it's pretty "meh." Watch Curse of the Black Pearl again, instead.

The Runaways
The Runaways(2010)

Dirty, sexy rock n' roll rocket fuel.

Only thing missing: Michael Shannon's Oscar nom. Boo.

It's Kind of a Funny Story

...is kind of an awesome film. Don't expect it to break the "quirky dramedy" mold established by its predecessors ("Little Miss Sunshine," "Juno," and "The Kids Are Alright," to name a few) and you'll complete the experience glowing.

The cast is fantastic all-around. Zach Galifianakis (Bob) shines in a rare dramatic role, and Keir Gilchrist (Craig) handles the lead admirably. Emma Roberts (Noelle) and Viola Davis (Dr. Minerva) likewise turn in terrific performances.

"Funny Story" isn't flawless. A sing-along/dream sequence seems oddly out of place, despite the film's abundance of cinematic gimmickry - narration, asides, direct addresses, animation, and photo-roman - but these work in support of the story and do little to detract from the overall experience.

The Secret of Kells

A little short on story and too quickly wrapped-up, "Kells" is a wonderfully imaginative, beautifully realized visual treat, a charming confluence of historical fact, Celtic mythos, and traditional art.

"Kells" greatest achievement by far is its singular animation style, a combination of simple, angular shapes, digital DoF trickery and patterned knotwork symmetry. The artists' penchant for surrealistic proportions adds an incredible dynamic to the visual style, creating and enhancing visual tension in every frame.

Solid voice acting and an incredible traditional score round out the package. Don't expect too much from the narrative (the "...is that it?" ending is a bit of a drag) and you'll come away with a whimsical visual experience rarely matched in this era of full-CG animating.

Born Into Brothels

A bittersweet documentary about a handful of gifted children born and raised in Calcutta's Red Light District, "Brothels" is as heartbreaking as it is sincere.

At its core,"Brothels" is a story about eight wonderfully bright but terribly underprivileged kids and their often-impressive photographic skills (yes, their pictures are GOOD). But better than that is the film's ability to present each child as an individual, brilliantly self-aware, rife with aspirations and emotions. It's wonderfully humanizing, but in a way that allows the viewer to recognize that the children's personalities defy construction: they are intelligent, thoughtful, talented (real) people, with or without the camera's eye.

But "Brothels" isn't just about this cadre of young artists. It's also the story of co-director/photography teacher Zana Briski and her endearing humanitarian efforts to build a future for the ostracized Red Lighters; an exploration of the maligned District and its inhabitants; and a commentary on Calcutta's backward sociopolitical system.

Often times, films fail for trying to do or be too much. Similarly, "Brothels" is hampered by its inability to give each storyline equal attention. A deeper analysis of Calcutta's politics and the social affects of the Red Light stigma would have helped flesh out the children's stories; and Briski (seeming initially to be an intruder in her own film) deserves to have her charitable efforts chronicled completely. But "Brothels" still manages to soar, leaving you wanting more. That's a high compliment for any film.

Whatever Works

Woody Allen has built his reputation by keenly observing the quirks and nuances of human behavior, giving special attention to the dynamics of sex and narcissism. His 2009 offering, "Whatever Works," follows this tradition, but somehow falls short of its namesake.

Larry David makes an adequate star turn as Allen doppelganger Boris, a paranoid, self-righteous, pessimistic, (self-described) genius whose fourth-wall-shattering monologues move the plot forward...sort of. The truth is, there's not much to the story but a ton of philosophical water-treading; and the ending wraps everything up a bit too suddenly and nicely. It's all a little too circumstantial to swallow...but maybe that's the point.

It's not a great film, certainly not one of Allen's better attempts, but it's worth a watch if you're already throwing down for Netflix. It's interesting to watch Larry David play an even more acerbic version of his "Curb Your Enthusiasm" self, but the film's almost complete lack of awkward tension sucks most of the fun out of it.

Get Low
Get Low(2010)

Robert Duvall is outstanding as stalwart hermit Felix Bush. The rest of the cast - including an understated and strangely characterless Bill Murray - does a fine job keeping pace with the veteran actor.

Other pros: The cinematography (especially lighting and color) is excellent, and the production design is spot-on.

Unfortunately, the storyline winds up feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Bush's tragic past could use some additional attention; and the dark myths and whispered local legends about the old man are never explained. Duvall does an incredible job bringing Bush to life, but some extra exposition would have helped flesh out the character more completely.


Synopsis: Dave Foley's dick and Verne Troyer getting raped by chimpanzees.

Purposely offensive, completely unfunny; poorly written, shot, and edited. Film students do better than this embarrassing pantload.

What did J.K. Simmons do to deserve "Postal"?

HALO Legends
HALO Legends(2010)

In 2003, the Wachowski Bros. - self-professed anime geeks - recruited a selection of Japan's finest directors and animation studies to create a series of shorts exploring and expanding the Matrix canon. The result was the phenomenal, somewhat-trippy-somewhat-terrifying "The Animatrix." It is just as potent today.

"Halo Legends," a spiritual successor to the Wachowskis' brilliant experiment in media cross-pollination, doesn't fare as well. The concept is essentially the same: give a handful of anime luminaries free play in the Halo universe. But where "The Animatrix" balances its action sequences with thoughtful, occasionally mind-bending meditations on what the meaning of "humanity," "Halo Legends" tends to be light on philosophy. As a longtime fan of Japanese media, I've become more than a little burnt out on this sort of endless, transcendental deliberation, but "The Animatrix" wields it brilliantly; "Halo Legends" does not.

The best of the eight-episode spread is the two-parter "Origins" which chronicles the fate of the mysterious Forerunners, the Flood invasion, and the creation of the Halo superweapon. Reminiscent of "The Animatrix's" "The Second Renaissance Parts I & II" (which follows the rise of mankind and subjugation by sentient machines), these stories give diehards a brief, startling glimpse at series history. For anyone interested in the Halo (and Matrix) mythos, these episodes score.

What remains of "Legends" is a handful of love-'em-or-leave-'em shoot-'em-ups and slow-burning philosophical head-scratchers. The lack of documentary featurettes is unfortunate, but forgivable. Most of the animation looks terrific, although the CGI pieces kinda look like butt. Regardless, Halo fans should appreciate the canonical references and deference to Master Chief. I did, anyway.

"Legends'" overall package isn't bad, but neither is it anything worth getting excited about. It's sort of tragic, though, because the Halo universe deserves better. Maybe next time Microsoft should let dedicated talents (Neil Bomkamp) take a crack at the canon. The result would almost definitely be better than this sadly lukewarm effort.

Slumdog Millionaire

Fantastic acting, amazing cinematography, and a remarkably compelling story. But I could've done without the dance number.

Not perfect, but pretty close.


Calling a Miyazaki film "magical," "whimsical," "captivating" is redundant: Miyazaki-san is all these things. (Give the man a Nobel Prize, already)

For its latest, Studio Ghibli re-imagines Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid," the story of a magical sea-dwelling nymph (this time a "fish" called Ponyo) who must win the unconditional love of a human boy in order to become human herself. Where Disney chose to make the story a classic good-versus-evil, princess-in-distress, love-conquers-all drama, "Ponyo" retains an air of cherubial wonder by firmly planting the story in the real world (a small island off the Japanese mainland) and letting the story unfold through the eyes of children. The result is nothing short of fantastic.

Some typical traits of Ghiblii films make a welcome appearance here: the lack of a solid antagonist (Miyazaki's villains are never all-bad, just awaiting redemption), moments of inexplicable horror/wonder (oozing sludge monsters and waves that crest the moon), and an intense attention to detail (check the realistic detail of young Sosuke running with a pail full of water or a lonely octopus creeping into his house).

The cast of English voice actors is likewise stellar: Tina Fey is perfect as the young boy's tenacious mother; Liam Neeson - sounding a little too old at first - does admirably as Ponyo's frantic father; and a host of other talent (Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, Lily Tomlin) round out the roster. Frankie Jonas, as "protagonist" Sosuke, and Noah Cyrus, as the titular Ponyo, do a fantastic job adding life to the young children. Overall, the voice acting is rather understated, but this quality makes perfect sense in Miyazaki's realistic world.

Personally, I don't think this installment quite measures up to Miyazaki's phenomenal "Spirited Away" (2003), but it is in no way a bad film. Add this to your (grand)child's library. In fact, add it to your own library.


Up in the Air

Beautifully shot, brilliantly acted, and intelligently written. An endearing, heart-wrenching, deeply human, (worthy) successor to Reitman's indie smash "Juno." A little less quirky, but still well worth the ticket price.

Bonus points for Jason Bateman's best film role since forever.

Gentlemen Broncos

After striking out with his 2006 Jack Black vehicle "Nacho Libre," director/co-writer Jared Hess returns to his roots ("Napoleon Dynamite") for another dose of rural delusion...and one of the most fascinatingly grotesque casts of extras in cinema.

What's good about "Gentlemen Broncos"? Mainly, the cast, led by Jemaine Clement ("Flight of the Conchords") as fantastically self-important science fiction luminary, Dr. Robert Chevalier. (His drawl, somewhere between Vincent D'Onofrio's "Ed Wood" Orson Welles and Bill Hader's Vincent Price is, uh...dynamite). Mike White ("School of Rock") steps in as a pasty, lethargic Big Brother with a penchant for homemade blow darts and incontinent snakes. And Sam Rockwell ("Choke") kills first as the beastly alpha male Bronco, then the absurdly effeminate Brutus in the film's delightfully melodramatic/trippy sidetracks into the 70s-kitsch sci-fi drama inspired by the stolen novella. These bits might be the best part of the film...if you're under the influence.

What's bad about "Gentlemen Broncos"? Mostly that the humor tends to miss. A lot of it is based on watching awkward human beings attempting to interact or discovering their status as hopeless losers (although some of them do earn some redemption by the end of the film). This quality is reminiscent of "Napoleon Dynamite's" humor, so if you weren't into that film (I wasn't), you probably won't like this one, either.


People who've seen "Fanboys" are divided into two camps: those who appreciate it for its frequent references to and quotations from the original "Star Wars" trilogy...and me.

My reason for disliking "Fanboys"' "Star Wars"-centricity is twofold. First, many of its references are too obvious to be witty and too conveniently placed to feel truly organic. The script never really evolves beyond verbatim film quotations which fit nicely within its contrived situations. Kevin Smith consistently dodges this bullet by having his characters discuss the "Star Wars" canon much more theoretically and critically. (Somehow, THAT works for me). Second, the whole concept of "Star Wars" fandom as portrayed by the film is sort of skewed. The characters' knowledge of the Expanded Universe (which even in 1998 was already fairly robust) is basically nonexistent, or at least unexplored. And no fanboy cliche - virginity, social awkwardness, crossover nerdiness, Trekkie standoffishness - goes unnoticed. I dunno...somehow all of that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe, as a longtime "Star Wars" geek, I feel a little misrepresented.

"Fanboys" does redeem itself somewhat with a likable central cast (Jay Baruchel, Sam Huntington, Kristen Bell), an endless supply of sci-fi luminaries (Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Bill Shatner) and current-gen comedy stars (Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Ethan Suplee, and Will Forte, to name a few). Awesome.

My real problem with the film is that it uses "Star Wars" as a sort of lens that brackets the story's real central conflict: how young friends deal with loss and separation. This theme is never fully realized because the film is often too busy stroking its own ego by making "Star Wars" jokes.

"Fanboys" is decent, but nothing to get excited about.

Or maybe I just hate fun.

The Lovely Bones

"The Lovely Bones" is one of those book-to-film adaptations that does service to the prototext while establishing an identity all its own. Much as Jackson and co. were forced to abridge and occasionally reimagine the Lord of the Rings in order to make it more digestible for film audiences, some interesting aspects of Alice Sebold's original story (including a trauma-induced affair between Susie's mother and the detective assigned to her case) are left out of the movie.

Individually, these omissions don't hurt the film. Taken as a whole, they do have an effect on the overall narrative transition from literature to cinema. While the film tends to linger on Susie's experiences in the heavenly "in-between," the book explores more thoroughly the resonating effects of her death on the people around her -- the way in which her family begins to fall apart while her friends and classmates mature and move on. It's disappointing that this aspect of the book - really, its central theme - didn't make it to the screen; but both versions are well worth experiencing as separate works.

Acting is great all around, with standout performances by Stanley Tucci as the eerily unassuming Mr. Harvey and Susan Sarandon as Susie's tough-love grandmother. You'll know exactly what to expect visually if you've seen any of Jackson's recent films. Scenes of the "in-between" are lyrical and beautifully surreal. One sequence in particular - a mindtrip through a hellacious version of Harvey's house combined seamlessly with pop-ins on the sites of his past murders - is fantastically rendered and is reminiscent of Gondry's collapsing beach house at the conclusion of "Eternal Sunshine...."

Good Dick
Good Dick(2008)

Incredibly moving romantic drama. Absolutely amazing.

Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)

I have a soft spot for films about all things rock 'n roll, so it's no surprise I got a huge kick out of "Pirate Radio." It's a story - "based in truth" - about a boys club of limey DJs broadcasting (illegally, as it turns out) rock radio to the underserved UK masses. Heartwarming hilarity ensues.

The film's cast is flawless. Bill Nighy turns in an unsurprisingly stellar performance as the ship's charmingly cool "captain" and de facto patriarch. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Nick Frost likewise shine in their respective roles as fiercely passionate and cooly defiant American uberhost and shlubby, unrepentant spright.

The narrative tends to be fairly episodic, and there's no real payoff with the antagonizing Parliamentary stuffed shirts. But the editing and cinematography is terrific; the soundtrack unbeatable.

Away We Go
Away We Go(2009)

Although Away We Go stands as a beautiful, if somewhat meandering, rumination on the nature of parenthood and family, it unfortunately ends up being held back by painfully predictable support characters and awkward pacing.

A series of shallow stereotypes (self-possessed inlaws; boisterously lowbrow, negligent parents; aggressively hippy-dippy, communal whackos) assaults the expectant couple before they can meet the film's more "real" adults, each of them suffering through the trials of shattered parenthood. A series of lyrical, dialogue-heavy scenes at film's end slow the pace to a turtle crawl, but is forgivable if you've already been persuaded to invest in the leads.

John Krasinski turns in a solid performance as Burt, the endearingly boyish, almost unshakably buoyant father-to-be; but at times the character flounders from it's own head-shaking enthusiasm. But Maya Rudolph shines as Verona, the persistent, grounded expecting mother. She is, without a doubt, the emotional center of the film, and easily the most believable human of the bunch.

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)

Hilarious, but ultimately a little pointless. Don't expect the come-lately warm fuzzies typical of an Apatow production; but do expect to laugh -- a lot.

Quantum of Solace

Though it doesn't really improve upon the new Bond formula first seen in 2006's Casino Royale, Quantum impresses with its ability to keep the series more "realistic" skew fresh and exciting. Some people have complained about the narrative picking up immediately after the events of Casino, but the continuity helps further flesh out Bond's once-elusive humanity in his quest to avenge Vesper and placate/protect M.
Terrific performances by Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and the rest of the cast, coupled with some amazing photography help round out the newest Bond as one of the best in the franchise.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer(2008)

Anyone not versed in anime conventions (smearing backgrounds, caustic colors, unreal action sequences, and outlandish character design) might not appreciate the Wachowskis' live action treatment of the classic cartoon. And despite a superfluous narrative, Speed Racer dazzles when it comes to the races. John Goodman goes the extra mile with his take on Pops, but the rest of the cast seems largely uninspired. Wonder what this looks like on Bluray...?

Step Brothers

While there's no denying the comedic chemistry between Ferrell and Reilly, the vulgarity-for-vulgarity's-sake tone of the movie relegates it to a level somewhere below Apatow's more endearing productions (Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin). That being said, Will's fake package and a slow pan around the duo karate kicking a crowd of preteens is classic. And - oh yes - it's quotable.

Up the Yangtze

While it does a great job at profiling the different types of people being displaced by the ongoing Three Gorges Dam project, it never seems to delve deep enough to give the viewer a true understanding of the feelings off displacement and loss these individuals are surely suffering. Some basic information on the history of the project would have been helpful, too.

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)

You got your horrific violence in my cheeky British comedy.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Boring, poorly paced.........Jabba's gay uncle.

The Matrix
The Matrix(1999)

Technopunk zeitgeist. I realize it's the kind of film pretentious pseduocritics like to look down on for the mere fact it became a blockbuster/cultural phenomenon well beyond the scope of its assumed highbrow audience; but you can't ignore its impact having as much to do with its relevance and imagination as its badass fight sequences. Sure it spawned a couple of shitty sequels and some lousy videogames (although The Animatrix is brilliant). The Matrix remains absolutely incredible. Not my favorite film, but still one of the few I can watch over and over and over again.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

The Burton Touch certainly goes a long way in this film, but it can't quite make up for the mostly shaky vocal performances. Johnny Depp reveals some impressive pipes (as does Sacha Baron Cohen), but Bonham Carter and Rickman are better left to their indisputable acting chops. Sweeney's got loads of style and a killer ensemble, if nothing else...too bad it strikes a slightly sour note.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Hilarious. Bad ass. Second only to Guy's sophomore effort, Snatch, but still a standout for its artisitc and comic twists on the Brit caper class.

Dan in Real Life

Thoroughly predictable, depressingly average. Probably the saddest thing about this flick is realizing how completely shoe-horned Steve Carell has become with his loveable loser character. Maxim called it "the feel-good comedy of the year"; why waste your time on "feel-good" when you could be enjoying something thought-provoking or comeplling?

Eastern Promises

I'm gonna get this out of the way now: Viggo's dick is a placebo. There, I said it. An awesome film, marred only by the abrupt and somewhat ambiguous ending. Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel are icing on an already-incredible cake. Just don't look for Viggo's dick and you'll be OK.

American Gangster

Denzel Washington is a badass.

The Bank Job
The Bank Job(2008)

Jason Statham OWNS the latterday Brit caper. Good, but I imagine Guy Ritchie could've made it into something special.

Charlie Wilson's War

So what's more incredible about this film? The fact that Charlie Wilson was actually a real guy or that Philip Seymour Hoffman easily stands toe-to-toe with Tom Hanks for the title "Most Brilliant Character Actor." Don't belabor it. Instead just enjoy Tom and the Hoff (along with a stellar support cast) in Mike Nichols' latest masterpiece.

Big Fish
Big Fish(2003)

Despite a truly inspired performance by Albert Finney, "Big Fish" flops. Here's an example of a film that tries to be about everything but comes off being about nothing; and the end seems confusing in its simplicity. I expected better of Burton. At least Lou Wainwright makes an appearance.

There Will Be Blood

Nothing warms my heart like seeing whacko fundamentalist Christians get their asses handed to them. Helps a lot that Daniel Day-Lewis is probably (next to Johnny Depp) one of the absolute best character actors alive. Even if TWBB had nothing else to offer (don't worry--it does), Day-Lewis' performance makes it well worth the price of admission.


Definately one of the truly great, touchstone coming-of-age comedies of our generation, easily on par with the late-70s/early-80s films of Harrold Ramis. Super-authentic dialogue and awkwardness (thanks in large part to a stellar performance by Michael Cera). Funny. As. Shit. Cliches? Sure: Superhilarious. Superraunchy. Superquotable. Definitive. See it.

Balls of Fury

There are good gross-out comedies (Tommy Boy, Old School) and there are brilliant gross-out comedies (Dumb & Dumber, Superbad). And then there are those like Balls of Fury: Completely disjointed, underdeveloped, and more often than not, regrettably unfunny. I just want to know who greenlights films like this? I don't think I'm being ridiculous suggesting the probable selling-point for this trainwreck was "Christopher Walken plays Ping-Pong...to the death...with crazy hair." On the bright side, the requisite girl is a hottie (maybe that's just my weakness for beautiful Asian women) and Freddy "Fingers" doing the robot is captivatingly cool. He probably should've just done it for the whole film. I'd've financed that.

Taste of Tea, The (Cha No Aji)

A beautifully-filmed ponderance on life and the joys of living; childhood, imagination, and the power of human spirit.


A true mind-fuck, incredible in every aspect.

The Golden Compass

Dakota Blue Richards is fantastic as Lyra, and the CGI is great; but the film loses much of the emotional depth of the book, not to mention the religious overtones. Better than average, but far from great.

Edward Scissorhands

Johnny Depp is amazing. And I'm a sucker for fairy tale romances.

Shallow Grave

...what is it with Danny Boyle and creepy baby dolls?


A true classic. Ingrid Bergman is absolutely beautiful.

My Beautiful Girl, Mari

Not sure what I'm most disappointed in: The mundane storyline (sans any appreciable climax), the generally unlikeable leads or the Flash movie vector art animation. Ultimately forgettable. For great family-friendly fantasy fare (whew!) - anime style ...(read more)- check out Hayao Miyazaki's library. Nice cat animations, though.

Bridge to Terabithia

Two major problems here: First, the fantasy element feels tacked-on. I've never read the book (maybe it reads better in print form) but here it seems absolutely unnecessary and disappointingly uninspired. The story probably would've worked just as well - if not better - focusing more on the kids' relationship. Second, here's a film that's aimed directly at pre-teens and no one else. There's really nothing here to engage an older audience, which is sad considering so many other fantasy "kid flicks" (Spirited Away, Narnia, and Harry Potter to name a few) offer so much more for the older set.


As much as I enjoyed the film, the neo-classic anime trend of bombarding the viewer with tons of pyschoanalytical and often confusing concepts, leading to a semi-revelatory conclusion is starting to wear on me. Oh well...at least the title theme is cool.

The Fountain
The Fountain(2006)

It's about what you'd expect from Aronofsky: A highly-visual brooding mood-fest; too bad the plot's a little Darko-esque (read:..wtf?). Hugh Jackman gives an amazing performance, and one the SFX shots at the Tree of Life is absolutely haunting.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Terrifically faithful adaptation of the book featuring decent acting and mostly unimpressive visual FX. Great score...looking forward to the next one.

The Daytrippers

Pretty bland, but the climax with Louis? One of the best.

A Mighty Wind

Not particularly funny, but it gets bonus points for the tragically sweet Mitch & Mickey subplot. That and the cast's wholey impressive musical talent.

Land of the Dead

Romero's latest might not have been so bad if the plot hadn't been sporting more holes that the titular dead. The plot/backstory is infuriatingly underdeveloped; Why are the zombies getting smarter? Is this a global issue or confined to the continental US? Why and how are the zombie-killing mercs hired out by Kauffman? I could go on pointing out other ways the film fails (Cholo's anticlimactic death, Hopper's poor performance), but instead I'll comment on the half-baked attempt at social commentary in the form of the city's stratification and Kauffman's Nazi-esque guards. Make-up and zombie extras were rad, though. I wanted to like it...I really did.

Ocean's Eleven

The coolest thing about Ocean's Eleven is easily its ensemble cast. My only...thing with that (and it's less a complaint than an observation) is that the extensive list of A-listers almost destroys the illusion. It seems more or less like a film about George Clooney and Brad Pitt planning a heist with their buddies Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, and Don Cheadle while Julia Roberts (funny, looking back on the sequel) shmoozes with Andy Garcia. Maybe if more of the actors had been playing against type instead of being cast into roles they're comfortable and familiar with.... Fun, though, and witty.

Meet the Fockers

Hoffman + Deniro = Awesome.

Evan Almighty

I love Steve Carrell and all, but...meh. Evan is good kid-friendly family fun, but as a comedy it's pretty flacid and ultimately anticlimactic. The only real enlightenment the movie delivers is just how stale and predictable the family-comedy genre's become.

Curse of the Golden Flower

Yimou brings back the family melodrama in a big way with this one, but it all feels a little overwrought by the end. Cinematography is beautifully done, but the near-constant onslaught of gold and primary colors is a little exhausting. The fight scen...(read more)es are almost over-coreographed, and the virtual legions of throw-away troops lessen the impact of any particular death (aside from the leads). It's average, but the visuals alone merit an extra half star. Also - Chan...booyeah!


Wonderfully acted and beautifully filmed "coming-of-age" tale about a detached teen (Justin) trying to come to grips with everyone else's ideas of normalcy amidst the confusion of his own awkward family. Lou Pucci (Justin) is great, and appearances b...(read more)y Keanu Reeves and Vince Vaughn (as a semi-new age orthodontist and involved teacher respectively) seem pretty spot on.

My Neighbor Totoro

A little too simplistic and uneventful (nothing ever really happens) to be truly enjoyable; it's over almost before it's begun. I suppose it's great for younger kids, but older audiences won't find much to keep their attention - I couldn't, anyway. D...(read more)o yourself a favor and pick up one of Miyazaki's more fantastical works instead, like Howl's Moving Castle or (especially) Spirited Away.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up(2007)

Awesome, awesome, hilarious romantic comedy. So much heart coupled with spot-on frat house/stoner antics (Apatow has a knack for nailing realistically sophomoric dialogue). All the pop culture references are great (Ben's friends spoofing Murderball o...(read more)n hijacked wheelchairs in the hospital's waiting room), and the akwardness of forging a new relationship is played out to perfection by Heigl and Rogen. Cliched, I know...but this one's heartwarming, and affirmative. Absolutely beautiful.