2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind "Normally I wouldn’t dare buck 50-odd years of critical indoctrination that only directors can be considered the "authors" of their films, but Mr. Kaufman presents us with a few problems."
Kill Bill—Vol. 2 "No doubt about it, Kill Bill is trash–but it’s genuine trash. These days, Hollywood has usurped B-movie plots and "elevated" them with A-list talent. But the result is never satisfying."
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow "Conran has created an anachronism in every sense: Not only is it "retro" science fiction, but it’s also a pure-hearted adventure tale of a sort we rarely see these days."
Starsky & Hutch "How much longer must we wait before we can at last buy tickets for Holmes and Yoyo: The Movie?"
The Triplets of Belleville "Michael Eisner and his corporate drones would much rather blow $140 million on the monotonously formulaic Treasure Planet, and then conclude by its failure that CGI is now the only way to lure ticket buyers."


2003

2 Fast 2 Furious "It kicks Cannonball Run’s ass."
Bend It Like Beckham
"Enough of the giggly, boy-hungry, belly-button-exposing girly-girls. Where are the fast-thinking, odds-beating women-in-the-making that girls can genuinely relate to or be inspired by?"
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
"There was a time, not so very long ago, when liberal use of the term 'making whoopee' on television airwaves signaled the decline of western civilization."
The Cooler "Although today’s losers are most likely insurance salesmen from Kalamazoo who lodge their families at the Star Trek Hilton, we seem to identify more readily with the unshaven, unemployed loners…"
Cradle 2 the Grave "Who'll be next? Michelle Yeoh and Busta Rhymes? Fat Joe and Leslie Cheung? Bring it on, I say."
Gods and Generals "I can't decide if the bizarre Civil War epic Gods and Generals is the worst movie of the year or the best."
In the Cut "Campion disarticulates In the Cut with so many absurdities that the film’s pieces never cohere in the first place."
Intolerable Cruelty "Joel and Ethan Coen have forged a Hollywood career writing, directing, and producing movies that seemingly no executive in his or her right mind would ever agree to finance."
Kill Bill—Vol. 1 "Are middle-American multiplex audiences ready for grindhouse cinema? Can they "get" the none-too-subtle joys of severed limbs and plucked eyeballs?"
The Matrix Revolutions "It’s not often that a science-fiction action movie starring Keanu Reeves can make you feel really, really stupid…"

2002

Blue Crush • "One of the more interesting side attractions to the summer-movie circus is seeing whom the media crowns the 'new action-movie king.'"
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
"I'd really like the chance to meet one of these hip Southern belles, but so far I've only seen them in the movies."
8 Mile
"
It takes a standard teen-movie formula, sets it in the world of Detroit's aspiring rappers, and dares to introduce the idea that perhaps fame and fortune are not givens."
The Four Feathers
"It rests on the horizon ever out of reach, like a glittering mirage tempting filmmakers to their doom: Lawrence of Arabia."
Minority Report
"Minority Report is a bit too bloodless, too cold, and too familiar to really 'haunt your nightmares for years to come.'"
Ocean's 11
"
Style, as a manly way of life, is dead in America."
Panic Room " It's difficult to know what to make of director David Fincher. Pulp auteur? Dark visionary? Or MTV hack with delusions of grandeur?"
Reign of Fire "The days of a zero-budget b-movie like Detour or Cat People shoving its way into cinema history on the strength of its vision alone are mostly behind us."
Rollerball "Whereas the original Rollerball was about the conformity of the masses and their pacification through violent spectacle, the new version embodies conformity and pacification via mindless violence."
Spider-Man "Although Sam Raimi is considered a Geek God by the ain't-it-cool-news faithful, he was by no means a safe choice for a big-budget superhero picture."
Summer Movies That Don't Exist Yet In our PopCult Summer Movie Preview, we look at the biggest movies not coming out this year, maybe.
The Sweetest Thing "America's favorite goofball, Cameron Diaz, seems to be building a career on fueling Man Show fantasies…"


2001

A.I. "You couldn't have dreamt up a more appealing target: a collaboration between the two film directors that critics most love to hate…"
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon "
Stories in modern action films serve merely as excuses for bloody spectacle…"
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back "It must be recognized that Kevin Smith, esteemed director of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma, has crafted the finest dick jokes in all of cinema history."
The Mexican "It's one of those films that have gone wrong on an atomic level, radiating pure negative energy."
Monsters Inc
. "
There comes a time in everyone's life when the movies stop wielding the same magic that they used to…"
Zoolander "
I curse Regal Cinemas for taking Pepsi's sugar-water money."


2000

Blair Witch 2 "Certainly, somebody had to take the bullet, and Artisan found just the right fall-guy to do it."
The Cider House Rules "As entertaining and humanistic as these tales are, John Irving's novels don't make for easy adaptations."
Gladiator
• "If you're going to spend $100 million on a movie, this is the way to do it."
Mission to Mars "While Brian DePalma often speaks highly of his own artistry in interviews, his movies smell of hackwork."
Rear Window
"Hollywood is swarming with serial killers. And for this I blame Jonathan Demme."
Topsy-Turvy "Topsy-Turvy is no ordinary film biography, like those dry epics from Sir Richard Attenborough that beat the life out of their subjects…"
Unbreakable
"
Beneath the hard, chitinous shell of every cynical film reviewer beats the heart of a miserable romantic."
X "
While I ought to be feeling a pleasant tingle of deja vu, I am instead chagrined at the regimentedness of it all…"

 

1999

American Beauty "American Beauty deftly peels away the layers of an All American dysfunctional family, uncovering the surprising inner lives of people we think we know…"
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me "The first Austin Powers was a movie for movie geeks, with references and gags that only a geek could appreciate right off the bat."
Being John Malkovich "So why John Malkovich? Take a look at the guy: Middle-age paunch, male pattern baldness, a cross-eyed degenerate cast to his gaze."
Bowfinger "This is America, after all, and you're expected to pursue your aspirations here–not doing so is worse than failure."
Election "Alexander Payne apprehends that innocuous, all-American ritual–elections for student council president–and uses it to reveal our worst impulses."
Magnolia "
…Magnolia is clearly an attempt by Anderson to craft a statement–not only about our era's parental missteps, but about his filmmaking abilities."
The Matrix "
Which makes it all the more amazing that The Matrix … is the smartest example of pure science fiction filmmaking in years…"
The Muse "
It's as if Albert Brooks' own character wrote the screenplay."
My Son the Fanatic " I don't know anyone who doesn't want to change his or her life."
Mystery Men "
The usual problem with super hero movies is that they're entirely predicated on pure hokum."
Rushmore "
If it doesn't have chase scenes, love stories, odd couples, fishes-out-of-water, epic battles, Bruce Willis, or lots of booty action, then it just doesn't make any sense."
A Simple Plan "
Sam Raimi has at long last received the critical accolades he's lacked for most of his career (critics love it when a populist gets 'serious')."
Still Crazy "
The best rock bands are flashes of youth unleashed–angry, hormonally charged, self-abusing, self-absorbed poet Neanderthals living out their lives for our consumption."


1998

54 "How can anyone take such a simple formula and make it seem so horribly dull?
American History X "Oh, how many well-intentioned miles of film have been wrapped around the evils of apartheid, slavery, the Holocaust, the Cold War…"
The Big Lebowski
• "Why do so many critics hate Joel and Ethan Coen?"
Clay Pigeons
"She is the inspiration for pale-faced, sarcastic, turtleneck-wearing college boys across the country…"
Dark City "As a card-carrying member of Bitter Critics Who Know Everything, I should be in full agreement on this point–when a director chooses style over content, it's a bad, bad thing that should be stamped out."
Deep Impact "
Now, the question for you the viewer is: Do you really want to see people prepare for their deaths?"
Grease "
Grease, a musical tribute to the adolescent pleasures of the ’50s, signaled a death knell to hippiedom even more final than Iggy Pop or Nixon's pardon."
Lolita "
Whether Adrian Lyne's film will unleash dark impulses in otherwise healthy males is debatable, though I highly doubt it."
Psycho (duplicate) • "
So who in the hell does Gus Van Sant think he is?"
Ronin "
Thus, we quickly come to Ronin’s biggest problem: It offers only the appearance of being clever…"
Spice World "
With every fiber of my being, I want to love the Spice Girls."
The Truman Show "
Somehow, it's not enough to make millions of dollars by simply acting like a horse's ass–no, every movie comic wants to be also known as a serious artiste."
The Wedding Singer "…with the exception of silliness like the Flashdance look and supply side economics, the ’80s were disappointingly mundane."

 

1997

Box of Moonlight "There comes a time in every movie critic's life when he or she must make that momentous decision: Am I for magic realism or am I against it?"
Face/Off "
Usually, tales of mass destruction by gun-toting lunkheads are about as dramatically arresting as watching a root canal operation…"
The Fifth Element "
All science fiction cinema fans desire one thing more than any other–even more than having William Shatner magically shed 30 years off his age…"
The Ice Storm "
We've descended into a '70s fetish that is equal parts nostalgia and fantasy."
A Life Less Ordinary "
Lord knows I'm not against anyone cashing in, but why succumb to such dreck?"
The Lost World: Jurassic Park"
We as an audience have been conditioned to accept less and less for our entertainment dollars…"
The Matchmaker "
Only a few select films have entered my pantheon of walkouts."
Men In Black "
All across the land, dead cows are missing their rectums."
Mother "
Somehow, our definition of the family movie has been reduced to meaning any film that is so pointless and trite nobody will be offended."
Romy and Michele's High School Reunion "
Since when did stupid people become the dominant type of characters for movies?"
Starship Troopers "If you're going to attack an alien homeworld with the intent of total annihilation, which makes more sense: a) send down hundreds of thousands of ground troops to be slaughtered, or b) nuke it to charcoal."
Star Wars ("director's cut") • "
Why George Lucas spent 20 years yearning to reinsert these brief, pointless sequences is inexplicable."


1996

Bottle Rocket "…Bottle Rocket is a promising sign of interesting films to come."
Bound "In past 'golden ages,' the bad movies just faded away into the ether; today, they end up on HBO and get repeated 50 billion times."
Escape From L.A.
"…director John Carpenter utterly lays waste to Los Angeles–and you can't help but love the guy for doing it."
Flirting With Disaster "… allow me to posit my theory on comedies: 98 percent of them stink."
Fargo "
Fargo thoroughly deglamorizes every Hollywood precept about murder that we've come to know and love…"
Kingpin "To put it more succinctly, Kingpin ought to make you puke out of pure self-defense."
Screamers "…one of the new robot types is a strain of killers that looks like the cast of Oliver!
"
Welcome to the Dollhouse "Typically, teen flicks come in either of two varieties: the zany comedy or the serious drama about Troubled Youth Today."

 

1995

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls • "Jim Carrey–goofball genius, or yet another sign that our society is plummeting into the pits of hell?"
Before Sunrise"Let me reacquaint you with the Unwritten Law of Romantic Comedies: 99.5 percent of them don't work."
The Brady Bunch"If we want the pure, uncut camp experience, isn’t it enough simply to flick on the original shows, which are broadcast on cable around the clock?"
The Bridges of Madison County "Why would such a solid homebody be prepared to sell her soul for some guy yapping endlessly about how he 'grasps the mystic,' in 1965?"
Clockers"When filmmakers promise reality, they always deliver fantasy. This is a given."
Clueless "No matter how derivative or predictable the sequels are this summer, the moviegoers keep coming in droves, not caring whether the movies are good or bad, just wanting to get exactly what they expect."
Crumb "But why should you care about a cartoonist, of all people? Because comics–sequential cartoon art that relates a story–are a uniquely American art form."
Destiny Turns on the Radio "Turns on the radio?! What kind of wuss title is that?"
Die Hard With a Vengeance "I just saw Die Hard With a Vengeance, and boy, I'm ready to kick some German terrorist ass."
Mallrats "If geeks ruled the world, that world would look like Mallrats."
Nine Months "In a just world, Chris Columbus would be sentenced to the Ludovico Technique for Misguided Comedy Directors."
Pocahontas "By cramming a sensitive story like Pocahontas into the square hole that is Disney, they’ve come up with a movie that will entertain only Disney diehards."
Toy Story "It's not too often that you can watch the birth of a new medium of entertainment–and it's rarer still for its debut to be good, damn good."
The Usual Suspects "In this age of comic book movies that require you only to sit back and glaze over, Suspects refreshingly demands your attention."

 

Please Note: All reviews were published in Metro Pulse, usually in the week after each movie's release. None of the reviews have been rewritten to make me appear smarter than I actually am. I did, however, let Word 98 correct my misspellings. Science marches on!

 

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