Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
"Normally I wouldnt 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."
BillVol. 2 "No
doubt about it, Kill Bill is trashbut its genuine trash.
These days, Hollywood has usurped B-movie plots and "elevated"
them with A-list talent. But the result is never satisfying."
Captain and the World of Tomorrow "Conran
has created an anachronism in every sense: Not only is it "retro"
science fiction, but its also a pure-hearted adventure tale of a
sort we rarely see these days."
much longer must we wait before we can at last buy tickets for Holmes
and Yoyo: The Movie?"
Triplets of Belleville
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."
Fast 2 Furious
kicks Cannonball Runs 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
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."
todays 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
2 the Grave "Who'll
be next? Michelle Yeoh and Busta Rhymes? Fat Joe and Leslie Cheung? Bring
it on, I say."
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."
"Campion disarticulates In the Cut with so many absurdities
that the films pieces never cohere in the first place."
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
BillVol. 1 "Are
middle-American multiplex audiences ready for grindhouse cinema? Can they
"get" the none-too-subtle joys of severed limbs and plucked eyeballs?"
Matrix Revolutions "Its
not often that a science-fiction action movie starring Keanu Reeves can
make you feel really, really stupid
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."
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 is a bit too bloodless, too cold, and too
familiar to really 'haunt your nightmares for years to come.'"
as a manly way of life, is dead in America."
Room " It's difficult to know what to
make of director David Fincher. Pulp auteur? Dark visionary? Or MTV hack
with delusions of grandeur?"
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."
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."
"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
Movies That Don't Exist Yet
In our PopCult Summer Movie Preview, we look at the biggest movies
not coming out this year, maybe.
Sweetest Thing "America's favorite goofball,
Cameron Diaz, seems to be building a career on fueling Man Show
couldn't have dreamt up a more appealing target: a collaboration between
the two film directors that critics most love to hate
Tiger, Hidden Dragon
in modern action films serve merely as excuses for bloody spectacle
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."
one of those films that have gone wrong on an atomic level, radiating
pure negative energy."
comes a time in everyone's life when the movies stop wielding the same
magic that they used to
curse Regal Cinemas for taking Pepsi's sugar-water money."
Witch 2 "Certainly,
somebody had to take the bullet, and Artisan found just the right fall-guy
to do it."
Cider House Rules
entertaining and humanistic as these tales are, John Irving's novels don't
make for easy adaptations."
"If you're going to spend $100 million on a movie, this is
the way to do it."
Brian DePalma often speaks highly of his own artistry in interviews, his
movies smell of hackwork."
is swarming with serial killers. And for this I blame Jonathan Demme."
is no ordinary film biography, like those dry epics from Sir Richard Attenborough
that beat the life out of their subjects
the hard, chitinous shell of every cynical film reviewer beats the heart
of a miserable romantic."
I ought to be feeling a pleasant tingle of deja vu, I am instead
chagrined at the regimentedness of it all
Beauty deftly peels away the layers of an All American dysfunctional
family, uncovering the surprising inner lives of people we think we know
Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
first Austin Powers was a movie for movie geeks, with references
and gags that only a geek could appreciate right off the bat."
why John Malkovich? Take a look at the guy: Middle-age paunch, male pattern
baldness, a cross-eyed degenerate cast to his gaze."
"This is America, after all, and you're expected to
pursue your aspirations herenot doing so is worse than failure."
Payne apprehends that innocuous, all-American ritualelections for
student council presidentand uses it to reveal our worst impulses."
is clearly an attempt by Anderson to craft a statementnot only about
our era's parental missteps, but about his filmmaking abilities."
makes it all the more amazing that The Matrix
is the smartest
example of pure science fiction filmmaking in years
as if Albert Brooks' own character wrote the screenplay."
Son the Fanatic " I don't
know anyone who doesn't want to change his or her life."
usual problem with super hero movies is that they're entirely predicated
on pure hokum."
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."
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')."
best rock bands are flashes of youth unleashedangry, hormonally
charged, self-abusing, self-absorbed poet Neanderthals living out their
lives for our consumption."
can anyone take such a simple formula and make it seem so horribly dull?
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
"She is the inspiration for pale-faced,
sarcastic, turtleneck-wearing college boys across the country
a card-carrying member of Bitter Critics Who Know Everything, I should
be in full agreement on this pointwhen a director chooses style
over content, it's a bad, bad thing that should be stamped out."
the question for you the viewer is: Do you really want to see people
prepare for their deaths?"
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."
Adrian Lyne's film will unleash dark impulses in otherwise healthy males
is debatable, though I highly doubt it."
who in the hell does Gus Van Sant think he is?"
we quickly come to Ronins biggest problem: It offers only
the appearance of being clever
every fiber of my being, I want to love the Spice Girls."
Truman Show "Somehow,
it's not enough to make millions of dollars by simply acting like a horse's
assno, every movie comic wants to be also known as a serious artiste."
Wedding Singer "
with the exception of
silliness like the Flashdance look and supply side economics, the
80s were disappointingly mundane."
"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?"
tales of mass destruction by gun-toting lunkheads are about as dramatically
arresting as watching a root canal operation
Fifth Element "All
science fiction cinema fans desire one thing more than any othereven
more than having William Shatner magically shed 30 years off his age
Ice Storm "We've
descended into a '70s fetish that is equal parts nostalgia and fantasy."
Life Less Ordinary "Lord
knows I'm not against anyone cashing in, but why succumb to such dreck?"
Lost World: Jurassic Park "We
as an audience have been conditioned to accept less and less for our entertainment
a few select films have entered my pantheon of walkouts."
In Black "All
across the land, dead cows are missing their rectums."
our definition of the family movie has been reduced to meaning any film
that is so pointless and trite nobody will be offended."
and Michele's High School Reunion "Since
when did stupid people become the dominant type of characters for movies?"
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."
Wars ("director's cut") "Why
George Lucas spent 20 years yearning to reinsert these brief, pointless
sequences is inexplicable."
Rocket is a promising sign of interesting films
past 'golden ages,' the bad movies just faded away into the ether; today,
they end up on HBO and get repeated 50 billion times."
director John Carpenter utterly lays
waste to Los Angelesand you can't help but love the guy for doing
allow me to posit my theory on comedies: 98 percent of them
thoroughly deglamorizes every Hollywood precept about murder that we've
come to know and love
put it more succinctly, Kingpin ought to make you puke out of pure
of the new robot types is a strain of killers that looks like the cast
to the Dollhouse
"Typically, teen flicks come in either of two varieties:
the zany comedy or the serious drama about Troubled Youth Today."
Ventura: When Nature Calls
"Jim Carreygoofball genius, or yet another sign that
our society is plummeting into the pits of hell?"
Sunrise "Let me reacquaint you with the Unwritten
Law of Romantic Comedies: 99.5 percent of them don't work."
Brady Bunch "If we want the pure, uncut camp
experience, isnt it enough simply to flick on the original shows,
which are broadcast on cable around the clock?"
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?"
"When filmmakers promise reality, they always deliver
fantasy. This is a given."
"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."
"But why should you care about a cartoonist, of all
people? Because comicssequential cartoon art that relates a storyare
a uniquely American art form."
Turns on the Radio "Turns on the radio?! What
kind of wuss title is that?"
Hard With a Vengeance "I just saw Die Hard
With a Vengeance, and boy, I'm ready to kick some German terrorist
"If geeks ruled the world, that world would look like
Months "In a just world, Chris Columbus would
be sentenced to the Ludovico Technique for Misguided Comedy Directors."
"By cramming a sensitive story like Pocahontas into
the square hole that is Disney, theyve come up with a movie that
will entertain only Disney diehards."
Story "It's not too often that you can watch
the birth of a new medium of entertainmentand it's rarer still for
its debut to be good, damn good."
Usual Suspects "In this age of comic book movies
that require you only to sit back and glaze over, Suspects refreshingly
demands your attention."
All reviews were published in Metro
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!