capturing the friedmans
director: andrew jarecki
Andrew Jarecki has given us a wonderfully realized documentary that plays witness to the unraveling destruction of a middle class Long Island family--who are themselves avid, if unwitting, documentarians. The players include a pedophilic piano-playing computer teacher, the Nassau County justice system, the most successful clown in Manhattan, Monty Python reciting teens, a grief-addled Mother, a bemused brother and his pet dachshund, a journalist and assorted lawyers, parents, former computer students, and the viewer's perplexed and diminished sense of moral certainty.
reviewed by: john ball |  June 2003 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

cast away
director: robert zemeckis
I really liked this film a lot, there's a minimal amount of
schmaltz (but it's still there) and the centerpiece of it is
essentially Tom Hanks doing a one man show. The end result
is an incredibly haunting story of survival and loss, definitely
worth checking out.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  January 2001 [link] |  recommend

catch me if you can
director: steven spielberg
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is based on the true story of teenaged con man Frank Abagnale Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio with a blitheness that should cleanse the palates of moviegoers who last saw Leo doing his dour, turn-of-the-century Dead End Fratboy thing in GANGS OF NEW YORK. Christopher Walken is great as Frank Abagnale Sr. -- that's "great" even for Walken, who has been so good for so long in so many movies it's almost boring.
reviewed by: matthewS |  January 2003 [link] |  recommend

cecil b demented
director: john waters
Pretty weak entry from director Waters which I'm sure looked good and trashy on paper but on the screen it just falls flat. That's not to say that the film is not without it's more inspired moments of gross out humor, why does it seem that everyone is trying way too hard these days?
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  August 2000 [link] |  recommend

charlie & the chocolate factory
director: tim burton
Must admit, I wanted to hate this movie the day before I saw it, but once I settled into my seat and ate some shitty Goober-quality chocolate, I couldn't wait to see what Burton had in store for us. Turned out to be Depplicious (sorry) -- got a little stomachache from the overwhelming A/V onslaught that comprise the Oompa numbers (I once hung out with Elfman in his $3k-a-night hotel room, watched him PhotoShop deviltoes on a picture of his feet that he was emailing to his daughter, then we had drinks with Nick Rhodes downstairs - don't ask (ok, ask)), but all human beings (if Depp actually IS one) score big, the director most of all -- can't wait to see what confection this golden ticket allows him to conjure next.
This is a third sentence: I hate myself.
reviewed by: alec |  July 2005 [link] |  recommend 7 thumbs up

charlie's angels
director: mcg
This film proves the old adage my grandfather always told me: Nice Butts + Karate = Box Office Gold. Bill Murray is wasted in a role that could have been played by anyone (including that lame other guy from Strange Brew) but any film that boasts a fight scene pitting Charlies Angels against Crispin Glover to the tune of the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" is okay by me: this flick is a lot of fun.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  November 2000 [link] |  recommend

director: rob marshall
I don't know from "best," but with its high-energy hoofin' and hollerin', this period musical is certainly a very good picture. My neighborhood theatre projected it in the wrong aspect ratio, so everything looked squashed, and I could see the boom mics during about 30 per cent of the dialogue scenes, so I made a fun game out of trying not to let this get on my LAST FUCKING NERVE.
reviewed by: matthewS |  March 2003 [link] |  recommend

china: the panda adventure
director: robert m. young
Itís hard to believe this is based on the true story of a 1930ís NY socialite and her unexpected expedition that brought the first live panda to the US - honestly Iíve seen Scooby Doo episodes that contain more intensity, believability, story structure not to mention better acting. The GIANT (itís IMAX) pandasí blissfully chomping on bamboo and the beautiful mountainous landscapes of China are the only enjoyable parts of this film- unfortunately the ďactorsĒ kept showing up and ruining everything.
reviewed by: rachel |  October 2001 [link] |  recommend

director: lasse hallstrom
A mysterious woman and her daughter blow into a town
(populated with stock characters) and turn things on their
proverbial ear through the sensuality of chocolate. Always
predictable, never offensive (the cast is great), this is a light
little film that made me want to watch Big Night again.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  February 2001 [link] |  recommend

chuck & buck
director: miguel arteta
This film falls under the category of something so disturbing you're not really sure whether or not you're enjoying it. First this movie made me uneasy, then it got under my skin, then I decided I liked it a lot; it's sad and eerily funny and it has the creepiest theme song I ever had stuck in my head for days.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  October 2000 [link] |  recommend

cider house rules, the
director: lasse hallstrom
Once again, books and; films are apples and oranges; every once in awhile something crosses over but those moments are far and few between. Tobey Maguire's performance is the high point of this innocuous film (who ever thought a film with such plot points as abortion, incest, and infidelity could ever be labeled innocuous), there's nothing especially exciting about this film but it is diverting for a couple of hours.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

cinderella man
director: ronny howard
No disrespect to Jim Braddock and his family; Russell Crowe's committed acting and physicality; Paul Giamatti who kos everyone else in his scenes; the great Angelo Dundee; or Paddy Considine who has the saddest eyes on the screen, but Cinderella Man is a girlie film.
reviewed by: jen |  June 2005 [link] |  recommend

director: matt reeves
This movie dished out enough of the creepy, eerie moments I love, that I feel compelled to forgive it's many shortcomings (folks who say the acting sucked SHOULD be saying, "Those folks did a totally fine job of playing the kind of people you generally love to hate). The ending has been creeping around in my conscience all day, and as a note to the eagle-eyed viewer, at the VERY end, keep an eye on the ocean in the background for a juicy visual hint-nugget about, um, 'stuff'.
reviewed by: eric w |  January 2008 [link] |  recommend

coffee and cigarettes
director: jim jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch is a cool old-school indie filmmaker, and his new film, Coffee and Cigarettes is really cool with a lot of cool performances. I wish I still smoked.
reviewed by: jen |  May 2004 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

director: christian charles
oy - i chose this over "bowling for columbine" on saturday night and i spent the rest of the evening kicking myself. this film was tortuous due to the "subplot" about an amatuer comedian who was obnoxious, jerky, arrogant - everytime his face was onscreen i wanted to kill myself. altogether not what i expected from this film.
reviewed by: lisa may |  November 2002 [link] |  recommend

confessions of a dangerous mind
director: george clooney
"Smart, funny, clever, an all-around good time" exclaims Rachel of happyrobot.net regarding George Clooney's directorial debut based on the unofficial autobiography of Chuck Barris- game show creator on some days/ CIA operative on others. The film contains an excellent all-star cast (Sam Rockwell as Barris, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts and Clooney himself) and gives many visual winks to executive producer Steven Soderbergh.
reviewed by: rachel |  January 2003 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

director: francis lawrence
Keanu Reeves plays an emotionally withdrawn, troubled exorcist-psychic whose job–banishing demons–becomes much more difficult when the "Spear of Destiny" is found. The Spear enables Satan's son to be physically embodied on earth, and so the chain-smoking-and-lung-cancer-striken protagonist must combine with a tough cop named Angela to prevent a literal "hell on earth."
reviewed by: victoria |  February 2005 [link] |  recommend

contender, the
director: rod lurie
Never as important as it would like to think itself and never as lurid as some might think (hope), this is an entertaining film. A suspense filled potboiler which features yet another standout performance from Jeff(The Dude)Bridges as the President, proving himself to be our nations finest natural resources as he spins surreal comedic gold from a bit part.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  October 2000 [link] |  recommend

count of monte cristo, the
director: kevin reynolds
On the way into the theater I felt like a man who had lost a bet; about a half hour into it I thought to myself, "hmm, not bad" and an hour into it I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Nothing really happens in the way of surprises but overall a lot of fun
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  March 2002 [link] |  recommend

director: roman coppola
This film by Roman Coppola made me say "neat!" in a very good way. Overall, more style than substance, but what do you expect with a movie set in France about a film editor who's stuck editing a "Barbarella"-type film?
reviewed by: tamara |  May 2002 [link] |  recommend

cradle will rock
director: tim robbins
It seems as though this flat, hollow, cartoonish drama about the production of a controversial play about unions is supposed to be Tim Robbins' epic, to bad there's nothing inspiring about it. There's not a real character in the film, just a few sketches; this film just plods along at a snail's pace leading up to a syrupy by-the-numbers ending which is so hokey and contrived that the film seems to be daring you not to like itÖ. well, I'll step up to the plate.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

crouching tiger, hidden dragon
director: ang lee
This is a really beautiful dream-like film about loyalty and duty
and lots of really cool karate and leaping around. Michelle
Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat are really incredible and I pretty
much haven't shut up about this movie since I saw it so
maybe I should see it again.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  December 2000 [link] |  recommend

director: mike hodges
Jack is suffering from writer's block so he takes a job as a dealer at an exclusive casino and gets pulled into a much larger game. This is a well-paced, well-written film noir that uses voice over to great effect and gives us a morally ambiguous protagonist who we don't necessarily like but can't turn away from at the same time.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  September 2000 [link] |  recommend

cruise, the
director: bennett miller
Timothy "Speed" Levitch is an outrageous tour guide/philosopher/character definitely worthy of being the subject of this documentary. A fascinating b/w portrait of New York City and the man who is probably it's most uh intimate lover; the innocent scenes of Speed & his late beloved Twin Towers reverberate off the screen with unforseen tragedy.
reviewed by: raquel |  April 2003 [link] |  recommend

cup, the
director: khyentse norbu
There's no script and non-actors are used and unfortunately it shows. This film left me cold, there were no real characters to which to get attached and the story was bland and lifeless, a wannabe feel-good film that left me feeling nothing.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

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