save the green planet
director: joon-hwan jang
Imagine "2001: A Space Odyssey meets "SAW" meets "The Eighth Day meets "Les Quatre Cents Coups" meets "Mars Attacks." Not exactly a comedy–but if you're in the mood for something that defies categorization, this is a good choice.
reviewed by: victoria |  January 2007 [link] |  recommend

school of rock, the
director: richard linklater
With the same wannabeatitude Belushi brought to "Joliet" Jake Blues, Jack Black plays Dewey Finn, a pub scene rock never-was who is sincerely and hopelessly devoted to the majesty of rock and pageantry of roll. The plot's dull -- Finn passes himself off as a substitute teacher at a posh private elementary school, and tries to recruit the kids to be his new backup band -- but the child actors are unusually tolerable, and Black's hammy sendups of rock postures are pretty funny -- especially for moviegoers who have known, loved, or been failed rockers themselves.
reviewed by: matthewS |  August 2003 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

scotland, pa
director: billy morrissette
This well-acted black comedie transplants Shakespeare's "Scottish Play" to 1975 Pennsylvania, with a surprising result: one hundred and four consistently amusing minutes (a vast improvement on the source material). With regard to the soundtrack, I would only ask whether it is Freedom Rock -- and if indeed it is, recommend that you turn it up.
reviewed by: matthewS |  December 2002 [link] |  recommend

director: gary ross
I really enjoyed the book and wasn’t sure there was a way to honestly translate all the interesting facts plus the intensity of the races into a 2 hour Hollywood film. Seabiscuit the movie delivers a condensed and well executed version of the story and yes, it is heavy-handed with the “the horse that saved 3 men & the rest of America during the Depression” tilt but the fact remains no other race horse has ever captured America’s attention like the Biscuit did.
reviewed by: rachel |  September 2003 [link] |  recommend

director: steven shainberg
This is your typical lighthearted romantic comedy about a sado-masochistic relationship between a lawyer and his secretary. James Spader is hysterical.
reviewed by: mattyj |  October 2002 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

director: peter chelsom
Now I'm not going to tell you if these two wacky kids end up together because that would be cheating. I like John Cusack a lot I just wish he would do more stuff that I wanted to see.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  October 2001 [link] |  recommend

sexy beast
director: jonathan glazer
Thinking that someone had finally commited the John Lawton story to celluloid I happily plunked down $9.75 to check out this film. While it is in fact not about me, I found it to be a really enjoyable character driven crime film; it definitely takes a different angle on the criminal returning for one last job genre, and Ben Kingsley has finally exorcised himself of that pesky Gandhi fellow.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  June 2001 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

shadow of the vampire
director: e. elias merhige
Pretentious, snoozy, and ultimately hollow at the center, this
film has "Straight to Video" stamped all over it. John Malkovich
is decent and Willem Defoe is highly entertaining but nothing
in this film really seems to work the way it was intended, had
I seen it on Showtime for free: I might have felt differently.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  January 2001 [link] |  recommend

director: john singleton
I was pretty thrilled when the Paramount logo came up and the Isaac Hayes music kicked in, it was all pretty much downhill from there. It seems as though the notion of Sam Jackson as Shaft was high concept enough so that no one felt the need to actually make the film entertaining; the original was no gem but it was fun to watch (remember when Richard Roundtree said that line,"I began to feel like a machine….and that ain't no way for a man to feel"), unfortunately this film reminded me that it didn't really need to be remade.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

shanghai knights
director: david dobkin
I like kung-fu a whole lot, but not this much. In SK's London, everyone our heroes meet turns out to be a notable historical figure, which gets old before it happens the first time (though it was a sort of fun distraction trying to decide whether or not Arthur ["Artie"] Conan Doyle resembled happyrobot's Rich).
reviewed by: matthewS |  February 2003 [link] |  recommend

she hate me
director: spike lee
Me (white, male, heterosexual): "So, what's the story with that new Spike Lee lesbian movie?"

Coworker (black, lesbian): "The story is, Spike Lee doesn't know any lesbians."
reviewed by: Ishbadiddle |  August 2004 [link] |  recommend

director: anand tucker
Shopgirl the movie closely follows Shopgirl the novella and really works well as a feature. The acting is exceptional as is the cinematography- a lovely little film.
reviewed by: rachel |  December 2005 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

director: michael moore
In his latest documentary on American HMO's, Moore mixes some dire case studies with some humorous forays to countries with universal health care (including Canada, natch) to illustrate Americans really have the bum rap when it comes to their health care, simply: for-profit health care kills people or shortens their lives because the less care they give, the more money HMO's make. Sure, he is still heavy-handed and occasionally crass, but you know what? Fuck subtlety - people should demand better.
reviewed by: adina |  July 2007 [link] |  recommend

director: alexander payne
In this romantic comedy for boys, a down-on-his-luck novelist takes his friend (an actor) on a week long revelry through Santa Barbara wine country in one last shabang before the friend gets married. As I walked out of the multiplex, I felt thirsty for a sublime pinot.
reviewed by: jen |  December 2004 [link] |  recommend 6 thumbs up

sky captain and the world of tomorrow
director: kerry conran
"Sky Captain" would really love to be the world's next "Raiders of the Lost Ark": a rollicking thrill-ride that harkens back to early film and radio serials, filled with a sense of wonder. Sadly, it fails--whisper thin plot, horrible dialogue, and (its worst sin) a Gwyneth Paltrow performance as a reporter that seem more influenced by Quaaludes than "His Girl Friday."
reviewed by: Stu |  September 2004 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

sleepy hollow
director: tim burton
While entertaining, this film is very long on style and woefully inadequate with substance. Unfortunately about halfway into things Johnny Depp starts playing Ichabod Crane for laughs and Tim Burton's funhouse is open for business, where everything soon becomes wacky for wacky's sake.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

small time crooks
director: woody allen
He should have left well enough alone with last year's terrific "Sweet & Lowdown", because this crap circus is , in my humble opinion, the worst thing Woody has ever put on the screen. What begins promising enough (the first ½ hour reminds me a lot of Take The Money & Run) takes a weak plot turn from which it never recovers and neither will the audience after being assaulted with a slew of lame ass high society jokes….so far Woody2K ain't looking so good to me.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

director: guy ritchie
Well, I've got to tell you the first half hour of this movie
annoyed the high hell out of me, but I eventually warmed up
to it a bit. There isn't a character to get attached to but after
awhile I got pulled into the ridiculously over the top plot and
wanted to see who was going to make it and who was going
to die a colorful death; truth be told it's a renter but I was
entertained for a while.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  February 2001 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

director: steven soderbergh
While on a space station near some sort of sentient planet, George Clooney is visited by his dead wife and starts freaking out. In true 2001 fashion, there are no answers to be found at the end of this film, but despite its dreadfully slow pace, it was beautifully shot, well acted, had a good soundtrack, a few steamy love scenes between Clooney and sexy Natasha McElhony, and no Tim, there were no gratuitous booby shots.
reviewed by: sara |  December 2002 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

director: jeffrey blitz
Being one who can’t complete a correct sentence without the spell check function on the computer I was amazed by these youngsters’ ability and desire to spell under extreme pressure as I watched first time director Jeffrey Blitz's documentary profiling 8 students and their unique paths to the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. Using the right amount of drama and humor this film provides a loving portrayal of the true diversity of America and celebrates the often misunderstood “smart kid” - this is the best film I've seen in a long time.
reviewed by: rachel |  May 2003 [link] |  recommend 4 thumbs up

director: sam raimi
I didn't review this movie, but there was a review of it here, attributed to me, until just now, when I typed over it with the words you are reading now. Spider-Man was way better than my identity thief would have had you believe.
reviewed by: matthewS |  May 2002 [link] |  recommend

spiderman 2
director: sam raimi
This movie within the space of 127 minutes completely transformed my brain's chemistry from one of anxiety and stress to one of elation and excitement. There is a greater than decent probability that Kirsten Dunst's eye teeth are causing the 18-35 males in this country to become fetishistic with regards to the subject of female eye teeth, and perhaps based on the strength of this, all teeth everywhere; the mind dares to imagine the idea of the sensation of these KD eye teeth up against and all over the 18-35 mouth and its red, moist contents.
reviewed by: tim |  July 2004 [link] |  recommend 7 thumbs up

spirited away
director: hayao miyazaki
In a delightful change from anime that feature super-powered heroes, an ordinary girl must use her normal resolve to save her parents from a Boschian-spirit realm. I walked away with visuals to fill my dreams for weeks.
reviewed by: liz |  October 2002 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

spy game
director: tony scott
Light, entertaining bit of something about spies and the games they play; it's really not too bad, not great, but the cast kind of makes up for some of it's dodgier aspects. Essentially the film is told in flashback so I was hoping for some sort of Keyser Soze type moment to come at the end....alas in the end it's really all about the Redford and Pitt.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  December 2001 [link] |  recommend

star wars episode 2: attack of the clones
director: george lucas
While this movie won't make you 10 years old again it doesn't necesarily destroy any of your childhood memories that The Phantom Menace may have left for dead on the side of the road. What we're given this time around is a pretty cool movie, probably the best Star Wars movie that's been made since 1980.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  May 2002 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

star wars: episode iii - revenge of the sith
director: george lucas
Lucas seemed to of finally figured out how to make a decent Star Wars movie, but he still hasn't solved the issue of not writing dialog that makes the audience groan out loud – you'd think that wouldn't be happening in a movie of this stature. An infinitely better movie than the last two that, for the most part, ties up the loose ends and sets the scene for the original series – kind of.
reviewed by: rich |  May 2005 [link] |  recommend 6 thumbs up

starsky & hutch
director: todd phillips
Makes me wish I knew more about the original show apart from the car and the principal actors, because I spent the whole time wondering if things were supposed to be funny because they looked 70's or because it was something that happened in the TV show. That said, alot of the funny stuff was a bit obvious (big hair! crazy clothes!), but Vince Vaughan's performance was genuinely fun to watch, and Snoop Dogg was funny I think mostly because it was Snoop Dogg.
reviewed by: eric w |  March 2004 [link] |  recommend 3 thumbs up

director: chris hegedus & jehane noujaim
Very engrossing documentary about the woes and pitfalls of
the old new economy, which details the rise and fall of an
internet company started by two lifelong friends. It's the sort
of stuff that makes you cringe but you can't look away.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  May 2001 [link] |  recommend

state and main
director: david mamet
While David Mamet and comedy might seem like oil and water
this is nonetheless an enjoyable film. Rapid fire dialogue and
great performances (especially the always amazing Phillip
Seymour Hoffman), an old fashioned screwball comedy from
the foul mouthed Bard, in a year without "Best in Show" this
would have been the funniest film of the year.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  January 2001 [link] |  recommend

stay hungry
director: bob rafelson
Set in the South; protagonist Jeff Bridges as descendant of Alabama landed gentry gets involved with a shady real estate scheme to buy up a city block and raze it to build a high-rise development, is assigned to get rid of "Thor's Olympic Spa", a gym that is impeding the sleazy development scheme, only to end up becoming friends with the Spa/Gym characters, including Arnold Schwarznegger as a philosophizing, bluegrass-playin', Mr. Universe wannabe. This film includes some of the most disturbing, random scenes (sex scenes and otherwise) ever in cinema, and should be noted for having a non-existent plot.
reviewed by: victoria |  February 2005 [link] |  recommend

step into liquid
director: dana brown
This celebration of the lifestyle of surfing showcases not only the extreme tow-in guys but also the lesserknowns who surf Lake Michigan (bunch of Vietnam veterans), Matson ship wakes (in Texas), Ireland (Protestant and Catholic kids enjoying themselves together)and Easter Island to such great effect one can actually believe that the heart and soul of surfing is still alive and possibly inside You. It is an entirely positive, joyous, and even handed approach by the son of the star of Endless Summer,and, when repeated reference to "the Stoke" is irritating, the Aussies turn up and say they call having fun "doing crack".
reviewed by: Eve |  September 2003 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

director: todd solondz
Fool me once: shame on you, fool me twice: shame on me, fool me three times: I’m just going to your f---ing movies so I can complain about you. Sorry, I should know better by now; but this latest exercise in character and audience abuse was pretty much it for me; apparently those of us who don’t subscribe to Todd’s worldview are simples and prudes…..hmm.....go see Snow Dogs.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  February 2002 [link] |  recommend

straight story, the
director: david lynch
It's almost the end of the 20th century and David Lynch's best film in years is a G rated film for Disney. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, everyone should go see this film be you Lynch fan or Walt fan.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

director: danny boyle
A group of astronauts fly a perilous mission to drop off a bomb in the sun's core in order to save Earth. I was asked by the guy in front of me to stop talking half-way through the film, so I guess he liked it more than me (though, it wasn't bad).
reviewed by: blaine |  August 2007 [link] |  recommend

sunshine state
director: john sayles
John Sayles's latest follows a small run-down coastal community in Florida that is ripe for the picking from an out-of-state resort developer. This movie moves about as fast as I do during an August day but the characters are intriguing (Edie Falco does an amazing job with her role) and their stories unfold in a natural way that it gives it almost a documentary feel.
reviewed by: rachel |  July 2002 [link] |  recommend

super size me
director: morgan spurlock
The level of detail given regarding what it is exactly we do to ourselves when a minimum wage employee wearing a McCap and McSmock behind a McCashregister takes our McOrder is paralyzing the way finding out one has accidently eaten a live snail in one's salad. The movie made me laugh out loud a dozen times at the gallows humor of generations of our culture being killed one clogged artery at a time.
reviewed by: nate |  June 2004 [link] |  recommend 5 thumbs up

director: greg mottola
The contrast between the sometimes dizzying graphic language and the touching relationship between the main characters make this super good (*groan*) movie stand out from the average dumb ass teen gross-out/sex/party comedy. The sex scene with "Evan"/Michael Cera is about the best thing ever.
reviewed by: rich |  September 2007 [link] |  recommend 3 thumbs up

superman returns
director: bryan singer
The physics are finally correct, first off, at least as close to reality as I've ever seen, and if you are within an hour-and-a-half of an IMAX 3-D showing, you are in for an incredible visual ride; I didn't have to think once, nor did I necessarily need to (but ultimately would have welcomed), as I had been to Spoiler City and back quite a few times, returning with much nuggetry concerning certain effects sequences, makings-of, soundtrack, and plot elements, all adding up to a basic notion of what I was getting into, namely, the most expensive movie ever made (both in man-hours and fan-trust capital, not to mention on WB/DC's dime with an openly gay director helming, an unknown as the lead, and 150 million in marketing alone) — before the movie began, I looked at Sarah and thought to myself, "boy, I care too much about comic book heroes."
Superman returned, very different, knowing where he came from (not existing) and not exactly knowing where he or his contemporaries (and progeny?) are heading (oblivion, are are all of us when our respective Kent family farms are bought, buckets kicked, daisies pushed, and we're just talking about movies here), but he's apparently "always around" and here to stay; It would thus do him some good to learn to stop farting around with bank robberies, bald lunatics and anorexic columnists and save more than just New Yorktropolis, act less like a self-obsessed, separation-anxiety patient and prouder-than-thou interloper (if not downright stalker at times) and more like, well, someone who exists in the real world with the rest of us audience members (decent director, great Luthor, new suit, that first real shot of him on the shuttle-plain, blowy hair, or incredible motion-graphics software technicians aside) — fun as hell, though, so go see it with someone you can kiss and discuss with afterward.
reviewed by: alec |  June 2006 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

sweet and lowdown
director: woody allen
Entertaining film which is a series of vignettes about a "legendary" jazz guitarist which may or may not be tall tales. At the heart of this film is a common Allen theme, beauty created by a less than beautiful person.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

swimming pool
director: francois ozon
An uptight, pinched-faced, frustrated, British mystery writer creates a fresh perspective for herself by finding an inspirational muse of sorts while recharging her battery at her publisher's French country home. Although I found the photography crisp, the camera angles engaging, and was left wondering if Marcel the aging gardener/poolman actually serviced the writer turned sex kitten--I wish the producers had left the cover on the Swimming Pool project altogether.
reviewed by: nate |  July 2003 [link] |  recommend

director: christine jeffs
I now feel compelled to dust off my old copy of the Bell Jar and read that "Daddy" poem in my best Macbeth witch meets Joan Crawford voice as Gwyneth Paltrow does so admirably (I only wish she read the whole poem). Gwyneth, with all her patrician charm, captures Sylvia's continuing descent into depression (helped by the fact that the movie appears to have been shot in a cave) and her precarious dance with life- I found myself on the edge of my seat whenever Sylvia was in a car or boat or near sharp objects wondering if the end was near.
reviewed by: robin |  October 2003 [link] |  recommend

director: stephen gaghan
reviewed by: jen |  December 2005 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

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