Yi-Yi (A One and a Two) (2000)

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2007 Update: In honor of the recently departed Edward Yang, let me nudge you toward picking up Criterion's glorious edition of the late filmmaker's masterful film Yi-Yi (A One and a Two). Here's a look back at my original response to the film from 2000. I was effusive in my praise then, and were I to rewrite this review, I'd be even more enthusiastic. … [Read more...]

The Reaping (2007)

This review was originally published at Christianity Today.•In the book of Exodus, we read about how Moses confronted Pharaoh, who was persecuting the Israelite slaves, and demanded, "Let my people go!" But Pharaoh stubbornly refused, even as the wrath of God brought ten plagues to ravage his land.There are also ten plagues in The Reaping, Warner Brothers' new horror thriller. But you don't have to suffer through all of them, or wait for a deliverer. You are not a slave to Ho … [Read more...]

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

This review was originally published on May 24, 2007, at Christianity Today Movies.-Would you book passage on a doomed ship if you knew Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, and Orlando Bloom would be along for the ride?Millions of moviegoers will say "yes" and climb aboard for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the conclusion of Disney's pirate trilogy. Some will even go in hats, dreadlocks, and heavy eyeliner, cheering for their favorite scallywags. And they'll reward director Gore … [Read more...]

Knocked Up (2007) – Two Guest Reviews

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Memento (2001)

2013 Update: I haven't seen Memento in many years, but I feel that I have seen enough Christopher Nolan movies to last a lifetime. It saddens me that Nolan seems stuck on telling stories about men who, trapped in desperate circumstances, can find hope only in violent resistance. He knows that to fight is to get your hands dirty, but he seems to see no other meaningful way to live. I've grown tired of that vision. But I suspect that I will admire Memento more than ever next time I see it, because … [Read more...]

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Be warned: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is very faithful to the book.That is to say, it chronicles on the big screen in vivid color the adventures of two individuals pumped full of drugs as they journey through Las Vegas and abuse tourists, residents, waitresses, each other, and themselves. They get high, they get higher, they get even higher, they get sick, they yell and break things, they vomit, and then they do it all again.In other words, this may not be the movie for you.But … [Read more...]

Oldboy (2005)

Park Chanwook, the Korean director currently winning fans with his hyperviolent stories of revenge, has clearly absorbed the techniques of great kung-fu filmmakers, Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino, and other contemporary stylists like David Fincher. He knows how to dazzle you with visions of supreme “coolness.” He knows how to shock you. He knows how to make you squirm, and how to send the squeamish — and even many of the ironclad — running for the exits.So, does the hype generated by the … [Read more...]

Tsotsi (2005)

Question: What happens when a newborn baby ends up in the care of a lawless, gun-toting gangster?Answer: That really depends on the gangster.If Gavin Hood's directorial debut, Tsotsi, is going to make a lasting impression on moviegoers, it will have to succeed on word-of-mouth reviews. It just doesn't have the stuff that makes a flashy marketing campaign. Let's skip the fact that most American moviegoers will have trouble pronouncing the title... Tsotsi is a tough, violent film about … [Read more...]

Review flashback: “Watership Down”

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2014 Update: Oh how I wish someone would re-release Watership Down on Region 1 blu-ray in a format that captures the vivid beauty of the theatrical release. The current American DVDs show that they were produced from a worn and faded print. Attention, lords of the Criterion Collection! Save this timeless, exemplary work!-Before you choose Martin Rosen's animated feature Watership Down as a movie-time babysitter for your kids, please note: This is not Finding Nemo. … [Read more...]

You Can Count On Me (2000)

2007 Update: It's been a few years since I've seen this 2000 film, and yet I remember moments from it so vividly. Terry and the boy taking a nature walk. The reverend informing Sammy that fornication is a sin. Sammy's office confrontation with the boss. And yet, I wonder... what has become of Ken Lonergan, who wrote such a delicate, heartfelt screenplay? He was a co-writer on Gangs of New York, and then what?Turning to the IMDB, I learn that he's written and directed a drama called Margaret, … [Read more...]


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