The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ is Mel Gibson's long-awaited, highly-promoted film about the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus. It is without doubt a masterpiece, but it is violent, graphic, and in my opinion, it belongs in the horror genre. Why? Because it is about chaos in one's personal universe, the cosmos, and loss. Gibson uses all kinds of cinematic devises related to the genre as well. These are intense and at times shocking. The vicious violence of this film made it a very difficult watch for … [Read more...]

21 Grams

21 Grams is supposed to be how much weight a body loses when it dies. It's a great title and premise for a movie, but this complex, non-linear film isn't really about that. It's about death, dying, mistakes, despair, sorrow in a totally non-linear moral universe. The lives of three people converge in very harsh ways. One man kills another in a hit and run, the dead man's heart is transplanted into the third man's, and that man gets involved with the dead man's wife.Sean Penn is even more … [Read more...]

You Got Served

This is amateur writing and acting and fabulous hip hop. The dance "battles" are amazing. Wait for the last twenty minutes. Just when you are thinking what a non-story this is, the contest begins. I think it gave me a respect for hip hop as an urban art form - and the film's explicit message is: use dance not violence to solve differences. That's a good message. … [Read more...]


Monster is not named for the woman who became the first serial killer in America, but for the ferris wheel she wanted to ride as a child. Charlize Theron will win the Academy Award for best actress I think. This is a new Hilary Swank - and for a film that is similar in many respects to Boys Don't Cry.This is not a pretty story; read the reviews at because all I can tell you is that it's very hard to watch. But killers like this don't come along for no reason. Children are so often … [Read more...]


Osama ought to be a contender for the Academy Awards next year. This small movie about a young Afghan girl who is sent out by her mother and grandmother dressed as a boy so she can earn money and buy food, is hearbreaking, credible, well-constructed and raw. It happens during the time of the Taliban and its finale is desperately sad. I keep asking: how did the US ever support this regime? Middle-eastern filmmaking is brilliant.   … [Read more...]


Miracle is a satisfying sports movie but perhaps too locked into its historical period to have the emotional impact it might have had if it were produced before 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The film tries to make up for this lacuna by creating some emotional conflict between Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) and his wife Patty (Patricia Clarkson) and between the goalie and his father. It works well enough. I don't even like hockey but the game between the USA and the Russians is … [Read more...]

50 First Dates

50 First Dates is Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore taking up where they left off with The Wedding Singer. He forgets the women he dates and walks away from, she forgets because she has lost her short term memory in an accident. Like Groundhog Day, she begins every day like the one of the accident. Its cutsie, with the expected yuckie humor by Ron Schneider. At least it's not The Waterboy. … [Read more...]

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the first in a series about a detective agency in Botswana founded by Precious Ramotswe. She is a woman of about forty of "traditional" size, widowed and alone. Her beloved father has died and with her inheritance has bought a new home an office and decided to be a private detective.She hires a secretary because you need one to be respectable.Mma. Ramotswe is fortunate because she has hired a woman who is intelligent and ambitious to be a good secretary. Soon … [Read more...]

Along Came Polly

What a bomb. The only growth the character Rueben (Ben Stiller) experiences is that he gives up being obsessive about taking risks in life to hang out with Polly, the unstructured one, and live through weeks of excruciating episodes of irritable bowel syndrome.It's also a kind of formulaic romance but with the characters only promising each other that they'll - hang out (live together). If one of the criteria for romantic genre is that the main characters sacrifice something for the other - … [Read more...]

Win a Date with Tad Hamilton

The industry is revving up for a big Valentine's Day celebration through several new films, one of them WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON.It's conventional with an innocent love triangle between West Virginians Rosalee, (Kate Boswell) and Pete (Topher Grace - That 70's Show) characters and Tad, played by Josh Duhamel. The actors play improbable people but this little fantasy works because the actors are willing and do sacrifice for the other. The actors are too beautiful to be real, but its a … [Read more...]