Movies Opening July 27

Nationwide Releases


The Simpsons Movie
Directed: David Silverman
Starring: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner
Trailer: Quicktime

Homer sings a song about spider pig and some other funny non-related stuff happens.

RT Score: 88%
RT Consensus: The Simpsons Movie contains the hearty laughs, biting satire, and honest portrayal of an American family that makes the show so popular.

Homer addresses the audience at the beginning and calls us all suckers. Funny ’cause it’s true.
- Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star

Turns out what they’ve done is make everything bigger, longer, and uncut, but let Homer be Homer, an average American screwup in a recognizable, screwed-up world of hypocrisy and lardy foodstuffs.
- Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly

Manages to feel like a pretty good extended episode from somewhere around the show’s golden era … I’m not booing, I’m saying Boo-urns.
- Andrew Wright
The Stranger (Seattle, WA)

This one feels incomplete, an underachiever still searching for a real reason to exist beyond enriching a fat franchise.
- Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

The movie occasionally drags, even at a modest 86 minutes, and after 400 episodes it’s hard to recapture the early seasons’ startling bite. But the throwaway gags fans live for are there.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

No Reservations
Directed: Scott Hicks
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Trailer: Quicktime

Kate is a chef that has her life turned upside down when her sister dies and leaves Kate her daughter to raise. She takes some time off to get used to the new situation, and comes back to work to find a sous chef has been covering for her in her absence, which does not sit well with her.

RT Score: 41%
RT Consensus: This romantic comedy may look good on paper, but it’s too predictable and melancholy for the genre.

A remake not only of Mostly Martha, but of every romantic comedy featuring an uptight woman who learns to cut loose and enjoy life with a freewheeling new beau.
- Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star

A familiar dish doesn’t have to be a bland one, but No Reservations doesn’t allow for the slightest grain of salt.
- Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly

Such undercooking accounts for a lot of the film’s forgettable flavor and is the main reason you’ll feel hungry again an hour after leaving the theater.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

There are moments that work, but on the whole, this production just doesn’t flow well, doesn’t drive, doesn’t build to climax. One other hindrance: the heavy-handed score.
- Ross Anthony
Hollywood Report Card

Based on the popular German comedy Mostly Martha, it doesn’t leave a bad taste. It doesn’t leave much taste at all, save perhaps for the cloying echoes of Velveeta cheese.
- John Anderson
Newsday

I Know Who Killed Me
Directed: Chris Sivertson
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond
Trailer: Quicktime

A girl is found after gone missing for two weeks, except she says she isn’t the missing girl, but someone else. No one believes her.

RT Score: 8%
RT Consensus: Distasteful and ludicrously plotted, I Know Who Killed Me is a career nadir for all involved.

Simultaneously nasty and painfully dull.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

even my old stand by of, “At least, it started on time,” doesn’t apply here. After a 20 minute delay in starting the movie, I had to assume the projector was taking an ethical stand and refusing to be party to the heinous act of showing this movie
- Willie Waffle
WaffleMovies.com

No review could really do justice to the monumental trashiness of this mess; it really has to be seen to be believed.
- Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News

Much like the career of its star, I Know Who Killed Me opens promisingly, starts to stumble in the middle and has gotten so laughably ridiculous by the final act that you can’t take it seriously at all.
- Brian Tallerico
UGO

Having broken free of the Disney machine that molded her, Lohan now seems intent on destroying her career and credibility on her own terms.
- Nathan Rabin
Onion AV Club

Who’s Your Caddy?
Directed: Don Michael Paul
Starring: Lil Wayne, Antwan Andre “Big Boi” Patton
Trailer: Quicktime

For people who found Caddyshack too sophisticated.

RT Score: 13%

The latest entry in the storied ‘white people are like this, black people are like that’ comedy subgenre.
- Steven Hyden
Onion AV Club

It’s staggering how little ambition the formerly aim-high Outkast crew showed with this limp Caddyshack knock-off.
- Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel

If this demeaning movie had been made by mainstream Hollywood, it would be courting charges of racism.
- Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune

The snooty country club is one of the easiest institutions to lampoon. So why does Who’s Your Caddy? make us feel almost sorry for the power elite?
- John Monaghan
Detroit Free Press

The movie decides, after 30 minutes of black people clowning like it’s 1939, to be a melodrama about injustice and, sigh, redemption.
- Wesley Morris
Boston Globe

Limited Releases


This is England
Directed: Shane Meadows
Starring: Stephen Graham, Joe Gilgun
Trailer: Quicktime

In 1983 in Northern England, a lonely 12-year-old boy gets picked on until he’s befriended by an older group of misfits. He’s then dragged into a skinhead group that uses his rage to their advantage.

RT Score: 90%
RT Consensus: A moving coming-of-age tale that captures the despair among England’s working-class youth in the 1980s.

Even if the story is misty in its didacticism: No matter how tough the times, just say no to racism and hatred.
- Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly

Shaun’s dark journey into an English heartland where ultra-right, National Front thugs successfully tap into the growing alienation of working-class youth is a frighteningly accurate depiction of the seductive power of hate.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Meadows has a fighters’ way with his camera, but an increasingly mature way with story.
- Chris Barsanti
Film Journal International

Starts out as well-acted and superbly designed mid-eighties time-capsule but degenerates to a formulaic conclusion that cheapens everything that went before.
- Jurgen Fauth
About.com

A modest, near-flawless gem, This Is England is a humbly, if insistently political, autobiographical homage to a lost world of youth.
- Manohla Dargis
New York Times

Arctic Tale
Directed: Adam Ravetch
Starring: Queen Latifah
Trailer: Quicktime

Follows baby polar bears and walruses as they grow up in the Arctic.

RT Score: 55%
RT Consensus: Arctic Tale features breathtaking nature cinematography, but is undone by its over-cutesy narration.

It’s a respectable attempt to get kids who like cuddly animals thinking about death and destruction on a global scale.
- Gregory Kirschling
Entertainment Weekly

…directors/cinematographers Sarah Robertson and Adam Ravetch capture the struggle of life in this frozen wilderness with effective poignancy.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Just the sort of simplistic preaching that alienates adults and insults the intelligence of their offspring.
- Stephen Garrett
Time Out

An overly cutesy, ludicrously anthropomorphic critter feature, even if it is in a good cause.
- Frank Swietek
One Guy’s Opinion

But the script, narrated by Queen Latifah, is so embarrassingly dorky (it was co-written by Kristin Gore) that it’s like Fred Rogers gone hip-hop.
- Kyle Smith
New York Post

Punk’s Not Dead
Directed: Susan Dynner
Trailer: Flash, Quicktime

Documentary about punk starting, the mainstream reaction to it and where it still resides today.

RT Score: 92%

Whether you’re a kid with a fresh coat of shellac on your Mohawk or an aging hipster still clinging to the Johnny Rotten school of snot, it’s a film that enlightens the debate and demonstrates without a doubt that when punk disappears, it never truly dies
- Brian Orndorf
FilmJerk.com

This film has an absolutely stellar cast of interviewees, so if you like punk music you’ll be in hog heaven watching it, I guarantee you.
- Graham Rae
Film Threat

The movie covers a lot of time and territory, and some of its questions are great ones. (The biggest, for true punks: Is getting a big record deal a sign of ultimate success, or final defeat?)
- Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger

About as in-your-face and raggedy as its subject, Dynner’s film is really less of a history than a psychological profile, rooting around for the meat of what makes punk so resilient, cross-generational and communal.
- Kevin Thomas
Los Angeles Times

Punk’s Not Dead serves as a diehard’s scrapbook of three decades of living punk, not a eulogy for an extinct underground retrofitted as a fashion trend.
- Bill Stamets
Chicago Sun-Times

No End in Sight
Directed: Charles Ferguson
Starring: Richard Armitage, Campbell Scott
Trailer: Quicktime

Documentary about the U.S. invasion into Iraq to “bring about Democracy” told from those that were there, including former Deputy Secretary of State, ambassadors, colonels, generals and Chief of Staff to Colin Powell.

RT Score: 90%
RT Consensus: Charles Ferguson’s documentary provides a good summary of the decisions that led to the mess in post-war Iraq.

The anger that fuels Ferguson’s film is felt in nearly every frame.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

The film is methodically edited, interspersing tales from the ground with policy wonks, decisions with consequences, until it paints the administration into a corner.
- Kim Voynar
Cinematical

The larger picture presented here will likely be old news, although it will jab the memory and still will shock.
- Kent Turner
Film-Forward.com

A damning critique conducted with surgical precision, Ferguson’s Sundance Festival prize-winning film is arguably one of the most comprehensive and rigorous docus about the failures of the Bush administration vis-a-vis the Iraq War.
- Emanuel Levy
EmanuelLevy.Com

Want to kick start a drinking problem? Just give No End in Sight a look, and you’re assured a cold, dark night ingesting anything nearby that will sooth the post-viewing depression.
- Brian Orndorf
eFilmCritic.com

The Devil Came on Horseback
Directed: Laurent Tirard
Trailer: Quicktime, Flash

A photographer was sent to Sudan in 2003 to photograph a cease fire after a 20-year civil war, yet what he found was genocide taking place in Darfur.

RT Score: 95%
RT Consensus: The Devil Came on Horseback is both a strong primer on the complexities of the situation in Darfur and a harrowing first-person doc.

If you don’t already have a handle on the complicated conflict at the heart of Darfur’s ongoing genocide, you probably won’t come away from this harrowing documentary with any comprehensive understanding.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Sincere and purposeful, Devil has the potential to do for the situation in Darfur what An Inconvenient Truth did for global warming, which is to say, get people talking about it.
- Eric Kohn
New York Press

A decent primer on the situation, but by no means definitive.
- Edward Douglas
ComingSoon.net

One of the most searing and emotionally shattering documentaries ever made about the indifference of the world to genocide.
- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A sickeningly effective call to action that asks how we in the most powerful nation on the planet can, even in the presence of a smoking gun, remain so loath to effect change.
- Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly

Moliere
Directed: Laurent Tirard
Starring: Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini
Trailer: Quicktime

Biopic of failed actor and famous French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, also known as Moliere, when he is hired for a secret job after his theater troupe has gone bankrupt and he hides from creditors.

RT Score: 79%
RT Consensus: Moliere is a sophisticated, witty biopic of the great satirist.

A well-played but ultimately superfluous assortment of your favorite Moliere scenes strung together by a thread-thin plot that emulates, but in no way replaces, the still-sparkling originals.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

When the French do period drama well, they tend to do it very, very well.
- Tom Cox
Daily Mail [UK]

Moliere is an exceptionally likeable period comedy, powered by impeccable performances from Luchini and the wonderful Laura Morante.
- Matt Bochenski
Little White Lies

The Shakespeare in Love song remains the same, only the lyrics have changed.
- Fernando F. Croce
Slant Magazine

While this film is rather talky and a long, it’s also a wonderfully complex blend of wit and cheekiness, underscored by a surprisingly serious romance and a steely view of the battle of the sexes.
- Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall

The Sugar Curtain
Directed: Camila Guzman Urzua
Trailer: Flash

Director returns to Havana, Cuba where she grew up after being gone for over a decade.

RT Score: 88%

Urzua’s unsentimental story of shattered idealism is specific to Cuba, but anyone whose path to adulthood was paved with disillusionment — whether they were betrayed by faith, family or institutions — will understand her melancholy nostalgia.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

In its poignant depiction of a Cuban generation convinced that their roles as creators of a brighter tomorrow can only be fulfilled elsewhere, the director’s personal investigation into her past forcefully conveys a sense of national betrayal.
- Nick Schager
Slant Magazine

The even-handed film is sympathetic to the Cuban revolution in its initial stages, then slowly swings around to reveal the ‘skeleton of a dream’ that the society has become.
- Deborah Young
Variety

Although the film fails to reveal anything new about the country’s current crisis or the Cuban diaspora, it’s a bittersweet tribute to what could have been.
- Raven Snook
Time Out

For those who’ve never seen Cuba up close, The Sugar Curtain offers an astonishing glimpse of the culture, one that’s devoid of both the glamor and the manipulations of mainstream media.
- Jerry Portwood
New York Press

The Camden 28
Directed: Anthony Giacchino
Trailer: Quicktime

Documentary about 28 people in 1971 that broke into a Camden, NJ government office to steal and burn draft records to protest the Vietnam War.

RT Score: 86%

Times have changed, but many of the questions remain the same: How far would you go to stop a war you felt was unjust? Would you break the law if you felt that law to be by nature unlawful?
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

A vivid and impassioned chronicle of unwavering moral courage under extreme duress.
- Timothy Knight
Reel.com

Superlative documentary about 28 members of the Catholic left who defied the war machine in 1971–with plenty of relevance to the contemporary struggle to end the war in Iraq.
- Louis Proyect
rec.arts.movies.reviews

In revisiting the oppressive measures employed by the FBI during that era, the viewer is treated to a welcome message about the right, if not the duty, to challenge authority, especially in the face of corruption, intransigence and utter arrogance.
- Kam Williams
WBAI Web Radio

[Giacchino's] sympathy for his subjects, their cause and the tradition of Christian pacifism is evident yet doesn’t cloud the storytelling as he defies viewers not to stand in admiration and ask tough questions of themselves.
- John P. McCarthy
Boxoffice Magazine

Laura Smiles
Directed: Jason Ruscio
Starring: Petra Wright, Mark Derwin
Trailer: Windows Media, Real Player

A suburban housewife that has the seemingly perfect life, but is truly bored and unhappy.

RT Score: 57%

Unlike many filmmakers who try to stake out the gray area between mundane reality and sleazy surreality, Ruscio maintains a successful balance throughout and gracefully brings the two together in a delicately ambiguous final scene.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

The movie’s muddy, overexposed look is tough on the eyes, but its unrelentingly bleak take on the land of supermarkets and car dealerships is not without its share of dark humor, and it thankfully eschews easy answers.
- Joshua Land
Time Out

Part domestic drama, part thriller, Laura Smiles is so ambitious that its ultimate failure is more depressing than anything in its dark script.
- Matt Zoller Seitz
New York Times

Sharp dialogue, idiosyncratic characters and a wickedly brilliant structure that subtly derails expectation make Laura Smiles a rarity among mellers.
- Ronnie Scheib
Variety

It’s an interesting profile in self-destruction until the script becomes unhinged itself and has Laura doing things that are not so much outrageous as hilariously stupid.
- Jami Bernard
New York Daily News

Fat Girls
Directed: Ash Christian
Starring: Jonathan Caouette, Ash Christian
Trailer: Windows Media, Quicktime

A teenage boy feels that he is a fat girl trapped in a boy’s body.

RT Score: 100%

Plays with the conventions of the teen genre while making the most of its low-budget indie roots
- Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall

Jokes are hit-and-miss, but they splat target often enough to make this a guilty pleasure that homophile fans of both Napoleon Dynamite and American Pie might enjoy.
- Dennis Harvey
Variety

Top Chef: No Greasy Tacos

Top Chef: Miami
Latin Lunch

What I find hilarious about this show is when someone states that they have all this experience for whatever they are going to do for one of the challenges, and then they bomb. This time, it was Hung living somewhere for three years so he was going to be the expert, but he ended up in the bottom four. Casey commented that she lives near the border in Texas so she knows what she is doing, but that didn’t work out for her either. Oh silly people.

Also, even though the elimination challenge centered around Latin food, which has a wide variety, it just left me craving greasy tacos. No one made anything greasy, but this episode left me starving for them!

Quickfire Challenge

The guest judge for this episode was Maria Frumpkin, pastry chef and owner of Duo Restaurant in Miami. She was from Argentina and had a very thick accent. The task was to take 90 minutes to create a dish using a frozen pie crust. Here is who made what:

  • Hung – Banana, Rum & Chocolate Pie with Spicy Peanuts
  • Howie – Peach Tart Tatin with Black Pepper & Balsamic Sabayon
  • Joey – Trio of Tarts: Berry Cream with Balsamic Vinegar; Roasted Mango Puree with Rum; Warm Apple Compote
  • CJ – Duo: Duck Lollipop Encrusted with Pistachios & Pie Crust; Duck Tart with Cabbage, Tomato, & Arugula Puree
  • Tre – Fennel and Apple Tart Tatin
  • Brian – Vegetarian Tart with Arugula Pesto, Seafood Tart with Celeriac Puree, Chorizo Tart with Pepper Jack Cheese; Fruit Tart with Grand Marnier
  • Sara M – Braised Swiss Chard and Rabbit Stew: Prosciutto Wrapped Rabbit; Goat Cheese, Feta & Fig Tart
  • Lia – Pork Tenderloin with Artichoke & Chorizo Tart
  • Dale – Spinach & Salmon En Croute; Strawberry, Pear & Saffron Tart

We didn’t see Sara N (again) or Casey’s dishes. They must not have been memorable enough to show. This is the second show in a row where her quickfire dish wasn’t shown. I don’t see this boding well for Sara N if she can’t even make the final edit.

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TV Shows: Week of July 22

I didn’t think anything good premiered last week so I didn’t post anything, but then realized that Mad Men started last week. TV critics are loving this show. I’m going to check out a rerun tonight since I forgot to start recording it and then catch up with the second episode on Thursday. I’ll check out Damages since FX shows intrigued me. I also like Glenn Close. I have a soft spot for the super goofy Who Wants to Be a Superhero so I’ll be checking that out again this season. It is good to watch on the computer while I’m doing other things.

New Shows

Mad Men
Channel: AMC
Time: 10/9C
Premiered: Thursday, July 19
Trailer: Flash

It takes place in an advertising firm in 1960′s New York with all the non-politically correct and sexist things that went on back then.

The Kill Point
Channel: Spike
Time: 9/8c
Premieres: Sunday, July 22
Trailer: Flash

John Leguizamo tries to pull off a bank heist that goes wrong and Donnie Wahlberg is the hostage negotiator.

Saving Grace
Channel: TNT
Time: 10/9c
Premieres: Monday, July 23
Trailer: Windows Media

Holly Hunter is an Oklahoma City detective who lives a hard life and runs into a cigarette-smoking, spitting angel.

Damages
Channel: FX
Time: 10/9c
Premieres: Tuesday, July 24
Trailer: Flash

Glenn Close plays a New York litigator who has a young protege to train, but something goes horrible wrong with her protege months later. The series follows what led up to that point.

Returning Shows

Who Wants to Be a Superhero
Channel: SCI
Time: 9/8c
Premieres: Thursday, July 26
Trailer: Flash

Last Season: Feedback was the overall winner who had a comic made with his superhero creation, an action figure and he starred in a fabulous Saturday-night original Sci-Fi movie. I hope it had a great title.

This Season: Ten more hopefuls try to win Stan Lee over with their own superhero creation. They get the same winnings as last year. Stan Lee also promises to interact with the contestants more than just talking to them on a big tv screen.

Sources: TV Guide , Entertainment Weekly, Futon Critic

Movies Opening July 20

Nationwide Releases


Hairspray
Directed: Adam Shankman
Starring: Nicole Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer
Trailer: Quicktime

The John Waters movie was turned into a Broadway musical and this is a movie version of the Broadway musical. Why?

RT Score: 94%
RT Consensus: Hairspray is an energetic, wholly entertaining musical romp; a fun Summer movie with plenty of heart.

It’s all about the music, baby. And the rollicking tunes and flashy dance numbers carry the day. This new “Hairspray” is as good as it could possibly be.
- Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star

By the big finale, even homophobes will tap their feet. OK, maybe not. But the less close-minded are sure to respond. Hairspray has a beat. And you sure can dance to it.
- Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

Hairspray is a fizzy and delirious high-camp message-movie musical that may just turn out to be the happiest movie of the summer.
- Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

It’s a pallid, unthreatening version of Waters’ original, but it’s also breezy, light entertainment, good clean fun on the order of — who’d have thought it? — Disney’s blockbuster High School Musical.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Bursts onto the screen with robust energy, youth, and vigor. Tongue-in-cheek humor, subtle visual jokes, high octane tunes and dancing. 1st half excellent, second less so.
- Ross Anthony
Hollywood Report Card

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Kinky

I meant to do this earlier in the summer, but I was being lazy with my music. At least it is still summer! I think Kinky is the perfect summer band. Their sound and the dancing just fit.

Kinky

Band Members
Gilberto Cerezo
Ulises Lozano
Carlos Chairez
Omar Gongora
Cesar Pliego

Website
Kinky Music

Formed
Monterrey, Mexico 1998

Label
Nettwerk

Kinky is five guys from Monterrey, Mexico. They are an electronic band that have a mix mash of all sorts of instruments, including stand-up bass, accordian and cowbell. Almost all of their songs are sung in Spanish. When they veer into English, the lyrics don’t flow as well. They should really stick to Spanish since it doesn’t matter what they are saying, but how it all sounds together. They are also always fun to dance to.

Album: Kinky

I discovered this band from one of my CMJ cds. The song on the cd was Cornman. It was so weird and bizarre, but grew on me. The rest of the CD was equally catchy. Various songs from the album were used in movie trailers, Nip/Tuck trailers, and commercials. They were also played in the background during tv shows too. They were everywhere, except no one probably knew who they were while listening to them.

I saw them at the Bite of Oregon with a bunch of people that probably had no idea who they were, but just wandered over to their stage. They were highly entertaining and won over some fans. I loved the stand-up electric bass played by the guy in the cowboy hat who would spit his cigarette up in the air when he was done and then run off to light another one.

If you like these songs, then you will enjoy the rest of the album. My favorite songs on the album:

Song: Mas
I still associate this song with Nip/Tuck when they used it as the trailer for the first season. It is a simple song singing about wanting more and more with a thumping bass line. It makes you want to dance. weee!

Song: Soun That Mi Primer Amor
The crazy electronic voice contrasts nicely with the sweet singing of the chorus. From what I can tell in poor translations, the song is somewhat a love song, but also seems to involve alcohol. Maybe drunk love?

Song: Cornman
I have found out that this song is about a vendor that does backflips. I just know that I try to sing along, even though I have no idea of the Spanish words. I can sing the chorus since it is in English. :)

Song: Anorexic Freaks
A fluff song, but has more electronic singing that I enjoy. I feel its about models, but who knows!

P.S. For those that don’t have the password to the Random Song post, but need it, send me an email. If I know you, you’ll get it. :)

Top Chef: Three Tiny Bites

Top Chef: Miami
Cooking by the Numbers

Over the weekend, I watched the Top Chef marathon from the first season and was so glad while watching it that they got rid of the team concept since I liked seeing how the chefs worked on their dishes individually. Then in this episode, they had to split into teams. Oh no! At least they just had to decide on a similar ingredient and then could figure out how to prepare it their own way for their own little dish. It was the right combination of individual and team work. I still hope they stay away from the team work idea though for the rest of the season.

Quickfire Challenge

Before they went into the team concept though, they had to make it through the quickfire challenge. The guest judge for the quickfire challenge was Jamie Walker who is a Global Master Mixologist for Bombay Sapphire Gin. He makes cocktails and pairs them with food. I did not know these jobs even exist!

Jamie made a bunch of cocktails with the gin and each chef would draw knives to see which cocktail they were to work with and create an appetizer dish that matched it. Finally the show took pictures of the quickfire challenge too so I can share those while talking about them. Yeah!

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Movies Opening July 11

Captivity has to be horrible when Marci, who wants to see all movies after watching the trailer, did not want to see this one. It does belong to the subgenre name that I love though: torture porn.

Shortcut to Happiness used to be called The Devil and Daniel Webster. It was made a long time ago. Alec Baldwin was not happy with it. He didn’t want it released, and for a few years, it looked like it would never be released. Then the movie company changed the name and released it in a few random cities, making Alec Baldwin very angry.

Nationwide Releases


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Directed: David Yates
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Trailer: Quicktime

Harry is in his fifth year at Hogwarts, no one believes Harry’s story about Voldemort’s return. The Magic of Ministry isn’t helping things by trying to keep it all under wraps.

RT Score: 76%
RT Consensus: While perhaps not reaching the heights of the earlier Potter films, The Order of the Phoenix is nevertheless an entertaining, action-packed installment that captures the dark mood of the novel.

Order of the Phoenix, the best of the series so far, has the laughs, the jitters and the juice to make even nonbelievers wild about Harry.
- Peter Travers
Rolling Stone

For all the action — and there’s plenty of it, even if it’s only a portion of what was crammed into Rowling’s 870 pages — the most important stuff is what takes place in Harry’s head.
- Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly

It feels like Charlie Brown getting ready to kick the football that Lucy’s holding. He’s sure she’s going to pull it away once again, but Charlie gives it another try anyway, because it’s there, and who knows, maybe this time will be different.
- Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star

It feels like a placeholder, not because little happens but because so much plot must be served in order to set up subsequent events that there’s no room for the gentle human moments that anchor Rowling’s heroic fantasy epic to the everyday world.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

The Order Of The Phoenix is formulaic and lacking in depth, and does not make the most of the intensity in the fifth instalment of JK Rowling’s epic story.
- Helene A Aasen
Channel 4 Film

Captivity
Directed: Roland Joffe
Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Trailer: Quicktime

Elisha Cuthbert is caught and tortured. Did she learn nothing from 24 and the cougar?

RT Score: 6%
RT Consensus: Lacking scares or psychological insight, Captivity is a distasteful entry in the ‘torture porn’ subgenre.

If critics offended by the rise of the horror-movie sub-genre they’ve derisively tagged ‘torture porn’ ever needed a prime suspect to haul before any moral court, the first 20 minutes of this brutal kidnapping thriller from Roland Joffe would work.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Joffe and his screenwriter Larry Cohen deserve a little credit for pointing up the psychological horrors where they can, but Captivity is still a grubby, exploitative film with an extremely guessable twist and universally dull performances.
- Paul Arendt
BBC

The film itself is a very sorry and unthrilling piece of nastiness, peddling some pretty crass nonsense about what it imagines to be female psychology.
- Peter Bradshaw
Guardian [UK]

It’s a Saw rip-off with less smarts. (Take a moment, please, to allow that sentence to sink in.)
- Ty Burr
Boston Globe

I never, ever imagined the experience of spending 80 minutes watching Elisha Cuthbert could be so punishing and vile.
- Brian Orndorf
eFilmCritic.com

Limited Releases


Talk to Me
Directed: Kasi Lemmons
Starring: Don Cheadle, Martin Sheen
Trailer: Quicktime

Based on true story of Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene Jr., a talk radio guy in the ’60s who was controversial, but also helped keep the community together during the times of civil unrest.

RT Score: 80%
RT Consensus: A riveting look at the life of legendary DJ “Petey” Greene, Talk to Me goes beyond the typical biopic with explosive performances from Don Cheadle and Chiwetal Ejiofor.

A rowdy, richly offbeat biopic.
- Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

Captures the euphoric and daring, rebel music drenched energy that fueled radio culture back then, while also tuning in to the organic intensity of the times.
- Prairie Miller
Long Island Press

[Cheadle] brings warmth, humor, and vulnerability to a role that could easily have been a Good Morning, Vietnam-level blunder.
- Pete Vonder Haar
Film Threat

Talk to Me offers uplift without phoniness, history without undue didacticism and a fair number of funny, dirty jokes.
- A.O. Scott
New York Times

Don Cheadle, along with Taraji P. Henson, act up a storm in this biopic about Petey Greene, a 1960s-era deejay who shook up the airwaves with his streetwise rant. Their performances deserve a better film.
- Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor

My Best Friend
Directed: Patrice Leconte
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Dany Boon
Trailer: Quicktime

A rich guy doesn’t have any friends, but when he is called on it, he claims he does have some. A bet is placed and he goes out trying to find out how to get a friend, instead of business contacts.

RT Score: 81%
RT Consensus: Although the plot may sound contrived, the performances of Daniel Auteuil and Dany Boon manage to turn My Best Friend into an earnest and witty romp.

Leconte takes a light-handed approach to a surprisingly serious topic in this charming comedy about the isolated nature of urban life.
- Rich Cline
Shadows on the Wall

My Best Friend’s biggest pitfall is its script, which seems to have been built backwards from the hook of a game show’s ‘lifeline’…The actors do the heavy lifting
- Laura Clifford
Reeling Reviews

A surprisingly whimsical offering that takes a high concept premise to often implausible heights of Hollywood silliness but remains enjoyable due to the performances.
- Edward Douglas
ComingSoon.net

Patrice Leconte is in a light but thoughtful mood in My Best Friend, a buddy movie that actually ponders the nature of what it is to be a buddy.
- Robert Koehler
Variety

MY BEST FRIEND is an enjoyable soufflé that may get you to stop and ask yourself the question: do you have a best friend?
- Ted Murphy
Murphy’s Movie Reviews

Interview
Directed: Steve Buscemi
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Sienna Miller
Trailer: Quicktime

A war reporter is assigned a puff piece on an actress that he really knows nothing about and hasn’t seen any of her films. They spend a long evening together getting to know each other.

RT Score: 63%
RT Consensus: Captivating performances from Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller make a seemingly simple premise gripping and entertaining.

Any doubts as to whether Sienna Miller is a gifted actress should be laid to rest by Interview.
- Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

There’s nothing more to it than meets the eye.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Buscemi’s strength is his build up of the characters and he does well as both director and star.
- Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews

Interview doesn’t say anything new regarding our obsession with celebrity or, to paraphrase Janet Malcolm, the moral indefensibility of journalism. But the way [Buscemi and Miller] psychologically thrust and parry more than carries the film.
- David Fear
Time Out

Premise of the Dutch film’s remake seems less believable here, but the acting is compelling and believable.
- Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times

Time
Directed: Kim Ki-Duk
Starring: Seong Hyeon-ah, Ha Jung-Moo
Trailer: Flash

A woman doesn’t trust her boyfriend’s love. She is afraid he will get bored of her looks over time, so she continuously changes her look.

RT Score: 86%
RT Consensus: A tale of love and plastic surgery, Kim Ki-Duk’s haunting film is both wryly comic and disturbing.

An uncanny and thoroughly creepy nip-yuck nightmare about plastic surgery and identity.
- Ken Fox
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Throughout Time, Kim Ki-duk flips between soapy melodrama and dry, self-aware comedy. The effect is thrilling and disorienting, like walking on a trampoline.
- Matt Zoller Seitz
New York Times

Time, with its mysteriously apt title and harshly lit modern interiors, succeeds on its own terms, establishing a daring atmosphere of dread.
- Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out

A truly unpredictable film and you watch it transfixed by its singular peregrinations and the fatalistic determination of the monumentally wrong-headed Se-heui.
- David Noh
Film Journal International

Korea’s obsession with plastic surgery is satirized with humor and warmth by Kim Ki-duk using an attractive ensemble of young Korean actors.
- Harvey S. Karten
Compuserve

Tekkon Kinkreet
Directed: Michael Arias
Starring: Alex Fernandez
Trailer: Quicktime

Two orphans try to rule the streets of Treasure Town.

RT Score: 79%

Anime enthusiasts will want to take a look, but the film is too uneven to serve as a good introduction to the form.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Tekkonkinkreet, for all its architecturally grimy virtuosity and flourishes of anime cool, remains the story of a damaged city that can still point to one mighty example of brotherly love.
- Robert Abele
Los Angeles Times

Wins you over with its sense of style and attention to detail … a fine display of what can be done in hand-drawn and painted animation.
- Edward Douglas
ComingSoon.net

Since the movie more or less abandons all pretense of naturalism somewhere around its midpoint, in the end the expressionistic frenzy of light, movement, and color that takes over is enough to make it worth seeing.
- Jim Hemphill
Reel.com

Somewhat resembles Paprika, another recent piece of Japanimation. But director Michael Arias, a Tokyo-based American, doesn’t fuse his striking graphics to a story anywhere near as satisfying.
- Lou Lumenick
New York Post

Hula Girls
Directed: Sang-il Lee
Starring: Yasuko Matsuyuki, Etsushi Toyokawa

Based on a true story, in 1965 old mining towns in Japan are dying, so one city decides to make a Hawaiian village with hula dancers, yet no one knows how to hula.

RT Score: 40%

U.S. audiences may find themselves impatient with the leisurely way Lee — a Japanese director of Korean descent — lets the tale unfold.
- Maitland McDonagh
TV Guide’s Movie Guide

Where the filmmakers fall flat, aside from undistinguished direction and truly poor lighting and cinematography, is in making the characters such cardboard ciphers.
- Frank Lovece
Film Journal International

The dance floor is soon covered with syrupy melodrama.
- J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

Loaded with underdog heroics and bursting with youthful enthusiasm, Hula Girls may be utterly predictable but it sure is a lot of fun.
- Richard Kuipers
Variety

Director Lee Sang-il employs every possible cliché as he shamelessly tries to manipulate viewers’ emotions.
- V.A. Musetto
New York Post

Shortcut to Happiness
Directed: Alec Baldwin
Starring: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Alec Baldwin
Trailer: Quicktime

A writer who can’t sell a story, sells his soul to the devil, but after his success leads one of his friends to have bad luck, he wants out of the deal and tries to sue the devil over the contract.

RT Score: 0%

Awkwardly paced, indifferently acted and laughably hokey.
- Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly

Much of the fault can be distributed to Hewitt’s performance which has neither the zing nor the menace to effectively sell us that she has any credible advantage over heavyweights like Baldwin and Hopkins.
- Erik Childress
eFilmCritic.com

Baldwin, like so many thesp-helmers, lacks an instinctive sense of how to place and move the camera.
- Scott Foundas
Variety

Has to be seen to be believed — a very rare case of a movie that’s such an utter train wreck you can’t stop watching.
- Lou Lumenick
New York Post

Brick

Brick

Directed: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas

Detective story taking place in a high school and shot as a film noir.

It takes a moment to get into the rhythm of the movie. None of the high school kids act like normal teenagers. They all talk as if they are in a film noir movie from the ’30s or in a David Lynch film. The Twin Peaks kids talked like this at times. While watching the movie, I would forget they were teenagers, but there were moments that would bring me back to that, and made me laugh. Some times it would be something simple such as walking through high school, though no one was ever in class. Other times, it was when a drug kingpin was being domineering right before his mom showed up and offered all the other kids orange juice and cookies. Hilarious.

A girl is murdered and the main character is trying to find out who did it and why. The mystery wasn’t the main point of the story for me, since I really didn’t like what I saw of the girl character so I didn’t care if she died or why. That would lead me to think that I wouldn’t really need to watch the rest of the movie, but it pulled me in with the oddness of it described above.

I also loved the fights. The main guy had the most awesome and original fight scenes. They were highly entertaining. My favorites was when he would throw his whole body into a punch, which has to be seen. I also loved how he got one guy to quit chasing him in the halls of the high school. Quick thinking and a very painful result.

Rating: B+

The Machinist

The Machinist

Directed: Brad Anderson
Starring: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Christian Bale looks super freaky thin as a guy who hasn’t slept in over a year. Is he seeing things due to sleep deprivation? Or are people really after him?

Please please please please do not ever allow Christian Bale to lose 63 pounds for a movie role. He looks like an extremely skinny 12-year-old boy that has developed no muscles. The more weight he loses in the movie, the more you can see his skeleton showing through his back, rib cage, and his face. It is highly disturbing. It disturbs others in the movie too, and most of them think he’s on drugs. He gets tested at his drill-press job after he injures another co-worker by mistake. I would have thought after a year of not sleeping, he would have done that sooner.

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Transformers

I loved Transformers as a kid, so I was very suspicious of Michael Bay and his wacky live action movie idea from the get-go. However, after seeing some trailers and what not, we went to see it on the 4th of July.

The story breaks from canon, but you aren’t really watching this movie for the plot. Shia LeBeouf is selling his late grandfather’s possessions to buy a new car. His new car turns out to be Bumblebee and his grandfather was an explorer who went to the North Pole and accidentally found Megatron. Megatron had crashed there thousands of years prior and was incapacitated in the ice. The US government extracted Megatron and built the Hoover Dam around him to conceal his presence, along with some life giving cube that Megatron was chasing that also crashed here. Crazy government cover-ups!

Well, fast forward a bit, the other Transformers finally figure out that Megatron and the cube are on Earth and come here to find them and battle it out. There are tons of fights between the good Autobots and evil Decepticons and a Spec Ops team headed up by the guy from the TV show Las Vegas. The movie also has a lot of dorky jokes and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is good, because it’s about giant tranforming robots from another planet.

In all seriousness, the movie is handled pretty well…though it does seem like a 2.5 hour car commercial which may annoy some people. Also, the camera moves around like crazy during the battles, so it made me a little sick after a while. Other than that, I really have no complaints. The action was awesome, Megan Fox was hawt like teh fire, and nobody was all that annoying. I’m also very happy that they made my favorite Transformer of all-time, Starscream, into a total badass. My favorite scene in the movie was towards the end, the Spec Ops team called in an airstrike and Starscream, who transforms into an F22 fighter jet, goes after the planes as they’re trying to bomb Megatron.

I think it’s somewhere in between 4 and 5 stars, but edging towards the high side of that…I definitely recommend going to see it!