Movie Reviews

July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight

By Joseph Susanka

The Batman franchises have long struggled to find the correct balance between good and evil. In the original Batman, Tim Burton's love for the visually (and emotionally) bizarre, combined with Jack Nicholson's apparent inability to control himself, produced a film whose focus quickly shifted from Michael Keaton's mildly-tormented title character to Nicholson's wildly over-acted Joker. As the franchise moved from Batman to Batman Returns, from Batman Forever to Batman and Robin, the villains...

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November 07, 2006

The World’s Fastest Indian

By Hilary Rowe

A surprise hit of 2005, The World’s Fastest Indian is an outstanding celebration of humor, simplicity, perseverance, and kindness.  This charming film is based on the true story of Burt Munro, a motorcycle enthusiast from New Zealand with aspirations to make history.Impeccably acted by Sir Anthony Hopkins, Munro embarks on a journey to America to race his rebuilt 1920 Indian, an American-manufactured motorcycle, in a land speed competition.  His humble beginning is reminiscent of many a...

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November 07, 2006

The Prestige

By Hilary Rowe

Directed by Christopher Nolan, the talent behind Memento (2000), The Prestige enters the secretive world of magic to tell the story of two men hungry for fame and obsessed with revenge.  Although the dialogue eventually succumbs to cliché, Nolan’s story is refreshingly subtle and mysterious.The Prestige follows the rivalry of two young magicians, Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale), who repeatedly ruin one another’s performances and often place each other in...

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October 09, 2006

The Last Kiss

By Hilary Rowe

I loved Zach Braff’s film debut in Garden State (2004), and so I had been eagerly looking forward to his role in the new release The Last Kiss.  The movie’s other promising credit is writer Paul Haggis, who recently provided the complex and profound script for Crash (2005).  Emerging from this talent is a film of real artistic quality that falls regrettably short of moral or human truth.Braff plays Michael, a 29-year-old architect living with his pregnant girlfriend, Jenna, in Madison,...

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October 09, 2006

Flyboys

By Hilary Rowe

Part of a recent influx of movies about heroic servicemen, Flyboys tells the story of WWI fighter pilots from America who volunteer to fight for France prior to the United States’ entry into the conflict.  These young men learn to operate frighteningly primitive machines merely three years after the invention of the airplane.  Unfortunately, given this foundation of heroic courage and sacrifice, Flyboys achieves only mediocrity.The men who form this crude air force fill a variety of American...

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September 15, 2006

Water

By Hilary Rowe

Recently released on DVD, this profound film was produced in India by writer/director Deepa Mehta.  Water tells the story of Chuyia, an eight-year-old girl who is widowed.  Against her will, she goes to live in a home with other widows, who, according to Hindu tradition, are to live their remaining days in prayer and penance.  Amidst this landscape of shocking injustice emerges Gandhi, a hero who brings hope for those oppressed by social customs and by British imperial rule.Chuyia has no...

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September 15, 2006

Invincible

By Hilary Rowe

Invincible tells the story of Vince Papale, an unemployed substitute teacher from Philadelphia who remains a loyal Eagles fan despite a string of losing seasons.  Set in 1975, the city of Philadelphia undergoes hardship in its economy as well as its professional sports, and Papale becomes a sign of hope when he earns a spot on the Eagles roster, living the dream of every fan.  It is Dick Vermeil’s first season coaching the Eagles, and he attempts to raise the fans’ morale by holding open...

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August 24, 2006

World Trade Center

By Hilary Rowe

Oliver Stone’s new film about the September 11th attacks is the first big-screen portrayal of those events with big names and a budget large enough to reach major audiences throughout the country.  Based on the true story of two port authority police officers pulled alive from the collapsed towers, World Trade Center is an attempt to bring a story of hope to memories of violence.  In other films (Platoon, JFK), Stone has been criticized for sensationalizing actual events, mingling fact and...

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August 07, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

By Hilary Rowe

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the 109 minutes I spent watching The Devil Wears Prada, primarily because Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep are quite amusing in their roles.  Nothing in this movie was profound enough to provoke a second viewing, but it does offer a needed message about simplicity and integrity.Hathaway plays Andy, a recent college graduate longing to make it big as a journalist in New York City, who finds herself working as the second personal assistant to Miranda, the...

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August 07, 2006

The Heart of the Game

By Hilary Rowe

Without question, The Heart of the Game is the best film I have seen in 2006.  The only unfortunate thing about it is that it is in limited release throughout the country.  If it is currently playing in your area, see it soon or you may lose your chance.  This engaging documentary about a high school girls’ basketball team originated as the chronicle of a single season.  Thankfully, director Ward Serrill was so taken with his subjects that he continued filming for seven years.  The result is...

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