The Movie Review

The Movie Review: 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen'
June 26, 2009

The new Transformers movie is two-and-a-half hours long. I'm going to write that sentence again, if I may, because it is a reality I find only slightly less confounding than I would the arrival on this planet of actual alien robots inclined to disguise themselves as backhoes and eighteen-wheelers: The new Transformers movie is two-and-a-half hours long. Who imagined that this would be a good idea? Director Michael Bay's enthusiasm for his sequel, the full title of which is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, is perhaps comprehensible.

The Movie Review: 'Angels & Demons'
May 15, 2009

How do you make a sequel to a blockbuster when the star of your film declines to return for a second go-round? I refer, of course, to Tom Hanks’s hairdo in The Da Vinci Code. Slipshod and plodding though that film was, the mullety muss adorning Hanks’s pate was a source of nearly inexhaustible amusement.

The Movie Review: 'Star Trek'
May 08, 2009

I am not a Trekkie. It’s important that this be clearly established before we move on. Yes, as a boy I was a fan of the original “Star Trek,” to the point where I could distinguish a Saladin-class Destroyer from a Ptolemy-class tug--an admission I’d be loath to make if my wife weren’t already bound to me by marital vows, two children, and a large puppy. But I never cottoned to the subsequent Trek series and bailed out on the movie adaptations shortly after the Enterprise started rescuing whales in the mid-80s. I am not, in other words, someone who approached director J. J.

The Movie Review: 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'
May 01, 2009

What do you do when your superhero franchise has no future? You reverse time’s arrow and plunder the past. After two strong, Bryan-Singer-directed outings, the original X-Men trilogy wheezed to a grim, dispirited conclusion in 2006 with the Brett-Ratner-helmed X-Men: The Last Stand--a lurching wreck of a movie that should have added $5 million to Singer’s subsequent asking price. So, having hit a wall going forward, the franchise has turned back.

The Movie Review: ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’
March 27, 2009

My problems with The Haunting in Connecticut began with the title. With the first word of the title, actually. The haunting in Connecticut? There's something unduly proprietary, even presumptuous, about that definite article. I mean, there must've been hundreds, thousands, of reports of paranormal activity in the Constitution State over the years. I grew up there, and think I may have seen an odd thing or two myself. Do the film’s producers really want to argue, even implicitly, that none of those hauntings were real?

The Movie Review: 'The Pink Panther 2'
February 06, 2009

What is the clue that enables Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Steve Martin) to uncover the identity of the Tornado, a notorious international thief, at the conclusion of The Pink Panther 2? Well, I’ll tell you. (Is this a spoiler? In the technical sense, yes, though anyone who imagines that this “mystery” is in any way mysterious is already displaying more imagination than the screenwriters.

The Movie Review: 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno'
October 31, 2008

      With 1990s films such as Clerks and Chasing Amy, Kevin Smith pioneered the kind of tender raunch that, under Judd Apatow, has come to dominate American comedy. As Apatow himself once put it, “Kevin Smith laid down the track.” Now, though, the train has left the station and, like everyone else, Smith is desperately trying to climb back aboard.

The Movie Review: 'Hellboy 2'
July 10, 2008

Near the midpoint of Hellboy II: The Golden Army, the titular demon is asked by his all-too-human girlfriend, “Do you need everyone to love you? Or am I enough?” The original Hellboy, which director Guillermo del Toro launched on an unsuspecting public in 2004, felt as though it would have been content with the latter option--the unconditional affection of comic-book and fantasy-film geeks, the ironic indie crowd, and an eclectic bag of viewers eager for something just a little different.