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The film's ending will delight social anthropologists, and parents lose their grip on tradition,...

Ever the social realist and humanist, John Sayles ("Lone Star," "Matewan," for example) in "Sunshine State" has his most-balanced treatment today on the impact of time, history, and environment on the evolution of human habitation.

...it's not quite Shakespeare but close.

How many times have you heard this philosophy in film: "All I have is memory"? "The Fast Runner" is just such a memory film of the Iglooik people telling a 1000 year-old story of feuding brothers, unfaithful wives, and patricide most foul. The beginning voiceover says, "I can only say this story to someone who understands it."

Not even her much-watched body and his Chandler-Bing attitude can save this piece of Hollywood junk...

When is a movie worse than last year's David-Duchovny "Evolution"? When it's "Serving Sara," starring Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley.

Not even her much-watched body and his Chandler-Bing attitude can save this piece of Hollywood junk probably no one but Paramount would take.

Yes, a surfing movie with some weight easily glides over the lame "Ya Ya."

Could teen flick "Blue Crush" actually crush "Divine Secrets of the YA YA Sisterhood" by saying more about the need of young women to strike out on their own? Yes, a surfing movie with some weight easily glides over the lame "Ya Ya."

At the crossroad of new traditions and old superstitions, here's a look at the history of Halloween.

Eye of newt, and toe of frog
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing
For a charm of powerful trouble
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."

Responding to my recent web review of "The Emperor's New Clothes," in which I praised the cinematographer's shot of a sunrise, a crew member gently wrote to me he and some other special effects people had worked a few weeks to create that shot. I felt like Michael Bay, director of "Pearl Harbor," who allegedly couldn't tell the difference between his original footage and the digital ones.

"The Good Girl" and Anniston do a remarkable job of depicting the lost life,...

There's a moment when I hoped for a memorable line, but it left without a trace.

In "Blood Work," Clint Eastwood's retired FBI profiler has a new heart from a woman whose murderer he is determined to find. While it is painful to watch an aging Eastwood worry about his heart throughout the film, it is comforting to know his symbolic heart is in great shape as he wins the love of a woman almost half his age.

XXX

"Filmmakers now realize that action doesn't have to be dumb. . . .

Miramax PG-13

All right already-we get the point about reality and fiction,...

My two children working in Hollywood could verify that Steven Soderbergh's "Full Frontal" captures some of the neurotic self-indulgence and egocentrism of that powerful colony. But then David Lynch did a much more challenging analysis of Hollywood actors and the relationship to their roles in "Mulholland Drive," and Tim Robbins just plain had more fun skewering the motion-picture process in "The Player."

...nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

I have never seen a film as relentlessly uncompromising about the allure, power, and banality of the con game as I have seen in the Argentine "Nine Queens." From the opening sequence where small-time grifter Juan pulls a $20 switch at a convenience store to the final scam that looks like "House of Cards" and "The Sting" welded onto "Hard Eight," nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted.

"Signs" is a cautionary tale about believing in powers greater than ourselves whose signs are all around us...

"Signs," directed by M. Night Shyamalan of "The Sixth Sense" and starring Mel Gibson, echoes "War of the Worlds," "Field of Dreams," and numerous "B" Sci-Fi's whose message about fate and faith is more important even than scaring the bejesus out of us.

This is good old-fashioned romance, history, and fiction all in one small but unforgettable film,...

In 1821, on St. Helena, Napoleon loyalists switch the emperor with a look-alike ship hand and send the little tyrant secretly off to Paris to revive the Old Order. I love improbable movies like "The Emperor's New Clothes," especially the docudramas that feed our lust to know the insides of great figures.

The film "K-19: The Widowmaker" should be required viewing,...

Some colleges include courses, even majors, in leadership. The film "K-19: The Widowmaker" should be required viewing, as "Patton" often is, for an example of conflicted command. This is a true story of Russia's first nuclear ballistic submarine, malfunctioning in its nuclear reactor on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic in 1961.

"Road to Perdition" lacks the grandeur of Coppola's "Godfather" epic, but...

"Road to Perdition" is a rocky road of revenge and reconciliation, punctuated by some gorgeous Conrad Hall cinematography. Tom Hanks is a 1930's mob hit man whose 12 year-old son sees him commit a murder. The rest of Director Sam Mendes' ("American Beauty") film is the boy's coming to terms with that knowledge. Paul Newman plays a "godfather," a father to his errant son and like a father to Hanks.

Give the movie a "B" because Smith and Jones are too good to be too bad...

"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour."
- William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence"

Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra,...

In “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” Frank Capra knew how to mix an interesting story with a corny theme about the goodness of the little guy and the corruption of the corporation. Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra, but Sandler’s real-guy persona brings an affectionate Longfellow Deeds back to the screen without as much embarrassment as you’d think.

Regardless of the eras, we all were headed toward sin and redemption as altar boys.

Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra,...

In “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” Frank Capra knew how to mix an interesting story with a corny theme about the goodness of the little guy and the corruption of the corporation. Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra, but Sandler’s real-guy persona brings an affectionate Longfellow Deeds back to the screen without as much embarrassment as you’d think.

Finally, an intelligent movie this summer to share the spotlight with Hugh Grant’s “About a Boy.”

A young woman, Zoe, is placed under electronic house arrest for a crime she did not commit. The eccentric and energetic “Cherish, ” written and directed by Finn Taylor (“Dream with the Fishes”) has the virtues of romance and thriller with a good dose of odd love. It is by far superior to any other in its multi-genre this year.

In this mixed bag of tricks are a couple of scenes truly worthy of Spielberg’s brilliance...

Spielberg, Cruise, Philip C. Dick—director, star, creator. This is a heavenly group promising that the mediocre fare of this summer will be redeemed by a sci-fi thriller about an agency making arrests before crimes are committed.

Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra,...

In “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” Frank Capra knew how to mix an interesting story with a corny theme about the goodness of the little guy and the corruption of the corporation. Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra, but Sandler’s real-guy persona brings an affectionate Longfellow Deeds back to the screen without as much embarrassment as you’d think.

Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra,...

In “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” Frank Capra knew how to mix an interesting story with a corny theme about the goodness of the little guy and the corruption of the corporation. Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra, but Sandler’s real-guy persona brings an affectionate Longfellow Deeds back to the screen without as much embarrassment as you’d think.

Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra,...

In “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” Frank Capra knew how to mix an interesting story with a corny theme about the goodness of the little guy and the corruption of the corporation. Adam Sandler’s remake, “Mr. Deeds,” is hardly Capra, but Sandler’s real-guy persona brings an affectionate Longfellow Deeds back to the screen without as much embarrassment as you’d think.

In “Windtalkers” Cage’s struggle with his guilt demons dominates the promising topics of a code that was never broken...

When does a knighted actor collect a paycheck?

When does a knighted actor collect a paycheck?

When he acts benightedly in a cliched spy thriller that is a virtual textbook of Hollywood expectations, right down to the scruffy mid-eastern terrorists and the oversized red digital readout on a nuclear bomb.

When "Enigma" is real, it’s good intrigue...

My favorite Michael-Apted directed work is "Thunderheart," the tragic tale about struggles between the FBI and Indians in the Dakotas in the 70's. His recent "Enigma" again treats history, this time the British breaking of the Nazi secret code in WWII at Bletchley, the busy estate of British decrypters.

The beauty shop of "Steel Magnolias" now looks like a warm, funny place to me and tiny Chickapenn Parish much more original than I originally thought...

If you’re a daughter yet to figure out your crazy mother, then see "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." You may realize you're not alone, and your mother may be saner than you thought.

Leave your disbelief at home and enter a fantasy world a little bit closer to reality than most of us would like...

When I don't carp about the narrative logic or continuity of a film, it just may be I liked it well enough I was willing to suspend my disbelief. Enter the new Jack Ryan in another Tom Clancy adaptation, "The Sum of All Fears."

Let me carp first:

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