Archive | Reviews

REVIEW: ‘The Spy Next Door’

Grade: D- Brian Levant’s The Spy Next Door is a borrowed movie. It opens with a sequence of scenes borrowed from Jackie Chan’s most famous movies. It borrows its plot from recent semi-successful family films like The Pacifier. Worst of all, it borrows its leading man, keeping him distracted from the good films he should […]

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REVIEW: ‘Nine’

Grade: C- For a film about a director searching for inspiration, Nine plays out like its own director was uninspired. Rob Marshall, the director behind the camera, borrows from his other films, fails to utilize his all-star cast, and delivers an uneven, disjointed cinematic experience. The result adds to the list of failures in the […]

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REVIEW: ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Grade: C The Hollywoodization of Inspector Sherlock Holmes is complete. The new version of the intellectual detective is a brawny ladies man who thirsts for physicality as much as he longs for truth. He doesn’t just stroll around sleuthing with a magnifying glass – he enters bare knuckle boxing matches and “outwits” his opponents. The […]

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REVIEW: ‘Avatar’

Grade: A- After seeing James Cameron’s newest sci-fi adventure film Avatar over the weekend, I did my normal critic thing and started outlining my review. I noticed that I was pointing out all of these flaws in the film that made me look like I didn’t enjoy it. I had to erase everything that I […]

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‘Avatar’ Reviews Are In and “Movie Magic is Back!”

The embargoes have been broken and the first reviews of James Cameron’s much anticipated film Avatar have come in this evening from the two big Hollwood trades. Thanks to reader G1000 for pointing out that Variety‘s Todd McCarthy and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt both posting reviews on the much anticipated film. Word on the […]

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REVIEW: ‘Precious: Based on the Novel “PUSH” by Sapphire’

Grade: B+ It was about halfway through the film Precious: Based on the Novel “PUSH” by Sapphire when something struck me. The title character had just survived a horrific confrontation with her mother when she arrives at school. Precious’s classmates’ reaction to seeing her clutching a baby wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket was to burst […]

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Early ‘Invictus’ Reviews Trickle In

There are very few films yet to be released in 2009 that don’t have a critical consensus already brewing. Of the films that have not screened at film festivals or early previews, one that has piqued a lot of interest is Clint Eastwood’s Invictus. Oscar bloggers are vigorously igniting the discussion of what type of […]

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REVIEW: ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’

Grade: C In Jon Ronson’s book, The Men Who Stare at Goats (my review), the author presents himself as an outside observer of the psychic spy, military-trained First Earth Battalion movement. He is fascinated by the stories being told to him by former members of the U.S. military and he presents them all, expecting the […]

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REVIEW: ‘An Education’

Grade: B- “Action is character,” Jenny recites to David in a moment of realization – as humans we are defined by what we do, and in Jenny’s mind she didn’t do anything until she met David. The quotation that starts off the previously described scene simultaneous points out the best and worst parts of the […]

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REVIEW: ‘How to Seduce Difficult Women’

Grade: C+ The message of the latest film from director Richard Temtchine is a simple one – when it comes to the wit and wisdom of love, nobody knows anything. The film How to Seduce Difficult Women splices together an ensemble narrative piece and real-life interviews with New Yorkers to give contrasting opinions about the […]

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REVIEW: ‘Jezebel’ (1938)

Grade: B+ The precursor to Vivien Leigh’s performance in Gone With the Wind when it comes to Southern Belles with an attitude is Bette Davis’s fantastic turn in William Wyler’s Jezebel. Davis delivers one of the finest performances of her career as the rebellious Miss Julie, whose desire to avoid conformity to Southern mores eventually […]

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REVIEW: ‘A Serious Man’

Grade: A For a filmmaker, or artist in general, it seems to be an unwritten rule that once you’ve reached success in your career, you must revisit your childhood and dissect the environment that formed your personality. Sometimes these endeavors are dark and mysterious, sometimes they are comical and reminiscent, and sometimes they subvert the […]

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REVIEW: ‘Where the Wild Things Are’

Grade: B In a press release for his latest film, Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze said it “isn’t a child’s movie, it is a movie about childhood.” With this information on hand before I entered the theatre, I immediately felt sorry for the rows of children eagerly awaiting their favorite picture book being […]

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REVIEW: ‘Paranormal Activity’

Grade: A- I’ll admit that I’m not in love with the horror genre (which makes me a minority in the film blogger community). There are some great horror classics, but recent attempts at the genre have been embarrassing as filmmakers have predominately opted for recycled plots with an emphasis on gore. Take a story with […]

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REVIEW: ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

Grade: B+ Nobody listens to Michael Moore. Sure his films may be well-reviewed, successful at the box office, and receive a lot of awards attention from the film community, but nobody really listens to him. In 2003 he released Farenheit 9/11, a film highly critical of the Bush administration at a time when Bush had […]

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REVIEW: ‘M*A*S*H’ (1970)

Grade: B Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H is like a whole bunch of films wrapped up into one. It takes place in a war zone, but it’s not really a war movie. It subtly portrays the brutality of war through the experiences of characters who do not fit war movie archetypes. Calling M*A*S*H the frat brothers at […]

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USER REVIEW: ‘Gosford Park’ (2001)

Robert Altman month is winding down as September comes to an end here at Film Misery. I’ll have a few more reviews posted before the end of the week and the usual top 10 (which is really hard). In the mean time, FM reader Brandon Cooley has reviewed one of my favorite Altman films: Gosford […]

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