2009

Archie’s Final Project Review

Archie’s Final Project Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) This review was written as part of “The CK’s Not-So-Secret Santa Review Swap (in July)”, a community project from The Cinematic Katzenjammer. Please catch up with the idea for this project and the other reviews written for it here. Archie’s Final Project boasts a rather fascinating concept, a compelling story, and an […]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) Coming off the high that was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, my anticipation was off-the-charts for the sixth film in J.K. Rowling’s hugely popular series—Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Not only is the film based on what is, in my opinion, the strongest novel in the series, but […]

9 Review

9 Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) 9, not to be confused with Nine, the Rob Marshall musical which also came out in 2009, is another in a long line of post-apocalyptic films from the past few years. Two things separate it from films like Children of Men, The Road, and The Book of Eli. The first is obvious—9 […]

The Damned United Review

The Damned United Review

RATING: (3 STARS) The Damned United is a delightful little film made for a very specific audience—English soccer fans. The fact that I’m not part of that demographic didn’t prevent me from enjoying it, but it did keep me a little at arm’s length. Director Tom Hooper, writer Peter Morgan, and star Michael Sheen are […]

The Cove

The Cove

I’ve said before on this blog that I’ve never really been a huge fan of documentaries. To be fair, I don’t watch all that many (maybe three or four per year on average, although a quick survey of 2010’s slate of non-fiction tells me that number will be much higher). I think the reason I […]

Me and Orson Welles Review

Me and Orson Welles Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) With the exception of one outstanding performance, Me and Orson Welles is completely disposable. An awkward mix of romantic comedy, theater drama, and coming-of-age story, the film isn’t original and doesn’t say anything particularly interesting. But Christian McKay’s brilliant work as the enormously charming, yet painfully controlling Welles is on par with […]

Up Review

Up Review

RATING: (4 STARS) Up is without a doubt one of Pixar’s best films. The film’s first scene is one of the most sublime cinematic moments I’ve ever experienced. And while the rest of the film doesn’t quite measure up to that level of greatness, it’s still a rousing adventure, complete with all the humor and […]

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Review

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus was reportedly more than halfway completed when its star, Heath Ledger, suddenly passed away. Instead of scrapping the film, director Terry Gilliam decided to push on and fill in the blanks of Ledger’s performance with CGI, makeup, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. The rewrites that […]

The White Ribbon Review

The White Ribbon Review

RATING: (3 STARS) “The White Ribbon” is the kind of film I wish filmmakers tried to do more often. I don’t care that it’s not perfect. I don’t even care (that much) that it moves at a snail’s pace. I don’t care because it’s artistic and it doesn’t pander. Director Michael Haneke tells his story […]

A Single Man Review

A Single Man Review

RATING: (3 STARS) “A Single Man” is a very interesting, relatively plotless character study about a man with no reason to live. It’s told in a unique manor, and it features some great acting, a moving score, and some beautiful set designs and costumes. So why only three stars? Well, the first ninety minutes of […]

The Last Station Review

The Last Station Review

RATING: (2.5 STARS) “The Last Station” sounded like it would be a fascinating experience. It tells the story of the final years of one of the greatest writers in history—Leo Tolstoy—while examining whether one can believe in an ideology while not following it religiously. It’s a relevant subject, and with Oscar-nominated performances from Helen Mirren […]

Sin Nombre Review

Sin Nombre Review

RATING: (3 STARS) “Sin Nombre,” the debut feature from director Cary Fukunaga, comes along at a time when its subject (immigration) has become a heated political issue. Shockingly, the film is pretty apolitical. It has some things to say, but these points are more related to gangs and violence in general. What the film has […]

Chéri Review

Chéri Review

RATING: (2 STARS) I remember first hearing about Cheri shortly after the Oscar ceremony in 2009. It was time for everyone’s year-in-advance predictions, and at the top of many Best Actress lists was Michelle Pfeiffer. And for good reason. She’s a well-respected actress who has never won an Oscar, and she was being directed in […]

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Review

RATING: (2 STARS) This review will likely sound a lot more positive than the star rating indicates. That’s because I actually kind of begrudgingly enjoyed it—but in a “that was so bad, it’s good” sort of way. If you take it as a comedy, the film is moderately funny (although the scenes that are supposed […]

The Invention of Lying Review

The Invention of Lying Review

RATING: (3 STARS) I remember watching “Ghost Town” in 2008 and thinking, “Is this really the best Ricky Gervais could do?” Granted, he wasn’t responsible for the material, but I don’t think there are many people funnier than the man who created the original “The Office,” and his major film debut was just so ordinary. […]

The Young Victoria Review

The Young Victoria Review

RATING: (3 STARS) European royalty dramas are a dime a dozen. The last decade has seen films about Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Elizabeth II, Marie Antoinette, among many others. The close of the decade brought another such film—Jean-Marc Vallée’s “The Young Victoria” about the early years of the reign of Britain’s longest serving monarch. The […]

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