O Brother, Where Art Thou?

A Coen Brothers film about the misadventures of three wacky characters in the Old South.  Great comedic performances but a disorganized story.  B+

One Hour Photo
A creepy photo guy becomes a little too interested in one family's pictures.  Robin Williams shines in this well directed and charmingly peculiar film.  A-

Open Range
Ranchers and free-rangers collide in the old west.  Some good performances and a nice gun fight keep this movie from being horrible.  C

Out of Time
A police chief must solve a murder that he's been framed for.  Dervitive lazy crap that at least has Denzel.  C-

Panic Room

David Fincher directs Jodie Foster into a small room while oddball burglars try to get in.  Good performances and decent suspense, but weak characters and an unlikely plot.  B

The Passion of the Christ
Jesus gets tortured for two hours.  Some powerful imagery and decent performances don't make up for the fact that this film has no plot.  C-

People I Know
A publicist is caught in an awkward situation when he may have witnessed a murder.  A few fun "Pacinoments" but a pointless film with no narrative drive.  C

The Perfect Storm

Fishermen drown in a big storm.  Typical big budget Hollywood.  Decent cast and effects, but so what?  C-

The Pianist

A Jewish pianist in Poland fights for survival when Nazi Germany does what it did.  A great job by director Roman Polanski and actor Adrien Brody.  Hope you like to be angry and sad.  A-

Pieces of April
A young woman tries madly to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner for her estranged family.  Wonderful performances and a touching script shine through this film's abrupt simplicity.  A-

Pirates of the Caribbean

A pirate helps a blacksmith save a girl from cursed pirate zombies.  Johnny Depp's performance is entertaining enough to carry a silly film based on a ride at Disneyland.  B-

The Pledge
A retired detective becomes consumed by one last case.  Sometimes too slow and inconsistent, but suberbly acted and generally powerful.  Jack's back!  B+

Proof of Life

When a humanitarian is kidnapped by terrorists in Colombia, his wife seeks the aid of the best Kidnap.  Ransom expert.  A basically interesting film with a highly flawed romance.  B

Punch-Drunk Love
A lonely businessman must juggle being blackmailed by an adult phone sevice with courting a new and promising love.  A funny and touching film.  Brilliantly executed by all its participants.  A

The Quiet American

A British journalist and a mysteriosu American fight for the love of a Vietnamese girl while the political climate in 1952 Vietnam moves in the direction we all wish it hadn't.  Intelligent writing, excellent acting and highly effective directing.  A

A fictional Marquis de Sade makes chaos with his writing from within a mental ward in revolutionary France   Insightful and irreverent.  Charming and sick.  A-

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Three half-Aborigine children defy the Australian government when they escape their captors and make the 1500 mile trak back home on foot.  Another well-directed piece by Phillip Noyce and an interesting true story.  B+

Red Dragon
A carismatic imprisoned murderer helps an FBI agent track a serial killer.  No, it's not Silence of the Lambs.  Its' a remake of Manhunter.  Blissfully mediocre.  C

Requiem for a Dream
Drug addiction and obsession make a mother, a son, a girlfriend, and a buddy circle the drain.  Indulgent and unpleasant, but brilliantly orchestrated and acted.  A-

The Ring
A journalist uncovers the mystery behind a video tape that results in death a week after it's viewed.  Indeed very scary but mostly because it steals bits from other scary movies.   C+

Road to Perdition

A mobster takes his nosey son on the run and they repeatedly share their feelings.  Generally well acted, very good cinematography, not nearly as interesting a movie as it thinks it is.  C+

Runaway Jury
A juror and his girlfriend conspire to sell a verdict to the highest bidder.  Evenly paced and entertaining despite being totally implausible.  B-

A man buys a horse and pays someone to train it and it is ridden by a jockey and...  Good actors and tight cinematography try hard to hold up an inconsequential heartstrings movie.  B-

Secondhand Lions
The arrival of a 14-year old boy brings a passion for life back to his cranky old uncles.  Some cute moments and a nice cast don't quite cover for a really cheesy film.  C

Secret Window
A writer is stalked by a violent starnger.  Johnny Depp carries this mildly entertaining but ultimately unimaginative flop.  C+

Shadow of the Vampire

A fictional re-telling of the making of Nosferatu, the first big vampire movie.  Apparently, the star is an actual vampire now.  Good performances and some interesting moments but silly and not nearly as good as it should be.  C

Shattered Glass
A writer for The New Republic is suspected of writing fiction.  Based on the true and disappointing story of Stephen Glass.  Could be more profound in its study, but ultimately wins you over with good direction and performances.  B+

When an evil prince puts fairytale refugees on an ogre's property, the ogre must rescue a princess on the prince's behalf in exchange for his land.  But the ogre and the princess fall in love.  Great animation and loads of fun, but could have gone further.  B+

Aliens use crop circles to teach us the importance of faith.  Some very pleasing cinematic moments are lightly sprinkled on this silly, silly film.  C

Space Cowboys
A group of aging ex-air force pilots get a second chance at space travel when called upon to fix a decaying Russian satellite with a secret.  Entertaining but kind of silly.  B

A schizophrenic flashes back to his childhood and his mother's mysterious murder.  Well acted and quite possibly the slowest movie I have ever seen.  Sorry, Mr. Cronenberg.  Better luck next time.  C-

A high school student becomes a superhero when a spider bite gives him mutant powers which he later uses to battle evil and save the girl he loves.  Mediocre special effects and goofy plot holes aside, this is a basically entertaining comic book movie.  B

Spring Forward
Two Parks and Rec guys, one young, one about to retire, get to know each other.  Damn simple but in a refreshing and intriguing way.  Patient and well-acted.  B+

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Civil war threatens the republic while Anakin goes through puberty.  A bad movie with some fun fx sequences, making it more than Episode I, which was just a bad movie.  D+

The Station Agent
A dwarf, a hot dog vendor and an artist form an interesting friendship.  A wonderfully drevcted and brilliantly acted film with truly introspective moments tempered by authentic comedy.  Not bad.  A-

The Sum of All Fears
Nazis use a nuclear bomb in an attempt to trick the U.S. and Russia into detroying each other.  A mediocre star, an unnecessary love interest and slightly goofy bad guys detract from what is otherwise a very well-directed and well-acted thriller.  B

Swimming Pool
A female novelist crosses paths with a wild young woman while doing some writing in France.  Decent acting and cinematography make you stick around for a mystery that never delivers.  B-

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
A Republican robot is sent back in time to protect a promising revolutionary... again.  A major disappointment.  D+

A thirteen-year old girl is introduced to drugs and bad behavior as her single mothr fights for control.  A wonderfully acted film set back a bit by being inconsequential.  B+

The boys in the final stage of infantry training during the Vietnam war.  Very well done.  Not your average war-sucks flick.  A-

A new drug czar learns the ropes while at the same time dealing with a drug-addicted daughter.  Tijuana police struggle with the complicated conspiracies in the Mexico smuggling trade.  Agents use an informant to try a trafficker with an unsuspecting wife.  Even the log-line is complicated but the film is an accomplishment from all angles.  A

A comic book dealer is convinced that a train wreck survivor is really a superhero.  An hour of build up for half an hour of excellent cinema   Woulda shoulda coulda been betta.  B-

Undercover Brother
The Brotherhood must enlist the help of Undercover Brother to funk up The Man's evil plan to keep the White House white.  Ballsy and funny, but more ballsy.  B-

Veronica Guerin
The true story of an Irish journalist who was killed when she exposed some major drug barons.  Very middle-of-the-road.  It's unclear how much of a hero this person is supposed to be.  C

While a vacationing family is taunted by a local, a mythical forest creature may or may not have some influence.  Extremely intelligent character development is later squashed by a confusing and poorly executed monster story.  C

What Lies Beneath
A ghost attempts to clue a woman in to her husband's infidelity.  Some terrific moments but a little silly and inconsistent.  B-

What Planet Are Your From?

An alien comes to Earth to impregnate a woman, but is overwhelmed by the pressures of being a human   Clever and insightful with amusing comedic performances.  A-

What Women Want

A rich, chauvenist bastard electrocutes himself in a drunken binge and wakes up hearing what women are thinking.  He uses this to seduce women and steal their ideas, but falls in love in the process... or something.  Not romantic.  Not funny.  Worst movie of 2000.  D-

A depressed sergeant is assigned as bodyguard to a Navajo code talker; who uses the Navajo language as a code the Japanese can't break   Oh, it's WWII.  Makes up for being lame by being long.  D-

X2: X-Men United
Mutants must unite to save themselves from a government madman bent on destroying them.  A surprisingly good sequel to the okay comic-book actioner.  A-
naughty letters to the writer
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