DOUBT

Poffy The Cucumber

Sinfully Good. DOUBT lives up to its title so staunchly that we cannot do anything but. About a Catholic priest, Father Flynn (the magnificent Philip Seymour Hoffman), accused by a nun, Sister Aloysius (the also-magnificent Meryl Streep) of inappropriate relations with a grade-school boy. No evidence, no proof, no witnesses, no reports. Yet Aloysius has no doubt. Caught in the … Read More

MILK

Poffy The Cucumber

Got Rights? Life really did begin at 40 for Harvey Milk. Unfortunately, it ended at 48. MILK follows the short, comet-across-the-skies career of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), the first gay official elected to public office in the Close-minded United Hypocrite States of America. We meet Milk in the waning hours of his 39th birthday, picking up a stranger (James Franco … Read More

WAR, INC.

Poffy The Cucumber

Orwell’s 1984 meets W.’s 2004. War is the improvement of investment climates by other means. — Ben Kingsley, WAR, INC. WAR, INC. is political satire almost blacker than George W. Bush’s rectum heart, but wildly funnier than his misshapen weasel head. The opening text hits too close to the bone: “In the 21st Century, great corporations will bestride the Earth … Read More

THE ROCKER

Poffy The Cucumber

Bohemian Crapsody. Ooh, look out, you rock and rollers! Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older. — David Bowie, Changes. Even though THE ROCKER is about a middle-aged rock drummer who sees a second stab at fame with his young nephew’s band, it is mostly for nerds who need to get laid by pretending to be rock stars. Rainn Wilson, … Read More

TROPIC THUNDER

Poffy The Cucumber

Bringing the Thunder. As gut-wrenching as APOCALYPSE, as heartfelt as RYAN, and as filthy as fuck, TROPIC THUNDER is another in the small oeuvre of Ben Stiller writer-director-actor comedies where Stiller goes “full retard” for maximum satirical jungle juice. Action movie juggernaut, Tugg Speedman (Stiller) and a platoon of spoiled-rotten actors (Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Brandon T. Jackson, Jay … Read More

BURN AFTER READING

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Guy Ritchie without the Two Smoking Barrels. At times funny, at times frenetic, at times foolish, BURN AFTER READING is mostly a lost opportunity with a great ensemble cast. Brad Pitt is a goofball Valley Boy (ten years too old for the role), saying “shit” to his heart’s content, as John Malkovich is a recently-fired CIA agent (perfect for the … Read More

THE LOVE GURU

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Half-Spreading the Love. THE LOVE GURU: another excuse for Mike Myers to act unutterably stupid – and get paid for it. As the Guru Pitka, the usually brilliant Myers is in mediocre form, playing an Indian guru who is hired by Jane (talentless Jessica Alba) to help a recently-separated hockey player, Darren (Romany Malco, THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN), find … Read More

ROCK N ROLLA

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High Voltage Rock n Roll. Another twisty, spanky, kablooey tale from the dirty messiah madman who gave us LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998), Guy Ritchie, about expensive hoods, cheap hoods, indestructible hoods, Russian hoods, and a McGuffin painting that we never see that everyone wants. As with Ritchie’s other slambanging movies, describing the plot is a futile exercise, … Read More

RUN FATBOY RUN

Poffy The Cucumber

Running Gag. I have a newfound respect for that unfunny dork, David Schwimmer, after RUN FATBOY RUN. Schwimmer directs Simon Pegg as Dennis, a man who ran from his pregnant bride at the altar five years ago and now decides to win her back by beating her current boyfriend at his own game – marathon running. The plot only seems … Read More

GHOST TOWN

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Afterlife Strife. Leonard Maltin’s splash-review for GHOST TOWN reads, “Clever, Heartfelt and Funny!” (Don’t you love the way they capitalize the adjectives like they’re proper nouns?) As much as I loathe splash-reviews, Maltin is right.Though his four-word splash is somewhat less egregious than the one-word splash (“Terrific!” – New York Times; “Spellbinding” – People Magazine; and the most egregious of … Read More

RIGHTEOUS KILL

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Righteous Swill. Dream cast, nightmare script. What a shameless waste of Acting’s two elder statesmen. RIGHTEOUS KILL re-unites Robert de Niro and Al Pacino as two New York cops on the trail of a killer who is wiping out the city’s vilest criminals. The plot of MAGNUM FORCE resurrected, except in this movie, it’s Dirty Harry without the Dirty. Or … Read More

VANTAGE POINT

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Point Of View Askew. In a town square in Salamanca, Spain, during a public address, the American President (William Hurt), is assassinated. In the ensuing furor, two bombs explode… And we roll our eyes: coulda seen that coming – the president was launching an initiative on counter-terrorism. VANTAGE POINT relates the tales of various players and onlookers in this incident … Read More

VALKYRIE

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Plight of the Valkyries. When I heard Tom Cruise was to play a World War II Nazi, I laughed my LMAO off. Tough sell for a non-actor. And by non-actor, I mean movie star. And by movie star, I mean he can’t act.But then it all comes clear. The role was Colonel von Stauffenberg, who was involved in one of … Read More

GRAN TORINO

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The Enforcer in the ‘burbs. It’s not a Dirty Harry film… But someone forgot to tell Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood carries around so much Legend with him that no matter how he approaches a character, we view him through the prism of his inimitable Avenger archetypes. He was Dirty Harry in only five of his nearly 60 starring films (DIRTY … Read More

21

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Counting to Dumb. In this vacuous drama supposedly based on a true story, Old Hand (Kevin Spacey) teaches Teen Models (Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts) to count cards and take on Vegas. Happens that Old Hand is college professor Micky Rosa, and his Teen Models are his students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. I don’t … Read More

GET SMART 2008

Poffy The Cucumber

Get Dumb. And Dumber. Who wrote this crap? Would you believe…? Well, it wasn’t Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Their Maxwell Smart (personified by Don Adams) was hilarious. As the creators-writers of the 1965 television series, GET SMART, they are listed as “creative consultants” as soon as the end credits roll. It’s as if the writers of this torpid remake … Read More

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 2008

Poffy The Cucumber

Hitting Bottom. Boy’s Movie. In 3D. Serves its purpose of getting thirteen-year-old boys interested in slim blond girls with indeterminate Euro accents and tennis-ball ta-tas. Brendan Fraser has some nice ta-tas too. All that sweaty tight t-shirt adventure with the Running and Screaming and CGI completely outa control. It’s been decades since I’ve read Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center … Read More

FROST/NIXON

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and the Truth shall set you bleed… Peace/War. Life/Death. Truth/Lies. Frost/Nixon. Based on Peter Morgan’s stage play of the same name, from the stunning real life interviews that ex-president Richard M. Nixon granted British television host, David Frost in 1977, Ron Howard‘s compelling FROST/NIXON does what Oliver Stone’s milky W. never could – it gets the job done.What job is … Read More

KUNG FU PANDA

Poffy The Cucumber

Movie: Chop Socky. Message: Kung Fooey. With astounding cinematography, well-written characters, directorial creativity, incredible technical prowess and stunning animation, KUNG FU PANDA only lacks in one department – its message that Prophecy Is Better Than Practice. Directed with kinetic frenzy by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson like Michael Bay meets John Woo, the awesomeness of the Panda is diluted with … Read More

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL 2008

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The Day Keanu’s Face Muscles Stood Still. Keanu Reeves elevates his One Facial Expression Method to new levels of expressionlessness in this wooden remake of the 1951 film. Though excellent concepts are broached in both THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL films (1951 and 2008 versions), both films are ruined by their gutless denouements, failing to follow through on their … Read More